Introducing Lauren Daylami, Maternity Consultant in Charleston, SC!

We are thrilled to announce the addition of this amazing mama to our team! Meet Lauren Daylami, our newest Maternity Consultant in Charleston, SC! Lauren’s warmth and kind spirit made us fall in love with her immediately. She is a genuine #motherlover, and is so incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about all things mom + baby. We’re so happy to have her on our squad, supporting all you beautiful mamas and mamas-to-be in Charleston!

Hello!

I’m Lauren and I am beyond excited to bring Your Milk Shoppe to all the mommies in Charleston, SC!

My passion and understanding of the need for prenatal and postpartum assistance began when I was pregnant with my son. I started connecting with other mamas and realized I was not alone in the struggle. It is okay to ask for help… all mothers do! As a consultant for YMS I want to take my knowledge and spread the wealth!

In my spare time you will find me galavanting around this beautiful city and its’ beaches with my family and my two fur babies! I’m very excited to start meeting all the Charleston mamas!

XO,

Lauren

If you want to reach out to Lauren, she’d love to hear from you! Give her a shout at lauren@yournilkshoppe.com. Cheers!

Mom-to-Mom: Our Children are More Alike Than Different

There is only one thing that every parent of a special needs child want you to know:
Your child is more alike than different from mine.
Our child is not the autistic child, the Down syndrome girl, or the kid in the wheelchair. They are
Holden
2015-10- 26_0095
Lydia
2017-10- 30_0001
and
2016-08- 18_0001
Liam.
Their diagnoses do not define them.
When we view children with disabilities as a problem to be cured or fixed, we separate them from their peers, their environment, and their communities.
Moms of children with disability just want you to see the child as a whole person with needs and desires and dreams. Children are children first regardless of disabilities. Children never want to be separated. They want to be included. Help us make that dream a reality.

Here are some ways to include and support parents of and the children with diagnoses that can define them.

  1. Don’t express pity. If we tell you our child has a disability, we may already be drowning in fear. “I’m sorry.” is the last thing we want to hear. Our children are amazing people. There’s nothing to be sorry about.
  2. Do Celebrate. Celebrate that we have a child who is perfect just they way they were made.
    Celebrate that our child can change the world. Celebrate milestones with joy. Remind us (and our child) that we have so much to be grateful for.
  3. Don’t ask about a milestone and then when we say “not yet” , reply with “oh it will happen” Duh. we know it will happen, but it’s discouraging to hear.
  4. Do ask about our children. Our kids have huge victories every day and we want to brag on them. Don’t be afraid to say the wrong thing, but do take our correction with humility; it takes a lot of courage for us to tell you what you said was offensive.
  5. Don’t praise your children for playing with ours. Praise your child for playing with all children, regardless of their ability/disability.
  6. Do teach your children that all children are gifted with special abilities. Each child is different. Each child is beautiful. Each child has their own gift to share with the world. Answer their awkward questions in public and ask them what they think this unique person contributes to friendships and life.
  7. Don’t avoid interacting with us because of disability. We NEED YOUR FRIENDSHIP. We need it to help our children grow with peers and we need it for our own sanity.
  8. Do invite us to events. There may be some things you have to do to prepare for having a child over with food allergies or who is in a wheelchair or who displays some destructive stemming behaviors in public. We are always willing to help you create a safe environment for everyone. Our children love playing with yours and we love watching them learn with you.

To conclude, we’ll share this video for both some giggles (my children think it’s hilarious) and for some real truth. The video speaks specifically about Down syndrome, but the principle applies to every child with “special needs.”

Meet the amazing co-authors:

SelfieMelissa Aldrich is a hot mess mama who owns Quiet Graces Photography. She has three kiddo who are all within 25 months of each other and she’s crazy enough to home school them. Between studying exoplanets made of diamonds, editing photographs of sweet newborn babies, and trying not to lose her mind, she enjoys encouraging other mamas with the raw realness of her own story. Holden and Lydia are her nephew and “niece” and she will continue to raise awareness about the amazing people children with disability really are.

 

 

2015-10-26_0012Amanda Davis has the uncanny gift of making her friends feel fully normal. She also has four children: Brooklyn, Isaac, Parker, and Lydia who bring joy, sassy-ness, sarcasm, and lots of laughter to her daily life. She spends most evenings with a glass of wine and the sewing machine humming to keep her sanity. Amanda is the friend most likely to fight for you or your kid when you don’t know how to do it for yourself.

 

 

23023470_10154740343736213_310779102_nMonica Campell lives with her amazing wife Ruth in Charleston. Together they are raising Holden to like ice cream and eat the cheese off his pizza (a big accomplishment) with frequent trips to the water park which is their favorite place on earth. Monica hates doing the dishes and can’t stand the sight of opossums, but she’ll drop everything and listen to a friend in need. Well, unless of course that friend is holding an opossum.

