8 Inexpensive Activities for Winter Time

8 Fun Activities for the Winter

It’s December, and even though it doesn’t quite feel like winter in Louisiana yet; it’s coming. It’s easy to get in a rut, and not carve out couple or family time in our hectic lives, but it’s so important! Here are some fun inexpensive activities to try this winter:

SLEDDING

I realize that Louisiana does not get many opportunities for sledding, but for all my northern friends – sledding is inexpensive and fun.

I grew up in Maine, so this was a common activity during my childhood. Find a hill and a sled (snow tube, tray, round saucers, anything that will glide on the snow) and go! It was a bonus when we got older and were able to use snowmobiles to get back to the top of the hill!

VISIT A FARM

Visiting a farm can be a lot of fun. Many farms have hay rides, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches available during the Fall and Winter times. These are usually only a few bucks per person, and is a great opportunity to burn a little child’s energy, or a way to have romantic cuddle time with your partner.

Pumpkin Picking

My son picking out his pumpkin at a pumpkin patch.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

One of my annual memories as a kid was my parents loading us kids in the car and driving around looking at all the prettily decorated houses. We would all comment in unison “OOOOOO AHHHHH”. Cost – Gas.

Or if you are able to spend a little more money, you can go somewhere that is decorated with lights for the holidays. My husband and I we have a tradition of looking at lights every winter, since our second date. It’s a great opportunity to hold hands, drink hot chocolate, and talk. When we lived in the New Orleans area, we went to Celebration in the Oaks; now that we are in Lafayette, we go to Noel Acadien au Village.

BOOK STORE

My family loves to read, so we often went to a bookstore just to chill out. We all went to our interested sections, found some books, and then found comfy chairs to peruse the books. My husband and I even did this when we were dating.

MUSEUMS

Go learn about something different, such as history or the arts. In the last few months, my husband and I have been to The National WW II Museum in New Orleans and the Children’s Museum of Acadiana. There will be different options depending on where you live. If nothing else, it will give something for the two of you to talk about.

BOWLING/INDOOR MINI-GOLF

I tend to forget about bowling and mini-golf, but have so much fun when I do it! Bonus, it’s indoors, so it’ll be warm. Many of them also have junk food and archade games which can also be fun. These activities may cost a little more than the other suggestions. But they are a lot of fun, burn energy (if you bring the kids), and is indoors (which can be really important when it’s cold outside).

ROAST MARSHMALLOWS & HOT COCOA

I love cold nights when I’m in fleece pajamas and we simply make hot cocoa, cookies, or even roast marshmallows. If you have a fire pit, you can roast the marshmallows outside, but this is also possible inside as well. These ingredients can also be inexpensive and delicious.

FONDUE

Want to eat more than marshmallows? Fondue is fun for all ages! You don’t need a fancy fondue pot either. Just use your pots, and heat up different sauces such as cheese, chocolate, caramel, marshmallows, or whatever else you desire. Then skewer your favorite meat, fruit, and veggies, and dip! If this is just for two, light some candles and play some music. If it’s for the whole family, lay down a blanket picnic style, sit in a circle and enjoy!

There you have it. 8 ways to spend time as a family or as a couple without breaking the bank. Since it’s often cold in the winter, you can also check out 5 Postpartum Date Night Ideas: Without Ever Leaving Your House.

Have fun!

What do you and your family do for fun? Leave your comments below!

I am a doula and teach childbirth and parenting classes in the Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana areas. For more information and me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

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4 Ways to get Things Done with a Baby.

4 Hacks for Getting Things Done With Baby

It can be hard to complete tasks on your to-do-list when you have children. Here are some ideas that may allow you to check a few things off your list:

BABYWEAR

Babywearing is a great way to meet both mom and baby’s needs. Babywearing is a way to recreate the womb; it provides warmth, bonding, and closeness, while also giving the wearer the use of their hands. The material used can be cute as well.

BOUNCER

In the newborn days, when I wanted to take a shower, I would nurse my son and then put him in a bouncer in the bathroom with me. He was safe, I could hear him, and I could take a shower – a win-win!

TAKE BATHS TOGETHER

Now that my son is almost 18 months, my husband and I give our son a bath or shower at the same time we take one. This saves time and our backs and knees. Reaching over the tub can be rough on your body! It helps that he LOVES baths and anything involving water, and often whines to get in the tub if he sees us taking a shower without him.

