HOW CHRISTMAS CHANGED THIS YEAR

Christmas with a 20 months old

Growing up, I felt like I was loosing that Christmas feeling I had as a child, and I tried every year harder to find it. I decorated every room in my house, listened to the Frank Sinatra’s Christmas songs from the early November, baked cookies, but it was worthless. I just couldn’t feel that warm and excitment anymore, until one day I finally acepted it and convinced myself that this period is only for the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the Grinch. I spend most of my time with the family, I am always ridiculously happy and I am very grateful of what life has brought to me. I’m talking about the magic a child sees at the Christmas tree, which I experienced it too when I was little. Now I could stare the tree for an hour or longer and I would push myself to feel it, but nothing would happen.

Last year my baby was only seven months old and she couldn’t understand much but this year was totally different. Why nobody tells you anything about having Christmas with kids? It is one of the most precious moments you get to live as a parent. As my daughter is already at an age where she can communicate and understands everything, she was so happy with all the new things going on. She says ‘Hey’ 100 times a day to put her the ‘Jingle Bells’ and we dance to the ‘Rudolf’ song all day. When we decorated the Christmas tree, she did a screaming laugh out of happiness and every night she waved goodnight to it. She even had her first present from Santa and we left him cookies and milk on Christmas Eve. When kids came to our door to sing the Christmas carols she was clapping her hands and shaking her head to the rhythm. Having her first Christmas together while I tried to give her a full experience of it, put me in the mood too. I lived all the moments to the maximum and I actually felt the magic again after all these time. My husband said to me one day, I don’t know who is more excited, you or Amelia?

Always trying to kiss he

Being a parent sometimes is really hard, but moments like these are everything! This little girl has brought so much joy to us and I can’t wait to see what wonderful things the future is going to bring. Whish you all happy moments with your family and a Happy New Year!

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BREASTFEEDING

My breastfeeding journey continues up to this day. I never thought I would keep it for so long. I always had in my mind that nursing for a year is more than enough. Actually, when I first started, my initial goal was to be able to breastfeed for 3 months, then for 6 months, for 9 months and for a year maximum. It did not matter what I want because my baby had a different opinion and she wouldn’t let the boob that easily. She nurses when she is teething, sad, tired or wants to sleep. People around us are usually surprised when they hear that I am still breastfeeding her, and honestly I would be too before I had Amelia, but now I know better. I just follow my child and what it feels right to me. Not even once all these months I have felt like I should stop nursing her.

However, it hasn’t been that easy, especially after she turned one. Maybe I was expecting too much, like her to sleep better or breastfeed less often and when I realised none of these were happening I had a difficult time with breastfeeding agitation. That lasted until she became 14 months old and at this point I made up my mind to continue nursing her until she is two. In general, breastfeeding requires a lot of effort from the mother and support from the people around her. It is not the simplest thing in the world to have a baby that completely depends on you for her feeding and oftentimes you may be insecure about your supply or you may be exhausted. That is why  finding opportunities for sleep and rest whenever possible will make you a happier and more patient mom.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby, it sound so natural to me mostly because growing up I listened to my parents talking about it and how good it is for a baby. The main reasons I managed to do it were because firstly, I took a class for expecting mothers, which gave me all the information I needed and secondly, I was very calm. I said to myself that even if I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, my baby would still survive and be healthy by drinking formula. It would be great if  we make it, but it is ok if we wouldn’t. All it mattered was the baby to be fed. I was so lucky, she latched immediately after she was born and I cannot express all the happiness and love I felt those moments.LRM_EXPORT_632362527112965_20190101_173310735

We should not forget that every case is different and not all moms can or want to breastfeed and it is totally ok. Chosing to breastfeed doesn’t make any of us a better mother. Below I will show you about what I learned from the class I took and talk about my experience. I am not a breastfeeding counselor and these are just general rules for full – term born babies. For any problem with you or the baby you should talk to your doctor.

Things that can affect your milk supply.

