How to Prevent Choking During Baby-Led Weaning

In my years of teaching classes on introducing solids with baby-led weaning I always go around the room and ask everyone to introduce themselves and to share what their biggest concern they’re hoping to learn about. Number one worry, far and away, is a fear of choking.

It just seems scary to give a tiny baby actual pieces of food, doesn’t it? Possibly even dangerous! So why choose baby-led weaning to start if they could choke?

How to Avoid Choking During Baby Led Weaning


As I cover in my class, there are a few parts to this concern.

First is the difference between gagging and choking. Gagging is a natural reflex that actually prevents choking because babies are designed to survive even first-time parents. Choking is the obstruction of the airway by (in this case) a piece of food. Gagging is scary, but not dangerous; choking is to be avoided if possible.

If you haven’t taken an infant CPR class, you may feel better taking one now. You can also do a little YouTube self-study which is better than nothing. I cover this more in my introducing solids course, but choking is silent while gagging is not. My mantra is, “If they’re coughing, they’re breathing.”

Is There an Increased Risk of Choking with Baby-Led Weaning?

A 2016 study in New Zealand followed over 200 babies as they started solids and found that 35% of the babies in the whole study had a choking incident during the period they observed. The percentage was across groups who started with purees or finger foods, because the issue was that a high percentage of the babies were offered foods that were choking hazards.

The best ways to prevent choking during baby-led weaning are:

  • wait until baby is physically ready to start solids, and
  • offer foods that are developmentally appropriate for your child

Babies can’t read calendars, so it’s important to watch their motor development to ensure they’re able to eat food and maintain their posture to prevent choking during baby-led weaning.

Signs of readiness include: baby can sit well without support, baby has lost their tongue thrust reflex, baby is bringing items to their mouth, baby is starting to develop a pincer grasp, and baby is eager to participate in meals.

As I mentioned, not feeding your baby choking hazards significantly reduces the risks! In the study I mentioned above, over a third of the choking incidents reported were due to raw apples. Learn from those parents’ mistakes!

Choking hazards during baby-led weaning include: raw apples, raw vegetables, unripe/hard fruit, citrus segments, whole nuts, popcorn, whole grapes, cherry tomatoes, hot dogs/sausages, food cut into coins, hard crackers/chips, hard/chewy candy

For more in-depth information, my Introducing Solids class covers the when, why, and how of starting foods with your baby, including breastfeeding and allergens.

Hundreds of parents have felt more confident and informed while approaching solid foods with their babies. You can, too!

Five Diverse Award-Winning New Children’s Books

child sits reading book

Children are keen observers of the world and can start forming biases as early as preschool. It's not enough to mention Rosa Parks a few times on the road to raising anti-racist kids. Books are the simplest way to expose kids everywhere to stories of people who are different from themselves.

Reading books with diverse characters can offer representation of marginalized groups, context, and a starting point for additional discussions about the world.

Here is a list of award-winning titles from 2019 for kids of all ages to explore and enjoy.

Merci Suarez Changes Gears - by Meg Medina

This Newberry Award Winning book for 2019 details the challenges of Merci Suarez, a young girl, as she navigates some big changes in her life as her family relocates from their comfortable home to a new and different community. This tale offers emphasis on connection, community and instills a sense of what really matters in terms of friendship.

 

The Stuff of Stars - by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

This artful exploration of the origin of the solar system offers a poetic blend of science and art, and brings a sense of wonder and awe to kid of all ages. This 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner offers a seamless exploration of our universal origin, bringing with it an understanding of how we are all connected.

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship - by Jessica Kensky

This title won the 2019 Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience in the "young children" category, and for good reason. Rescue and Jessica are a girl and her service dog, and both unexpectedly find themselves in roles that they hadn't anticipated. As Jessica needs her dog, Rescue, to help her with every day tasks, he finds he truly is able to help her, and those around her to really see.

Drawn Together - written by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

The story of a grandson and grandfather struggling to communicate across divides of language, age, and culture touches on a common experience for many families. Beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Dan Santat (my kids looooove his books), this story of connection through art and storytelling earned an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the Picture Book category.

