How To Mom When You Get Sick. (Moms Don’t Take Sick Days)

Last month my husband came home from a long day of work (for him) and a long day of momming (for me) looking pretty pale.

My husband literally never falls ill. Or if he does, he’s over it within 24 hours. So when he started showing signs of illness and commenting on feeling crummy, my heart sank. For my husband to say he doesn’t feel well means that he’s pretty dang sick.

My heart sank for a few reasons, to which you can probably relate if you are a parent of young children.

  1. I didn’t want my boys catching whatever my husband had.
  2. I knew my husband’s illness would probably result in lack of sleep for the both of us because one of us ends up on an air mattress in the living room or in the playroom. Not the best sleep you’ll get.
  3. I could not get sick.

I mean, it’s a given that moms don’t take sick days right? I’m no wimp when it comes to being sick but I also don’t believe in toughing it out when things like vomiting, fevers, colds with green snot, flu, coughs, and such are present in a body. I think it’s actually pretty simple. If you are sick, stay home. I don’t know why that is such a difficult concept for people!

Nobody wants your sickness, Felicia. (Who is Felicia?)

I try take a more natural approach to illness with myself and my family. 75% of the time my natural, holistic remedies, supplements, herbal teas, essential oils and homeopathic thingies really do work! I have a few ways that I like to keep our immune systems bolstered during cold and flu season which you can read about here.

Lack of sleep is a huge factor in weakening my immune system. I have 2 babies and while they sleep pretty great considering, I’m still up through the night. My days also start about 5/6am. So, when this virus hit our home I knew we were all going down like Titanic.

BC (before children) I was able to take real sick days and rest until I wasn’t…..sick. Now when I get sick, I still have a 4 month old and 18 month old to take care of. Long gone are the glorious days of staying in bed, watching Netflix and sipping herbal tea. Now, when I’m sick, I’m also taking care of two helpless monkeys while feeling like a toilet bowl the whole time.

Sometimes our family is able to help (so grateful!) and my husband has stayed home if I really need him to. But our situation is such that if my husband stays home, he does it without pay. So, I have to be in pretty bad shape for him to stay home with us.

So what does a sick mom do when she still has to mom? WELL we’re going on over a month of illness here so I feel like I might have some tips for you.

Here are 5 things to help you mom, while sick (with sick kids) and not die in the process.

  • Order food, let family bring you meals, and keep food simple. We did a lot of this the past month. We don’t eat out often but Skip The Dishes became our BFF during illness. Our family also brought meals to us which was heavenly. If I didn’t do either of those things it was usually soup and sandwiches or breakfast for dinner. It’s about survival!
  • Lay on the floor. Ok what? I have an 18 month old with endless amounts of energy, even when he’s sick. The poor kid had croup and was still climbing my curtains during the day. When I felt the worst, I dragged out some of his toys to the living room, laid on the floor (on a pillow) and let him climb all over me. This way, I was somewhat conserving my energy. If you can, nap when your kids nap. This wasn’t possible for me because my boys seemed to end up on opposite nap schedules but I did lay on the couch when my 4 month old was awake and my toddler napped.
  • Turn on the TV. I think 99% of parents can agree that TV is a blessing in times like these. I don’t feel guilty for using the TV somewhat excessively when we’re all sick. It helps my toddler chill for a bit and rest his body as well as give me a break. If TV isn’t something you use in your home, that’s cool. Find something that your kids love but don’t get to do often and maybe let them do it so you can have some time to sit and rest.
  • Take Turns. If you can work it out with your partner or spouse, take turns at night getting up with the kids. My husband has always been a part of nighttime care with our boys just as much as me. Part of that is because my boys took bottles very early on so that worked out for us. If you can work it out taking turns, then both of you can get a chance to rest. Sleep is probably the most important factor in recovering quickly from illness. Have a plan on how you can accomplish getting some rest/recovery quickly.
  • Let go of the mess. I wouldn’t call myself a neat freak but I like my home and house clean as well as fairly organized. But this past month my house turned into a dump. Laundry and dishes piled up. Toys were literally everywhere and my floors were one giant, sticky, mess. Since we all had colds, I couldn’t tell you if it smelled like a big diaper and I don’t even care to be honest. Yes, it drove me nuts to see my house a complete mess but my husband and I were basically sleep deprived, tortured prisoners of war. It will be clean again one day. Don’t sweat it.

