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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Truth About Nursing

The other day I had the pleasure of having lunch with one of my best girlfriends.  She is so incredibly sweet.  We chatted and talked for a long time.  It was so nice.  Did I mention she is pregnant?!?!  I couldn't be more excited for her and her hubby!  They are going to be such wonderful parents.

As we were talking she asked me about breastfeeding and confided in me that she had heard horror stories about it and was more than a little scared.  She said people had told her that it was painful, difficult, and that everyone seemed to have opinions about the subject.

Well, this put me off!  Why is it as women we are so hard on one another?  Why do we feel the need to judge other mothers for their decisions?  We should be building each other up and encouraging to our mommy sister!  

With that being said, I am of the mind that everyone has different experiences and/or preconceived ideas about breastfeeding.  While research does promote the benefits of breastfeeding, I don't believe bottle feeding is the end of the world.  Every baby is different.  Every situation is different.  

If you are completely against breastfeeding, no one should make you feel like a failure. It really isn't anyone else's business (except your pediatritian) Aside from giving your child nutrition, it is supposed to be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your baby.  How much bonding do you think will happen between a mom who is frustrated and a baby that isn't getting the food she needs?  I personally believe that mommies have the right to choose what is best for their baby.  If both mommy and baby will be happier with a bottle and formula then YOU GO GIRL!

If you are all for breastfeeding, then good for you.  I hope you have a wonderful experience.  Just remember, it can take some time to get the art of breastfeeding down.  While nursing is a natural act, it doesn't always come naturally.  Just keep trying and you & your sweet baby will eventually figure it out.  Don't stress.   It gets easier and easier the more you do it and it really is such a wonderful feeling, knowing that you are able to provide for your baby.  

BOTTOM LINE:  As a mom, you are going to do what you feel is best for you & your baby.  You don't owe anyone any explanations.  

When my son was born, I was told by many people to either strictly breastfeed or use a bottle, but not both.  I was also told that Breastfeeding was the best thing to do and pretty much told that I would be a bad mom if I didn't!  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!?!?!  UGH  anyway, breastfeeding didn't come easy for my little man and me.  I had to go out and purchase an expensive pump to try to boost my milk supply, hire a lactation consultant, and I still had to supplement at first with formula.  Guess what?  It all worked out fine!  Hudson is a healthy and happy 1 year old!  He is tall and lean and strong!  The lactation consultant (and I am really all for L.C's) had me using an iv bag filled with milk, a long thing tube, and a syringe trying to ultimately trick Hudson into nursing.  I'll let you use your imagination on how that looked and went.  Let's just say that was extremely difficult!  I ended up just pumping for a while and giving Hudson bottles.  After a few months, I tried nursing again, and it worked!  Maybe we both just needed some time to adjust.  Maybe there was just too much going on those first few days after his birth and nursing was just too much.... I don't know.  All I can say is that starting at about 3 months we ditched the bottle and started strictly nursing (for his milk, eventually we added food to his diet) and continued until Hudson was 15 months old.    

I guess what I am trying to say is if your goal is to breastfeed, try not to get discouraged.  There are many many ways to get from point A to point B.  It is OK!  If you decide that breastfeeding just isn't going to work for you, then Hey, good for you for trying.  Good for you for being a mom and having to make tough decisions.  

My thoughts on breastfeeding and feeding in general:
  • It isn't really painful at first.  It is sore, but that feeling usually goes away.  Using cream after each feeding really helps.
  • Be sure to feed or pump often.  If you don't you could end up with clogged milk ducts or mastitis.  If your breasts get sore, hard, lumpy (you'll know), and/or red call your doctor.  Pumping and using a warm compress helps alleviate the discomfort.
  • Nursing pads are not only a great investment, but necessary.  You can also use cut up strips of a burp cloth or folded up tissues.  
  • Even if you are strictly wanting to nurse, I would still invest in a pump for when you are away for any length of time or just cant nurse.  You can get single hand pumps for around $30.  Pumping even when you can't nurse helps maintain your milk supply and gives you milk to freeze and use later.
  • Doctor Brown's Bottles really are wonderful for babies with reflux.  They have lots of small parts to clean, but are well worth it. 
  • Avent also makes a good quality bottle and cleanup is a lot easier.
  • If you want to freeze pumped breast milk, get milk specific freezer bags (found in the baby section of most stores).  These will store your milk much longer.
  • If you plan on pumping a lot, get a duel electric system like Medela double pump.  They are expensive, but such a time saver.  
  • Hooter Hiders makes fashionable and easy to use nursing covers.
  • For those using formula, Similac Sensitive was the #1 formula used by me and my friends.  It was very gentle on the babies tummies.  
I would love to hear your thoughts and stories about nursing.  

