Feb 13, 2019

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.

A lot of these items are great to have even if you aren't a parent, but you will appreciate them more after you have kids as they make meal prep so much easier and quicker.

1. Blender or Food Processor

We have both, but we used our blender a lot more when it came to making our own baby food as we started with purees. You can find tips and recipes for making your own baby food in this post I wrote a while back.

Even if you plan on baby led weaning, I still recommend having one of these around, maybe the processor more so than the blender as it would be great for chopping up veggies, nuts, and other hard foods.


2. Apple Slicer

Our toddler loves apples and having an apple slicer is so much easier and quicker than trying to cut an apple with a knife.

3. Vegetable Peeler

This should probably just be in everyone's kitchen, but if you don't have one, now is a great time to get one! We use our peeler mostly for carrots and potatoes.


5. Ice Cube Trays

Ice cube trays are great for freezing pureed baby food so you can make big batches. Later, you can use them to make mini popsicles. If you don't have an ice maker, these are great for ice cubes, which will come in handy for teething or any bumps and bruises.

We prefer silicone ones as they are easier to pop out than plastic.


6. Paring Knife

A toddler's food needs to be cut into small bite size pieces to help prevent choking, so having a few paring knives around definitely comes in handy.


7. Steamer

We have a rice cooker that has a built-in steamer. It's great for steaming vegetables, like carrots and broccoli, so they are softer and easier for your toddler to eat. You can also puree the soft veggies for your baby.

Instant pots also have a built-in steam function, but if you don't have either of these appliances, you can buy a steamer for less than $30 on Amazon.



Feb 4, 2019

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Disclosure: This giveaway is Sponsored by Motif Medical and hosted by Mommy’s Playbook. Victoria and/or Mommy’s Playbook, Participating bloggers, are not responsible for prize fulfillment. By entering this giveaway you are giving the giveaway host and/or event sponsor permission to retain your email address for future communication, you may choose to opt-out of such communications at any time. This giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by any social media outlet including, but not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Please contact Victoria (at) MommysPlaybook.com regarding any questions you have pertaining to this giveaway.


Win TWO Motif Electric Breast Pumps!

Sponsored By Motif Medical
Hosted By: Mommy’s Playbook
Co-Hosted by: Deliciously Savvy

ENTER TO WIN two popular Motif breast pumps from Motif Medical! The approximate prize value for this event is $350! Learn more about this fabulous prize package, then enter on the easy giveaway form below! Good luck to all who enter!
The Motif Twist Breast Pump is a lightweight and simple to use – supporting busy moms who need to pump on the go.

The Duo has been nicknamed Motif's ‘Savvy Traveler’. It weighs less than half a pound and is a quiet device that fits in one hand allowing for discreet slips into your bag. The Duo is also rechargeable and lasts 2.5 hours. Moms can choose their experience with a single or double pumping option, handheld with 10 expression settings, 10 massage levels, and a memory option. Use it as your everyday to-go pump! The Maylilly Tote allows you to bring your Motif Duo, pumping supplies and personal accessories with you in an organized and lightweight bag.

The Motif Twist Breast Pump is a lightweight and simple to use – supporting busy moms who need to pump on the go.

Motif's ‘Affordable Portable' option is their Motif Twist! This convenient and economic option is for every mom. It’s a sturdy option for a busy schedule based on its lightweight design, super-silent motor, and portable power option. Just quickly ‘twist’ the adjustable suction control for a seamless, simple pumping experience. Use stationary or on-the-go with AA batteries!


About Motif Medical

Motif Medical designs products for mothers. Motif was started by a team of medical professionals, engineers, and working mothers who wanted to improve breast pump design, provide coverage through insurance, and upgrade the experience of obtaining supplies. Their line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated and discreet, made with mom's busy day in mind. Visit Motif to discover your options, support your body, and bond with your baby.


ENTER TO WIN!