The Remember Balloons - by Jessie Oliveros

This Schneider Family Honor Award winner for 2019 offers a gentle insight into the world of changes that come with Alzheimers' diagnosis. The story revolves around the main character, James, and his grandfather's balloons, which are treasured family memories. Each one signifies an important event, and it becomes up to James to hold and share each one.

Plus a bonus novel!

Monday’s Not Coming -  by Tiffany D. Jackson

For older readers, this mesmerizing mystery is one of friendship and community, a realistic account of events surrounding the disappearance of a teenage girl, and the efforts to find her. This young adult book offers insight into truth, justice, and the experience of children and teens of color. The book won a Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award for Tiffany D. Jackson.


What are your favorite new kids books that engage children on topics of diversity and inclusion? This list was inspired by the American Library Association.

If you purchase from one of these links provided, I receive a small commission to help me feed my tiny hobbits--at no additional cost to you. Your support is very much appreciated.

5 Best Natural Deodorants (That Actually Work!)

Your baby can recognize your scent (and your milk) at 3 days old.

And really, who couldn't with that lovely postpartum hormone-induced stank? Yikes. No one warned me about A) night sweats and B) how strongly my underarms would smell.

I've found that deodorant is one of the first personal care items that people want to start switching out for natural options, and it's literally one of the most common questions in my Facebook group, the Semi-Crunchy Mama Club.

Lucky for all of us (and those who sit nearby), I’ve collected some of the most popular recommendations for deodorants that are free of aluminum, parabens and other ingredients you want to avoid. Check out the links below for 5 great options that actually work.

Wanna DIY?

Just scroll toward the bottom for two recipes to make your own deodorant from simple ingredients. There are also a few bonus tips to detox and cleanse those mama pits. Your baby will still be able to find you, I promise!

Looking for a place to have semi-crunchy conversations, ask questions about parenting, motherhood, raising healthy (and semi-crunchy) kids? Join the club.

5 Natural Deodorants to Combat Postpartum Stank

Best Natural Deodorants

Primal Pit Paste ($13)

Primal Pit Paste was the most popular suggestion, especially the lavender roll-on. It works well for most body types. Most of these listed have similar ingredients, so it's mostly about finding the right option for your body.

What semi-crunchy fans are saying:

  • "Motherhood has definitely made my pits super stinky. I use Primal Pit Paste stick. And that works fine... until it doesn’t. I’ll occasionally put some ACV on a cotton ball and wipe pits before a shower. That’ll usually do the trick.” (See more tips at the bottom of this list!)
  • "The Primal Pit Paste in a roller is AMAZING! I've tried so many natural deodorants and I've always gotten stinky, but even here in swamp ass North Carolina I smell wonderful...well, my armpits do.”


Schmidt’s ($10)

Another club favorite! The great thing about Schmidt’s is that it comes in a wide variety of unique scent formulations that aren’t overwhelming and fade quickly. Schmidt’s does offer an additional sensitive option that is fragrance- and baking soda-free. The charcoal-magnesium was a popular choice.

What semi-crunchy fans say:

  • “I’ve tried a bunch of natural deodorants over the past 4 years or so. My favorite was Primal Pit Paste, but it stains my clothes, so I switched to Schmidt’s recently. I think it works better than PPP and have been using it for about 6 months. I started getting rashy in my pits though so switched to their “sensitive” version which doesn’t have baking soda and the rash is gone. So, long story short, my favorite now is Schmidt’s tea tree sensitive.”
  • “I have a different Schmidt’s but I love it! Works really well, doesn’t feel sticky, keeps me dry 90% of the time! I keep backup 'real' chemically deodorant in my work bag and have only used it twice. And it was just the feeling of being a little sweaty that I hated, I didn’t smell.”

Piper Wai ($12-14)

Piper Wai has a strong following as well. The smaller 2 oz. size comes in a jar, or the sticks come in a 2-pack if that's your preference. Some people had great results; others not so much. Just use a tiny amount because while the activated charcoal absorbs odor, it can stain clothes if you apply too much.

What semi-crunchy fans are saying:

  • "I've tried everything you can buy in stores, but I'm not a fan of any of them. My fave I've found is sold online - Piper Wai."
  • "With Piper Wai, there’s not really a transition time. It smells really good and you could always reapply if needed through day."

