When we first started using Essential Oils one of my goals was to have more natural products for Madeline. One thing we use almost daily is diaper rash spray. Madeline has sensitive skin, and her tush is easily irritated. I hate lathering her up in messy butt paste (even though FYM Sherrie swears by the bum brush!)! So when I came across a diaper rash spray, I was excited to try it out!
Here’s what you need:
2 oz spray bottle.
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lavender
Fractionated Coconut Oil
It is important that you always use a glass container for holding your essential oils! The oils can break down plastic- so you’re better off safe than sorry! I add 20 drops of each oil and then just fill it to the top with fractionated coconut oil. Once the top is securely on, just be sure to shake it delicately back and forth a few times to be sure it’s all mixed.
I have made a habit of keeping two of these, one on the changing table and one in the diaper bag. Any time she has a little redness I spritz her and it clears up with the next change. Since we started using it, she has yet to get a big, sore rash like she used to! And as a plus- her diaper smells a little better! We love having a natural solution for her that works! Do you use a natural diaper rash spray? How does it work for you?
One of the things I was adamant about doing when Madeline was born was teaching her American Sign Language. I wanted to make sure that she was able to communicate with me, even before she could speak, so that I could better understand her needs.
The easiest way to teach this is through repetition. From the time that she was about three months old, I would say the word I was trying to sign and also make the sign in front of her face, that way she’d know what it meant. She got a few down and was using them from 9 months to a year, but in the last few months, as she’s also learning to speak, has started to use them even more. I am lucky that her daycare also teaches sign language in the infant and one year old rooms, so it’s reinforced learning.
Here are some signs to get you started if you want to teach your baby American Sign Language:
Milk: This was by far the easiest sign for her, probably because she asked for it all the time! She started signing just after we weaned from nursing. I think it helped because instead of rooting or grabbing my shirt, she had a signal to show me she needed (or rather wanted) milk. Then I would get up and get it for her. You make this by making a closed fist and squeezing. She still makes that sign to this day, though she can now also say “milk”.
Finished/All Done: This was another sign that she picked up very quickly. We followed a modified version of baby led weaning, so she is frequently in her high chair with a few choices in front of her. We had noticed that when she was finished she would wave her hands across and knock all the food on the floor. Not acceptable behavior by any stretch of the imagination. So, we started teaching her all done, and she picked up very quickly. For this, instead of turning her palms over, she waves her hands all about, but we know what it means, and again, in teaching repetition, and eventually speech, when she does it, we say “All done?” What’s really neat, is that she’s taken it from just eating where we started to other places. When she’s done her bath now and wants to get out, she signs all done. When she doesn’t want to play with something anymore, she signs all done. It’s so helpful in figuring out her wants and needs.
Sleep: Sleep was a pretty easy one for her to learn, it’s a pretty natural movement. Madeline figured this one out on her own, we didn’t really teach it to her. That being said, she doesn’t quite do it correctly, which causes some confusion. The sign is both hands clasped together like a pillow. But, Madeline uses one hand and places it over her ear. This has been a little bit of a problem, particularly at daycare because they frequently tell me that she’s “pulling on her ear and cranky.” They think it’s a sign of an ear infection, I know that’s her sign for tired. Every baby is going to have some differences and pick up on signing a little in their own unique way, it’s important to just know your child and trust your instincts. And of course, if you’re concerned about ear infections, or other illness, call your pediatrician.
More: Madeline didn’t master this one until just after a year, while this is one we’ve been working on for a while, it’s taken her gaining some independence to be able to do it. After her last leap (see our post on The Wonder Weeks) she was able to figure out cause and effect. Because of that, she now knows that when she asks for more, she’s likely to get something, or be told no. So, she does it frequently, particularly with whatever we’re eating. But, she also does it for toys, games, and reading books. It’s a very clear and direct indication of what she wants and helps to eliminate some of those toddler tantrums by being able to communicate instead of getting frustrated.
Change: This is one that we worked on for a while, but it’s so much harder to teach. For a long time, Madeline had no concept of when she needed changing. It’s taken until she’s been just over a year old for her to realize that she’s uncomfortable and that is because she needs her diaper changed. Typically, I can smell that she needs it before she signs it to me! But, nonetheless I have been trying to teach her and she’s picking it up sometimes. She is able to sign change when she’s wet, and that helps! This is another one that she doesn’t quite get 100%, she grabs her wrist and thinks that means change, when it’s not quite the right sign. Again, every baby will be different and it just takes working with them and knowing them.
