2017 was a year full of growth for me. My family grew as Aryana made her debut on April fools day. My waistband grew as I devoted my time being a mother and enjoyed great food and got fat. My experiences grew as I took my babies and travelled to 5 countries in 1 year. However, most importantly 2017 was the year I grew the most I’ve ever done as a person. It was the year I realised what was the most important in life, the year I delve into my soul and found myself. The year where I realised just how lucky I really am. So more than anything, at the end of this year, I am THANKFUL. Thankful for my lovely family, my wonderful friends, thankful for my health, 2 beautiful beautiful children. Thankful that I have been so BLESSED with everything I have. And counting my blessings from the water I have running freely out of my tap today – to the healthy happy children I put to bed at night. I hope all of you, my friends, despite all the ups and downs which you encounter are as happy and free at the end of this year as am I. I sincerely hope for everyone I know personally and for those I don’t that 2018 will be a year of growth, of love, of happiness and of laughter. A year full of health and satisfaction and more over a year which you can look back on with love overflowing in your heart. Happy New Year to my loved ones near and far! Love you all! 💗
It’s 3 days until the NEW YEAR 2018, now I don’t know about you but for this mama bear over here, that does NOT mean ‘3 days until a New Year party + hangover’. However, it DOES MEAN ‘3 days until a fresh start.’ Starting my year with 2 cute babies (if I don’t say so myself) a whole new set of goals and ambition to unlock, new routines to set in place and whole new year of motherhood! Excited? Yes. Anxious? A little. I’ve always been slightly over ambitious, however, I like it. There exists in our wonderful world an awesome saying which over the years has slowly become my mama mantra;
“Reach for the moon and you’ll land somewhere amongst the stars.”
Yah, yah I know as a science-y mom it’s doesnt make 100% sense. But the moivational sense is just perfect right? So thats pretty much what I always do, aim to do way too much stuff then I could probably possibly handle, don’t achieve it always but then when I look back, I’ve still done a hell of a lot anyways. Awesome right? Anywaaaays, down below I’m listing my top ways in which I will be prepping for the New Year 2018!
TIP 1: Getting lots of rest – I’m one of those oh soooo lucky housewives (THANK YOU HUSBAND) who doesn’t have to work. However, people confuse this daily with thinking that us housewives get a whole bunch of time to rest. Three words. So not true. This holidays I’ve been super lucky because baby daddy was home and I got a whole bunch of sleep ins. That was sooo great because at the end of this year I was literally feeling at my breaking point from exhaustion. So if you can, get some rest to stock you up for the happenings of 2018.
TIP 2: AGENDA PLANNING – I don’t know about the rest of the world but I literally cannot live without an agenda/diary. I know that may seem so old school as we do have phones etc. nowadays, yet I still feel so accomplished when I write down all the stuff I have to do and then tick them off. So go shopping and grab yourself a planning tool!
TIP 3: FAMILY ROUTINE – I’m a club mama, social mama, blogging mama, gym mama, insta mama, studying mama, stay at home mama. I don’t usually go for stereotypes but IF I had to fit myself into a stereotype, these are a few that I’d fit into. Alongside this I have 2 babies, with different routines and clubs and swimming lessons, okay okay you get my point. My point IS, drawing up a family routine that you’ll be able to stick to on a day to day basis throughout the year without many changes is a MUST and a key to success.
TIP 4: DETOXING – When you hear this word are you thinking juice detoxes? I’m not. However, I am thinking, detox the mind body and soul, so I’m not waiting until after the new year to head back to the gym or to eat healthy. I’ve piled on a few pounds (to say the least). I’ve been eating so unhealthily and I’m just generally feeling sluggish and lazy all over. So instead of waiting until after the new year to start feeling healthy again where I feel that will essentially be kind of starting the New Year negatively if I start it feeling the way I feel now, I’ve decided I’m going to get a kick start on my health goals and start NOW. So that I can start my new year already feeling healthy.