LaVanila $14

Mid-range product with reasonable effectiveness and a variety of scents. The sport version is a few bucks more, but may help for longer days if you don't have time to reapply.

What semi-crunchy fans say:

  • "LaVanila was my compromise and "dress up" deodorant for a long time until my body adjusted to natural options."
  • "I've been using Lavanila for years and love it. They even have a sport one now for more sweat and stink if needed. The coconut is my fav!"

Native $12

Native includes a probiotic in the mix to combat the bacteria that causes odor in the first place. Like several others, it does contain baking soda, so make sure you don't react first.

What semi-crunchy fans say:

  • "I tried Schmidt's but it didn't work for me. I switched to Native and it's great.
  • "It works well enough for both me and my husband."
  • "Native is the first I've ever used that actually works for me... Highly recommend it!"

Additional Tips and Suggestions

Antiperspirant is generally aluminum-based, so these are all deodorant-only. It can be weird getting used to actually sweating again, but it's not the sweat that smells, it's the bacteria.

Some people find it helpful to do a little armpit detox (things you never thought you'd say). The easiest one is mixing a little apple cider vinegar (ACV) with some bentonite clay, applying to your pits like a mask for 10-20 minutes, then washing off.

You can also increase the effectiveness of your deodorant by swiping your pits with a little ACV, witch hazel, or rubbing alcohol, then letting them dry before applying.

If you get a rash, it's probably the baking soda, or possibly a reaction to that scent. If so, contact the company to see if they'll let you exchange it for another scent/formula! Or try one of the homemade options below.

Chlorella Supplement. ($13-22)

Still stinky? A friend once suggested taking chlorella internally to combat odor, and I scoffed. Then I looked it up, started taking it for low iron, and it totally works. I linked a spirulina/chlorella combo I use, but I've heard the liquid works great.

I swallow the tablets with water, or throw a few in the blender with my smoothies. My kids eat them like candy for the "swamp mouth" effect.

DIY Recipes

Basic DIY Deodorant

Ingredients:

  • 3 TB coconut oil
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil. Add essential oils to coconut oil if desired.
  2. Combine arrowroot & baking soda. Mix in oils thoroughly.
  3. Store in a clean, dry container.

You may need to adjust the amounts slightly to compensate for the humidity in your area – if it’s dry/crumbly, add drops of coconut oil until desired consistency is reached. If it’s too wet, add equal parts of baking soda and arrowroot by the teaspoon until it’s solid and a little springy.

Sensitive Skin Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax
  • 3-10 drops desired essential oils
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil, shea butter & beeswax in a double boiler on stove. You can also use a glass bowl on top of a pan with water in it. Stir in essential oils.
  2. Combine cornstarch and arrowroot powder. Mix until well combined and store in clean dry containers.

You may need to adjust the amounts slightly to compensate for the humidity in your area – if it’s dry/crumbly, add coconut oil drop wise until desired consistency. If it’s too wet, add arrowroot by the teaspoon until it’s solid and a little springy.

Essential Oil Blend Inspiration:

Need some ideas for great scent combinations? Here you go!

  • 3-5 drops tea tree, 3-5 drops lavender
  • 3-5 drops sage, 2 drops rosemary, 3-5 drops lemon
  • 3-5 drops lemon, 3-5 drops geranium
  • 3-5 drops orange, 3-5 drops frankincense

Essential oils are potent. If you're sensitive to scents, 2-3 drops total would be plenty. For these recipes, no more than 8-10 drops is best practice.

Preparing For Periods: How to Make a Period Pouch

Preparing for Periods: The Period Pouch

How did your parents prepare you for your first period?

Preparing for Periods: The Period Pouch

Did they prepare you at all?

My memories aren't very clear, but I remember reading about it beforehand, and I had an older sister go through it first. When I started my period at school when I was 11, she was there to support me through it, help me find a pad, and make sure I was OK.

That's unfortunately not true for a lot of kids. (Feeling weird about discussing reproduction and anatomy with your kids? Check out my podcast episode with Melissa from Sex Positive Families!)