 

 

Tummy Time Play

Tummy Time Play

Generally I write and talk about play for toddlers and preschool students, but play begins early on in a child’s life. Tummy Time is one of the very first play activities. I am so glad that you are here and ready to learn more about this important part of your baby’s motor development. For the sake of giving you a complete overview of Tummy Time, I have formatted this post into 5 sections: Who? What? When? Where? And Why?

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy Time is simply the time when your baby is on his/her stomach developing their core and learning how to support himself/herself. Tummy Time is recommended by pediatricians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, early interventionists and everyday parents that have experienced the successes of Tummy Time.

Who should do Tummy Time?

Tummy Time is most important with your one week to six month old. However, it is recommended that even preschoolers continue to get tummy time. Tummy Time is not an independent activity, so please be sure to be right there with your sweet baby.

Why should I have my child do Tummy Time?

Tummy Time is important for motor development. The real push for Tummy Time began after the launch of the “Back to Sleep” campaign, in 1994. Sadly, the Back to Sleep campaign is not when your baby sends you back to sleep after a long morning of changing and feeding! The Back to Sleep campaign was launched to prevent babies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It recommends that you lay your baby on their backs to sleep, during naps and at night. Thankfully, this has drastically reduced the number of deaths from SIDS. However, it has also caused a lack of time for babies to spend on their bellies.

When babies spend extended time on their backs, they can develop flattening of their skulls, medically called positional plagiocephaly or in parental terms, “flat head”. Additionally, babies are unable to develop strong gross motor skills when the are on their backs.

But those are the drawbacks of not doing Tummy Time. I am more of a glass full girl though, so let’s talk benefits. Tummy Time helps contract your baby’s neck and shoulder muscles, which helps build strength. It also helps them develop their sensory processes, visual perceptions and balance. At around two months, when your baby has more motor control and when toys and sensory objects are introduced, they’ll begin building problem-solving and fine motor skills as they reach for these objects. All of these skills are fundamental for crawling and walking.

When do I do Tummy Time?

When your baby is young or you are just starting, your baby may only tolerate Tummy Time for ten to twenty seconds at a time because of their little developing bodies. Tummy Time is a tough workout!

I suggest building Tummy Time into your routine. Every time you change your baby, when they wake up from a nap or any other time that you can find during the day is great. Just make sure your baby is awake and alert. You can slowly build up the length of time as your baby builds more muscle and sensory tolerance.

The goal is to increase the amount of time that your baby is spending on their stomach to help them develop their core muscles and gross motor skills. There is no such thing as too much Tummy Time. There is some debate on the recommended minimum amounts of time per day to properly develop these muscles and skills, some say twenty minutes, and others recommend two hours.

Tummy time is a great time for babies to observe the rooms around them. They can gaze up at a fan, watch the dog walk across the room and play with little objects in front of them. (P.S. Observing their surroundings IS play for babies!)

Where should I place my baby to do Tummy Time?

Usually Tummy Time is on the floor, with a soft blanket or rug, but in the very early days, it may be best to place the baby right on your chest, especially if you begin Tummy Time prior to their cord falling out. Having the extra skin-to-skin contact is great, not to mention the sweet bonding time it creates. All you have to do is lay down on your back and place the baby belly-down on your chest. This is a great activity for moms and dads.

Best of luck tummy time moms and dads!

About the Author:

Natasha, Founder of Playful by Design

Hello there. I am so glad that you have come into my playful, simplicity seeking space. I have always had an entrepreneur’s mind with an educator’s heart. I am a nature loving mama of a sweet little girl.  I am also a lucky wife to my hard-working college sweetheart, Zach.

When I’m not playing with Lydia, I sneak in some work. You see, I’m a self proclaimed child development nerd. I love learning about developmental levels and how the activities and environment that we create effects our brain function.  I believe that childhood should be cherished, dirt is meant to be played in and songs are meant to be sung.

I research, I consult and I pour my heart into helping others learn  mindful ways to help their little ones play and grow. My focus is on helping families create a happy home through gentle habit formation, family rhythm and minimalism.

And just in case you were wondering… I can be bribed by black coffee, raspberries and salvage wood furniture.

Here are links to follow Natasha’s blog, Facebook and Instagram!

 

Simple Self-Care Tips For Postpartum Moms

Simple Self-Care Tips For Postpartum Moms

Mamas, meet Lauren Shields from Atlanta! Founder of Meraki Mama Collective, Birth Doula, Yoga and Pilates Instructor, and Mother of 3.

Lauren is passionate about working with individuals and couples in helping to empower women to trust their bodies and their instincts throughout pregnancy and into motherhood, serving as their advocate + holding space during this sacred transition.

Today she’s sharing some of her favorite tips for rest and recovery for the postpartum mama. Enjoy!