So, there you have it. If you are reading this and thinking, “Wow this is a no brainer.” Cool. I’m a practical person and I write practical blog posts. When we were all sick this past month, I actually googled “How to survive being sick when you have small children.” SO hopefully someone finds this helpful.

I wish you the best in health and parenthood!

How do you cope as a parent when you are sick? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Feeding My Babies.

There are a few things I’ve struggled with as mom that stand out more than others.

How I’ve fed my babies is one of those things. If you are a young mom like me, chances are you have struggled with this very thing. I think it’s great that we are talking about it in the mom community today. My mom says that no-one talked about it when she was in the early years of raising my sister and I. I can’t even imagine how lonely and isolating that must have felt for my mom as well as so many other moms.

When I became pregnant with my first son, I didn’t assume that breastfeeding would or wouldn’t work out. I was pretty neutral about the whole thing. When Hudson was born, we struggled to establish breastfeeding. After a myriad of decisions, I made the choice to pump breastmilk and feed that to him for 12 weeks. I couldn’t tell you if he was ever EBF (exclusively breastfed) because sleep deprivation blurs those early months. At some point in the early weeks of Hudson’s life we began introducing store bought formula to him. He thrived on both my breastmilk and Costco formula. I cried when I made the decision to stop pumping. I knew he preferred my breastmilk but I couldn’t keep going. If you’ve ever pumped exclusively or almost exclusively, you will understand how much work it is to keep up with. I remember the last 1/2 ounce I pumped for Hudson. I stood at my kitchen sink, crying quietly with the soft glow of Christmas lights behind me.

Meeting Jack for the first time!

When Jack was born he latched beautifully minutes after he came out. He wouldn’t get off the boob and basically camped out there for the next week. My milk came in within 24 hours. Because Jack was so efficient at nursing, I experienced true breastfeeding for the first time. It was like a train ran me over, on top of already feeling trashed from an intense labour and delivery. I loved those first weeks of Jack nursing as much as I hated the pain. I felt like my body was trying to kill me in the process of feeding my son. Eventually I began pumping so I could get more sleep at night. But I just couldn’t keep up with the pumping, while caring for a newborn and 14 month old. After going back and forth, I made the decision to switch Jack to formula completely when he was 6 weeks old. When Jack was 3 months old I began making his formula from goat’s milk. I’m happy to report he’s thriving on it!

Me and Hudson 2 weeks postpartum.

I want to share some things I’ve learned on this journey in hopes that I can encourage other mamas.

  • Everyone has an opinion and you have a choice. It will not matter what you do, someone will have something to say about it. People think they mean well (and they might) but you will hear all kinds of things about how you choose to feed your baby, as well as all the other parenting decisions you make. You have a choice in how you respond to people. It doesn’t have to be a war with another mama in some parenting forum over her poor choice of words. Honestly? I’ve just taken breaks from social media, situations and people if I feel like they are continually negative towards the way I parent. It’s worth it to let things go and keep moving forward!
  • Nobody has to know how you feed your baby. You might think this point is strange, but I really mean that. Nobody has to know how you feed your baby, except maybe your doctor for medical reasons. Did you know you have every right to say to someone, “He’s fed with love, thanks!” That may seem really rude or direct but maybe if we started this way, it could stop the questions (or saying things) that are pointless, time consuming not to mention ridiculous. Keep it simple, right?
  • It doesn’t matter how or why you chose to feed your baby the way you feed them. I think this has been the hardest point for me to come to terms with and actually put into practice. I mean here I am writing a blog post for the world to read, about my journey feeding my babies. When I say it doesn’t matter, I don’t mean that you don’t matter. You matter and the reasons for how you feed your baby are valid. I support you, whatever your journey looks like. But you don’t owe a single person an explanation, not even your partner. I think it’s important to include your partner in those conversations but only because you then can invite them into being a very important support person during this journey. (More on this later!) What is most important is that YOU are OK with how you choose to feed your baby.
  • Your partner is important. I can’t say this enough. The highs and lows of caring for a baby can be extremely lonely. I wouldn’t be where I am today, with the confidence, security, and firm footing in this journey, if it wasn’t for my wonderful husband. No our marriage isn’t all roses and chocolate! But his support has come through when I’ve needed it the most. I cried when he told me to put Jack on formula full time. I cried because of the immense relief, love and support I felt. I felt a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders and then I began to enjoy motherhood again. You need your partner during this season (and every season of parenting) even when it feels like all they can offer you is a literal shoulder to cry on. That shoulder is really important. Find a way to make them a part of your journey as hard as that might feel sometimes. You won’t regret it! The extra support of our families has also been a blessing. They have only ever been supportive of the way I’ve chosen to feed my babies. I can’t even put a price on how valuable that support is.
  • Love really is the most important. #loveisbest is something that I can get behind, when it comes to how I take care of my babies. At the end of the day, we all want what the best for our babies. That is going to look different for every family. I see all of you. You are important and you are doing incredible! Earlier I italicized that I made the choice to give my babies formula because I want to get an important point across. You have a choice in how you feed your baby. Only you will know what is the best for your baby AND you!