Many of my clients and community members have a few years to think about this, but the years are short, aren't they? This came up in my Facebook group a few months ago. Here is Danielle's post, shared with her and Zoey's permission:

Period Talk.  Zoey is 10, and hasn't gotten her period yet but is very excited about the possibility. I put together these period packs for her to put in her backpack and to keep in the car so wherever she is when it starts, she'll be prepared. I wish someone had cared enough to do something like this for me when I was a preteen. I got my period at 11 and had to save up my lunch money to buy pads. I used socks and washcloths when I couldn't afford it and was never given proper education on my options. Zoey carefully picked the period panties she wanted, decided on organic cotton pads after looking at cups and tampons as well, and they came with these cute little wipe packs that smell wonderful. I'm so happy I can give her a different introduction to menstruation than I had. This is so healing for me. Now I want my own unicorn period packs. 😂❤️

"Period Talk.
Zoey is 10, and hasn't gotten her period yet but is very excited about the possibility. I put together these period packs for her to put in her backpack and to keep in the car so wherever she is when it starts, she'll be prepared. I wish someone had cared enough to do something like this for me when I was a preteen. I got my period at 11 and had to save up my lunch money to buy pads. I used socks and washcloths when I couldn't afford it and was never given proper education on my options. Zoey carefully picked the period panties she wanted, decided on organic cotton pads after looking at cups and tampons as well, and they came with these cute little wipe packs that smell wonderful. I'm so happy I can give her a different introduction to menstruation than I had. This is so healing for me. Now I want my own unicorn period packs. 😂❤️"

     

Did someone say unicorns???

I ran into Zoey at school a few days later and asked if she would show me one of her pouches, and if I could take a picture of her to share with this post. How sweet is this?

How to make a period pouch

  1. If you haven't, tell your child about menstruation so they know what to expect. (Tell your sons, too, so they understand what their siblings/peers experience!) There's nothing gross or shameful about how bodies work.
  2. Discuss various options such as disposable or cloth pads, period panties, tampons, and menstrual cups. Just because they're not comfortable with some options now doesn't mean they won't be later.
  3. Go shopping or order them items for the bag. Choose or make pouches.
  4. Keep a pouch in the car, in their school bag, or wherever they may need one.

In the comments, Danielle shared links to the items that her daughter chose.

3 Pack Teens Cotton Menstrual Protective Underwear Girls Leak Proof Period Panties

Danielle said they talked about several options, and Zoey chose these.


Rael Organic Pads Overnight Set-Organic Cotton Regular Pads, Overnight Pads, Regular Liners and Natural Feminine Wipes

They talked about reusable cloth pads for the future, but Zoey chose a disposable option to start (especially if she's not at home).


Rael Feminine Wipes

These flushable wipes are infused with herbs, but don't contain fragrance which can be irritating or cause pH issues.


Unicorn Makeup Bag (3 piece set)

There are so many fun and inexpensive options for the actual bags! You could even make your own as a fun project.

A few more tips

Other parents loved the idea, and added that they should make their own, especially if they're not sure when their cycle will return postpartum.

If you need resources for talking to your child about reproductive health, check out AMAZE.org on YouTube, or my podcast episode with Melissa of Sex Positive Families.

Another comment suggested packing an extra set of pants or leggings in their bag just in case.

And Zoey has 2 pouches in case a friend needs one in an emergency! How rad is that?


If you order through the links on this post, I may receive a tiny commission which helps buy my groceries. Thank you!

My Favorite Parenting Books

My Top 3 Parenting Books

I’m a research nerd. When I was expecting my oldest, I read a ton about pregnancy and birth to help manage my expectations of that process. But pregnancy is a much shorter time period than parenthood, and most of us spend more time preparing for the hours of birth than the years after it.

I try to share helpful (or funny) resources on the Semi-Crunchy Mama Facebook page, but I have managed to read a few books in the last few years that stand out as having influenced my parenting in a big way.

My Top 3 Parenting Books for Semi Crunchy Parents

Don’t have time to read? My secret is to download the Kindle app for your phone. I make the background black so it’s not as bright, and I read while I put my kids to bed or am up nursing at night. There are tons of ebooks available from the library, too! Another option is audiobooks if you have a commute, or you can listen while doing chores.

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

This is a great book to read even before your kids are born. (You also have more time to read when you don't have children yet.)

