Mommy Must-Haves: Baby Feeding Essentials for 2017

Boppy Nursing Pillow

EVERY nursing mama needs one of these. This snug pillow will completely enhance the breastfeeding experience for you and your bundle of joy. One of Boppy’s bestsellers, this iconic Boppy Nursing Pillow has helped millions of moms and infants create a positive breastfeeding/bottle feeding experience. This versatile pillow lifts baby to a more ergonomic position granting mom relief to arms and back. As baby grows the pillow can also transition to a propping, tummy time and sitting pillow. Choose from a colorful array of machine washable slipcovers to personalize your Boppy Pillow for full comfort and style.

Milkmaid Goods Nursing Poncho

Created by two moms on a mission to bring beauty to motherhood, Milkmaid Goods offers amazing Nursing Ponchos so moms can breastfeed in style and with confidence in public without the worry of being exposed. This unique and fashionable design cover both the front and back of the Poncho, creating a comfortable nursing environment for both you and your little one! In addition, the ponchos can double as a car seat cover, to create the perfect naptime setting for your baby whether you’re running errands or taking a peaceful stroll through the park. All of Milkmaid’s ponchos and covers are made of a stretchy, breathable, lightweight fabric for full comfort and protection. Try out the ‘Ruby Starlet’ Nursing Poncho for a fun new look for you and your baby to rock this upcoming spring season!

The Baby Booster

Getting the right nutrition while you are literally working to feed a baby 24/7 is hard! The Baby Booster is an amazing option for moms looking for that vital protein ( it is packed with 20 grams of non GMO protein and all of the essentials vitamins) needed for keeping up with babies needs. The Baby Booster is available in four delicious flavors: Kona Mocha, Tahitian Vanilla, Pina Colada, and Superfruit Punch. Each of these special shakes all contain DHA, which is a great way for your infant to receive extra nutrients! Unlike many other products for pregnant women and their baby, Baby Booster eliminates soy, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and gluten from their ingredients, ensuring you feel healthy, comfortable, excited and happy in every facet of your pregnancy and life! We love this product for late night nursing sessions to keep you going! 

Green Goo Nursing Cream

Nursing your baby doesn’t have to hurt. Bring the joy back of breastfeeding with Green Goo’s Nursing Cream. It’s crafted with a delicate formula of Calendula and Chamomile flowers and other skin-loving ingredients that are 100% organic. A Green Goo best seller, this natural salve is a top choice among nursing mamas looking for maximum skin protection, relief and is a reliable and safe choice for their baby. Simply apply the cream around the nipple area after a feeding session and enjoy the healing magic that is Green Goo Nursing Cream.

 Mommy’s Watches

If you’re a breastfeeding mom you’ve probably heard the phrase, “When in doubt, toss it out!” Now with Mommy’s Watches never throw away milk again. This mom invented gadget takes all the guesswork out of breastfeeding and helps save tons of money and time. Mommy’s Watches is a unique, innovative device that gives parents a quick and easy way to keep track of the time and temperature of breast milk bottles and bags. Mommy’s Watches gives moms peace of mind knowing their baby is getting safe meals each and every time. Mommy’s Watches is a timer which counts down faster at room temperature and slower at refrigerator temperatures while accounting for the safety guidelines. It self-adjusts the expiration time based on the temperature that is exposed to. This reusable product is perfect for any new mom, ensuring you’re not throwing out your baby’s milk too soon or feeding them spoiled milk!

Boppy Soothing Breast Balm

Make breastfeeding easier and more manageable with the Boppy Soothing Breast Balm. This nursing balm is designed to give soothing relief and protection for sore and dry nipples caused by improper latching during breastfeeding. Make nursing or pumping less painful with this non-greasy and soothing balm. Gently apply a small amount of Boppy’s Soothing Breast Balm to the nipple area after each feeding, or as needed, and quickly feel the relief. Store this hypoallergenic, paraben and phthalate free product at room temperature for its best results. No more uncomfortable pain after providing your baby all the nutrients they need from breastfeeding with this amazing breast balm from Boppy.

Breastfeeding: The First 6 Weeks

Breastfeeding: The First 6 WeeksBreastfeeding: Surviving the First 6 Weeks

Breastfeeding resources always tell you stick it out for 6 weeks. To a new mother, the first six weeks are so difficult and if you are having a hard time with breastfeeding 6 weeks can seem like an eternity. So what’s up with continuing to try it through the whole six weeks even if it is not going well? A lot of things actually…

Your Body Is Healing

Delivering a baby, either vaginally or by c-section is a big deal! Your body takes a while to fully heal from it. Any time your body is healing it takes a lot out of you physically and emotionally. If you can stick it out, nursing your baby with a fully recovered body could change the experience dramatically. You will feel better and surely have more patience for anything breastfeeding brings.

