How Do I Protect my Family from the Sun? (A “Hippy” Mama take on Sun Exposure)

Since moving to Hawaii one of the most frequent questions that I receive on my Instagram/YouTube is about sun protection.


“What do you do to protect your child from the suns harmful rays?”

“How do you protect yourself from getting sun burn?”

“What brand of sunscreen do you use?”


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The sun isn’t something we should have to fear. After all, the sun is the source of life! So, I want to begin by saying that a proper amount of sun is not harmful to us, in fact, it is tremendously beneficial.

Why? Well, because we need the sun for Vitamin D.

Yes, there are some Vitamin D supplements available; but from experience, they simply do not work the same. Furthermore, studies are coming to find that Vitamin D is more beneficial than we ever thought. Vitamin D affects our hormones (actually, Vitamin D is considered a hormone), proper calcium absorption, and our immune system health (amongst other things).

Vitamin D is thought of as the “happy vitamin” because it balances our hormones and makes us feel happy.

As a person who grew up in a cold climate, and moved to a tropical climate, I have first hand experience on how it feels to get a proper amount of Vitamin D verses being Vitamin D deficient.
lukes old iphone oct 15 13 095

I was taking a Vitamin D supplement back in the North east of America (3oooIU), but I was still suffering from tooth decay, depression, and a not-so-healthy immune system. Since we have moved to the tropics (and getting healthy amounts of sun) my oral health has improved dramatically. I haven’t had a single cavity! I also haven’t been ill in the last eight months, where as I used to average around 4 + illnesses in a single winter season. My mood has also changed dramatically as well.

From this experience, my husband and I have come to understand how important Vitamin D is for our mental and physical health.

So, to answer your question: I make sure to get a healthy amount of sun everyday and almost never wear sunscreen (more on that later).

BUT what about sun burn, that surely can not be healthy, right?

I remember having sunburn frequently as a kid.

mollyAs a fair skinned person I assumed that sunburn was a curse, and unavoidable. In the summer, my parents would lather my sisters and me with sunscreen each time we played outside. You would think that with all of the precaution we would have been saved from sun burned, but we weren’t. My sisters and I have had many, many sun burns. I have even had a few cases of painful, severe sun poisoning that covered my face and shoulders.

Why did I get such bad sunburns even though I was wearing sunscreen?

The simple answer: Too much sun exposure.

As the 2016 summer season is beginning I have been seeing posts on social media from loving mothers whose children recently suffered bad burns from the sun.

One mother mentioned that she and her children were out on their first beach day of the year for 5 hours, liberally applying sunscreen, but were still severely burned.

So, the burning question (pun intended) is: why?

Here’s the long answer: It’s important that we (children especially) are eased into the sun, and are only given the proper amount of direct sunlight that our skin can handle.

Let me explain:

1. Children (especially babies) are more likely to burn because their skin is so fresh and new. They need to be acclimated to the sun’s rays gradually.

2. When we spend months indoors (due to winter) and then emerge into the sun when the weather warms up again, we have to be cautious about our first sun exposure of the season. Our skin is not re-acclimated to the suns rays yet and burning can (and most likely will) occur if we aren’t careful about the amount of time we spend in direct sunlight.

3. Even after we become acclimated to the suns rays, a healthy amount of time in direct sunlight is around 1.5 hours for most fair to “medium” skinned people. After that, it’s beneficial to get into the shade.

Back when our parents were raising us there was no such thing as social media or the internet, and so, they didn’t have the same information that we have. Our parents had to follow government guidelines, doctor’s orders, and advice from their family, friends, or even infomercials. Today, many parents are beginning to understand the importance of doing their own research when it comes to everything.

Many parents have the idea that if they simply use sunscreen their family can stay in the direct sunlight for as long as they desire and not get sun burn. That is simply not the case. Too much sun exposure is too much sun exposure whether we are wearing sunscreen or not.

Furthermore, research has linked ingredients used in some sunscreens to cancer.