This book is more overall philosophy than practical application, but it offers a big picture view of what kind of parent you might want to be (and why) backed up by studies and research. Most parenting books tend to be based on social and cultural norms, but Alfie Kohn goes beyond that and talks about the kind of society and culture we could have if we parented in a way that was best for our kids, not that was best for the views of other adults.

It's an incredibly eye-opening book, since most of us base our approach on what our parents did, but don't always examine if that's the best approach or just the familiar one.

The downside is that it can make you think about what your childhood might have looked like if your parents had read this book, and you may be disappointed. The book made me rethink my views of praise, school, and discipline. When I'm feeling frustrated or disconnected from my kids, revisiting the principles found in this book help me remember what kind of parent I want to be so I focus more on our relationship than on my kids’ behavior.

There is also a summary of the book HERE.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham

I originally discovered Dr. Markham through her website, ahaparenting.com, and was lucky to hear her speak locally here in San Diego when my oldest was about a year old. I appreciate her approach, which is grounded in attachment theory, and provides a roadmap for “authoritative parenting” -- the happy middle ground between controlling authoritarian and unsupportive permissive styles.

She offers specific phrases and concrete examples that I can use in my actual life. I can't promise that my kids actually react like the dialogues in the book, but I have found it very useful, and her focus on empathy is incredibly important and valuable. Luckily, before I had my second baby, her book Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings was released as well. (I'll do a separate post on sibling resources another time.)

Much of her advice can be found on her blog and newsletters, but having the book as a resource I can revisit has definitely paid off.

Pro-tip: sometimes the Kindle version goes on sale for just a few dollars. It’s still worth it at full price!

Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen


I recommend this book so often that I ended up writing a blog post about it because I couldn't find a good summary to send to clients and friends. Cohen is a play therapist, and also a father, so he draws from both his personal and professional experiences.

My oldest was a toddler when I read it, but the activities apply until at least the tween years. He explains various approaches to enter the world of our children to meet them where they are, and how to use play to connect to our kids and give them an outlet for their emotions and struggles.

Being playful and silly does not come naturally to me, but having specific ideas gives me a starting point and ideas to at least get started. When I get it right, it’s like magic!

There are many activities and games described in the book, or he has an entire separate book called The Art of Roughhousing which has diagrams. He also wrote The Opposite of Worry (I’m halfway through) which discusses playful approaches specifically for kids with anxiety.

Two other books I’ve heard are great:

  • The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel I've started, but not finished. It explains normal brain development and what that means for managing expectations of behavior in young kids.
  • The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary comes highly recommended and sounds interesting as it explores the "parent-child journey" as we learn alongside our kids.

Have you read any of these? What are your favorites?

* I do use affiliate links for books, so if you purchase through me, I make a few cents for the referral. It goes toward feeding my kiddos who eat 9 zillion times a day, so I appreciate it.

5 Thanksgiving Books by Indigenous Authors

Thanksgiving Books by Indigenous Authors

I remember going to the library with my oldest child when he was about two years old. I asked the children's librarian if there were any age-appropriate Thanksgiving books that were somewhere between "blatant lies" and "smallpox blankets." She winced.

So how do we navigate a holiday that originated as a celebration of a massacre without either lying to or traumatizing our kids?

Many families choose to focus on gratitude and family, and introduce Thanksgiving as a historical myth. Here is a helpful history about the biggest lies most of us learned about the holiday (I definitely learned the "Pilgrims and Indians" narrative at school).

5 Thanksgiving Books by Indigenous Authors

Instead of perpetuating harmful stereotypes, here are five books that focus on happiness and gratitude - and are written by native and First Nations authors - that are great any time of year.

If you purchase these books through my Amazon links, I do receive a very small percentage of the price. This money goes to feed my kids and I appreciate it!

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

My Heart Fills With Happiness / Ni Sâkaskineh Mîyawâten Niteh Ohcih by Monique Gray Smith

This dual language picture book celebrates the joyfulness in small moments and serves as a
reminder to parents and kids alike to focus on moments that bring happiness.

 

 

 

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Tracy SorrellWe Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Tracy Sorrell

From the viewpoint of a member of the Cherokee Nation, this book brings a modern perspective to gratitude for both the big and the little things in life. It includes a glossary of Cherokee words for additional depth.

