The Importance of Knowing Your Child’s Personality

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, New Mom Experience, Other Recommendations, Parenting, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

PERSONALITYTYPE

A few months ago, while nursing Lexi to sleep, I was on a Facebook Gentle Parenting group reading someone’s post about their daughter. I think she was refering to her daughter being an extrovert and her being an introvert and the difficulty surrounding her parenting due to that.

After reading her post, something clicked in my mind. The way she was describing her daughter seemed very much like Lexi: high excitement, high energy, non-stop movement unless she is doing something that requires her attention, constantly needing attention, not playing on her own.

I had always thought Alexis was high needs in the best possible way when she was little but some things just didn’t jive. She wasn’t sensitive in a way high needs children tend to be, she just needed a lot of attention and was very specific in what she liked (which was not being constrained)

This new idea suddenly made sense.

Artifact Uprising Photo Books

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Life as a Toddler, Other Recommendations, PHOTO, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

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Working on the Lexi’s classes and activities post, as well as the last one in the Holidays in Review, Christmas Morning, but in the meantime, I’ve had this post prepared since before Lexi’s 2nd birthday.

See I’ve been in love with the style of the photo books by Artifact Uprising, and I even had a code for a complimentary book, but it wasn’t until mid last year that I could put it together and, obviously, now till I was able to blog about it.

I really don’t have to gush about it, because the style is apparent in photos, but this is by far my favorite book to use for my photos. I felt it was perfect for Alexis’ First Birthday because our photographer’s style was exactly what Artifact Uprising is all about- mute colors, blurred edges, softness, calm, peace.

It’s softcover, has the feel of a true coffee table book and the kind of pages that you see on the tables of artists and designers.

It’s the book that you WANT to page through. I’ve always been a fan of hardcovers, but this book just begged to be the soft approachable softcover.

My goal is to put all of our years in Artifact Uprising books and have a stack of them sitting in the living room- matte, soft, beautiful stack of memories. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

My next project will most likely be their Instagram book- it’s pretty amazing!

Enjoy the photos! Some of them I never got a chance to post on this blog… (the photos in the book were taken by Stacey Downey Photography, the photos OF the book are mine)

My kitchen help

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Health and Fitness, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

kitchen helpers

I wouldn’t be able to cook and get meals done the way I do if it wasn’t for these handy appliances.

Here is what I use virtually on daily basis.

kitchen helpers

Fagor Juicer

{holy crap, it’s on sale on amazon for 42% off!!!)

I’ve only recently started making my own juices but that was something on my to-do list for years. Little did I know what a difference it makes in the taste of the juice. If you haven’t tried squeezing your own apple juice or orange juice, come over to my house and I’ll do it for you, because it is SERIOUSLY night and day. It’s like the juices you drink at restaurants and buy at the grocery stores aren’t juices at all, even if they are organic and not from concentrate.

fagor 3

The biggest two complaints I’ve heard about juicers from friends and online reviews are that they are hard to clean and assemble/take apart or that they are too hard to use ( especially when it comes to manual juicers).

I have zero complaints about our Fagor Juicer. Once I figured out how to take it apart, it was a breeze – 5 different parts to clean that easily snap in and out of the juicer and rinse clean with simple water, as long as you don’t let the juice bits sit on it for hours. I am not kidding: you just run them under running water and voila (Depending on the fruit sometimes you have to help the stuck skin from under the disposal shute)

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The juicing part is easy. You throw cut up fruit inside and it pours juice out of one end and waste out of the other. It rarely gets stuck or clogged. I honestly have zero issues with it and it makes perfect juice.
It’s considered a slow juicer which means it takes its time to get out every possible drop of juice from the fruit, preserving vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients. All the materials that come in contact with food are BPA free.

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While for those of us who eat fruits and vegetables on daily basis, juicing  might not be such a big deal, aside from  the taste standpoint, for average eaters who rely more on meats or processed food, juicing is almost a must because you can cram so many more fruits and vegetables into a glass of juice than you can actually eat in one sitting. So if you or your baby isn’t a fan of the green stuff, juice it with something sweet and have them drink it – perfect solution! You can find a ton of tasty recipes online by googling “juicing recipes”.

BUY HERE / LEARN HERE

Cuisinart Multi-cooker

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I heard about multi-cookers from my sister who lives in Russia who swears it’s the solution of all world’s problems.
It really is pretty neat. I have a Cuisinart 3-in-1 multicooker (as you can see from the sticker that I didn’t bother removing for months. lol. Also it’s on sale on Amazon as well.) I am not sure if everyone is familiar with the concept, because I didn’t know what it was prior to her mentioning it. It’s basically like a slow cooker with several settings: slow, steam and sautee/brown. It really is as simple as it seems. You throw a bunch of food inside, close the lid and set the correct setting and the timer. On the saute function they recommend that you stir occasionally but otherwise it really can be left to its own devices.