TIP 5: BE HAPPY AND ELIBERATE MY SOUL – This will for sure be the hardest one. 2017 has been one of my favourite years, yet it was also filled with some disappointment in the outer fields (like not enough time for the blog etc.). But hey, who doesn’t have occasional disappointments now and again? I mean would life be life without them? More importantly I’ve learnt this year to focus on the positive and the positive for this year was that I feel like I excelled in my motherhood. Now I don’t mean to say that I believe that I am the perfect mother or anything like that but what I mean to say is that I feel that although not achieving goals in other areas of my life, I feel like I’ve achieved all goals that I set for myself as a mother, I feel as though I have found my balance with my and my two precious angels, so that’s the HAPPY part. Now for the hard part; eliberating my soul. Letting go of the things that disappointed me will only make space for all the new things and aspects I want to add to my life right? And I know most of us, including me, say we let go of things but how many of us really do so? Or are they forever lurking thoughts in the back of our mind? Letting go of circumstances you can’t change is letting true happiness into your heart and that my friends is what I aim to do and so should you!
So there you have it my TOP FIVE TIPS to help me transition from this year to the next full of vibrance, positivity and love. How about yours? Let me know your goals for the upcoming year!
X O X O X
So Christmas is over but the festive spirit of course is still very alive in our hearts! Keeping our teeth white and not wine stained is quite hard, especially during this time of the year, however, I’ve incorporated a new step into my daily routine that’s helping me keep my smile white! Check out the link below and give it a thumbs up if you like it, see you on the next post!
It’s the countdown until the New Year and everyone is rushing around doing their last minute Christmas shopping; presents, food, wrapping paper, tinsel, glitz and glam. I am one of those people. My baby boy is not a baby boy anymore and actually just turned 3. Making my christmas shopping a whole lot harder as of course Santa now is an existant person in our house. Of course ‘santa’ has completed his rounds for the babies, yet there is still friends and family to buy for. Of course, as my title indicates, I’ll be babywearing and down below I’ll list my TOP 10 places where you’ll find me and my babies. If you want to purchase your own ISARA baby carrier this x-mas (because c’mon is there a better present) then just click HERE.
#1 THE MALL (doing my shopping of course)
#2 THE CHRISTMAS MARKET (drinking some spiced wine and eating roasted chestnuts)
#3 KAUFLAND (where I find my fave vegan produce)
#4 WALKS TO THE OFFICE (Santa’s secret grotto, where all the magic takes place and where the presents will never be found 🙂 )
#5 AT THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS (We love the little things in life and a visit to Christmas lights on a cold evening is the most uplifting, fun and free activity to do with my babies every winter)
#6 CARTURESTI (Those who don’t live in my city wont get this but basically it’s my favourite book store – I’ll walk there when it’s my baby girl’s nap time and whilst she’s snoozing away in the ISARA I’ll settle down with a good book and some quiet time for an hour, bliss!)
#7 WALKS WITH CLIFFY (my puppy, if you haven’t met him already, check out my VLOGS on YT)
#8 X-MAS PARTIES (because who said you couldn’t party anymore, having my ISARA is EXACTLY the reason I can attend all my child friendly parties with my babies)
#9 BABY GROUPS (as Christmas is such a busy period I love taking quality time out to focus just on the babes and me, quality time + play time)
#10 CAR – APARTMENT TRIPS (what do you do when you’ve got a bunch of shopping in the car to be carried up, yet you also have a baby too? Easy, slip your ISARA on, your baby into it, then you have not one but TWO hands free to carry that stuff upstairs.)
So there’s the TOP 10 PLACES you’ll find me this Christmas holiday with my ISARA. Where can I find you with yours?
Let me know in the comments below! Catch you next time!
Of course as everything starts on instagram, so will this blog post too. Since my first child, I have occasionally been posting snaps on instagram of us at baby swim lessons, and of course without fail, every single time, I will receive a message probing all about swimming with babies, are they too small? Do they cry? Is it safe? What age can I start? So here below I’m going to list all the pro’s of taking your little babes swimming, unfortunately I won’t be listing and of the cons as there aren’t any (not in my opinion anyways). So let’s dive (pun intended) right in.
Q1. At what age can I begin to take my baby swimming?
Technically speaking, you can take your baby swimming from any age, I mean they were basically grown in utero in their own private swimming pool, right? Many mothers obviously are not usually up for taking a newborn baby swimming at a couple of weeks old and of course you will find that neither are *swimming lessons* provided for infants so young. I’ve seen in some countries they have swimming lessons starting around 3 months old, over on my side of the world they had a starting age of 4 months and so that’s when I started to take my babies swimming. Most importantly you should both be happy, fit and well before wanting to partake.