I’ve done both breastfeeding and formula feeding with my babies. I want to be clear that I’m not discouraging or promoting any one way of feeding your baby. Formula is just what worked for us and is part of our journey. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m PRO feed your baby! If you are looking for some homemade baby formula options, I’ve got you covered here.

I am here to tell you that however your feeding journey has gone with your baby (or babies) it doesn’t have to define you in the way you think. You aren’t more than or less than. You just are. And that is really important. You also aren’t alone on this journey so don’t hesitate to reach out. You can email me anytime at sarahelaine225@hotmail.com

You are present in your baby’s life, loving them and being their mama. THAT is the most important. Go, mama, go!

What has been your experience with feeding your baby? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Is Sleep Training For You? 3 Things To Consider.

If you are reading this, chances are you are sleep deprived. I am sleep deprived as I write this. I’ve been sleep deprived since January 2017. So that is about 2 years of sleep deprivation. Are you tired, mama? If I could, I’d make you cup of a strong coffee and offer my couch to take a nap on. You probably wouldn’t get much sleep though, considering I have two really loud babies in my house who can easily bring the noise to deafening levels.

Sleep. I often think about what I would tell my former self before I had children, had I the chance to travel back in time and have a chat with her. I would tell her to prepare her final goodbyes to her good friend Sleep. Cut your losses, girl and get good at making some really strong coffee! Also-invest in some solid under eye concealer because the dark circles are FOR REAL.

But let’s chat about sleep training!


Most Paediatricians recommend sleep training beginning around 4 months of age. I have found this age to be the best time to start with my babies. Did you know you can give your baby comfort AND still sleep train them? It’s possible, YAAAS!

If you get the jump on helping them learn to sleep earlier in life then you will have to do LESS work to do down the road. *Talk to your child’s doctor before beginning.

If you are doing something that works for you, keep doing it. I’m not here to tell you that you are wrong so please keep doing what works for you. Maybe skip this blog post if sleep training aint’ yoh thing, ok? If you aren’t happy with what you are doing and find yourself struggling, consider sleep training. Getting my babies on a schedule and sleep training them has been one of the best decisions I’ve made as mom. If your baby is close to a year old (or older) and really struggling to fall asleep independently (if that is what you want them to do), consider hiring a sleep consultant. Sleep Consultants have a variety of amazing methods to help families in all situations! They are worth the money!

You decide how to help your baby learn things like sleeping, even if that means baby sleeps on you or with you-you are still teaching them how to sleep. How you do that is up to you!

Here are 3 things consider if you wonder if sleep training is for you!

  • Are You Willing To Be Consistent (and slightly boring)?

If you are serious about helping your baby establish sleeping independantly , it’s important that you are consistent. It’s contradictory to the whole process if you are constantly leaving your home all the time. Your baby has to learn that their room and crib is where they sleep. (if that is where you want them to sleep). If they are falling asleep in their carseat all the time, then that is where they will associate sleep with. Babies will do what they are consistently given the opportunity to do.

