Archive for 2018

Baby Breakfast Ideas

March 16, 2018

My older two kids are not big breakfast eaters. So it surprised me that Belle is ALL ABOUT breakfast. Girlfriend is hungry in the morning and wants to eat! My older two kids usually drink a green smoothie for breakfast and that's it.

Belle will drink a smoothie and then beg for more food. Girl can eat! So I thought I'd share some of our go-to breakfast meals for babies!

Belle LOVES oatmeal cereal. And I love that it's good for her. She also loves blueberries (diced). When she first started eating solid food at 6 months old, I would often blend the blueberries in the food processor and then use them to flavor the oatmeal. She loved it! But now she likes to feed herself, so I just chop them up and serve them to her. 

Bananas are probably one of Belle's FAVORITE foods. Which is funny to me because she refused to eat them for so long. I just kept offering them at breakfast and finally she decided she loved them. So if your baby is the same way, just keep offering! 

Belle loves a mix of diced strawberries and bananas with her oatmeal. 

On occasion the big kids will ask for pancakes for breakfast. And Belle loves those days! I dice up some pancakes for her and make her own de-constructed version of avocado toast! Pancakes and avocado with a side of oatmeal. She loves it!

If we are in a hurry to get to school or church I'll often offer Belle some cereal puffs to eat in the car...but she totally prefers a hearty breakfast. Other breakfast favorites in our house are scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast. Due to allergy concerns, I typically wait to offer them to my babies until after they have turned one, which means Belle is going to get to try them this weekend. 

If you are just starting out on solid foods, Gerber cereal is a great first food. Your baby is grown and changing so much, so their nutrition is very important! Gerber wants to make every bite count, which is why Gerber oatmeal has been the first food for all of my babies. It's a great way to incorporate iron in to their diet, which breastfed babies in particular really need! Two servings have 90% of the iron they need each day.

Gerber cereal has essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, E and six B vitamins for healthy development. I highly recommend mixing the oatmeal cereal with other baby purees too. Applesauce is a great starter! 

This is our first time trying Gerber's DHA & Probiotic version of their oatmeal cereal. DHA helps support brain and eye development and the Probiotic helps support digestive health when eaten on a regular basis. 

You can learn more about Gerber cereals here, and find them at your local Target! I've also found a great coupon for you to save even more here

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Belle is ONE

March 15, 2018

I can't believe I'm writing this. My sweet girl is ONE. 

Fastest and best year of my life. She is the missing piece to our family puzzle. She completes us. I can't imagine life without her. 

She is light and happiness and joy. And belly laughs and slobber. 

She will walk for birthday cookies. Only 3 steps so far. 

We love you Deet Deet. Happy birthday sweet girl!

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11 Ways I Parent Differently the Third Time Around

March 13, 2018

Now that I’m am mom of three, I’ve noticed how differently my parenting style is the third time around. My parenting has changed and modified with each child, mostly because each baby has been different, but also because I am different. I am more confident, and organized. Well…most days. With three kids, I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff and to let some things go. Obviously I have a little more experience under my belt now that I have three children…but that by no means makes me super skilled at mothering. I may feel more confident in my abilities, but it doesn’t make me a better mother. That being said, I do things a little differently now that I’m a mom of three.

I’m partnering with Luvs for this post because we really luv their diapers, and it’s true what they say….second (or third) time parents choose Luvs because they really are that great! Luvs has helped me learn to laugh at myself a little too.

1. Baby’s Wardrobe

1st baby: I have a huge collection of baby shoes, sweaters, jeans (yes! Baby jeans!) and other outfits gifted to me from various baby showers and several shopping sprees. They are all washed in baby safe detergent and packed neatly away in baby’s dresser.

3rd baby: I’ve learned that babies basically live in pajamas. I have a collection of pre-owned (and pre-stained) baby jams sitting in a pile in baby’s nursery, waiting to be washed some day.

2. Baby’s Nursery

1st baby: Baby’s room is perfectly finished a whole month before he is set to arrive.

2nd baby: Baby’s room is perfectly finished a year and a half after she is born.

3rd baby: Baby’s room is perfectly finished only because grandma did most of it.

