Travel Hacks for Parents

Are you ready for your upcoming trip? Here are 7 hacks to make your travels a bit easier with little kids! In sha Allah/God willing.

1. Pack while kid(s) are sleeping.

Kids love to help especially when they are excited! For example, my lil’ one wanted to pack her own luggage and iron her own clothes. It can be a great teaching and bonding experience, hands down. At the same time, it slows the whole packing process down. Let them choose some outfits, iron a couple pieces. But when bedtime hits, that’s when packing gets serious. I got so much accomplished with uninterrupted time to think, plan and pack! Alhamdulillah/thank God.

2. Travel at night.

Yes, kids will be wired for a bit. The excitement is real now. They might even go to bed late! But at least bedtime is on the horizon in sha Allah/God willing. My kids fell asleep in the car on the way to the airport and my baby knocked out towards the end of the flight. Warning ⚠️ : Your child may get that second wind of energy! Mamas you know when its way past bedtime and they get that extra surge of energy. Yep. Be prepared!! But hey at least they’ll sleep in the next morning. Overall, sounds good to me!

3. Charge that tablet/ipad.

This kept my oldest pretty occupied. Access to games and movies, say no more. Don’t forget their headphones!

4. Pack non-spill cups.

Because who wants a spill, wet clothes or a kid crying over spilled juice! Let’s just say my baby was happily licking his sister’s cranberry juice off his chunky little fingers 😂 (side note: if you’re going on a plane, pack them empty and fill them up later because you can’t get through security with liquids unless you want them dipping test strips in your drink 😒)

5. Bring a few good kid books.

I bought 3 small baby books and this kept my son busy for a good amount of time. I just read them over and over and let him play with the pages. Black and white contrast books really grab his attention.

6. Pack you favorite snacks.

Whatever it is your kid loves to snack on, pack it! For us it was organic baby puffs and swedish fish among other things. It will keep your kids, and yourself, busy and happy!

7. Pack your covered goods nursing cover (even if you’re not nursing). This is a game changer!

Please get one of these! I wrapped it around my baby and I and inconspicuously changed his diaper right where I was sitting! How? Get the wipes and diaper ready. Stand your baby up on your lap. Pull the cover over the both of you and bada bing bada boom. Do everything under the cover. A stand up diaper change with privacy! It helps to have another adult next to you to secretly swipe wipes and diapers 😂 Also, it helps keep baby in place while sitting. Kept it wrapped around the both of us for a bit almost like a stretchy seat belt. Seriously its so multifunctional! Here is the link if you are interested: Covered Goods.

What has worked for you? Please let me know in the comments!

Feeding Baby-3 Quick and Easy Ideas

Salam/Peace Mamas 💕

When baby is old enough to eat, or shall I say ready to eat..it is such an exciting time. I thought for weeks, okay..okay..months before about what that first food would be! Any mamas with me? Going for that organic, home made option! Not that anything is wrong with store bought. I just love making things from scratch! From my first baby to my second! You always go all out for the first child. We had an expensive high chair. We had fancy little baby blender that comes with a food storage set and a cookbook..The Baby Bullet Like I said, 1st baby! (It is really cute though!) Fast forward to baby number 2, and I have a $20 high chair from Ikea, pictured above. I’m using my regular blender and some tubberware! I still prefer organic food although I will buy a typical watermelon or pineapple. For some reason, organic watermelon and pineapple isn’t that popular. Anyhowwww..I spent so much time making special baby blends and Ahamdulillah baby would rather eat a piece of bread! So I learned to keep it simple! And Baby food can be simple!

