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There are so many products out there for our babies and toddlers. It is pretty remarkable the things we have nowadays. The "stuff" can add up pretty quickly and, as we all know, it doesn't always work to our expectations. Not to mention that our babies and toddlers have strong preferences as to the type of cup they use, which fork works best, etc.

So, needless to say, I was skeptical when I received these products from Oxo Tot, but I've also heard great things about Oxo Tot products, so we went in with an open mind!

As soon as I took these items out of the box, Caroline was playing with everything! She was so excited, and so was I! There were some really neat items in this bundle that we received. After using them, we have nothing but good things to say!

Oxo Tot Freezer Storage Containers
Oxo Tot Grape Cutter
Oxo Tot Plate with Removable Training Ring
Oxo Tot Roll up Bib
Oxo Tot Fork and Spoon Set
Oxo Tot Twist Lid Water Bottle for Big Kids
Oxo Tot Flippy Snack Cup with Travel Lid

Caroline is just starting to really use a fork. We had purchased some pretty inexpensive plastic reusable forks that we loved. I have to say, once we tried the Oxo Tot fork, my mind was changed. A metal fork in general is much more conducive to them actually stabbing the food and being successful. The handle on this fork is nice and thick and gives Caroline a lot of control. Her fork using skills instantly improved just by giving her the right type of utensil to use!

Her personal favorite items, are the water bottle and the snack cup. She sees them and gets extremely excited! She is 15 months old and handles both great. The water bottle can leak water through the straw if it is tipped, as it is made for older children, but Caroline loves it, so we just watch her with it. The snack cup seemed a little hard to me, but she uses it easily and it doesn't seem to hurt her little hands like I thought it might. We put frozen peas in it and they do not spill out unless her hand is holding it open! Can't prevent that! LOL

Mama's personal favorite is the grape cutter. Yes that's right, the grape cutter. This is the item that would have been last on my list to purchase. I never would have purchased this- ever! It seems like a waste of money when I can simply cut the grapes myself. Well, that was my opinion until I used it. It is amazing. So fast and fabulous! It is annoying to cut grapes, and we need to since they are a choking hazard. This cuts them in a second and is so convenient. I am so glad that we have this in our house!

The plate is going to be a great little appetizer plate for Caroline when she's a bit older and understands the concept of dipping! I think she will be ready for dipping just in time for summer! I am so excited to make some healthy dips with Stonyfield Yogurt. I have my eye on this healthy Avocado Yogurt dip!

Disclaimer: I am a Stonyfield YoGetter blogger, and this sponsored post is written by me in partnership with Stonyfield and prAna.All opinions are always my own.

image source

Ugh...Can I just be honest and say that I don't do this well!? If we need to save, we certainly can focus and make it happen, but other than that we get a feel for what we can afford and just live that lifestyle. We don't live lavishly. We don't WANT much. When we do want something we typically get it, because it's not commonplace for us to spend money on a lot of things. Our weakness is eating out. Our strengths are planning and paying for things upfront if at all possible. I like to alleviate as much of the day to day budgeting requirements as possible, by thinking long term and being consistent. Here are some things that we do for our finances:

1. Meal planning: On our good days, we create a weekly meal plan. We make our grocery list based on that meal plan and we eat in! We cook, have leftovers, and save a lot by doing so. We get into ruts, however, where we get tired or think we don't have time to do our weekly planning- this is when we start spending too much. It is our number one weakness! Eating out seems to be a minimum of $30 for the family unless you go fast food. When we cook, we save. It is always our goal to do better on this.

2. Bills: I like to do 2 things with our bills.

  • We pay for things upfront. If we have to make a large purchase, we only buy it if we have the money. We don't finance these items, we just pay for them (aside from our mortgage or cars LOL). But you get what I mean- if we have to buy a refrigerator, we buy it and pay for it all upfront. If we can't afford it, we don't buy it or we get something less expensive.
  • Eliminate bills. We like to pay extra on our bills when we can, so that they disappear as soon as possible. I had a car payment that was over $300/month. We traded that car in and got an amazing deal on a newer car. The new payment was only $150/month. Guess what? We still made the old payment of $300+. As a result, we are almost done with the payment a couple of years later. This will soon mean an extra 300 dollars each month!
3. Savings: A great way to save is to never see that you have the money in the first place! We set up automatic payments to our savings account, retirement plans, and into Caroline's college fund. We never see that we have it in our checking account to spend- the accounts just grow.

4. Shop around: With online purchasing at our fingertips, it is so easy to find the lowest price for something. We use amazon for pretty much everything and find great deals! We spend less for things that we would in the retail store, and we get free shipping due to our amazon prime membership (which was totally worth the money). Not to mention we still get things in 2 days!

5. Coupons: I only use coupons that are readily available and don't take too much time to find. I tried to find coupons to print and realized it was usually a waste of my time (for what I was saving). But, if coupons can be automatically delivered or expected, I use them! Grocery stores have coupons on their apps, and our grocery store sends out paper coupons when you sign up for the store card (free). So we take advantage of this every month! 

6. Credit cards: Use one! I know this sounds backwards, but credit cards give you rewards and even cash. We use our 1 credit card for EVERY purchase. We just pay it off each month so we aren't paying any interest. We should probably monitor this more closely, but we have a feel for the lifestyle we can afford to live. We typically stay within those limits and are always able to pay off our credit card at the end of the month. 

We do not live our lives around budgeting, and we could definitely be saving more than we do. It's a looming goal for sure! In the meantime, though, I take comfort in the fact that we've done a great job planning ahead and paving the road for our success in the future. This past year hasn't been full of savings (with me now as a stay at home mom), but we are fitting into our new lifestyle and making things work. 

I have also decided to add in a couple of side jobs which have been very helpful! 
If anyone is interested to know more, please feel free to shoot me an email at I have a couple of blogging jobs (outside of my personal blog), and I am now an Usborne Book's and More Educational Consultant. My new Usborne adventure has been amazing! I'd love to share more about my experiences with this company if anyone is interested. 

Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise Friendly Blog Network and the ladies in the group are covering anything to do with budgeting and finances. Be sure and check out our Pinterest Page and check out the other posts today!

Stephanie- Giving it Grace

Kimberly- Team Cartwright

There has been a decent amount of talk about word and speech expectations in our discussion group on Facebook. Many of the little ones are around 1 year or older now, so it is on all of our minds as mamas! Caroline had a quick trip to the doctor today for a high fever that she's been sporting all weekend. I took the opportunity to ask about word expectations for her age (15 months).