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It is especially helpful because I barely have any time to cook, but it’s something I HAVE TO DO, so I try to find ways to make it less of a time consuming process without sacrificing food quality.

This cooker works well with both veggies and meats on both slow and saute functions. It’s huge and the finish does not contain any cancer causing chemicals (PTFE/PFOA) that are commonly found in non-stick surfaces (I emailed the company and checked). Cooking beans is a breeze on the slow cooker option, vegetables do great on the sautee setting and I would imagine meats would do great in it too.

multicooker

The pot itself is removable so you don’t have to move the whole appliance to clean it or serve food. Temperature can be set custom, there is a timer and my favorite “keep warm” feature.

Meals I usually make in it are any type of vegetable combinations, potatoes and mushrooms, beans and peas. It works out really great because I often make 2-4 meals at a time and this doesn’t have to crowd the stove surfaces.

BUY IT/ LEARN MORE

MiTutto Hand Blender

Oh wow, what a tool!

I always despised using those big kitchen appliances that chopped things because they were a pain to clean. At the same time, blenders were not up to par either, because they would only puree/chop up the bottom of the food pile and leave the top untouched. You’d have to shake it in order to get the top food down to the blades.

MiTutto is like this kitchen “wand” that does pretty much everything. It has a bunch of adapters for aerating, whipping, mixing, chopping, crushing, pureeing food, so it replaces many appliances and can be used in any dish not just the provided one.

mitutto

The two major uses of MiTutto for me are to make purees for popsicle and smoothies and to get vegetables chopped evenly. The even chopping part is pretty self-explanatory and it’s most likely due to the small and evenly sized bowl. But where it really shines, at least for me, is the pureeing part.  See, because it’s a handheld wand, when you puree fruits or vegetables, you can control the angle and pressure of it. That makes it easy because you can push down on the fruits/vegetables to force them to mush even if they are “resisting” like it often happens in traditional blenders.

Does that make sense? It takes seconds to get things pureed. It comes with a convenient measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring: seriously a great tool starting from baby pureed solids to any kind of daily cooking.

BUY IT/LEARN HERE

Homemade Popsicle recipe

I wanted to share this amazing popsicle recipe I came up with using the MiTutto wand. The ingredients are really interchangeable and I only came upon this because those were the only three ingredients we had in our house. I would not necessarily recommend any of these brands of ingredients specifically. Normally I would go for an organic peanut butter and soy milk creamer, because the coconut one turned out to have titanium dioxide in it (what?). So if you try this recipe, just replace the ingredient brands with the ones that you like to use. I’ve been asked for this recipe a few times on Instagram - it’s really delicious.

popcicle

Ingredients:

1 pear

1 spoonful of Peanut Butter (other butter)

1/3 of a cup sweetened creamer ( coconut, soy, dairy- whatever you use)

Add to the blender or MiTutto cup and blend. Pour into a popsicle mold, freeze.

Lexi ate the whole thing in one sitting. A huge hit.

PostPartum Skin Care

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, Friday Finds, Fun as a Toddler Mom, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, LIFE, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

NON-TOXIC SKINCARE

A year after having a baby and I think I am finally in a good place when it comes to my personal care routine. {I am always searching for better products, though, so I will keep updating you if I find something superior}

I still don’t have time to do certain things regularly, especially now with my new website, Daily Mom.

I don’t get to shave legs unless I am going out somewhere semi-important.

I forget to moisturize my body more often than I care to admit, and that is one of the biggest things I need to work on.

I wash my hair only if I know that I will be leaving the house. Or when it’s really dirty.

I put my make up on at the same time or when I want to look more put together at home.

I like to prioritize and personal care falls somewhere in the middle on the priorities list. However, one thing I have done over the last year is assemble a good “team” of personal products that I use, love and swear by. They help me be a little bit more of a woman that I want to be without having to put too much effort into it. I’ve been mentally writing this post for 6 months and each month I would add something else to it.

In fact, in the last week, I’ve had a chance to try out some organic and natural hair products that I am quite impressed with that you can read about on Daily Mom in the coming months. I am thinking about going on a mission of finding more obscure products and brands you don’t see in retail stores and trying them out. If only I could find time…

In the meantime,

I am the host of…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

The first giveaway in the 50 Days of Giveaways!