3. Diapers

1st baby: Diapers are expensive! And we still have blowouts!!

3rd baby: I buy Luvs. Luvs diapers lock away wetness to keep baby’s skin dry all while providing excellent leak protection. They feel soft and gentle on my baby’s skin and hugs those chubby thighs for a perfect fit!

4. Myself

1st baby: I am back to my pre-baby weight 6 months after he is born. And I manage to style my hair every day.

3rd baby: I do not even remember my pre-baby weight. I know I am nowhere near that weight and will probably never be that small again. I am lucky if my hair gets washed twice a week.

5. Baby Book:

1st baby: Baby book is kept up with every month, features cute photos, and every single space is filled up with written memories

2nd baby: Oops? Having two kids is hard.

3rd baby: Can I fill out baby #2 and baby #3’s baby books at the same time? Maybe I should get started on that…..I decide to start the book at 9 months, because that seems easiest.

6. Dealing with Sickness:

1st baby: The first time baby has a cough and runny nose we are at the pediatrician to have everything checked out.

3rd baby: She’s fine. Really.

7. Having a Baby Sitter:

1st baby: Only family can watch the baby while I am away. And it requires two pages of notes and directions.

3rd baby: Only family can watch the baby because they are the only ones who will agree to watch three children at a time. I race out the door as soon as they arrive.

8. Playtime

1st baby: We play with a few toys at a time, and when we are finished we put them away before getting out a new toy.

3rd baby: It looks like Santa’s workshop exploded in my living room.

9. Bath time:

1st baby: A calm, gentle bath every night.

3rd: When was the last time she had a bath? Yesterday? Two days ago? I seriously can’t remember.

10. Photos

1st baby: Sweet, fun photos of baby looking at the camera.

3rd baby: I’ll settle for all of them being in the photo as long as no one is crying. I take what I can get these days.

11. Diaper Bag

1st baby: I carry around a few diapers maybe? And a toy? I am always forgetting to pack my bag!

3rd baby: I’ve got this. I bring ALL THE THINGS everywhere I go. I have learned the hard way to always be prepared.

How do you parent differently the second or third time around? Are you able to laugh at yourself? Do you use and love Luvs diapers as much as we do? Something I really love and appreciate about Luvs, other than their amazing diapers of course, is their hilarious and relatable commercials and videos. I think I’ve watched all of them!

I especially love their “pink or blue” video! It’s so true too! It seems like we went all out with our first baby…but then after you become a parent you realize all of that extra stuff really doesn’t matter. You become an expert and are able to see the situation so differently. I love that Luvs recognizes this in parents, and helps us laugh at ourselves!

I partnered with Luvs for this post but all opinions are my own.

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8 Tips for Pumping Moms

March 8, 2018

If you've been reading my blog for the past few years, you know how passionate I am about breastfeeding. One of the most asked questions I receive about breastfeeding all revolve around pumping. How I pump, when to pump, how to get baby to take a pumped bottle etc. I currently am self-employed and do not work outside of the home...but when Hudson was a baby I worked full time and pumped three times a day at work. So I know how hard it is! Most Monday mornings my in-laws watch Sadie and Belle for me while I take Hudson to school and then sneak away to get some work done, which means I need to pump a bottle for Belle. My sweet girl will be ONE next week, but is still breastfeeding like a CHAMP. So today I thought I'd share some of my tips for pumping mamas. I think pumping is tough and applaud any mom that pumps milk for her baby! But remember, my philosophy has and always will be: fed is best. No matter how you feed your baby, you are doing a good job.

First, let me say that I'm not the biggest fan of pumping. It's a little awkward for me (even with baby #3! I prefer to breastfeed whenever possible. But when I had Hudson I worked full time, so pumping was a necessity. And with the girls, I've had to travel, or simply just get away for a little bit. So you have to first get over the awkwardness. Like so many aspects of motherhood, you just have to accept the weirdness and move on. Pumping takes a lot of work, but it's worth it. 