Good Luck to all you soon to be moms!  Follow your gut and do what ever you need to do for your baby.  Only you know what is best for YOUR little one.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Disposable Placemats

So, I've heard of disposable changing pads and bibs, but I have NEVER heard of disposable placemats!

These are seriously so necessary for when you go out to eat with a toddler!

This weekend a good friend of mine introduced me to this amazingly simple product.


Before this weekend, whenever we took Hudson out to eat with us we had two options.  To cut the food up and leave it on a plate or put it on a napkin on the table.  Nine times out of ten, the plate would go crashing to the floor along with all the food at some point during dinner.  Either way, food always ended up on that dirty table.

If only there was a product out there that my little one couldn't move and that would keep his food off the table....

Disposable Placemats for babies and toddlers!  They are pre-cut sheets of plastic the size of a normal placemat.  What makes these so great is the adhesive strips on the back that adhere the mat to the table so little one's can't sling food into the air with it.  Don't worry though, they are easily removed when dinner is done.

I thought these placements were were so cool that I just had to share!  Check them out and let me know what you think.

You can find Disposable Placemats for babies at Babies R US, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon.com, and probably a bunch of other stores (I just haven't looked other places).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Traveling with a Baby

For first time mommies and daddies, taking that first trip with your new baby is exciting and a bit stressful.  Did you pack everything you need?  Where will the baby sleep?  What happens if.....  So, I have compiled a list of basics to pack for baby.  Depending on the duration and location of your trip, you may need to tweak this list a little.  Remember, more often than not, if you forget something "important" you will be able to find an alternative that will get your through or you will be able to run out and purchase what you forgot.  Thank goodness for 24/7 stores!  :)

Here is the basic checklist I use/used when packing for a baby.

  • Diapers:  I usually pack around 7 per day we will be gone.   The younger they are, the more I would pack just because little babies tend to have more "blowout" situations.
  • Clothes:  Pack at least one outfit per day plus a few extra.  If you will be gone for 3 days, I would pack 5 just to be on the safe side.
  • Baby wipes
  • Toiletries:  baby wash and shampoo, lotion, diaper rash cream, Vaseline, Johnson and Johnson baby bath wipes, cotton balls nasal aspirator (snot sucker), and any medication your baby needs
  • Pacifires
  • Bottle and supplies:  3 bottles are usually sufficient and don't forget everything you need to clean all the parts + nipples & lids.
  • Pr-measured formula:  This comes in really handy in the car.  You can also purchase per-measured formula packets.
  • Baby Food:  Enough for each meal and a few extra PLUS snacks.  I personally love those little pouches of pureed fruits and veggies.  They are so handy when traveling.  You can even find a little spoon attachment that goes right on the opening if your baby can't use the straw yet.  
  • Pack n' play or rock n'play sleeper system:  Don't worry if you forget these things (GUILTY) we have had to use the car seat before to put Hudson in to sleep and it worked just fine. 
  • Blankets
  • Boppy or Nursing Pillow
  • Toys:  a few small toys or teething rings to keep your little one entertained
  • Sound Machine:  If you forget yours and your baby won't or can't sleep without it, don't worry.  There is an app called Sleep Machine Lite (FREE) that you can get on your smart phone.  It has lots of sound options and has worked really well for us.  
  • Breast Pump and supplies

Tips I wish someone would have told me...BEFORE learning the hard way!
  • Always load baby bags into the car last!  When you are going out of town, you will more than likely need to get something for your baby along the way and it makes it a lot easier if you don't have to pack and unpack your vehicle to get to what you need.
  • I pack a separate bag  with the diapers, wipes, changing pad, and extra outfit.  This stays in the cabin of the car so it is easy to find.  Honestly, I keep a little bag filled with these things in my car all the time, no matter where we are going or how long the trip.  You never know when you might need them.
  • For formula or breast milk, I used a small cooler with icepack and keep it with me.  In the cooler I also have a bottle of water, extra nipples for the bottles, a few pacifiers, packets of per-measured formula.  This makes trips a lot easier for the whole family.
  • Keep hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and paper towels in your call ALL THE TIME!
  • Give yourself more time to reach your destination.  More than likely (especially if your baby is really young) you will need to stop and feed or change your love bug at least once along the way.  What is usually a 3.5 hour trip may end up being closer to 4.5 or even 5 hours.