Hormones are Changing

Those darn hormones cause all kinds of problems in a woman’s life. After delivering a baby they change yet again and we all know what kind of effect raging hormones have on us. They cause us to be extra emotional….a bad combination with all of the other things you are getting adjusted to. By waiting until your hormone levels have balanced themselves back out, you are giving yourself a real mental chance at handling breastfeeding. Once hormone levels are stable you might also enjoy breastfeeding on a deeper level and find it easier to bond and connect with your baby.

Exhaustion Has Set In

By the time you have delivered your beautiful baby, chances are you are exhausted. Definitely by the end of day two with your new bundle of joy sleep takes on a whole new meaning. Waking up multiple times a night with a crying baby and never getting time to catch up on sleep is extremely taxing….possibly one of the hardest parts about having a newborn. You do get used to running on no sleep, but it takes a while (especially when your body is requiring extra energy to heal). Lack of sleep can surely put you in a bad mood, limit your patience and cause every little thing to make you cry. Any complication with breastfeeding can feel like a huge mountain, when in reality it can be a tiny something, or even nothing at all!

Some women, desperate for sleep, understandably want their husbands to pitch in and handle some of the night feedings and may feel as though they have to carry all of the burden because they are breastfeeding. While it is important for a mother to nurse often in the beginning, by the time your baby is 4 weeks old, you can (and should) pump and introduce your baby to a bottle. Hang in there until that 4 week mark and you can share the feeding responsibility with dad (or anyone else who wants to help).

You and Your Baby are Learning

Although completely natural and something God designed us for, breastfeeding isn’t a piece of cake. It takes a lot of learning and practice for both you and your baby to get the hang of it. Many women complain of pain and discomfort and the only reason for that would be an improper latch. With tweaking, practice and help any mother can figure it out, though and find the secret to pain-free breastfeeding. And, luckily, this is something that should not take 6 weeks to figure out. If the first few days are awful, keep seeking help from a lactation consultant until you determine what is wrong with your latch and you will soon have it mastered. A baby knows how to suck, but she doesn’t know the best ways to latch on either. It takes time and patience and teaching her how to do it, too. Give it a little time and you with both have a grasp on how to achieve the perfect latch.

You Might Be a Basket Case and Filled With Worry

Bringing a new baby home is stressful! It is natural to worry about every little thing, and many breastfeeding mothers are convinced that their baby is not getting enough to eat. They fear they have an issue with their milk supply and that they cannot provide all of what their baby needs to survive. While there can be some instances where this is true, in fact only about 5% of women have a true issue with milk supply. The reality is that babies don’t require much at first and your body is wired to perfectly provide your baby with all that she needs, throughout the entire time you breastfeed. The amount of milk you produce and even the breakdown of your milk’s components will change to match what your baby needs (this is why breastfed babies do not have to keep on increasing the number of ounces they consume…the milk matches their caloric/fat needs). If you have a proper latch and feed your baby when she is hungry, she IS getting enough. More than likely, by the time you reach the six week mark you will have gotten used to having a newborn around and you won’t be worrying quite as much.

The Magic of the 6 Week Mark

I was dead set on breastfeeding from the beginning. I had a hard time picturing myself nursing before my baby was born, but because of the health benefits, bonding and cost my husband and I both felt strongly that breastfeeding was something we would do for the first year. I told myself early on that no issue or struggle would cause me to quit. Even with this passion for breastfeeding, I got very annoyed with nursing my baby in those first 6 weeks. I would be annoyed with the latch and overthink they way everything needed to be. I never had any major problems or even sore nipples, but I was not able to enjoy breastfeeding during those first six weeks. Since I was so committed to breastfeeding I thought for sure I would like it from the start, but I truly didn’t! It was like a light switch, though, when I reached that six week mark. Out of nowhere, breastfeeding became a great experience and all of my annoyances ceased.

When I think about mothers who don’t have a good support system or who go into breastfeeding timidly I get worried. It is so hard to go into it thinking that you will try it and do it if you like it, because chances are you won’t….unless you stick it out and give it a try once you have gotten through the battles of the first six weeks. Six weeks is kind of a long time, especially when you are physically and mentally drained. But, the best thing you can do for you and your baby is hang in there!! If you are having problems and struggling to make it through to the six week mark get support. Not enough can be said for the value of a support system. Whether it is family, friends or a nursing support group (which can be found through local hospitals, doctors or La Leche League), being able to talk with people that can understand what you are going through, offer you advice and/or be your cheerleader, can do amazing things to get you through to the end.

I am so sure of the magic of the six week mark, that if you are struggling to get through it and you need some support, give me a shout. I will do everything I can to help you through it so you can get to the prize and have a successful, happy experience as a proud, nursing mother!

