Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Northern Essence Baby Wipe Concentrate Review

This review is for the Northern Essence Sensitive Skin Concentrate Only.

Wipe Solutions are one of those things that you are always looking for.  There are so many different ways to make wipes, different wipe solution products, and so many variations that it is fun to try them all!

Yes, you can use simple water on your wipes for a quick and simple way to make wet wipes or wipes solution.  But there are also fantastic wipes solutions that may actually cleanse baby’s bum better, prevent rash and skin breakdown, and promote healing all at the same time.

Many wipes solutions are made from either tea tree oil, lavender, or both.  These oils are great for disinfecting and cleansing, but many sensitive bottoms are too sensitive for these products.  Northern Essence has perfected a formula for wipes concentrate that does not use these ingredients but rather organic aloe vera, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, vitamin E, mild glycerin soap, and citrus oil.  This extremely mild blend is safe for even the most sensitive of bums!

Also, this concentrate is a cinch to use!  Many solution formulas come in tabs that you have to dissolve in hot water.  Northern Essence has produced this wipes concentrate in liquid form.  The instructions are to mix 1 part concentrate with 4 parts water, I found that you can use even less of this concentrate to make it last longer and it works just as well!  Being that it is liquid, it is a cinch to mix up and either put into a spray bottle or over your wipes, whichever method you use!  No fussing with heating water, waiting for bits to dissolve, and then waiting for solution to cool!  Easy as pie!

The citrus scent is very refreshing…smells like lemon and orange.  It is a very clean smelling scent and made the wipes smell nice.  It takes some getting used to though.  Obviously I have used mostly solutions with tea tree oil, lavender, other oils, or soapy smells.  This was a scent that I was not used to and it was surprising to me when I would open my wipes.  It was not unpleasant, actually it was very nice, it just took time to get used to the different scent! J

Overall, I was quite pleased with this concentrate.  It smelled nice, it worked well, it did not irritate my extremely sensitive skinned baby, and it was extremely easy to mix up and use!  Even better, you can use less of the concentrate in your mix and make the bottle last longer and save some extra money!  Fabulous product!

Total Stars:  ★★★★★

This is review one of four from Northern Essence!  Stay tuned for more of their fabulous products!

You can purchase this product direct from Northern Essence here!

Please follow Northern Essence on Facebook!

Note:  I personally make my wipes solution and pour it over my wipes in the container so that they are wet and ready to wipe bums.  However, you make your wipes solution, this concentrate would work well for it!

Monday, October 24, 2011

It has been Quiet...

Since the Breastfeeding event, the TMG blog has been pretty quiet.  There are a few reasons for that.  One, I threw my back out last Monday and I have basically just been laying on my heating pad since.  Two, I have a bunch of reviews in the oven, but not quite ready to post many of them!  I do have one coming tomorrow though!!!  So stay tuned!

And three...there is something else in the oven!

I am almost 8 weeks along with our newest little addition and due the first week of June!  We are so excited to move from a family of three to a family of four!  So far I have been feeling great!  A little tired here and there, but nothing to really complain about!  The back issues have been the worst, made even worse since I can't take anything!  But it is SO worth it!!!

So keep posted for pregnancy reviews and giveaways and then in June....Newborn diaper reviews and giveaways!  I cannot wait for my newest little diaper tester to arrive!!!!  (and get cute fluff on his or her bum!!)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Balboa Baby Nursing Cover and Nursing Pillow Review

Balboa Baby Nursing Cover

For any breastfeeding mother, a Nursing cover is a MUST.  There are so many different covers on the market today that it gives mothers a choice in what features and colors they want.  This is wonderful!  Gone are the days of just using a hot blanket to cover mom and baby or buying an ugly nursing cover just because it was the one and only that existed!  Now moms can choose what kid of cover they want and can actually look nice while breastfeeding!

