Encourage Your Toddler To Eat More And Cry Less With These 4 Tips.

If you ever come visit me in my home, bring slippers.

My floors will most likely be somewhat sticky. Why? Because I have a toddler.

Enough said, right?

I try to remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel the crunch or squish of something underfoot. I bought really nice slippers for Christmas this past year to help with that. Now my slippers are just really sticky on the bottom.

Today I want to talk about toddlers and meal time battles. The mealtime battle was a constant in my home until very recently. It’s a time that I don’t recall with great fondness, to be honest.

It would usually start with me plopping a pile of food onto my son’s highchair tray and walking away. If I wanted an easy time of it, I’d give him things that I knew were his favourites but not the most nutritious variety. Most of the time he went straight to throwing everything off his tray. This didn’t go over well with me and my husband.

We’d react poorly. We’d raise our voices. Thus began a major meltdown and the rest of the evening was shot. It would end with us bathing our son and putting him to bed early because he just couldn’t settle himself after that. Then I would spend the rest of the night feeling like the world’s worst mother and worrying that he would wither away from never eating properly. I knew there had to be a better way!

Does that sound familiar to you? Well I’m here to tell you that it can get better! I want to share 4 easy ways to effectively end the dreaded mealtime battles.

Buy your child their own dishes. Give them their own plate, bowl, fork and spoon. Utensils sized for their little hands are a great way for them to start learning to feed themselves. We have a few of those sectioned plates that stick to the highchair tray. Giving my son his own dishes and utensils has nearly eliminated all mealtime battles. I believe it has a lot to do with him feeling like he’s in control of something. This floor mat (aka drop cloth) has been great for quicker clean ups and this snack trap is a great self feeding tool.

Give them food choices (but keep it simple). I talk about effective ways to avoid or diffuse toddler tantrums here. One of the points that I mention is giving your child age appropriate choices. This can be applied to mealtimes as well! I have found that giving my son 3 different choices on his plate has helped with the food battles. Those section plates are GREAT for this very thing! I don’t want to overwhelm him with too many choices as I’ve seen him resort to negative behaviours like throwing things.

Know when it’s time to END the meal and do it. It’s a good indicator for me that mealtime is over when my son starts throwing food. I will stand in front of him to get his attention and ask him (while signing) if he is “all done.” Sometimes I’ll ask and sign if he wants “more.” Chances are he’s done because he’ll continue to throw food, push his plate away or sign back. For me, throwing food ends mealtime because I want him to learn that it’s not ok to behave that way.

Even if he is experimenting (which children at this age typically do with food) I still follow through with removing his tray and we begin cleaning up. No I’m not starving my kid. He gets more than enough to eat trust me! He’s usually happy to be all done and we calmly resume the rest of our day.


Involve Your Child In the Prep Or Clean Up Process. With my toddler, involving him in preparing meals isn’t realistic at this point. I do give him his utensils sometimes and he carries those around while I prepare his plate. You don’t want to know where those utensils end up sometimes! Lets just say I usually have to wash them a few times before mealtime commences.

Whose child screams like a hyena when it’s time to wipe their hands and face? I know my child has! What I’ve been doing to minimize this is I take a small plastic container, fill it with water and help my son wash up with it. Yes, things get a little wet. I still wipe his hands and face with a cloth after but I’ve found the hyena screaming has greatly diminished!

After all these things, my son doesn’t necessarily eatĀ more food. A lot of his food ends up in his lap. But my goal was never to see him eat lots of food. My goals have always been simple. Get him to eat somethingĀ and do it as peacefully as possible. Some meals still end up being blueberries and popcorn.

Most of the lessons I’m learning as a parent have been through trial and error. So let my mistakes benefit you! We are all imperfect parents just trying to get through each day with one less meltdown, right?

What are some things you do to minimize mealtime battles with your toddler? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

My Top 5 Must Haves With 2 Babies Under 2.

EDITED as of May 31, 2019.

Here we are, a few months postpartum after my second and I’m surviving having two babies who are 14 months apart. Yes, you read that correctly! I share here what our daily routine looks like and I talk about our transition into have 2 under 2 here with a few tips and tricks!

So here are my top MUST HAVES of baby gear to help life go a little smoother when you’ve got 2 babies really close together in age. Many of these things apply to the early weeks and months when life feels like a constant gong show. You need all the help you can get!

