Mom Talk 77
Count down is on. This week I’m 34 weeks pregnant. Crazy right!? If you’re pregnant too I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing… this is just flying by! I hear the last few weeks feel like forever though haha. Regardless, I want to make sure I’m prepared. I’ve officially registered for the hospital and I’m starting to think long and hard about what we still need before our little one gets here. Technically, I could go all the way to my due date (October 28th) but there’s always the chance of an early delivery as well. That’s why today we’re talking today about my Hospital Bag must-haves.
Here are my top 10:
1. My glasses. You bet that I want to be able to see my beautiful little baby once it arrives. I actually only need my glasses for long distance but when we have visitors it will be nice to be able to see. I usually wear contacts but I don’t want to have to worry about getting in and out of bed to put those on in the hospital.
2. Light reading. Recently a friend went to lend me a new book and my husband joked saying, “Does it come in an audio book?”. Moral of the story… I’m not a big reader. I totally wish I read more I just don’t make the time for it. Magazines are one of my guilty pleasures though. I still have a subscription to two decor magazines and literally look forward to getting them every single month. I’ll be bringing a few of these to the hospital with me that’s for sure.
3. Massage Oil or Cream. I showed my bestie my list of essentials and she laughed when she saw ‘massage oil’. Ok, obviously this isn’t some romantic evening to be lathered up but I’d like to think my hubby will give me a back rub if I want one when I’m in labour. Fun fact: I literally beg my husband to play with my hair on a daily basis. My closest friends and family know that’s my absolute favourite thing. Either that or getting my back rubbed. Am I weird or what? I may have to use the pregnancy card to get Ryan to do this on delivery day.
4. Lip Balm. Another random fact about me: I always carry about 4-8 options for my lips. I have a little coach zip up that has some lipsticks, lip balms and glosses in it. You’ll find it in almost every purse I carry. Obviously, I’m not going to the hospital without it. One of my all time favourites? Plain old Blistex. I like that it gives me a gloss while taking care of my lips. I know the air in hospitals can be very dry so this may come in handy.
5. Electronics. My phone doesn’t leave my hand on a regular basis so this will be there with me while I wait for my sweet little one to arrive. I’ve packed my headphones but to be honest my hubby and I listen to music so much that I bet we’ll have our Bose speaker with us. Are you allowed to do that? I guess maybe I should be making a baby playlist? Or start making a list of podcasts I want to listen to.
6. Hard Candies. A friend of mine bought me some sour suckers for my birthday and I’ve had these throughout my pregnancy. They’re not just a great treat, they’re great when you feel nauseous. I hear that some women feel VERY sick when they go into labour and that vomiting can be a common. Hope these sour suckers are going to help me out with that.
7. Change for vending machines. I’ve been told that you should eat a big meal before going to the hospital. You could be in labour for 24 hours (plus) and you’re going to want food. It’s essential to bring some snacks and drinks with you but make sure you bring some change for the vending machines. I’ve been craving chocolate chip cookies and kettle chips so I’m hoping our vending machine is stocked up.
8. Hair Elastics.This is a no brainer. Who wants sweaty hair in their face when they’re in labour? Not me.
9. Comfortable Pjs & Robe. You may not know this about me (I think my sister and my mom might be the only ones). I’m a PJ hoarder. My mom has been buying us new pyjamas every year for Christmas since I was a kid. It’s a tradition we all look forward to. This year the baby will get it’s first pair of Christmas Pjs!!! Regardless, pyjamas are definitely an essential part of my hospital bag. I found these super soft ones from Love Ophelia that I’m really excited to wear. I know I’m going to want to be as comfortable as possible.
10. Diaper Bag. This is a blog post in itself. Of course, you’ll want all the essentials that you’ll need for baby to be. Formula (just in case), diapers, swaddles, baby’s first outfit… I still have to do some research on what exactly I’ll need. Would love some tips from you mammas. Feel free to leave me a comment below.