How we keep it simple:

  • Sub han Allah/Glory to God he’s given us foods like bananas, avocados, dates. Three amazing foods you just pop open, scoop it with a spoon or squish it between your fingers and bam! You got some baby food! And the best part is.. it literally took a couple of seconds! So if baby doesn’t like it, no time wasted! Sweet potatoes/squash/yams are another fav! Made once, made for the whole family baby included..because once cooked, its spoon scoop-able! And I’m talking boil it in some water or just roast it plain! It’s sweet enough to roll solo.
  • Also frozen fruit is ah-mazing! Chop it up, store it and freeze it. Your whole family can enjoy it too, in sha Allah/if God wills. Win-win! And a major plus, it can sooth teething babies adorable lil’ gummies! We use Munchkin’s Mesh Baby Feeder for this and it’s a fav! Our go to is frozen watermelon and frozen pineapple!
  • Ice pops! There’s so many ways you can make them. But for us, simplicity wins! So for baby, I grab some chopped up fruit and mix with water. Mix it up a bit and naturally the water turns to fruit juice! If baby isn’t quite ready for small fruit pieces yet, blend it for some ice pop smoothness! I started with regular size pops that I held to feed, but then I came across baby size molds! Nubys Baby Pops Alhamdulillah because baby can hold it with those cute little fingers..and mama has some free hands while baby nom nom noms away! In sha Allah.

I’d love to hear any other ideas you have about keeping baby feeds quick and easy!

C-Section Recovery

What is it like after having a C-Section? Plus Tips and Advice for your C-Section Recovery!

Having a C-Section can be nerve wrecking. I totally get that. If you don’t need it, Alhamdulillah! (Praise and thanks to God) But if you do, Alhamdulillah! It’s a blessing that we have such technology and medicine today to be able do such a procedure. In my case, I wasn’t prepared for it. It wasn’t planned. (Wanna’ know the reason why, check out my c-section story) The recovery can be tough, but knowing about some of its struggles ahead of time may help you overcome them! In sha Allah (God willing)/iA.

  1. Numb Legs. It will take about 24 hours for you to feel your legs again. Ladies, this means you will be stuck to the bed with with a catheter! But once that spinal tap or epidural wears off, you’ll wiggle that toe and it will work its way up! iA
  2. Sore incision site. Your incision site will hurt obviously. Depending on where your incision is, they may have you cover it with maxi pads until it heals to keep it clean and prevent infection (i.e. if its under your bikini line) Also, your mid section will be sore for weeks, I’m not going to lie. No heavy lifting mama, just that adorable little baby of yours.
  3. Slow your role. You will be moving extremely slow for a couple weeks. Don’t let the paid meds fool you. Those things are strong. Your body needs this time to heal or your recovery will take even longer. For instance, I laid on my side on the floor because I really wanted to join my husband playing with our baby on the playmat. Only a couple days into being at home from the hospital and my incision opened up a tiny bit. My shirt was soaked in blood. I freaked out. Alhamdulillah, they fixed it right up the following day at my doctors appointment. It was very painful!
  4. Extra long bathroom breaks. Going potty will be a challenge for a bit. They just cut through you and pushed some stuff around to get that or those beautiful baby or babies out. So use that stool softener in the beginning. Standing up also helps as funny as that sounds.
  5. Pump or nurse frequently. I struggled with breastfeeding in the beginning. My daughter didn’t latch right away and my milk production was delayed! Once it came in, I was already supplementing with formula. However you choose to feed your baby, make sure you empty those breasts mama! Mastitis can occur when the breasts become engorged which may lead to clogged milk ducts. I had never even heard of mastitis until it happened to me in which case they prescribed me antibiotics. And yes, your boobs hurt!
  6. Good Nutrition. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables! You won’t be able to exercise for a few weeks so eating the right foods will help you feel good, both mentally and physically!
  7. Gentle C-Section. Ask your doctor if they can accommodate this for you. It allows you mama to bond more with your new born baby during the actual cesarian. Check out these two articles to learn more about it, one from The Bump and the other from CNN.
  8. C-Section Doula! This was news to me, but did you know you can still have a doula in this scenario!? If you know you are having a c-section, check to see if theres one in your area. The more support you have, the better iA especially during the recovery! I found a great example of one who explains the services provided in such a scenario. Check out their website Birthing Hands.

So yes recovering from a C-Section can be tough. I didn’t know much about the procedure or recovery process during my experience. I wanted to share with you so iA you can have a smoother recovery 🙂 Please drop a note and let me know your thoughts and/or experiences!

Salaam (Peace)!