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  • A GREAT camera monitor or two. We have the Levana and the Foscam R2C. Both were gifts that we asked for. We used the Levana with our first up until after we moved his baby brother into his own room. Then we set up the Foscam in big brother’s room. Let’s talk about the Levana. It retails for $129.99 CAD. It’s not cheap but for a baby monitor camera it does exactly what it’s supposed to. You can mount it to the wall and it comes with all the hardware for that. My parents bought us the Foscam RC2 off Amazon for around $60 USD. This camera does not come with a monitor but connects with your wireless internet and you download the APP onto your smartphone. You can then access all the camera’s features through the app.

  • A Swing, bouncy seat or MamaRoo type thing. I have found that my babies benefit from different types of gear. My first son loved the bouncy seat. Both boys also slept in this swing the first couple months of their lives. I scored a MamaRoo secondhand for a great price. Go for second hand or borrow baby gear if you can. The majority of our baby gear is second hand because if one of my kids hates it, I’m not out lots of money. I plan to resell ALL our baby gear when the time comes. Win win!

  • A baby carrier you like. I have 3 different types of baby carriers because it’s nice to try out different ones. I have the boba wrap, the baby bjorn and the Ergo Baby. Neither of my boys seemed to like the wrap style carrier. I’ve found the Bjorn and Ergo to be the easiest ones for me to use.

  • A GOOD double stroller. We’ve gone through 3 strollers to get to the right one. I wanted to reuse the infant carseat we’d had with Hudson as it hadn’t expired yet. I ended up with Phil&Ted’s Sport double for awhile. It’s tandem but stacked. The double kit allows you to put baby on top or bottom/toddler on top or bottom. You also have the option of buying a universal adaptor so that your carseat will click in which was a big draw for me. I scored a used one that came with everything and while I loved this troller my boys eventually did NOT. They didn’t seem to like the tandem aspect of the stroller. I also didn’t like that the brake system on the P&. It was a handbrake like a bike. It hurt my hands and eventually got a little wonky. I just purchased a Contours Options brand new. It’s not as well made or streamline BUT my boys are super happy in it. It gets the job done and I don’t stress.

  1. Baby Gates. I have 3 of these simple, wooden baby gates. They are handy to have! Get some gates, you will thank yourself.

You will figure out what works for you but I know that when I was pregnant with my 2nd son, I was scouring the internet for tips on what made life easier with 2 under 2. I hope some of this helps!

What are some of your must haves with multiple kids in the house? How did you survive those early days? I’d love to hear from you!

6 Tips For Balancing Life With Babies Close In Age.

I still remember how I felt when I suspected I was pregnant at 5.5 months postpartum. I had that all too familiar feeling of nausea. I knew it well and I was nervous.

We found out on Family Day 2018 that we would be a family of four before the end of the year. I felt unprepared to be pregnant again, so soon. In the ensuing months I battled morning sickness and extreme fatigue. The end of October of that year, I was 4 days past my “due date” with our sweet Jack and I was so READY to have him be born. For one, I had a truly miserable second pregnancy. But I was also anxious to have Jack be with us so that we could begin to find our rhythm.

Jack’s surprising arrival finally came on October 26th, 2018. I say surprising because we didn’t know Jack would be Jack. We’d been expecting a little girl as we had been told at my 20 week scan. But one look at Jack and we felt our little family was complete! In the weeks to follow, life was at the peak of stress for us. With my husband starting school full-time, while maintaining his full time job, I didn’t have the luxury of him taking much time off. He started his new schedule 3 days after Jack was born and my mom, who had been with us for 6 weeks needed to head home. As I look back over the last year, I want to share how we’ve transitioned into this new season as well as some tips on how to make things easier and what we would’ve done differently.