INVOLVE THEM

I try to get most of my cleaning done when my son is awake, so that I can work during nap-time. This can be hard because he likes to be all over me when I’m doing anything. So, I started involving him. This is beneficial for many reasons – It distracts him, builds his self-esteem because he has a purpose, he’s included instead of ignored, trained to do chores for when he is developmentally able to do them solo, burns energy, and allows me to get chores done while keeping my sanity. It does take a little longer than it would by myself, but what doesn’t? Almost everything takes longer with children.

Overall, though, I feel it takes less time because I don’t have to frequently stop what I’m doing while he is trying to get my attention. At almost 18 months, my son is able to open, push, carry, and pick up most things. Some chores my son helps with are feeding the animals (we have cats, dogs, and horses), vacuuming, sweeping, laundry, and picking up toys.

Grandfather and Grandson Working on the Farm

My son helping his grandfather feed the horses.

How do you get things done with your little one? Leave your comments below!

I teach parenting and childbirth classes in Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana. I am also a doula, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering mother. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

5 Reasons Everything Takes Longer with a Baby

5 Reasons Families are Often Late

Getting ready with a child automatically increases the time it takes to get ready. If you don’t have kids, it may be hard to understand why it takes so long when they are so little.

Before I had my son, I only needed 45 minutes to get ready. As mentioned in Singlehood to Parenthood, I now usually have to allot 2 hours of “getting ready” time. Here are some reasons why EVERYTHING (except personal time) takes longer when trying to head out the door:

FEEDING BABY

Babies need to eat, and they eat more frequently than us.

My son is now almost 18 months, so I do think this has gotten easier, but man those newborn days were rough! My getting ready routine consisted of nursing baby for 45 minutes, hoping he would fall asleep, take a 5 minute shower, comfort baby while trying to get dressed, change baby’s diaper, and breastfeed again. This doesn’t account for any surprises (A.K.A. vomiting, poop . . .).

If your child is formula fed, this also takes more time. You have to mix the formula, heat it (if you do that), and feed baby. There is also the extra step of packing bottles and more formula.

Additionally, depending on how long your travel time may be, some parents have to stop along the way to feed their baby again. Those darn cute little stomachs . . .

CLEANING BABY

In the newborn phase, they poop a lot! Most families go through 8-12 diapers a day to keep baby’s bum dry. Babies also often spit up, which can mean cleaning up the mess, and changing yours and your baby’s clothes, depending on how bad. This can happen at any time.Often right before you are trying to walk out the door.

CARSEAT

The carseat situation has been more of a new thing for me. As a newborn I brought my son almost anywhere, but now that he is an active almost 18 month old, I sometimes need people to watch him while I teach classes or have certain appointments. So, I often have to reinstall the carseat into my babysitter’s vehicle. I’ve gotten pretty efficient, but still, you have to factor that 5-10 minutes in your travel time.

MULTITASKING

I even noticed that my husband started taking longer to get ready, especially during the newborn phase. He found it difficult to multitask while watching the baby, so he often sat with or held the baby while I was getting ready. Problem is, at some point he needs to also get ready. If we both take turns, it takes twice as long. This is when parenting starts getting creative!

CONSTANT MESS

The constant mess has gotten worse as my son has gotten older. It’s great that he can entertain himself while I get ready, however, that often equals Tupperware, shoes, toys, and whatever else he finds being scattered along the floor. When I am ready to go, I try to make a quick circular sweep picking up the toys, but I have to be fast, or he’ll find more as I am doing that!

There you have it, just a few reasons why THAT family is ALWAYS LATE! Give them some love and grace because parenting littles is hard and at least they were brave enough to venture out!

Why are you often late? Comment below!

I teach parenting and childbirth classes in Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana. I am also a doula, breastfeeding and cloth diapering mother. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

Transitioning Through Being Single to Being a Parent.

Singlehood to Parenthood

As I have grown from childhood to adulthood, I have heard many times, “Your life changes forever when you have children”. I think most people accept this statement as truth. However, until you are a parent, it is hard to image how deep this change goes. Intellectually, I knew that I would get less sleep and be wholly responsible for a new tiny human, but I really didn’t understand what that would mean.

Here are some examples of how your life changes when you go from being a non-parent (A.K.A. singlehood) to parenthood:

EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER

It takes longer to do EVERYTHING. Before I had my son, I got myself ready (in 45 minutes tops, including putting on make-up) and reminded my husband when it was time to leave (but he was responsible for himself). Pretty easy. Then I had my son, and it took a minimum of 2 hours to get ready with a tiny 7 pound baby!