Yes, you read it right! The 50 Days of Giveaways on Daily Mom have begun and I have the honor to kick them off with our first giveaway!

I probably don’t need to repeat myself on here  but if you haven’t already become a reader of Daily Mom, you should really check it out. It’s a new website that I launched a month ago with a group of girls.  It’s an amazing resource of posts and articles for the modern woman and mom. Imagine Pinterest worthy posts with useful information about all aspects of life – from parenting to beauty, fashion, green living, health, fitness, and more.  No fluff whatsoever.

We’ve been preparing for our launch celebration, a fabulous event, called 50 Days of Giveaways, for months now and we’re finally there! For 50 days, we will be giving away one awesome prize a day to thank our new readers.

So today I am proud to present to you, our first giveaway!

This one is for all of you, TTCing folk!

While it seems like neons ago, I remember the time spent preparing for the conception of  Alexis. It was exciting, scary, wonderful!

If you’re currently trying to conceive or are planning to in the future, this giveaway is for you!

Today’s giveaway

Baby Beach Essentials

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Florida, Friday Finds, New Mom Experience, Other Recommendations, PHOTO, PRODUCTS, TRAVEL

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As the Florida summer heat subsides, I am planning on making many more trips to the ocean and having fun in the sand. Alexis is the ultimate water baby, and so am I. So the beach is where we both belong. In the meantime I have found a few things that have made our beach outings bearable even in the summer heat. Some of them are absolute must haves for a baby, as far as I am concerned. I have put together these items hoping they would make being at the beach pleasurable even with a young baby and to my surprise they WORKED FABULOUSLY!

1. FAMILY BEACH CABANA UPF 50+

“Fun things to do with your Instagrams” Friday

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, FUN TIMES, LIFE, New Mom Experience, Other Recommendations, PHOTO, PRODUCTS

 

Last two weeks on Instagram and cell phone photos

life rearranged

  1. Idiot parents
  2. New car seat and first time asleep in the car without a meltdown. WIN!
  3.  Peace out
  4. A little outing to get some food
  5. Same as above
  6. Hanging out at whole foods waiting for daddy to come out because it was too cold inside
  7. Pretty in pink on Instagram Elena-edition
  8. Pretty in pink Lexi-edition
  9. Pretty ladies handing out at home in our Moby wrap

  1. sitting up like a big girl
  2. chewing on tiny love
  3. playing on her own while mommy cooks ( a first!)
  4. trying on newly received bikinis from VS
  5. trying on newly received swimsuit for Lexi, which was just not big enough for her to grow into. Adorable nonetheless
  6. CRAWLING!!!!! No, not completely, just trying…
  7. Playing with feet in the morning
  8. Taking 30 minutes to myself to relax and read a book
  9. break interrupted by this cutie. It’s ok, I didn’t want to rest anyways

  1. Playing on her mat again
  2. Hanging out on the front porch swing- she loves doing that
  3. Blowing bubbles on the front porch
  4. Attempting to crawl
  5. Trying out our new parasol for Mutsy ( love it!)
  6. Completely dehydrated as evidenced by my strangely flat belly
  7. No bake cake (YUMMY)
  8. Helping daddy build the new Finn&Emma gym
  9. Playing with the gym

  1. She prefers playing sitting up rather than on her back
  2. trying to catch the wooden teether
  3. in-camera snapshots of Lexi’s first playground trip
  4. Morning walks, hurrying home since it was really really hot
  5. All dressed up and pretty
  6. Big freaking boobs – still can’t get used to them
  7. Going over to a friend’s house and shopping, looking like someone died
  8. Being beyond adorable in her carseat
  9. Lexi’s reaction to me singing “the Mermaid” song

 

4th of July spoilers:

  1. What was supposed to be Lexi’s outfit
  2. Getting read and running late
  3. In the car, hair is already falling
  4. left: her 4th of july outfit, right: what she ended up wearing after a diaper blowout
  5. Taking a break from the party and trying to nurse Lexi to sleep
  6. same as above
  7. No luck, she’s too hyped
  8. My two loveys
  9. Late night party girls- we got home at 12am, thankfully she fell asleep in the car (thank you, new carseat!)

Also I want to let you guys know about this awesome service I found recently that takes your Instagram photos and turns them adorable mementos with just a click of a button. With so little time to do picture books and baby books (which I’m still planning on doing), this is a great way to just take 1 minute to turn some of your best Instargram photos into posters, picture books, mini books and stickers. I am absolutely IN LOVE with all that they offer. It’s super easy to do and the best part is it’s CHEAP!

