Resources for Parenting with Disabilities

Resources for Parenting with Disabilities

Mamas, meet Ashley Taylor! She started a website and resource to help disabled parents navigate some of the trickier aspects of parenting with disabilities. From laws to rights to must-haves, you can find tons of useful information on her website. We love this particular message from Ashley because she’s speaking to parents with disabilities, but this advice is wildly helpful and applicable to all parents. Please take a moment to check out her tips for preparing for parenthood below!

Parenting with Disabilities

Life with a disability can present many challenges, from prejudice to environments often created from an ableist perspective. There are plenty of practical and emotional challenges, too, but one which can be overlooked is that of parenthood. Here are some tips and advice on preparing your lives, and your homes, for this adventure.

Don’t Compare

Life shouldn’t be a quest for perfection. It’s okay to make mistakes, so don’t compare yourself to your peers or to parents shown in the media. If you’re too worried about hypothetically trying to be the perfect parent, you will undoubtedly not only add unnecessary stress to an already difficult situation, but you may deter yourself from parenthood, or at least undercut your self-esteem. Don’t worry about being perfect; you aren’t. No one is. You’ll make mistakes. That’s okay. It will be hard at first, but every day, you will learn and grow with your child.

Plan Your Finances 

The first financial plan you’ll need to prepare for, even before factoring how much the new baby equipment will cost, are your delivery fees. Make sure you have enough to cover what you’ll need, get up to speed on what your insurance will help with, and go from there. Next, make a list of short-term priorities (cribs, diapers, things of that ilk), start saving (and create a savings account for your child), but also consider long-term finances (such as college funds). Even if you can’t save as much as you want to immediately, having a goal will help keep you on track in the long run.

Make Your Home Childproofed and Safe

Of course, you will need to babyproof your home by securing large pieces of furniture, covering sharp edges and electrical sockets, and making sure you’re up-to-date with your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Depending on your disability, you may also require adaptive baby-care equipment. It is important to pay particular attention to those items often overlooked (like the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors previously mentioned), and to make sure they are up-to-date and working properly. The last thing you need is a faulty detector with your new family.

Seek Support

Depending on your specific disability, there may be information and support out there to help give you some pointers from others within your community. There are specific groups for parents with disabilities to utilize. Communication during parenthood is imperative. Now that you are a parent, you must communicate with your co-parent on things you may have once overlooked, from money worries to hidden fears about your parenting ability that you never wanted to discuss. The sooner you address these issues, the quicker you can deal with them together. If you suffer from a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, it can compound the issue of pregnancy and parenthood. It is incredibly important to not try to hide any issue—no matter how small you think it is—from your partner, or those who are there to support you. Parenthood is a huge challenge, and you will need to care for yourself to properly care for this new life you’re bringing into the world.

There are challenges for everyone when becoming a parent. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, but you have all of the tools for success at your fingertips. If you prepare yourself, your home and your life for your new bundle of joy, you are sure to have a prosperous and happy family. Remember, check those overlooked areas, and ask for help when you need it. You’re not alone in this new venture.

About the Author:

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Visit Ashley’s website for further information and resources!




Healthier Families with Distill + Express

Hello YMS family! Happy New Year mamas.

Let me take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Jamie Sabat, founder of Distill + Express, a health and wellness community and mother of two little ones, James and Mila. We happily moved from NYC after my son was born and have relocated to Washington DC, looking for a slower pace of life.

I started working on Distill + Express to provide healthy solutions for my family. My desire to live naturally and use essential oils as my main health solution comes from my love for them. I want family unit to be happy and the healthiest they can. Now, we use our oils to clean the house, fight a cold and rock ourselves gently to sleep – all with natural solutions. What a great feeling!

I’m here to share tips and tricks for all you natural mamas. A few of our recommended diaper bag essentials include dōTERRA DigestZen® Touch to ease the effects of motion sickness and stomach upset, Correct-X® to soothe sensitive skin, dōTERRA On Guard® Sanitizing Mist to eliminate bacteria and germs, and Lavender oil to reduce anxious feelings and soothe skin irritations.

If you’re interested in learning more about natural solutions for you and your family, message me on my FB page, Distill + Express.

Details on doTERRA products mentioned:

DigestZen is a wonderful companion to aid in the digestion of food, soothe occasional upset stomachs, and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating.*

doTERRA Correct-X is a multi-purpose, natural ointment that helps soothe skin and enhance the natural process of skin returning to a healthy state after being distressed.

doTERRA On Guard Sanitizing Mist purifies hands by eliminating bacteria and other germs on the skin. The moisturizing formula effectively cleanses hands without drying the skin, while the doTERRA On Guard blend of CPTG® of essential oils provides an uplifting citrus spice aroma.

Widely used for its calming qualities, doTERRA Lavender Touch provides soothing comfort to the skin while relaxing the mind in an easy to use roll-on.



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Stay tuned for more from Jamie! She’ll be stopping by periodically to share more about the different uses of essentials oils and safety for babies and the whole family! To follow Distill + Express, visit Facebook and Instagram


Your Milk Shoppe in 2018 – A Letter from Amber & Kimmie

Happy New Year, Mamas!

As business owners, we have learned so much this past year. So much about ourselves. So much about our time and energy, how to use it wisely and what we can do to protect it. So much from the relationships we’ve foraged with all of you talented and passionate women in our communities. So much from all of our wonderful clients. It has been such an incredible gift, and we are so grateful. ❤️

So while we’re not much for “resolutions” around here, there is something to be said about pausing and taking a look back before taking the next step forward. The new year always feels like a good time to do that. We took some time away from business this holiday season to focus on family and reflect on the past year, paying particularly close attention to our successes and our lessons learned, and the ways that we can best support you, our MamaTribe.