Yes, I know, it feels like everything causes cancer these days. I know that it feels like one-more-thing we have to worry about as a parent. I know we have a lot on our plates. I know that we don’t want to hear this, but it’s the truth. We have preventative information at our finger tips that we can choose to use or ignore; and sometimes, it feels easier to ignore it.

The first summer after my daughter was born; someone gifted me a tube of “baby” sunscreen to use on her. I remember looking at the tube and thinking “What is IN sunscreen that it can actually block the sun??” How could we block the sun with a lotion? That just didn’t seem right. I have never given sunscreen a second thought until that moment. After that, I thought: Oh wonderful, another thing to research!

What I found was that many sunscreens were harmful even though they were well marketed, and popularly used. Sadly, profit trumped human health in this instance.

(You can see a list of the best and worst sunscreens here.)

The good news is that there are a few brands of sunscreens that are OK to use.

badger
When I was questioning if I wanted to use sunscreen on my daughter I asked our Holistic MD what she thought. She said the best brands of sunscreen were made from Zinc Oxide. I researched and found a brand called “Badger” that makes safe and effective baby and adult sunscreen. Later, it was recommended to me by several other experts, and friends that I trusted. It’s also vegan and not tested on animals.

I bought a tube of “Badger” sunscreen that summer with the intention on using it. What’s funny is that we never used it. And, we didn’t use it the summer after that either.

iphonesummerfall2014 196 We simply used hats, rash guards, and blankets to cover our daughter while in the hot sun. We were also conscious of the amount of time she spent in direct sunlight.

She never once wore sun block, and she never once had sun burn.

It wasn’t until our daughter was nearly three years old that sunscreen touched her skin. It was after we moved to Maui. We realized that the sun was much stronger here, and we needed to take more precautions. She got her first sun burn, so we decided to use sun screen sparingly.

If we know that we will be playing in the direct sunlight for over an hour, we simply put a dot of sunscreen on her nose and cheeks. That’s it.

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Before I let you go I want to give you a few tips for sun exposure:

Don’t be afraid of the sun. After all, the sun is the source of life. Try to spend up to 30 minutes in the sun so you can get a proper amount of Vitamin D.

Be conscious of the amount of time you/your kids are in direct sunlight. Time can fly when you are having fun. Keep track of the time, and once 1.5 hours (or the time your body is used to) goes by…get into the shade!

Seriously, get in the shade! I know it’s fun to play volleyball, body surf the waves at the beach, and build sand castles—but too much time in the sun will burn your skin, and the shade will help protect you from that.

Set up your stuff in a shaded area so that your children will be in the shade each time they return to you for snacks, toys, or cuddles.

Avoid being in direct sunlight during the hottest peak hours of the day (10am-2pm) OR be conscious of the time in the sun and limit the time.

Wear hats, and sunglasses in direct sunlight.

Use sun block when you know you will be in the sun for longer than what your body is used to but still monitor how much time you spend in the sun.

Acclimate yourself to the sun. Start by being in direct sunlight 10 minutes a day, and then 15 minutes a day, and then 30 minutes a day…and so on.

• If you live in a climate with a cold winter be aware that your skin needs to re-acclimate every summer to the strong sun.

If you are going on a vacation to a location that is close to the equator remember that the sun in stronger.

Note: This, of course, is not meant to be a “know all” blog post. I highly encourage you to do your own research and find your own truth when it comes to sun exposure. I am simply sharing what I have learned and what works for our family. Each person will have a different threshold before a burn. My mention of 1.5 hours is not for everyone…it’s a general idea. Also, 1.5 hours may be too much for daily exposure. Find out what your personal threshold is by acclimating yourself to the sun.

*I also want to mention that I am not affiliated with Badger brand sun screen and I am not getting paid to recommend their product. I simply really like their sun screen, and wanted to let other mothers know about it. 