PERSONAL TIME?

Everything takes longer, except personal time. That is something you have to fight for, or it won’t happen. This tiny human wants to be with you continuously, just like when pregnant. So, instead, he joins me during bathroom breaks, bath-time, and any other time.

COORDINATING SCHEDULES

Before my son’s arrival to the world, I worked as a nurse, so I generally worked 3-4 twelve hour shifts a week, and the other days I could schedule appointments. I now work from home, so you would think that it would be even easier for me to schedule appointments. WRONG! I now have to remember and consider all my potential babysitter’s (A.K.A. family) schedules, in addition to my own, when making appointments because if they are not available, I’m not either.

FORGETFUL

Smart, normal brain, turned to pregnancy-brain, and then transferred to mommy-brain. My phone calendar is the only way I can keep track and organize my life.

GROUP APPOINTMENTS

I try to save those babysitters for when absolutely needed; so that means  I have a companion for most of my appointments. There’s nothing quite like getting a pap smear or a skin check by your doctor while also chasing, breastfeeding, or trying to distract your child at the same time.

GERM SHARING

If you ask most of my family, I have some issues with germs, or at least had. My husband was amazed the first time I shared my food with my son, but still wouldn’t with him. The relationship between a parent and child is so intimate that body fluids (A.K.A. poop, snot, vomit, saliva) don’t bother me like they would with anyone else.

My Son Eating

My son eating chicken. He LOVES to eat!

 

FOOD

I’m Cajun, so I like my food spicy. I was never willing to adjust my seasoning when cooking for anyone. Well, that was until I had my son. I cook blander so that my son’s mouth is not on fire when he eats. I also buy food that I don’t like because I know my son does. I’m not sure if I ever purchased a tomato before I had my son. Now I purchase many every time I go to a grocery store.

CLOTHING

Your body shape changes so much from pregnancy to postpartum. It took me almost 17 months before I returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. Besides the obvious of getting clothes that fit your body, there are also other considerations when breastfeeding. You need a bra that is conducive to nursing. Some women use nursing bras, sports bras, or even regular bras that they can pull up. You also need a top (whether shirt or dress) that allows easy access. If you buy a shirt, or dress, or even a bra that is hard to use when breastfeeding, chances are it’s going to get little wear because lets face it breastfeeding is a 24 hour job, and our little baby (or toddler) is counting on us to feed him.

SHORT DAYS

My days are always short. There is never enough time to accomplish everything on my to-do-list. This will probably always be the case now that I am a mom, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

How did your life change when going from singlehood to parenthood? Leave your comments below!

I am a certified Positive Discipline parenting and Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator. I teach classes in Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana. I am also a breastfeeding and cloth diapering mother. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby. You can also read the latest on my Facebook page at MY Birth & Baby.

 

5 Reasons to Take Positive Discipline

5 Reasons to Join a Positive Parenting Class

Want to be a positive and gentle parent? Take a Positive Parenting Class! These classes use Positive Discipline parenting techniques, philosophy, and many tools for parenting. Instead of focusing on rewards or punishments, parents focus on teaching and encouraging their children. Here are some reasons why you should check out a class today:

PROBLEM-SOLVING

Using the Positive Discipline approach encourages problem-solving. Problem-solving is often a daily requirement of life. If you want your child to figure things out, start teaching them at a young age. Some opportunities for problem-solving are letting them play with a difficult toy without interfering, dividing chores among family, disagreements among family members, and scheduling family activities. If they struggle with a solution, you can help them brainstorm, but often they will come up with great ideas. Let them!

MUTUALLY-RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIP

These classes help parents learn ways to meet their and their child’s needs. Most people feel better and do better when they feel respected. Would you be happy remaining at a job where you didn’t feel respected or appreciated? Probably not. The same thing goes for children. It is important to respect where they are at, no matter how trivial you may think it is. It is also important to respect yourself and your needs. As parents there is a certain amount of sacrifice that comes with the territory. However, it is not healthy for you, or your child, if your needs are not met as well.

IMPROVED COMMUNICATION

Whenever I see a conversation going nowhere, I pause, and think about the communication tools taught through Positive Discipline. I use these skills in all area of my life, not just with parenting. Communication is crucial to better understanding people, negotiating, and getting needs met. What a great skill to pass on to our children!