Jackie is a Southern-Ontario based TV Host, Interior Stylist and first-time mom due in October. Follow her journey through pregnancy and into parenthood weekly through this series “Baby Talk” with Jackie and check out her Nursery planning tips and tricks in her blog “Nursery Style” with Jaclyn Colville.
If this Fall marks your little one’s first foray into daycare or kindergarten, there’s a lot to think about! Back to School season is such an exciting time and probably a bit emotional for us parents, too, if we’re honest. Here’s how to prepare yourself and your child for the big day.
Talk, talk, talk
If you haven’t already started talking about daycare or school, now is the time to start! One big conversation isn’t enough for their little hearts and minds to comprehend what’s happening, so aim to have many mini conversations in the weeks to come. Communicate that changes are ahead, they’ll have new rhythms to their days, what the daycare or school will be like, and the new friends they’ll make. These conversations can be as short as a sentence such as, “I wonder what your class room will look like once you start kindergarten?” or “I can’t wait to meet your teacher! I’m sure they are excited to meet you too!” Or longer discussions where you ask them deeper questions, such as, “Is there anything you’re worried about with school coming up?” Be available to your child in these weeks to come – sometimes the only way to have those quality conversations is to offer quantity time.
Prepare for the new daily rhythms
If your child has never been to daycare or school before, their days are about to change in many ways – prepare them for these changes. A few days prior to the first day, set an alarm for the time you’ll need to start rising on school days, and begin your school morning routine. Have your child get dressed and give her breakfast at the same time that you will on a school morning. Have her choose a backpack and practice packing it. Stressful, rushed mornings are the worst way for anyone to begin the day, especially children, so make sure your new morning routine is understood, feasible, and practiced before the actual first day. This will help you and your kids know what to expect in the weeks to come, and make their first day of school more comfortable.
Get inspired for health lunches and snacks
This may be the first time your child has had a regular meal outside of the home, so brainstorm lunch and snack ideas together to include her in the process. Most schools are now nut-free, so consider other main courses such as cold pasta salad, meat and cheese, tuna sandwiches, or hard boiled eggs. Take your child grocery shopping to choose the food together and let her pick out a lunch bag and water bottle. Make sure your child’s lunch bag is insulated if you have any dairy or meat products! I love the Nomnom Insulated Bag by Zoli and Zoo Lunchies by Skip Hop.
Plan a Waste-free Lunch
Few things have opened my eyes to needless waste than packing three lunches each day for my children. There is so much packaging! Instead of packing a juice box, which is full of sugar anyway, pack a water bottle in their lunch, like these cute ones from Klean Kanteen or Skip Hop. Mother earth, and their teachers, will thank you for choosing water bottles over juice boxes! Another way to curb waste is choosing reusable snack bags over the classic plastic ones. Your kids can colour their own with these Colibri bags, pick their favourite pattern with these bags by Bumkins, or resemble the disposable bags without the waste, with these silicone bags by Silikids.
When the first day arrives, you can be as prepared as can be, but it will still hit you. Do your best to save your emotions for the car after drop off and remain a solid, positive presence for your child on their first day. Any teacher will tell you that parents who are overcome by emotion, or stay too long into the first day, do make the transition more difficult for the child and other kids observing, too. As a parent, these milestones are never easy, even when they’re exciting! And they are exciting! Your child is entering a new world, and it’s our job to support them every step of the way.
Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city.
With so many conflicting opinions, reviews and reports on how effective/toxic/natural/protective sunscreen is, we decided to test a few different brands and types that Snuggle Bugz carries to judge for ourselves. Conducting a study such as this requires very scientific methods so we found several adorable models of different ages and selected six different sunscreens to apply liberally on one of the sunniest days in July.
Navigating the various brands and types of sun protection can be daunting and throw in the SPF and ingredient decisions and it can be downright overwhelming. We selected five different brands, three different styles of application, a range of SPF, and four children plus two adults in our search to find the best sunscreen.