The doctor informed me that the expectation for 15 months of age is to have 3 sounds, and that she recognizes that speech has meaning and is different from whining, grunting, moaning, etc.

I was expecting her to say words, not sounds- so I clarified. "Any consistent sound, not necessarily words that make sense to us?". The doctor confirmed and said that was correct. Her examples were:
"If Caroline were to say 'gaga' ever time she saw the dog and not use it for anything else, that counts as a word for her, and one of the 3 sounds we have as a goal".
"If she were to make a panting noise every time she sees a dog, or bark, that also counts".

So, this got me pretty excited. Here I was thinking Caroline was slightly behind in speech. When, according to this expectation, she is on point if not ahead!

Caroline currently says "mama" and "dada" appropriately and consistently. Two real words!
She also makes a barking noise when we ask her what a dog says or when she sees one.
She says "mmmm" when we ask her what a cow says.
She says "da" for down when she wants down.
She also says "uhh" for up when she wants up.
She says "xxx" for excuse me when she needs to get by something or someone.

She also understands the concept of speaking. When we ask her to speak, ask, talk, tell, say, etc. she reverts from whining to actually speaking. The words don't make sense to us, but she understands that speech is different and means something.

Dear Caroline,

We just got back from our very first family vacation, and it was a blast! Daddy has a yearly conference in February for work. This year we decided to tag along since it was in sunny San Diego!
I first have to say that I am, once again, so impressed with how you handled everything. You flew across the country and had such long plane rides that you handled like a pro. You adjusted to the 3 hour time difference without so much as a hiccup. You slept in a hotel crib for several days, and in a pack n' play for a few days in Palm Springs. You went down for most of your naps flawlessly, and slept all night long. You were excited about your new surroundings and you were curious. You were hesitant with new people, but you watched us and followed our lead. You warmed right up to people once you saw it was ok. You interacted with everyone so well. You did all of your normal routines in new places with new faces around. You were flexible, strong, brave, sweet and simply fabulous.

We arrived in San Diego on Sunday evening. We got you all set up
and put you right to bed. We caught the second half of the Superbowl while you were sleeping.

Monday morning we explored and walked around by the bay. We met Uncle Christian and Uncle Brendan for lunch downtown. Daddy went to a class and you and I hung out with Uncle Christian for awhile longer. You chased birds and ran around in the beautiful, sunny weather. Later, we met up with everyone for dinner.

On Tuesday, after breakfast, Daddy and I took you out to Coronado Island to find the beach. As we walked towards the water we let you walk in the warm sand. You didn't want to have anything to do with it at first and would climb up Daddy like a little monkey, but you kept putting your feet down towards the ground and we could see that you wanted to try it.  You finally got up the courage and just did it. You laughed. We got down to the ocean and you were again a little hesitant. Mama and Daddy got our feet wet and encouraged you. It took you awhile, but soon you were pulling us out into the ocean for more fun. It was so cold, but you didn't seem to mind.

On Wednesday, Daddy had a full day of work. We had breakfast together and walked with him down to the convention center. You and I took our time walking back and enjoyed the weather. We met back up with Daddy for lunch and went to the Spaghetti Factory. Then we went back to the show with him and walked around. Dinner was at a small place on the bay. It was dark, but we stayed outside for awhile letting you run around. When we got back to the hotel we took you for a quick evening swim at the pool. You've grown so much since the last time I had you in a pool. You kicked your feet and splashed Daddy in the face. You had a great time!

Thursday morning we decided to take you back to the beach, since you'd had so much fun the first time. You were more hesitant this time. Just as I was thinking we should leave, you decided to get in the ocean with us! Once again, you loved it and we all had so much fun running in and out of the waves. Grandma and Papa V drove down to San Diego today! We went to lunch at a fabulous little sandwich place called T Deli. After lunch we went to the zoo! You pointed at the animals and seemed very interested this time. You always like the little monkeys the best since they move around a lot. For dinner we took your grandparents out to Coronado Island and had some really good Mexican food at Miguel's Cocina. We all loved the food choices today!

Friday we were headed up to Palm Springs, but not before a final visit back to the beach! You were even more hesitant this time, but once you started getting in the water we couldn't stop you! You held our hands and jumped and ran and splashed. We then said goodbye and drove up to Palm Springs to have more family time. We stayed with your Great Aunt Patty. Grandma and Papa met us up there, and Aunt Maria and Adolfo got in Saturday morning.

We spent the entire weekend just enjoying family and it was perfect. You loved walking around the pool in Auntie's backyard. You like to find an edge (from the deck to the grass, or the tile to the cement) and walk over it several times for practice. You warmed right up to everyone and were giving kisses goodnight by the first evening. You liked to stare down Adolfo, and you loved to tease Papa. Grandma and Auntie Maria got some amazing hugs. You ate jalapeno cornbread from Aunt Patty, tried dungeness crab, and ate a good portion of Papa's ice cream.

Monday morning it was time to head home. You woke up at 3 am, so we went with it and were on the road a little after 4 am. We had a two hour drive back to San Diego and had a flight at 10 am back to the east coast. Unfortunately, it was snowing in Maryland and our flight in to Baltimore was cancelled. I got us on another flight later that day, only to check and see that it too was cancelled. So, we decided to just grab a hotel for the night and stay one more day. You crashed and took an amazing nap when we finally got to the hotel. It had already been such a long day for you and you were exhausted. We spent more time outside by the bay, ate some good food, and spent way too much money on bathing suits for the family (since we had no luggage). We enjoyed the heated outdoor pool and made the best of our extra day.

Tuesday rolled around and we headed to the airport for our travels home. We had a nonstop (5 hour flight) back to Baltimore. We left at 1 pm and, because of the time change, didn't get in until 9 pm EST. You slept for all of 20 min the entire day. I am still not sure how everything went so smoothly, but you did great. You yawned when I asked you to yawn, you drank when I asked you to drink. Your ears didn't seem to bother you too much, and you were content to rest on the plane. You slept on the drive home, and were then so glad to be home in your crib.

When you woke up yesterday morning you were so excited to see all of your things. You pointed at all of your toys, books, and stuffed animals. You pointed at the trash can, the chairs, the toilet, the dogs, etc. Everything was still in its place and you were thrilled! We aren't quite back on EST yet, but we are getting there.

