Natural Easter Gifts

Handmade natural Easter gifts toys

I love browsing for natural, handmade kids toys on Etsyaffiliate links disclosure. There’s always such beautiful things. I thought I would share some of my favourite Easter-inspired natural toys which would make a lovely addition to the gift basket!

Children of all ages:

il_570xN.485275986_qi4xPlay silk set

il_570xN.579320151_mga6Beeswax bunny crayons

il_570xN.297566155Natural wooden eggs

il_570xN.572827266_9dlcKnitted bunny in wicker basket

0 – 18 months:

il_570xN.432556828_aqtmOrganic teething ring

il_570xN.483353983_6ls6Personalised wooden bunny toy

il_570xN.425545857_3a3cCrochet wooden egg

il_570xN.502393222_d7n0Organic bunny rattle

1.5 to 3 years:

 il_570xN.556095692_fyxc

Handmade ball run

il_570xN.569110797_i39sPersonalised wooden egg stacker

il_570xN.371566825_mt3kPastel wooden bunny’s for sorting and matching

il_570xN.574829274_g5fhPastel rainbow peg people matching & sorting toy

3+ years:

il_570xN.320550664Counting eggs rainbow nest

il_570xN.517358804_mitpNatural rainbow people kit

il_570xN.225511639Chalkboard eggs

il_570xN.583247890_p6gmEaster activity bag

Breast Milk Sharing

blog carnival

 

My story is part of the Blog carnival organised by World Milksharing Week, to celebrate World Milksharing Week 2013.

Click here to read more stories about milksharing. If you’d like to participate too, please visit this page.

 

 

 

Breast milk sharing is a topic close to my heart. Given that I successfully relactated with my son, it’s no secret that I’m a breast-milk supporter. I was blessed to feed my son until he was around 20 months old and I was almost into the 2nd trimester of my pregnancy. However, with my daughter, I had a very different experience.

I haven’t really told many people about this, and certainly not the nitty gritty; however, I want to raise awareness for both mental health and milk sharing.

I had a very difficult pregnancy with Lucy, mentally. I suffered from severe perinatal depression and received support through a perinatal mental health clinic. Despite medication and therapy, I continued to have on and off depressive episodes that were linked strongly to my cycle. When Lucy was a mere 5 months old, I was given the ultimatum of either going to a mental health unit or going on the pill and adjusting my medication. Despite the fact that it meant I would have to prematurely wean Lucy, I still chose the latter. Given how much I loved breastfeeding, this was a hard decision, but it was the right one in the long run.

I used a short-term once-off breast milk donor when I relactated, so I wasn’t new to the idea of milk sharing. So many people do not know it is an option let alone see it as a viable one. For me, given the fact that I was hoping to breastfeeding for at least another year or so, it was the top of my list. In many situations, breast seeking breast milk donors is the next best thing if you are unable to breastfeed for whatever reason. Of course, you must be informed in how you seek and receive donor breast milk (there is tons of useful information on sites like HM4HB, and Eats on Feets) but every mama I met was more than happy to give blood test results and answer any questions.

I got in contact with my local Human Milk 4 Human Babies branch and did a call out. Even though I felt like I was pestering, I continued to ask for help and the support poured in over time. I was happy to travel and was so lucky to find several generous long-term donors.

Milk sharing - donor breast milk story

Many of the incredible mamas that I met are still friends of mine. Five main donors supplied the bulk of our milk, including one amazing mama who is a surrogate Mum and donated freshly pumped breast milk to us regularly. At one point she was producing over half of Lucy’s daily requirements. We were able to provide Lucy with only breast milk (aside from solid foods from 6 months+) almost until her first birthday. She was fed by donor milk for longer than she was fed by me! Although I wish I could have gave her more, it took a lot of time, travel and effort and I feel very blessed for the experience.

Breast milk sharing donor bottle

There is something so humbling and special about asking and receiving help to nourish your baby. I struggled with it emotionally but I am so thankful for the generous milky mamas who donated milk to Lucy. The amount of time & effort that they put in to nourishing my girl will always be remembered.

Toilet Learning Update

Montessori inspired toilet learning pants, books and body awareness

Since my previous post on Montessori style toilet learning, Lucy is still coming along with toileting. She is such a cutie and copies me a lot so tends to go to the toilet when I do. She is still in nappies the majority of the time but as it’s heating up, that will change.

Disclosure: Pixie Winks were kind enough to send us a few pairs of training pants for Lucy to try out. All opinions are my own, please see here for full disclosure.