  1. Breastfeeding on demand. Nursing frequency and duration have a huge impact on your milk supply. A newborn may stay on the breast for 18 hours a day and that is perfectly normal. The more a baby is nursing the more milk you will have.  Anything from 8 to 12 or more times a day is totally expected. Breast milk digests faster than formula and as a result your baby is hungry more often. Infants go through growth spurts when they are getting ready for their next milestone and they may breastfeed for many and many hours and mothers might think that they are not getting enough milk, but it is all very normal. You just offer in demand, everything is fine as long as the baby is gaining enough weight and has at least 4-6+ wet diapers a day, according to www.kellymom.com .
  2. Hydration. Water, water, water. Drink as much water as possible. Dehydration is one of the main reasons that can drop your milk supply. Your body needs liquids to produce liquids.
  3. Nutrition. Mother’s milk is the best milk for a baby, even if she eats junk food. The baby will absorb all the nutrients he needs from mother’s body but eating well and healthy in this demanding period is crucial. A balanced diet will fuel you with all the needed energy. Keep in mind, though, that having lots of healthy snacks all the time, will keep you away from indulging to cakes and all the nutrient-poor foods. I don’t even know how I got to my pre – baby weight with all that food I am eating. I am more hungry than when I was pregnant and I need to eat all the time. Seriously, I have to eat every hour something. Some days I consume so much food that I am sure I must have gained at least 2 kg. The good think is that with breastfeeding you lose many calories too. Balance is the key.

Breastfeed as soon as possible from birth. Newborns in their first two hours of life are awaken and are very alert about the world around them. They are looking for their mothers, so ideally they should be placed on their mom’s chest for some skin to skin and then they start to crawl and breastfeed on their own. Newborns have this ability for a couple of hours after delivery and then they usually will sleep for most of the time. The same goes for the mothers who had a c-section. I had a c-section myself and I nursed her immediately after birth.

Breastfeeding does not hurt. You may already have heard this somewhere, but it is true. If you feel pain then you are doing something wrong and baby doesn’t latches as she is supposed to do, so don’t keep suffering, ask a counselor to show you the right way. Even if the first weeks are hard, pain will go away, but the baby still will not be positioned well and most likely not feeding well. It is very important to get help.  Also, in the first months a breastfeeding pillow will save your life. The baby will nurse for so long that your back and arms may hurt, so buy one and you will see a great difference.

Always offer both breasts. During breastfeeding first comes the foremilk, which is lower in calories and then hindmilk comes as the feeding progresses. The baby should be placed in one breast and stay there for as much as he wants. After he stops feeding offer one more time the same breast, if he is done with it offer the other one and let him stay there until he lets it himself. Always should be offered both breasts at every feeding.

Breast milk provides ideal nutrition to infants. It is sterilized, has the perfect temperature and easy to offer at any time.

The World Health Organization says that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of age and complementary foods should be introduced while continued to be breastfed for up to two years or beyond.

I often hear people saying that a toddler has nothing good to take from breast milk and they only do it for soothing. I don’t see anything wrong with the soothing reason, toddlers are still babies and they need any kind of tenderness they can get from their mothers. However, the benefits of extended breastfeeding are countless. It provides energy to the kid, helps brain development, boosts immune system and many other. It is up to the mother and the child for how long they decide to keep on it.

Taking medications when needed is another issue that worries young mothers. You can take medications while nursing, as long as they are compatible with breastfeeding. Antibiotics, homeopathic medication, paracetamol and lots of others are not forbidden during this period. You can simply check compatibility of any medicine in the http://www.e-lactancia.org website. You just enter the active ingredient of the medicine, it is usually on the medicine’s box, and it will show if it is very low risk, which means that there is no risk for the baby or it will show high risk, that means it is not safe to take.

Lastly, the thing the nurses told us is that if you want to breastfeed you will.  It is the best for your child and yourself too. If challenges come, seek for advice. It is the most natural thing, but you need to know how to do it and good information is extremely useful. The bond with your baby and the  moments you get to live with him are very special and worth every second.

Anna


TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY

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Holiday season is almost here and people from all around the world will travel for vacations or to their relatives to spend the most beautiful time of the year. However, one thing that worries families with little kids is how to survive the flight and if is even worth it at all. Honestly, sometimes it is not easy, but nothing is impossible. The younger the child the easier the flight, because a four month old baby will stay still and stare the new enviroment, but a one year old baby will want to touch everything and move all around. I have some tips I implement to my family that have helped us and hope you find them useful too.

