bottles of breastmilk...a review

Since Cole was born 5 weeks early most of his feedings involve a bottle of pumped breast milk.  We have been trying to nurse more lately but to ensure he is getting enough milk each day we have been pretty attached to bottles.  When he first started bottle feeding I noticed he was spitting up and even vomiting at times after eating, almost like it was too much milk too fast for him and the minutes even hours of feedings became quite a mess.  So we tried tons of different bottles to try to reduce the spit up and found a few that helped and a ton that didn't help along the way.  So, when I was asked to try out The First Years Breastflow Bottles I jumped at the chance...   The starter set arrived and comes with two 5 oz. bottles with slow flow nipples, two 9 oz. bottles with medium flow nipples, 4 storage lids (LOVE), a container for formula or snacks, and a bottle brush.  We tried them out for a few days and Cole did great with them!  There was definitely less spit up and fussiness after feedings.  So excited to find a bottle that works!

Pros:  

  • Mimics the feel of breastfeeding
  • Baby Controls the Flow - this seems to be key to less spit up
  • Dishwasher Safe

Cons:

  • So many parts - any bottle with more than 2 parts is that much tougher to clean - means you have to dissemble and reassemble each feeding - can be time consuming.

'm still on the hunt for a 2 piece bottle that reduces spit up - any suggestions are welcome

The First Years Breastflow Bottles are available on Amazon.

(please note that while this is a sponsored post, the words and review are all my own)

My Newborn Must-Haves for Baby #2

With my first baby, I painfully poured over reviews to find the best stroller, bassinet, swaddle, and bath tub.  I bought everything under the sun from all the major retailers.  With my second baby I have really focused in on only a few things that you won’t find in any big box store…

 

1.     Dockatot – this is at the top of my list for a number of reasons.  My 1st reason being that sleeping through the night is not only good for everyone involved, it is imperative when you also have a toddler running around in the morning.  I know that this maternity leave will be way different from the first and having a baby that sleeps will make everything so much easier…I also love the mobility of the Dockatot from room to room, a must-have quality for baby gear!

2.     The Ollie Swaddle – I found out about this swaddle a little while after my first child turned 6 months and was no longer swaddling and I vowed that I would scoop this swaddle up for baby #2.  I love that it is made of moisture wicking fabric to reduce the risk of overheating.  The reviews tell all with this one – when it comes to babies sleeping for long stretches since birth or even though the night - parents swear by it.

3.     The Puj Tub – I realized pretty quickly that having a toddler and newborn wasn’t going to be easy and I am pretty determined to still spend as much time with my toddler as I can so we have decided to combine bath time by bathing my toddler in the tub and the newborn in the sink using the amazing Puj Tub.  Don’t be deceived by its looks – it is made from soft foam that cradles and comforts baby while allowing parents to stand (AMAZING!!!) during bath time.

4.     Nursing Necklace – after a few months of breastfeeding, babies will start to claw and pinch at your neck and your face making nursing a daunting task.  With Baby #2 I invested in some stylish nursing necklaces from The Vintage Honey Shop to give baby something to focus and grab onto while nursing and even babywearing (which I plan to do a lot of).

5.     A Nursing Cover/Carseat Cover/Shopping Cart Cover/Scarf from Covered Goods – I cannot wait to use this one!  The 4-in-1 versatility makes it an absolute must-have.  I dread nursing in public and hope that the Covered Goods cover with the 360 degree coverage will make this task a little easier as I know it will be something I won’t be able to avoid with an active toddler running around.

6.     Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock –I thought I would just want to be home during those first few months after having a baby but it was easy to get cabin fever and sometimes you just need to get out of the house.  My favorite place to go other than for a walk in the stoller was a therapeutic trip to Target.  Since you should never prop the infant carseat up on the shopping cart and putting the carseat in the shopping cart then leaves no space for much needed purchases – the Binxy Baby Hammock cradles the baby (or the carseat) making shopping with a newborn no longer a stressful outing.

 

Simplify, simplify, simplify is my motto for Baby #2.  We don’t need a ton of different bassinets, strollers, and baby seats.  Just a few key items to make life with a newborn and a toddler a little bit easier…

 

...this post was originally written for The Vintage Honey Shop

 

 

the soother that soothes...