Montessori inspired toilet learning pants, books and body awareness

When it comes to books on toileting (aka potty training), I find it difficult to find anything that isn’t too silly, cartoony or rewards based (all not recommended by Montessori). These are the best I have found (click the pictures to see these at Fishpond, my favourite Australian online book store):

Everybody Poos

Click for Everybody Poos for non-Australians
This is a great book for toddler who are reluctant when it comes to bodily functions. I like it’s no-nonsense stance.

 

 

Girls' Potty Time [Board book]

Click foBoys' Potty Time [Board book]r Boys’ and Girls’ Potty Time books for non-Australians
I like these books because they show real photographs of toddlers on the potty, washing their hands, etc with simple rhymes and text. I really like DK books in general. Aside from the whole girly girl/boyish boy gender stereotyping I’m not a fan of, these books are great.

 

Lucy’s body awareness regarding toileting amazes me. Compared to her brother at this age (almost 1.5) she gets it. I’ll ask if she needs to do #2 and she will fart, I’ll ask her where she hurts and she’ll point. Cameron wasn’t at that stage until around 2 at least. She isn’t verbal but you can say “do you need to go toilet?” and she’ll take off her pants.

Speaking of pants, I had a lot of trouble initially finding training pants to fit a toddler. As I said in my last post on toileting, I have found a great Australian company Pixie Winks that makes and sells training pants from size 0 up. These are a perfect fit for Lucy and do everything they say they will. I was surprised by how easily they can be taken on and off by Lucy.

training pants 0

They’re a great fit, slimline and absorbent enough to hold a woops-almost-wee. They have held up well to the wash and wear too.

pixie winks training pantsSee Pixie Winks site and Facebook for more styles and the other brilliant products that they make and sell (including cloth nappies and nappy accessories, adorable doll slings, clothing and sleepwear) that look lovely.

pixie winks training pants discount code

There are affiliate links in this post for your convenience. If you make a purchase through these links, I make a tiny commission at no expense to you. Thank you for your support. See here for full disclosure.

More Montessori Inspired Toddler Activities

Thank you to those who pinned my previous Montessori toddler activities. I thought I would share how Lucy spent her morning:

montessori toddler diy activities busy trays

Also, a quick word on water beads.. this was my 2nd time rehydrating water beads after letting them dry out.

diy montessori toddler sensory tub

It works perfectly aside from producing some odd shaped beads (with flat spots, funny teardrop shapes and ovoids)

reusing water beads sensory diy

Still lots of fun :)

Farm Animals, Aussie Animals and A Wild One Too!

ipswich nature centre, wombat, montessori, homeschool

We now live right around the corner from a nature centre. We have already taken advantage of this and visited twice since the move. Cameron is fascinated by the animals and loves learning more about them.

australian animals, matching, montessori

This matching activity is very easy for Cameron but the challenge now is learning the names of some of the animals he does not know well (i.e. bilby, echidna, tasmanian devil). We work on starting sounds of the animals he is very familiar with (‘w’ wombat, ‘d’ dingo, ‘k’ kangaroo/koala/kookaburra). Many of the matching and sorting activities I have made for Cameron are easy to develop into something more challenging and interesting for him.

play dough, diy, recipe, montessori, farm animals, schleich

For Easter I bought Cameron and Lucy some Schleich farm animals (they got plenty of other traditionally Easter related gifts from us and others too) which have been a regular play thing. Yes, Lucy is nomming a gumnut in the photo above. These figures have really helped Cameron learn the different names for female, male and juvenile farm animals.

schleich, farm animals, montessori

After a lot of play with the dough and animals, we decided they needed a bath.

qld, ipswich, snake

We had our first wild snake visit our yard! So scary, considering Cameron was downstairs playing and saw it first and screamed out to me. Our new place backs onto vacant land and a river so I sort of expected snakes. It was a good wake up call to teach Cameron about wildlife. Thankfully he is naturally cautious and respectful of animals and insects.

coin activity, diy, montessori, toddler

Lucy has started more activities. Above are some photos I snapped of her first coin activity. She didn’t even notice I was taking pictures, she was so engaged. Ring stackers are a big hit with her at the moment too. She isn’t sorting by colour or size but she loves removing and replacing the rings of her stackers:

stackers, toys, montessori, home

I have been organising a few activities for both Lucy and Cameron. We went to a baby farm animal petting zoo which Cameron (& I!) loved so decided to expand on the farm animals we know and their young in a fun way. I made up this bingo game! I’m yet to print it out and play but I will share when we do!

montessori, printable, free, farm

Would anyone be interested in this Farm Animal Bingo as a printable? If I get interest I will create a file to share with subscribers :)