We had an amazing trip and I am so proud of you. We made some great memories and I am so glad that we got to have some time with our west coast family! You are such a big girl and you did so great. Daddy and I loved watching you enjoy yourself so much. Such a great family trip!

Mommy: Katrina
Baby: Payton
Age: 10.5 months

This mama shares her story of why she originally chose to use Babywise schedules. She discusses the benefits that she saw, and how she was able to successfully incorporate breastfeeding as well!

I was set on breastfeeding from before I was even pregnant because I spend a lot of time taking care of my own body and health and I knew that it was a great benefit that I could provide my child (and I thought it was cheap at the time!) I try to eat the most natural things myself (for the most part) and thought I should provide that for my child as well. I went to a breastfeeding class before she was born and the consultant teaching the class said that no matter what, everyone can breastfeed.  I think this gave me the added confidence I really needed to make it work.

I had a close friend who had a baby 13 months before Payton was due who was very similar to myself and she told me about "Babywise" and discussed schedules with me before Payton was born.  However, she was only able to breastfeed for 4 months since she was not able to keep up her supply when she went back to work as a teacher.  I am very routine and schedule oriented myself, I never skip a meal, and generally eat around the same time every day, so it seemed normal for me that my child would do the same. I should add that obviously I was a first time mom and don't have too many friends with children close by.  I also worked with kids with special needs for a few years and learned how crucial a schedule is for those children.

I basically started with a schedule from the time Payton was born (via C-section since she was breech) and the hospital staff had me feeding her every 3 hours.  I continued with this schedule at home with the exception that I did not wake her up in the middle of the night to eat.  She always woke me up and generally she was ready to eat around 3-4 hours.  From the beginning, I found the schedule crucial to planning my day, knowing when I could leave the house for an hour since she wasn't expecting to feed and when I could shower.  It was a blessing and I was able to get a little time to myself.

At 6 weeks I really tried working on an eat, wake, sleep schedule.  I don't think my supply was effected by the schedule but after reading On Becoming Babywise, I tried to find similar resources online (blogs, facebook, other schedules) that fit my situation perfectly.  I was able to plan mommy time around her nap time, and make sure I was home for feeding time.  It made my time off during maternity leave much easier and I wanted to get her sleeping through the night as soon as possible.

She quickly dropped her second night feeding and it took awhile, but I realized she was not eating enough at night by breastfeeding to sleep through the night.  At that point I started giving her a pumped bottle, almost as a dreamfeed, and she quickly started going longer and longer stretches.  At 3 months she was sleeping through the night most nights with the occasional 4 am cry for a pacifier. The schedule has developed as she has gotten older and started eating solids but I would say my supply has adjusted and it has just worked out very well for both of us. I was terrified my supply would dip going back to work, sleeping longer stretches, etc but I had read other moms who made it work and that meant my baby and I could do it too!

I work full time and I was able to train for and run a marathon (pumping at the start line) since I can leave her with anyone as long as I share the schedule.  This was also extremely beneficial when my husband was in the hospital when she was 4 months old and her grandparents had to often take care of her and keep her for overnights.  I had less to worry about knowing my baby was comfortable on her schedule, her caregivers knew when to feed her, and she didn't wake up often during the middle of the night.  My husband still says, "I can't imagine why you wouldn't put your baby on a schedule."  It may not work for everyone but it has been a blessing for us and I cherish the sleep I get and the fact that I am still breastfeeding at almost 11 months!

Name: Valerie Plowman
Babies: Nursed 4 babies on a schedule

Valerie discusses how she started feeding on demand with her first born and how, she too, had trouble with breastfeeding as many of us do. She turned to Babywise and was able to see the benefits, when used in conjunction with breastfeeding, right away! She discusses the benefits below: 

When my oldest was born, I figured I would just go with what felt right when it came to all things parenting. Surely I could just go off instinct and things would work out, right? Well, breastfeeding did not start out so well. I didn't know what I was doing and my son didn't know what he was doing--I have had some "born nursers" since and he was not one of them. We visited lactation consultants to no avail. I found myself a few weeks in hoping he would give up and refuse to breastfeed. I wasn't going to quit because I am stubborn, but I hoped he would. Not that I didn't believe in breastfeeding being best. I did. But life was that dreadful.

He didn't give up. I turned to Babywise. Things immediately improved and I was a believer! I breastfed him until he was 13 months old (I started weaning him at 12 months). I then breastfed my next three children for a year each, all on a schedule.

Being on a schedule helped me understand my baby's cues. I didn't wonder if every cry was a hunger cry or not. My baby started sleeping better and with some predictability. I had other fringe benefits, like my leftdown regulated. Before the schedule, I would letdown randomly in public and have a wet shirt (even with my nursing pads). Once I started a schedule, that didn't happen anymore. When my three girls were born, they were content babies right away. I was able to plan our days accurately. My older kids could still continue doing what they did for the most part because I could schedule around the baby accurately. Sure, we had to adjust things and we became firm believers in the carpool, but life was not majorly disrupted.

My children all slept through the night while breastfeeding. They all started at different ages, but my girls, who started breastfeeding on a schedule from birth, all slept through the night at much younger ages than my son (between 2-4 months instead of 6 months).

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding on a schedule. Your body becomes regulated and your baby's does to. As a result, life at home becomes regulated, which means baby joins the family dynamics instead of blowing them up.
One of the things I love about a true Babwise mama, is that they are so open-minded and realistic. I bet you weren't expecting to read a tip to "feed on demand" for the first couple of weeks before getting onto a schedule. That's exactly what this experienced (3x) Babywise mama suggests! I love keeping things realistic and am so thankful to have mamas like this around me. Enjoy Emily's fabulous tips below! 

My name is Emily Parker and I blog over at The Journey of Parenthood! I have three children (Kye age 6, Britt age 4 and Tess age 18 months).

I have breastfed three babies now and also have successfully implemented Babywise schedules with all three. It is often said that babies can't be breastfed and be on a schedule and that's simply not true. A common way the "haters" will hate on Babywise is to say that it is too structured and ruins milk supply. Again, completely untrue! It's not only possible to have a baby on a schedule while breastfeeding, but it's also beneficial!