We have had the Sea Dreams soother in Mason's crib for about 10 months now and I can honestly say it is one of my all time favorite baby items (also on that list is the beloved Exersaucer which he has sadly grown out of).  It soothes him to sleep at bedtime, if he wakes up in the middle of the night he hits the button and the music and lights soothe him right back to sleep.  In the mornings when he wakes up he hits the button and goes back to sleep for another 20-30 minutes.  He uses the light some mornings to sit and read before we come in the room and other times we just catch him in the monitor watching the sea creature show on the soother screen.  He has started to associate the music with falling asleep and it has been our lives so much easier.

The other day we realized that we haven't heard him cry out in the morning for us to come get him in weeks.  He just sits or stands in his crib with the soother on until we come get him....we would never really even know he was up without a monitor.

Whether your child sleeps through the night or is up all night tossing and turning....this soother is a must-have.  It teaches baby to soothe without you needing to physically go in their room which equals more sleep for parents and more time for coffee in the morning before they wake up and the day really starts.  It also comes with a remote so you can turn on the soother from the door without even getting near the crib (genius!).  

 

bath time with baby...

Bath time (or Bath, Bath, Bath as we call it in our house) we realized early on was essential to creating a routine with Mason and signaling bedtime which ultimately led to sleeping through the night.  

Bath time starts out as a harrowing and daunting task with a newborn that can't even hold up their own head.  Thankfully we found an infant tub with a sling type apparatus that allowed Mason to just sort of lounge during his bath and made our lives so much easier.

The sling tub lasted for months and was amazing, when Mason started to grow out of it around 7 months old and also started to sit up we moved to the Munckin blow-up Duck tub which we had a love-hate relationship with.  We loved that it only took a few minutes to fill up and was padded on all sides but Mason could not keep his cool around this bright yellow thing.  He attacked the head, constantly kicked, and was always trying to catapult out of the back of it.  We were elbow deep in this thing just trying to keep him from injuring himself.  

Then, at around 11 months old, we graduated to the regular bath tub and it was an incredibly calming experience.  He was not as distracted as he was with the duck bath and just hung out, played with a few toys, and splashed a little here and there.  For the first time, bath time was not stressful for either of us...I just wished we put him in the regular bath sooner...

At now 14 months were are teaching him (daily) not to stand up while  in the big boy bathtub but with the addition of about a thousand toys we are managing...

My must-haves for bath time:

8 things you can no longer do (easily) once you have a baby...

I would not change this life for anything, but sometimes I find myself dreaming of my life before having a baby...basically doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted to.  I look at expectant moms and I want to yell "sleep in! sleep in for as long as you can!" as they walk around completely clueless to the life they are about to leave behind...

Here is my list of a few things that you can no longer do (easily) once you have a baby that no one told me about:

  1. You can no longer leave the house past baby's bedtime (for us this means 7:30pm).  After bedtime, we are home.  There are no dinner's out, movies, or trips to the bar on a whim - the exception being nights with a babysitter which you need to plan ahead for and of course pay for and with that, all spontaneaty is lost.
  2. You are now stuck with only eating at kid friendly restaurants.  I try very hard not to be the parents dragging my child to non-kid friendly restaurants where he will inevitably have a complete meltdown.  We are now regulated to a few restaurants and our days of fine dining seem to have ended abruptly.
  3. You will miss sleeping in, waking up whenever you feel like it, leisurely drinking coffee in the morning, and thinking about what you might do that day.  That is no longer possible, your days are now completely planned out and controlled, by a small child.  The words leisurely and sleeping are no longer in your vocabulary.
  4. Napping during the day is a thing of the past.  You nap when they nap if you ever want to nap.  And you wake up when they wake up.
  5. Showering when you want is now a thing of the past.  Showers are quickly taken in under 5 minutes either right after bedtime or before baby awakes in the morning.  Showers while they are awake are about 2 minutes long and include a heavy dose of guilt as well.
  6. Tired is now a constant feeling and not something you only used to feel sometimes during the week before having a baby.  We walk around like zombies some days, barely talking to one another just going through the motions until we can fall asleep again.  Taking care of a baby, especially a mobile one, is completely and utterly exhausting.  And if your baby wakes up even once during the night, you mine as well not even go to work the next day - life is miserable.
  7. Getting out of the house takes twice as long and you will always forget something.  I run around like a crazy person before leaving the house...grabbing everything in sight I think we might need.  A quick trip to the grocery store is now an hour long ordeal complete with a diaper blowout right as baby is strapped into the car seat. 
  8. Being alone...something so simple that happened so often before a baby is now extremely hard to come by and revered upon as so special.  Me time used to be all the time before baby, now its something I have to plan for days in a advance to pull off successfully.

