Time Saving Tricks Every Parent Should Know

There are never enough hours in the day are there?  For every job you tick off your to-do list, another three take its place. And I bet, not one of those jobs is something for you.

Finding time for yourself in the whirlwind that is parenting is always a challenge. You can usually find it late at night once the children are finally sleeping, the house is tidied, the school lunches are made, and perhaps when you’ve finished up some work that you’ve brought home. Then you find yourself staying up in to the early hours of the morning trying to squeeze every last second out of the night – because it’s your longed for free time!

But it’s always a double edged sword, as a late night is no friend to an early morning with children.

While caffeine always helps, there are also plenty of ways to save some time – and sanity – during the day. Here are a few of our favorite time saving hacks that every parent should try out if they haven’t already:

1) Pressure Cooking: The Instant Pot in particular is getting a bit of a cult following from parents across social media. And it really lives up to the hype. It saves time, money, energy – even vitamin loss from food. Imagine getting home at 6pm, realizing you have forgotten to take the chicken out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner, but then still sitting down for that same dinner by 7pm. With a pressure cooker, you can make fall off the bone tender meat from frozen in super speed. There are heaps of fast ‘one pot’ recipes flying around too – which saves all that washing up time as well.

2) Clothes Prep: Every Sunday night, lay out five sets of ready-to-go clothes for both the little ones AND you. Mornings are always manic, so this little tip eliminates some of the cranky breakfast-time drama. Even if you are a SAHM and don’t plan to go out, leave the clothes out for yourself. While pajamas are tempting, you always feel better, and more on top of your game, when you get fully washed and dressed in the mornings.

3) Share the load: Kids as young as two can be helpful around the house, so don’t forget to give them things to do. Not only will it teach them about responsibilities, it will cut down your cleaning time. Make it fun and put special ‘clean up’ music on. Little ones can pick up toys from the floor, put things in the trash and wipe the table clean, while older kids can help you sweep, dust and even fold the laundry.

4) Freeze berries: We all know that a hungry child needs food NOW! A three – five minute wait for it to cool down is not negotiable! If you freeze some berries or applesauce in ice cube trays, they can help you quickly cool down hot foods like oatmeal. Even regular ice cubes will work for soups and steamy stews.

5) Let Lucy Do It:  There’s nothing worse than being on hold when you have other things to do. This clever app called Lucy Phone allows you to connect to your bank, cell phone provider, airline etc and, if you get put on hold, they will wait in your spot for you. When it’s your turn, you will get a call back. In the meantime, you can crack on with another job on the list.

We could go on all day – from dry shampoo to microwave instant cleaning tricks. It’s well worth a google. Just remember to be realistic. While you might free up a little more time using a hack here and there, don’t put pressure on yourself to complete that to-do list every day. You are not a magician – there really aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. But there are certainly enough tricks out there to make your day run a little smoother.

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Parenthood: A New Era Of Valentine’s Days

Valentine’s Day. A day of romance, indulgence, spontaneity, and if you’re lucky, a night of very little sleep (wink, wink!)

But now you’re parents. Granted, you are still getting very little sleep, but that’s all thanks to the adorable little sleep thief that you both made.

For new parents, the first Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming. After all, it’s the first time where you will have more than just one love of your life in front of you. Processing and balancing that amount of love is darn hard.

Life with a new baby is exhausting any time of the year (yes it’s amazing, but you’re tired, time-short, grumpy, worried, perhaps not feeling your most attractive – the perfect cocktail for arguments).  But at this time of year in particular, beyond the diapers and feeds, you also have added pressure from Cupid telling you to up your romance game too. It’s enough to shake even the most competent multi-tasker! And the truth is, it’s all too easy to become so engrossed in being parents that you forget to be a couple as well.

As parents who have been through this and come out the other side, we’re here to tell you not to fall for it. Don’t fall for the hard ‘perfect Valentine’s’ media sell. Don’t believe that you have to live up to the extravagance of your pre-baby life. Don’t believe that you have to spend lots. And don’t believe that you won’t be able to enjoy it with a little one in tow.

Here’s a few simple low-stress ways to treat yourselves on your first family Valentine’s:

Snooze – Nothing says I love you like letting your sleep deprived partner sleep in! Plan ahead (pump extra milk etc), pick a day and take turns to let each other recharge. There is NO better gift.

Stay in – Don’t feel pressurized to go out for Valentine’s Day. If you are not ready to leave your baby at home, then don’t force yourself to go out as you won’t enjoy your night. Couch cuddles, candles, dinner, wine, movie, pajamas – it’s a cliché, but a good one.

Early Birds – If you are up for getting out of the house (and good for you!) but like most new parents, you need matchsticks to stay awake past 9pm, then why not switch Valentine’s dinner for a lunch date? The restaurants will be less busy during the daytime too, so it’s win-win. If baby will be with you, plan it around nap time and go for a walk – a sling will let you be all cute and hold hands.

Change the day – Go a step further to changing the time and change the whole day. If Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday and your partner is working, then change it. Pick convenience over calendar and make it more enjoyable and stress-free for everyone.

Remember, it’s not about perfection, it’s about connection. Your main goal is to step away from the chaos of parenthood, recharge a little and be together, even if it’s only for an hour. And even if it’s at home.