The Balboa Baby Nursing Cover is simple and elegant.  It’s designed to contour around mom and baby, giving you the most coverage possible.  It has a nice sized pocket on the front, perfect for pacifiers, nursing pads, etc.  The cover also has a rigid neckline so that you can have both hands supporting baby and don’t have to fuss with the cover to be able to maintain eye contact with baby.  Many nursing covers, you are constantly having to shift or lift the collar line to see baby, with the rigid neckline you don’t have to do a thing!  Also, if the collar is too tight or too loose, there is an adjustable buckle to adjust the collar to fit you better. 

This cover is also made of 100% cotton and is nice and lightweight so you don’t have to worry about mom or baby roasting during nursing.  Other covers can be thick and hot, but this cover is light and allows air flow through the rigid neckline and any air that gets in from the bottom and sides.

This cover washed very well.  Since it is 100% cotton, you can simply machine wash on gentle/cold and then tumble dry.  I did notice that if I only tumble dried it, it wrinkled like crazy!  Instead, I air dried it and then tumbled it to get the stiffness and wrinkles out.  This worked better for me that simply tumbling it.

I really loved this nursing cover.  It is contoured and fits/covers better than many other nursing covers because of these contours.  The rigid neckline allows ventilation as well as mommy/baby eye contact.  And these covers come in an array of gorgeous prints!  You truly can look nice (and even chic) while breastfeeding!  Even better, Balboa Baby offers the entire coordinating line of Nursing Covers, Nursing Pillows, Adjustable Slings, Shopping Cart Covers, and Stroller Liners.  So you could buy the entire collection in one print and have a lovely coordinating ensemble!

Overall, I love this cover.  I love the contours instead of the traditional square covers.  I love that it has a nice generous fit that is much nicer than square covers and seems to cover/hide more of mom and baby for privacy!  The rigid neckline is amazingly helpful and the beautiful prints are to die for!

Total Stars:  ★★★★★

Demonstration only, there is a baby doll under there! :)

Balboa Baby Nursing Pillow

Previously to being sent this nursing pillow, I had only used one mainstream nursing pillow.  I was surprised and amazed to see how different nursing pillows could be and how well this one worked!

Right from the package, the first thing that I noticed about the Balboa Baby Nursing Pillow was the contour design.  This pillow was designed by Medical Professionals and Lactation consultants.  They designed this pillow with a contour to naturally help maintain that “belly to belly” correct positioning.  This is brilliant.  With many other pillows, it is hard to maintain belly to belly, this pillow maintains that position with no effort!

This pillow is also made from a sturdy foam, which is soft enough for baby and mom comfort, but strong enough that I firmly feel it would withstand multiple children!

The cover is removable and washable, which is perfect because breastfeeding is not always a clean job.  There is spit up, vomit, drool, pee, and poop blow outs to contend with.  So a washable cover is a MUST!  The cover washed well, but like the Nursing Cover, it tended to come out wrinkly and a little stiff.  I again air dried and then tumbled…worked like a charm!

My other immediate thought about this pillow was that it is smaller than many other pillows.  Many mainstream nursing pillows wrap the entire way around mom’s abdomen.  This pillow does not.  I was concerned about this.  However, I found that since this pillow is not a wrap around, you have more options with it!  It actually works BETTER than wrap around nursing pillows.

When my daughter was a newborn, she only nursed football hold on the right side.  This was trick with my mainstream nursing pillow because she would slide off the back of the pillow.  I was constantly adjusting her and the pillow.  This was not exactly ideal for me or for her feeding!  I wish that I had the Balboa Baby Nursing Pillow back then!  Because it is smaller, you can simply move the pillow to the side and it instantly works for the football hold as well!  Not matter what hold or position you nurse your baby in (aside from laying down or standing on your head!), this pillow will work beautifully.

Overall, I was just amazed at how different this pillow was and how the brilliant design worked beautifully.  My only worry is that for parents that nurse past a year, your child may outgrow this pillow.  Due to the contour design, I do not feel that larger/older children would be comfortable.  If you have used this pillow with a bigger child, I would love to know your thoughts on this!

Total Stars:  ★★★★★

You can purchase these products on the Balboa Baby website or at Target and Toys R Us.


Breastfeeding Guest Blogger - Jennifer B.