You won’t always be stuck at home but from experience (and talking to other moms who sleep train) I was (and am) pretty boring the first 6 months of my babies’ lives. That might sound unreasonable but it’s all about what you are willing to invest into helping your baby sleep. How important is it to you? It doesn’t mean you can’t EVER leave your house while sleep training. But it does mean sacrificing some of your time.

I believe that if you stick to a loose routine and follow some simple sleep training tips-you will have a baby who forms some sort of predictable schedule within a month or two. Don’t believe me? TRY IT! Once your baby starts getting into a routine of sorts and is able to stay awake longer, you can start planning outings around them. While it’s hard work, it’s not so bad. I promise. It’s all about how you approach the situation. It’s just a short season of being home, in light of all the years to come when I can do whatever I want. I get to be home with my babies, take care of their needs, be in comfy clothes, eat snacks and chill. EAT ALL THE SNACKS!

My second point is something that often discourages most parents from this whole sleep training deal.

  • Are You Ok With Crying?

I believe one of the reasons that sleep training has such a dirty reputation has to do with a misunderstanding of the crying aspect. What I don’t understand is why people do not do their own research but instead come to strange and negative conclusions about all forms of sleep training. Sleep training does NOT have to involve leaving your baby alone for hours to cry themselves to sleep without being offered any comfort. I have never intentionally just shut the door and left either of my babies to cry indefinitely for hours.

A common scenario I see in parenting forums or on social media often goes like this: “Hi everyone! My baby is x months old and a terrible sleeper. I nurse (or bottle-feed), rock or hold her to get her to sleep. She’s been sleeping on me or with me since she was born. She wakes up multiple times a night and refuses to nap during the day unless I’m holding her. I’m so exhausted I can’t see straight. Help me! What do I do?”

Then I see other mamas offering simple, straight forward sleep solutions that typically fall into the category of sleep training. The original poster will immediately reply, “Oh and I won’t do anything that involves listening to my baby cry! I refuse to let her cry!” And this is the face I’m making while I read the thread——————————————->


If you absolutely can not handle your baby EVER crying then buckle up my friend. It’s going to be a long ride in parenthood because babies (as well as children) CRY all the dang time. My 18 month old cried (screamed at me) today when I wouldn’t let him touch the cat’s butthole. I wish I was joking but phrases such as, “Please don’t dip your toothbrush in the toilet,” are a regular part of my day. I digress. You might be surprised if you let little Bobby fuss or cry for a few minutes only to find that he’s put himself back to sleep. We are biologically wired to respond to the distress of our children. Again, if this isn’t something you feel comfortable with when it comes to sleep then stick to what makes your family thrive!

There are extreme methods of sleep training that leave babies to cry until they’ve exhausted themselves, which I personally find to be stressful and counterproductive for all involved. In the first few months of sleep training, I employ timed checks which you can read about here. I love timed checks and it’s what I’m currently doing with my 4 month old right now. I would also like to talk about the whole “put baby down awake” thing. Sometimes that has worked with my boys but the majority of the time, I’ve fed/rocked them until they are almost asleep, up until they were a year old. I only do timed checks if they aren’t settling after I put them down. So, yes-you can feed/rock your baby to sleep, still teach them to fall asleep on their own and not form “bad” habits! AMAZING! Bad habits. (I’m rolling my eyes). Your baby needing you isn’t a bad habit, FYI.

My last point is pretty straight forward.

  • How Hard Are You Willing To Work?

This is my most important point for you to consider. Seeing the bigger picture is important to achieving success in this process. My husband has said more than once that its worth it to slug it out and blitz this whole thing now. I completely agree! You have to know that it gets hard before it becomes easier. Just like working out, it will take time to see progress. It will feel like you do the same thing for months with little to no progress. And then it will get better. Don’t be discouraged when you face disruptions with your baby’s sleep habits. It’s normal. I said I don’t believe in regressions when it comes to babies. I do believe that developmental leaps, teething, and sickness can cause a baby to have disrupted sleep. Comfort your baby however, in these times and make adjustments. But these things are just a few reasons why I believe establishing good sleep habits from the beginning is so important. If you can help your baby establish good sleep habits, it can make disruptions and changes a little bit easier to navigate, for all of you.