Valentine’s Day with a baby will be like nothing you have ever known before – but like most family ‘firsts,’ it can be so memorable. You can and you will still enjoy it – just in a new kind of way!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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5 Tips For Starting Your Infant On Solid Foods

By Rachel Rothman, MS, RD, CLEC

At your baby’s four-month visit, your pediatrician may have talked to you about starting your baby on solid foods and probably recommended to start between 4-6 months. It’s usually recommended that baby can be started on solids when they are sitting up mainly on their own, seem interested in food and open mouth when food is offered. As a pediatric dietitian, I answer many questions about infant nutrition and starting baby on solid foods. Here are just a few of the things to keep in mind when your baby is ready for real food:

  1. At the beginning, it’s just for fun.Your baby will still be getting most of his nutrients from breast milk or formula, so your goal should be to help him learn these new behaviors. Eating should be a fun experience, and not stressful. If you begin feeding solid food and your baby has a hard time with it – she’s gagging or fussy – wait and try again. You will not do any damage by waiting a bit.
  2. Consider some key nutrients and focus on variety. Key nutrients for babies and toddlers include vitamins A, C, and D, iron, total fat and omega-3 fats, and calcium. Each of these nutrients serves a specific purpose within the body; around 6 months of age, babies require these in other forms, above what is in breast milk or formula. Don’t be afraid to be creative with the foods you are offering to meet baby’s needs for these nutrients. Infant rice cereal may be what your grandmother recommends, and it’s no slouch – its high iron content is helpful. However, variety is important for teaching your little one to appreciate different food tastes and textures, so try purees of spinach, beans or lentils.  To help baby intake additional omega 3 fatty acids, try adding chia seeds, ground flax or ground walnuts to purees.
  3. Some foods should be avoided at the beginning.A few foods you will want to avoid until baby is 12 months include honey (because of the risk of botulism), cow’s milk (it contains too much protein and some other nutrients), and small solids (small chunks of raw vegetables, grapes, sausages, whole nuts and seeds can all be choking hazards). Allergens are another consideration. Recommendations about the foods to avoid (in order to minimize risk from allergic reactions) have changed over the years. A 2008 review of research by the AAP concluded that the top 8 allergenic foods (cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat) need not be avoided unless you have a family history of food allergies. In that case, it is best to speak with your pediatrician before proceeding.
  4. Serving sizes are small. I hear a lot from parents that their baby is not eating enough. But how much is enough? A typical serving size when starting solids is 1-2 tablespoons of a puree or food, or a few bites of a soft piece of food – it’s a small amount.  And you will want to start by offering one to two meals per day. Remember, baby will still be getting a good portion of her nutrition from milk or formula until age one. As baby gets older the serving size will increase, after 12 months the amount of food per meal should be around ¾ to 1 cup.
  5. Division of Responsibility. Renowned feeding expert Ellyn Satter gives parents the helpful suggestion of division of responsibility. Parents are responsible for the “what, when,and where of feeding; children are responsible for the how much and whether of ”  Do not force your child to eat more or stop eating if you feel they have had too much. Babies have the amazing ability to self-regulate (many of us adults have long since lost this ability). Eating is a behavior that does need to be learned but does not need to be rewarded.

When feeding baby don’t forget about mom and dad. All too often I see mom and dad focused so much on baby’s health and wellness that the parent’s health and wellness falls by the way side. Remember to practice good nutrition for yourself, this will not only help you to feel better, but to set a good example for your child. Healthy and happy mom and dad lead toward a healthy and happy baby!

Want to learn more about starting baby on solids? Join me at Babies in Bloom on February 14th at 11:30am.  Registration and details are here.

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Pinterest Has Spoken

Hey parents, did you get the memo?  Woodland inspired nurseries are going to be huge in 2017. It’s cute. It’s cozy. It’s gender-neutral. What’s not to love!?

How do we know this? Well, Pinterest released its Pinterest 100 board which predicts the 100 trends we are most likely to see in 2017, all based on saving and search data from 2016. Woodland nurseries happen to be up 97% in the last year.

In light of this bunny boom, we thought we’d help you out by sharing some of the ADORABLE woodland themed items we currently have in our Boutique.

Little Unicorn Organic Cotton Muslin Quilt:

This breathable, natural cotton muslin quilt is loaded with four snug layers and a whole host of friendly forest characters. It’s large (47” x 47”) so you will get good use out of it over the years. Best of all, it promises to only get softer and cuddlier with each wash.

Milkbarn Organic:

Burp Cloths:

Adding cute to the puke, these soft and ultra-absorbent cloths come in a two pack and are made with 100% certified organic cotton. They look and feel such high quality – they would make a great gift wouldn’t they?

Newborn Gown and Hat set:

Speaking of gifts, how stinking cute is this Milkbarn Organic newborn set? This stylish box comes with an elastic bottom gown and knotted hat, all Hummingbird themed and sized 0-3 months.

SugarBooger’s ‘What Did the Fox Eat?’ collection:

All BPA free, this range is not just cute, but smart! To be honest, the plate had us at ‘spill-proof.’ Sure your little one might like working on his / her baseball pitch using oatmeal, broccoli or pasta, but with a removable suction base, at least the plate will stay in place.  Every little helps right? As well as the matching snack pots and lunch container, we also stock the matching silverware set in the Boutique. Just the right size for tiny hands to grip, the set comes with a case (ideal for on-the-go) that can also be personalized.

Tesa Babe Clothing: 

If some of these designs came in adult size, we’d be all over them. Cool, cute and comfy, woodland has never looked so classy! Or calming. They are all the c’s!  A variety of sizes and prints are available.

Anything catch your eye here? Pop in to the Boutique to feel the quality for yourself – we’d love to see you sometime soon.

 

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