Please: Please, and consequently, thank you have been really hard for Madeline to learn. She’s just shy of 16 months at this point and starting to pick up on them, though not consistently. About a week ago she was staring at me, and I know she wanted the item I was holding. I kept saying “say please Madeline” and showing her what the sign is. I’d rub my chest in a circle and say “please.” I even picked up her hand and rubbed it in a circle on her chest and said please. Inevitably, instead of doing it herself, she walked up to me, took her tiny hand and rubbed it on my chest in a circle. I’ll take that- it’s all part of learning! Since that day, she’s started to do it more herself, they are working on it with her at day care and that helps, but she’s also picking up on if she says please (or signs please) we are much more likely to give her what she wants quickly. Again, it’s part of that cause and effect learning skill developed in her last leap. Once she can demonstrate please consistently, we will try thank you.
We’ve really loved watching her be able to communicate non verbally through American Sign Language – it makes our lives as parents easier. But what I will say as a piece of advice for those wanting to try it- make sure your child is developmentally at a place where it’s appropriate. Read The Wonder Weeks, look for cues of recognition and then try to teach the appropriate words and phrases. And above all, be patient. It’s a very big world that they are learning about, and while you’re trying to help them, you have to make it fun and easy for them. If you’re looking for additional resources on teaching baby sign language to your child, check out this great website, it has tons of tips you may find useful, I know I did!
**This post contains a product review, while we were given the product, our opinions are all our own.**
Have you ever heard the horror story of a child who was running with a toothbrush and then suddenly they trip and it punctures a hole in their mouth? Sounds absolutely terrifying and terrible, right? That is exactly what can, and has happened, when you use the typical hard plastic toothbrushes designed for young kids. That horrifying incident happened to a family when their 2 year old slipped while brushing his teeth causing his toothbrush to puncture the roof of his mouth coming within centimeters of entering his brain. Can you imagine that happening to your child? As parents, the last thing you want is to see your child in any sort of pain or danger. This is why the family of that 2 year old boy decided it was time to take action to prevent something like that happening to another child. That is how the Baby Banana Brush was born!
You may have seen the Baby Banana Brush when creating your registry, in the baby store or other families using it. It was rated a best product for babies and we are here to tell why! If you are thinking, do I really need this? Guess what – YOU DO! We LOVE these toothbrushes for our kiddos. Even if your child doesn’t have teeth yet, baby banana has toothbrush products designed for teething infants up to fussy toddlers. We are so thankful to be able to try out these products for our kiddos!
I know you are probably saying to yourself, my infant does not need a toothbrush! But the truth is that it is never too early to introduce good dental hygiene habits from the start! Baby Banana Brush designed this flexible infant brush in a fun banana shape! It has a soft texture and is made of the highest quality silicone. The unique design of the wide banana peel handles allows infants to easily grasp the brush to learn how to use the brush in their mouth. You can even use the handles to hold a binky strap! The added bonus? It doubles as a teether! It can sooth sore gums for a cranky teething baby. You can even throw it in the freezer! This brush is intended for children under 1 year of age which was ideal for our littlest family member, Finn. He is 5 months old and in the early stage of cutting teeth. He loved it! The brush was easy for him to hold – he didn’t want to put it down! 🙂
Toddler Training Toothbrush
When your baby turns to a toddler it is crucial you really get into the habit of teeth brushing, especially since they are now eating mostly solid foods. The toddler training toothbrush was designed with safety in mind. To prevent mouth injuries, it is flexible and bendable and is made with medical grade silicone. The small bristles also massage teeth and gums. This brush is designed for children over 12 months of age, perfect for Madeline who at 1 year of age has 11 teeth! This toddler version of the classic banana brush was the just the right upgrade for her. We put a pea size of the Kid’s Spry tooth gel and let her chew on it, making sure she’s hitting all of her teeth. She loves it and we think we have her fooled into thinking it is just another toy! 🙂
Elefriend Toddler Toothbrush
The elefriend toddler toothbrush is a flexible toddler toothbrush also designed to be safer than typical plastic toothbrushes to prevent mouth injuries. The adorable toothbrush is an elephant whose spout is a bendable neck with ADA recommended nylon bristles with enough resistance to effectively remove plaque. This brush was designed for children 2 to 4 years old. This was the perfect toothbrush for Logan, who just turned two last month! He loves animals so the elephant design was right up his alley. He is also not a sit still toddler so we have peace of mind knowing it was designed with his safety in mind. 🙂
Spry Tooth Gel
When your kids reach the age of one they can begin brushing their teeth with tooth gel. In addition to their fun and safe toothbrushes, Baby Banana also has tooth gel. The Spry Tooth gel is safe to swallow, fluoride-free and comes in a variety of great tasting flavors! They have banana berry, strawberry banana, bubble gum and more! And the best part? It is made with all natural ingredients. The gels contain the xylitol which is a proven cavity fighter and provides tooth-strengthening calcium to protect and strengthen developing teeth. Madeline got to try the strawberry banana and Logan had the bubble gum – they loved it! 🙂
We cannot say enough wonderful things about the Baby Banana Brush company and their products. They are fun, effective and safe for children and it is great that they have created a products for teeth brushing for all ages.