My children do not sleep perfectly. Like all children, they go through seasons of great sleep and poor sleep but overall their good sleep outweighs the poor. We combined our boys into one room a few weeks ago. Yup-a 4.5 month old and an 18 month old sharing a room! It’s been almost a month of some amazing nights and some really difficult ones. I’m so tired some days, I can barely see straight. But I’m not going to quit just because it’s hard. Like all learned things, it takes time and my boys will learn to sleep through each other’s crying, wake ups and commotion.

Consider that you are giving your baby (and your whole family) the gift of sleep. It’s a wonderful thing!

Whether you are just considering sleep training, in the beginning stages or deep in the trenches, I wish you all the sweet sleep in the world. May your coffee be strong and your concealer be thick.

Do you sleep train? What has or hasn’t worked for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Why I Don’t Follow BabyWise And What I Do Instead.

So, my almost 4 month old is going through what most sleep experts would say is a sleep regression. Add to that the fact that my 17 month old is cutting 3 molars all at once and you could say we are really tired over here. I don’t know if my youngest is actually in a regression. I think regression for me just means he’s growing and learning exciting new things so sleep is for the birds. I’m tired, nevertheless.

Soooooooooooo tired. Drink ALL the coffee.

Ahhhhh sleep and babies and sleep training! If you’ve read any of my blog up until this point you will know that I’m an advocate for sleep training. I think sleep training has gotten a really bad reputation over the years and it’s a term loosely thrown around. Sleep training for one family might mean something completely different for another. And here’s the thing. Even if you are staunchly anti-sleep training, you’re still sleep training. Training is conditioning yourself or someone else to learn to do something, right? So, if you are putting your baby in a carrier and wearing them to sleep every day-you are essentially training them to sleep while you wear them. It’s not bad but it’s still sleep training to some degree.

I don’t read those articles anymore about how you aren’t supposed to make your baby self-soothe and how sleep training is dangerous. They are incredibly guilt-trippy and I don’t need that in my life, just sayin’.

Here’s the thing. How YOU choose to help your baby sleep is up to you. Isn’t that great? I think we are pretty fortunate to have a lot of options available to us and we get to figure out what works for us as individual families.

Babywise. What the heck is Babywise? I bought this book when Hudson (my first) was a few weeks old. It’s a book on sleep training by Gary Ezzo and Robert Buckman. It came out in the early 90’s when I was still a little girl. People swear by their method of putting baby on a strict schedule that follows the Eat-Play-Sleep routine. There has been a lot of controversy since the book came out about how people were too strict with feeding schedules. This contributed to failure to thrive in many young infants. That being said, I know many people who SWEAR by the Babywise method.

The general philosophy of Babywise is actually something I agree with and that is getting your baby into a routine from the beginning. But I as I attempted more of their methods with my first, I found a few glitches along the way. Here are 3 reasons why Babywise doesn’t jive with me.

  • It’s confusing. I don’t know about you but once I had babies my brain no longer functioned the way it did before. I also don’t have hours and hours every day to figure out complex schedules and routines. Babywise is very complex or at least to me, it seems that way. It has you merging schedules and feedings. It’s not an easy read and it continually changes. Yes, a baby’s sleep changes as they grow. But I feel like it can be (it is) way more simple! 

