Parenthood

Review: Bentgo Kids Lunchbox

My older son started kindergarten this month and since it’s full day, mama has to pack him a lunch. As he’s a picky eater, I was worried about what foods to give him and how to pack it. He’s more of a grazer rather than a big eater so I needed a lunchbox that accommodated a variety of foods.

After doing my research, I settled on the Bentgo kids lunchbox. He’s been using it everyday for school and loves it! I really like the durable, food safe construction and the well sized compartments. After using it for a few weeks, I’ve listed the pros and cons that we’ve seen thus far.

Pros

  • Outer shell has rubber-coated edges which makes it drop proof.
  • Easy to open and close, especially for little hands.
  • Seal on the lid of the outer shell prevents spills and mixing of food.
  • Removable tray is dishwasher safe and the compartments are easy to clean.
  • 2 year warranty: Bentgo will replace your product if it becomes defective within 2 years of purchase.
  • Purchase with a purpose: they support the non-profit organization Feed the Children.

Cons

  • On the heavier side: it weighs slightly over 1lb.
  • Slightly bulky: takes up quite a lot of room in a lunch bag.

A few brands I considered purchasing include the Yumbox, Monbento and Bentology. In the end, the pros of the Bentgo outweighed those of all the other brands.

Leave me a comment on what you use for your child’s lunch box. 🙂

Advertisements

Tips for the breastfeeding mama during Ramadan

“Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable. No person is charged with more than his capacity. No mother should be harmed through her child, and no father through his child. And upon the [father’s] heir is [a duty] like that [of the father]. And if they both desire weaning through mutual consent from both of them and consultation, there is no blame upon either of them. And if you wish to have your children nursed by a substitute, there is no blame upon you as long as you give payment according to what is acceptable. And fear Allah and know that Allah is Seeing of what you do.” Chapter 2, Verse 233

It’s a personal choice for a woman to decide whether or not to fast during the month of Ramadan while she is pregnant or breastfeeding. There are many factors to be considered: your health, your baby’s health, the Islamic rulings.

In my first pregnancy, I refrained from fasting but the following Ramadan I fasted while breastfeeding my 8 month old. With my second pregnancy, I fasted every other day and when Ramadan came around again he was 7 months old and so I fasted every other day as well. There were days when I had the intention to fast but just couldn’t as I had noticed a drop in my milk supply.

This Ramadan, my toddler will be 19 months and I’m still breastfeeding. I plan on fasting everyday (insha Allah) and so I thought it would be helpful if I share some of the tips I’ve gained along the way. As always, pay attention to your bodies and do what feels right for you.

Tip #1: Staying hydrated

It’s important that our bodies are well hydrated at Suhur and Iftar. We need to replace the electrolytes that were lost during the fasting hours. This is especially important for breastfeeding moms. I’ve personally found that coconut water, watermelon and Gatorade are excellent at replenishing my body as well as boosting my milk supply. This is in addition to drinking water at Suhur, Iftar and during the night.

Tip #2: Eating foods that increase milk supply

Upping our intake of foods known as galactagogues (substances that increase milk supply) greatly benefits both mom and baby. Galactagogues include supplements such as fenugreek, fennel, alfalfa and blessed thistle and foods such as nuts, oatmeal, semolina (Sooji, Cream of Wheat) and chia seeds. I personally love having oatmeal and sooji as part of my Suhur meal. They’re very filling, especially when topped with nuts and dried fruits (dates are a favourite!).

Tip #3: Rest

I know it’s hard to relax when you have little ones around (with a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old it’s nearly impossible!). But it’s essential for our bodies that we give it time to heal and rest. I’ve joined the boys in their afternoon nap and it’s made a big difference in my energy levels in the evenings. Before starting this, I would usually make dinner, tidy up, check my social media etc. when they were napping. Now, dinner gets made when we get up from our nap. It’s a bit tougher with 4 extra little hands wanting to join in but I try to keep them occupied with toys, activities such as colouring and busy bins and as a last resort, the TV.

Tip #4: Alternate fasting days

Fasting every other day enabled my body to replenish itself on the days when I wasn’t fasting. This ensured that my milk supply was constant and there were no sudden drops. I was also able to focus more on my Ibaadah (worship) on my non-fasting days as I had more energy to dedicate to extra prayers and to reading the Quran. In doing these other acts of worship I did not feel as guilty for not fasting.