 

 

 

 

Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes by Wab KinewGo Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes by Wab Kinew

From start to finish, this book is a celebration of the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, in both Canada and the US. Your little hero is bound to be inspired by the stories of figures such as Crazy Horse, Net-no-kwa, former NASA astronaut John Herrington and Canadian NHL goalie Carey Price, and more.

 

 

Wild Berries by Julie FlettWild Berries by Julie Flett

Celebrating the connection that we all share with the natural world, this book is also a dual language title, written in both English and Cree. Spend the day picking wild blueberries with Clarence and his grandmother. Meet ant, spider, and fox in a beautiful woodland landscape, the ancestral home of author and illustrator Julie Flett.

 

 

 

Sweetest Kulu by Celina KallukSweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

This title by Inuit author Celina Kalluk celebrates the ancestral connection to the natural world, and emphasizes on respect and love for the earth and all its inhabitants in a lovely bedtime poem.

 

 

 

Looking for more books like these or a selection for older kids? Here are links to more resources available. Be sure to check your local librarian for even more great options to share with your littles.

And if your child is school-age and their school still does a whitewashed history, this is a great resource with sample letters to send the administration to effect change. Please say something, especially if you're a white parent.

Have you read any of these?

If you live near me, all except Go Show the World are available through the San Diego Public Library (and I requested it be added). They'd also be great additions to holiday wishlists to support those authors!

Great Podcasts for Young Kids

Great Podcasts for Young Kids

It's summer! Are you planning to travel? Road trip? Fly?

Even just driving around for summer activities can mean more time in the car when the kids need entertainment. My oldest can't do screens and we don't even own a tablet, so what can you do to prevent whining, fighting, and screaming?

Enter the podcast.

Great Podcasts for Kids

We also love audiobooks on CD, or downloading digital ones to our phones from the library system, too. But for shorter trips, the 20-30 minute length of podcasts can be just enough to get you through that sticky traffic.

I subscribe to these so the last 2-4 episodes are downloaded onto my phone when I'm connected to WiFi at home, then I don't have to stream anything using data while we're in the car. I also have an auxiliary cable to plug my phone into my car speakers, or your car may have bluetooth capability if it's newer than mine.

My kids are currently 2 and 5, so while some of the content may go slightly over the toddler's head, he still tolerates or enjoys all of these. Most of them should appeal to slightly older kids, too, but your kids may have different tastes!

Great Podcasts for Young Kids

>> Circle Round from WBUR <<

Circle Round takes folk tales from around the world, adapts them for a narrator and several voice actors (usually one being from a TV show that adults will recognize, or from NPR News), and creates original music for each story. A few recent episodes feature stories from Kazakstan, Portugal, and Ghana, and generally have some sort of moral or lesson.

If you visit their website you can listen directly from the site, read a transcript of the episode, download coloring pages, and see featured instruments from the episode's music. New episodes come out each week.

>> Brains On! from American Public Media <<

Brains On! describes itself as "an award-winning science podcast for kids and curious adults." Each week, a child is the guest co-host as they explore various topics in science. Episodes range widely from animals to electrons to space to weather. They dig in to how and why things happen.

It may be a little complex for the toddler set, but my little one will sit through most of an episode.

>>Wow in the World from National Public Radio and Tinkercast <<

Wow in the World is one of MY favorites. Co-hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas are silly and entertaining enough to keep the kids engaged, but throw in smart humor for everyone. This science-y show reminds me a bit of the Magic School Bus - they use their shrink ray to make themselves miniature so they can learn about plankton, for example.

My oldest will ask to sit in the car until the episode is over.

>> Story Pirates from Gimlet Media <<

Story Pirates also has live performances and tours across the country, but we've only heard them in the car. (Ok, and sometimes I'll put on an episode so I can take a shower without the boys fighting.) The premise is simple: listeners submit their stories, and the Story Pirates flesh it out and adapt it into a fancier version.

There's a running framework of them being pirates on a ship, and there is some cheeky humor to keep the grownups amused, but it's engaging and fun. My oldest really wants to write a story to send in!

>> But Why? from NPR/Vermont Public Radio <<

But Why? is another science-y show, but this one takes listener questions and brings in an expert to answer them. The topics are more general than some of the previous podcasts - Why Is Money Important? Are There Underground Cities? - and may appeal to a little younger set as well.