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    Plan well. My husband started school full time, 3 days after Jack was born. He’s also working full time during the weeks that he’s not in school.  It’s been difficult for both of us but we planned for it and knew it was coming. We try to make it a habit of sitting down before the start of a new month and write everything out on our calendar. Then that calendar hangs on our fridge where we can see what is coming up. I would encourage you to sit down with your spouse and look at the year ahead of you. Don’t say yes to more, especially if it’s around the time your next baby comes. We said no to being in a wedding that was set for 3 weeks after Jack was born, which thankfully the bride and groom understood. Once we said no to those types of things, we didn’t feel guilty.We also talked a lot near the end, about worse case scenario type situations. What if I had a c-section? Who would help me for the 6 weeks post-op where carrying a toddler isn’t an option? Have those conversations long before your birth month because you don’t want to be scrambling for help at the last minute.
  • Ask for Help-My family lives far away so I am extremely grateful to my husband’s family, for all the help we’ve had with Hudson this past year. My mother also came and stayed with us for 6 weeks. Most of her stay was before the birth because I was pretty worn out by the end of my pregnancy. Hudson goes to his Gramma’s sometimes once a week. He’s done really great with sleepovers, something I am personally comfortable with. I encourage you to try something like that, if it’s possible. It’s good for everyone.
  • Make Meals to freeze or have someone make meals-Just like with your first baby, having pre-made meals are a blessing.
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    Pay For Extra Help. There is no shame in hiring someone to help you. If you can afford to, seriously consider hiring someone to come clean once a month. Maybe there is an affordable daycare nearby, that you’d feel comfortable sending your toddler to a few hours a week. We are a one income family but those are both things that we are looking at, as a family. We know that having extra help, whatever it looks like is worth it because it brings calm and peace into our home.
  • Have A Routine-The first few weeks of Jack’s life felt really unsettled. I think that is normal in terms of all the new adjustments going on. But once Jack turned a month old, I began a bedtime routine as well as a nap routine that I stuck to, no matter the outcome. I started lightly sleep training him at 5/6 weeks. Hudson’s schedule just kinda flowed into Jack’s. It doesn’t mean that everything goes according to schedule BUT it does give us some structure to our day. I need structure so I don’t feel like I’m running all over my house, losing my mind. You don’t have to sleep train to have a routine. But I encourage you to find some rhythm to your day to avoid extra stress. You can read about what our daily routine looks like, here.
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    Have Low Expectations In The Beginning-It takes 21 days to form a habit. We all know that! I was kidding myself when I thought I’d have everything in running order, a few days after Jack was born. Sure, I was cooking meals and cleaning my house 3 days postpartum.  My mom kept telling me to sit down and rest but I had to prove to myself that I could handle 2 babies while running my home, right off the bat. It didn’t go well. I had a few minor breakdowns that week. I’ve also made some adjustments to lessen stress , like being done with breastfeeding. It just wasn’t in the cards for me, again, this time. Initially that was a really difficult decision to make but I’m ok with it now. I talk about that here. It’s been in the past 2 weeks (Jack is now 9 weeks old) that I feel like I’m finally gaining ground and we are falling into a rhythm. (Or maybe that’s just today because both boys are miraculously sleeping at the same time!) It will take time to find a rhythm and routine that works, so don’t panic!

Life with babies less than 14 months apart has been the crazy circus that I fully expected it to be and MORE! But I am here to tell you that it’s manageable with realistic expectations and a little bit of planning. In the tough moments (when both kids are screaming because neither has napped, both have probably pooped themselves, I haven’t showered in 4 days and if ONE MORE PERSON TOUCHES ME) I try to remind myself it won’t always be this insane. There will come a day many years from now when my kids won’t need me the way they do now. I’ll actually MISS crazy town days. My house will be quiet, with no sound of little feet running around and someone crying for their mama. It’s bitter sweet, mama. Take a deep breath and know you can do this.

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A Newborn and Toddler Routine

When I found out I was pregnant 5.5 months postpartum, I panicked a little to say the least. Initially I was pretty consumed by morning sickness and caring for a baby at the same time. But what I was really worried about was how I was going to take care of a newborn and 14 month old, at the same time. I think it’s crucial to have a loose routine when you have babies in general AND so close together, to avoid burnout, worsen postpartum depression and anxiety (if you have those) and to maintain peace in your home. I know there are mamas who might disagree with me about routine but since I personally struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, routine is a non-negotiable for us in our home. I need it to survive! There are a few things to keep in mind when you are creating a flow to your day, with your baby (babies).

What is the age gap between your babies? When Jack was born, Hudson wasn’t even walking yet. He started a few weeks later but having 2 babies who need to be carried versus having one who can walk is a big deal. It impacts where you can go, on your own with two babies, easily. If you are someone who needs to get out of the house often, you’ll have to think about how you can accomplish this with 2 babies that don’t walk. You may also think about how important it is to get your older one out of the home so they don’t go stir crazy. How will that affect your overall day? We are looking at daycare (literally right down the street) a few hours a week for Hudson, to get him out of the house AND to give mama a break!