Here are a few of my recommendations for a pumping mom:

1. Invest in quality supplies. You'll be using your breast pump and accessories a lot, so make sure you invest in items that will last. Did you know that you may be eligible for a breast pump through your insurance? Aeroflow Breastpumps is a great resource for pumping moms to help you navigate which pump to get and which pump you may qualify for with your insurance. They are a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider that specializes in helping pregnant and nursing women qualify for their breast pump through their insurance and the Affordable Care Act. Which means they do all the work for you, and at no cost to you. Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped mothers across the country receive maximum coverage and reimbursement. For all three of my children, I have used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and it is GREAT! I have the "on the go tote" which comes in a black bag that is easy to take to and from work. It's also great when you have to travel without your little one. My pump came with a small insulated cooler to store breast milk. When I was working I would take my pump to work every day and then home with me at night. You can learn more about the Medela Pump here, and it is one of many breast pumps available through Aeroflow Breastpumps.

2. Purchase extra pump parts. Make sure you have extra breast shields, bottles, valves, tubes, everything! You never know when something might tear or get dropped down a drain. Aeroflow can help you with breast pump accessories too!

3. Create a milk stockpile. I started pumping once a day when Hudson was around 4 weeks old. I would get up in the morning with him, nurse him, and then attempt to get him down for a nap around 9:00 a.m. Then I would pump...usually it was 30-60 minutes after I finished feeding him. For me, I found that it was easiest (and I would get the best results) if I pumped in the morning. Those first few weeks I would pump 2 ounces or so....and it was very discouraging. However, once your body gets used to this "extra" feeding session you will start to make more. Once Hudson was 10 weeks old I could usually pump between 4 and 7 ounces each morning.

Clear out some room in your freezer for all of your milk! To store the milk I use Medela Pump and Save Breastmilk bags. Make sure you include the date the milk was pumped as well as the ounce amount. It is a good idea to save milk in 2 or 3 ounce quantities. Pumping once a day for several weeks is a great stress-free way to build up your stockpile for when you return to work or have a big trip planned! The stockpile is also important because some days you may not pump enough to send with your baby. This does not mean you are not making enough milk for's just that your baby is more efficient at drawing milk out of the breast than your pump is.

4. Look at a picture of your baby while you pump. If you are having difficulty with let down, I found it helpful to look at a photo or video of my baby while I pumped. Now that I mostly pump from home (and not at work) I usually have a kid or two in my lap watching me pump. Or pulling at the tubes. #nothelpful I have a friend that recorded a video of her baby breastfeeding and she would watch it each time she had to be away from him and pump. I thought that was a great idea!

5. Keep your schedule consistent. If you typically feed your baby at 9am, then plan to pump at that time too. My typical routine right now is to breastfeed Belle as soon as she wakes up in the morning, which is anywhere between 5:45 and 6:30 a.m.. If I plan on being away from her for her next feeding, I'll typically wait until it's almost time for me to leave to pump. That way I have a fresh bottle for her that doesn't need to be re-heated, and my body is on my typical schedule. She's been breastfeeding for almost a year, so even if I have to skip a feeding my body is pretty accommodating. The same thing could not be said if she was two months old. If I skipped a feeding then I would have had issues with engorgement or leaking. So pay attention to your body and try to keep your schedule consistent.

6. Do not cry over spilled milk. Or milk that has to be thrown out. Milk will be thrown out for a variety of reasons when you are a pumping mom. Get over it. I used to send Hudson to daycare with four bottles. It takes some experimentation to learn how much milk to send with your baby. At first I over packed his bottles, just to make sure he had enough. Ask your daycare provider or whoever is watching your baby to record how much your baby drinks at each feeding and make sure you know your their policy on breast milk. The daycare Hudson attended will discard milk from a "used" bottle after one hour. That means, any milk Hudson did not drink from that bottle in one hour was dumped. This was so frustrating for me at first. That milk is like liquid gold and they are dumping it down the drain!!!! You'll want to try and pack just what your baby drinks.....but if your baby is anything like mine, it can vary from day to day. Hudson usually drank anywhere from 3.5 to 5 ounces at a time at daycare. So I would send him with 20 ounces....and a few were thrown out...I just had to get over it!

Since I had a large stockpile of frozen milk, I could dip in to it if I do not pump enough. I typically pumped between 15 and 20 ounces a day at work. My frozen stockpile allowed me to send Hudson to daycare with 20 ounces, regardless of how much I pumped the day before.

