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My Unexpected Start to Motherhood

I was sobbing in the shower. 

It hurt to cry so hard, but it also felt like a relief. Like it needed to happen or else I’d burst. Actually, I guess I was at the bursting part already. 

My husband, hearing what was happening, walked in holding our newborn son. He saw me behind the glass — tired and defeated. I cried, even more, when I saw them. 

He smiled gently and propped our baby up so I could see him better. I remember it being a sweet sight. I knew they loved me; I was grateful for that. I also knew I didn’t feel like my regular (albeit anxious) self. It was a different kind of anxiety and sadness than I had ever known. 

After they left, I stayed in there a little longer, crying. It was necessary and cathartic. 

When I got out of the shower, I knew I had made the right decision in starting to see a therapist who specialized in maternal mental health. It had been about a week since my first session. After this shower episode, I realized many more appointments were required. 

And that was okay because I was ready to do what I needed to heal. 

It was about 5 or 6 weeks after having my first child and I couldn’t quite process what had just happened. What my body or mind had gone through. I had a healthy baby boy, but I couldn’t appreciate that.

I was angry, disappointed, and constantly afraid.

Angry because I had a C-section — and an unplanned and scary one at that. I did not imagine this happening. I was going to push. I was going to do immediate skin-to-skin. How could this happen? Did I do something wrong? Did my body not do what I assumed it was designed to do?

Disappointed because I was not the mom I thought I was going to be. Nothing was coming easily — breastfeeding, burping, bathing, you name it. I thought I’d be a “natural” at all of this, but I couldn’t even do the most basic thing (feed my child from my own body) let alone any of the other things I just assumed I would be good at. 

Afraid because I was certain I would unknowingly and accidentally harm my kid or that, if I wasn’t ever-vigilant, he’d stop breathing, suffocate or become too cold or hot for his little body to handle. I would always ask my husband to come in and check on our son with me, so, if by chance there would be a lifeless baby in the bassinet, I wouldn’t be the only one to find him there. I am not fit to take care of my baby alone. I cannot take on this responsibility. Why did I have a baby? I could leave and everyone would be just fine without me. 

Whew. 

Each day was a chore. I woke up wishing for the day to be over, only to be anxious for nighttime to hit. I would pray each night for my baby to make it through — to literally stay alive until morning.

new momI would sleep in another room a few nights a week because I couldn’t bear to hear his small, uneven newborn breathing. 

I told my husband and mom, on multiple occasions, “I’m never, ever doing this again.” “This” being having another baby. The thought of growing a life again only to then give birth and possibly experience the trauma I had during my first pregnancy was just too much to fathom. No newborn snuggle or cute sneeze could make up for the way I was feeling. 

Not only was I not enjoying this experience as a new mom, which completely threw me, but I was also resolute in this thought: “I don’t want to do this anymore.” It was hard to reconcile these feelings. For my whole life, above all other accomplishments, I wanted to be a mother, but this experience was so far from what I ever dreamt about. I was so disappointed. I was so sad.

Guilt consumed me, too. I had a healthy child — something so many people wish to have. I had him, right in front of me, and still felt lousy.

Something had to change. So, I’ve been working to feel better.

I am proud of myself for seeking out ways to feel better. Going to see a therapist, talking to family and friends, and taking medication have all played a role in this healing journey. 

Eight months later, is every day bright and easy? Definitely not. But I am gaining some peace in the following areas:

  • A C-section is most definitely a legitimate way to birth a baby. It is not the easy way out. It is hard and scary. It is not a failure. It is a birth. It is my birth story.
  • Breastfeeding is something that is learned by both the mother and baby. It hurts. It sucked (literally and figuratively) my energy and patience. It’s beautiful, and it can feel magical. It’s frustrating and emotional. It’s a personal choice. 
  • Baby formula isn’t bad and it certainly isn’t a failure. It’s simply another (or an additional) way to feed a baby. We needed to supplement with our son and thankfully, he took the formula and bottle we offered him. 
  • More often than not, there is no optimal or “best” decision regarding my baby; it’s just different (but equally fine) to other options or other routes family, friends, or Instagrammers have taken. (Thank you to my therapist for this one.)
  • I absolutely am enough for my son. We’ve all seen some version of that meme, right? The one that says something along the lines of: “You are exactly who your baby needs.” It’s so true. I may not have known how to most efficiently change a diaper without getting peed on or how to perfectly rock my baby to sleep when he was sad (yes, I actually thought these were failures), but I did have love for him. I do have love for him. A deep, vast well of love for him that pours into everything I do. That did come naturally to me.