 Obviously this isn't a comprehensive list, just the basics to get you through.

What are some tips for travel or items you never want to forget?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Diaper Bags

Picking the right diaper bag can be a daunting task.  There are thousands out there to choose from, and they can range in price from $10 to well over a couple hundred dollars.  There are so many styles, fabrics, patterns, and brands it can make your .  So, I'm going to share with you what I decided to do and what I have seen friends use that they like.

First, when picking a diaper bag you want to make sure it is easy to carry (padded shoulder straps) and large enough to fit:  diapers, wipes, changing pad, change of clothes, bottle/sippy cup, snacks, pacifiers, toys, medicine, blankets, your wallet and car keys.  This diaper bag will not only house your babies necessities while out and about, but it will also be your purse for the next few years.  Unless, you want to tote around a diaper bag, baby (possibly in a carrier), and a purse....  If that's the case, good luck to you.  :)

Next, you want to think about style and price.  Because this is something you are going to want to have with you when you go out with your little one, it would be nice if it weren't completely hideous.  If you are able to and want to spend the money, then get a fun patterned one.  Get a couple different ones.  But for those who don't want to drop a bunch of money on a glorified duffel bag that will get beat up pretty bad, but still want a bag that looks nice and is functional, try thinking outside the box.

I looked at the big baby stores, target, department stores, on-line and even coach for a diaper bag that would fit most if not all of my needs.  Here were my requirements:
  1. Under $100.  I don't like to spend that much money on my own purses, so why would I want to spend that on a bag that is going to get used and abused (maybe...no probably even vomited on/in)?
  2. Durable.  Like I said, your diaper bag is going to be thrown, stepped on, sat down on some questionable surfaces, spilled in and on, and filled to the brim.  I wanted something that could handle the wear and tare.  
  3. Washable.  As beautiful as the leather diaper bag was, it just wasn't practical for me.  I needed to be able to stick it in the washer and clean it really well.  You wouldn't believe how dirty diaper bags can get.
  4. Enough room to pack everything Hudson and I would need for an afternoon out.  Obviously, if you are going away for a couple days, you will need an overnight bag or something much bigger to contain all necessary items.  But, for a diaper bag you really only need enough space for what you might need for a couple of hours.  You don't need to be able to pack everything including the kitchen sink though.  :)
  5. Cute and Identifiable.    I wanted a bag that would look nice and that I can pick out from other bags (think daycare or church nursery)
Here are my top diaper bag picks:
  • The Cindy Tote from Thirty-One Gifts.  This is what I currently use and really like.  It is large, in a pattern I like, and I got it personalized with our last name.  I LOVE THAT YOU CAN PERSONALIZE THESE BAGS!  This is easy to clean, it's durable, and the price is right.  Thirty-One also makes other totes that look like they would work as well.  They have come out with some cute things sense I was in the market for a diaper bag.  You can check out their products here.  If you don't already know someone who sells Thirty-One, my sister in law would love to help you.  You can check out her personal page and get in contact with here here.
  • Coach Diaper Bags.  On vacation I fell in love with one of these beauties.  I was never able to pull the trigger and actually purchase it (even thought it was 40% off at the outlet).  I did have a friend who swore by them though.  In fact, she got one in black and one in white so she could wear it with anything.  Apparently they hold up really well and lets be honest, they are pretty.  According to my girl friend, she is planning to use the same bags for baby #2 (years later).  You can compare different styles and prices on Amazon.com or you can check out the Coach Factory Outlet on-line.
  • Petunia Pickle Bottom.  Chances are, you have heard about or come across one of these beautiful bags.  While they are pricy, they are well made and very stylish.  There are lots of options and price points, so they are worth checking out. 
There are obviously more diaper bags and brands out there, these are just the one's I am most familiar with and like best.  

Don't forget to go to Marshalls or TJ MAX.  Sometimes they have diaper bags in their purse section and you can get a really great price on a designer diaper bag.  :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

HUGE SAVINGS and razor review

Razor Review

I know, I know... razors are not baby products, but I just had to share this information with you.  Let's just say this is a product for all the mommies and daddies (and aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends...). The potential savings is huge and I get really excited about saving money!  