  1. Patience. This is the number one tool you will need. It might be challenging, you probably will have to walk the isle more times than you expected and be vigilant the whole time. These are what you really should be questioning yourself if you can undertake. Having in mind the worst case scenario will mentally prepare you for the challenge. However, things usually are not that serious. Kids are kids and you already know how to handle them. Personally I never had a bad flight with my daughter. There were times she wanted to play or explore but this is what I do with her everyday.
  2. Toys and books. I don’t recommend bringing too many toys and books with you. Babies don’t play for too long with anything. One or two toys and new books are more than enough. When they have less options they tend to be more interested and play for longer. Also, a little bit of screen time won’t hurt when things get tough. So, having a few videos with music or movies or whatever your child prefers will save you when you are out of energy.
  3. Snacks. Kids under the age of one shouldn’t eat any sugar, but that is not the case for toddlers. I keep cookies and sweet snacks for such occassions and will keep her calm for a few minutes. A piece of chocolate does wonders with Amelia and is something I know she never refuses. Cheerios, dried fruits, baby cookies or whatever your child loves are options for the under one babies. It is easier to handle such a little baby because they are curious about anything you give to them.
  4. Don’t bring everything at once. Let the child explore all the fascinating things in the plane. Opening and closing the window, pushing the buttons, playing with the table, reading the safety instructions are all interesting activities that will keep them entertained for quite a time.  After you have tried these then snacks and toys may follow.
  5. Let them play with the passengers.  If they are friendly of course. When we traveled to Crete Amelia was full of energy and i was feeling so tired. Luckily, next to us was seating a girl who loved her and she played with her the entire time. She was a new person to my doughter, that means an interesting one. She even held her for a while and I can’t thank her enough for that. I hope you understand that I don’t just give my child to strangers, it was a one time thing. What I want to say is that most of the passengers love babies and are happy to play peekaboo, smile or wave to them and you should take advantage of it.
  6. Buy a separate seat for the kid. For a long flight and if you can afford it I would definitely suggest buying one more seat for your baby to sleep in. On our night flight from Malaga to Athens I held her all the way from 1 am till the morning. Both me and her were exhausted the next day. Had I known better I would have taken another seat.
  7. Fly smart. Plan your trip during nap time. That way you have more chances the baby to sleep, also don’t forget to ask the flight attendant a pillow, it makes everything more comfortable, plus in case of turbulences it is an extra safety for baby’s head when sleeping.
  8. Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes. Hygiene is important, specially with very young babies and washing hands is not an easy task with when in an airplane. Moreover, you might want to disinfect everything that may end up in kid’s mouth.

Do you have any other smart tip? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna

MONTHLY BABY PHOTOSHOOT

A few days ago Amelia turned 18 months old, a year and a half she came into our lives. It is crazy how much in love I am with this lady. I could seriously eat her but instead we spend most of our days hugging each other. I took the monthly photoshoot idea from the amazing Mimi Ikonn when I was pregnant and decided to do it too with my daughter. I can’t wait to show them to her when she grows up, but it is also a beautiful memory to keep from my baby’s first year.

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Did you liked this idea? Have you done anything similar too?

Anna

HOW I HANDLE MY TODDLER

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Amelia is 18 months old, so already a toddler and I am more scared than ever of what is going to come. Since now she hasn’t been the wildest kid, but mood swings and tantrums have made their presence in the past months. I am with her 24/7, all my days are dedicated to raising this child and it truly is the most rewarding job in the world, I wouldn’t change it for anything. The moments I get to live with her, watching her character changing from a baby to a toddler make me feel so privileged. I know that most mums have to return to their jobs a few months after giving birth, I am so grateful I had the chance to experience this whole new world.

However, not all days are good and the hard part is that I cannot take a break if I feel I need to. Dimitri leaves for work early in the morning and gets back after 8 pm, so there is nobody to keep her even for half an hour. She has been so attached to me, playing, eating, sleeping I am there. Even on nap time most of the times she will wake up 2 to 3 times to make sure I am close. It is the sweetest thing and she is my baby girl, I couldn’t be more lucky, but sometimes I really need a break. I know there are mums out there that feel the same so I have a few tips I use myself in an everyday basic.LRM_EXPORT_566313040414173_20181102_141909139