Do I feel better? I do, most days, and I’m grateful for that. But healing, while so very rewarding, is hard work — just like being a mom or parent.

If you’re a mom or parent who is experiencing something similar or has gone through this, I’m really sorry. It’s hard and scary and lonely at times. But I want you to know you’re not alone. It’s okay to feel this way. You are not a bad mom or parent. You are not broken. There are people and resources out there to help you. Here is a great place to start.

We are delighted to share this piece from Guest Contributor, Jen! Jen lives in East Lansing with her husband and super-sweet 10-month-old son. Life is chaotic, but lots of fun. When she's not busy singing the ABCs, tracking down toys, or finding new ways to make her son laugh, she's work full-time as a communications professional. She is a Spartan through and through and believes good coffee is a must to start the day.

How a Homeschool Mom: Is Observing Earth Day

As a homeschool family, we try to learn about, celebrate, and observe any and all holidays. Whether it be National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or Earth Day, we take a few moments to learn of each holiday’s history and find a few fun ways to incorporate these occasions into our day.

What is Earth Day and when is it observed?
   According to earthday.org Earth Day is:

Every year on April 22Nd, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement.

beginning in 1970, earth day gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet 

Here are five free and easy ways our family will be learning about and observing Earth Day:

  1. We’ll start by learning a bit about the history of Earth Day by checking out a few of these resources:
  2. Next, we’ll read a book or watch a short video or two. Here are links to a few good ones:
  3. Play a game:
  4. Use our creativity to make a craft or project. Here are a few ideas:
  5. Then we’ll get outside and go for a walk, do a scavenger hunt, or plant a tree!

earth dayHow is your family honoring Earth Day?
Please comment below!

Click to check out all our guides and resources to Mid-Michigan restaurants, parks, where kids eat free, and more here!

Stop Asking, “Do You Have Any Kids?” Here’s Why.

“Do you have any kids?*”
*Trigger warning: This post does mention pregnancy loss and infertility.

This is such a simple question. 5 words to get to know someone, right?

“Do you have any kids?” is maybe what we casually ask a new coworker or other women at a girl’s night out. It’s a way to get to know someone. To see if you have anything in common with a person.

But asking, “do you have any kids?” is also a way to break someone’s heart. It’s a way to send someone nose-diving into depression. And in my honest opinion, it’s an all-around awful question.

do you have any kidsPlease, please, please, please stop asking women if they have children!

The other day, my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate paying off our hospital delivery bill. You know the bill from giving birth to a beautiful baby you get to bring home? We didn’t get to bring our baby home.

But we still wanted to celebrate as parents. At that dinner, my husband and I are reflecting back on the year we have had and he mentions something mind-blowing to him: While it is an honor and privilege for us to be parents, it is staggering how many pregnancies end in loss. The “1 in 4” statistic is so crazy to think about and we often think, “Well, the odds are in my favor. I feel good about the 75% chance of having a living baby.”

Through writing, therapy, reading, and baking, I have come to peace with telling my story of our perfect baby girl. But if you ask me, “Do you have any kids?” I will tell you yes. I will also tell you no. I carried my baby for 38 weeks and delivered her. But I didn’t bring her home. We visit her every weekend, but I will never see her grow up.

Every single person I tell this to gets very uncomfortable and awkward. Rightfully so, because the question “do you have any kids?” is a personal question. This question is triggering to those moms in the 1 in 4 category. Some of us are comfortable talking about our baby and some of us aren’t. You only see the person when you ask them that question. You don’t know their internal and personal struggles.

Here is why you do not ask the question, “Do you have any kids?”:

  1. You could be asking that question who has dealt with years of infertility and multiple miscarriages.

    Please realize it is not as easy as having sex to get pregnant. There are so many tears shed, so much much money spent with IVF, and so so much pain for losing that chance of being pregnant or trying to get pregnant. We spend most of our time dreaming of what could be if we could get pregnant and stay pregnant. It’s agonizing.