Does your oldest sleep well or nap consistently and what is your plan to get the 2nd baby to sleep? Obviously, every mother’s dream when she has 2 babies close together is to get them on a simultaneous napping schedule. This is very good for a few reasons. 1) Mama gets a BREAK! 2)Babies don’t wake each other up! It’s a gong show around here on any given day but I find when I can get both boys to nap at the same time, they nap much better, much longer and wake up much more rested. We’ve been lightly sleep training Jack since he was 6 weeks old. But even before the I was already doing a sleep routine for naps and bedtime. Sometimes it works great and sometimes he only catnaps. What I know is that I’m giving him a solid foundation for better sleep as he grows. Hudson takes one big nap everyday. It can be hit or miss but 75% of the time I can get 2.5 hours out of him. It takes a lot of work to get sleep configured with 2 little guys and you can read more about what I’ve been doing in regards to that in an upcoming blog post!

Another thing to think about: What is important to you, in terms of the structure of your day? For me right now, I have super simple goals. Get everyone dressed in normal clothing. Get both boys to take at least one decent nap. Have my house somewhat clean. Have something for dinner, for my husband when he gets home. Naps and dinner don’t always happen the way I’d like them to. My husband also works late some nights and both boys are bed by the time he gets home. But having some simple goals help me feel like my day isn’t complete chaos.

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Here is an idea of a schedule that we loosely follow/adapted in the last 9 weeks.

6:30-Husband and I are up and getting ready for the day. I try to put regular clothes on every day, wash my face etc. so I don’t feel like a bum all day.

7-Dave gets Hudson up, changes his diaper, Hudson gets his morning milk while I do the same with Jack

7:30-Dave is off to work.

8-Jack is down for a nap (usually always an hour after he wakes up)

8:30-Breakfast for Hudson

9-11-Clean up breakfast, dress Hudson, tidy house, Hudson watches Blippi, plays or follows me around the house as I clean, fold laundry, whatever. I wake Jack up at 10 to feed him, do tummy time and tire him out so that he’s ready for another nap around the time Hudson is.

11-11:15 Hudson gets a snack and milk. While he eats, I get his room ready for nap as well as Jack’s. Sound machines on and room dark. While Jack chills in the mamaroo, I clean Hudson up, change his diaper and into his crib for nap by 11:30. I’ll change Jack, top him up with a bottle and rock him until he’s almost asleep. Sometimes I’ll put Jack down first if he’s struggling to stay awake.

1130-1:30-This is an ideal window of time for me to get a break. It’s not exact every day but I can usually get an hour to myself. What I do during this time varies. I rarely nap although I probably should. I usually eat, watch some netflix, catch up on texts, call my mom or tidy around the house. Whatever I do, I try to do something for myself!

1:30-Boys are awake. I change both and feed Jack while Hudson plays.

2-Hudson has lunch

2:30-Clean Hudson up, he plays while I put Jack down for another nap.

3:30/4-This is the time of day when things can get a little dicey. After this point, Jack usually refuses to nap and both boys get cranky. My goal at this point of the day is to get Jack to 5pm with a catnap so that he can go 5-6:30.

4:30/5-I set Hudson up with toys or Blippi and put Jack in the mammroo with me in the kitchen, while I prep/cook dinner.

5:30/6-dinner

6-7-Bedtime routines! Baths, pj’s, bottles, play, then to bed!

*If Dave is home at this point, he’s usually putting Hudson to bed while I put Jack to bed. If Dave is not home, I put Hudson to bed first, while Jack chills with us in his bouncy. Then I’ll do Jack’s routine.

75% of the time, both boys are asleep by 7/730 pm every night. Jack still needs a lot of resettling at this point but since he’s found his hands, he does really well at self soothing. Dave and I work together to stay organized and not have lots of work leftover at the end of the night. We try to make sure the house is picked up, kitchen is clean and things are ready for the next day so that we can relax for at least an hour before we head to bed. That doesn’t always happen and sometimes evenings are regular gong show where we literally collapse into bed exhausted. But I do think organization, thinking/planning ahead and realistic goals are super important when you are considering a routine with your littles.

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I hope you’ve found some of this helpful, especially if you are in the same boat as me, with 2 babies so close together! Do you love routine? What are some ways you stay organized with little ones at home? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!