Information: Environmental Working Group on Sunscreen Safety , Facts on Vitamin D , Harvard Study on Health and Vitamin D

“Correctly applied sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 90 percent. (8) And not all sunlight is created equal: The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays—the so-called “tanning” rays, and the rays that trigger the skin to produce vitamin D—are stronger near the equator and weaker at higher latitudes. So in the fall and winter, people who live at higher latitudes (in the northern U.S. and Europe, for example) can’t make much if any vitamin D from the sun.” -A Harvard Study on Vitamin D (last reference above)

Watch my video on how moving to the tropics changed my health:

Check out my YouTube Channel: Its All Ways Beautiful
Also my Instagram: @ItsAllWaysBeauitful

Check out my E-BOOK on dream following + our story of how we moved to Maui here!

Dear Struggling Mom

Every once in awhile I receive an email from a struggling new mama who feels hopeless, and alone, and they ask for my advice. The thing is… I don’t have advice. For the most part, all I can offer is support, encouragement, and some tips that I learned from trial and error. Because the truth is…I am there with you! I struggled to!

The biggest mistake that we make as mothers is not supporting each other by being honest about our experiences.

We do each other an injustice when we pretend that we are perfect.

We fear talking about our struggles, because we don’t want to be judged. But, the truth is, we ALL feel that way at some point, and we SHOULD talk about it.

So, I’m going to talk about it….

I struggled, and I still struggle sometimes.

If you struggle, here is my letter to you…

Dear Struggling Mom,

I want you to know that I FEEL you!

Many of the struggle stories that I hear are part of my own story as a mother.

Just because I have a blog, post high quality photographs of Kaia being cute, and talk about how sweet life is on Instagram, doesn’t mean that I am perfect. Sure, our little family is happy a lot of the time, but that doe not mean that we are always happy. The truth about life is that it is bittersweet; and that means sometimes it has to be bitter. (And, nothing is “wrong” with bitter, it’s just part of being alive!)

luke old phone pics 310So, what was my experience?

Birth was exhausting, tough, beautiful work, which left me exhausted for weeks after. I had a complication that made my recovery hell-ish, and I was stuck in bed for nearly two weeks; unable to even carry my newborn baby, Kaia.

Next came the breast feeding. Breast feeding was the most difficult thing I ever did. I remember feeling so tired, and hopeless, that I almost gave it up several times. My breasts were painfully engorged, and I couldn’t get Kaia to latch for days. She had nipple confusion, and was very fussy, and I didn’t think we would even make it to 2 months (You can read the breastfeeding full story in Ellen Fisher’s blog here).saras baby outfit 071

During this time I remember thinking “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? Other moms make it look so easy! Why am I the only one who struggles so much?”

Then came baby carrying. Let me tell you: I was NOT prepared for how physically demanding motherhood would be. I returned to my 110lb pre-pregnancy weight very fast, and Kaia was a heavy baby, weighing in at nearly 18lbs by 4 months old. I was in a lot of pain trying to carry her around. I remember the same challenges and feelings that many new moms describe when they are trying to baby wear.

I remember thinking “Why can other mothers do this? Are they stronger than me? Are their babies smaller than mine? Do their babies like the carriers?”

Since Kaia didn’t like the carriers, I ended up having to carry her in my arms almost constantly, and she only ever wanted to face outwards, never towards my chest. As I am sure you already know, that is awful for the spine, and creates horrible back pain. When she was 6 months old she finally let me use the carriers, but by that point I was in the worst back pain of my life. I finally decided to see a chiropractor when Kaia was 15 months old, and that helped tremendously.

Sounds rough, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t all that bad. I actually loved all of this. It helped me learn, and grow as a mother (and as a person).

You see, I am not telling you about this to complain. I am actually very thankful for my experience, and would not change a single thing about it. The reason I am telling you this, is so that you understand that you are not alone.

I think every mother finds themselves in this place where they had plans for how they wanted to parent, and they come to find that sometimes things just don’t work out how we expected. Sometimes our babies have other ideas of what they want, or circumstances like physical barriers that hold us back. All I know is that I tried my absolute best. That was the only thing I could do.