Our kids love their products and we know yours will too! To view and purchase more of their fun and amazing products, visit their website! Thank you so much, Baby Banana Brush!!!
As you may know essential oils are all the rage right now. But don’t worry, we’re not here to make you join a group or buy oils from us, as we know it’s pushy consultants that can give compamies like this a bad rap. Luckily, we’ve been really fortunate to meet some phenomenal consultants from many companies including DoTerra and Young Living who have gently introduced us to the wonderful world of essential oils.
As moms, we’re always looking for ways to keep our families healthy. For Sherrie, it started as a replacement to candles who wanted something more natural in the air and safer for her very tall toddler. For Emily, she was looking for a way to introduce a more natural healing method- Madeline was constantly getting sick and she was tired of giving her Motrin or Tylenol.
That’s when we discovered essential oils, whether they’re diffused, in a roller ball, or in a cleaning solution- they have changed our lives dramatically!
What exactly is an essential oil? Well, it’s the extract from a plant. These oils are all therapeutic grade and each oil and plant has its own properties and different uses. Call us cooky- but this stuff really works!
So how do you get started? We recommend trying out oils from all different brands before committing to a company, each has different standards so you will get to know what fits best for your budget and which companies you like. We have found for our family that we love Eden’s Garden. These oils are a great quality without carrying a huge price tag. They have single oils, plus some amazing blends and even a line specifically made and diluted for kids!
So which oils do you get? There are SO MANY choices that it can be easily overwhelming- here’s what we recommend starting with.
Lemon– lemon is a staple in both our houses! It’s amazing for cleaning- works like a charm! But it’s also good to diffuse and create a nice crisp, clean scent in your house.
Lavender– lavender is another staple. Known for calming- this is great to add to a hot shower, diffuse before sleep and is the base of many roller ball and spray blends!
Thieves (or the Fighting Five)- this is a blend of many oils. It’s well known for its immune boosting properties. Diluted with fractionated coconut oil- Emily has been rolling this on Madeline for two months and she hasn’t been sick since!
What else will you need? A few things to help you along the way.
Diffuser- Be sure to invest in a good diffuser. This is an easy way to get started with oils. Trust us, you’ll soon find you use it daily. FYM Emily loves this one! We recommend just cleaning them once a month by diffusing a blend of 2/3 water and 1/3 white vinegar.
Roller Bottles– another quick find from Amazon– you’ll soon realize you’re creating blends and rolling them topically. We keep two rollers on Madeline’s changing table and another 2 in her diaper bag! I also carry four rollers in my purse at all times- the headache blend saves Emily at least three times a week!
Fractionated Coconut Oil- If you’re going to get in to blending for rollers or sprays, you’re going to need to dilute your oil. We’ve found coconut oil to be a great way to do this! Fairly inexpensive and doesn’t bother anyone with sensitive skin!
Ready to get started? We will be sharing some of our favorite blends in the coming weeks. In the meantime- follow along with our It’s Essential Pinterest board! We would love to see how you are using oils in your lives!
After you leave the hospital almost every mom will save their baby’s first outfit, blanket, hat, bracelets, etc. We sure did! Instead of just throwing those keepsakes in a box or inside a baby book, you can put them in a shadowbox to be out on display. We both spotted this project on Pinterest and just couldn’t resist recreating this for Logan and Madeline (and now Finn)!
First things first, you need to gather all of the things you saved from the hospital. This may include hats, blankets, going home outfits, bracelets, foot prints, birth announcements, name banners from the bassinet at the hospital, etc. Here’s what it looked like when Emily got all of Madeline’s things together:
What You Need:
Shadowbox (we suggest 8×10 or larger)
Scrapbook paper (for background, embellishments, etc.)
For the background Emily made the hard choice and decided to use Madeline’s blanket. Let me tell you, cutting that blanket almost killed her, she was in tears! But in the end, it turned out really well! For Logan and Finn’s background Sherrie went with a piece of scrapbook paper.
After you have your background, it’s just a matter of arranging and rearranging until you find a layout that you love.
Emily really wanted to get Madeline’s going home outfit in, but it didn’t fit so instead she used a hat that was given to Madeline. There’s a few women who knit and crochet hats for all the new babies born at Bellevue Women’s Hospital where Madeline was delivered and she showed up back from her bath in this cute purple hat! Emily had made a name banner for Madeline’s bassinet at the hospital (Thanks Pinterest!) the whole thing wouldn’t fit, but a piece of the gold bunting was reused to hold Madeline’s birth information.
For Logan and Finn’s shadowbox Sherrie made a name banner using scrapbook paper, stickers and small clothes pins. She added their hats and their hospital bracelets, as well as the stamped footprints the hospital did when they were born. I used more stickers to write out their date of both and weight/height stats.