One Lucky Winner Will Receive

The giveaway is open US Only, 18+
The giveaway ends 2/20 at 1159 pm est
Be sure to come back daily for more chances to win!
Good luck everyone!

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The Motif Twist Breast Pump is a lightweight and simple to use – supporting busy moms who need to pump on the go.The Motif Twist Breast Pump is a lightweight and simple to use – supporting busy moms who need to pump on the go.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received the products from LotFancy for free, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.


Sand Toys as Snow Toys

We live in Minnesota, so we tend to get a lot of snow in the winter. Our 2-year-old daughter, Little Moon, is a huge fan of playing outside, despite the cold, and sand or beach toys are perfect for playing with snow!

Little Moon is a huge fan of the LotFancy sand toys, especially the trucks. The trucks are made from 100% recycled plastic TPE, which is super soft and bendy, and BPA free! They are also dishwasher safe, how cool is that?

The plastic bucket set is made of a harder plastic, but is BPA free, so safe to play with! Our daughter loved filling it with snow and she uses it to carry around her smaller toys as well.


Besides being great for playing in the sand and snow, you could also bring them into the bathtub or just play with them indoors. Our daughter likes to fill the bucket and dump truck with her legos and letter magnets and dump them out. She also just likes to push the trucks around going "vroom vroom." They are a great stem toy for a toddler!

The beach toys seem pretty sturdy and have already survived a few weeks with no damage, so I think they will hold up for a long time. You can find LotFancy toys on Amazon.


Other LotFancy Products

LotFancy also sent us a couple more toys and a hairbrush set to try and review. We loved them as well!

1) LotFancy's Jumbo Nuts and Bolts


The toy is rated for ages 3 and up, but our 2-year-old still loves to play with them. She hasn't quite figured out how to screw the nuts onto the bolts on her own, but she loves to twist them! It's a great toy for practicing fine motor skills. I highly recommend it. You can find the LotFancy Jumbo Nuts and Bolts set on Amazon.

2) LotFancy Musical Entertainment Toy


Our daughter absolutely loved this toy! I was impressed with how many songs the LotFancy Musical Toy played. I was expecting it to only have animal sounds, put when you push the person, it plays a song. There are multiple songs it cycles through as well. It plays a total of 12 melodies!

The music toy also has a carry handle, which is awesome as our daughter likes to carry it around with her. It also came with batteries, so I didn't have to do anything, but remove it from the box and turn it on. 


The only tiny annoying thing is that the toy doesn't automatically shut off on its own after a certain amount of time. There is an on/off switch and if you leave it on, it will play a little sound every minute or so reminding you that the toy is still on until you shut it off. But it has an off switch, so I still recommend this one over other sound toys. Plus our daughter seems to love this music toy the most out of all the other ones she has!

3) LotFancy 3 Piece Hair Brush Set


I just love this brush set. The handles of hairbrush are made of 100% natural beech wood, which doesn't only look beautiful but is also eco-friendly. The wood is also water resistant, so it's totally safe to wash these brushes!

The bristles of the goat hair brush (middle brush in the photo above) are made of 100% natural goat hair, which is super soft!

These are definitely high-quality brushes and I totally recommend them. I'm thinking this will be my go-to gift now for baby showers. You can find this stunning set on Amazon.


LotFancy

You can find more LotFancy Products on Amazon.

To learn more about LotFancy, check them out on Social Media:

Jan 24, 2019

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What Is CIO?

Cry it out or CIO is a sleep training method. It's basically as it sounds, you let your baby cry until they fall asleep. This sounds rather cruel, but when you are a tired mom, you will literally try anything just to get some sleep, so it is easy to see why this method would appeal to some.

Besides sounding cruel, is there any harm to the CIO method? Well, that's just it, the science and research behind this method are just not there. Google would tell you otherwise, as you will find tons of articles on this method. The kicker, it's split about 50/50, half of the articles will say it's harmful and half of the articles will say it isn't.