Taking care of a young baby is the toughest job on earth. I truly believe that. It is also the most blissful, beautiful job, but it is also the toughest. It is very physically demanding, and many of us moms are not prepared for that. The truth is that as humans we were designed to raise children in tribes.

saIn tribes, all of the women would help care for each others children. If we still lived in the tribe, this would benefit us tremendously. We would have someone to leave the baby with so we could care for ourselves, we would have a woman to ask for advice when it comes to breastfeeding, baby wearing, and so on. We would have a support group to help us through these tough moments. We would share the responsibilities of taking care of all of the babies, and children.

Sometimes, doing all of these “natural” parenting techniques without our tribe can feel unnatural (or like it is TOO much work) because we are lacking our “sisters”.

Now, that doesn’t mean that natural parenting doesn’t work, because it does. It simply means that we either must find our own tribe (or support team), accept that we are going to have to work extra hard to make everything work by ourselves, or in some rare circumstances accept that we have to make compromises with our ideals.

Don’t feel like a failure because you can’t fulfill every aspect of being a “natural” parent, instead take comfort in the fact that you are doing your best, and that you have a lot of victories to celebrate.

I’ve learned to imagine a scale in front of me that weighs how secure Kaia feels due to my parenting techniques, and I always try to keep the scale favoring the “secure” side. I’ve come to understand that I won’t be able to do it all, and that is ok.

As long as you are loving your baby, and offering your best, you are doing it right! 🙂

Sometimes we just need to hear “You are a good mom”, so I am telling you right now, “YOU ARE A GOOD MOM!”

I may not know you personally, but I know you, because I am you!

 

So, does it get better?

234Now that Kaia is a toddler we have our fair share of ups-and-downs. Most days are fun, beautiful days playing in the sun. Others are cranky, temper tantrum days, where we both are not feeling our best. I am learning how to parent a toddler, and she’s learning how to be a little human. It’s bound to get a little messy, and that’s ok.

So remember…. when you’re struggling, and things feel bitter…. Smile! Because you are not alone, and a sweet moment is around the bend!

 

With so much love,

Sara

 

PS*If there’s anything I want you to take away from this… it’s that you aren’t alone. We are all feeling this way. We are all worn out, tired, and struggling from time-to-time.

 

My Kids Story book is NOW AVAILABLE!! (yay!)

Hi Friends,

Today is the day! My kids story book “The Adventures of Ripe Fruit” finally hits the shelves!

Well, not literally (since it isn’t going to be in book stores); however, it is NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon, Amazon UK, and the Create Space online book store!! This is so exciting for me. It has been a long, boring winter, and drawing this book really kept my spirits alive. As I dreamt of a faraway, tropical escape, in the dead of winter… this book was being manifested.

kSo what is the book about? The book follows a cartoon Kaia as she imagines that her fruit comes alive and they explore a tropical island. They experience the joy of life, and the beauty of nature.

While this book is a book for vegan families (and ANY family that loves fruit) it doesn’t teach children about the vegan message.

I wanted this book to be all inclusive, and to focus on showing children the joy of life, (rather than trying to teach children something). I feel that too many children story books are designed to teach children something (like shapes, colors, numbers, sharing, or other life lessons, and so on). Sometimes kids just need to sit down and read a book with no strings attached.

Life is about joy, and kids should see examples of this in more story books… to simply have fun, play, make friends, use their imaginations, be silly, dance, swim, explore, and to eat healthfully.

Another thing that I love about the book is that it normalizes the vegan (or raw vegan) lifestyle. You don’t see many kids book where a child sits down to eat a banana, and a big salad. :p

One more fun fact is that I was able to let the story unfold on its own. I didn’t plan out each page, or write the story and then create illustrations to go with it. I would simply open my sketch pad, start drawing, and see what came out of me. It was a beautiful experience that I am so happy to share with you!

Every page is hand drawn by me. I wrote, drew, scanned, edited, formatted, proofed, and published it 100% alone. It was more work than I thought it would be, but it is FINALLY here and I am so happy that you will get to enjoy it! I truly thank you for your purchase! Every penny made will go towards our families’ grocery budget, and we will be able to buy more organic fruits and veggies!