You simply connect it with you account and pick which pics you want to include or hit select all and two weeks later you will have a mini book, strickers or a poster in your mailbox.

Check mine out.

This is a minibook. Each has 50 photos and you get 2 books in one order for $12

I have one for myself and gave on to my mom to remember the first months of Alexis’ life.

The stickers are so much fun and I can imagine can be used with kids as a reward system. What kid doesn’t love looking at their own pictures?

I  put half of them on my laptop and that way each day I get to see my little baby on my wrist pad.

And finally my favorite product is the poster. I totally meant to give it to my mom to take with her to Russia, but we both completely forgot, so now I am trying to decide where to hang it. {any ideas?}

 

You can enter this quick and simple giveaway for a chance to win 1 poster, a minibook and stickers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was NOT compensated for this post. Printstagr.am let me create the products to try. All opinions are my own.

Pump Ease: Hands Free Pumping

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in New Mom Experience, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

So when I was writing the breastfeeding products post, I didn’t mention the one thing that has been invaluable during these times. It has so been a part of my routine that I didn’t even think of it as a product.
That thing is PUMPEASE hands free pumping bra.

It’s a simple concept: a band of stretchy fabric with holes in it for pump cups. Ok, I admit it looks darn funny, that’s the sole reason why you won’t see a picture of me pumping here. But… it has saved me from boredom and helped me get things done. If only now they could invent a battery powered double electric pump (I am sure there is one on the market, if we look).

I had PumpEase back before Alexis came along. So I never had to deal with pumping without one. Until one day I thought, “Well, it can’t be that bad! I only need one breast pumped. Rather than put the bra on, I’ll just hold the pump”.

Yikes! It was uncomfortable! I didn’t know how much pressure to put on it, my arm kept getting tired, I was restricted in what I could do. I am sure women who pump like that from the beginning are just fine pumping while holding the cups, but it’s like wine. Yes, wine! If you have drank bad wine all your life and you try a really expensive bottle, it seems good, but not THAT good. But it’s when you have to go back to that bad wine after having indulged for a bit in the good stuff that you clearly see the difference. Well, I clearly saw it. I am never pumping without PumpEase again! Seriously.

If I wasn’t so into organic everything ( and to be fair, I didn’t really need an organic pumpease, but it seemed right since it was one of the options), I’d totally go for one of those 50′s red polka dot bras. I might have even done my hair all Merilyn Monroe-ish and put one red lipstick while wearing it. Ok, maybe not. Just please say no to leopard! That’s just…. Just please say no!

;

So here’s how it works:

It’s a band of stretchy fabric that has clasps all the way down the front, along with two holes where you put your pumping cups through. You get the cups through, position them on your boobies and fasten the band. Then you grab your laptop ( well, if you’re smart, you did that before attaching yourself to the pump), sit back down and hit “Go!”. Voila! Your hands are free, your milk is going and you won’t believe how fast the time goes. It’s absolutely essential for working moms.

So this is a MUST on my list of breastfeeding supplies. Register for it along with a pump, you won’t regret it!

;

WHY BUY IT: Um…. did you just read all that I wrote above?
WHY NOT BUY IT: Because 20-60 minutes of your time daily aren’t worth 38 dollars. Mine is!
***
BUY IT: $38. USE FREESHIPEARTHDAY to get free shipping on organic bra today only at snugabell.com
WIN IT: PumpEase will give away the bra to one lucky reader. Giveaway open internationally. For details and to enter, see below.

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries , after which you will have additional entries available,
and 2 daily entries for which you can come back to enter daily.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible). See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook OR just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Snugabell sent me a sample of this product for review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Breastfeeding Products That Helped

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in New Mom Experience, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

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Also read:

Birth Story Part I
Birth Story Part II
Reflections on Birth Experience
Breastfeeding Journey
Follow Up to Breastfeeding Journey

Finally, the post so many people asked about. Breastfeeding Helpers: What I used that I found helpful during the initial weeks of breastfeeding.

You always have to try things out before you find what works for you, so here’s what worked for me. Pay attention to the section WIN IT or scroll down to the bottom of the page for  4 different giveaways of some of these products.

Let’s start with

BOOKS

Before I gave birth to Alexis, I read a few books on breastfeeding to be a little more prepared for what I was about to do. As I wrote in my Breastfeeding Post, they were a huge help.

The two books that I liked the most and found the most valuable were: The Baby Bond (The science behind what’s really important when caring for your baby) and Breastfeeding Made Simple (Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers).