>> Peace Out from Bedtime.fm <<

My kids don't love Peace Out as much as I do, but sometimes I put it on whether they like it or not. It's a combo yoga/meditation podcast for kids with a story theme to help guide them through. They cover a variety of emotions and situations where mindfulness can be a useful tool.

If my little ones are still running wild at bedtime, I'll lay on the bed with the lights out and play an episode just to help them calm down. There are suggested movements in many episodes, but we haven't managed that because my kids are feral. If nothing else, it relaxes me!

>> Sparkle Stories <<

Sparkle Stories is available as a podcast, or as a paid subscription with access to over 1000 original stories. We've only listened to a few, but the stories follow a group of animals who live at a junkyard and come across various questions and problems to solve.

Which will you listen to first?

Any favorites that your kids love?

And of course, for grownups, I'd love to suggest my podcast, too. Search "Semi Crunchy Mama" on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play, or listen right here on my site.

Toddlers at the Table

Dinnertime doesn’t have to be a battle.

Have you become a short-order cook making multiple meals for your family? Does your tiny tyrant demand six different foods (@#$%ing granola bars) then refuse to eat any of them? Does the constant whining for snacks make you feel like you’re losing your mind?

You're not alone, and it doesn't have to be that way.

Seriously.

Toddlers at the Table: Feed Your Kids Without the Fight

Dinnertime CAN be pleasant. Your child WILL voluntarily eat vegetables someday. And most important: you don't have to worry as much as you think you do.

I know, you probably think I have some unicorn gourmande child who eats kale like candy, but this could never work for your obligate chicken-nuggetarian. But I don’t. My kids hate kale (most of the time - I talk about that specifically)!

But I’m not worried about it.

And that’s why I created this class. Chances are you’re doing 90% of it perfectly. It’s not like you’re feeding your kids Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for breakfast or putting soda in their sippy cup.

But sometimes we dig ourselves a hole trying to do the right thing from the wrong direction. You can’t dig yourself out the same way you got there. You need new tools.

Everyone should take this class.

That’s where I come in.

After 6 years as a health coach, I’ve listened to a lot of adults tell me about their relationships with food. After almost 5 years as a mom, I’ve tried to work backwards to figure out how to give my kids a better foundation for making healthy food choices.

I’m a strong believer in Baby Led Weaning, and this is the next step.

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Thank you, Stacy, for this class!

In this class you'll learn:

  • where normal (if frustrating) toddler behavior intersects with toddler nutrition needs
  • when to let go and when to worry
  • what the Division of Responsibility in Feeding is and how to apply it to real life
  • simple strategies to get your child to eat more while you stress less

This class was recorded live on October 25, 2017. You get:

  • the 2-hour video recording
  • the 2-hour audio-only recording if you prefer that
  • a downloadable handout with content highlights
  • a printable worksheet with prompts to help you plan your next steps

If you’re ready to enjoy mealtime again (or at least approach it without a sense of dread), you can. Watch the class, try a new approach, and know that you’re doing the best you can.

The class is only $50 (watch it as many times as you want! Show it to your partner and your mom!).

If you have some very specific questions that I don’t address in the class, you can add an individual consultation with me for $50 more.



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What’s Your Holiday Survival Strategy?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

…Until you’re dragging your kids from event to event, leaving the tattered remains of your dignity—and any semblance of a nap schedule—behind you.

…Until you have to wrangle a toddler in a home full of people with expensive and breakable decor who may not support or understand your parenting choices.

…Until you have to deal with the fallout from the literal mountain of plastic, noisy, light-up gifts waiting for your children when you arrive at your in-laws' house.

The holidays can be a stressful time for many reasons. It’s overwhelming to travel with young kids, or to host family and throw off your routine. Suddenly you’re 12 years old again, and still the family outcast who doesn’t quite fit in with your “crunchy” methods.

It doesn’t feel so wonderful when you’re constantly on the defensive about why you’re “still:”

  • nursing
  • co-sleeping
  • not forcing hugs
  • avoiding soda
  • treating your child like a human being

It doesn't have to be that way.

You need someone on your side. You need someone who not only gets you, but can give you an objective plan for the whole holiday season. You need a coach who can be on demand, when things get well….demanding.