To see the book, and hear me talk a bit more on it, watch this video:

You can check out our book store to purchase the book at www.lovingkaia.com/bookstore (or click the “book store” tab above!)

If you want to take advantage of the Create Space 20% OFF discount code go to www.createspace.com/5309435 and enter in coupon code WE7358HM  at check out! 🙂

 

With so much love,

Sara

P.S.

Please take photographs of you kiddos reading the book and send them to me, or post on Instagram…I would love to see them!! & I will share a few!

Kaia’s tooth story

t ttSo, my sweet little Kaia has a new “one front tooth” look that you most likely have noticed. The story behind what happened to her left tooth is pretty simple—she fell, and her tooth was knocked out. However, there is a much longer story to what happened and what I have learned from the experience.

It all started a few days ago when I decided that I wanted to step back from my outer purpose, and really focus on my inner purpose of freeing my mind. I planned on meditating, being mindful in my daily activities, and putting all of my current projects on hold. I wanted to find peace, to stop thinking so much, and to find tools to stay in the moment.

I don’t like to admit it, but I am not as mindful as I like to think I am. For example, I can get SO deep into my projects that I ignore what is happening right NOW. It’s a habit that I have had most of my life. Before I had a family, I would become so engrossed in my artwork that I would barely eat for days. I didn’t even want to take ten minutes away from my artwork to eat!

As you know, this isn’t a very good trait to have when you need to take care of a 2 year old. I, of course, still do all of my mommies duties, but I can hear my mind telling me, “I want to work on my projects. I want to draw. I want to write. I don’t want to sit here and play with blocks!” I don’t like having that voice in my head, because I want to ENJOY Kaia’s childhood with her—not wish I were doing something else!

So, the second goal I had for the weekend was to find balance between family time, and project time. So, I stopped checking my phone, stopped working on my e-book & kids book, and focused my energy on myself and on my lovely daughter, and beautiful husband for the weekend.

However, things did NOT go as planned.

Without getting into too much detail, I’ll just say that my husband and I were “at each others throats” all weekend long. We were constantly arguing. We kept pushing one another’s “buttons”, and activating the other’s “pain-body.” Both of our energies were dark. It was not fun.

I can’t remember a time (since Kaia was born) that we were arguing THAT MUCH. The strange thing is that we were arguing over unimportant things that didn’t matter at ALL.

So, for the first half of the weekend (that we were supposed to be appreciating each other), we were treating each other like crap. By the second half of the weekend, we stopped arguing and were having a better time.

We had many things we had to “get done” that weekend. Like, normal chores, plus one broken-down car, a long car ride, and a few family visits, so I bet all of that negative energy was stemming from the stress of daily life. Whatever it was, it was short lived and we moved on.

On Sunday, we were having a much better day. However, I found myself still feeling a lot of negative energy that I couldn’t shake off. I also found myself feeling frustrated that I “wasted” the entire weekend being angry, when I was “supposed” to be using the time to enlighten myself.

When we finally got home from the long, stressful weekend I wanted to sit down and meditate, to try and shake off the negative energy. After a few minutes of meditation, I was feeling better, and even feeling gratitude. I was looking at my family, and took a moment to appreciate how happy and healthy they were.

How ironic.

My husband wanted some time alone, so he left the room. Kaia and I were hanging out, playing with toys, when she decided that she wanted to climb up onto the computer desk (like she does several times a day). So, I did the usual, and I got up from the couch five or six times to get her down, and tell her “we don’t climb the desk,” but Kaia is a strong willed little girl, and doesn’t give up. So she kept trying.

Somewhere along the line, I got a text message. When I went to get my phone

from the couch, I heard a BANG. I turned around to see Kaia fall backwards off of the desk. Landing on her bum, and then finally hitting the back of her head on the floor.

Then, she started to cry. Blood was coming from her mouth. My husband ran into the room, and when we went to pick her up, I noticed her tooth was gone. I yelled, “Her tooth! Where’s her tooth?”

I felt terrible.