Daily Morning Routine

In the days and weeks following birth, your body will be going through huge changes hormonally and physically. You have lochia (postpartum discharge), breastmilk leaking on your clothes and bedding, and may even be sweating through each night. It doesn’t even matter if you’re getting right back in bed, or how long it takes you to complete your routine, a morning self care routine can separate the day from a long night, and help to feel more in your own body again.

Take a shower.

A shower each morning can be like the reset button. Not only washing off the mommy and baby goo, but also refreshing you, and giving you a moment alone with your body. When you have help in the house, ask someone else to watch the baby for you. If you’re alone at home, just bring the baby in the bathroom. I used to put baby in a vibrating lounger right outside the shower so she was close enough if she cried. The sound of the shower and the warmth of the steam actually lulled her to sleep, and I got a decent five minutes to just let the water wash over me, scrub my belly, and wash my face.

Moisturize, Moiturize, Moisturize!

I use coconut oil. Its natural and makes my skin feel so good after a shower. Give yourself a quick massage, especially focusing on your belly, thighs, hips, buttocks, and face. The oil hydrates the skin, and helps skin to heal and shrink back after birth. This coupled with drinking plenty of water and a body scrub a couple times a week will really help that belly skin shrink over the next couple months.

Face Mister.

After shower and moisturizer, I love a full body splash of a Postpartum Mood lifting spray I made prior to birth. Spritz all over your face and chest. The floral and citrus oils will lift your mood, and the patchouli will ground you, and help balance hormones.

Recipe:

Essential oils: 1-2 drops each: jasmine, grapefruit, patchouli, orange, neroli, and ylang ylang

3.5 oz distilled water

3 tsp of witch hazel

Place all ingredients in a glass spray bottle and enjoy!

Clean clothes

Put on fresh PJs. No need to pick out an outfit quite yet (don’t even try on your pre-baby clothes! Don’t do it!) Pick clothes that are easy to breastfeed in, and clothes that are comfortable both in and out of the bed.

Fill up your water bottle

I can’t stress enough how important hydration is to the postpartum mom. Get a giant bottle full of ice that you can keep bedside. You need extra hydration for breastfeeding, taking your vitamins, to allow your body to release any water its still retaining from pregnancy and childbirth.

Feed Yourself

Your body cannot produce adequate breastmilk, shed baby weight and sustain all that you are doing as a new mom if you don’t eat. If guests are coming over, ask them to bring you fruit, whole grain muffins, or easy go to, but healthy snacks. You want food that is nutrient dense. Ask your guests to help you prepare healthy and filling meals or bring a meal. Its easy to forget, or not make the time for food, but your body needs it.

Take a Bath

Yes, as if the shower wasn’t hard enough to coordinate! Take yourself a bath. Draw warm water, and then put some pretty things in the tub. Herbal sitz baths, bath bombs, or flowers in your tub will make the bath feel luxurious. Bring baby in the tub too. Its a great time for the two of you to bond, and babies LOVE the water. Again, just put a blanket or seat outside of the tub to rest baby in while you dry yourself off.

Breathing/Meditation

Breath work, or Pranayama, can be very soothing to the sympathetic nervous system (think calming that fight or flight response), and can actually allow the body to deeply relax. One practice is called 4-7-8. Just sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Inhale for a count of four, then hold your breath for a count of seven, exhale through rounded lips for a count of eight. Do it 4 times, and then check in with your body. Let your breath become normal and stable again. Focus on just your breath. If you have thoughts that arise, its ok, just acknowledge them, and focus back onto your breath. A great mantra during a postpartum meditation is “I am enough,” reminding you that everything you are doing for yourself, your baby, and your family is enough.

 Rest

Its so incredibly important to rest after baby, but for some reason, this is the hardest self-care to give ourselves. Maybe you had an empowering birth experience, and you’re feeling like Superwoman. I’m so happy for you, but you still need to rest. The way I think about it is, sooner or later, the friends and family offering help will stop coming by, they will stop offering, and you will get back into the daily cycle of working hard and taking care of everyone else around you. Rest, you just had a baby, you created a little miracle of life. It’s no small feat! Whether you’re on the couch, in the bed, asleep, watching a movie or reading a magazine, REST! Its best to stay in this cocoon of downtime for the first two weeks so that your pelvic floor and core can heal from birth healthfully. You have the rest of your life to be Superwoman, now you rest, snuggled up to that sweet baby, just smelling each other and falling in love!

More about the Author:

On October 28th, Lauren is hosting The Post Session, which is a day of Self Care and Support for the Postpartum Mother. A day retreat for women, with their babies, to come to the circle; to share experience, understanding our challenges and honoring motherhood. Atlanta mamas, you won’t want to miss it!