ENCOURAGING

Positive Discipline teaches that a misbehaving child is often a discouraged child. By encouraging your child, they will be more likely to keep trying, even when they make mistakes or experience difficulties. This perseverance is often needed when navigating through life. It’s important to not confuse encouragement with praise and rewards. Encouragement spurs on self-motivation. On the other hand, when children receive praise and rewards, they are looking for validation from someone else, instead of themselves.

FUN

Last, but certainly not least, is that these classes are fun! Bring your friends, the more the merrier! I don’t lecture, as you struggle to pay attention. Instead, we interact and work together through various activities and role-playing.

I’m currently teaching classes in Lafayette and Eunice, LA. Check out a class today!

I am a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. For more information about me and my services, visit MY Birth & Baby.

How to Start Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapers – Now What?

Cloth or disposable? It seems like an easy question, right?

I never intended to cloth diaper. My husband was actually the first person to ask “cloth or disposables”? I gave him a “duh” look and said “I’m not doing cloth diapers!” I really had no clue about cloth diapers. I thought prefolds (those thick large cloths) were burp cloths! I knew my mother had cloth diapered me, meaning she dunked the diapers in the toilet and put plastic pants on . . . hmm, no thank you! My first look at today’s cloth diapers was at the last class of my Birth Boot Camp childbirth class. After that class, I thought “hmm . . . maybe I could do that”. If you are curious about why anyone would want to cloth diaper, click here.

RESEARCH ONLINE

Deciding to cloth diaper can be overwhelming because there are so many options. I spent many hours researching the meaning of different cloth diapering terms, options, costs, etc. Doing this research gives you some background knowledge. I found Kelly’s Closet and ZukaBaby websites helpful.

GO TO A STORE

The biggest help was going into a local store (I was living in New Orleans at the time) and asking for help. You can also find help in Lafayette, as well. Once you get to touch and see everything, it begins to make a lot more sense!

ASK A FRIEND

Most people that cloth diaper like to talk about it. They can spend hours discussing the pros and cons of each type of diaper, cleaning routine, or accessory that may be needed. When I first started, I asked my childbirth educator for tips, since she was the only person I knew at the time that cloth diapered. Plus, it was her fault I had turned to cloth! Once my friends learned that I cloth diaper, I had many other friends that likewise asked for some advice. Don’t know anyone that cloth diapers? Go to a La Leche League meeting. Many mothers that go to those meetings often have a lot of knowledge about cloth diapering and babywearing.

START SHOPPING

Shopping is the fun part! There are so many cute styles to pick from. Try a variety of brands and types of diapers, then experiment what works best for your family. My favorite shell brands are Thirsties (especially for a newborn) and Rumparooz (when they get a little bigger). I like that they have double gussets and more elastic. I think rumparooz have more cute designs, but they are also more expensive. I also like cotton and hemp for prefolds.

There are so many things to discuss, when talking fluff (cloth). Stay tuned. In the meantime – Good luck, and happy diapering!

I teach parenting and childbirth classes in Lafayette, LA, and serve clients as a childbirth doula. I also cloth diaper my active son. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

5 Reasons to Consider Cloth Diapering

5 Reasons to cloth Diaper

There are a few reasons people decide to deviate from mainstream disposable diapers and cloth diaper. To be honest, I never thought I would be one of them. The big reasons are inexpensive (if you do not become addicted), easier on the environment, healthier for baby, and cute! Let’s talk about these reasons.

COST

My decision to cloth diaper was cost. The size of your stash (amount of diapers you own) will likely determine how much money you save from not using disposables. If you stay in budget, you will most likely save money, especially if you cloth diaper multiple children.

Since we cloth diaper for cost, we chose the cheapest route – shells and prefolds/inserts. There are many other options as well, such as pockets, all-in-ones, and two-in-ones. Going to a natural parenting store can help you visualize your different options, and choose what is best for your family.

HEALTHY FOR BABY

Disposable diapers have a lot of chemicals in them to help with absorbency. Before choosing cloth diapers, I was having a hard time deciding which brand of diapers to pick. I knew I did not want the chemicals, but also did not want to spend the higher cost for diapers with less additives – cloth diapering was just meant to be. Additionally, unless there is an issue with your cleaning routine, babies who are cloth diapered tend to have fewer diaper rashes – SCORE (another point for cloth)!