7. Pump on the weekends too. I know you may feel you need a break, but continuing to pump once a day during the weekends or any day you are home with your baby will help you maintain your stockpile.

8. Just like with breastfeeding, getting enough to eat and drink is very important to your milk supply! So the same applies when you are pumping. Whenever you are away from your baby make sure you eat enough protein and drink plenty of water.

Because so many of you have questions about pumping and working, I thought it might be helpful to review the routine I used when I worked full time. Here was my process for pumping at work: 

1. Find a location to pump. Did you know that employers with more than 50 employees must by law provide pumping mothers with reasonable time and a private place, not a bathroom, to pump? So talk to your employer about where and when you can pump with privacy. I was lucky because I was able to pump in my office. I purchased a curtain rod and curtain to cover my indoor window for privacy. When I returned to work I made sure to let my co-workers know I was not to be disturbed when the curtain was drawn. At first I felt awkward, but really, no one cared! 

2. Pump as soon as you get to work. This is usually the most stress free time of the day. Plus, you have the most milk in the morning.

3. Set up a pumping schedule. Like I mentioned before, I pumped three times a day at work: 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m, and 2:00 p.m. The whole process of setting up, pumping, and washing the pump parts takes about 15 minutes. I've put my pumping sessions in to my work calendar so that the time is blocked off...and so that I remember to pump! It is also helpful to set up an automatic reminder in your calendar or on your phone so that you don't accidentally forget to pump. 

4. Find a space to clean pump parts. You can clean them after each use, or purchase multiple parts so that you can clean them at home. Breast milk is good for 4 hours at room temperature, so technically you can pump twice using the same parts without washing them in between as long as you pump within that time frame. Or, if you have access to a refrigerator, you can store your pump parts in the fridge in between pumping sessions and then take them home to clean. I had two sets of parts and ended up using one set for the first two pumping sessions, then washing them in hot soapy water in my office kitchen, setting them to dry in my office, and then using my second set for my final pumping session. I wasn't comfortable with storing the parts in my office refrigerator because anyone would have had access to them. I know not everyone will have such a great set up...but work with what you have! If you do not have the ability to wash your pump parts you can also purchase some steam bags to sterilize your pump parts in the microwave.

5. Milk storage. I stored my pumped milk in my work refrigerator in a small cooler that came with my pump. No one even knew it was in there. If you do not have access to a refrigerator you can store your milk in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to 24 hours. Then just pop it in the refrigerator when you get home for the day.

Aeroflow Breastpumps makes it easy to see if you qualify for a breast pump through your insurance! They can assist with filing through your insurance, figuring out what pumps you can get through your provider, help you make the best decision for your needs, and ship your pump to you for free! Visit their site to sign up and a breast pump specialist will contact you to discuss your options.

I partnered with Aeroflow Breastpumps for this post but all opinions are my own. 

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12 Tips for Preparing for Your Second Baby

March 6, 2018

Having a baby is the best, hardest, and most overwhelming period of your life. When you first become a mom and hold that baby in your arms your entire world changes. All the stress and pain suddenly becomes just a past memory and your struggles to get to where you are become completely worth it. Something about that fresh new baby makes you forget just how hard pregnancy and childbirth actually are. You become so forgetful that you happily decide to do it again a year or two later! Thankfully it’s a little bit easier the second time around….but not by much. You are more experienced and more confident with baby number two, but now you have to figure out how to care for two tiny humans….at the same time! As a mom of three I’ve learned a few tips and tricks about getting ready for baby number 2…or 3!

With your first baby you probably over-prepared…and stressed yourself out about a lot of things for no reason! Remember what you found to be most helpful the first time, and stick to just the basics!

1. Get big brother or sister involved! Talk about the baby with them often, let them feel baby move and kick in your tummy, and let them help you wash baby clothes and decorate the nursery. Take them to the store and let them pick out a gift to give to the baby. The more excited the older sibling is about the new baby the better!