  2. It is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS if I have any kids.

You seriously cannot find any other topic to talk about? You cannot ask about anything else? That is such a personal question and oftentimes, that is the first thing people ask when they meet someone new. My body is not your business and women do not need to fit into this mold society has created. You are not my OBGYN or my husband, so it is none of your business.

do you have any kids

So maybe you have asked that question before {don’t worry, I have too, before my daughter} and you genuinely want to know what you can do:

  1. Instead of asking “Do you have any kids?” ask someone to tell you about their family.

    Maybe someone got a puppy or a kitten for the first time and they are really excited. Maybe that couple bought a house that they are so proud of. You could learn so much more about a person’s history by asking about their whole family rather than focusing on kids. Rephrasing that question allows for a more meaningful dialogue to take place.

  2. Ask about children ONLY AFTER someone has expressed their child loss.

    Ask how the woman or couple are doing. Ask if there are any nonprofits you can support. And ask if they want to talk about their children. There are definitely other women like me that have a story and want to tell their story, but you also have to be receptive to listening. If you ask if I have any kids, and I say ‘I have a heavenly saint’, ask about my saint. Don’t just avoid the follow-up due to them not being alive anymore. We are parents and our children matter even if they are not physically here.

“Do you have any kids?” seems like such a simple question. You probably think I’m overexaggerating, but you may potentially cause a lot of pain, grief, and suffering by asking that simple question. Because I understand, I am sharing in an attempt to try to help you and many other moms avoid that particular, heartbreaking pain.

Emptying Our Nest: Bye Bye Baby Stage

As my youngest’s first birthday quickly approaches, the baby stage items are on their way out. Time seems to never slow down as a mom; this is something that I constantly struggle with. As my youngest’s first birthday quickly approaches, the baby stage items are on their way out. I am ready to stop tripping over stacking rings, walking around giant jumpers, and stepping on floor mats. I am ready to clear them out, but I can’t help dragging my feet.

baby stage itemsIt’s silly, but at the same time, it’s not. This stage and these items mean something to me. They represent memories that I want to hold forever. 

That bouncer? It held both my boys when they were tiny. It held them when they wanted to take a quick cat nap while mom wanted to wash dishes. It held them when they needed to be rocked, but mom had her hands full. It held them while I stared at their sweet, squishy faces. It was a huge part of my life during the baby stage.

That “kick and play” floor mat? It’s where I heard my firstborn belly laugh, and it has brought endless laughs since that first one. It’s also where I saw both boys roll for the first time. Where we spent hours of tummy time – though not all of that was filled with laughter, there might have been a good amount of tears too.

That push walker? I watched them tumble, roll and struggle to get back upright, only to start again. I watched them laugh, pushbuttons, and run into almost all of the walls in our home. 

Don’t even get me started on the clothes. I thought it would be hard after one kid, but now watching my second wear some of my favorites, I might have to keep all the baby stage clothes. {HA! My husband would say otherwise.}

Can I keep everything? Ugh. 

I know these are just material items, but to me, they are full of memories. Moments that I hope I can look back on and reminisce. I have been slowly putting these things away, tucked on shelves, packaged, never to be used in our home again. And, dang it. It makes me sad, like really sad. 

So, what do I do with it all?

I know I am still early in this journey – in an early stage – of parenthood. I know I will have so many things that will have wonderful memories associated with them. Heck, my four-year-old is obsessed with every single one of his dinosaur stuffed animals, I know I will be keeping all of those. I know I will most likely keep way more things than I should, but I think that’s most parents. It’s normal. 

There are a lot of things I know I won’t keep. I won’t keep the bassinet that they slept in when we first brought them home. I won’t keep an infant car seat that brought them home from the hospital and took them back and forth to daycare every day, and I won’t keep that nursing pillow that I used when my babies needed a nursing session at night. No, I won’t keep those items, but I will always cherish those memories and that stage of our lives.

As my children age, these memories and items will start to pile up, and I know I have to let them go. I will give some of my favorite things to friends and family, and I will sell the rest. Letting these items go still tugs at my heartstrings. Thank you, cloud, so that I can look at those photos all the time. With each item I let go of, I am thankful that it will bring their children as much joy as it has bought mine, and I hope it gives those parents the same nostalgic feeling I get as their children age.

Do I still have a tote of clothes of varying sizes? Yup, but I have narrowed it down to the items that I just can’t let go of. Will I keep the favorite blankets and stuffed animals? Probably. What about smaller baby toys that I hope to pass down someday? You bet. I have decided that it is alright to keep some of these things, and I don’t feel guilty, though my husband thinks that I’m a little crazy. 