Kaia’s usual comfort thing is breast feeding. So, I nursed her for a few minutes. She stopped crying. Her gum stopped bleeding. It was over. She was happy again.

So, I put her down, and what does she do next? She walked right back to the desk and tried to climb it again! I’ll tell you—kids can be fearless!

At this point, I started to feel some anxiety. What do I do? Are we supposed to put the tooth back in? Are we supposed to go to the Emergency Room? It was 8:30PM and there were no dentists open! I didn’t know what to do. They must have missed the “when your 2 year old knocks out her tooth” lesson in the Parenting 101 class (oh wait, no, there is no parenting 101 class!).

 

So, not knowing what to do, I turned to Google, of course.

I found a helpful article that said the first thing we should do is find the tooth. That way we know Kaia didn’t swallow it. So, we started looking for the tooth near the desk, and couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually we found it across the room. I picked it up, and was like, “This is the tooth?” It didn’t look like any tooth I ever saw.

I felt like I wanted to call someone, so, I called an emergency dentist, who basically said “Nothing we can do, she will be fine. This happens a lot. She will just be toothless until the adult tooth grows in.”

Then, I called my mom and cried.

Did I mention that I felt terrible?

The next morning she saw her doctor, who basically said the same thing as the dentist. “She will be fine; She will be missing a tooth for a few years.” Neither the doctor nor dentist was worried; so that put my mind at ease.

For the first day she was toothless, I was in denial. “NO! She can’t be toothless!” I thought, how will she eat apples? How will she look? Will kids tease her? Will people think she’s seven years old? Will she hate it? Will she blame me forever?

I kept thinking “I feel so terrible, I wish this never happened.”

That’s when I remembered what the Buddha said about surrender. That suffering fades away with acceptance of what IS. What was the point of denying what was? She lost her tooth. That happened.

Eventually I accepted that YES, her tooth is gone; and she is still the same amazing little girl she was with two front teeth.

I lOVE her new look now. Why? Because every time I see that little gap, I remember how thankful I am to have her. I was so wrapped up in the small stuff that weekend, that I forgot to appreciate her. My beautiful baby girl. Today, I look at her gap and remember that I am SO grateful to have her. Every time she smiles I see her toothless appearance, and I smile back. And, this little reminder will be around for many years to come (until that adult tooth pops through).

Sometimes being a mom can be really scary; so we have to treasure our children when they are healthy.

 

That’s what I learned. That, and to surrender to what is. <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Things I’ve Learned Since I Became a Mother

kaia treeSince I have to write this while my 13 month old is taking a nap, I will skip the intro & get right to it….

#7 – My parents are people too

Growing up I always felt like my parents knew everything! They almost weren’t even human. But, it turns out, they are just regular people. They were babies once, who grew into children, who grew into adults, who had a baby of their own and had no idea what they were doing (just like the rest of us)!

 #6 – How to do everything one handed

Before my daughter was born I decided to “baby carry” and to never let her “cry it out”. It was a personal choice… a very demanding personal choice that I have (during many late nights) thought about abandoning. BUT I never did, and while my left arm was full of baby, I had to figure out how to do lots of new things with my right. Sure, I could have used a baby sling, or wrap, and sometimes I did, but other times it was just easier to pick her up and hold her. Who else has learned how to rip toilet paper, open a jar, & spray off a table with one arm? It can’t be just me.

#5- To thank my Mother

I don’t know if I ever thanked my mom as kid. I don’t even remember feeling grateful for her. I guess it’s just beyond a child’s mental capacity, or maybe I was just selfish. Either way, I am thanking her now. I thanked her while I was pregnant (& apologized). I thanked her after I gave birth (& apologized). I thanked her during my 2 month sleep deprivation (& yup you guessed it I also apologized). I can’t thank her enough now, and I hope one day my daughter does the same.

*My LO just woke-up which leaves me to type with one hand as I nurse her. Which brings us back to #6 & forward to #4….