The first book (The Baby Bond) isn’t a breastfeeding book per se, but it talks about breastfeeding A LOT. The benefits, the studies, the science, the bonding- it’s just an amazing resource that I recommend anyone pregnant read. It talks about the benefits of breastfeeding BEYOND what everyone has heard of. It cites amazing studies on how cow’s milk is creating long lasting problems in our babies due to their leaky intestine in the first few months of life. Problems that we can’t exactly see or can’t connect to dairy until you look at the long term studies. This book is the reason I gave up dairy until Alexis is 6 months old ( aside from the fact that I plan on going fully vegan once I am no longer breastfeeding)

Breastfeeding Made Simple is a 100% breastfeeding book that covers the early weeks along with the rest of breastfeeding, problems, issues- EVERYTHING! This was my favorite breastfeeding book. It’s simply written but not dumbed down. I read it before Alexis came, to be ready, and went back to it multiple times during the initial weeks of breastfeeding. As a matter of fact, I need to read it again to see if it has any tips for babies who are in that stage of distracted nursing, because we’ve been “battling” that for a few days.

BUY THEM:

The Baby Bond  $11.35
Breastfeeding Made Simple $11.67

PUMP

The pump I used is a Simplisse Double Electric Pump. I am actually very happy with it. I remember being somewhat terrified picking pumps during pregnancy. Admit it, they look kinda scary! Little did I know that pumping would be kinder on my nipples than my baby itself. You can read about Simplisse pump here, but here’s the jist.


The inside of the cups are made out of this nice soft and almost “fuzzy” plastic that feels good on your skin and isn’t cone shaped, so  the sucking is much gentler than I expected, yet does the job.  You can select 10 speeds and 5 different pressures and adjust them after you elicit a let down based on how comfortable you are. To me, the cups felt so soft and gentle that I would just stay on speed 10 the whole time to get it done faster. I know it varies from person to person but the pump would empty my breasts in less than 10 minutes on speed 10. You can pump both breasts or choose to only pump one. The cups are super easy to assemble and clean ( I throw them into a steam sanitizer, but you can use your  dishwater, or plain old soap and water as well). It also comes with a portable bag full of stuff that would be AMAZING for moms who have to pump on the go:

  • 2 Extra Collection Bottles w/ Storage Caps
  • Insulated Cooler Bag
  • 2 Ice Gel Packs
  • Wet Bag for used parts
  • 10 Breastmilk Storage Bags
  •  4 Disposable Breast Pads

I actually really like their storage bags and have used them all up already. And for what it’s worth, the bag is not all that bad looking, like some, so you won’t be embarrassed carrying it around.

Simplisse actually has a ton of other great products and I am very happy I discovered them.

BUY IT: Simplisse Breast Pump $181.77

WIN IT: FREE Simplisse would like to give away a free pump to one of  The Art of Making a Baby readers. See Rafflecopter Giveaway at the bottom of the post for details.

NIPPLE CREAMS

I tried and used 3 different nipple creams and found all three very good for different stages of breastfeeding and different preferences.

One of the most important things for me was to make sure the nipple cream was safe for my baby to ingest and preferably with organic ingredients.

Motherlove nipple cream

PROS: Organic, incredibly soft and smooth, smells good and is very moisturizing.  It feels like a cloud on your finger. Comes in a small convenient jar. I love using it when my nipples feel dry and when I know I can walk around topless for a bit. Received ZERO toxins on EWG Database.

CONS: The only problem I found is that because of how moist it is, if you put a bra on immediately, most of it gets transferred to the bra. If you can wait a few minutes, then it’s not an issue.

WHO SHOULD BUY: If you prefer a soft feel of a moisturizer, this cream is for you.

BUY IT: Amazon $7.35 for 1 oz

Zoe Organic Nipple Balm

PROS: Food grade and organic. It is a VERY thick cream, so it’s perfect for protecting your nipples from clothing. I found that once my nipples healed a little bit and I didn’t need to walk around topless so that no fabric touched them, this cream was awesome. I put a thick layer of it and put a bra on immediately. It protected my tender skin from rubbing on my clothes, but because of how it stuck to your skin, it didn’t really rub off on it.
CONS: Because of how thick and sticky it is, I’d be worried about putting it on cracked raw nipples, because you really need to rub it in. But it’s awesome, once your nipples have healed a bit.

WHO SHOULD BUY: If your nipples aren’t rubbed raw and cracked, this will protect them and moisturize them at the same time without sticking to clothes.