Q2. What about the chlorine in the pool?
Due to delicate immune systems, doctors usually recommend that babies are kept out of pools or chlorinated lakes until 6 months of age. However, if you are lucky enough to find a pool near you (as I did) which is 100% baby friendly then go ahead. By baby friendly, I mean the pool where we take lessons are for 0-3years old ONLY (so not a public pool). Filtered 24/7, only has natural salt in the water and no chlorine. The specific pool where I take my children is made specifically for baby swim lessons, therefore if you can’t find such a thing near you, then I’d advise waiting until 6 months.
Q3. What if my baby cries?
Usually, you will find that if you introduce a baby young enough to the water then very rarely will they cry. It is also advised that if you do plan on taking your baby swimming from an early age then you can start by practising at home in the bathtub, by filling up the water pretty high and giving them the right support underneath their neck etc. in order to let themselves accomodate with the ‘free’ feeling in the vast amount of water and the upthrust which they may feel at the beginning. If on the other hand you do get a negative reaction from baby the first time you take them to the pool, then I advise to take them out immediately and either after calming them down try again within that session or taking them home and trying again the next week. Either way, negative association and forcing a child into the pool will never reap positive benefits, it will only reinforce negative behaviour and stabilize fear (which we don’t want to happen).
Q4. Does it really help my babies intelligence?
YES! YES! YES! Cross-patterning movements builds neurons throughout the brain, but especially in the corpus callosum, which facilitates communication, feedback, and modulation from one side of the brain to another. Down the line, this improves:
- reading skills
- language development
- academic learning
- spatial awareness
When swimming, your baby moves their arms while kicking their legs. And your cutie is doing these actions in water, which means their brain is registering the tactile sensation of water plus its resistance. Swimming is also a unique social experience, which furthers its brain-boosting power!
Q5. How does it physically help my baby?
Physically speaking, of course it is an exercise and it helps muscle tonus, stronger neck and spinal control as well as facilitating arm and leg movement. From a personal point of view, both of my kiddo’s started sitting upright on their own at 5months old and I have a little hunch that swimming played a role in this super baby strength!
6. Learning to swim helps prevent drowning.
As a mother, I obviously want to respect my childrens wishes and needs and never want to force them into doing something which they do not wish to do. However, I have always said that swimming is an obligatory thing that they will have to learn and they don’t have a choice. Why? Because swimming is a key life skill, it can be in so many occasions the line between a positive to a negative outcomes, which as a parent I do not even want to go there and think about. Therefore even if they didn’t like swimming I would have made them learn at a time they could understand it’s importance. However, lucky for me this is not the case, as I started swimming with them so young, I have two water babies who absolutely love the water. However, if this is not the case for you, I do urge you to try and push your child in a positive way to learn just enough swimming to maybe be able to save themselves one day. (Children really do fall in fountains a lot, take a google).
So anyways guys, that’s my intake on swimming today, if you did have any more questions, mail me or drop them in the comments below and I’d be happy to answer them.
PS. INCASE you did need another reason to take your baby swimming, then I PROMISE you, they sleep so gooood after a swim sesh and literally will never miss a nap, they also will sleep for a couple of hours. So if you needed motivation, you got it.
Just keep swimming!
As a mother who is obsessed with all things ‘mommy’, I have come to realise how many parents/mothers are so frightened to travel with children. Remotely for the reason that it may be a tough journey, it is hard, they’re not sure how to deal with it. It’s also particularly for that reason, that I see many people in the Romanian culture not taking their kids whilst young on vacations, preferring to either stay home for the first ten summers after they have a child or leave the children with a nanny/grandparents and go on holiday without their little counterparts. My opinions aside, I or should I say we – me and my husband, have never and have agreed to never leave our children behind when we go on a vacation (until they become teenagers of course and then make the choice to not come with us). Purely because as a couple that travel A LOT, we believe that travel is education – the beauty is not just waiting for you at the destination, but it is also within the travel itself. Children become who they are from their experiences and I am a strong believer that if you are blessed enough to visit other parts of our beautiful world then when they view it too, it benefits and educates their tiny souls in more ways than we can imagine. In our family, we LOVE the journey, and I’m truly not exaggerating here, it’s one of our favourite parts of all the countries we go to and some of the best memories we have, have been made on the journeys. If I
really had to give you a sincere con with travelling with babies, it is the amount of baggage you have to carry, or so the amount it seems that you do. Then again, we have two babies, double the trouble. So without further ado, let me bullet point my top tips for you in order to keep your travel as smooth going as possible.