To have success with both scheduling and breastfeeding here are some tips I've learned through my experiences:

1. Focus on Full Feedings: If from birth you focus on full feedings with your baby, it will help establish your milk supply and also help keep your baby fuller longer which allows them to naturally fall into an eating schedule. A full feeding is typically defined as spending 15-20 min nursing from each breast at each feeding. Anytime you nurse your baby, focus on keeping them awake and actively nursing and just aim for that goal of nursing from each side!

2. Feed on Demand: Babywise is NOT about having a set schedule from birth! It's very important for your milk supply as well as for your baby's health to feed on demand for the first 2-3 weeks. You will find that by feeding on demand and focusing on those full feedings that your baby will NATURALLY fall into a solid 2-3 hour schedule on their own by about 2 weeks old.

3. Wake to Feed: It's important to keep your supply up that you nurse your baby often, even if it means waking them up and even during the night. Often hospitals will offer to keep the baby for you and let you rest. Be hardcore about getting that baby so you can feed them! I even set an alarm on my phone to wake me up so I can call down to the nursery and have them bring me my baby. In the early days it's important to nurse every 2-3 hours, around the clock. If your baby doesn't wake on their own...then wake them to nurse!

4. Set a Desired Awake Time: When your baby is 2-3 weeks old and you are ready to start scheduling, you must be hardcore about their desired awake time. The day flows from this time! Even if your baby wakes at 5 am to nurse...feed them and put them back to sleep then wake them again at your desired awake time to start the day and feed them again. Even if you are more flexible with nap times or feeding times throughout the day...starting with a consistent desired awake time each morning will be a BIG help in successfully implementing your schedule!

5. Pump for Missed Feedings: I've had a lot of people say that their husbands handle night feedings for them so they can sleep. While this is SO sweet of their husbands, it's terrible for their milk supply. Anytime your baby is drinking from a MUST pump to replace that milk! Not only is this important for your supply but it's also important if you want to have milk stored up to give bottles to your baby in your absence. By having a baby who is on a schedule it makes it easier to leave the baby in someone else's care. You know when they will be drinking their bottle so you can be sure to pump at that same time!

Through my experiences of breastfeeding and scheduling I never had any significant issues with my supply nor did I have problems keeping my children on their routines. All three of my children slept through the night at young ages (6-9 weeks old) and all three of them have been healthy across the board from birth. Neither breastfeeding or scheduling is easy. Both take a LOT of work, time and commitment. I have struggled with practically every nursing issue under the sun (hyperlactation, clogged ducts, mastitis) but I'm so thankful I never gave up. I can also relate to the tough times of setting up a schedule for a new baby. Whew. That first three months is no joke! But it's ALWAYS worth it! To have children who love to sleep and who sleep well is such a blessing!

Here are some of my posts that may also be helpful:

Name: Stephanie Hansen
Baby(s) name and age: ​Drew (2.5) and Mary (6 months)
Blog: ​

Stephanie talks about her "induction" into the breastfeeding and scheduling world of babies. As many of us do, she had a hard time with breastfeeding at first (due to the variety of reasons discussed below). She pulled through and saw great success!

My husband and I met and married rather quickly (within 9 months) and I was pregnant before our first wedding anniversary. When I first met my husband, I also got introduced to many of his friends. Most of them were married, and several of them had kids. All of the women had breastfed their babies, were currently breastfeeding, or were pregnant and planning on breastfeeding. That was my first introduction into the world of breastfeeding and as a result I just assumed breastfeeding is what you do when you have a baby. I would come to find out that breastfeeding was also important to me because we needed the help of fertility drugs to get pregnant and then my son was breach and required a c-section birth; so much of his conception and birth was medicated that I was looking forward to the natural aspect of breastfeeding. Coincidentally many of the women I mentioned previously not only breastfed their babies, but they are were Babywise families. So having babies and kids on schedules was all I knew! ​

When my son was born, I had already read up on Babywise and was ready to get going. In the very first days my goal was for him to get full feedings at our nursing sessions, and then take full naps that weren't interrupted by unnecessary disruptions. Within 24 hours he was on a 3-hour feeding schedule by his own doing, and the rest was history in terms of his schedule.

As for breastfeeding - what an experience! We had taken a breastfeeding class before he was born and I would say that when the time came to nurse him for the first time I remembered close to nothing from the class. Praise the Lord for all the lactation consultants out there! Without their help we would have been doomed. When my son was born I was suffering from severe pregnancy carpel tunnel and I could not use my hands to hold him to my breast. My milk took days to come in because of the c-section. My son had a shallow latch. The odds were so stacked against us! But we persevered. The LC taught my husband how to latch my son to me without me needing to do anything. That worked for the first two weeks, and then I was eventually able to get surgery on both my wrists to relieve the carpel tunnel. We used formula until my milk came in, and I used a nipple shield the entire time my son was nursing to help with his shallow latch.

Given the uphill battle we had with breastfeeding, I very much credit much of our success to him being on a schedule. He took nice long feedings so I knew that if he was crying in between feedings it wasn't from hunger. My supply was able to regulate because his eating was predictable (outside of growth spurts). Knowing I had 2-2.5 hours in between feedings during the first weeks home really helped me recover from my c-section and then double wrist surgeries. After only a few weeks of him being on a schedule, he started sleeping longer at night and increasing his feeding time during the day to compensate for ounces he wasn't taking at night.

My goal with both my babies has been to breastfeed to 6 months, and I've met that goal with both of them. I never really cared for breastfeeding all that much with my son, probably because of the wrist surgeries and how uncomfortable I always was during that ordeal. With my daughter, I've loved every minute of breastfeeding. She was a VBAC birth and has been a great nurser from the start. I also focused on full feedings with her from the first nursing session and she naturally put herself on a 3-hour schedule within 24 hours of being born. Because both my kids are on schedules, it's been easy to breastfeed a newborn while having a toddler. As my daughter's needs change, the schedules change, but all in all it's been very predictable and enjoyable for everyone.

Name: Beth Banco
Baby's Name: Harrison
Baby's Age: 12 months (on January 25th)

If you are at all on the fence about feeding on demand vs. feeding on a schedule, take a look at this story from Beth! She admits to some of her initial thoughts, and how some of those thoughts changed once she was breastfeeding. She keeps it real, shares her opinion, but is also very supportive and open minded. This is one mama you might want to talk to and pick her brain!