BUY IT: Zoe organics $18 for 2 oz
USE CODE prebabyblog to get 15% off till Friday

WIN IT: Scroll down to the bottom of the post for details and enter in Rafflecopter giveaway of Zoe Organics Nipple Cream

Simplisse Nipple Cream

PROS: Very very light, comes in a pump which is the more hygienic way of using a nipple cream (reduces risk of infection from changing diapers), lanolin free and safe for baby and mom, glides on smooth and fast, dries off really well.
CONS: Not organic like the two above, maybe too light for some women.

WHO SHOULD BUY: If you don’t like the idea of sticky, gooey or wet creams and want something light that will dry off immediately, this is it.

BUY IT: Simplisse Nipple Cream  $10.37 for 60 pumps.

 

NIPPLE SHIELDS

I had to use a nipple shield for the first 5 weeks and was really afraid I would never be able to breastfeed without one. Here’s what worked for me:

Initially I was given a nipple shield at the hospital. It was the Medela brand 20mm shield. I did like the shape of it and how well it stuck on the breast, but it did have a few issues. First of all, it has a MASSIVE nipple. Alexis would sometimes choke on it and I saw that she didn’t enjoy having such a big nipple in her mouth. She would end up sucking on the nipple itself, rather than learning how to latch properly. However, it is very thick, so it does a good job protecting the nipple from the pain. So if you have extreme pain, you simply have no choice but to use it. It beats breastfeeding without it.

 

However after the initial few weeks, as my nipple were getting better, I started using the Simplisse Nipple Shield. It is very thin, paper thin, so it doesn’t reduce the pain as much as Medela, but if your pain is not severe, you’ll be better off using the Simplisse one. It feels more like skin, so the baby enjoys it more. It doesn’t have a humongous nipple, but I wasn’t crazy about the square shape (I wonder if there’s a reason for it). It has many more holes in it than Medela, and they are much smaller. All in all, it felt much more natural breastfeeding with the Simplisse nipple shield. So I’d recommend getting a Medela one for the first week  of breastfeeding and then try to switch over to the Simplisse one when the pain starts getting better, if you do end up using a nipple shield. I also read that some LCs recommend the Simplisse one as a way of weaning yourself and the baby off the Medela shield.

BUY THEM: 

Medela 20mm shield $10.20

Simplisse Nipple Shield $5.52

BOOBIE CREAM

While I am a huge fan of Boob Tube by Mama Mio and am planning on using it religiously once Alexis gives me 3-4 hours between feedings, so that it would get absorbed before she goes to feed again, I did struggle to find a moisturizer for my breasts that I would feel comfortable with Alexis accidentally ingesting it. Boob Tube is 100% pregnancy safe, but I just don’t know that it’s ok for a baby to EAT IT :)

For the first several overwhelming weeks I didn’t even think about a need to moisturize anything but my nipples. That is until I looked in the mirror one day and realized that what I thought were veins on my breasts were actually stretchmarks. (Gasp!) I luckily avoided any stretchmarks during pregnancy and still cannot believe my belly and thighs are 100% free of stretchmarks ( thank you Tummy Oil from MamaMio).  However, I just didn’t think I had to worry about my boobs past the time when my milk came in ( and to be fair, with a baby that would wake up every hour at night to eat that was the last thing on my mind). I didn’t want to use any moisturizers because I didn’t really find  a 100% safe one aside from the Tummy Oil, but the Tummy Oil has SUCH an amazing scent that would totally mess with my mommy scent and it’s recommended that you keep yourself free of fragrances so that baby could recognize you better in the beginning.

So one day, I was in a hurry and my boobs felt so dry that I grabbed the first thing on the counter that happened to be the Extreme Cream by Zoe Organics. It’s meant as a intensely hydrating cream for baby’s sensitive skin and eczema that’s so common at that age. Alexis didn’t have any dry spots aside from the initial dry skin on her eyebrows that this cream promptly cleared up, so the jar was sitting on my counter barely touched.  I thought: “Hey, it’s organic, meant for babies and smells nice like the nipple cream I am already using. Why don’t I use them for my breasts?” OH-MY-GOD! It was heaven! The cream goes on like butter. Like take a stick of butter out of your fridge ( you shouldn’t be eating butter anyways, lol) and smear it all over your dry skin- that’s how it feels. It just dries a lot faster than butter would. It’s smells amazing and yet doesn’t have any added fragrance. And Alexis loved it the first time she nursed. She just kept running her fingers back and forth on my buttered boob in a very purposeful manner. It was so cute! I became a quick convert and used it every day until I ran out yesterday. Now I’m really upset I didn’t order it sooner, because it’s not sold on Amazon and I can’t get it with Prime, like I usually do.