  • It’s Too Strict. SO Babywise suggests that you feed your baby on a set schedule of every 2.5 hours to 4 hours, depending on their age starting from a week to 10 weeks of age. I don’t know about you but I had a really hungry newborn. He was 9 pounds 2 ounces from birth and he gained 1.5 pounds a week, at times. He was hungry ALL the time and if I didn’t feed him he was angry baby. As well he should be! I’m not a huge fan of when babies get into snacking but I firmly believe newborns (babies under 4 months) should be fed on demand. Chances are (as I’ve seen with both my boys) their eating patterns level out at around 3 months and take full feeds. Babies go through huge growth spurts ALL the time. Please please please, FEED YOUR BABY when they are hungry.
  • My Babies Want To Be Fed To Sleep. Most sleep training methods tell you not to get into the habit of nursing your baby to sleep. Babywise is one of those especially because they teach the whole Eat-Play-Sleep method. So the idea is that as soon as your baby wakes up, you feed them. Then they “play” and then when it’s time to put them down for a nap, you do so. But there is a flaw in this oh so seemingly simple plan. Hungry babies. I’ll be honest-I tried super hard not to feed my first to sleep once I started sleep training him. I didn’t know anything about babies and sleep so I just did what I was told by many sleep sites and books. It didn’t work and I had a hungry baby who only took catnaps. Once I started following my gut instinct to feed my babies to sleep-they slept better and sleep training was (is) more successful. Look. Do you like going to sleep on an empty stomach? I don’t! In my experience with my own babies I have found that a full tummy equals good sleep. If you are worried that your child will never go to sleep without being fed, just relax. My 17 month old gets a bottle of milk before bed but he finishes it and then we put the bottle in the sink. He falls asleep great! There are ways, down the road, to gently wean your baby from needing to be fed to sleep but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Ok-so we’ve established that Babywise didn’t work for me and WHY it didn’t work for me. But you are probably wondering what I did instead. Well, I did a lot of things! Here are 3 things I did (and do) to establish healthy sleep habits with my babies.

  • Create An Awesome Baby Cave. A peaceful environment is conducive to quality sleep. If you think about what helps you sleep well then it’s easy to apply that to creating an ideal sleeping environment for your baby. White noise is super important in our home. My husband and I even sleep with it! I have two of these Amazon Echo Dots that we’ve hooked up via bluetooth to old iPods/Android phones. My husband ripped a continuous track of white noise onto the devices so that it plays all night long. Make the room as dark as you possibly can. As your newborn becomes a curious baby, they will learn to scan the room to look for you and just have general interest in their environment. If there is too much light, this can make it difficult for them to fall asleep. My almost 4 month old already looks for his big brother like a hawk. It makes naptime a little tricky! Grab some blackout shades to help shut out the light. Keep the room moderately cool. A stuffy, hot room is a factor in contributing to SIDS. It’s also super uncomfortable! We keep our boys comfy in a fleece sleepsack (during the winter) and breathable, cotton jammies.
  • Establish A Simple Routine. I’ve probably said this a billion times but it’s because routine, even a simple one, is so important in contributing to sleep success. I do not thrive well if I have no structure to my day. I think babies are the same way. Pick a wake up time every day and start from there. If you wake your baby up at the same time every morning and feed them-their body clock can sync to this time. Be mindful of how long your baby is able to stay awake and start nap-time before they get too tired. Don’t keep them up in hopes that they will nap longer. I’m never afraid of the early bedtime when I have a little baby and when they’ve needed it, they generally sleep even longer through the night.
  • Be Ok With Being Boring. What I mean by this is if you want to see success with getting your baby into a routine and establishing healthy sleep habits-you kinda have to be home to do that. With my first I was super strict about his routine and schedule in the beginning. With my second, I’m more flexible but I’m still pretty boring during those first 6 months. Part of that is because we have one car and my husband usually takes it. I’m totally ok with being home the majority of the time because it’s worth it for me. I’ve seen the benefits of keeping my little guys on a good schedule. If you have one baby and find yourself bored with being home all the time-take advantage of this season of rest! Find a show to binge on or a good book! I know for me that there will come a day when we can go all the time if we want. This time of being at home is just a season.

Figure out what works for you as a family and then try to stick to it, if you can. Consistency is really important when you are establishing healthy sleep habits with your baby. I’ll be the first to tell you that we don’t have it all figured out in our home. This morning both my boys were awake before 6am. I’m really tired! But we do have a foundation of sleep to fall back on and that is something worth working towards, for us.

What have you found to work for you when it comes to your baby and sleep? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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How To Create A Sickness Protocol

So, as I’m typing this, I’m listening to my toddler cough and moan in his crib when he’s usually napping this time of day. Poor guy has his first ever really bad head cold.