Nagging. Toddlers may be nagging for their socks, for their toy not standing on a ball, or for any other reason. You may have all the good intentions to offer your hugs and understanding but at some point you start to get frustrated too. If I see her in a bad day all I do is to take her outside. We go for a walk. To me the answer to most issues is to just go out. As soon as we head to the door her face softens and she is smiling again. I show her the little bugs or we cut an olive from the tree and she is the happiest baby.  The world is full of exciting things for kids to explore, so you don’t have to go far, the playground or simply the street out of your house is the perfect place for a toddler to forget all his worries.LRM_EXPORT_566452655145804_20181102_142128753

Not eating. Your kid may be a champ at eating or a picky eater, but the truth is that most toddlers will have days or longer periods that will resist eating. I know how hard this is for a parent, you can’t just put him to bed with an empty stomach. It took me a long time to accept it, but eventually I made up my mind and I offer her healthy options and new tastes to try. I don’t push her, if she is hungry she will eat if not she won’t. Aren’t we doing the same? We can’t eat if we are not hungry either, can we? Toddlers are going through different phases with teething, growth spurts and many other things that have an impact in their eating and other aspects in their lifes. As long as the pediatrician says there is no reason to worry about, then don’t worry.

Tantrums. All toddlers at some point will have a tantrum. Some of them more often then the others. They cannot express what they want or how they feel in a situation so they start crying and shouting. Sometimes people may think that a kid who acts like that is a spoiled one, but this is not truth. It is just the way toddlers are. They get overwhelmed easily and we have to provide a safe environment for them at that moment. When my daughter goes through it I let her express herself and I am somewhere close to her so that she can see me. After the tornado I hug her and tell her that I understand why she felt like that and I probably ask questions so that she can totally let go of what got her upset.

 

When I am tired and have reached my limits, I tell her that I am tired and I need a moment. So, I go in an other room to calm down for a few seconds and then I get back. It is not about how to handle the toddler, is about yourself too. We are humans and my personal opinion is that I don’t find it wrong that the kids sees as in a vulnerable way. This is how we teach them empathy.

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An other tip is to make fun on a difficult situation. Do you remember when you were a child how much you enjoyed to have fun and to lough with your parents? I’ve taken this advice from the book ‘The Danish Way of Parenting’, which is a great book by the way. One day in the playground, Amelia wanted to play with some older girls  but they didn’t want her, because she is just a baby. She stayed there disappointed, watching them go, then her daddy told her a funny Greek song about why she shouldn’t care of those girls not wanting to play with her. Amelia started dancing with the song and everything was ok! So don’t be afraid to turn an awkward moment into a funny one. They will also learn not to take hard moments too serious.

Tell me how do you deal with those situation? I am a new mom and any advice is welcomed.

 

Anna

SNACK AND BREAKFAST IDEAS FOR BABIES

I try to offer only healthy food options to Amelia. No sugar, salt and processed food. It has not been easy though. Living in a Greek family where everyone has an advice to give me, sometimes made me feel unsecured about my parenting style. Questions like ‘This poor baby needs some sweet too after her meal.’ or ‘How is she gonna eat her food unsalted?’ hit me everyday. So, I haven’t been able to keep her totally away from what I consider wrong, but it is ok because kids need to be spoiled by their grandparents too. Today I am sharing some snacks and breakfast ideas that I often offer to Amelia. Her breakfast always has some protein combined  with fruits or veggies. When she was a baby she had an egg allergy, she is fine now, but doesn’t like to eat eggs, unless they are in a recipe.

  1. Pumpkin pancakes

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It is possible to make these pancakes with only an egg and smashed pumpkin, but I add more ingredients to make them even more nutritious. Instead of pumpkin you can use sweet potato as well.

1 egg

3/4 cup of smashed pumpkin

1/4 cup of smashed banana

1 tablespoon almond powder

1/2 tablespoon tahini or any other nut butter

Mix all the ingredients together and cook the pancakes in a preheated pan for 3 minutes each side with butter or coconut oil, in medium heat.

 

2.  Sweet egg toast

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This one is so delicious! It actually tastes like a pancake if you let the break soak in all the mixture.

2 slice of bread toast

1egg

2 tablespoons of milk

A pinch of cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients and let the bread soak in all the blend then cook the bread in medium heat. Enjoy with maple syrup or honey (for toddlers).

 

3. Soft apple cookies

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I took this recipe from this Greek facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/baby.nutrition/. The cookies are really soft, perfect for little kids, but we enjoyed them too.