#4 – To value my alone time

I don’t remember the last time I set out to do something alone, and actually did it alone. Even going to the bathroom isn’t always accomplished alone. Babies need their mamas, and they don’t know that sometimes we want 5 minutes to our selves. I’ve learned to enjoy the moments I have alone. Showers have a whole new value to them, and I’m sure I am not the only mother who learned to enjoy the peace and quiet that exists in the shower walls. (However, I know that my daughter won’t need me this much forever, so I enjoy her dependence as much as I can without going crazy.)

#3 – Not to judge other people, especially parents

I guess I had the luxury of having choices when I was childless, and that made me think that everyone had choices. But, I’ve learned that sometimes (espiecally when you have a baby), you have very limited choices. We may set out to do something one way, and end up doing it a completely different way. For example, I didn’t want to be induced, but it happened. I never thought I’d consider giving up breastfeeding, but I almost did. I didn’t want my daughter to watch television, but she does. Sometimes the choices you want to make are just too difficult to see them through. I will never judge another parent for their choices, because I have learned that we are all doing the best we can in our situations.

#2 – To live in the moment

From the moment my contractions started, until this moment right now I have had to live in each and every moment. When you have a baby you have to always be alert, and pay attention. Especially when you are a stay-at-home mom. One second away from the baby could mean a finger in the outlet, a choking hazard in the mouth, or a roll off the changing table. It is a curse, and a blessing. A lesson about life, indeed.

#1 – To see the miracles

Looking at my daughter reminds me how miraculous life is. My husband and I made her! We made life! I look at her little toes and can’t believe that they used to kick me in the ribs. How incredible is that? And if that isn’t enough, kids have a way of always seeing the beauty in life, and they don’t hesitate to point it out to you. I love when my daughter brings me into her world, and reminds me what it was like to be a child. I look forward to seeing the world through her eyes… to see all of the miracles.

 

A little tid bit about this blog…

This blog is for new parents, and parents-to-be, who are interested in raising their children differently than what the western culture deems “normal”. You might be interested in parenting with an attachment parenting type style.

Once we decide that we want to parent this way, there are many decisions to be made, but no clue on how to make them. Many of us have never actually seen a mother breastfeeding, or a baby sleeping in bed with its parents, or anyone washing cloth diapers. So, how are we to know how to do these things?

We could ask our parents, and our friends. However, most of them also have no experience in the things we are interested in.

One of the things my daughter has taught me is that the human species learns by example. That is why we turn out like our parents, and why Kaia mimics everything that I do. But, it is also one of the reasons that attachment parenting, and “unorthodox” parenting styles sometimes don’t work out for the family. We don’t have anyone in our lives to learn from and follow their example. Since the world is a big place, there has to be other moms and dads out there that are like minded, so the internet is a great place to connect.

If you are looking for some advice and don’t know where to look, this is the right place for you. As a new-mom I know how tough it can be to raise your child this way when no one around you agrees with you. Sometimes we might even fail because we don’t have enough support to do things our way. This is especially true when we have no visual example of what attachment parenting look likes. We might ask ourselves if we are even doing it right. I know I almost gave up on breastfeeding because I was convinced the baby wasn’t getting milk when she was. I had a lactation consultant come to our house because I didn’t have anyone else to tell me if she was even drinking!

So, to help women parent this way I make review & how-to videos, take photographs and blog about different things that my family does. It’s my hope that showing mothers how we make attachment parenting (and the like) work for us, they will see how it can work for them. Make sense? I hope so.

Here some of the things I touch on:

Natural birth, birth in general, breastfeeding, breastfeeding supplies, a healthy diet (I chose Raw til 4 Vegan), cloth diapering, elimination communication (how to start late), co-sleeping, bed sharing, baby carrying, holistic medicine, starting solids late, plant-based foods, attachment parenting, gentle discipline, distraction, reviews on products, and many other similar topics.

 

When I was pregnant I was obsessed with researching EVERYTHING. Everything about pregnancy, everything about birth, and everything about babies.