- BACKPACKS – these are a sacred must, each of us has a backpack, easier to carry on our backs, for long haul walks through airports, the weight is evenly distributed, it avoids bag slipping, and you can even get trendy, sturdy backpacks if you’re a fashionista.
- BABY WEARING – Boy oh boy, we would not have survived all those countries without our baby carriers. Ergonomic of course for healthy baby hips, comfortable and it means your hands are free. The way we do it, is one baby each and that’s basically where they stay for most of our journeys. Sincerely, I’m not sure either of us remember life without a baby carrier. Purchase yours today by clicking the link HERE. If you need to know more about carriers, which is the best for you and all about ergonomic carriers, then you can take a browse through my previous posts, or you can click HERE
- ORGANIZATION – in those backpacks you’re carrying around, make sure you know what is where and in which compartment, making life a ton easier when you need to whip out some diapers or some water.
- CRYING BABIES – if you’re waiting in a line at security, or any line for that matter of fact and your baby starts crying. Don’t panic, in fact try soothing your baby in your usual way because any ways chances are people will let you go first and then you can get your baby sorted out. It’s a win/win for both you and your baby. Ps. Don’t tell anyone I said that.
- EASY CLOTHING – here’s the thing, all these people that travel so super trendy with nice normal clothes and accessories etc. FORGET THAT. A simple tracksuit, that’s comfortable, easy to open if breastfeeding, easy to sit and run and carry and sweat and cool down in. Ok, that’s gross, but you get my point. I mean anyways tracksuits, sweatpants etc. are so in nowadays, so if you’re reading this blog post and it’s 2017, then you’re in luck, grab yourself a new travelling outfit.
- BABY CLOTHING – dress them in light, cotton layers, that are also easily breathable and don’t over layer them like dumplings on your buffet plate. If you’re babywearing, they’ll have your body heat anyways and if they’re in the pram, a nice comfortable tracksuit/other outfits plus a blanket will do the trick. When they’re hot they’ll kick it off, when they’re not they’ll snuggle in. Much easier than taking a jacket on and off.
- SAY NO TO THE WHEELS – avoid trying to take a pram on the flight, it ends up being a hassle and if it is a low cost flight you’ll end up watching your pram in the middle of nowhere near the plane wondering if it’ll even make it to your destination. If you can, check the pram in and pick it up on the other side. If you don’t have a carrier, or baby prefers the pram then learn to open and close it with one hand if travelling alone.
- SNACKS – I know many moms are against food bribery, I’m all about food bribery, just keep it healthy and you won’t have a problem.
- TOYS – pack a multitude of SMALL toys that are also light in weight in contrast to one big toy. Once baby gets bored of that one big toy, then what are you going to do? Small toys can be constantly rotated through the journey keeping baby occupied when needed.
- BOOKS – a couple of light weight books is always a good thing to bring. Raising baby bibliophiles in our family means that we never go anywhere without books.
- CHILL– just always go AHEAD of time compared to other passengers who travel without babies, that way you’ll never be in a rush and you can go at the pace of your family. The most important advice I can give a mama friend out there is to stay relaxed. I’m at my most relaxed when I travel and my babies feel that vibe, so luckily they’re just as relaxed when travelling too. These experiences are always fun so as long as you empathise with them and fulfill their needs, you’ll have the sweetest baby jetsetters to accompany you on your journey. GUARANTEED.
So pack your bags, pack your babies and enjoy the ride!
As I attempt to type out this post, I have a nearly threenager crying in his bedroom because he doesn’t want his nappy changed and a 7 month oldm trying to type out her own blog post on my keyboard. You see, the thing is, I see all these ‘insta moms’ with the perfect profile pics and the perfect cutesie kids who pose for the camera. Never missing a blog post, a workout and always religiously posting and updating their instagram. Then, there’s me, perfectly imperfect. Missing months at a time without posting on my blog, although I vow everytime, that I will post daily. I don’t even remember the last time I had a good workout, actually I don’t even remember the last time I had one hour to myself. I would say that when I sleep I do, but then again I’m a co-sleeper and a breastfeeder, so of course. That’s not to myself.