-Postpartum Self Care Guide
-Mommy + Baby Yoga
-Gentle Pilates for Pelvic Floor Rehab
-Baby Massage
-Breast Health + Feeding Support
-Birth Story Healing
-Doula Feedback
-Lunch, snacks, and tea provided
-Free Parking
-Limited Space

To learn more about Lauren, visit her website https://merakimamacollective.com. Also, follow her along on Facebook and Instagram!

 

 

Building a Home Library

Building a Home Library

I am a self-proclaimed “play-based minimalist parent”. I work hard to keep toys and play simple for my child. When it comes to books though, my minimalist nature goes out the window!

Maybe you are like me and you have worked hard to create a library of books for your children to enjoy. But maybe you are also like me and need a little extra help with your book organization. I have found a book solution that has really worked for my family and I am excited to share it with you all. We have five places that we keep our children’s books:

-Home Library Cupboard

-Children’s Bedroom

-Playroom Shelf

-Library Book Bin

-Car

Home Library

We have a cupboard in our house that we keep the majority of our children’s books. We use this as our home library for our daughter. It is not somewhere that she has full access to, rather a place for me to house the books that are not in our current rotations throughout the house.

 

Child’s Bedroom 

Like many of you, our bedtime routine consists of reading books. Our daughter gets to choose 3-5 books a night for my husband and me to read to her before she falls asleep. I keep about ten picture books out in her room for her to choose from. We also read these books throughout the day. Children reap so many benefits from reading books multiple times, so I only rotate this collection about every two weeks. If I notice there is a book that she never chooses, I pull that one out of the collection and put it back in our home library storage cupboard.

I also keep two little baskets of board books out for her. These baskets only hold 3-4 books each, so it is not overwhelming for her to choose which ones she wants to read. We frequently find her reading these to her baby dolls or the dogs during free play time at our home.

Playroom

I like to have multiple places in the house for books so that they are involved in play. One of my favorite ways to encourage reading is to integrate it into play. I place themed-based books, based on whatever learning theme we are doing at her playgroup, in our playroom space.  I often surprise her by creating a fun little library set up for her the day that I switch the books out. Then, I keep these books in a designated small bookshelf for her to access while playing.

So if we are learning about dogs, I will select about 6 dog books out. Some of these books we will do learning activities with, some we will simple read together. These books are rotated every week so there is a lot of excitement about these because they are all very new to her each week.  If there is a favorite from there, I often add it to her bedtime books in her room so that we can read it more.

If your child attends a preschool, check in with their teacher and let them know that you are trying to set up a themed bookshelf at home. I am sure they would be happy to share what their upcoming themed units are at school so you can plan your home library too. If you don’t have a designated playroom, a living room is a great place for this mini shelf as well!

Library Books

Part of our weekly rhythm is to go to the library. We have a basket that we take with us each week. Here’s the trick- the library books stay in that basket for storage. I was struggling to keep the library books separate and ensure that they didn’t get ripped, spilled on or mixed in with the rest of our books. So, I decided to make lunchtime our special library book real aloud time. I keep the bin in the dining room and we pull out the books for me to read to her as we eat our lunch. It is a great solution for us because it sets a nice calming tone around lunch that transitions well into a post-lunch nap and it keeps her focus so she will finish eating her meal.

When she is done eating, I usually wipe up her table and let her read some of them independently while I clean up lunch. Then, the books go right back in our library bin for lunch the next day. We both look forward to our lunches and special read aloud time now.

 

Car books

We have a basket that I leave in our car. It is the home to an extra set of clothes, diapers, a few toys and a good amount of books.  We keep about 8-10 books in the car. She reads them while we are on the road and we can easily grab a few to throw in my purse when we are getting out of the car to go out to eat. When we are back in the car, the books can easily be tossed right back in the bin for next time. I must admit, these car books are not rotated nearly as much as the other books in my house. In fact, most of them have been in the car for at least a month now, but since she doesn’t read them very frequently, they are still exciting to her.

What a gift it is to give our children access to books! And what a gift it is to us mamas to have the book organization not be stressful!  Read on, friends!

About the Author:

Natasha, Founder of Playful by Design

Hello there. I am so glad that you have come into my playful, simplicity seeking space. I have always had an entrepreneur’s mind with an educator’s heart. I am a nature loving mama of a sweet little girl.  I am also a lucky wife to my hard-working college sweetheart, Zach.

When I’m not playing with Lydia, I sneak in some work. You see, I’m a self proclaimed child development nerd. I love learning about developmental levels and how the activities and environment that we create effects our brain function.  I believe that childhood should be cherished, dirt is meant to be played in and songs are meant to be sung.

I research, I consult and I pour my heart into helping others learn  mindful ways to help their little ones play and grow. My focus is on helping families create a happy home through gentle habit formation, family rhythm and minimalism.

And just in case you were wondering… I can be bribed by black coffee, raspberries and salvage wood furniture.

Here are links to follow Natasha’s blog, Facebook and Instagram!