Why is breastfeeding important to you?
     I was a breastfed baby and I grew up just knowing that breast was best. I always planned on breastfeeding my baby just because I was familiar with it and I knew it was good for them. But it wasn't until I was pregnant and started researching that I truly understood the full reasoning behind why breastmilk is such an incredible gift to your baby. I know there is a lot of Mommy Wars out there about breast milk vs. Formula and a lot of people trying to be politically correct and not trying to hurt anyone's feelings about their choices of how to feed baby. But bottom line is that research shows that breast milk is far superior nutritionally and that breastfed babies have much lower instances of ear infections, allergies, and the list goes on. The fact that breast milk is a living substance that is slap full of antibodies and wonderful things to protect baby against sickness is amazing. And because I am a working mom who pumps, I am able to see how my milk changes consistency with the time of day and even over a period of months. The fat content changes, the color changes, and it is so cool to see. Our bodies have truly been created to provide nutrition for our babies and I just feel so blessed to be able to give my baby that gift. Obviously there are reasons that some women are not able to breastfeed and some women who simply choose not to, and so formula is the next best option. There is nothing wrong with formula, but I was very much committed to making breastfeeding work. I truly think successful breastfeeding is 10% milk supply and 90% determination. It is really hard at first but perseverance pays off. It is such a great bonding experience and it saves so much money! Breastfeeding has been one of my favorite parts of being a mommy for sure.

- Why using schedules is important for you and baby
    I am a very Type A person and tend to be very organized. I like making to do lists, I like a schedule, etc. I am a teacher and that comes with the territory. I guess because I am around more people like myself I just figured that everybody put their babies on a schedule. My mom also was a stay at home mom and we always just had a routine, a set bedtime, and we're just more scheduled people. I know that routine and consistency are important for children just as a teacher. But I did not realize how much a schedule could be a gift to a baby and a parent until I started implementing Babywise. I had heard about Baby wise from other moms before I even found out I was pregnant, so I ordered the book early on thinking that I would just read it and try it out if I felt like it. I ended up not reading it until about 2 weeks after I had my son. I decided that I would just see how things went and just go with the flow at first. I obviously spent the first couple of weeks just getting the hang of being a mommy and getting breast feeding down pat. But about 2 weeks I realized that I did not like the whatever whenever mentality. Breastfeeding on demand was exhausting and I definitely was craving some kind of routine and consistency to our day. So I started reading the book and finished within a couple of days. I started implementing the eat wake sleep cycle and slowly worked my way through getting him on a nap schedule and feeding every three hours. It was so much better and so freeing. I knew what to expect and so did my baby. My son started sleeping long stretches pretty early on. I would get seven to nine hours out of him by 8 weeks. I know that is considered sleeping through the night, but that still meant he was waking once around 3 a.m. I kept on being super consistent and he got to 11 to 12 hours a night around 5 months. He was not doing exactly what the book said at exactly the right time, but it was pretty close. I could not imagine having gone the past year without a schedule. They eat wake sleep cycle allowed me to not have to nurse him to get him to sleep. He is able to put himself to sleep. Our nap  routine involves laying him down in his crib and walking out the door. It is so freeing. I don't spend hours rocking and shushing and patting. He also has a set bedtime of 7 o'clock. That does mean we are homebound early, but that also gives me and my husband protected time together each night. I feel like our marriage has not been under nearly the amount of stress that many couples talk about because we have gotten quality time together since pretty early on. I mean those first couple of months are hard, but if you put in the time and the effort early on to get on a schedule, it pays off and you reap the benefits of your work. We have truly enjoyed this past year with our baby. We are not exhausted and making it from day to day. A schedule truly is key.

- How you were successful breastfeeding and using schedules together?

   Before I had a baby I did not know much about all the different styles of parenting, but because I was breastfeeding I joined a couple of breastfeeding support groups on Facebook. One of the groups was the La leche league group. While they were very helpful and while I got a lot of good information from the group about breastfeeding, I realized early on that the majority of the women in the group or more of the attachment parenting type.  I did not even know what attachment parenting was, but basically these moms are strictly breastfeeding on demand, baby wearing, co-sleeping, anti-schedule, etc. type moms. Now I would consider myself a "crunchy" mom for sure. I baby wear, I make my own baby food, I eat organic, I use essential oils, make my own lotions/soaps, etc. But one thing I do not do is cosleep.....and I am all about a schedule. I made the huge mistake of mentioning Babywise in a post I made in that group and got absolutely blasted. The complete ignorance of some of the moms in that group about Babywise was astounding. There are literally people that accuse you of starving your baby and say that your milk supply will dry up and that your baby will be failure to thrive if you put them on a schedule. It is complete hogwash. I continue to see posts from the moms now that my son is almost a year old, and I see moms post things all the time about their 18 month old or 2 year olds still nursing three and four times a night!! Many of these moms cosleep also. I just honestly don't know how they do it. I would absolutely die. I am a working mom and I have to have my sleep. Every now and again I will see posts from some of these moms asking for help with their babies sleeping, & I just have to laugh. How in the world can they expect their babies to sleep through the night if they have not expected that from day one?  I have had great success breastfeeding on a schedule. I have a really good supply, over 600 ounces in the deep freezer, & I have donated over 800 ounces to other babies. I pump several times a day at work and before bed too. I honestly think that breast feeding on a schedule has helped and not hindered my supply. Honestly, some of the moms I know who breastfeed on demand would go longer between feeds then I was on a schedule!! But focusing on getting in full feeds those first few weeks is such a key part, because it keeps Baby from snacking. If baby nurses for 3 or 4 minutes and then is allowed to nurse again for 3 or 4 minutes and half an hour to an hour, then they are going to continue that pattern. But if you teach them how to get in a full feed, then they go longer in between feeds and you have a little more freedom. Feeding on a schedule also allows you to be more in tune with what your baby needs. Just because a baby is crying does not mean they are hungry.  Lots of moms think whenever the baby cries they need  to feed.  But that really doesn't help you get in tune with what your baby actually is crying about.  Having a schedule allows me to gauge what the issue was better.  If I had just fed 20 minutes ago and he was crying, chances are it was not because of hunger.
     We started a 3 hour schedule around two weeks. Every now and again I said slightly early, because obviously feeding the baby is the most important thing regardless of what the clock says, unlike what many Babywise critics say. But in summary, I have had nothing but success with breastfeeding on a schedule. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

- Did you start on a schedule or make a switch to using one?
    I fed on demand for the first two weeks which I was perfectly fine with, because I wanted to make sure my supply was good and give as much stimulation as possible. But very soon after I started a baby wise schedule, so it was pretty much from day one.