I love watching my children grow and learn. I love switching out rattles for hot wheels, jumpers for swing sets, and strollers for wagons. But it is so much more than that. We aren’t just switching the little things; it’s the big things too. We are switching the bottles for sippy cups, onesies for two-piece outfits, and cribs for full-sized beds. Most importantly, we are switching babies for little boys. We are entering a new stage.

Every switch I do, it’s a weird feeling, a sad but happy feeling. I love watching these tiny babies I brought into the world move on to bigger and better things. {Not going to lie, one of the switches I am most looking forward to with my youngest is diapers to undies!}

So, yeah, I am emptying our nest. I am clearing out the baby stage for the last time. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

I hope these items give their new homes as much joy as they brought mine.

Hard Ignore: Pandemic Mom Shaming is Raging, Tune it Out!

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Many of us have either experienced or doled out a dose of mom-shaming. I’ve been guilty of it. You’ve been guilty of it. No matter how nice or kind we are, we’ve all fallen victim to passing judgment and criticizing our fellow moms in the parenting trenches. We’ve all been on the receiving end of the judgment and shaming, too – either from fellow moms, or other sources. It’s sad, but true.

This past year has been no exception. But what’s worse is that pandemic living has given us even more mom-shaming coals to toss onto the fire, leading to a blaze of judgment that burns so brightly, I honestly wonder how we are all still coping.

2020, all the feels month by month.

Just this morning alone as I was casually – say for 10 minutes – watching the news and checking my social media feed, the following headlines and comments said by moms, or directed towards moms, appeared:

  • Many moms drank too much during the height of the pandemic, it might be time to reevaluate your nightly glass of wine.
  • Too many families are traveling, moms should be keeping their children home and not be crossing state lines.
  • Moms are eating too much while stuck at home – which at-home, interactive, exercise bike is best for you?
  • Why would any moms put their kids in sports right now? How selfish.
  • Children are falling behind in school, you better get your kids into tutoring if you want them to catch up
  • You’re crazy if you get your kids vaccinated/you’re foolish if you don’t get your kids vaccinated
  • Screen time is at an all-time high, moms need to be better monitors of their kids’ online activity

Wow. Just WOW. 

Many of us moms are just starting to breathe after living through the hardest year of our lives. On March 12, 2020 life as we knew it literally ended. We were ordered to stay home. Our kids abruptly stopped going to school. All extra-curricular activities were canceled. We were distanced from friends and family not living in our home. We worried ourselves sick thinking about the best ways to protect ourselves and our children.

There was no playbook. No rules on how to survive and thrive in a world that, like a snowglobe, had been shaken and turned so many times that the snowflakes were scattered in a flurry, trying to find their way back down to earth – to “normal”.

As the pandemic raged on, we struggled to adjust our own lives and perspectives while simultaneously supporting our children as they shifted to an all-virtual world. Many of us cried along with our kids who were struggling with at-home learning, missing their friends, or their regularly scheduled sports and activity outlets. Some of us had to face missing out on long-anticipated, milestone events with our children, like graduations.

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Mental health came speeding to the forefront of many of our minds. We watched as our children became sad, angry, depressed, and defeated right before our very eyes. This made us feel defeated, even inadequate. What could we do? A large portion of us sought outside assistance in the form of therapy – for ourselves and for our children.

On top of all of this – or maybe because of it – some of us were forced to give up our jobs to be home for our families. On the flip side, many of us worked 40 hours a week from home while trying to manage our children because, frankly, we didn’t have a choice.

It’s been 12 months of full-on Survival Mode for so many moms. The last thing we need right now is someone passing judgment on how we’re living our lives. What we need right now is support, not shame.

Hasn’t this past year been hard enough? Let’s give the shaming a rest or – better yet – a hard ignore. We’ll all be better for it.

Milk Machine: Resources for Sharing or Donating Your Breastmilk Supply

Pre-baby, breastfeeding – let alone milk supply – was a topic I knew almost nothing about. Nothing except that it seemed like a good idea and one I wanted to try when I started having kids. Once I’d had a baby and was actually breastfeeding, the whole game changed.

I was very fortunate baby took to it right away and had no issues latching. My biggest concern was supply.