 

Baby Gear Recommendations for a Minimalist Mama-to-Be

Baby Gear Recommendations for a Minimalist Mama-to-Be

A few weeks ago, we shared the love story of Anna Sugarman, a beautiful mama-to-be, and one of our newest baby planning clients. Today we want to share some of the items we’ve recommended for this minimalist mama. Things to know about Anna: this is her first baby, she is a frequent traveler with minimal storage space, and living a Green lifestyle is of utmost importance to her and her husband. If this also sounds like you, we hope this list helps!

You need a great baby carrier, a great bed option (just in case) for naps and a reliable and sturdy diaper bag, a few lightweight blankets and a lightweight and easy to collapse stroller.

 

Baby Carriers

We think every mama who plans to babywear should consider both a wrap and a soft structured carrier. Wraps can take a little getting used to, but once you master it, it takes up virtually no room in your diaper bag and can be whipped on in a breeze. The different wrapping methods allow a little more freedom with how you position baby, and can be used from birth up to roughly 25 lbs. Soft structured carriers are a hot choice for mamas that want the ease and benefits of babywearing without the intimidation factor of the extra fabric that comes with wraps.

We love Ergobaby All Position Carrier, and Solly Baby Wrap; both are made with super breathable material and comfortable for mom (or dad!) and babe.

 

 

Travel Beds and Co-Sleeping 

Co-sleeping is a hot button topic for many parents. When done safely, there are many emotional benefits for both mama and baby. If you decide to co-sleep, make sure you have a designated space for baby to comfortably sleep on their back. We love Dockatot for this purpose; it has lots of other purposes besides co-sleeping; it can be used as a lounger, for tummy time, as a changing pad, the list goes on.

Not co-sleeping? Traveling with your tots? A lightweight, compact travel crib is a must for families on the go. Whether for naps, overnights, or contained playtime, the Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib is one of our favorites. You can literally pack it up and carry it as a backpack!

 

 

Muslin Blankets

We cannot stress enough how much use you will get out of having extra blankets around. From swaddling to a light layer over baby for walks, you will definitely get your money’s worth with these. They transition into toddlerhood, and can even be fashioned into a nursing cover if needed! We love the prints and fabric from Aden + Anais.

 

Diaper Bag

We highly suggest a backpack! Backpacks are easy, spacious, sleek, and comfortable, especially when wearing baby. Check out this cutie from Skip Hop!

Travel Stroller 

You need something lightweight and easy to maneuver. The UppaBABY G-LUXE Stroller can be used from 3 months on, and is a great option for frequent travelers.

 

Cloth Diaper Recommendations

Cloth diapering can be incredibly intimidating because there are so many options out there. How can you be sure they won’t leak, especially on the go, really leaving you in a bind? The technology has come SO FAR on cloth diapers… these are our favorites!

SoftBums

Lots of great reviews regarding the snug fit and dry baby for hours!

Best Bottom Diapers

It is the trimmest form of diaper that comes with three types of inserts – stay dry (4 layers), overnight (6 layers), organic cotton (5 layers). You can use it for newborns and for babies who weigh 35 pounds or more!

Bummis Tini Diapers

Again, keeps the baby dry and the diaper fits snug to the leg.

BumGenius One Size Pocket Diaper

It’s one of the best diapers because of its rich features like stretch-to-fit and easy to dispose. Made of organic cotton it has six layers of absorbency. Your little one will stay dry for sure if he uses this one.

The Best Natural Baby Care Products

This is a great site to subscribe to for all things natural and safe for your baby- www.bestproducts.com/parenting/baby/g174/organic-baby-products-clothes-toys/

Our favorite brands that are all natural, safe and eco-friendly-

 

The Fourth Trimester. It’s a Real Thing.

The Fourth Trimester. It’s a Real Thing.

“Why can’t I put him down? Why is he only happy in my arms and on my chest? I can’t even get a quick shower without him crying!”

These are some of the few things I have said to myself over the past 6 weeks. I feel like the moments I have without my 6 week old in my arms are so rare, that I don’t remember what it feels like to not be holding him. I feel horrible about complaining, but sometimes I just need to not be touched for a moment. I just didn’t understand why he was so attached! You’ll hear from others to just let them cry, that they want to be held because you are spoiling them and giving in.

That is just not true at all.

Babies don’t spoil.

That still leaves the question, why do they want to be held so much?
Have you heard of the fourth trimester? I hadn’t. I mean, I had heard about it a little with my daughter, but quickly forgot about it as she got older and needed to be held less. So when my son came, and it was the same thing all over again, it was not the first thing that came to mind. I immediately wondered, what am I doing wrong? Am I not producing enough milk? Am I starving him? WHY! WHY! WHY!

It took me talking to another mom, well, more like ranting to another mom, to be reminded of the fourth trimester. (I highly recommend mommy groups by the way. Being a part of them and finding mommy friends has been a life saver for me, with my daughter and now even more with my son.)