- 1 Squirmy 9 Month Old
- 1 Complaining 4 Year Old
- 1 Impatient 6 Year Old
- 1 Independent 8 Year Old
- 2 Busy Moms
Take all subjects to busy outdoor tourist attraction on blistering hot day. After the children have endured the long line to get in and are begging to go on rides and see all the things, announce that they must all line up for sunscreen application first. Endure groaning and whining while each child gets pasted/sprayed/rubbed with a different product in order to determine ease of application, time required to apply, and children’s reaction to the product. Once everyone is lathered up, the real fun may commence and testing of the efficacy of our sunscreens also begins.
First up we applied this sunscreen to the two adults as we waited in line. Both moms found this easy to apply with good coverage overall and not too greasy on the skin. There is little to no smell to this product and it felt very natural.
- Sweat and water resistant so on our hot testing day we knew we could count on continued coverage.
- Ease of application
- Non fragrant smell
- Held up well in the splash pad and through sweaty activities
We Didn’t Like:
- Formula was a bit thick for face application and made us sweat possibly even more.
- Took longer to absorb than some of the others
Overall: This sunscreen was definitely effective, we re-applied after 40 minutes of sun exposure and neither of us were burned by the sun, nor did we react to the lotion in any way. A great go-to sunscreen that is safe for adults and kids.
Used on our 9 month old test subject, we put this #1 rated sunscreen to the test on our squirmy but mostly willing participant. This went on fairly easily, was a bit thick and did take a bit of rubbing to get it absorbed but smelled wonderful (light and fresh citrus scent) and left no white residue after considering how thick it felt.
- Thick formula gave us the feeling that it had great protection
- The fresh smell- light and non offensive
- Lasted longer than others with the higher SPF rating and held up well in water
We Didn’t Like:
- Not as easy to apply as some of the others
Overall: This sunscreen was one of our top favourites of the day. With a thicker formula than other mineral sunscreens, it felt protective but non harmful and was perfect for our tiniest tester. No burns or reactions to this lotion and the baby was not bothered at all when we applied it to his skin.
Used for our 4 year old tester who complains if anything takes too long, this product was great as it sprayed on and was the fastest to apply.
- Super easy to apply, especially to larger areas like legs and arms.
- Good coverage without leaving any white residue.
- Nice even spray coming out of the can so it could be sprayed right on body or in your hands to apply to face and more delicate or small areas (Behind the ears, nose)
We Didn’t Like:
- This one was a bit greasier than others
- If you are not careful you can miss some areas because it sprays on so easily
Overall: Loved the ease of this and it is perfect for the kid who just can’t stand still long enough to get the sunscreen on. It was effective and did its job overall. Would recommend possibly using this on the body and another on the face that is less greasy feeling.
Our impatient 6 year old tester tried this one out and he was a fan. With a thinner formula, this spread easily and was quickly applied and absorbed.
- Ease of application
- Non fragrant smell
- Didn’t leave white residue
We Didn’t Like:
- Lower SPF and thin formulation required more frequent application
- The container is harder to squeeze and regulate the amount of lotion that comes out each time. We did have one explosion of product on the first shake and squeeze.
Overall: This was great for our 6 year old that wanted very little to do with having sunscreen applied. It was quick and felt light so he didn’t feel like he was lathered from head to toe. Can be applied liberally but be careful when you squeeze it out!
We gave this to our oldest and most independent tester to apply on herself. The stick was perfect for her face, applied easily with the consistency of a deodorant stick but no white residue. The size of the stick was perfect for small faces and noses. The lotion was used for the rest of the body as it would have taken too long to apply the stick everywhere. It went on cleanly and relatively easily as well.
- Ease of application on the stick- kids can do it themselves once they are a bit older
- Non fragrant smell
- Didn’t leave white residue
- Convenient size and packaging for both lotion and stick
We Didn’t Like:
- Lotion was a tad greasier
- The stick is convenient but isn’t practical to use on its own for the whole body.