Here is just a list of some articles I found to give you an idea of how varying the information is on the CIO method:


Gentle Parenting & CIO

Gentle parenting or positive parenting is a relatively new idea and thus it's definition tends to vary depending on who you ask. However, the basic idea is that instead of punishment and rewards, you focus on meeting your child's needs and work together to find a solution. By that definition, CIO does not fit into gentle parenting because you are ignoring your child's needs as you are just letting them cry.

Most advocates of gentle parenting are strongly against CIO. Some even called out other positive parenting leaders: Lisa Sunbury, and Janet Lansbury, for encouraging CIO.

I am very pro-Science, so it's hard for me to just outright say CIO is bad, as there just aren't enough studies out there to prove one way or the other. Yes, studies do exist, but for every one study that says it is harmful, another says it isn't. The sample sizes are also so small that it makes many of the studies inconclusive. Plus it is hard to get accurate data on CIO as it would be unethical to divide up babies and be like okay use CIO on this half and don't use CIO on this half, so a lot of it is based on asking the parents what they did, which isn't always reliable.

To date, no studies of CIO have employed objective, observational assessments of changes in infant, caretaker, or dyadic behavior, or biobehavioral outcomes. (source)

However, spanking used to be a common form of discipline and as someone who was spanked and now suffers from long-term, effects of that trauma, it's very hard for me to say CIO isn't damaging or harmful. After all, spanking was treated the same way until studies began being done, and now it's proven to be harmful that countries have even banned the practice and consider it child abuse. This info came too late for me, but not too late for my child. You can read my post on the harmful effects of spanking here. 

In the absence of adequate data on the effects of prolonged crying and extinction on infants, the safety of CIO in the first year cannot be supported. (source

For that reason, I don't think CIO can be ruled out as "safe." I think a lot of people like to think "because it's not proven unsafe, I'll do it," basically the same principle as"innocent until proven guilty," which I think is the wrong mindset when it comes to a lot of things, especially parenting as you are helping shape the mind of a person.

Depression, anxiety, etc, all start in our childhood. Young minds are so impressionable and once conditioned, they are very hard to change. My therapist was honest with me and said I would likely always have anxiety. Yes, I can find ways to help lessen it, but at this point, it's unlikely for me to completely free myself from it as my brain has already been conditioned to react in this way. So it wouldn't surprise me if later on, more studies start showing that CIO leads to mental health or behavioral issues later on in teens and adults. After all, they've proven that spanking does. 

As a gentle parent myself, we found a middle ground as we needed our sleep as well and we didn't feel safe bed-sharing (The AAP does not recommend bed-sharing). Now if it turns out that what we did is later proven to be harmful, I would not advocate for this method at all (unlike many pro-spankers who choose to ignore science). 

When our daughter started having trouble going down on her own, thinking it was a case of separation anxiety, we turned to Google and found what was called a "Gentle CIO Method."


What is the Gentle CIO Method?

Basically, you lay your baby down and if he or she cries, you wait a short amount of time (we did 5 mins). If crying hasn't stopped then, you go in, and rock or hold him or her until they calm down, basically reassuring your child that you will come for them if needed, and then try again. 

In the beginning, this repetition would last a couple hours, but eventually, the amount of time we had to check on her would go down and it eventually got to the point where she didn't cry at all when we laid her in the crib. At one point she started hating being rocked at all and would point to her crib after story time because she just wanted to go straight to bed. 

I think this method gave her the confidence that if she really needed us, we would come, and helped ease her anxiety.

(We were blessed with a fairly easy sleeper. We rocked her to sleep a lot in the beginning before laying her down in her crib. At first I sang lullabies to her, but eventually, we brought the CD player into her room and started playing lullaby CDs (you can my list of recommendations here).

Eventually, she just started needing to be rocked less and would go down on her own. She slept through the night from 4 months (of course there were some nights where she woke up in the middle and needed us, but it maybe lasted a few days or a week at most). It actually wasn't until maybe 9 months when she started having trouble going down on her own, most likely a sleep regression phase, so that's when we started the gentle CIO method.)