"Stacy's been my personal cheerleader for a few years now. She was my health coach before I got married and transitioned seamlessly into being my "mom-of-a-high-needs-baby-coach" (yes, that's a thing) after my son was born.

When your days blend into your nights and your kid won't sleep and you're ALWAYS AWAKE and you feel like you might lose your mind, knowing even one person who's been through the same thing makes a world of difference. I love knowing Stacy is just a text away, armed with helpful articles, funny anecdotes about when her son was going through the 8th leap (does not napping for a whole week count as "funny?"), and reassurances that you're doing great, you're going to get through the afternoon, and yes, your kid will have to close his eyes and go to sleep eventually.

What are you waiting for? You, too, could have a cheerleader in your pocket -- or, over there, on the coffee table, just 2 inches out of reach, and you can't move because there's a sleeping baby on your chest.... Damnit. Guess you'll have to text her after nap time's over." 🤷🏻‍♀️

- Anni Metz, mom of one

 

With my Holiday Support Package you won't just survive this holiday season, you can thrive. Together, we’ll talk through your most pressing concerns about this holiday season and create an action plan to handle the next few months with grace and ease.


If you’re worried about dealing with family members, we’ll make a plan.
If you don’t know how to navigate parenting around extended family, we’ll make a plan.
If you’re just feeling overwhelmed with all the activities and events of the holidays and can’t even, we’ll make a plan.

And then you can text me! For realz.

Stay Sane This Holiday Season

12-year-old you could stomp off to your room. Since that's not a great option these days, you need to set yourself up for success, and have some backup (especially with your in-laws--amirite?).

You’ll have someone objective in your corner for the whole holiday season. You can’t be expected to navigate all this yourself while running on trail mix and fumes. So don’t.

"Coaching with Stacy was more fun, productive, and useful than I ever expected it to be. I already lead a healthy lifestyle, I’m well read on nutrition and exercise, and I already have good habits. I was skeptical that a coaching session would leave me with changes I was willing to make. I saw a nutritionist once and all she did was draw up a meal plan full of foods I didn’t like and an exercise plan that I didn't follow. I feared a similar experience.

Our session wasn’t about dropping some facts I already knew or telling me to make changes that look good on paper but don't fit into my life. She helped me identify where I wasn’t happy, ways I could make different choices that I was happier with, and drew up a plan of achievable goals and actions that we came up with together. I realized that one issue was the plethora of delicious, but not nutritious, free food available to me at work. She helped me identify why I was seeking afternoon snacks and ways I could make different decisions that fulfilled my needs in more positive ways. She even checked in to see how I was doing and where I was struggling. I started bringing different snacks to work and changed my routine a bit to allow for an afternoon walk or yoga break instead.

If I could have a Stacy in my back pocket all day every day, I would. Having her and her wealth of knowledge just a text away is definitely the next best thing. Rather than talking *at you*, she knows the right questions you don’t think to ask yourself. Everyone could benefit from coaching with Stacy."

- Julie Sanders, mom of 2

 

After their coaching sessions, clients are always joking that they want “a Stacy in [their] pocket” for when things happen.

Now you can.

What's in it for you:

  • a 45-minute sanity session to talk through all your concerns, worries, and fears
  • a survival strategy that we map out together to keep you sane and anchored through the holiday season so you feel more in control
  • text message support for when you’re feeling stuck, triggered, or just plain ol’ snarky—whatever you need—through the end of the year

You'll leave your call feeling prepared to face anything! (Or at least Thanksgiving dinner.)

I remember my oldest son’s first Christmas when we flew back to the snowy Midwest with a suitcase full of cloth diapers, went on “baby parade,” and my mom smuggled him into the other room so I couldn’t see her feed him a cup full of Cool Whip. It was exhausting.

Never again, we said.

Our next trip was much easier. We knew our limits, set firm boundaries, and had a plan. Our visit was relaxing and enjoyable. Now we go with two kids and survive!

It’s possible to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays with your family in a way that works for you. With a solid strategy in place, you can visit on your terms, and move from reacting to responding, surviving to celebrating.

Now THAT'S a holiday gift that Santa can't bring you.

Your investment for the package is just $125. That’s less than the normal price of a single session!

Put your sanity back on the schedule this holiday season. You’re worth it.