BUY IT: Zoe Organics Extreme Cream $18.00 for 2 oz
USE CODE prebabyblog to get 15% off till Friday

WIN IT: Scroll down to the bottom of the post for details and enter in Rafflecopter giveaway of Zoe Organics Extreme Cream

BREASTFEEDING PILLOWS

I use two different breastfeeding pillows. Here’s my take on them.

MyBrestfriend

 

The very famous MyBrestFriend pillow is everything you’d want a breastfeeding pillow to be once you’re a seasoned pro. It’s shaped nicely to fit around your midsection and supports your baby’s curves.  It has a pouch for a bottle of water or your precious cell phone that will save you from boredom during sleepy midnight feedings. It comes with an organic cover for those who are health conscious, as well as an array of cute colorful conventional covers. It has an adjustable clip to fit any shape and size. It flips backwards for easy access to whatever it is you need to do in between feedings. Basically, it’s a well thought out pillow that has been created to help nusring mothers feel more comfortable while breastfeeding. If your baby eats for very long times, this is a MUST HAVE.

BUY IT: Amazon $34.88

WIN IT: MyBrestFriend would like to give away a nursing pillow to one of the readers. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for details.

 

SIMPLISSE GIA PILLOW

 

This is more of a quick feeding pillow for me. Alexis was never a slow feeder. She was in, she ate, she was out. No sucking for comfort, no taking too long. Her initial feedings were 12-15 minutes at most and now she goes for 5-8 minutes on average. So at this point I need a pillow that  I can grab on the go and not mess around with, and throw it aside when she’s done eating so that I can burp her and, if lucky, put her to sleep. Gia does the trick. I love that it’s machine washable, so that’s the first thing I did to remove any kind of residue from the manufacturing. It has a sloping egde to raise your baby’s head a bit, which also helps with reflux. It’s soft and curvy and light. I would take Alexis, grab the pillow, put it on my lap along with Lexi, and then when it wasn’t comfortable anymore ( Lexi tends to squirm a lot), I’d toss it aside. So I found it very convenient especially considering the quick feedings Lexi would have.

BUY IT: Gia Pillow $33.30

BREAST PADS

I tried cloth re-useable ones, a few different brand ones that I don’t remember the names of and finally ended up using Simplisse Pads that I liked the most. They are thin, they have a rougher side to stay put on your clothing and a soft cotton side for your breast. They hold a surprising amount of leaked breast milk, while staying somewhat inconspicuous beneath the clothing. I just ran out of a box of 60 of them and I’m definitely buying more.

BUY IT: Simplisse Breast Pads $9.99 for 60

BREAST SHELLS

LOVED THESE THINGS! When my nipples were at their worst, any touch of clothing to them meant agony, but I couldn’t walk around topless because it was uncomfortable without some sort of support. I even cut out holes for nipples in some of my bras but somehow that didn’t do it (plus I wasn’t digging looking like a cheap hooker). These things saved me! These are basically cups with a hole for a nipple in them and holes for air, so that your nipples weren’t rubbed by clothes and were able to air out. I would use the Motherlove nipple cream and put these things on under my support bra. They are a bit visible under clothes and my husband called me “Robo-boobs”, but it was such a relief to be able to wear a bra and not deal with nipple pain, that I didn’t care. Plus, when I was breastfeeding, these cups would catch the leaked milk from the other boob. Definitely recommend. Supposedly they help small and inverted nipples too, and I do seem to remember it making a difference for my small nipples.

BUY IT: Simplisse Breast shells $11.79 for 2 pack

MILK SUPPLY HELPERS

This is my favorite category, because it’s TASTY! I used two things to help raise my milk supply during the time when Alexis was feeding a lot and didn’t seem to get enough.

Of course, the traditional Mother’s Milk tea that I drank religiously every day. The taste is kind of funky, but that was the least of my troubles at that moment, so I didn’t even notice. What “sweetened” the strange taste of the tea were my favorite Milk Makers Cookies. I had read about them on a blog months ago, back when I was pregnant, and thought it was a great idea. I am actually salivating right now just writing about them. The idea of these lactation cookies was started by a mother of  three, who needed help keeping her milk supply when she went to work. So after experimenting with different recipes, she finally found one that tasted delicious and contained oatmeal, brewer’s yeast and flax seed that are known to act as galactogogues. Just 1 cookie a day can increase your supply, but, let’s be honest, who can limit themselves to 1 cookie a day. I know I couldn’t. Not at the time when I was in pain, a new mother and hungry as a wolf. Milk makers come in a dairy-free version which is really cool of them. So I had a few bags of the dairy-free oatmeal raisin cookies and, not being a fan of oatmeal, I loooooved these. They had a touch of cinammon, I actually liked the faint taste of brewer’s yeast and they were so perfectly chewy. Oh man, today is NOT a good day to write about cookies, since it’s the first day that I am watching what I eat and exercising, which means I am dying to cheat and have something sweet.