  • Was I producing enough?
  • How could I know?
  • Was there anything I could do to help it?

breast milk supplyAnd since I’m a perfectionist, I tried just about everything. I drank lots of water. I changed my diet to be heavier in foods I read were good for helping increase milk supply. But more than anything, my breast pump and I became good friends. I started power pumping to help increase my supply. Ten minutes after my baby would nurse, I would pump. In the first couple weeks, I pumped all the time, while also nursing, and I started building up a freezer supply. This gave me comfort in a couple of ways. For one, I could see how much I was producing. For another, I felt like I was building up a supply for when I had to return to work.

 milk production became my obsession, which is how I ended up over-stimulating my milk supply.

As I started to learn more about my body and how breastfeeding worked, I felt my milk falling, ALL THE TIME. I became engorged, counting down the minutes to when my baby would want to nurse to ease the pressure, only to realize that it also signaled to my body that more milk was needed.

Several painful days later and a close shave with Mastitis, I finally called a lactation consultant for help. She quickly diagnosed that I was in fact producing enough milk for two babies. I was grateful to discover I didn’t have an undersupply. I actually had an oversupply, which came with its own set of challenges.

I had to work to regulate my body back to what my baby actually needed and then learn to adjust as she grew and changed. But I was still faced with a freezer supply of milk. We could literally not fit any food in our freezer because it was so full of milk. I didn’t worry too much about this since I knew I’d be going back to work and would start using the supply.

Except I wanted to continue nursing, so I continued to pump while at work. And what I found is that I was still overproducing. I would check to see how much my baby drank in bottles during the day compared to what I had pumped and found I was producing at least six ounces more than she was drinking.

As I read and learned more about breastfeeding, I also learned how the make-up of the milk changes as the baby grows. Fat content changes as babies start to become more active to give them more energy in their new activities. Which meant that I didn’t want to bottle-feed the milk supply I had pumped when the baby was three months old to a 10-month-old who is crawling all over the house.

What could I do with my extra milk supply?! I was certainly NOT going to throw it away. Every drop represented minutes of my life, an effort I had given to produce this food for my baby.

And there are only so many other household uses you can find for it – clogged eye ducts, milk baths, skin rash, etc.

Truth be told, I was also ashamed to admit to anyone how much milk I had and my struggles with overproduction. I knew so many women who had supply issues and couldn’t breastfeed at all or breastfeed exclusively. I felt guilty. I hadn’t heard very many people talk about having an oversupply of milk. I worried it would seem like I was bragging or come of insensitive to another mom no matter how I tried to phrase it.

As I agonized over these details, the freezer clock was ticking down, meaning the shelf life of the milk in my freezer was ticking down day by day, increasing my urgency to figure out what to do with it. I finally decided to get over all the “what-ifs” and find other resources for it. I realized I could use it to help somebody else, and that maybe this was a gift for me to share with another mom and baby.

motherThere are a number of ways to share your supply of breastmilk. This list is by no means exhaustive; these are simply the areas I researched:

Milk Banks
The first thing I looked into was a milk bank, which is definitely the most formal resource available for sharing breastmilk. These organizations exist both state and nation-wide. You can donate and purchase milk through them. Many work with hospitals to help provide breastmilk particularly to babies in the NICU. You can search for locations by visiting the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. There is a milk bank out of Kalamazoo called Bronson Mothers’ Milk Bank. Some organizations may have a minimum donation amount and may have other requirements such as screenings and donation instructions. 

There are also some for-profit organizations that will pay for breastmilk donations. This wasn’t something I was interested in so my resources in that realm are limited.

Milk Sharing Networks
There are many informal networks for sharing milk. In particular, there are many social media groups set-up just for that purpose. As with anything related to social media or the Internet, you should understand the risks of going this route. I know an adoptive mom who recently tapped into this network while on vacation in Florida during the bad storms passing through that area. She was able to meet up with someone and get enough milk to get them back home.

Milk Sharing to Friends or Family
After looking into some of the other options, this is the route I decided to go with. I had a friend who I knew struggled with her supply and a friend who had adopted and wanted to provide her newborn with breastmilk. Both had opened up to me about their desire to provide breastmilk for their babies at least through six months old. I reached out to each of them privately and gently made my offering.