Overall: Great for your independent babe and also great to throw in your purse for a quick application. The stick is perfect for the face and is also great to send with your school aged child to apply on their own without a huge mess. The lotion held up well and was easy to apply to the larger body parts and no burns or reactions were experienced.
The Final Verdict:
Both moms and kids really liked the Think Baby Mineral Based Lotion, SPF 50. It gave great coverage, had a great scent and lasted a long time. Not to be outdone though, we also really liked the Sun Bum Baby Bum Mineral Based Stick, SPF 30 and Baby Boo Bamboo Natural Spray, SPF 30 for ease of application. As with so many other skin care products, it really depends who you are using them on and for what activity. If convenience and ease are huge factors for you, a spray or stick formula may be your best bet. If you are super cautious about the sun and want peace of mind, having a higher SPF, top rated product like Think Baby may just be the way to go.
The best protection from the sun is limited exposure during peak hours and using protective layers of SPF resistant clothing, hats and eyewear at all times. All of the products that we tested were mineral based and did not contain the controversial ingredients found in some chemical based sunscreens. Zinc oxide and avobenzone are the only active ingredients in sunscreen that protect against UVA1 rays, however zinc oxide protects against UVA2 and UVB rays as well. If you want to be sure you are getting the full protection you need, look for these ingredients in conjunction with smart exposure, especially for small children.
My favourite season of the year is here and, as I do every year, I vow to enjoy it. I don’t complain about the endless heat because, sadly, it isn’t endless in Southern Ontario. I do my best to leave the comforts of an air conditioned house and experience some of the amazing activities, events, and memories that can only be found this time of year. Though summer has my heart, it also has a few challenges and when adding two children into the mix, it can get tricky. But, now that we are into the full swing of the season, I have found my groove and am sharing with you my favourite things to do with two! Whether you choose to beat the heat or bask in it, there is something here for everyone!
I’m not sure how any of us every grew up in a time when splash pads didn’t exist, but I think they may just be one of the best inventions ever. Each child can get as wet as they are comfortable with, they aren’t weighed down by floaties or a life jacket (but are being supervised closely by an adult), and they can run in all different types of water sprays that are so much more exciting than your lawn sprinkler. Both my 9 month old and 4 year old can play at the same time (in different ways) and I don’t have to worry about them being at different ability levels. Perhaps the best part is that most are FREE! And the second best part is that they aren’t swimming in a pool that is filled with equal parts chlorine and urine. Score one for the germaphobes!
Next on the list of things that I was deprived of growing up are these awesome indoor play spaces. When the heat and humidity is just too much to bear, head to the cool comforts of an indoor energy zapper. Kids can climb, slide, jump and dance for hours in these places and there is usually nice seating and coffee for parents to enjoy. Most play spaces have dedicated areas for smaller children and babies so we can take a cruise through an area of sensory play or smaller slides and when babe gets tired of that, I can feed him or snuggle him while big sister plays her heart out.
Who would have thought that writing on your driveway and your sidewalk could be such a thrill? I think because I forbid crayons and markers to exist anywhere play tables, drawing on the ground seems really rebellious and that means my daughter is all in. There are so many great chalk sets now that contain the chalk to a holder and make it possible for babies to play too. We trace everything, including each other, play tic tac toe and write our names with colourful flourishes. This kind of art is such a fun way for kids to express themselves and it keeps the mess outside! One rainfall or a sprinkle from the hose and you have a blank canvas.
The level of excitement over this one must stem from the same reasons as the chalk drawing. Since it is a universal fact that children are rock hoarders, the idea that they get to both hunt for a special rock AND keep it to paint on it is like Christmas in July. For my older child we use traditional paint and she can spend at least an hour combining different colours, patterns and words to make the prettiest garden stones. For my baby Picasso I use food colouring tinted water and help him transform his rocks into works of art. We keep some of our favourites and then also place others in parks and gardens where others may find them and get some enjoyment out of them too. Also, it addresses these hoarding tendencies at an early age.