My C-Section

When I had my section back in 2013, I was ignorant to how serious a surgery it is considered. I thought to myself, its just a c-section. They do it every day. To be honest with you, I had done no in depth research about it prior to signing the consent forms in the hospital bed. The most I’ve done was binge watching “A Baby Story” on TLC (anyone else love that show?), connecting with other moms through “The Bump” App and a day by day pregnancy book (more like a large picture book that totally freaked me out towards the back of the book so I really just skimmed through it) my lovely sister gifted me, by request haha. I still have it to this day. Ahhhh, I love a good run on sentence!

Alhamdulillah I had a pretty easy pregnancy. First trimester, I had the usual nasea and sleepiness. There were no crazy cravings although I remember loving cheese. (This is pre-dairy-free me) I worked out a lot before getting pregnant so I tried to keep up with it throughout. So much so that one of the doctors literally put it on my paper work in my third trimester, no more zumba. Like what? Isn’t exercise good during pregnancy? Unless there was something they weren’t telling me, I don’t really remember the underlying reason for that order.

I was about 39 weeks pregnant when my doctor told me she wanted me to go to the hospital. My initial reaction was why, I feel fine! ..to which her response was, do you want to be pregnant forever?! No, I wasn’t offended. She was a cool doctor, always smiling, joking around and I felt comfortable around her. I had the mentality, doctors know best so I went. Long story short, they monitored me and gave me the option to stay if I chose to be induced to which I said no. That was Tuesday.

I had another doctors appointment the following Friday. They sent me back to the hospital. Same scenario. I went home. I was hungry and really wanted some fro-yo! Ha. You don’t really know what to expect or feel during your first pregnancy but that night after our fro-yo date, I felt so much pressure. Whaaaat? Walking? No. Waddle? Yes! I wanted to go back to the hospital. My water hadn’t broke yet and I don’t remember any real contractions but like I said, 1st pregnancy you don’t know what to expect. To me, it felt like her head was right there!

I was admitted Friday night. We were so excited! I got an epidural. I thought the less pain, the better. Going all natural to me was foreign. Maybe it was all the episodes from TLC I watched, but I just envisioned the whole bath tub at home scene. Now I am all about that natural, holistic-first approach, but then not so much. I was in labor all night until the next morning. My doctor was on call, but did not arrive until 8am Saturday. I was exhausted. She greeted me and told me that I had been dilated for so long, but there was no progress to my daughter coming down. She gave me the option to try pushing which I had no idea how to do. No one really coached me through it. After what felt like 10 minutes, they offered me a c-section which I agreed to. Sub han Allah. On top of the epidurals, I received a spinal tap. I remember shaking a bit and feeling nasea through the procedure, but no pain just some pressure. Alhamdulillah. My daughter was born around 8:30 weighing 8lbs 5 ounces and 21 inches long! They immediately cleaned her up, wrapped her and gave her to me for a bit. No skin to skin, or immediate nursing. Shortly after, they took her to the nursery. I told my husband to go with her. I didn’t want her to be alone with a bunch of strangers! Shoo. Though she was new to us too, I’d like to think our voices were familiar. After they stitched me back up, they took me to a recovery room where I waited to be reunited with my lil’ family. Ma sha Allah.

Arrest of descent was the reason for my c-section. Whether it could have been avoided or not, only Allah knows. Allah is the best of all planners and I am truly grateful for it all. Alhamdulillah! With today’s medicine and technology, c-sections are amazing procedures when necessary. It was a smooth pregnancy and delivery I would say. The C-Section recovery is a whole other story that I hope to share soon, in sha Allah!

Reflections

Salaam (Peace)! As a new mom, people always told me, “Enjoy them while they are little, it goes so fast”, but I never really understood that until recently. My daughter is why I decided to be a stay at home mom, and now she is 4 going on 5 in sha Allah (God willing). Tear, tear! Having a baby in the house just makes her seem so much bigger to me! Like she’s fourteen, okay not that much bigger (ha), but sometimes she can act like a teenager! So independent, determined and strong willed. Its definitely a challenge for mama when I can be the same way, ma Sha Allah (as God has willed) and “woo-sah” (term used to let off some steam, from the movie Bad Boys II). She makes her own plans, cleverly uses the phrases I say to her on me and negotiates her reasons pretty darn well. If she doesn’t agree with your reasoning, she will ask you for another reason (insert laugh). Here I thought I was the boss at home. Ha! Such a little grown up already Alhamdulillah (Praise and thanks to God) #bossgirl

This brings me back to my son. I slowly see how fast he is moving from one phase to another, if that makes any sense. It simply amazes me. Guess the first time around, the new mom phase had me preoccupied! Alhamdulillah for round two. I pray that Allah (God) protects all our babies, even the big ones! Ameen.