My husband and I have been so frustrated lately with the price of razor cartridges!  That's probably because we recently had to fork over a small fortune for them a couple weeks ago....  Anyway, Steve came across this website that is absolutely amazing!!!!  This company makes razors (mens and women's) that are comparable to Galette razors (Venus, Fusion...).  After much research (thanks to hubby) we purchased some for ourselves.  I got mine in the mail yesterday (did I mention they offer FREE SHIPPING???) and tried it for the first time today!  I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked!  The shave was extremely close AND no cuts or scratches!  I personally liked it better and thought it did a better job than the Venus Embrace system I was using.  Who would have thought?!?!    If you have tried these razors, I would love to hear your opinion on them.


The best part about these razors...they are cheap!  I couldn't find Venus razor cartridges for less than $2.50 per cartridge (some were even over $3.00).  The new Shai razor (that's the one I got and LOVE) were less than half of that.  I got a pack of 24 razors for $28.05.  That is $1.17 per cartridge!!!  You do need to purchase a new handle that is compatible with all their cartridges though, but they are also inexpensive (less than $5).

If you change razor cartridges every two weeks that's a savings of $34.58 a year per person.  If you change your razors more often like I do, or if you happen to use the even more expensive cartridges, the savings are even greater!  These days every penny counts right?!?!

I hope you will at least check out the website and see what these razors are all about.  They have razors and cartridges for both men and women AND many options!  

HERE is a 15% off coupon and a link to the website.   It is good through February 28, 2013.  I hope you will at least check this out and if you like them, be sure to share this awesome savings will those you love.  

Enjoy & Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Getting your kiddo to eat vegetables

Recently, my one year old decided he no longer wanted to eat vegetables... AT ALL!  I tried many different kinds (carrots, green beans, Lima beans, corn...) and found that the only way he would eat them was if  I tricked the little stinker by sneaking those dreaded vegetables in there without him knowing! O and I'm not sure if a Lima bean is even a vegetable or if it a legume....either way, he wont eat them!

Here are some ideas on how to get your little one to eat more vegetables.  These seemed to work pretty well at our house.  Hopefully they will work for you.

1)  Smoothies

For Christmas my wonderful husband got me a Vitamix!  I love it and we use it all the time (but you don't have to have a Vitamix to make smoothies).  My husband and I have been making a lot of vegetable/fruit smoothies to get more veggies in our diet.  I asked Hudson's pediatrician about giving him these deceptive drinks, and he thought it was a wonderful idea.  Hudson (our picky one year old) LOVES them, especially when we give him a cup with a straw (like we use).  Even though they contain more vegetables than fruit, they still taste sweet.   

This is an example/recipe of our breakfast smoothing (enough for 2 adults + a baby).
  • 1-2 big handful(s) of spinach
  • broccoli
  • kail
  • carrots
  • celery
  • green grapes
  • apple
  • orange
  • banana (optional)
  • frozen berries (optional)
  • 1-2 cups water
  • ice

Yummmm!!!!  If you think the GREEN color of the healthy (but oooo so delicious) smoothies might turn your kiddos off to trying it, put it in a solid plastic cup that isn't clear and have them use a straw.  As you can see, Hudson doesn't really care what color his food is at this point.  As long as he's getting some, he's a happy camper.

2)  Mixing

When giving Hudson his meals, I found that if I keep his vegetables separate from the rest of his food, then he wouldn't touch them, but if I mixed everything together he ate them all.  For example, Hudson loves spaghetti-O's so I will just mix his green beans right in and he gobbles it right up.

3)  Timing is everything

This doesn't work all the time, but every once in a while, if I put out ONLY the veggie portion of his meal and hold off on the rest for a few minutes, he will start munching on his cooked carrots (or whatever vegetable I put in front of him).   The only explanation I can think of to explain why he will eat his vegetables in this situation is that he is just so hungry at this point that he'll eat anything.  haha I don't really know.

4)  Try to pick foods that pack more of punch

We use Veggie Smart pasta sauce and veggie pasta (the colorful pasta) or whole wheat pasta.  This is a big hit at our house.  I don't know that this is a significant help, but something is better than nothing, right?

5)  Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

This has some interesting ideas on how to sneak vegetables into yummy food like brownies.  Deceptive...YES, Delicious...you decide :)

How do you get your kiddo's to eat their vegetables? 

Friday, February 1, 2013

All Baby Wipes Are NOT Created Equal

I am by no means the ultimate authority on all things baby, I am just sharing with you my own personal thoughts and experiences.