Our next Guest Blogger for this week's Breastfeeding event is Jennifer B.  Jennifer has a wonderful story to tell.  She tackled breastfeeding with her premie twins!  If you have any questions or comments for Jennifer, please leave them below!  And please, enjoy her breastfeeding journey!  ~Laura

I had always planned on breast feeding my babies, but had not planned on twins! It was a huge surprise to my husband and I, that is for sure! Although, this did not change my plans for nursing them. How was I going to do it? I had no clue...

Ever & Viv stayed in the NICU for four weeks and had no major health or development issues... they didn't even need a breathing tube!

I began pumping while still in the hospital, recovering from my C-Section. I had a torn placenta that formed infected blood clots, and was still very sick from this. Despite this, my milk came in when the twins were a day old. From that day on, my milk was given to them through their feeding tubes.

At about 33.5 weeks gestation, I became adamant about letting my babies start to practice nursing. The nurses finally allowed me to start "breast feeding" them in the NICU. I love the NICU nurses and will be forever thankful to them, but I will say, some of them were not very supportive of this. The majority of the nurses said things like "They are too young, so don't expect much." " Don't become discouraged, when they don't latch on." " They probably will not be able to suck at this gestational age."

I guess, I just ignored them, for the most part. I was aware that they would probably not latch or suck, but wanted to try, despite the odds against them. After all, they had already beaten most odds- being born so early and in perfect health!

One of the nurses showed me how to do the "Football" hold. She gave me the shields and said preemies do much better with them ( I continued to use these until they were 12 weeks old). I remember the first time they latched onto my nipple, It was so amazing to see these TINY babies, doing exactly what nature intended.

The nurses were shocked and started calling the twins "Super Preemies"! Even the doctors were talking about how amazing it was, that they were nursing at such an early gestational age.

The twins were not allowed to suck very long at this point, in fear that they would burn too many calories and loose weight. As the days went by, I continued to "practice nurse" at least once a day.

 When the twins were about 35 weeks gestation, the nursing became part of their feedings and they were consuming anywhere from half an ounce to a full ounce, on a good feeding. The amount they nursed, depended on how tired they became, usually falling asleep quickly and taking the rest of their milk through the feeding tube.

When I left the hospital, I continued to pump every three hours and was traveling to the hospital 2-3 times a day to nurse the twins, followed by pumping. After the twins came home, I continued to tandem nurse them, using the nipple shields and a Boppy pillow. This pillow worked for us, because they were still under 6 pounds for a long time. I believe I switched to a My Breast Friend when they were around 13 weeks. Personally, the twin feeding pillows did not work for me. I am petite and short waisted. They would not stay on and were so big and bulky.

I would say, the hardest part of my nursing experience was when they were very young ( about 33 weeks gestation - 13 weeks old). The babies were constantly falling off the nipple, falling asleep, and/or just not consistent with anything!  I was also still having to pump after nursing, as they were not taking all of my milk and I wanted to keep up my production. It was so frustrating and extremely tiring. They were on a 1.5-2 hour feeding schedule to gain weight and that included the night time feedings too.  Since I was nursing, my husband wasn't much help. Although, he and my brother took turns "preping" the babies for their feedings at night, and then placing them on my feeding pillow to nurse. Occasionally, I would take a break from the feedings,  and they were given a bottle, but usually I choose to nurse them. I am so glad they were introduced to the bottle early on. Bottle feeding is crucial with twins, because it's very difficult to tandem feed in public. I would never even attempt that!

So, basically, all I did for the first 4 months was change diapers, nurse, burp, put babies to sleep, pump, wash pumping parts, and start all over again.

My biggest problem while nursing came around 5 months when I was back to work (around 3 months).  The challenge for me, was not having the time to consume enough calories or pump often enough at work, to keep up my production and keep the milk caloric.

I was/am about 110 pounds and I barely had time for one meal, let alone, consume the amount of food it took to keep my milk fatty.  I was having to eat over 3,000 calories a day! My milk began to look like water, literally translucent, and the twins continued to spit it up and/or need a bottle of formula after nursing. I tried supplements for milk production, and it helped with the production amount, but not the quality of the milk. At one point, my family would joke about the feeding following my Cheeseburger, because it would be the best milk of the day!