My little Reflection for my little boy.

Six months have gone and come so fast

Alhamdulillah for such a blast.

Sleepless nights and cuddles galore

Alhamdulillah for this and more.

Nursing sessions, spit up and drool

Alhamdulillah you make it cool.

Now you’re standing, eating and sitting.

Alhamdulillah you’re so befitting.

Baby rolls from head to toe

Alhamdulillah to watch you grow.

Grunts and Giggles, kisses and hugs

Alhamdulillah your sweetness, it tugs.

A mama of 2, a brother, a son.

Alhamdulillah we love you a ton!

Homeschool. My Why. My How.

Salaam! (Peace) I wanted to share our homeschooling journey. Here it goes.

Back in the day, I used to think homeschooling was odd. I grew up in New York, went to school since preschool and lets face it, most movies don’t really depict it as being awesome! After having our daughter and discovering her dairy allergy, I didn’t feel too comfortable placing her in an environment where cows milk is the drink to have amongst her peers. If you have consumed dairy since you could remember (like I did), shopping dairy-free and eating dairy-free can seem intimidating. What the heck can I eat? Where do I shop? Will it taste good? ..I’d like to jump ahead and say YES! It does taste good. YES, there are lots of stores. YES, there are many things to eat. But that’s another story, in sha Allah (God willing) Anyhow, it was definitely a transition. Grocery shopping took forever, cooking was a struggle. Like anything new, it soon became much easier and I can say today its a lifestyle I am happy to live. Alhamdulillah (praise and thanks to be God). I eat healthier and have dabbed in the vegan/vegetarian world..something I used to think was odd too! But guys can I tell you, seriously some of the best dishes I have had! So this whole intro is one of the reasons we homeschool. Yes, now back to that!

Homeschooling is not so strange as I once thought. It is actually pretty awesome! Picture this. You make your child’s own schedule & you take to your child’s own interests. You can teach them anywhere! We spend a lot of time at parks and libraries. You are your child’s teacher. There are tons of other homeschooling families out there via facebook and instagram (for example) who have so willingly shared their ideas! That is how it began for me. I was inspired through Instagram…moms who were already on their homeschooling journey sharing it with other moms! We started with themes. It was usually a different theme each week including construction, sky and space, camping, dinosaurs, etc. Games, toys, art, worksheets, books and screen time for the week mostly tied into the theme. This takes prep time which I tried to do when she went to sleep. Eventually, I organized her toys with bins and labels which included pictures. She could find what she wanted and cleaning up was easier for her. Prior to this, her toys were one hot mess, overwhelming for both of us. As she got older, we switched from themes to letters and numbers. I focused more on worksheets. She became bored with that eventually. Worksheets feel like work to her and she really has to be in the mood for it. What works best for her today is imaginative play. I sneak in lessons that relate to her pretend play. For example, preschool biology when she plays doctor. I have a cartoon body chart from the dollar store hanging up in her room. This girl knows terms such as fibula, femur, spine. Alhamdulillah! Oh yes, the dollar store will be your best friend!! We also have a world map hanging in the dining room. When she whips out her map book, I sneak in some geology and world learning. I’ve found that hanging different posters around the house can really encourage learning. Maybe not right away but eventually, in sha Allah. That is my struggle. My eagerness to want to teach her something specific, but waiting on her readiness for that subject.

Did I mention there are so many different homeschooling styles too? Unschooling, Montessori, Charlotte Mason to name a few. This was a bit overwhelming to me in the beginning. How do I know which one to try first? So we just do what works for us. Most days its child led learning with an occasional nudge from mommy to do something more specific such as phonics. But hey, we are now dabbing into early reading!