Who on earth would have thought that the quality of baby wipe mattered.  It seems like a pretty simple, straight forward item.  I will say that over the past almost year and a half, I have come to find that a good quality baby wipe makes all the difference between an easy clean up job and a huge mess!  You wouldn't think there wouldn't be that big of a difference from brand to brand, but let me tell ya, THERE IS!

Along with the different brands comes different costs and qualities.  You might be surprised that in my opinion, the highest priced wipes didn't hold up as well as its cheaper counterparts.  The cost difference between wipes may seem insignificant at first glance but when you think about how many boxes of baby wipes you will be purchasing over the next lets say two years...  WOOOOAAHHHH!!!!  That's a huge chunk of change!  The price of baby wipes is definitely something to consider!

I have tried:  Walmart brand, Pampers, Huggies, Sam's Club, and Meijer Brand baby wipes. Here is my review of each product and my recommendation.

We will start with Walmart's brand called Parent's Choice.  According to the website this 700 ct box of wipes is $11.97 (about $0.02 per wipe).  That's a pretty good price for the count.  They are smaller than other wipes we tried, but they were really moist and thick.  Unfortunately they are more difficult to get out of the packaging which can be frustrating especially when you are in a SERIOUS situation that calls for fast action.  I have also noticed that these wipes fall rip and fall apart when I try to pull them out to use...  They weren't my favorite and we won't be buying them again, but for the price, if I were ever in a pinch we would make it work.

Sam's Club baby wipes are my 100% absolute favorite baby wipes.  If you don't have a membership and don't want to fork over the money to join, make friends with someone who has one and wouldn't mind picking these up for you.  They are cheap and the best quality!  These suckers can stand up to anything and I mean ANYTHING!  A 900ct box is $15.28 (less than $0.02 per wipe)!!!!  How amazing is that!  They have the best packaging because it has a snap shut lid, not just the sticky film.  They are great to keep in the diaper bag and for travel.  They are big, moist, thick and stay wet for a long time!  These are the one's I recommend to my girlfriends all the time!

We all know of this big name brand.  Of coarse I love Pampers!  They don't have the reputation they do by selling shotty products.  Each box comes with one of those green diaper holders and the trusted brand has been around for years and years!  O and they have super cute commercials!  The only problem with these wipes is that they are a bit more pricy.  A 504 ct box at Walmart is $12.47 ($0.03 per wipe).  You are paying for the name in this case.  The great thing about buying the name brand products are the options!  They come in many varieties while the generic brands may only come in one or two options.  Another great thing about Pampers is the rewards program.  If you can remember to actually get on-line and enter in the info every time you purchase a new box, you can get good discounts and earn good rewards.  It's defiantly worth looking into.   The wipes are large, thin, moist, and durable. 

Another BIG NAME diaper and wipe brand.  These like Pampers are good quality diapers but at a higher price.  A 600ct box will run you about $12.47 ($0.02 per wipe).  I personally didn't like them as much as Pampers.  I don't know maybe I'm biased.  Either way, I found that while they were durable, they were not as moist and tended to dry out faster.  They were much thicker so I guess if you have a baby that tends to make big messes these wipes might be a better fit for you.  They are less expensive than pampers and again come in many varieties.  Huggies also has a rewards program similar to the Pampers program.  You can check out the Huggies program here.  Just from their website, their rewards program looks a lot more fun!  haha

Meijer baby wipes work really well.  They are thicker, moist, durable, and a good price.  I actually went to pull up the exact price of these baby wipes and couldn't find the information on-line anywhere!!!  haha  They are less than the name brand products listed above, but the exact price eludes me.  I did like that they came in Sensitive and Fragrance Free.  Who doesn't love some good options?!?!

Well, there it is!  I don't think it's a big surprise that my favorite baby wipes are the Sam's Club brand wipes.  They are cheeper per wipe than the others , and they are great quality.   All of the wipes were good, it just comes down to personal preference.  What is your favorite baby wipe?

*I have also heard a lot about AmazonMom.com You can find all sorts of baby essentials and gear at a supposedly discounted price. Other people I have talked to really liked this website and swear by it!  It is my understanding you can save a lot of money by ordering through them.  If you love to shop on Amazon like I do, then why not check it out?!?!  The only downfalls I can see is possible shipping cost, and length of time it takes to receive the products.  If you REALLY NEED wipes, like yesterday, then you may want to skip the on-line ordering and just make a quick run the the store.  :)

I hope you found this at least semi-entertaining and helpful.

Happy Friday!