HEALTHY FOR ENVIRONMENT

Disposable diapers fill up landfills, cloth don’t. Did you know that disposable diapers are the third largest single use item in landfills, and that 4% of that is solid waste? Did you know that manufacturers of disposable diapers recommend disposing of solid waste into the toilet, like cloth, but less than 0.5% is actually disposed of this way? This means that waste is going into our landfills instead of the sewage system. It is estimated that it will take 250-500 years to degrade disposable diapers. With cloth, diapers are used approximately 50-200 times, and then used as rags afterward.

LESS MESS

Usually the biggest argument against cloth is the mess, or poop. I actually find them less messy. With disposables, poop leaking out of the diaper is very common – I was a pediatric nurse for 7 years, so I’ve changed A LOT of diapers! I have had a “blow-out” using cloth maybe once or twice. The absorbent layer and water resistant outer shell, really holds in poop.

Many people also do not want to deal with the poop afterward. Using disposables does not save you from exposure to poop; if you are dealing with a “blow-out”, you are dealing with poop whether you like it or not. With breastfed babies, when poop is often the runniest, their poop is water-soluble, so you can just throw it in the washer. Once they eat solids, you do have to plop the poop in the toilet, but as discussed above, we should be doing that anyway regardless of the type of diaper. You can also install a diaper sprayer that will help with cleaning the diaper.

THEY ARE CUTE!

Lastly, but most importantly, cloth diapers are way cuter than disposables! No need for bloomers here – my baby wears cloth diapers! There are so many styles and colors to pick from. This is where it can get dangerous (and expensive) . . . cloth diapers can be inexpensive if you do not get addicted and start buying every new and special edition print. Who knew that something, whose purpose is to contain poop, could be so adorably addicting. Tip – stick to your budget!

Happy cloth diapering!

What’s your number 1 reason for cloth diapering? Comment below.

I teach parenting and childbirth classes in Lafayette, LA. I am also a childbirth doula. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

5 Ways to Help Baby Sleep

5 Ways to Recreate the Womb

The newborn phase, or also called the fourth trimester, can be a huge adjustment period for parents. Besides the new role of 24/7 caregiver of another human, babies often like to sleep on different schedules, eat often, and be held CONSTANTLY. This is because they were held snugly inside of mom, until now. Now, all of a sudden, they are in a strange, cold environment, where they need your constant reassurance that they are going to be okay. The good news is there are things you can do to help recreate the womb, and help your little babe transition to this big new world, and maybe even help you get more SLEEP!

DARKNESS

It’s pretty dark inside your uterus. Yes, he/she can see the light that shines through, but there is fat and other tissues dimming that light. Keep the room as dark as you can. If you need some light, use a nightlight or have a lamp by the bed that you can use as needed.

WHITE NOISE

Ever notice that your baby sleeps soundly all day with the television blaring, people talking, dogs barking, and then the moment you put them down in a nice dark, quiet room they are wide awake? While your baby was baking, it was never quiet. He/she could hear your heart, bowel sounds, the outside world, and so much more. Static, rain, vacuum cleaner, washing machine – these are all noises your baby may like. You can download a free app on your phone (just be aware that every time someone calls you, the noise may stop) or buy an inexpensive noise machine. It may take some experimenting to find the magic sound for your baby. For our son, it was rain.

BABYWEAR

There are many benefits to babywearing. One benefit is that your baby is held snugly against your body where he or she wants to be. Inside your womb, there was not much space for your baby to go, and this tightness provided warmth, comfort, and security. By babywearing, you can mimic this for your baby. So check out your options online, or better yet, at your local mother-baby store (where they can teach you how to use them). There are many options to choose from, such as wraps, ring slings, and soft structured carriers.

SWADDLE

Like babywearing, swaddling also provides warmth and security by tightly wrapping your baby like a burrito. However, instead of holding baby, parents often place baby in his/her sleeping space. Swaddling is not recommended if you bedshare with your baby, because it is easier for them to overheat. Also, it is important to give your baby many opportunities in the day to move their arms and legs. For more discussion on the risks and benefits of swaddling click here.

CO-SLEEP

Your newborn was inside of you for 9 months (give or take). He/she wants to be next to you, this includes at night as well. Studies also show that co-sleeping helps regulate baby’s heart rate, breathing, sleep cycle, and blood sugar. Co-sleeping will look different for every family. It can also help mom get more sleep, just make sure you are doing it safely.

What worked for your newborn? Have another tip? Please share below in the comments!

I am a certified childbirth and parenting educator, as well as a doula in the Lafayette, LA area. For more information about me and my services, visit my website at M.Y Birth & Baby.