When I say first ever I’m not exaggerating or boasting by any means. It’s just that I can count on one hand how many times he’s been sick in his life. But I digress.

Today I want to talk about the importance of creating a sickness protocol plan or SPP. What on earth, you ask? Fancy shmancy words I’m just throwin’ around, right? Basically, what I’m saying is it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for when sickness hits your family.

I make about 75% of the remedies we use in our home mostly because I like to know what ingredients are in them. I don’t like the ingredients in a lot of the OTC medicines out there today. Don’t get me wrong, I use Tylenol and Motrin with my kids but I generally avoid most OTC medicines for them because they treat symptoms and not the cause. I love supporting our immune systems with essential oils, homeopathic remedies, herbal teas and natural supplements because not only do they address symptoms to offer relief-they also help the body fight illness.

I recently typed up a sickness protocol because I realized how many different steps I take when sickness strikes. It’s not as simple as reaching for a one stop OTC medicine. I want to be prepared. Nobody likes to be woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of vomiting. Having a plan to immediately set into action can help. At least I hope, right?

Your first step is going to be to asses what illnesses most commonly occur in your home or what you want to be prepared for.

It’s very important to note on your protocol if there are remedies you use that aren’t recommended for children under a certain age. (ie: honey for kids OVER the age of 1) While some of these guidelines might be ingrained in your mind, it’s still a good idea to have them there as a reminder for yourself as well as others.

Your second step is going to be to asses what remedies you will use for each illness and list accordingly.

*I am not a medical professional. Always consult with your doctor or health practitioner if you have questions regarding medicines, even natural ones. Read all instructions, dosing, things like essential oil dilutions, usage and safety. Natural does not mean 100% foolproof! Not all essential oils are safe to use around children. I recently learned that “therapeutic grade” means nothing because there is no regulation in place to certify any oil as therapeutic grade. Therapeutic grade does not ensure safety or purity. PLEASE do your research.

Your third step is to list the illness, then the corresponding remedies with dosage and application.


Basically this is how I type out my entire protocol. I list each illness and then each remedy with dosage/instructions. I keep it taped to the inside of my medicine cupboard so it’s easy to access. On the left here you can see my protocol sheet.

Your fourth and final step is to make sure you have those remedies on hand. Obviously you can’t have everything all the time at any given moment. But you can be prepared with some basic remedies. I make a homemade cough syrup with a shelf life of up to 2 months. I just make sure I always have the basic ingredients to make it. I’ll make a small batch, enough to get us through that illness. It takes planning but it’s not unreasonable. *Check back soon for a peak into my medicine cupboard and my top five basics for sickness.


I love natural remedies and a holistic approach to health. But I want to say, should my children need to see a doctor, I would not hesitate to take them. My 3 month old was in emerge a few weeks ago with a high fever. He turned out to be fine. I still took him because I want to make sure there was nothing more serious going on. *Consult with a doctor when you have a young child with a high fever. In infants 3 months and younger, a fever of 100.4 should be discussed with a doctor.

When it comes to using the methods I’ve chosen, it hasn’t been without research and consideration as I’m sure it’s the same for you. All that to say, however you support your family during sickness, it isn’t a bad idea to be organized! Wishing you ALL the best of health this season!

Do you use natural remedies when illness hits your family? What are some of your favourites? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

4 Tips For Minimizing Meltdowns

“AAAAEEEEEGGGH!”
The sound of my son’s anguished screaming fills my house. The sun has not even risen. I’m still in my pyjamas, trying to wash my face in the bathroom. The next minute I hear uncontrollable laughing. What on earth, you may ask?

One word, my friends. Toddlers.

Before I was a mom, I spent close to 15 years with other people’s toddlers.
I’ve learned a few things by studying early childhood development, to teaching in the classroom and from daily life with my own toddler.

By no means do I have parenting perfected. Heck, half the time I’m winging it! But I wanted to share some things I’ve learned along the way.