When I was a child, I would visit my grandparents and wherever we would go we would pack a picnic lunch and eat it on the way. Fast food was never an option and I have such fond memories of my grandma’s triangular sandwiches and baked goods packed away in large margarine tubs. I love sharing this with my own kids now. We pick a fun place to spread out- sometimes near a playground, other times near the beach, and often somewhere where we can just people watch. We unload our spread and are free to get as messy as we want. Eating on a blanket is liberating, especially when you shake the crumbs onto nature’s floor instead of your own.
Whether you brave the beach or fill up a bin with sand, this is one activity that can keep little hands busy for hours. Grab some plastic sand toys and watch as your kids work together to fill them up, bury one another and just dig. The freedom to play in a more sophisticated form of dirt makes kids feel like they have pulled one over on you, meanwhile you sit back and read a magazine for two glorious uninterrupted minutes (to stop the next sand meal from being eaten).
Another cool spot for a hot day, your local library is a great place to spend a blistering afternoon. With all kinds of free programming geared to different age groups and abilities, there is usually something for everyone. We join the Summer Reading Club to instil a love of books (and winning prizes) early and my young readers love the independence of picking out absolutely any book they want to within the children’s area. Most libraries are equipped with so much more than books now and we spend a good part of the day playing games on the computers, putting together puzzles and even making crafts.
This is one kind of grocery shopping that can actually be enjoyable with kids. There is usually room for a stroller, you can often taste test the goods and there is always an animal or some interesting thing making an appearance. Letting kids pick out your produce increases the likelihood they will eat it and also gives them an education about where and how food is grown. With a renewed pleasure for local and home made goods, we love to discover great baked sweets, beauty products and toys that have been made by human hands and are often the best kinds of treats.
You can find them in zoos, pet stores, friend’s houses and on trips through the country, so you don’t have to travel far to find some animals for kids to love up on and delight in. Kids and animals seem to have a unique chemistry, likely due to the fact that they have the same opinions on cleanliness, indoor voices, toilet training and smiling for a camera. And they are both pretty cute to look at, so grab a candid photo while you are at it.
Though this list is by no means filled with new and innovative ideas, perhaps it will give you some inspiration on those days when bedtime can’t come soon enough and kids are melting down like an ice cream cone. Remember that summer is short so take advantage of the sticky kisses and sweaty brows while you can because, before you know it, you will be back in the season of extra layers and hours to leave the house on time.
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
Well, now that baby #2 is almost officially 9 months old and has spent as much time on the outside as he was on the inside, it is more than time to get serious about shedding the baby weight (before it becomes toddler weight). I fall into the same category as many second (and third, fourth, etc) moms who hadn’t lost all the extra weight from the first time around, so naturally, starting the journey this time is even more overwhelming. After starting and stopping more times than I can count, I am working on some strategies for long term success and commitment since every time I “quit” it seems to be that much harder to rally the motivation to start again. I’m in no real place to give advice or tips on this topic (the health and fitness industry would cry if I did), but I am happy to share my journey, tools, and plans in the spirit of accountability and we’re-in-this-togetherness. With two children, the task has certainly not gotten any easier since there is one more person that now comes before my own self care. On the bright side though, as a veteran Mama I also have a better understanding of what I can sacrifice in order to make ME a priority and work towards these goals. Here are some of the strategies I am working to implement to make this second time a charm.
Realistic but Real:
The time in my life where I can devote all of my energy towards healthy eating, meal prep, and exercise is gone, and this weight took several
months years to gain, so it is not going to come off quickly. It will be a slower-than-I’d-like, challenging, frustrating process that will require more dedication and commitment than ever before and I need to be easy on myself. That’s the realistic part. Now, comes the REAL talk. Motherhood is hard. Labour is hard. Toddlers and tantrums and waiting to drink wine until after bedtime is hard. But I’ve done it all and have come out fairly unscathed. I can do hard things if I am willing to try. So, like a child at bedtime, I am going to put all my energy into not giving up and remember that the hardest things usually have the best rewards.
