Impress Them On Your Children

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I’ve been thinking about this passage some lately, especially the part about ‘impressing them on your children’. How do we do with it, what do we do, how can we do better? We’re missionaries, so it should be even more obvious to our children that we follow the one true God. But is it? I mean, they are 20 months and 3 months old, so it’s kind of hard to tell right now. But Evangeline is already our little parrot. It won’t be long before everyone in her little world knows what mommy and daddy say, because she’s saying it too.

Lord, help us to impress upon our children’s hearts your commandments. Let us impress on them the love we have for you, and the obedience that comes out of that love. Help us to find ways each day to talk about it, to teach them, and to show them how to love You more. Thank you for our sweet babies, and for the responsibility of bringing them up as a woman and man after Your own heart.

Top 10 Baby Stuff I Love (Not just a list of products!)

Malachi is 3 months old, so I’ve officially gone through two newborn stages! I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but…well, I have a 3 month old and a toddler. 🙂

This is probably more a post for myself, because I want to make sure to remember all this stuff for next time. But if anyone else finds value in it, great!  Just to preface the list a bit, I have a pretty mixed parenting style. I breastfeed exclusively and cloth diaper, but I don’t co-sleep or feed my babies around the clock. I love baby led weaning, but I also plan to wean from the breast around 1 year old. So, that being said, here it goes:

  1. Breastfeeding (with an occasional bottle of pumped milk)
    Like I said, I exclusively breastfed Evangeline until she started on solids around 7 months. She never tasted formula in her life! Malachi has already had formula because they fed it to him while he was in NICU (without asking me). But after that he probably won’t have it either. I’m totally not “anti-formula”...I think it’s a life-saver (literally!) for some people. But I have a great milk

    I like Dr. Brown’s bottles…I’m using them for Malachi too.

    supply, and to me breastfeeding is way easier and A LOT cheaper than doing formula, even part-time. I added to the title the part about the occasional bottle because after a few months, I never gave Evangeline a bottle. So she forgot how to use one! That was a bummer when Adam and I wanted to go out on dates.

  2. The Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.

    Evangeline in her Rock n’ Play as a newborn…it looks like she’d fall over, but she didn’t.

    Ok, so there a few products in this list, but I had this for Evangeline and loved it so much! I totally regret not paying 3 times the actual price to have it shipped to Japan for Malachi (it’s only $44 on Amazon.com). It’s small and portable, but the only one like it that meets safety standards for letting a baby sleep there through the night. She slept in it almost exclusively her first three months. It keeps the baby a little elevated, which helps with any reflux. You can also rock it with your foot or hand. Someone gave us the Fisher Price Newborn to Toddler Rocker, and while it’s been ok, it’s definitely no match for the Rock ‘n Play.

  3. Swaddling
    Again, a lesson learned as this has been different with both babies. With Evangeline, as soon as she got out of the sleepy newborn stage, she would break out of her swaddle constantly. I’m not good at swaddling, so Adam usually has to do it. Adam stopped

    Not a great picture, but this is Malachi in the Miracle Blanket

    waking up in the night with me after about a week, so I just stopped swaddling. Looking back, I wish I had tried harder or bought a better swaddling wrap, because I know that Malachi sleeps better when he is swaddled. It reduces that startle reflex that all babies are born with, and I think it just makes him feel more secure. A lot of times, I’ll start putting him down for a nap and as soon as he starts being swaddled, he yawns and shows how tired he is. With him, we’ve been using the Miracle Blanket. It’s ok, but when he grows out of these I might invest in something easier. Even this one he breaks out of unless Adam does it. Someone recommended the Woombie, so we’ll see. Japanese don’t swaddle their babies, so it’ll be hard to find something here!

  4. Cloth Diapers, including newborn size

    Evangeline at 4 weeks old in a one size Flip diaper

    When I was pregnant with Evangeline, I struggled a lot with whether or not to use cloth diapers. Eventually, I went for it, and ever since then I’ve been hooked. We started her when she was 4 weeks old. With Malachi, I wanted to start from the beginning.

    Malachi in a newborn diaper at maybe 2 weeks old

    It was worth it. I got all the newborn diapers I needed for about $120, and they will last through future kids too. He finished using them when he was around 10 weeks. Now we’re on to all the one-size diapers I’ve bought for Evangeline, plus some new ones we’ve added to the stash. The majority is BumGenius 4.0’s and Flips. (I just have to brag…with 2 in cloth, it’s a lot of laundry. But lucky me, my wonderful husband does the laundry every night, including the diapers!)