Now it may seem like I’m complaining, seriously though, I am not. I guess the only thing I’m trying to say is that whilst it may have taken my fellow insta mama’s not so long to find their daily routine, it has taken me a whole 7 months to get into the flow of things. In those 7 months, I’ve also travelled 4 countries with 2 babies. Hosted a Christening, had my toddler join a new school, and also sign myself up to school. Also a lot of amazing going on in my life. It’s been crazy going since I’ve had two children, it’s been wonderful and it’s been time consuming, moreover, it’s been magical. And although my blog currently has no ‘scope’ as one would say, it is merely some kind of online diary, which is fine by me because my blog is after all Life of a Chocolate Girl, and this after all, is my life. I am in some way finally finding some equilibrium. Thank you, my subscribers for being on this journey with me and for those of you who want to know just how hard it is getting stuff done, I’m putting my latest VLOG below. Until next time…
ERGONOMIC: Yet another term used forever by mama’s all around the world and especially by baby wering mama’s, ergonomic is the next new hip word used on the market (literally). But what exactly does this mean?
ERGONOMIC DEFINITION: An applied science concerned with with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely —called also biotechnology, human engineering, human factors
ERGONOMICS IN BABY WEARING: If you apply the above definition to a baby carrier then that means the carrier should be consistent with the following points;
- Fit the wearer comfortably and distribute baby’s weight evenly on his or her body.
- Support baby’s, hips, spine and pelvis
- They should be designed to seat the baby in the ‘M’ position – whereby the bottom is in the centre, lower than the height of the knees and their hips are spread open.
ISARA baby carrier is one of the leading baby carriers worldwide, as not only are they consistent with all the ergonomics when it comes to baby wearing, they are also approved by the International Hip Dysplasia institute, as well as this, they go above and beyond with their product(s). Only organic cotton, adjustability to suit all baby sizes, funky patterns and prints, and even more coming soon. If you are looking for a baby carrier, then it is a MUST to check them out @www.isara.ro
SEPTEMBER, apart from being one of my favourite months of the year, cue sweet potato pie and the wonderful weeks of autumnal summer, is also a month that many of us mothers can relate to. September signifies new beginnings, new starts and new things. New schools, new school years, new nurseries, new lunchboxes, new backpacks for the older children and for the younger children, new growth spurts, new adventures, new baby groups and new baby carriers.
Picking a baby carrier can be tricky if you’re not sure what you are looking for but as any baby wearing mama will tell you, it has to fit like the perfect shoe for both YOU and your sweet baby. As well as this, it must follow certain safety standards, be ergonomic, easily adjustable and easy to use whenever needed (which is nearly all the time when babies are going through a growth spurt). Luckily ISARA has got that covered for you, so you don’t need to look any further, however, if you’re new to the baby wearing lifestyle, then you may be wondering where to go next. If that’s you then keep reading below because I just did your homework for you (you can thank me later).
When we’re talking baby carriers, usually we are referring to a carrier which has buckles and fancy accessories attached in opposition to a sling or wrap (which ISARA also make – we’ll cover that in another post). As I previously said in my last VLOG <- clik here, ISARA have rigorously covered all the health and safety standards as well as ensuring our babies grow with the healthiest hips, therefore when choosing an ISARA, safety definitely need not come to mind once you cross over onto their website. So to begin with ALL CARRIERS ARE ERGONOMIC. So that’s the first point ticked off your check list. However, the next step to think about when buying is the sizing.
When picking the size of your carrier, ISARA have 2 sizes; Standard size and toddler size.
The standard size: Approx. 1 month old (4kg) – 20kg (does not need a newborn insert)
Toddler size: 8kg – 20kg
Keep in mind that if you have 2 children e.g. a newborn and a toddler then one standard size can be bought to fit the both of them, instead of the usual scenario of buying two separate baby carriers. The toddler size varies in length of vertical panelling so that larger children can have a more comfortable sit, however the standard is just as comfortable for them too, albeit the panelling being slightly shorter to fit smaller infants.