One thing that has remained constant for us is getting outdoors! Whether it is going to the park, children’s museum or just strolling around the neighborhood, it truly does make a difference in our day. That vitamin D goes a long way! Having no car can make it tough to get outdoors, I know. We go on a lot of walks. Turn them into mini adventures like flying a kite, riding a bike, watching some bugs, picking some leaves, etc. These little things fill our day so much joy. Alhamdulillah. Living in Florida’s heat can limit our time outdoors, so we’ll troop it out early morning or late afternoon.

And Co-ops! What’s that? Basically a bunch of home schooling families that get together so the kids can socialize. We are part of one with some friends. Usually once a week, we get together for 1-2 hours or so and the kids love it! They play, they learn, they socialize and the mamas get to connect with one another. Its a win-win for both.

I realize every child is different and every parent is different! Adapting to everyones needs are crucial to make any situation work. Homeschooling is no different. We are constantly evolving and switching things up. Something may work for a little while and that is great! I do wish to continue our homeschooling journey for as long as I can. Recently, she has mentioned some interest in going to school. So we shall see! Allah (God) is the best of all planners!

Going from 1 to 2 kids

Prior to the birth of my son, my daughter was the center of it all. I was worried that being a new mommy to a new baby, Alhamdulillah, would make her feel pushed to the side and sad. We’re like peanut butter and jelly, now with an extra layer of something new smack in between. What was this “new sandwich going to taste like”? Speaking to other parents of two plus kids had given us their advice. My husband’s experience with his own sibling as a child had me on edge. I made dua (prayed) that it would be positive. Basically sprinkles on a cupcake! Sweet and, well, awesome!

We prepped her for her new role as big sister by talking about all the cool things she could do with her little bro, in sha Allah (God willing).  Since he has come home, she gives him kisses left and right! Alhamdulillah (praise and thanks to God). Dua (prayer) is powerful! Since my husband was home helping a lot the first two weeks or so, she had an increased attachment to him. I wanted to run around with them, but this mama needed to heal. The physical recovery phase feels slow when you’re in it, but its really the opposite. Babies grow so much within the first year, it also makes the time feel like its passing by so quickly.

As for mama, heres’s what helps me out:
  1. Showers in the morning. It helps me be alert even when running low on sleep.
  2. Baby carrier to wear baby and get some things done around the house ! Throw in some singing and dancing about what you’re doing, makes it extra fun for mom, older sibling and baby!
  3. Company! Conversation and a little distraction to sneak an extra cookie or two, or just an extended bathroom break.
  4. Lots of playtime for older sibling, dates with daddy and one-on-one play sessions (when baby naps).
Disclaimer: Im no pro. Just caring, sharing and spreading love! May Allah (God) protect our little children and strengthen their bonds with their siblings and parents! Ameen.

Staying at home with baby-The Whys and Transitional Tips!

Are you thinking about staying home with your baby? Do you wonder how stay at home mamas make it work?

Here is why I decided to make the switch

I was working full-time while I was pregnant with my 1st baby. We each had our own car and had purchased a house 2 years prior. I always thought I’d be a go to work mom prior to baby. Childcare is expensive and both of our immediate families lived out-of-state, except for his brother at the time. During pregnancy, we discussed child care. We came to a decision, but deep down I wasn’t convinced.

After holding her in my arms, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Who was going to watch our baby? Me. So towards the end of my maternity leave, I called my employer and gave them the news. Ahh, what a relief!

Now down to business at home and how we made it work.

Downsizing is key.

  • We sold our house within 4 months.
  • eliminated a car
  • said adios (Bye) to cable tv.  Nothing Hulu or Netflix can’t fix.

Did we like all these extras? Heck Yeah! Did we need all these extras? Not really. Was it a stressful transition? Yes. Considering it was decided a bit last minute.

In pursuing this journey, we had to evaluate what was most important to us. It wasn’t easy giving up my car, all the extra space and, yes, cable. But I get to do whats important what makes me happy. Alhamdulillah (arabic for praise & thanks to God).

My advice to you is to truly think about what makes you happy, pray for it and plan it out. Embrace the change!

Being a mother is an amazing job with lots of ups and downs! Whether you work full-time, part-time or stay at home… because you want to or you have to… you’re one cool boss chic.