Society’s Knowledge of Breastfeeding

Society's (Lack Of) Knowledge of BreastfeedingSociety’s (Lack Of) Knowledge of Breastfeeding

I continue to be amazed at the lack of knowledge that many women have regarding breastfeeding. As a breastfeeding mother, I have heard numerous questions and comments implying that breastfeeding needs to be supplemented with formula, that it is painful and that the sooner you can be done with it the better. I believe this lack of knowledge is a result of cultural trends for formula feeding in the 70’s. By the early 1970s, over 75% of babies in the United States were fed on formulas, almost entirely commercially produced. With so many mothers opting to feed formula over breast milk, who was able to pass on breastfeeding facts and secrets? Primarily, a mother would pass this on to their daughters and since such widespread popularity of formula was less than 40 years ago, our generation of mothers is suffering.

When The Trends Changed

My mom breastfed two of her three children. She wanted to breastfeed her first baby, but all of her family and even her doctors discouraged her! They told her that it would be too hard for her and that she just needed to feed formula. Reluctantly she listened to their advice and regrets it today. She did what she wanted and breastfed her second two babies and loved every single aspect of it. Looking back she knows that she could have easily handled breastfeeding her first child too. It seems absurd that people, especially doctors, would discourage a mother to breastfeed, but that is the result of such strong cultural trends. My mother’s generation was largely formula fed — people got used to seeing babies bottle fed and hearing repeated arguments for formula feeding and against breastfeeding. So, our mothers were formula fed and encouraged to formula feed their children, therefore many still recommend formula over breastfeeding today.

Since most of our mothers and grandmothers fed formula, they really don’t know very much about breastfeeding at all. They were not taught all of the benefits of breast milk over formula and they certainly don’t know the “secrets” of a good latch which is necessary for successful and pain-free nursing. So, for many mothers, unless we are hungry for knowledge, researching and educating ourselves on breastfeeding we will not learn the breastfeeding truths. And maybe even more detrimental is that mothers today might struggle to find a support team within their own family. Having a new baby, learning the ropes of motherhood and getting the hang of breastfeeding is no easy task. Having a family that can relate and encourage you to stick it out can increase a mother’s chance of continuing to breastfeed during the most difficult first few weeks.

Reasons Women Don’t Breastfeed

I have noticed (and felt myself) among women is a general discomfort or uneasiness at the thought of a baby actually nursing on you. While it is a hard thing to imagine, a big reason we must feel this way is that simply have not been exposed to enough nursing mothers. I believe that if we had seen more images of women nursing (not necessarily bare-breasted) in the media and of course within our our families, we would be more comfortable with the concept. Instead, the media always shows babies being bottle fed and nursing mothers in public are criticized. I myself am not comfortable breastfeeding in public, but I think if a woman chooses to do so (hopefully covering herself with a nursing wrap) then it should be considered acceptable.

Despite what many people think, there are few medical reasons to use infant formula; breastfeeding is suitable for most mothers and babies. Some mothers are unable to breastfeed, and others choose not to breastfeed, or choose to combine breastfeeding with formula-feeding. Their reasons for choosing alternatives to exclusive breastfeeding include:

  • The mother’s health: The mother is infected with HIV or tuberculosis. She is malnourished or has had certain kinds of breast surgery. She is taking any kind of drug that could harm the baby, or drinks unsafe levels of alcohol. The mother is extremely ill.
  • The baby is unable to breastfeed: The child has a birth defect or inborn error of metabolism such as galactosemia that makes breastfeeding difficult or impossible.
  • Labor/Delivery was difficult: Labor and delivery can be long and exhausting (especially with the rise of inductions). Mothers may feel too tired and overwhelmed to try breastfeeding. It feels easier to feed formula and let the baby go to the nursery for undisturbed sleep.
  • Personal preferences and beliefs: The mother may dislike breast-feeding or think it inconvenient. She may feel that breasts are too sexual for a baby, or that bottle-feeding will increase the father’s role in parenting his child.
  • Absence of the mother: The child is adopted, orphaned, or in the sole custody of a man. The mother is separated from her child by being in prison or a mental hospital. The mother has left the child in the care of another person for an extended period of time, such as while traveling or working abroad. The mother has abandoned the child.
  • Food allergies: The mother eats foods that may provoke an allergic reaction in the infant.
  • Financial pressures: Maternity leave is unpaid, insufficient, or lacking. The mother’s employment interferes with breastfeeding.
  • Societal structure: Breastfeeding may be forbidden at the mother’s job, school, place of worship or in other public places, or the mother may feel that breastfeeding in these places or around other people is immodest, unsanitary, or inappropriate.
  • Social pressures: Family members, such as mother’s husband or boyfriend, or friends or other members of society may encourage the use of infant formula. For example, they may believe that breastfeeding will decrease the mother’s energy, health, or attractiveness.
  • Lack of training: The mother is not trained sufficiently to breastfeed without pain and to produce enough milk.
  • Lactation insufficiency: The mother is unable to produce sufficient milk. This only affects around 2 to 5% of women. Alternatively, despite a healthy supply, the woman or her family may incorrectly believe that her breast milk is of low quality or in low supply. These women may choose infant formula either exclusively or as a supplement to breast-feeding.
  • Opposition to other sources of breastmilk:
    • Lack of refrigeration: Expressed breast milk requires refrigeration if not immediately consumed.
    • Lack of wet nurses: Wet nursing is illegal and stigmatized in some countries, and may not be available. It may also be socially unsupported, expensive, or health screening of wet nurses may not be available. The mother, her doctor, or family may not know that wet nursing is possible, or may believe that nursing by a relative or paid wet-nurse is unhygienic.
    • Lack of milk banks: Human-milk banks may not be available, as few exist, and many countries cannot provide the necessary screening for diseases and refrigeration.