Once all your pieces are in and you add your embellishments/stickers and whatever you wan, simply close the shadowbox up ensuring that everything is nice and secure! Here’s the finished products from ours!
They make great additions to the nurseries and are keepsakes the kids will have when they get older!
Pumping at work can sound like a nightmare. Depending on where you live, the laws may vary as to how a pumping mom can expect to be accommodated. In our state of New York, the law states that employers have to allow moms time to pump whenever they need to (they can require that you make up that time you take to pump). We are both extremely lucky and fortunate to work for employers that were supportive and accommodating to let us pump whenever we need to and never ask twice.
There are a few awkward things that you may run into when you pump at work. FYM Emily is not a shy person, and tends to be an over sharer in general. Many times co-workers will come to her cube to talk as she’s getting up to pump and she has no problem telling them exactly where she’s going. It has certainly caused some strange looks but, hey – a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! Anytime there is a conversation about breast milk with a coworker, they may get a little uncomfortable. It’s all about just being sure you don’t cross a line.
With that being said here are some of our tips for ensuring that pumping at work is smooth and easy for you, thus be able to adequately feed your little one. 🙂
Make the Time
We all know that it can get busy at work, but be sure to listen to your body and never skip a session. Habit is key here and you have to stick to a firm and solid routine. Emily has gotten up and left the tail end of meetings because she needed to pump! If you can, block the time on your calendar every day to ensure you don’t miss a session. Emily does this so she is not scheduled in back to back meetings. If your employer doesn’t already have a dedicated nearby space for you, be sure you account for that time, too.
Ensuring you get the most from a pumping session is about relaxing and being comfortable, which we know can be hard to do at work. Perhaps you want to bring a comfy pillow with you or if you can turn the lights down or off. You should also bring in a photo or video of your baby so you feel more like a mom and less like a dairy cow!
Bring Snacks & Water
Staying hydrating throughout the day is key to producing milk. Throw some snacks in your pumping bag and grab your water with you when you go to pump. If it’s the only chance you’re going to get to eat, go for it!
Have the Right Tools
We both invested in a Sarah Wells pump bag to transport all of our pumping essentials. Emily used the Kiinde cooler bag to transport milk and Sherrie uses a lunch box that has built in freezer packs. We both highly suggest a hands free pumping bra, you can make your own or purchase one (we both love this one). It doesn’t hurt to pack an extra shirt (trust us), nursing pads, and a sharpie for labeling. You just never know and we’d rather you be prepared than find you are in need of anything!
We both know how stressful this can be. You got this mama – keep going! Do you have any tips for pumping at work that we missed? Let us know!
We love baby showers!!! Why?! Because baby showers mean a baby is on the way! YAHOO! We always aim to create themed gifts (look for a post coming soon!) so when we had a Harry Potter themed baby shower to attend, we knew we wanted to do something big!
Cue- the diaper cake!!!
Here’s what you need:
Toilet Paper Rolls
Shredded Paper Filler
*We used a 36 count of newborn and a 100 count box of size one to achieve four tiers*
First things first, you start with the diapers. It is a good idea to determine the approximate circumference you’re shooting for in each tier. To make this easier, you can measure and cut out cardboard circles to use as a guide or you can just keep adding diapers until each tier reaches your desired size.
All of the tutorials we had seen said to roll each diaper and rubber band them individually. Diaper cakes we had been gifted were made this way, but it was time consuming to unroll all of those diapers! So we chose a different route and found that it came together much more quickly and easily!
We stumbled across this new way to make the tiers. You start off by laying the diapers down in an overlapping fashion and then using a toilet or paper towel roll, you simply just roll them up! Once you have the biggest roll you can manage with your hands, place a rubber band around the entire thing. If you then need to make the tier larger, you can add diapers, in an overlap, around the outside by tucking them in the rubber band.
Once all of your tiers are done you will need to stack them. We suggest that you use some sort of support in the middle, whether that is a poster roll, a dowel, paper towel rolls, something that allows for stability.
After that comes the fun part – decorating it! We had a Harry Potter theme to work with so we chose colors and trinkets to match. We wrapped each tier in red and yellow ribbon and in between the tiers we put black and white shredded paper filler. You can find this filler at any craft store, dollar store or Target.
We then added some more trinkets for extra fun. 🙂 We cut out black felt glasses and a yellow lightening bolt scar to put on the top tier. For the second and third tier we printed out the baby’s nickname in Harry Potter font and taped it on. The final touches were homemade pacifier clips and a snowy white owl to top it off!
It was a hit at the shower! It even got a special mention by the hostess! And we think it is adorable!
Are you a diaper cake pro or newbie? Share with us how yours have turned out in the comments!