So, the fourth trimester, what is it?

Well, your sweet little bundle of joy has spent the last 9 months cozied up in your belly. It was nice and warm. It was dark. They could hear the swooshing of the fluids that protected them, and most importantly, they could hear your heartbeat. So, when they are born, are we supposed to expect them to just be ok with being shoved into a bassinet by themselves in a cold, bright, silent room? How would you feel about your environment being suddenly changed? I’m sure it would take you a bit to acclimate if you were suddenly uprooted from your warm, beach chair in Florida and shoved into the snow in Antarctica, right?

We can’t expect them to do that either.

The fourth trimester is time for your little one to adjust to the outside world, while still feeling safe. The world is a loud, bright, cold place and being held on your warm chest where they can hear the heartbeat that has been music to their ears for the past 3 trimesters is where they feel that. I know it can be frustrating, believe me. I have to remind myself daily as to why they feel they need to be held all the time. Just remember that they are only this small for a very tiny amount of time. It may seem like the days are long because all you have done is feed, hold, and change your baby, but before you know it they will be one and won’t want your snuggles as much.

So hold your baby close. Sit on the couch with a bottle of water, snacks and a good book or TV show and soak in those cuddles. Smell the sweet newborn scent. Let those tiny fingers wrap themselves around yours. Let their cheek rest against your chest so they can listen to your heart. Try not to let the household chores stress you out. (If you are like me, and can’t let the house be put on hold, try baby wearing.) Let them be held close to you, while you do your daily tasks. Don’t compromise their needs for your wants.

The house really can wait.

They need you.

He needs me.

I will miss these days, just like I miss them with my now two year old. It feels like just yesterday she was attached to me as I complained to my friends that I couldn’t get anything done. I miss it. So for now, I will soak baby boy’s cuddles up. Let them take me over. I don’t want to miss it. Don’t miss these moments with yours.

How Anna and Rich’s Happily Ever After Led Them To Your Milk Shoppe

How Anna and Rich’s Happily Ever After Led Them To Your Milk Shoppe

When Your Milk Shoppe was gearing up to work with the lovely parents to be, Anna and Rich, we couldn’t help but to wonder: what is their love story leading them to baby, and could we share it??!! We are tickled to be virtually supporting this beautiful minimalist couple residing in Brighton, England and feel so lucky to share their journey with you!

 Anna’s Fairytale…

She was living in paradise – Koh Samui, Thailand (aka a postcard) – loving every moment of her solo life which entailed practicing and teaching yoga all day, dancing all night, indulging in tropical fruits, guided meditations, great DJs, sunset boat rides, beachy moonrises… she didn’t think it could get any better.

It did…when the manager of a fancy villa nearby asked if she’d teach private lessons to a VIP client, she declined as she was busy concluding a yoga teacher training. But she said, “Pleasssse!” and she soon found herself motor biking into the jungle at 6:00 am to share yoga. After savasasa, in a hurry to make it to her next class, whilst running down the gigantic marble staircase, simultaneously pulling the rubber band out of her hair as to be ready at the bottom to whip my helmet on, jump on the bike and go – a tribe of butterflies dive-bombed her head which sent her stumbling down the steps in a mess of wings and locks. Anna’s fall was halted when she crashed directly into a suntanned VIP strength and conditioning coach. Wind knocked out of her, gentle hands firmly steadying her shoulders, she gazed up into the kind sparkling eyes of her soulmate.

Morning after morning, Anna got to see him entering the villa on her way out… Rich showed up for both of her public yoga classes that week. After the second session, he stayed to “discuss the client,” so she invited him for vegan ice-cream, and over those frozen banana infusions his depth was illuminated and their connection ignited. A month together in Thailand – a lifetime worth of joy and sadness, glitter and costumes, deepening their love and planning their future.

Rich was to go to Bhutan with the team, Anna was heading to the US for the birth of her nephew – he joined her there, and met her family… Three months later they were back in Thailand for more work and adventure. Five months in and they were engaged in England. Seven months of love was celebrated at Burning Man. Ten months after joining forces they married in Anna’s hometown. And for their first wedding anniversary, they are preparing to welcome their baby girl. Happily ever after…

 

A Love Letter to My Middle Son

A Love Letter to My Middle Son

You may remember Alison of  DippyEggPlease from her first post with us about Surviving Solo Parenting. She’s back again to share a love letter to her middle son. <Cue the swoons and heart swells.>

Moms of 3 (or more!) — we hope this hits home for you!

XO,
Your Milk Shoppe

Dearest Milo:

You are my beautiful middle boy. 4 years old, changing before my eyes from a chubby little toddler into a lean almost-ready-for-school boy. All big brown eyes, ridiculously long eyelashes, floppy blonde hair, cheeky grin and dimples. I catch sight of you sometimes and you take my breath away. If you take a nap on the settee in the daytime, I love to watch you sleep. I can’t believe that something so gorgeous and perfect came from me and your Daddy.