If you have any other tips, please do share! 😊

Guiding our little tribe

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said: “Every one of your (people) is responsible, and everyone is responsible for whatever falls under his responsibility. A man is like a shepherd of his own family, and he is responsible for them”(Bukhari and Muslim).

dscf2715

“Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas God, with Him is a great reward (Paradise).” (Quran 64:15)

“Wealth and Children are Beautifications (Zeenah) for the Life of this world.” [Quran 18:46]

Qurrat A'yun Studios 2016

 

“O Our Lord! Grant us Spouses and Children that will be coolness of our eyes and make us the leader of the Muttaqoon (those who have taqwa).” [Quran 25: 74]

Qurrat A'yun Studios 2016

Matchy, matchy

Are you a mom who loves to have her kids wear matching clothes? I’M ONE! My boys are 2 years apart and I can get away with reusing clothing from my older one for my younger one. I do this for the most part, but I can’t help but buy matching outfits for them, especially if it’s a special occasion.

They might (most likely will) hate me for this when they’re older but for now I’m enjoying dressing them alike for as long as I can! I even like to make the hubs and I colour coordinate with them if it’s a really special occasion (like on Eid).

A simple way to have them dressed alike is to have a similar or identical item in their attire. In our case, it’s usually their pants or tops that are matched.

img_2072

Qurrat A'yun Studios 2016

 

img_1932

Do you dress your kids alike? How do you achieve it? And do people give you weird looks for doing it or do they compliment you?

Travelling with our little ones

 

img_1995

The hubs and I like to explore the world.  After having two babies within two years, we actually took more trips than we did pre-parenthood.  Some might say we’re nuts for doing this but for us it’s actually a good stress reliever. A good break from the everyday routine.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hectic as ever trying to pack and organize the essentials for 4 people into two suitcases! And my idea of “essentials” greatly differs from my husbands’. I tend to overthink how many outfits we’ll need, how many diapers the kids will go through, what if they get sick – better bring ALL the *meds* they might need! I think after our second was born, I loosened up somewhat. But I’m still an over packer!

Packing lists. A good tip is to create packing lists. It sounds obvious but I find using this system to organize our packing greatly relieves my stress level.  I love mentally ticking off items from the list!  I made one when we took our first vacation as a family of three and have more or less used the same one since with tweaks based on where we’re going and for how long. Our list is based on each family member’s clothing essentials, toiletries, accessories, footwear and then general items that everyone needs (food, medication, toys, electronics, etc.). A packing list for your carryon/diaper bag is useful as well. If you haven’t guessed by now, I thrive on making lists!

This past week we took a mini road trip to Niagara Falls. It was a last minute trip and I packed just before we left. Since it was only a couple days and it was local, I decided to pack on the fly. It is the one time I forgot my pj’s!  Never again will I abandon my trusty packing list.

Busy bags. Another good idea is to to make “busy bags” for your kids to play with, especially if you’ll be travelling on an airplane or taking  a long car ride.  A clear, resealable bag with a few toys, books, games, crayons, blank paper, colouring books etc. is handy to have. It saves you having to rummage through your bag for a specific item. A good tip is to include a few new items. This will buy you some quiet time (hopefully) as your little one will be curious to explore the new items.  I like to organize these according to the items in them. So I’ll have one for books, another for colouring activities, stickers etc. If your child is old enough to carry their own backpack, just keep them in there for easy access.

Food. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll want something to eat the minute you leave the house! I always have crackers and snack bars in my bag. But if you’re going to be travelling on a longer journey, make sure to stock up.  I like to include fresh fruits (pre-washed and cut if needed), yogurts, cheese, dried fruits, trail mixes, cookies and candy (for when you need to bribe them!). Pack whatever they like to eat as being in new surroundings and eating new foods can be a big adjustment for some kids. And use the perishable food items first (yogurts and cheese especially).

img_1953

Accommodation. On our first trip as parents, we booked an Airbnb condo as we wanted the comforts and convenience of a home.  It was useful to have a kitchenette to make quick meals for our baby and a laundry room to launder our clothes. On subsequent trips we’ve stayed in hotels that have laundry facilities (self serve) along with entertainment for kids (playroom, waterslides, parks  etc.).

img_2142

Itinerary. Always, always account for nap times! Being out and about all day long is tiring on everyone, especially little bodies. Prior to our trip, we create an itinerary of the places we’ll visit, things we’ll do and on which day we’ll do them. We make sure not to over schedule as a beautiful day exploring can quickly change with a cranky, overtired child.

img_1895

Yup, it’s time for a nap.

Strollers and baby carriers.  They make travelling easier. Plain and simple. And they work well for naps too! Win-win! We like our Maclaren umbrella stroller as it’s lightweight, reclines, and is sturdy. Ergo is our preferred carrier. I did a post a while back on baby wearing where I talked about our Ergo.

img_1961

img_2180

Ergo came in clutch while exploring the Capilano suspension bridge and canopy walk in Vancouver.

img_1808

These are my  go-to’s to make my travels smoother with two little ones.  Hope you found them useful. If you have tips of your own, please share them with me as well.