So back to the cookies, I think they also make for a great excuse: “Honey, but I need them for my MILK SUPPLY!”. You know I used that line on my hubby!  I will order more when I need a boost in my milk supply or if we ever have another baby, that’s for sure.
BUY THEM: 1 month supply $49, starter pack$19.99
WIN THEMScroll down below for details and enter in Rafflecopter giveaway of 1 month supply of Milk Makers (YUM!)

 

 

 

 

So these are the things I used in the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding and still use some of them. Feel free to enter the 4 giveaways below to win the pump, extreme cream, nipples cream, nursing pillow and lactation cookies.

BREASTFEEDING GOODIES x 4

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries for each giveaway, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 2 daily entries for which you can come back to enter daily.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway is open has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible)See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}


a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Some of these items for sent to me for a review

 

 

Best For Baby: amykathryn Diaper Bag

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Other Recommendations, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS

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Ok, so I am starting a new series of reviews and giveaways of baby related products, titled BEST FOR BABY.

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I’m attempting to do the same thing I did with the maternity clothes feature ( Pregnant With Style), which is find little known brands of baby products and baby related items and give my opinion on them, as well as give you a chance to win some of them. You can expect to see diaper bags, breastfeeding products, interesting toys, organic clothes, strollers, carriers, bottles, seats, personal care products, etc. I’ll be running them once a week just like before, so come back every weekend to see something new and hopefully win it.

We’re starting this feature with amykathryn Diaper Bags.

One of the first fun purchases pregnant women get to make for themselves in anticipation of their baby’s arrival is a cute and stylish diaper bag. Before becoming pregnant I had always heard about how ugly and plain diaper bags were, but it wasn’t until I had to look for one that I saw where the problem was.

Most diaper bags look frumpy- bad fabrics, bad colors, bad design- it’s like they scream: “Hi! I’m a diaper bag! My owner gave up on style” . Then there are those that look like normal large purses with lots of pockets, but the prices are YIKES! Finally, you can always buy a reasonably priced non-diaper bag, but then without the extra storage, it always looks like a trash can in there and you still need to get a separate changing pad that might or might not fit into or match the bag.

Enter the world of cute, girly, large and functional diaper bags that won’t cost as much as a stroller: amykathryn!


I’ve been eyeing her bags for a few months now, trying to decide which one I liked more, because as you will see her whole line is outright A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! In the pictures I’m carrying the Hydrangea Lilac Messenger bag and I am in LOVE with its design and colors. It’s perfect for spring, and goes with pretty much any outfit. I liked it so much that I promptly emptied my previous diaper bag and stocked this one up.

Here’s what we’ve got there pocket wise:

  • Large interior zipper pocket
  • 3 interior open pockets
  • 2 exterior zipper pockets
  • 2 exterior open pockets

PROS:

  • GORGEOUS! The styles are awesome: from bright spring colors, to boho chic to classy neutrals
  • Large bag sure to fit everything plus a blanket
  • Lots of pockets that are generously sized
  • Affordable at $99 (can also be found on sale sites like Zulily, MyHabit and Gilt )
  • Doubles as a non-diaper purse if needed
  • Super soft changing pad that you don’t mind your baby’s precious naked booty lying on ( though it’s questionable whether you’d want that precious booty to poop on that awesome leather)
  • Animal-friendly faux (SOOOOOFT) leather, organic cotton canvas and custom print designs

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with a wipes case or a zip up wetbag, but chances are you already have something of that kind to use.

HOW TO BUY IT:

Visit amykathryn.com to check out latest styles and prices, but be warned this spring collection is bound to sell out FAST.
Occasionally, you can find sales for half off on Zulily, MyHabit and Gilt

You can follow their blog, FB page and Twitter to get new about sales and discounts as well as new releases.

HOW TO WIN IT:

Enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a $100 credit to amykathryn shop where you can pick out your own gorgeous bag. Open to US and Canadian residents.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received this bag in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% mine.