What about other methods?

I know many gentle parenting leaders recommend bed-sharing if your child is struggling with sleeping on their own, but I have heard too many horror stories and my anxiety would not let me risk it, especially in our American bed. Bed sharing advocates like to bring up Japan as an example, but the way they sleep is extremely different from how we sleep, so our daughter slept in a bassinet by our bed (co-sleeping) for the first 3 months and then transitioned to a crib in her room. I would have loved to keep her in our room longer, but we had no space for a crib or pack n play. Luckily her room is right next to ours and our walls aren't soundproof. We also had a video monitor with sound.

There was a short while when she was 19/20 months where she started crying again before bed and we did try to bring her into our bed, as at that point it's pretty safe, but she would not sleep at all. She would just sit and stare, probably because she wasn't used to sleeping in our bed, so the whole, bring them to bed with you may not work if your child is already used to sleeping on their own. So it was back to the gentle CIO method. Luckily it didn't take as long as in the beginning, some nights she passed out right away in my arms and I could quickly lay her down and sneak away without any crying at all!


The Takeaway

Though there isn't substantial evidence that CIO is harmful, I still would not recommend it and it definitely wouldn't be considered a gentle parenting technique. I think if you are struggling with getting your baby to sleep, Gentle CIO is a better way to go, as you are still checking on your child and you are letting him or her know you will come when they cry. 


Notes

I know the PDF I sourced about how there are no adequate studies is from 2006, but in my research, I couldn't find anything recent that was adequate as well. A lot of the new studies have very small sample sizes, which was a problem with past studies. If you know of any current studies please feel free to send them to me here.

Jan 17, 2019

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I wrote a letter to my future self about a promise I have made since my daughter was a baby and I intend to keep it. I suffer from anxiety, so I worry almost every day that I won't be able to keep this promise. I thought if I wrote it down, then I wouldn't have to worry as much because I will have this reminder to turn to. Plus, writing things down tends to help us remember things better (source).

I am sharing this personal letter on my blog as I think this is a promise every parent should make to their child, and maybe some parent out there could use this letter right now.

Or maybe not even a parent, but maybe someone who wishes they had a letter like this from their own mom, dad, caregiver, etc. I personally know it's not the same if you can't hear it from your own parent, but it may still help with healing.


Dear Future Self


Dear Future Self,

I am writing this letter to you as a reminder of a promise you had made to yourself and to your child, and to remind you to keep it. This may be hard to hear as we humans have this defensive instinct that kicks in when we hear something negative or bad about us, and you may have already said things you regret before you remembered your promise or to read this letter, but it's not too late. It is never too late to say you're sorry.

You promised yourself that if your child ever came to you and told you that something you did hurt him or her, that you abused him or her, you would own it. You wouldn't deny it or try to make yourself feel better by claiming others have it worse or that you had it worse. Your pain does not belittle his or her pain. He or she has every right to feel hurt and you will listen, you will fight the urges to defend yourself, to make excuses. You will hear what he or she has to say. You will acknowledge his or her pain, own your mistakes, and you will apologize.

If you have already forgotten this promise and didn't remember or read this letter in time, you can still make it right. Depending on how things went down, you could call him or her and tell him or her you are sorry and that you want to truly listen to him or her this time, or you could send him or her an email or write a letter, or whatever form of communication his or her generation may be using at the time.

The important thing is that you acknowledge you hurt him or her, that you admit what you did was harmful. You didn't have a perfect childhood, and though your child may have had a better one, it is still not going to be perfect. You did your best, you were and are an amazing mother, but you messed up. We all make mistakes, but you have to own those mistakes, and you have to apologize should anyone have gotten hurt in the process, especially to your child.

I hope you never have to read this letter. I hope you never forget the promise you made yourself. However, if you do, I also hope you don't beat yourself up and understand it is okay to make mistakes. I hope you take action to make things right, and I hope things work out between you and your child in the end.

With love, 
Your Past Self