Don’t Believe the Breastfeeding Lie:
If it worked for you, then that is fantastic (and I will pretend to still like you), but the rumour that weight just melts off if you’re breastfeeding is certainly NOT true in my case. If anything, I feel like it stacks the cards against me. I am constantly hungry, I now need to wear two sports bras to contain that bouncy milk supply, and I am tied to the baby with a feeding schedule that limits when I can exercise and eat. BUT, I know that my nutrition is key to a healthy supply and also to passing those healthy nutrients on to baby, and that for me is a motivator to make good choices. Knowing that breastfeeding alone will not allow me to lose the weight takes it mostly out of the equation and I will stop eating chocolate chips while I am nursing, thinking that I am burning them off as I go.
Channel Your Inner Dad:
I’m sure there are many biological and hormonal reasons for it, but it seems in most cases women have a much harder time leaving their children than men do. This must be the reason that I am grocery shopping on a Sunday with two children while my husband is home alone watching football. (Or maybe I am just a really great wife?) The point is, Dads seem to have the ability to love their children immensely but to also leave them on occasion in order to fit in time for themselves/sports/friends/beer/gym/hour long bathroom breaks, etc. Now that this is my second go around, I’ve started to let go of the mom guilt when I leave at bedtime (and surprisingly don’t miss getting my child her 32nd glass of water in bed). I can take some time for myself to go to the gym or on a walk with a friend in order to relieve the stress that can make losing weight very difficult. Whether it is your partner, your mom, your sister or your friend, accepting help with your kids allows you time to take care of yourself and recharge those batteries that have been running on empty. You will likely return happier and in turn, less likely to eat all your feelings.
The Problem is the Solution:
Those adorable little monsters that got you into this predicament can also help get you out. There will never be more than 24 hours in a day but you can make the most of the time you do have and include your kids in your activities. One of the best investments I’ve made in my health is in my running stroller. I have a Thule Cross 2 jogging stroller that allows me to keep both kids contained and comfortable while I get my sweat on. The best part is that I can use this for multiple activities (bike, walk, jog, and even ski) so that it switches things up for us all. I used to try longer walks with my regular stroller and after a while the kids would get restless, cutting our trip short. With the jogging stroller the ride is smoother and they also have more room to relax so they can last for a 5km run with no issue. I also use my baby carrier for more leisurely walks or activities where my older child roams free and I have the benefit of carrying an extra 20 lbs to increase that burn. Involving your kids in your plans also sets a great example and teaches them about healthy eating and exercise from an early age.
Once you decide what methods you will use to cut calories/ lose the weight, be accountable and write it all down to stay on track. I use an app to track my calories and stay within my daily range and I also keep a written journal to write down the way I am feeling. I write my “why” on the first page and whenever I feel myself faltering I revisit the reasons that I want to achieve a healthier lifestyle and body. As much as I dislike writing it down every day, it is somewhat cathartic and sometimes I find I write things down about the day that I didn’t even know I was feeling in the moment. Taking the time to reflect on how my choices throughout the day were tied to my emotions also helps me identify triggers and create strategies to maintain my healthy habits even when I want to eat all the chips in the house. It may also turn out to be a pretty interesting record of what life was like with littles when you read it ten years from now.
So, here is to our success! Whatever goals you are working toward, be they big or small, may you find a strategy that works for you and maybe one of these above will help you in your journey too. And, by all means, if you have some great tips you want to share, I am all ears!
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
- My Hospital Bag Must-haves! September 19, 2017
- Product Recall: Love Child Organics Baby’s First Buckwheat + Chia Organic Infant Cereal September 14, 2017
- The stick showed you two lines… now what? September 13, 2017
- How to Keep Your Child’s Sleep on Track During the Fall Season September 13, 2017
- 5 Designer Tips for Choosing the Perfect Area Rug September 12, 2017
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