While my days are now monopolized by a one year old, being his Mom is by far better than any date night, nap, or shower...Again...I wouldn't change a thing...except maybe an extra hour of sleep each day.

a year with mason..

I can't believe it was a year ago today that my sweet sweet Mason was born......with a baby, days bleed into weeks, weeks into months...and time truly seems to move at a faster pace.  I walk away from this year feeling older, exhausted, and living in a messier home...and at the same time feeling incredibly blessed, filled with love, and happier than I ever thought possible...

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I cried today...

I cried today because you are growing up so fast, and time is moving so quickly, and I am not sure that I had a chance to take in every little moment with you this past year.  I cried because I can't stop time, even though I want to, it is one of the many things that I just can't control.

I cried today because you cried as I was leaving you at preschool and hearing you cry for me makes every part of my body ache.  I cried because every time I leave you, even though I know you love school, I feel guilty beyond all belief that I am not the one taking care of you each day.

I cried because I actually enjoy going to work while you are at school but I can't help but think that I am missing out on being a part of the amazing world you live in every minute of the day.  I cried because our few hours together each day are so short, and it takes everything I have to not to hug you for each second I am with you...  

I cried because this world is so big and can be so mean and I can't even imagine my sweet boy being a part of such a cruel world.  I cried because I can't even fathom the thought of someone picking on you or letting you down, and I know I can't stop either from happening, no matter how hard I try.

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My house has never been so messy...

Mason (11 months old) started crawling a few weeks ago and is now cruising (rather quickly) all over the house.  He managed to pull himself up on the pack-n-play once this past week and now there is no stopping him. 

He pulls up on anything he can find including the stroller, a rocking chair, the highchair, any and all tables and shelves - especially the ones with sharp edges, and even the diaper pail.  Most of which, topple over on him which then leads to a outburst of crying.  

The crib is no longer a place to sleep but a jail cell that he needs to find his way out of.  He no longer will just lay down in his crib when we put him down to sleep, since he learned to pull up.  Now he is jumping and yelling and using every bit of strength to try to heave himself out of his crib.  

Bedtime now involves listening to Mason yell on the monitor for about 30-45 minutes before he passes out.

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almost a year of breastfeeding...

This past weekend, I packed up all but a few of my breastfeeding supplies including my pump and stored it all away for the next baby.  Mason was no longer interested in breastfeeding and I was barely producing any milk when I pumped at work, so after agonizing over this decision for a few weeks, (and experiencing any and all forms of mom guilt during that time) I decided it was time to just stop pumping during the day.  I will continue to breastfeed in the morning for another month or so (I am not quite ready to give up our mornings together just yet) but at this point my breastfeeding journey is coming to an end.

He is almost 11 months old and is now obsessed with real food and essentially weaned himself over the past three months.  Everything I read recommends breastfeeding for at least the first 12 months while some recommend 2 years.  But 11 months was our number and I just have to accept that.   

I just can't believe that breastfeeding, something that was so tough and brought on so much heartache and anxiety would be so painful to let go of.  I was devastated all day putting the pump and bottles away, not devastated to be done with breastfeeding or pumping (definitely won't miss pumping) but that my baby was no longer a baby.

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transitioning baby to solids...

Starting Mason on solid foods (with pediatrician approval of course) was a daunting task for me.  Milk was so easy and manageable.  Solid foods added a whole new layer of utensils, bowls, food options, food storage, and labels.  I read a lot of Blogs and went through a lot of trial and error during this time to try to figure out the right foods for Mason...that I am now sharing with you...

We started out with the food pouches.  Vegetables first as recommended by the pediatrician then fruits as well as Oatmeal (we skipped Rice Cereal completely).  I started out with the Plum Organics single food pouches for a few days for each food to rule out any food allergies then moved on to the Ella's organic pouches which combine fruits and veggies in each pouch.  After about 3 weeks of buying pureed food in pouches I realized I was spending WAY more at Target each trip then I wanted to and started making his food at home.

Let me start this off by saying that I am a pretty terrible cook...and luckily you don't need to know how to cook to make baby food...

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infant in arms (flying with a baby)...

At 10 months old, we have now flown with Mason 3 times and each time was a drastically different experience. 

The 1st time, we flew with Mason was at Christmas when he was 5 months old.  We were more than ready.  And with what felt like a thousand bags we somehow made it to the airport on time.  I tried the whole nursing during take off and landing but it was rather stressful, and there really wasn't much room for nursing the way we were used to.  My husband tried so hard to hold up a nursing cover so that I didn't expose myself to anyone on the plane but that all went out the window when Mason starting fussing and wouldn't latch.  