- Did your supply benefit due to implementing a schedule?
     I definitely think so. I have a great milk supply and have always made enough for my son and more. Like I said previously I have over 600 ounces in the deep freezer and have donated over 800 ounces, in addition to nursing and pumping enough for him for the next day at daycare.

- Benefits you see of using schedules
       A schedule gives you some routine and consistency to your day. Babies and children need routine and consistency, and so do adults. We are creatures of habit. When we know what to expect, it helps us feel more secure and our environment. Children truly thrive off of routine. As a teacher, I see this every day. When I do something out of order or we change of our schedule, the kids notice and immediately wonder why things are different. They like knowing what comes next. They like knowing what to expect. It gives them security. Breastfeeding is hard enough as it is. It is very demanding especially at first. Nursing on demand for an entire year would be absolutely exhausting. Being able to have a schedule allows you to make plans and be away from Baby if you need to. You can schedule your outings around Baby's schedule. You can also make plans around Baby's naps. Being consistent with a schedule from the start also helps everything fall into place for baby sleeping through the night early on. Not all babies may be sleeping through the night exactly at six or eight weeks, but I guarantee you your baby on a schedule will be sleeping through the night much sooner than the non-scheduled baby. I see it all the time with friends of mine. I try not to come across as judgmental when I give advice.... But when friends ask how I got my son to sleep so well and take such great naps, I tell them about Babywise. But honestly, they can't get the same results starting Babywise at 6 or 8 months that they could have if they had started from day one. The advice "begin as you mean to go" is absolutely the best advice I can give new parents.

- Was your baby able to sleep through the night while breastfeeding and on a schedule?
      My son was sleeping long stretches very early on. He was sleeping seven to nine hours stretches from about 8 weeks on. Around four months he started sleeping 10 or 11 hours and then the four month sleep regression hit us hard at 4.5 months. He started waking up once a night again and it started getting old! I had gone back to work and was so tired. We kind of waited it out for a while because there are a lot of developmental changes going on around four months, hence the sleep regression. But at 6 months we decided to do the Ferber method of sleep training. It was very successful and I would highly recommend it. It took about 5 nights and my son was sleeping 11 to 12 hours pretty much every night after that. Obviously we had a couple nights of teething or if he was sick that he might have woken up once. But otherwise he has slept beautifully ever since.

- Your experience in general
      I will definitely do Babywise with our next baby. We have been so pleased with how our first year with a baby has gone. Obviously a baby changes everything, but I do not feel like I have been overly stressed or exhausted like so many new parents are. I truly feel like I have enjoyed my baby and his first year, & I truly attribute that to Babywise.
Welcome to Real Mom's, Real Stories! Next weeks topic is all about how you can successfully breastfeed on a schedule. We have 5 great stories lined up for next week, so be sure to check back. Read all of the stories by clicking here (once they've posted). I hope you enjoy and please share this information with other mamas!

My story:

When I was pregnant, I read the research. I read about "feeding on demand", and I read about feeding using schedules. I loved the idea of feeding on a schedule, but wasn't sure that it would fit with breastfeeding. Little did I know, it is a perfect combination! Our bodies are so amazing and thrive with predictability! As I mentioned in my post, "8 Benefits of Keeping Baby on a Schedule", breastfeeding on a schedule can actually help your body regulate its milk supply. Your body actually learns the schedule and knows when to produce milk. You won't find yourself engorged nearly as much, and you are much less likely to be used as a pacifier for your baby. Your baby will learn to eat when she is hungry, and you will both know what to expect throughout the day. This makes planning and getting out of the house much easier!

Breastfeeding on a schedule worked wonders for us. Caroline was induced right at 37 weeks, so the doctors wanted us to feed every 2 hours (to make sure she gained enough weight). So, right off the bat, we were on a schedule. We fed every two hours- even through the night. We woke her when necessary.

Once Caroline had gained enough weight (by her 2 week appointment), we got the go ahead to let her sleep as long as she wanted during the night. We chose to keep using a schedule throughout the day, however, and I am so glad that we did.

We watched Caroline's cues, and built a schedule around her needs. We watched for tired cues, hunger cues, etc. Keep in mind that, during the first few weeks, the schedule was just a goal. Caroline was just figuring out her world, and we were just figuring out, well - everything. You don't automatically know what your baby's cries mean, so it is a guessing game. I quickly learned, however, that the schedule eliminated the guessing game. If I was successful in giving her full feedings, and enough feedings throughout the day, hunger was rarely the cause of her cries.

By month 3, we had a great schedule established. If we ever veered off of schedule, Caroline made sure to get back on it! She loved her schedule, and so did I! We always built in some flexibility, and when we would start to notice that the schedule wasn't working quite as well, we made adjustments. You can find all of our monthly schedules here. Each month was often slightly different based on Caroline's needs. Scheduling isn't as simple as just setting the schedule and sticking to it. You have to learn to be an observer, to be proactive, and to anticipate your baby's needs. That's easier to me than trying to play detective, however, once your baby is upset!

Breastfeeding started off difficult for me in the first few weeks. My nipples were raw, and I was in pain. I also wasn't producing as much as the hospital wanted me to in the first few days. These issues are going to arise no matter when or how often you are feeding, however. And, little did I know, you don't actually start producing milk until around day 5. The hospital had me thinking I was supposed to be producing enough milk to pump off as of day 1. That simply isn't the case. As a result, my journey started off with a rocky start. Once Caroline and I got her latch down correctly, however, we were unstoppable!

In the first few weeks, I pumped after every feeding. I did this to stimulate my supply and to build up a freezer stash. Once I had a decent supply, I backed off of the pumping and only pumped first thing in the morning, and in the middle of the night. If I didn't pump, my letdown was too strong and would cause Caroline's reflux to act up.

Once she was sleeping through the night consistently, I stopped waking up in the middle of the night to pump, and then stopped pumping all together. We were in a great rhythm, and my body adjusted to the new demands. After just a few days of not pumping in the middle of the night, the engorgement subsided, and I was back to "normal". At 4 months, Caroline slept 12 hour nights, and I went 12 hours without pumping or feeding her. My body handled the change perfectly. Even when Caroline was down to 1 feeding per day, my body kept its supply without any issues. I never pumped to keep my supply going, and we breastfed for 1 full year.