100gr butter

150 gr honey or coconut sugar

1 egg

1 grated apple

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

200 gr white flour

Mix all together with a spoon. Drop cookies by teaspoonful about 2 inches apart on greaseproof paper and cook in preheated oven at 338 degrees for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Hope you liked those ideas and tell me if you want me to post more recipes. I have so many!

 

xo xo, Anna

AMELIA IOVI’S BOHO CHRISTENING

LRM_EXPORT_204045725717238_20181018_142247261Amelia’s Christening was something I was looking forward since she was born. I wanted everything to be pretty and classy but simple. It was a beautiful bohemian themed Christening in a rainy Sunday. I loved every detail about that day. The white seaside church, the summer feeling, all our people together. My girl was so pretty in her dress, seriously she looked like a princess. I can’t believe she is my daughter. She has brought so much joy into our lifes. Such a big personality into such a little person.. And she made sure to show it that day! I had to hold her all the time because she was shocked by all the situation and wouldn’t go to anyone. However, after the ceremony, she was calmed and dancing until she fell asslep on me of course!

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Photographer: Panagiotis Argyrakis

Decoration: Romantic Chic Event Planning

TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH A BABY

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Before we become parents, we loved to travel together. We had so much fun so we kept booking a trip after trip. When Amelia came we knew that we didn’t want to stop traveling until she grows up. In fact, I dreamt about creating family moments in new places and showing her the world. Her first trip was when she was only 40 days old to Dimitri’s brother wedding. She was so tiny and stress level so high. We stopped every hour to check her, so an actual 3 hour distance we did it for 8 hours. Since then this little girl has gone to so many places in Greece and abroad.

I don’t know what it is but we travel even more since we had her then we did before. Maybe it’s because we cannot go out that much anymore during the week as we used to. So we make up with traveling. Our people think that we are out of our minds and this poor baby is only getting so tired. But the truth is that she is the happiest and the most excited kid when on a trip. However, keeping her well rested and happy doesn’t come just like that. There are challenges so we make sure to follow some rules.

  1.  Keeping her on a schedule. Babies thrive when are in a routine. They have to eat and sleep when they need to. In every trip we make sure we return in the hotel room for her main nap. This usually happens at 13.00 pm to 16.00 pm. This is also the perfect time for us to have that much needed rest. Before Amelia we would walk and walk all day to explore every spot, but this is a small sacrifice we have to make. Adaptability is the key!
  2. Food. I know this is the main worry for parents. Babies until the age of six months usually only have milk. This is actually the easiest period to travel, because all you need is the bottle or your boobs. I was breastfeeding so the baby was fed at any time. After six months we did baby-led weaning so she pretty much was eating what we were eating, without any sugar or salt. For the babies who eat pureed food I would suggest bringing a small mixer with you. This is not necessary because usually all restaurants and cafés are glad to help you with the baby’s food. But sometimes you may not find an appropriate place to do it, mainly when you have doubts about the hygiene. You don’t wanna risk your baby’s health especially when you are not home. When you are back at the hotel for nap time, you can order something there for your baby to eat. There is also the choice of baby jar food. I only offered her twice but she didn’t like them. I am a huge advocate for fresh homemade baby food and I try to keep that in travels too but sometimes it is difficult to find something fresh and healthy, so baby jars are an easy choice for once in a while.LRM_EXPORT_1112816005064559_20180905_005856222LRM_EXPORT_1112958630339304_20180905_010118847
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  3. Baby carriers. I can’t say enough about them. If you plan to travel with a baby go and get one. You will thank me later. I can talk for hours about carriers, but I will do it in another post. When you are in a new place there are spots that a stroller can’t go through. For example, I had to ‘wear’ her in order to visit the Dubrovnik walls when we were in Croatia. It was the most beautiful thing to see, but so many stairs. She slept the whole hour on me and we enjoyed the view. I even nursed her and nobody noticed it.
  4.  Accept it. Last but not least, is to accept the fact that traveling as you used to is over. It won’t be as relaxed as it was before and you may not get the chance to experience everything you planned to. I remember how excited I was for our summer vacation to getting some sleep on the beach, or having a dinner where I could actually take a conversation with my husband. But that was impossible with a 14 months old toddler. I got myself thinking that this was a mistake. I can’t lie, it is not always easy. But it is OK. Family time, creating memories and bonding together is worth it!

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