It is so true that he felt my stress, it was one of those situations where I had prepared in every way and was doing everything I could to ensure he didn't lose it.  But just as babies do, he had a complete meltdown and walking up and down the plane we went until he calmed down.  I gave people the nod and quick "I'm sorry" but in the end we got lucky...he only cried for a few minutes...I realize now that things could have been WAY worse.

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A letter to my Mason on our 1st mother's day...

I am so so lucky to be your mom.  You have filled my heart and life with more joy and love than I knew I was capable of.  I love to snuggle in bed with you and watch you smile, laugh, and kick.  We roll back and forth and just laugh and laugh together.  You snuggle your head into my neck and bounce and bounce, you are my sweetheart, my honey bear, my everything.  You are the sweetest little boy without a malicious bone in your body.  You love adventures, books, and any and all types of food.  

You are happiest when we are all together, you, your dad, and I just hanging out at home, no toys, no distractions, just us.  You laugh more than I thought possible and sometimes for no reason at all.   You are so incredibly happy and our home is now a place filled with smiles, laughter, toys, and games.  Everyday we discover a new way to make you laugh, and it never fails that when you laugh, we laugh too.  

Our lives have completely changed since the day you arrived and we can no longer even imagine what our life was like before you.  There are days where I dream of a little more sleep and a little more relaxation but I would trade either for one more snuggle with you. 

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no longer a newborn...

Mason turned 9 months last week and off we went to the pediatricians office for his well visit.  These visits just get easier and easier - there are way less concerns about anything and more just keep doing what you are doing discussions and moving on.  I have less questions, they have less questions...and for once, I feel like we are really starting to figure out this parenting thing.

I will never forget when he had a fever a few weeks back of 102 and I called the nurses line frantic.  The nurse on call called me back completely unfazed about his temperature and said we should only bring him in if it goes over 104 or if he has a fever for more than 3 days.  6 months ago we would have been rushing him to the emergency room, now we are giving him tylenol and going about our day.

Everyone told me that time would go by so quickly, they told me to cherish every moment.  I worry every day that I didn't snuggle with him enough when he was a newborn, I didn't hold him enough, nap with him enough, walk with him enough...it all went by so quickly and I tried to keep up while it was happening.  I should have stayed home more with him and just soaked it all in, I should have closed us off from the world more and watched every yawn, every stretch, every blink of those little eyes.  I should have worried less about keeping the house clean, getting his playroom together, or grocery shopping.

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baby and the beach...

The toys did nothing, all he needed, all he really wanted was to get his hands on the sand.  The one thing I did everything I could to avoid.  He hated all the toys we brought down, and contorted his body off the blanket multiple times to get to the sand.  Once I gave in, I realized that was all we really needed to keep him content, for about 10 minutes anyway, which seems to be Mason's maximize time he can currently focus on one thing.

Then it was time for his nap.  Of course he was not a fan of the fancy baby beach tent we set up specifically for his naps so I had to sit in the tent with him (which only my top half could fit into) and stroke his head and lull him to sleep.  About 20 minutes later, he would give in and finally pass out.  Then we would watch as every man, woman, and child passed the tent hoping they would walk quietly or talk in lower voices.  I never thought I would think of shushing people before on a beach, that very scenario had never ever crossed my mind.  He proceeded to nap for about 15 minutes (about a 1/4 of the time of his normal naps at home).  So with a 15 minute nap under his belt, this baby was a disaster.  Down to the ocean we went, where he gave out a cry each time the cold water touched his toes, so back to the blanket, now covered in sand.  Before we knew it, the afternoon was upon us and not a minute of relaxation for mom and dad had occurred, and Mason was miserable.  Sitting in a wet suit, covered in sand, and tired, he was not a happy baby.  

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the awful, horrible, no good, weekend...

Some days I just feel defeated.  I feel like nothing can possibly go right.   The times when I go in the kitchen and realize I never put the milk I pumped in the fridge, let alone a cap on it.  The times when I get in my car already late for everything and discover I have no gas.  I feel like throwing in the towel, giving up, saying I have had enough.  I cannot possibly do this one more day.  Being a parent, I now have more of these days then I ever imagined trying to work, deal with daycare, keeping my marriage in one piece, and doing what feels like endless loads of laundry.  Today was one of those days.

We had an awful weekend, I was getting over a terrible fever and was exhausted, weak, and not at my best.  Mason we believe, though we do not have any little teeth buds to prove it, is teething.

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