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You are strong willed, fiercely independent to the point of stubbornness, have an unquenchable need to run and jump and shout and wrestle, and never want to sit still. A typical boy in so many ways, always happy when you’ve got a ball at your feet, a stick in your hand, or a superhero costume on.

When we told people that your younger brother was on the way, many of our friends and family commented that you were always destined to be a middle child. The general consensus tells us that middle children are troublesome and awkward little sods. Resentful of their older sibling who has done everything first and is normally the golden child, and jealous of their younger sibling who will always be the baby of the family. Often rebellious, trying to catch their parents’ attention by doing something naughty or dangerous. And at the time, when you were just over 3, you were all of those things. In bucketloads.

People would smile and nod, knowingly, when they saw me dragging you along the pavement, wailing because I wouldn’t let you run into the road, with your older brother in tow and my pregnant belly on show. Aaah, the naughty middle child they’d think. He’ll be the one who turns his Mum’s hair grey and keeps her awake at night.

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Well, my darling boy, in lots of ways they were right. You are a non-stop bundle of energy and enthusiasm. Verging from sweet and extremely loving to a raging teary mess and back again in the blink of an eye, yours is the name that I shout in frustration most often, head in hands, and for this I am sorry.

I’m sorry that you weren’t the first person I loved unconditionally – your big brother took that prize. I’m sorry that you’ve never had all of my undivided attention, coming second in line as you did. And you won’t be the last person to make me cry when you say, “love you mama” for the first time. That honour will go to your baby brother.

I’m sorry that your baby brother pushes you away when you cuddle me because he wants me all to himself, although you graciously say, “it’s ok because he doesn’t understand you’re my Mummy too”, which makes me weep a little inside. How can you be so understanding, patient and grown up already, when I can remember you being a toddler like your brother is now.

I’m sorry that you won’t be the first one to start school, to learn to ride your bike and to swim. Big brother gets all that stuff. Doesn’t mean we won’t cheer you on like we did him though, and praise every achievement, however small, in the way that you applaud your baby brother’s first wobbly steps, arms outstretched to you, his beloved “Ma”.

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I’m sorry that you’ll always be compared to your big brother. All those milestones, recorded and compared for ever more. First steps, first words, first time you slept through the night. It’s just your luck that your big brother is a brain on legs and could read when he was three. You aren’t interested in reading yet and that’s fine, but something tells me you’ll flourish at school and be reading in no time, once you set your mind to it. Plus you are a much better footballer and can run faster than your big brother already, and he’s 9.

But being a middle child has given you so much too. You are confident and outgoing, self assured and sure of yourself. You don’t follow the pack, but make up your own rules and run with them, not caring whether anyone else wants to join you. Superhero costumes at 6am? Yup, that’s how things work in your World. You are a great negotiator, a skill you’ve developed in many bargaining episodes with your big brother over Lego figures, or with me over how many bites of your dinner constitutes enough. And you are smart enough to know because I’ve got your brothers to contend with too, just how far to push things. And push things you do!

Desperate to be a ‘big boy’, you hero worship your big brother, learn so much from him and love to be involved in his games, tagging along with him and his mates whenever you get the chance. But you also love to play with your baby brother, spending hours showing him how to build a tower and drive cars on your car mat, and are fiercely protective of him at toddler group, so much so that you’ll tell off any other children who come too close to ‘your baby’.

In many ways you seem so much older than some of your peers who aren’t middle children. You are excited to start school, and not at all phased by any of it. Going to school will cement your place as a big boy in the family, in your eyes. You excel in your swimming and football lessons, listening to your coaches and following their directions, in a way that you never do at home. You are so, so proud when you are awarded player of the week, or come home with another swimming level passed and a badge to prove it.  And the first person that you want to tell is your big brother, as it is his praise and admiration that makes your little chest swell with pride, and a tear come to my eye.

So, for not being my first or my last love, I’m sorry. But you, my precious middle boy, will always be right there in the very middle of my heart. Life is never dull with you around, and your cheeky grin can brighten even the darkest of days, especially when accompanied with your well timed favourite phrase, “guess what Mum…I love you”. For all your exasperating, maddening, hair tearing out behaviour, I wouldn’t change you, or your place in the middle of our family, for the whole World.

Love, Mum x

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About Alison:

Alison is a UK based (via a year living the expat life in Chicago), sleep deprived Mum of 3 boys, 9, 4 and 1 who blogs about food, nutrition and Mum stuff. She is passionate about feeding her always hungry boys with as much home-cooked healthy food as possible. 9 out of 10 times, when she asks the kids what they want for tea, they say “dippy egg, please”, hence Alison’s blog name, ‘dippyeggplease’

She has a Diploma in Nutrition with a special interest in children’s nutrition, but putting theory into practice isn’t always easy when you are tired from feeding the baby all night, your 4 year old is demanding Coco Pops for dinner, and your 9 year old vegetarian son has decided he has an aversion to most vegetables.