At about 5-6 months, My weight continued to drop and I was still struggling on not having enough quality milk for both babies and I began nursing one/bottle feeding the other and switching back and forth with every feeding. Of course, this made the milk problem even worse and I couldn't do this when I was away from them at work 3 days a week.

The "watery milk" and low production never got better. This inevitably, became the reason for me weaning the twins at 7 months.

I miss breast feeding my babies and I feel guilty in the fact that they are not getting the best source of nutrition, but I am also very proud for having nursed twins for 7 months.

They are healthy, happy, and loved beyond measure and that is what matters at the end of the day.

I have always said "Breast feeding is not only the best gift you can give your baby. It is a birthright." Do what you can and breast feed as long as you can. There are countless options available for practically every problem you could have, when breast feeding. It's not easy, but it can be done. 


Thank you Jennifer for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom on the art of Breastfeeding!  ~Laura

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bamboobies Butterfly Wrap Review and Giveaway

What is the one thing that is priceless to any breastfeeding mother?  A Nursing Cover!  And once again, Bamboobies has created a one of a kind and smartly designed product!  The Butterfly wrap is stretchy, soft, light-weight, comfortable, and versatile.  It is made from an extremely soft and comfortable blend of Organic Cotton, Soy Fiber, and Spandex.  This combination keeps both mom and baby cool and comfortable while nursing.

Bamboobies also loves to make their products versatile and able to do more than just the primary intention of the product.  The Butterfly Wrap is also able to be used in a multitude of ways.  Since it is a stretchy wrap, it is perfect to wear on a cool day whether you are pregnant, post-partum, breastfeeding, or not!  You can wear it as a shawl around your shoulders or, it can even be worn as a skirt!  Since the wrap is basically square, you could even use it as a receiving blanket in a pinch!  You will find a hundred other uses for this wrap in addition to a nursing cover.

When I first got the Butterfly Wrap, I was concerned about the sizing.  I am a plus size mama and I was skeptical about the sizes.  The Butterfly Wrap comes in two sizes, S/M and M/L.  Of course I chose the M/L but I was a little concerned that it would not fit since I cannot remember the last time that I purchased a Medium or a Large!

The package finally came, and it was time to see IF this Butterfly wrap would fit or not.  To my surprise, due to the stretchy fabric, the Wrap fit very well!  It is not tight or uncomfortable.  I love the soft stretchy fabric and I love the fact that I can proudly state that I am wearing a M/L!!! J

The Wrap has a generous neck opening so that you can see baby for that precious eye contact, but there is also enough fabric around the neck so that you aren’t showing anything that you don’t want to.  There is enough fabric and enough stretch that you are completely covered at all times and do not feel like you are hanging out.

This wrap also washes very easily and dries quickly.  So if baby spits up on your pretty and elegant wrap, no problem!  You can rinse it out in any bathroom and it will dry in no time or you can toss it in the washer/dryer at home.  This wrap washes well, with no wear or tear visible after about 7-10 washes; it dries quickly, and has not lost any of its stretch or comfort.

Overall, I love the Butterfly Wrap.  It comes in four very attractive and pleasing colors and can easily be added into your wardrobe.  It folds flat to go into a purse or diaper bag, or you can simply wear it as a wrap and be ready to breastfeed wherever you are!  This wrap is very soft, very comfortable, and very versatile.  This would make a great addition to any expectant or breastfeeding mother’s arsenal of baby accessories!

My only note to Bamboobies would be, to potentially in the future have a larger size for plus size mamas.  I was comfortable in the wrap and felt that I had enough room and enough coverage to breastfeed.  However, I know that there are many mamas out there who are bigger than me and would probably feel more comfortable in a larger size. 

Total Stars:  ★★★★★

You can purchase Bamboobies Butterfly Wrap here!  Please use the coupon code "MOMGOODS" at the check out for 20% off of your purchase!

And PLEASE follow Bamboobies on Facebook and thank them for this generous giveaway!!


Breastfeeding Guest Blogger - Amy P.