A Time For Change

There are ways around some of the above mentioned reasons for not breastfeeding and could be solved with an increase of knowledge. It is my hope that breastfeeding is on a huge rise and that our society can turn into one that knows the true facts of breastfeeding. It is up to our generation to become educated by taking classes, reading books and turning to breastfeeding organizations. Breastfeeding has such unbelievable benefits for babies and mothers that it should not be neglected or underrated. Sadly, many untruths of breastfeeding have actually become “common (false) knowledge” and it is time to clear up the facts.

Breastfeeding is the best gift a mother can give to her baby (and herself) and it is up to us to change our society to one that embraces it!

Recommended Reading

To learn more about breastfeeding and proper techniques, we recommend Dr. Jack Newman’s book, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers.

Make Your Own Baby Food

Baby eatingMake Your Own (Homemade) Baby Food

Making your own (homemade) baby food is really quite simple, and rewarding! You don’t need any fancy tools or even lots of time. Just spend a few minutes to make a big batch of food that you can store in your freezer and use for weeks.

The Benefits of Making Your Own (Homemade) Baby Food

I think one of the best things about making your own (homemade) baby food is that you know exactly what your baby is eating. Some jars of baby food have ingredients on their labels that won’t have in your fresh batch of food. If you are serving your baby butternut squash, you know the ingredients are butternut squash and water and that’s it! It is also a great way to feed your baby more organic foods (without paying extra for jars of pre-made organic baby food).

Another huge benefit is the taste quality of the foods you are making. My biggest complaint of jarred baby food that you buy at the store is how watered down and bland the food is. If you compare homemade sweet potatoes to store bought sweet potatoes by giving them a taste test, you will be able to quickly recognize the difference in flavor. By making your own baby food, you are keeping foods more concentrated and full of flavor, which will be helpful as your baby grows into those picky-eater toddler stages. Your baby will be used to more flavor (like what mom and dad eat) and like a bigger variety of foods.

Variety is a great benefit to making homemade baby food. Since the baby food you make is frozen in ice cube trays (approximately 1 oz/cube), you can have a four ounce meal with many different combinations of foods. And, if you have a lot of different types of food in your freezer, you can keep meals constantly changing. Additionally, it is easy to experiment with mixing foods for even more variety (try avocado and banana!). Baby won’t get sick of the same old food and will probably look forward to what the next meal will bring! If you do this with jarred baby food, you have to open several jars of food and use them up completely right away so they don’t go bad. (Be sure when experimenting with food combinations and providing variety for meals that you have already introduced the food as the only new food for at least three days to make sure there are no food allergies.)

Price is of course a benefit. You can buy fresh produce, cook and puree it into several dozen ounces for just a few bucks. Jarred baby food at the store is not very costly, but it can add up when you baby is consuming a few jars of it per day. And when you compare it with the quality of food you are getting, making your own food is hands down a better value.

How to Make Your Own Baby Food

Each food that you prepare for your baby has an ideal way to be prepared. Some foods are better to steam, while others are to bake or boil. My favorite web site for knowing the best way to cook baby’s food is www.wholesomebabyfood.com. They also have a great chart that breaks down what foods are appropriate at what ages. Here is a basic rundown of how you make your own baby food:

  • Clean the food
  • Cook the food to soften it
  • Puree the food with a food processor or blender
  • Add water to the puree to make it thinner or add rice cereal to the puree to make it thicker
  • Once desired consistancy is reached, fill ice cube trays (each cube is approximately 1 ounce) with the food
  • Freeze the food
  • Once frozen, put the food in storage bags labeled with the food and date made

Recommended Reading

Get recipes and tips for making your own baby food with these books.

Recommended Resources

We love the Ninja food processor. It’s one of the most affordable food processors available, does a great job and makes it easy to pour into ice cube trays! (And, my baby thinks it is fun to help make food with!)