I gave them details about the age of the milk, the age of my child when I pumped it, and my diet and health history. I willingly offered up details about my life and habits. It was important to me that these moms feel comfortable about the makeup of my breastmilk they would be feeding their babies. These were both friends I knew very well and so we both felt comfortable asking questions and providing answers. This might not always be the case in every situation and you’ll need to navigate how much detail you’re comfortable providing.

I will forever be part of my friends’ parenting journeys, and to know I helped nourish their children through my breastmilk gives me great joy. That doesn’t mean that donating anonymously to a stranger you will never know or meet can’t also be rewarding.

Each drop I pumped was a sacrifice in love for a baby – whether mine or another moms. I’m grateful for resources to ensure that my milk supply got to the right baby at the right time.

Mid-Michigan Breweries + Hard Cider Mills

With over 100 breweries, microbreweries, and hard cider mills in Michigan, it is safe to say that as far as brews go, there is something for everyone here. So, in honor of national beer day and Michigan’s love of brews, we’ve put together our guide to breweries and hard cider houses in Mid-Michigan.

michigan breweries

Use the interactive map below to find a brewery or hard cider mill near you or make it a day trip and visit someplace new!

Did we miss a favorite Michigan brewery or hard cider mill? Leave a comment below!

Check out all of our guides and resources to the Mid-Michigan area here! From the best pizza to parks and where kids eat free – We’ve got you covered.

For more of what’s going on in Mid-Michigan, check out our Facebook page.

Baby Sprinkle: A Virtual Event for Hopeful, Expecting, + New Mothers

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To our hopeful, expecting, and new moms, we realize current events have thrown a complete wrench into your plans – whether it be prenatal visits, birth plans, childcare, or the health of you and your new baby nothing is going quite how you pictured it.

That said, we are thrilled to announce that our FREE virtual event – Baby Sprinkle – is back! Baby Sprinkle is a virtual event taking place in the Baby Sprinkle Facebook Event from April 26th-30th. This will allow you to {from the comfort of your own home} hear from experts and physicians, check out our favorite pregnancy and kid products, tour local facilities, and, of course, there will be the infamous Mid-Michigan Moms’ giveaways. Including a grand prize valued at over $600! This incredible event is being brought to you by our friends at Hurley Medical Center and Hurley Childrens Hospital.

Invite your friends, invite your neighbors, whoever may be interested because we believe the more the merrier! We hope to meet you soon and would love for you to follow along on the Baby Sprinkle Facebook Event for exciting event updates and giveaway announcements!

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We are thrilled to have Hurley Medical Center and Hurley Childrens Hospital as the title sponsors of our 2nd Baby Sprinkle event. From pre-conception care and fertility support, through pregnancy, birth, and beyond, Hurley is dedicated to providing you and your family the best care.

NoMI Moms

Every pregnancy is unique, but at Hurley Medical Center, they all have one thing in common: the best care around. Hurley offers the area’s highest level of obstetric and gynecological services, as well as, a full spectrum of educational classes to help you make the right choices for your growing family and beyond.

At Hurley Medical Center, they’re proud of the part they play in approximately 3,000 births a year. From textbook pregnancies to high-risk births and everything in between, their obstetricians, nursing teams, and Certified Nurse Midwives have seen it all. And should the need arise, Hurley is home to the region’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), giving patients the best chance for a positive outcome when the unexpected happens.

Plus, Hurley was recently designated as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. That means they’ve met the criteria established for safe and effective specialty care while keeping down costs–all things you want to consider when planning a family.

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We are delighted to welcome a panel of professionals and experts that will be sharing their knowledge on a variety of topics throughout the week of Baby Sprinkle through Facebook Live and Premier videos. We are thrilled to introduce our experts soon, including an Obstetrician, Fertility Specialist, Certified Nurse Midwife, and a Certified Lactation Consultant.

Regardless of the stage of motherhood, you are in, we know our experts will have something for you to learn or share with others!

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Who doesn’t love a good giveaway? How about over 20 giveaways, including a grand prize package worth over $600 for one lucky participant? We’re excited to present you with so many amazing products, services, and items, all thanks to our wonderful giveaway sponsors!

So, how do you enter to win one of these giveaways? Giveaway opportunities will be posted in the Baby Sprinkle Facebook Event throughout the week {April 26th-30th}. Entries will differ for each item but may include responding to a question, watching a video from one of our expert panelists, or commenting or liking a post. Entering and winning could not be easier! For full giveaway descriptions and rules, check out the Baby Sprinkle Event on Facebook!