I guess you could call me a hippy. I didn’t want to follow government guidelines, or blindly go along with ‘what everyone else is doing’. Sometimes I feel that we, as humans and parents, need to do some of our own research and find out what is true for ourselves. For me, that meant a lot of digging into what ingredients were used in baby items, what it was really like to breastfeed, what ingredients were in vaccines, how cloth diapers worked, what baby products were safe for my baby’s skin, what holisitic pediatrician would be a fit for our family, what co-sleeper would be safest for our bed sharing plan, what midwife would deliver our baby, and so on.

Even though I had nine months to do my research, I was still not prepared for the obstacles that life put in our way during, and after our pregnancy…

From birth complications, to a hospital stay, to latch issues, engorgement, plugged milk ducts, detergent reactions, cloth diaper routine problems, to sleep issues, back and rib pain from poor breastfeeding positions, sleep deprivation, and calorie intake issue, to stomach issues and colic, to baby carrying issues, and feelings of un-acceptance from loved ones… I was not prepared.

If you are pregnant, and reading this in hopes of becoming prepared for motherhood, you should know one thing right now… no matter what, you will not be prepared.

I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to hear this. I certainly didn’t, but it is very true.

So now that I’m here… on the other side of pregnancy… the motherhood side… I thought it would be helpful for other hippy moms (and moms-to-be) for me to show you what it’s like to parent this way. Because, for me, I had no one in my life who had experience with breastfeeding, co-sleeping, holistic medicine, baby carrying, or attachment parenting. Whenever I ran into a problem I was on my own. When I got engorged I didn’t have anyone to go to for advice since I didn’t know a single woman who had breastfed. I would have given up on breastfeeding all together if my midwife had not sent a lactation consultant to my home.

Having support is so important if you want to succeed, and I feel that many women- who want to parent this way- don’t have the support they need. I know I didn’t. So, here I am…. ready to led my helping hand to new moms who don’t know what they are doing (because none of us do), and maybe my hind-sight will help you figure out the obstacles that you might be going through (or will be going through soon enough).

Before I end this rant, I would like to say one last thing: Being a mother is not easy. Of course, it’s wonderful, and a miracle, and a total blessing. But, those are the things that everyone talks about. I want to take a moment to talk about what no one seems to talk about. Motherhood is tough. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought that I would love everything about being a mom. I figured since I was going to baby carry that I would simply strap the baby to my chest, plop my breast in her mouth, and go about my business. Dead wrong.

There are some days when you think to yourself “I just need a minute to myself” and that is OK. You need to know this, because I didn’t. We are pushed passed our physical, and emotional limits on a daily basis. Breaking down from time to time is completely normal. Things will most likely not go the way you plan, and let that be ok. Expect the unexpected. And know that everyone is just pretending… no one really knows what they are doing either. We are all simply trying our best…and that’s all we can do.

Why “Loving Kaia”?

Kaia is the name of our daughter. Her name means ocean, or sea in Hawaiian (where we hope to move to). Since Kaia came into our lives she has changed us for the better. Loving Kaia has made me a better person. Loving Kaia is the reason I wake up in the morning now. Loving Kaia is why… everything!

Bless! 🙂

 

I want to put a little disclaimer here:

I am not perfect. I am not certified in anything, and I am not a professional. I’m simply a mom who is showing you what worked for me, and my family. Also…. I want to say that I am proud of every parent. I don’t negatively judge any parent’s philosophies or choices. Being a parent is the hardest, most beautiful role in our lives, and we all do it differently. Just because I chose a certain parenting style doesn’t mean that I think less of parents who chose otherwise. I understand that we all must make choices that consider our beliefs and circumstances.

Sometimes I get upset when I unintentionally offend people (but that is a huge lesson in motherhood… to let go). None of us are perfect, and that includes me. I am far from perfect. When some people read my thoughts they are instantly offended, and that is not my intention. I try my hardest to come across as loving and accepting, but some people will always misunderstand me. If you find yourself in this place, please know that I am not negatively judging you or your parenting. I am only showing how I do it…. for other like-minded women. If you do not agree, then this website is not for you.