Next we’re talking MATERIAL – You’ll see over at the ISARA site, that they offer 3 options to choose from; Organic cotton (certified), classic cotton and woven wrap. Actually at this point in time, the site needs a little update as ISARA officially does not do any other cotton except for organic cotton anymore. The FOXY print before was constructed of classic cotton but now even that is organic cotton. awesome right? The other option is the carriers made of woven wrap. Each mama will have their own preference from their own research, so that should be easy in that sense. I believe the two different materials make a more slight difference depending on the baby in some cases. Eg. preemie’s, more sensitive babies, babies who like to mould into their mommy’s more may prefer the woven wrap material, as it is slightly softer, more breathable and more ‘breakable’. However, on another extreme if you were going straight in and buying for a 2 year old toddler then maybe you’d prefer, as I did, the organic cotton. It’s a littleee more rigid than woven wrap (in a good way), it holds the weight of a child very well, especially little bodies that love to wriggle, squirm and GROW, and the best part is the next and last point when choosing your carrier…
PATTERNS & PRINTS: This is the easiest and most fun part when it comes to choosing your ISARA baby carrier! ISARA have a wide variety of funky patterns, prints and colours. Some more vibrant, some more gentle, some with images and some without or if you’d like something more calm and simple, they also have unicolour carriers, it’s your choice!
So choose a carrier for you and your baby, even better choose a carrier WITH your baby and enjoy the many adventures and memories you’ll make together in your ISARA carrier! Also don’t forget if you’re an instagram user to use the hashtags #isarassc #isara #loveisara #isaraxlcg so the team over at ISARA can follow your adventures too!
As I’m always that mama blogger that just loves throwing those baby terms and phrases out there, if you follow me on instagram then you would have seen that I recently posted a picture of me
naked with my baby girl. Thus inspiring me towards this blog post so I could talk (or type) about the pure intimacy, the closeness and the benefits of the now more commonly heard term: skin – to skin.
So what is Skin – to – Skin?
The definition of skin – to – skin (also known as kangaroo care, or kangaroo mother care (KMC) is holding a baby bare chested against the care givers bare chest from birth and as much as you can throughout the first few months of life.
More importantly: What are the main benefits of skin – to skin?
- Keeps baby warmer, regulates breathing and heartbeat and keeps blood sugar levels higher.
- Mothers who practise skin to skin find that they recognise their babies needs much more easily (in my case this is true, I’ve always known what my babies wanted purely from instinct from the strong maternal bond)
- Babies who are kept close via a sling or kangaroo care are most likely to breastfeed exclusively and for longer (very true)
- The physical contact of skin to skin will increase the mum’s supply of the happy hormone OXYTOCIN – happy mum, happy baby!
- Skin to skin stabilizes a baby’s body temperature for them, no machines in the world can let you know if your baby is too hot or too cold, it we can only keep our baby in a median average temperature, however, when practising skin to skin a mothers breasts have the ability to recognize the baby’s needs temperature wise and adjust accordingly. A cooler fact? A twin mother’s breasts will adjust accordingly to each baby if one child is placed on each breast. Our bodies know what’s best for our babies!
- Easy transition from the womb – studies have shown that babies who are held skin to skin are more physiologically and emotionally stable than babies who are placed in incubators. They also demonstrate better neurobehavioral outcomes such as less crying, lower pain response and better breastfeeding.
- Studies of babies having to go through clinical procedures, such as preemies in the NICU, show that skin to skin definitely helps pain relief and that the duration of the pain is shortened by the close contact. Researchers are hoping that in the new future, findings from these studies will be taken into consideration and that a real breakthrough will be made in newborn care, especially for those who have to go through any types of painful procedures.
As you can see nothing is better for our newborn babies than a mama’s body. Just as through the whole pregnancy a mother’s body changes accordingly to adapt and grow a child within her, skin to skin proves that a mothers body also knows’ best during the fourth trimester of childcare and the transitioning from the womb to the outside world. As well as all the benefits, kangaroo care can be just fun in itself, so whilst your babies are tiny, skin to skin as much as you can and enjoy the bond that will be formed between you and your tiny loved one(s).