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We are looking forward to e-meeting you during our virtual Baby Sprinkle event and for you to learn and connect with the bounty of local and national resources, panelists, and giveaways with have gathered!

Bookmark this page or the Baby Sprinkle Facebook Event Page to keep up to date on all the exciting giveaway and panelist updates we have in store!

Are you a service, resource, or business that is interested in being featured in Baby Sprinkle? Please contact Courtney at courtney@midmichiganmoms.com to learn more about our opportunities.

Baby Sprinkle would not be possible without the partnerships and collaborations featured.

Hiking with Kids: A Beginner’s Guide

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Hiking with my kids has changed my life. I mean it. We’ve not only created lifelong memories, but it’s so much more than that. It’s helped us slow down and quite literally stop and smell…well, everything. You see, I’ve always hiked with my kids, but since the pandemic, we’ve really amped up our game. Hiking is not always perfect with my kids. Sometimes my kids fight and sometimes they whine because they’re so exhausted. But it’s always worth it. So, I hope this beginner’s guide helps you ignite this soul-filling habit with your own family.hiking

What Hiking Has Done for Me

As a mom and woman, hiking with my kids has given me so many benefits. First and foremost, getting out in nature has helped my mental health. Not only does the fresh air freshen my mind, but nature is healing. There’s no way around it. I can’t really describe how I feel during and after a hike; it’s like my soul is flying. I’m much more at peace in my heart while the turmoil continues to swirl in the world around us.  

Hiking with my kids has also given me confidence as a mother. Science is not my forte and I’ve been known for getting lost—anywhere. So, finding our way out of the woods after a long hike has given me confidence to take my kids just about anywhere.

What Hiking Has Done for the Kids

Hiking has given my kids confidence—to try new things, take healthy risks, and learn about something new. I’ve watched my kids climb mountains and trees as well as build their endurance for as long as a 7-mile hike. Watching them soar has been a wonderful sight to see.

They also have become much more observant of the world around them and environmentally conscious. My son will pick up trash he sees, just because—and then make a game out of how many pieces he can pick up to make the world better.

hikingHow to Get Started

  • First, you just need an adventurous spirit. Gather up your courage and tell yourself that you will conquer your first hike with your kids. You can do this! If I can, certainly anyone can.
  • Download the All Trails app or just Google trails in your area. Choose one or make a bucket list. 
  • Next, take a small backpack and fill it with some water bottles, snacks, and a couple Band-Aids. Some websites will tell you to bring all kinds of gear with you, but honestly, you just need sneakers. We’ve never bought hiking boots and we’ve been just fine. Simply dress for the weather. If you’re traveling to a destination where the trees don’t protect you, you’ll also need some sunscreen, but that’s it. I’m a minimalist when it comes to hiking because the more you bring, the more you have to carry.

Be Mentally Prepared

  • Getting acquainted with hiking can take some time depending on your kids. Their stamina may be low so expect whining. If this occurs, just try to have a light heart and persevere. But if your first hike is short, don’t let that stop you. Try again. Slowly their endurance will grow.
  • Maybe you have a wild child. You also need to be prepared for this because they may want to climb a very high tree or jump into the water. Personally, I’m all about letting my kids take healthy risks, but you know your child best. If you think they’re getting into something too risky, be prepared to pull in the reigns without crushing their spirit.hiking
  • Perhaps you have a wanderer {usually a wanderer is a wild child, too} — so be prepared for them to lag behind or go ahead. Honestly, I love when this happens. This means they’re getting lost in nature, learning to observe the little things, and be content with themselves. As long as I can see my kid {which sometimes I can’t}, I’m totally fine with my little wanderer.
  • Be prepared for small boo-boos. My wild child falls each and every time we hike—no joke. She goes at one speed—and it’s FAST. She trips ver roots, falls down rolling hills, trips into the water, and more. My daughter’s legs are black and blue and her knees are constantly scabbed. It is what it is. I say she’s building grit and learning to control her body.
  • Be prepared for dirty kids and a dirty car. If my kids see water or mud, they’re exploring in it. I’ve grown to suppress my moans and let them get dirty—they only get one childhood, after all.hiking

I truly hope this post has given you the confidence you need to try hiking with your kids. Remember, anyone can do it. Explore and have fun! Adventures are waiting.

In + Around Mid-MIchigan