  5. Babywise (with a flexible attitude)
    “On Becoming Babywise” is a book about how to get your baby on a schedule. The schedule basically is formed around the concept of Eat, Wake, Sleep. You feed your baby, baby has some awake time, and then you put your baby down for a nap. If you try to do it exactly by the book, you’ll probably drive yourself crazy! So keep a flexible attitude, but if you’re at all the kind of person who likes some routine, you should check this book out.
    There is some controversy around Babywise, mainly because it suggests letting your baby cry it out (CIO) rather than feeding to sleep, or using other sleep props. This is something to research and look into. For myself and Adam, we found that Evangeline had to cry for about 10 minutes before each nap, and then would sleep for about 2 hours! We never let her cry more than 15-20 minutes without comforting her (which is what the book recommends), and she is 19 months old and not damaged in any way that we can tell. 🙂 Malachi has been a little trickier. At this point, we basically rock him to the point of being extremely sleepy, and then put him down for a nap. He doesn’t cry much at all, but he only takes 45 minutes to 1 hour naps, so I’m trying to figure that one out. Anyways, I recommend reading the book and deciding for yourself what’s best for you and your family. We have found Babywise helps keep us sane!
  6. Baby Led Weaning
    The idea behind this is that you skip the baby food stage, and let your baby nibble on foods that he’s able to and wants to. We kind of did this by accident with Evangeline. We started her on some mushed up food, but soon realized that she liked to just munch or suck or chew on random things that we had at the dinner table. She loved bread at first. We also gave her banana and other soft things, and she eventually just moved on up to whatever we were eating. It’s a little messier, but easier and cheaper because you don’t have to buy baby food or do a whole separate dinner for the baby. I recommend doing some research on it…again, a matter of personal preference, but Evangeline is a great eater now, and I think that the way we let her feed herself from early on has helped. We’ll definitely do it again with Malachi.
  7. Baby Carrier(s)
    I have tried and used several different kinds…slings, a Moby Wrap, an Ergo, and a Beco Baby Carrier. And unfortunately, I like them ALL! They have all come in handy at different stages of babyness, and in different situations. Slings are great for short times around the house or on a quick errand. Moby Wrap is great for the infant stage because you can carry the baby in the cradle position. It would also be good for babies that like to face outwards. The Ergo and Beco are really similar. We just recently got the Beco, and maybe it’s just because I’m more used to the Ergo, but I find the Ergo to be simpler to use and just as comfortable. They are both great for longer time periods of carrying the baby. We’ll be using the Ergo and Beco when we go on vacation to Thailand this fall. Both Evangeline and Malachi will sleep in them, so that’s helpful when you’re out at nap time.
    *Bonus for people with 2 under 2: I also recommend the Phil and Ted’s Double Stroller. We have the Sport. It’s super expensive, so not for people who won’t be using it often. But since we’re city dwellers without a car, it was worth it to us. Google it…it’s pretty awesome for summer time when baby carriers are just too hot.
  8. Thirty One Bags

    Cindy Tote

    Have you heard of Thirty One Gifts? It’s a company started by and for women, based on Proverbs 31. They mostly sell all sorts of bags, which you can have embroidered with names or initials if you want. I LOVED using their utility tote as a diaper bag for Evangeline. When we moved to Japan and I knew we were having another baby, I ordered a Cindy Tote (much more expensive, but better quality and looking), because it’s larger and it zips closed. I also love their wristlet wallet. In my opinion, a diaper bag (none of their bags are specifically called ‘diaper bags’, but many of them will function perfectly as one) from them with the wristlet wallet is the perfect combination for moms. Check it out! You can search for a consultant near you, and they always have great monthly specials. I got a bunch of stuff free when I hosted a party in North Carolina.

  9. A smartphone, tablet, and/or Kindle
    I know that breastfeeding is supposed to be your “bonding time” with the baby. But I’ll be honest…sometimes it’s a little boring. I have loved having a smartphone this time around to check email and facebook. I also have loved using my Kindle. When I was getting up 3-4 times a night, I read through several books using my Kindle. I’m hoping to get the new Google Nexus 7 tablet soon, and imagine it will function about the same way. But if you can’t afford or don’t want a smartphone or tablet, I still recommend just getting the $79 Kindle. It’s worth every penny.
  10. A helpful and loving husband
    Ok, I probably shouldn’t put my husband under the “stuff” category. But I just have to say that he’s amazing and I really couldn’t do the mommy thing without him doing the daddy/husband thing.

    Engagement picture…before I even knew how great he is.

    He washes diapers, rocks Malachi, sees to Evangeline in the middle of the night if she cries, makes us breakfast several mornings a week, and is just an overall wonderful help to me around the house. So, if you don’t have one of these…well, I just hope you do. 🙂