Our next Guest Blogger for this week's Breastfeeding event is Amy P.  If you have any questions or comments for Amy, please leave them below!  And please, enjoy her breastfeeding journey!  ~Laura

When you're pregnant there are things that everyone tells you. “Rest now because soon you'll be up multiple times a night.” “You'd be surprised how many of your conversations revolve around poop when you're a parent.” “Take lots of pictures because babies change so fast.” But nobody ever said, “There's a learning curve with breastfeeding and it doesn't always work out.” I soooo wish someone had told me.

I had my heart set on breastfeeding from the get go. It was a no-brainer! It was cheap, good for my little man, and would be readily available since I would be home with him. I checked out books and videos from the library about breastfeeding and felt I had a general grasp of how things would go. I got a breast pump and my husband and I joked about needing an extra freezer to store all the milk I would pump. I was prepared.

My son had a few issues trying to be born, so we ended up with an emergency C-section. I was in recovery for over an hour and when we finally made it back to the room, I asked the nurses for help getting my little guy latched. They were encouraging, helped us get situated, and then.... pure bliss. He latched so easily and the feeling was amazing! Cradling my precious bundle and providing him with exactly what he wanted, far more incredible than I could have imagined! Things went fairly well in the hospital. I got valuable pointers from the lactation consultants and I felt like we were getting the hang of things. My sweet boy had lost a little more than the “normal” amount of weight at discharge so we made an appointment for a weight check a few days later, but I didn't think anything of it and we took him home.

The weight check was when I knew there was a problem. He had lost a whole pound of weight, wasn't nursing as well as he had been, and I was a week postpartum and hadn't experienced the “engorgement” I'd read about. I was scared for my baby, he was so small and skinny. I contacted the lactation consultants and the battle began. During a one-on-one consultation we determined that my son was a lazy nurser which resulted in a poor milk supply and started a vicious cycle that I fought for the next 5 months. I had wonderful support from my husband and a support group led by the lactation consultants. One consultant in particular reminded me repeatedly, “Good things come in small packages.” Even though I didn't have much milk, what I DID have was good for him and packed with all the great benefits that come from breast milk, and it was worth the tremendous effort I was putting in.

I tried EVERY trick in the book to boost my supply, but it was not to be. We had to start supplementing when my little man was two weeks old, and at five months what little supply I had fought to build, started to decrease. I called the lactation consultant once again and she reassured me, I had done everything and it was okay if it wasn't working out. My heart was breaking, but I had given him the “small package” I had and hung on longer than many people would have. “I don't know why you had to struggle through breastfeeding or why it was so hard, but you have learned more than a lot of other people and there must be a reason,” she encouraged. I will never forget that. I don't know why it was such an uphill battle for my son and I, but I DO know there is a reason. I've already had opportunity to offer support to others with milk supply issues. It can be a lonely, agonizing battle and it took me a long time to be OKAY with the fact that breastfeeding didn't work out. I know it doesn't make me less of a mommy because my body didn't cooperate. I hope the knowledge I gained will set us up for better breastfeeding with future kiddos, but even if it doesn't, that's okay. I'll know I tried and it was soooo worth it!


Thank you Amy for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom on the art of Breastfeeding!  ~Laura

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

bamboob-ease Soothing Therapy Pillow Review and Giveaway

Since the guest post for today was a tip on how to heal a cracked nipple…let’s keep the spirit of healing boobies alive with a review of the new bamboob-ease Soothing Therapy Pillows!!  Because we all know…if the boobies aren’t happy…nobody is happy!!

Bamboobies is a company dedicated to finding organic items to aid in breastfeeding health and happiness.  A few months ago, I reviewed their amazing nursing pads.  I was thrilled when they agreed to sponsor this breastfeeding event as well!  They are an amazing company, with amazing ideas and products to promote breastfeeding as well as breast health and happiness!

The new bamboob-ease Soothing Therapy Pillow is just one more of Bamboobies brilliant ideas!  This pillow made amazingly soft organic cotton and bamboo is just what any mother in pain needs!  The pillow is filled with flaxseeds.  The wonderfulness of flaxseeds is that they can be warmed up for heat and can be cooled down for cold.  So whatever your boobies need, this soft pillow can give you!  It is so simple to use too!  To warm up, simply toss it in the microwave for 20-40 seconds!  To cool down, simply toss it in the freezer for a little bit!  The flaxseeds also allow the pillow to conform to your breast and get to those ouchy spots better.

