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If I don’t teach my son to respect the planet, who will? ?

When it comes to saving the planet, the little things add up.

If I don’t teach my son to respect the planet, who will? ?

By: Ashley Wasilenko

When my three-year-old son came home from school singing a song about “the Earth is our Mother, we must take care of her,” it made me realize as parents, we need to take every opportunity to teach him about, well—everything! Carpe diem!


We were driving home in the car, and he asked why we have to take care of the Earth like it said in the song. A question with so many possible responses, but I started by explaining ways in which we can all work together to help keep the Earth healthy. I tried to find analogies that would resonate for my little outdoorsman who loves landscaping and planting and puttering outside like a 50-year-old man.

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But instead I tried to keep it simple, and explain some things we can and should do in our everyday lives to help the planet. ?

We conserve energy at home—

We have made many changes in our home to be more eco-friendly. We bought an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat, which allows us to control the temperature remotely, so we don’t have to waste the heat/air conditioner all day when we aren’t home—and, more importantly, it saves us money. I’m happy to keep an extra $50 a year in my pocket! We have started to switch all of our bulbs over to the energy-efficient ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs, and explained to him this helps conserve energy. I love them! They are the perfect brightness and color – and last for 12 years! My son will be in high school then. (Cue the waterworks from mama!) All of these he puts his tool belt on, and helps “install,” so he feels like part of the process.

We planted a garden—

Something we do every year, but this is the first year he was heavily involved, and helped actually plant. I explained how we could grow our own food. We start with seeds, care for them, water them, give them sun, and then they will grow into herbs or veggies that we can eat! And he can even harvest them and help Mommy cook them. ?

We go to the Farmers Market—

Every Sunday in the summer we make it a routine to go to the farmers market and stock up on delicious produce, milk, eggs and treats from local farmers and vendors. Each time, we go talk to our favorite farmer, and ask what is extra delicious this week and what’s coming next week. Whenever I cook it up for dinner, I always remind him “farmer Guy grew this for us to enjoy.” We’ve even visited the farm a few times, so he can see where his food comes from.

We eat what’s in season—

When he asks for watermelon in the dead of winter, I always remind him that we eat what is in season. Likely that means it’s grown locally, or traveled a shorter distance to get to us. And it just plain tastes better – something he can understand more than reducing carbon emissions.

We do the little things—

Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth. Turn out the lights in a room if you’re not in it to conserve electricity. Some day he will realize all that electricity and water actually costs MONEY. Another little switch I’ve made myself? Opting for ENERGY STAR certified appliances. Whether it’s an energy-efficient washing machine saving me $45 annually (mamas do a lot of laundry) or the dryer using about 20 percent less energy than standard models, I love being able to set a good example without having to work any harder than I already do. All I do is look for that blue label to know I’m making a smarter choice. ?

We recycle—

It seems simple, but this is a huge one. Our son helps us take out the garbage and recycling. And like any toddler who is obsessed with all moving vehicles, a garbage truck is no exception. He knows our garbage men’s names, and waves every morning, says thank you, and have a nice day!

I never thought it would be this hard to teach a little human the ways of the big bad world—and still manage to shield them from the icky stuff. But I’m a believer in taking the positive route. Don’t talk about the Earth being in bad shape, or global warming, or there may not be a planet for your grandchildren. Definitely all concepts they cannot grasp. But instilling values, family values now, shows them the right way, rather than telling. Leading by example and doing things together, as a family—this is how we shape these tiny humans into thriving, contributing members of our society.

When it comes to saving energy in our homes and protecting the environment, the simple choice is ENERGY STAR. Making smart choices can help all mamas (and dads!) use energy more wisely. With ENERGY STAR, all you have to do is look for the blue label. How simple is that?

Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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