It has been a while since I posted anything here so I have a little bit of updating to do! First off, I’m so excited to say for the past few months I have been working! I got a job teaching at a local Montessori school and I am so excited about this. Since I am now working full-time, Mackenzie has also had the opportunity to go to the same school where I work. She has grown so much since starting school and this has been such a great opportunity for both of us. Secondly, Koryn has been away for a little while now and our family will not be together again for a few more weeks/months.
We have faced so many adjustments and changes in the past few months but it has been better for our family in the long run. With all of that being said, today’s post is all about our back-to-school/work survival kit and favorites. Adjusting to working again and have a toddler in school full time all while being alone is so new to us and we learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work for our family.
The first thing we could not live without for school is essential oils! We use Plant Therapy oils and LOVE the roll-on bottles. The ones we keep on hand and use almost daily are lavender, nighty night, germ fighter, germ destroyer, and sniffle stopper! I get mine from Amazon but we also get coupons all the time from their site! Ebates is offering a 3.75% cash back right now and you can sign up using my link and get $10! Our nighty night and lavender are used nightly in our household.
The second product we LOVE are the planet wise reuseable ziplock bags. We have them in several pattern and sizes. These are perfect for school snacks and snacks on the go. We use their sandwich bags and snack size bags almost daily. Personally, we use the zipper bag versus the velcro ones but we do have some of each!
Our third must have is the Squeasy pouch! Mackenzie loves to eat applesauce and smoothies and this is the perfect item for this! These are so easy to wash and even easier to fill up! I was so tired of buying the applesauce pouches that you throw away so these made our lives so much easier and I can’t wait to get more!
These past two months have been have huge change for us but it has been so great. We have loved being able to get out of the house and Mackenzie is learning so much. I cannot wait until Koryn comes home and we can spend the holidays together as a family.
Today is an open topic and I’ll be touching base on something I’ll expand on in a later post. At first, I had no idea what i wanted to write about for today until I woke up and dreaded washing diapers today. It wasn’t because it’s time consuming, because it’s actually pretty quick. It wasn’t because drying takes forever, because it really doesn’t take long at all. But it was because I miss my old diapers and miss the convince for throwing them in the washing machine and dryer and letting the machines do all the work.
That’s when it hit me, this is what the challenge is really about. Many families struggle to provide diapers for their children and for some hand washing is the only way to provide diapers for their children. One of the purposes of this challenge was to show using cloth diapers can be easily done without a washing machine or dryer and that it could be done on a budget. As much as I love this challenge and what I am learning, I can’t wait for next week when we can get back to our other diapers and wash routine! If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.
We decided that we would NOT do baby food or baby cereal with Mackenzie when she was finally ready to start solids. We always knew we would never do baby cereal but finding out about baby led weaning just made it more clear to skip all baby food. We found out about a method called baby led weaning (BLW) and it was perfect for us! BLW is not a new concept but you could imagine the looks we got when people found out our 6 month old was eating whatever we were eating. Her first meal was chicken, rice, and peas. Here are other great ideas for BLW meals. No baby mush just straight table food. The first few weeks were hard since she wasn’t really interested in eating. She did a lot of playing (aka throwing food all over the floor) and lots and lots of gagging, which is completely normal.
BLW is done when the baby is around 6 months old, they can sit up unassisted, they have lost their tongue-thrust reflex, they developed a pincher grasp, they are ready and willing to chew, and eager to participate in mealtime. Teeth are not a requirement for BLW. Mackenzie just got her first two teeth a few weeks ago and has been able to eat everything we have given her without any issues. Recommendations say these should all be meet in order to start BLW but each child is different so some of these ‘requirements’ might not appear until the baby is older. Looking back on it we could have held off a little bit on giving Mackenzie food but now at almost 9 months old she eats any and everything you give her.
With BLW, babies feed themselves instead of being spoon fed. But what about foods that need spoons? Well that’s easy, you preload the spoon and give it to your baby and they feed themselves. With BLW, babies learn to chew their food than swallow and they control how much food they eat. It’s pretty awesome watching a 6 or 7 month old eating table food. The only foods to avoid are honey and foods that are choking hazards such as nuts. New studies now say the earlier you introduce foods the less likely of food allergies.
BLW is messy, but that’s to be expected. We bought this highchair from IKEA and it is very easy to clean. We just take it to the shower and hose it off. Mealtime is usually just done in a diaper so if she does get messy we just bathe her. Learning the difference between choking and gagging was hard at first but after the first few times it was clear she did a ton of gagging. After reading and talking to many parents who do BLW, I think the biggest piece of advice I have seen is to learn the difference between the two. I love that we are able to give Mackenzie what we are eating and learn about what she likes and dislikes. We have only had one slight allergic reaction since we started but I’m hoping when we try again it will go a little better!
From the time I became pregnant, not breastfeeding was never an option for me as long as I was able to breastfeed. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed and always planned on doing so for at least the first year. That all changed once I had Mackenzie. The first two weeks were horrible when it came to breastfeeding. They were full of tears from both me and Mackenzie, full of cracked and bleeding nipples, full of dealing with my oversupply and overactive letdown, and full of love. I remember there were nights when I was so upset with how painful nursing was that I told my wife to just get formula for Mackenzie. She said no way and together we all figured out how to fix our issues. Through it all I was able to push through with the support from my amazing wife and make it past those first two weeks.
From then on, breastfeeding became more and more natural and easier for both of us. I still was figuring out how to handle my oversupply and worked on building a freezer stash since I was so worried something would happen and I would not be able to nurse anymore. This is when the pumping started. I had thousands of ounces of milk stored up and eventually our deep freezer became my milk freezer. The fear of not being able to breastfeed was always in my mind so pumping became more and more regular. The downside to all of this was the Mackenzie does not use bottles so I had a freezer full of milk that was just sitting there. Then I found out about two awesome facebook groups, Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets. Each state has their own page and you can make a post looking for milk to donate or milk for your little one.
I have been able to donate to 8 or 9 families/babies in the past few months. All of the moms I have donated to have been found on those facebook pages. I have been so lucky to be able to help other moms and babies. Yes, I could have easier signed up through a milk bank to sell my milk but there was no way I could do that when there are so many moms who need the milk for their babies for so many reasons.
It has been over 8 months now and we are still breastfeeding. Mackenzie still does not take bottles and my freezer stash is now smaller than it has been for months. My pump has been put away since Thanksgiving and now we just spend our days side nursing. Our breastfeeding journey has been fairly easy with no major hurdles to overcome. I am so glad I have been able to nurse for this long and hope for many, many more months of nursing our sweet little girl.