So let me ask you FIRST, do you have a toddler you find yourself extremely frustrated with on a daily basis? Do you feel like you’ve tried all the things yet still resort to bribery, yelling, and general threats?
I want to help you help your toddler by sharing 4 common mistakes that I have made.


1) Not Understanding Developmental Immaturity. Young children do not have the developmental maturity to control themselves. Impulse is difficult for them to control. It’s something they learn as their brain matures. Impulse control is also something that we teach them as they grow.

My 16 month old loves to scream for fun. He loves to throw things. He hits me in the face when I ask for a kiss. I don’t like it and I don’t want him to do those things. I say things like, “OUCH! That hurts my ears.” “Hands are for clapping or praying but they are not for hitting.” (thanks sis!) I’ll redirect him by taking his hands and showing him what they can be used for.

I also try to validate how he might be feeling. “I see that you are angry because I’m not letting you throw cat litter everywhere.” (real example!) Validating emotions does not validate bad behaviour. Validating emotions are important in helping children recognize what they are feeling. We do this so that as they grow, they learn to communicate to us what is going on inside of them and for overall emotional health.

The Wonder Weeks book and app are great tools for better understanding child development!

2) Not Creating A Toddler Friendly (SAFE) Environment. When you walk into a toddler/preschool classroom what do you see? Everything is setup for small children, right? One of my course requirements in college was to set up a daycare/preschool classroom and subsequently be graded on it. It goes to show how important physical environment can be as it pertains to a child’s development.

It’s time to rearrange things if you find yourself constantly battling your toddler over what they can/can’t touch in your home.
Use baby gates and child safe locks. Arrange their room so that it’s safe (and inviting) for them to play in there without you hovering over them. Close doors to rooms that they don’t need to be in. Rearrange the contents of drawers and cupboards that they have access to. Be ok with them taking all your Tupperware out. They can’t break it, right? It might seem like a lot of work in the beginning but it’s more work every day to battle with a toddler over the contents of your china cabinet.

3) Being Too Controlling. This is my #1 mistake! I am a control freak by nature. Trying to control everything a toddler does will guarantee tantrums. Their strong willed desire to do everything on their own is completely normal.

It’s important developmentally to give children the freedom to make age appropriate choices. It teaches independence, self sufficiency and responsibility as well as the value of consequences. Not to mention giving you a break once they learn to do certain things for themselves.

Involve your child in cleaning up messes. I give my son the dust pan and hand broom when I’m vacuuming. While he doesn’t clean much giving him this task has redirected his obsession with pulling our stick vacuum off the wall. Set out a few pairs of pants and shirts for them to choose from and help them get dressed. Present a few food choices at mealtimes. I talk more about diffusing food battles with toddlers, here. A little independence can go a long way in shifting the emotions of your child thus diverting a meltdown!

4) Not Keeping Things Simple.
Have you ever walked into a messy room filled with stuff and felt overwhelmed? Research shows the links between mess and stress. You will find article after article about how too much stuff increases sensory overload. Imagine the developing brain of a young child and how sensory overload affects them! If you have a room (or two) overflowing with toys, chances are you’ve got an overwhelmed toddler.

I’ve seen many times during my career as an ECE and as a mom too many toys lead to some major meltdowns.

Get rid of the excess and simplify the amount of toys your child has. You could also try organizing toys into boxes and rotate them throughout the week. I’ve had great success with my toddler by rotating toys. He plays longer with his toys and it’s less mess to clean up. Great tips on toy rotation here!

You aren’t alone if you feel like your toddler is hard work! Because we are their parents, it’s our responsibility to help them develop. I do not have these things perfected. I have many parenting moments I am not proud of. My son still has tantrums. We are working on decreasing the amount of tantrums he has by practicing the things I’ve shared here.

It’s SO MUCH WORK to help a child grow and mature. It takes time and dedication. I think the most valuable payoff is giving a child important tools for successfully navigating the many challenges of life. The sooner we can give them those tools, the better!

Don’t be discouraged if it’s not all coming together. Everything takes time. You are the best person for the job!

What are some ways you effectively avoid tantrums in your home? What has or has not worked for you? I’d love to hear from you!

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 eat 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 something 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!