Using Babywise techniques does NOT mean that you don't get to breastfeed. Just like it does not mean that you must do sleep training. Babywise is an amazing tool that you can utilize, and it can be used in conjunction with breastfeeding. You might just find that breastfeeding is easier using Babywise schedules! I certainly did!

Read all of our Real Mom's Real Stories series here! We've had some great stories submitted on sleeping through the night and birth stories!

If you would have asked me this morning if there is such a thing as a 2 year old that is a bully, I would have replied "no, way". I would have said that a 2 year old is still learning, so he/she might make mistakes, not want to share, push, etc., but that it would just be a kid being a kid and testing boundaries (and still learning). Today I met a a 2 year old that was well on her way to becoming a bully, however. And I am so disappointed to see it at such a young age. And more so I am appalled at the lack of parenting that happened in my presence today.

Caroline and I were at the mall. When I had successfully found a pair of slacks for my husbands business conference next week, we headed down to the play area. I noticed that the mixture of kids was slightly older than what we normally see there. Caroline is walking and even running now, so I figured she could hold her own, and decided that if she was in the way, we could leave...but that we'd try it out. 

Caroline immediately went over to where all of the kids were hanging out. She observed, and then she tried to do what they were doing. I stood with her and made sure that she stayed out of the way. The big kids were climbing up a slide and then sliding down. She stood to the side watching and when it was free, she tried to climb up as the other kids had done. A little girl (no older than 2) came running back over and climbed to the top ahead of Caroline. She looked down at Caroline and yelled "MOOOOVE BABY!". Caroline had no idea what this little girl even meant, so I didn't say anything other than "she can play too, you can still slide down". Caroline was plenty out of the way for this girl to still slide down and have fun. 

At that point, I still thought she was just a young girl being a kid. No big deal. The remark was more dramatic than necessary, but again...she was not much older than 2 and I wasn't concerned. 

Caroline continued to watch and try things that the older kids were doing. She stayed out of the way on her own as she was hesitant to begin with. She then decided she would run around and climb on some things that were more her size. The other little girl seemed to be following her and taking over the toy that Caroline wanted to play on. Caroline didn't mind. She tried to play with the little girl, and when that didn't seem to be working, Caroline just moved on. So again... I didn't think anything of it.

Then Caroline went over to the side of the play area where there are pictures on squares that flip around and around. She was playing with them and asking me to name the objects in the pictures. We were having a great time. Then the little girl showed up and joined us. She seemed to be playing just fine, and Caroline seemed glad that she joined us. Unfortunately, just as I was thinking that, she started squeezing Caroline's hands in between the blocks. I had to ask her to "be careful please", and had to hold the squares and get Caroline's hands out. I said to the girl "that hurts her, please don't do that". She kept trying to do it, so my next statement was simply a firm "No". She left. No parent bothered to come over. I had no idea who her parents even were at this point.

When the little girl left, she moved about 2 feet over to where another little boy was playing. He was a little younger than Caroline and had to hold on to keep his balance standing. She immediately pushed him. Luckily, his mom was right there with him and she said "no pushing". The girl left. 

Caroline was then running around and having fun. Un-phased, of course! She ran right passed the little girl at one point- except she didn't make it passed. The little girl shoved her so hard that Caroline fell right onto her butt in mid run. I ran over and made sure Caroline was ok. Caroline was just confused but not hurt. The girl had run off, so I didn't get to say anything to her. I looked at every single parent. Two ladies just smiled at me. They were sitting about a foot away and I knew they saw the whole thing. They continued to smile even when they saw my frustrated and quite possibly pissed off face. The rest of the parents weren't even looking at the children- they were on their phones and on break from parenting apparently. 

At that point we just decided to leave. I decided it probably wasn't worth walking up to each individual parent that wasn't even paying attention. As we were getting our shoes back on, the little girls dad picked her up and decided to leave as well. I was busy getting Caroline ready to go, and just shook my head at him when he looked at me. I didn't bother to say anything, although I am wishing I would have. Not that I know what to say. I don't even have words. He's the disappointment, not his daughter.

My stomach sank today when I realized how mean kids can be and how early it apparently can start. I know to expect to run into this at a later age, I just wasn't expecting now. I was a little caught off guard. And, as usual, disappointed in myself for not saying something. I usually walk away from a situation like that and know just what I wish I would have said. This time I literally don't even know. I'm just so disappointed. I'm disappointed in the parents that sit on the sidelines allowing children to learn this behavior. It is unacceptable.

I am also so proud of my little girl. She is kind. She is thoughtful and shares with others. She waves to say hi to other kids and adults. She gives hugs and kisses. She is already a wonderful person. And I am so very glad to be her mama. I know that she is going to have her kid moments, where she pushes and shoves, and refuses to share, etc. She will apologize, however, if she is out of line. And I know that, while those moments will happen, they will be rare. She has already learned to be kind and will continue to do so. 

As mentioned back in December's post, Mama's Organized Chaos is partnering with The Foodie Physician. We get a sneak peek and a chance to review some of the recipes from her book that is being released in 2016! See below for our full review and the recipe!

Her new book, entitled Natural Baby Food, will be published in early 2016 by Hatherleigh Press. You can pre-order this book on Amazon! The book has over 125 recipes and includes food for toddlers and even purees for babies.

As a part of this event, Mama's Organized Chaos discussion group members are reviewing 5 recipes. In December, we tasted and reviewed the Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower. January was all about Sweet Potato Pancakes! Stay tuned for tasty reviews of the following recipes as well:

- Turkey Florentine meatballs
- Zucchini tots
- Tropical Rice pudding

Our Review of Sweet Potato Pancakes

So first off, my personal opinion is that this recipe is quick, easy and tasty! My daughter really enjoys these pancakes for breakfast. I can easily see myself making these and storing them in the freezer for a quick easy breakfast. We tried this with the first batch, and they held up very well! This is also a great way to use any extra sweet potatoes from last nights dinner! I would also enjoy these pancakes for myself with a little maple syrup :) As a group we rated this meal as Mama approved and baby/toddler approved! The full results with some quotes from our mamas are posted below as well. This is definitely a keeper in my book and we will be making this for years to come!


RECIPE 2: Sweet Potato Pancakes

RATING Overall Baby/toddler Approved? YES
ALL voted yes!

My toddler liked that they were baby sized. She liked them, but I dont think she loved them.

RATING Overall Mama Approved? YES
ALL voted yes!