Her loves, apart from her boys and partner, are travelling (this year the family have visited Spain and Germany, and have trips to Switzerland and France planned), working out early in the morning before the madness of the day starts, and relaxing with friends and plenty of wine!

Follow Alison: dippyeggplease on Instagram, on Facebook and Twitter

Affordable and Eco-friendly Baby Items for Your Registry

Affordable and Eco-friendly Baby Items for Your Registry

When most parents hear “Organic”, they often think eco-friendly and see Dollar Signs… but choosing everything Organic is not the only way to have an eco-friendly nursery. The best way to truly “go green” is to simply do more with less. Choosing quality products that will last, and that are multi-purpose, will lessen your overall footprint and decrease the sheer amount of “stuff” you have to deal with in your home. Knowing the materials your products are made from is an important secondary step. One of our top priorities as Baby Planners is to pair new parents with the items that make the most sense for their lifestyle. Finding items you’ll love that can grow with your family is always our number one goal!

We LOVE working with Gugu Guru every chance we get… the ladies of this amazing brand share in these similar philosophies. We recently worked on a client registry together and these were some of our top eco- and budget- friendly picks for a travel-loving, small town mama-to-be!

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Stroller/Carseat Combo: Britax B-Agile or Britax B-Agile and B-Safe Travel System.

You can find this combo for roughly $375-400, which is a steal!  This stroller is super lightweight, folds down very easily (also with one hand), and features a large canopy for sun protection (so it’s good for a lot of outdoor use) and a generous storage basket. Please note, it doesn’t give you the option to rear-face your child (unless using the car seat), so your baby will always have to face forward when using the stroller seat. The B-Agile is compatible with the Britax B-Safe car seats (and you can save nicely by buying the two together as a travel system set), as well as Chicco, Peg Perego, and some Graco Snugride car seats using an adapter.

Organic Crib Mattress: Naturepedic Lightweight Organic Cotton Classic 2-stage crib mattress. $289.

This mattress is slightly more expensive than your standard mattress, but worth the investment as it grows with the child and can be used for every crib sleeper in your family to come. Baby will (eventually!) sleep 12-15 hours a day in his/her crib; making sure the sleeping environment is safe and healthy is one of the most important aspects of a nursery. There is a firm side for infant, and a softer side for toddler comfort. At only 10-12 lbs, this makes crib sheet changes quick and easy for mom and dad, too!

Diaper Pail: Ubbi Diaper Pail. $69. 

This diaper pail not only keeps in the lovely diaper smell, but also saves you money as you only use standard 13-gallon trash bags as a liner… no brand specific bags needed here. This eco-friendly pail is made of steel and comes in several different colors to perfectly match your babe’s nursery.

Bathtub: Puj Tub. $45.

BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free, the flaps of this foam tub fold to fit right into the sink. Great for travel as it lays flat and can fit in your suitcase, or hang flat to dry.

Swaddle blankets: Aden + Anais 100% Organic Cotton Muslin blankets. 2-packs start at $28.50.

These blankets will be EVERYTHING to you from birth and beyond. The perfect swaddling blanket, you can also use as a breastfeeding cover or a light layer during walks. You will use these well into toddlerhood and beyond. Highly recommend this as a must-have on every registry!

Play yard/portable crib: Guava Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard. $189. 

This portable crib and playard combo has breathable mesh sides that unzip for even more fun for your kiddo as he/she gets older. It is non-toxic and is free of PVC, lead, and flame retardants, and is certified to the GreenGuard Gold standard. (The only travel crib in the world to have received this certification!)

 

Disposable diapers: Honest Company

Starting at $79.99 per month + free shipping and option to auto ship and make changes to monthly order, you can get an extra 50% off of your first order. Hypoallergenic diaper with sustainable material that is super-absorbent, the core is made of fluff pulp harvested from sustainably managed forests. Well thought out diaper that prevents most leakage and blowouts. Diapers are made without chlorine or bleach processing, without latex, synthetic fragrances or lotions. Not to mention, the prints are to die for!

Carriers: Our best recommendation for choosing a carrier is to join a Babywearing International group and attend a meeting if there is one in your area. The variety of wraps they have in their library is impressive and you will have a chance to try on styles to determine your favorite. Some even have the choice of renting before you buy, and you can get safe babywearing tips and adjustments once you have baby in tow. Some of our favorite carrers: Ergo 360, Tula Free to Grow, Solly Wrap, and Baby K’Tan Organic wrap. (Note: the K’Tan comes in different sizes.)

This is the Solly Baby Wrap in Natural & Grey Stripe.

 




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