There’s been talk of 2018 being dubbed The Year of the Woman (we’re hoping for real this time!) and that is something we can definitely get behind. Our mantra will continue to be Community over Competition, with the mission of supporting women and fellow mamas as the pulse and the heartbeat of this business. It is our goal that you see Your Milk Shoppe as a place to go for inspiration, information, and community, and we are thrilled to announce that third layer coming to life in the coming months.

Here are a few highlights you can expect from us in 2018!

Educational Workshops and Social Events

We have been working ’round the clock to create relevant and useful workshops to help you navigate the many different phases of parenting. We know there are not enough hours in the day to read the one million parenting books out there, so we’re working with the best in our communities to consolidate concepts and bring you the highlights. There will be in-person workshops as well as virtual options for our mamas afar. Stay tuned for more updates later this month!

In addition to educational workshops, YMS will begin hosting local social events centered around connecting our MamaTribe. Motherhood is TOUGH, oh so tough. It can be lonely and isolating sometimes, but it’s our goal to flip that script. We want this girl gang community to be a place where you can find solidarity in -and celebrate!- this beautiful, challenging, perfectly imperfect role of being a mom. We want this community to be your safe space, where real talk in a judgement-free zone is encouraged. A sisterhood in motherhood.

Small Business Showcases and Mom Spotlights

We will continue to highlight and share our favorite businesses and boutiques, their products, and the shop owner’s personal stories. In addition, we will continue to spotlight moms that we revere and feature other bloggers whose messages we adore.

Corporate Partnerships

One more exciting development for this upcoming year is an initiative partnering with employers to support their expectant and new moms. Through education and support, this program helps prepare women for the most intense transition in their life: becoming a mother. The goal of this program is to encourage women in the workforce to not just survive, but to thrive, both at home and in their careers. For the employer, the end result is increased female talent retention and more women at the table, which is always a good thing if you ask us.


Sound good to you? Good!

We cannot wait to apply all that we’ve learned this past year with the hope that it will continue to support and empower you. Looking forward to sharing this new chapter and this new year with each and every one of you.

Our very best,

Amber & Kimmie

Co-founders of Your Milk Shoppe



Giving Gifts that Give Back

These goodies give double holiday hugs: a gift for your loved one, and a gift for charity! Have last minute gifts to buy? Consider these that do double the good.

Cuddle + Kind

Quite possibly one of our favorite brands of all time is Cuddle + Kind. Their dolls are just as amazing as their backstory. A husband and wife duo created this business to make an impact on childhood hunger. For every doll purchased, 10 meals are donated to children in need. The dolls are made from natural, high-quality cotton and are handmade with love in Peru, offering artisan craftswomen fair-trade income. Such an incredible mission, and the dolls are just too cute for words!

Bella Tunno 

We LOVE Bella Tunno. Their products are colorful, modern, and innovative, and are designed with materials that are safe for children and practical for parents. For every product purchased, a meal is bought for a hungry child. Their products range from amazing diaper bags to bibs to teethers, and really anything in between.


Love Kiehl’s? (We do, too.) And now a reason to love them even more: they’ve partnered with Disney for a charitable program to provide meals to those in need. One purchase could provide up to 355 meals!


Giving books this holiday season? (Of course you are!) Check out Better World Books for every book sold on their site they donate a book to someone in need. They’ve currently donated over 25 million books!


State Bags

You know how we love family run businesses! STATE was created by a husband wife duo in New York to address the immediate needs of American children living with challenging – and in some cases critical – circumstances. For each bag purchased, one fully stocked backpack is hand delivered to an American child in need. Plus, they are so CUTE!


Bombas Socks

Socks are the #1 MOST requested clothing item at homeless shelters. This fact is the driving force behind Bombas. Bombas exists to help solve this problem, to support the homeless community, and to bring awareness to an under-publicized problem in the United States. Personally, I can’t think of a Christmas I didn’t either give or receive a pair of socks. Why not help this cause? For every pair purchased, they donate a pair. So far, over 5 MILLION pairs of socks have been donated. And, they offer 20% off your first order!


Smile Squared

What about toothbrushes? Does every stocking get one? Check out smile squared, where each purchase is a donation. Oral health impacts a child’s overall health, esteem and the ability to flourish, and they’re doing something about it. We love their motto: “You buy one. We give one. We smile better together.”

Who can’t get behind that?!?!

Looking for more ideas like this?? Head over to Given Goods Instagram – they’re a marketplace for brands that give back.

Holiday Gift Guide for Developing Minds

Any other mamas out there get that (rein)deer in headlights look when people ask for holiday wish lists for your little ones?? You’re not alone. If you’re thinking, “if we get one more toy that takes batteries or talks or sings or lights up, I’m just going to set my whole house on fire” – you’re also not alone. 😉

One of the things Your Milk Shoppe just can’t get enough of is sensory, open-ended play. Simply put, it encourages endless imaginative play without liming to just one “right way” to play and create, which is so incredibly important for development. We are constantly seeking out brands that promote this kind of exploration, and we are excited to share some of our favorites with you!

Some of our favorite websites and distributors: Land of Nod, Fat Brain ToysThe Tot, and Sensory Kids Store!

Specific toys, pictured above left to right:

Top row: Melissa and Doug Sandwich Making Set | Grimm’s Large Piece Rainbow Stacker

Bottom row: Magna tiles | Grimm’s Giant Marbles | Guidecraft Grippies Builders 

Another favorite, not pictured: Enchanted Play Silks

Do you want even more information on developmental, sensory, and open-ended play? Stay tuned for updates on our Developmental Play class, officially launching in January 2018!!

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!


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!



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


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.


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.


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 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


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.


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!


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