2. Prepare for your needs. This isn’t your first rodeo. You now know from experience what you found to be the most helpful after giving birth. Stock up on comfy clothes, nursing tanks, and breast pads. When you make a meal, double it and freeze the second half so that you’ll have lots of easy options after baby comes. Stock your pantry with your firstborn’s favorite snacks, and make sure you have a 2 month supply of toiletries for your family.

3. Write out your older child’s schedule so that whomever takes care of him or her has all the details they need to care for them while you are in the hospital. Have a plan in place for child care at least one month in advance and make sure everyone involved is on the same page.

4. Let older children explore the baby equipment. Trust me on this one. You don’t want to bring up the baby swing from the basement and put your new baby in it, just to have big sister loose her mind over a fun new toy! Bring out all your baby gear: car seat, swing, bouncy seat, nursing pillow…everything and let your older children explore, sit in, and play with them. After a few days they’ll get tired of them and leave them alone.

5. Re-familiarize yourself with baby gear. After you let your older child play on everything, make sure you re-read your baby car seat, breast pump, bottle warmer, and baby swing manuals. While you are at it, re-read your older child’s car seat manual too and make sure he or she is in the proper seat for their height and weight.

6. Install car seats now. Take a Saturday to get your car cleaned and vacuum out all of the smashed Goldfish, empty applesauce packets, and candy wrappers. Install baby’s car seat and help your older children familiarize themselves with their new position in the car.

7. Make the big transitions in advance. I know it’s tempting to try and cross off all these big transitions for your first child off of your list while you are on maternity leave….but having a new baby is a big enough transition as it is! So leave the potty training, big boy bed transition, and any other “new” things for the months before, or months after baby is born.

8. Prepare your child for seeing mommy in the hospital. If you decide to have your first born come to the hospital to meet their new sibling, make sure you talk to them about this at first! When my second child was born, Hudson was scared to see me in a hospital bed. There were lots of wires and machines and he didn’t understand what was happening. With baby number 3 I made sure I discussed all of this with him ahead of time, and re-assured him over and over that mommy wasn’t sick and that he could touch me or anything in the room.

9. Have the baby “give” their big brother/sister a gift. With my third, the baby gave Hudson a kid’s digital camera. This was a HUGE hit. He opened it up in the hospital and then we let him “document” everything with his new camera. He loved it! And it was funny to scroll through his photos and see pictures of the hospital floor, windows, and my IV!

10. Line up play dates and fun things for your older child to do when you first bring home your baby. The MOST helpful things for me were when friends either brought us a meal or took Hudson for a playdate.

11. Make busy boxes for your older children to play with while you feed the baby. Those early days of breastfeeding are long and hard…and you can’t always get right up to help your older child with whatever “emergency” need they have. I love to make up a box to pull out during those nursing sessions that included little toys, puzzles, or books that my older children hadn’t seen before to help them pass the time while I take care of the baby.

12. And finally, do your research! When you are pregnant, there are so many decisions that need to be made with your doctor or midwife team. If you are a long time reader here, you’ll know I did a lot of research on doctor vs. midwife and c-section vs. VBAC. Everyone is different and it’s important that you discuss all of your options with your medical provider. With all three of my pregnancies we explored the option of cord blood banking. We donated cord blood once, too! Your baby’s umbilical cord is made of tissue and contains blood, both of which are rich sources of powerful stem cells. Preserving your newborn’s stem cells with Cord Blood Registry (CBR) may give your child or an immediate family member the opportunity to use this resource for current cord blood therapies. In the future, there may be other potential applications, like regenerative medicine. Over the past several years there has been a lot of new research in the field of newborn stem cells, working to find potential therapeutic options for conditions that have no cure today. CBR partners with researchers on FDA- regulated clinical trials to advance newborn stem cell research as well as connect families to trials if they qualify. CBR’s goal is to provide the best service and quality in the collection, processing, and storage of newborn stem cells. If you are pregnant, you can consider the option of cord blood and cord tissue banking.

If you are interested in storing your cord blood and cord tissue for future use, you can find more information on CBR’s website: or watch this helpful video that breaks down how it all works.

Enrolling online is easy and CBR will help you take care of all the details. Right now you can receive a promo code for $200 off of the initial fees with CBR when you fill out your information.

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