Pretty good with a side of maple syrup for me. I think it could have used more vanilla maybe? Also my batter came out super thick, I had to add a little more milk. Overall great though.
Definitely something I would make for myself, and my husband was even  on board! 

RATING Taste (Baby/toddlers thoughts)
Please rate on a 1-5 scale below.
5 loved the taste- 0 vote
4 liked the taste- 3 votes
3 taste was ok - 0 votes
2 somewhat disliked the taste- 0 votes
1 disliked the taste- 0 votes

My 1 year old and 5 year old both loved these. I loved that the directions also had a nice, quick, easy way to make the mashed sweet potatoes. I popped them in the microwave and they were done by the time I was done mixing the rest.

RATING Taste (Mama's thoughts)
Please rate on a 1-5 scale below.

5 loved the taste- 0 votes
4 liked the taste- 3 votes
3 taste was ok - 0 votes
2 somewhat disliked the taste- 0 votes
1 disliked the taste- 0 votes

I loved this dish!! Definitely making again!
It was good! Next time I think we will use mild cheese and add some bacon (because that's how we roll)
It was tasty! I will add more cauliflower next time. Mine was very saucy (which isn't a bad thing!)
I will probably play with the cheese flavor a little. I liked it, but Daddy wanted more flavor. Bacon is a great idea!

RATING Ease of Preparation 
Please rate on a 1-5 scale below.
5- very easy to prepare - 1 vote
4- somewhat easy to prepare - 2 votes
3- moderate preparation - 
2- somewhat difficult to prepare
1- too difficult/time consuming to prepare

I cooked the sweet potato the day before. Just had to make sure the liquid portion was well blended. Chucks of sweet potato sounded unappetizing in my pancakes. Easy to make!

Pretty easy to make. Very thick, but turned out good!

Here is the full recipe for you to try! Enjoy!!!

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Makes 16 pancakes
Your little one will flip over these pancakes! They’re packed with whole grains and nutritious sweet potatoes, and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and a hint of maple syrup—perfect for Sunday brunch. If you can’t find white whole wheat flour, use a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flours.

1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
¾ cup mashed sweet potato*
1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Oil or butter for frying

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl.
Whisk the egg, sweet potato, milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla together in a second bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly coat with oil or butter. Pour the batter into the skillet, using about 3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Cook about 2 minutes, or until the pancakes start to bubble at the edges and the bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook another 1–2 minutes on the second side. Remove from skillet and repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve pancakes plain or topped with butter and maple syrup.

One pancake: Calories 61; Fat 1.6g (Sat 1.1g); Protein 2.3g; Carbs 9.8g; Fiber 1.2g; Sodium 116mg

A quick way to make mashed sweet potatoes is to cook them in the microwave. Place one medium sweet potato (8 ounces) on a microwave-safe plate and poke holes in it with a fork. Microwave 6–7 minutes until tender, flipping once halfway through. Cool and then cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Yields about ¾ cup.
I've written a few posts already about how we started introducing the toilet to Caroline. In month 5, we started placing Caroline on the toilet to poop. We had phases of her not wanting to poop in her diaper, always going in her diaper, and a mixture of the 2. By month 11, we were going strong with always having her poop in the toilet, and had added having her pee on the toilet as well. We put her on the toilet before and after each nap. Sometimes she went, sometimes she didn't, but she always seemed to try. This was a huge success as I wasn't sure she'd made the leap to knowing pee goes in the toilet as well. We have not yet taken it as far as asking her to not pee in her diaper.

Then we hit a regression where she refused to be set on the toilet unless pooping. I didn't want to force it, so we took a break. We are now in month 14, and she is showing signs of being ready to potty train for good! She pulls at her diaper wanting it off, she occasionally goes over to the toilet, and when I place her on, she pees. She is continuing to poop on the toilet, and she tries to tell me when she needs to poop as well. Our only barrier at this point, is communication. And this is the only reason that I haven't pushed harder to be all out potty training yet. She does not know how to say "yes"... only knows to shake her head "no". She does tend to get my attention in other ways (I just don't always realize what she needs until she is already going). She uses location as a way to tell me as well (she walks to the stairs and waits to go up to the bathroom).

I do have a potty training plan, and I intend to begin soon. If communication seems as though it is too much of a barrier, we will simply try again later. I do want to do this before she is 1.5 years old, however. Here are my initial thoughts on our plan.

The plan:

1. Hunker down for about a week. We plan to stay home, and keep her bottom half naked (or in underwear only).

2. Place on the toilet often. Just as I used to make my puppy go outside about every hour, I plan to put Caroline on the toilet every hour.

3. Respond consistently when I place her on the toilet. 
  • If she goes, I will praise her. 
  • If she doesn't go, I'll try again soon. 
  • If she fights it and gets upset, I will take her off and try again soon.
4. Respond consistently when she has an accident. 
  • I will calmly and quickly tell her "no no, we go potty on the toilet", or "uh oh, let's go find the toilet" (something to this effect).
  • I will keep my tone neutral (she is learning and should not be in trouble for an accident).
  • I will rush her to the toilet to finish going. 
  • If she has already finished, I will still rush her to the toilet and explain to her that we need to go potty in the toilet.
5. Naps and bedtime she will still have diapers on.

6. Communication. She needs to learn how to communicate to mama or daddy that she needs to go potty. Throughout this process, I will repeat the word "potty" and tell her to say the word "potty" if she has to pee or poop. She also knows what the words potty, toilet, pee and poop mean already, so we will continue to use that language. The challenge is going to be getting her to say "yes" if I ask her if she needs to go, or to come to me and say "potty". She doesn't have many words yet, so I will also be teaching her the sign for potty. She did well learning the sign for "all done", so I am hopeful she will catch on to this as well.


My thoughts on this lean towards using the toilet for a couple of reasons:
1. I do not want to have to retrain to go from a potty seat to a toilet.
2. I do not want to have to bring a potty seat with me and dump and clean.
3. You don't always have access to a potty seat and I want my daughter to be able to go wherever we are.
4. The ideal /natural pooping position (even for adults) is to squat or have your knees up. When I hold her on the toilet, her butt drops in and her knees stay up, making it easier for her to go.

Another option is to use a training seat that attaches to the toilet. We used this at first, but I found she felt more secure if I was holding her, and she does find it easier to go in the position that she ends up while just on the a plain toilet seat.
Benefits of the potty seat:
1. It can be moved to any location for convenience.
2. You don't have to hold your child while they are on it.