This is perfect for any breastfeeding mother.  We all have those times when we need cool for the boobies (ie. Engorgement pain, nipple pain, teething pain) and we have those times when we need heat for the boobies (ie. Open a clogged duct, stimulate let down, ease mastitis).  Rather than having an assortment of breastfeeding accessories, this is the all in one item that can cover all of these needs!  Just like the name bamboob-ease implies, this product is meant to ease whatever problem your boobies are having!

I was surprised and amazed at the softness of this pillow.  It is extremely soft and plush, perfect to put next to such a sensitive area!  I was also surprised by the size of this pillow!  It is a nice, generous size to fit any breast size and to cover a lot of boobie area!  Many times pain from engorgement, clogged duct, etc is on the side of the breast closer to the arm pit.  Generally, a compress could only be in that area.  This pillow is generously sized to cover more of the breast in order to provide more relief!  I am a D cup and it nicely covers almost my entire breast!

Looking for more reasons to buy these?  Who doesn’t have a thousand uses for a heat/cold pack?  These are also the perfect size to heat up for a little one with a belly ache.  Or cool for those boo-boos!  Since the pillow is so nice and soft, it is more comforting than other heat/cold packs for little children!

My one and only complaint about this item…it is not washable.  You can wipe the pillow with a damp cloth and air dry…but you cannot get it wet or machine wash.  Therefore, if you are leaking a ton or think you might leak, you may want to wrap a washcloth around this pillow.  It really stinks to cover the plush soft fabric, but since it is not washable, you almost have to!  Likewise, be careful when microwaving this item that there is no food residue in your microwave.  I put the pillow on a clean plate when microwaving so as to not get it dirty.  Yes, I looked pretty silly putting my boobie pillow on a plate and microwaving it!!! J

Overall, I absolutely love this soothing therapy pillow!  It is a genius invention created by a mother with lots of experience!  Only a mother could think of something this brilliant!  I love that you can heat or cool this pillow depending on what your need is and I love that it is just the right size to fit most any breast!  I do wish that the cover was removable and washable, maybe they will do that next time!

Total Stars:  ★★★★★

You can purchase Bamboobies here!  Please use the coupon code "MOMGOODS" at the check out for 20% off of your purchase!

And PLEASE follow Bamboobies on Facebook and thank them for this generous giveaway!!


Breastfeeding Guest Blogger - Ariel W.

Our next Guest Blogger for this week's Breastfeeding event is Ariel.  Ariel has a surprising, yet wonderful tip for Breastfeeding mamas!  ~Laura

Breastfeeding Troubleshooting

My tip is on how to heal a cracked nipple: lanolin oil and saran wrap.  I didn't believe this would work (I had a horrible crack and had tried every tip I could find on the internet), but it worked like a miracle! Apply lanolin oil after nursing and cover it with a little square of saran wrap (this keeps it very moist and allows healing).  Keep the saran wrap on until the next nursing session.  Repeat after every single nursing session until crack is healed!


Thank you Ariel  for sharing your experience and your helpful Breastfeeding Troubleshooting tip!  ~Laura

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breastfeeding Guest Blogger - Sarah M.

Our next Guest Blogger for this week's Breastfeeding event is Sarah M.  If you have any questions or comments for Sarah, please leave them below!  And please, enjoy her breastfeeding journey!  ~Laura

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Charis, there was no question in my mind how I would feed her.  My husband and I both wanted me to breastfeed her.  Thankfully, our family was very supportive.  Breastfeeding seemed like the only option to me, and I have my mom to thank for that.  She breastfed my brother, sister, and I.  I remember watching The Bill Cosby Show when I was four years old, with my mom in the same room nursing my sister.

I am also very thankful for my midwife, Sheila.  Before Charis was born, Sheila asked, "How are you going to feed your baby?"  I answered, "I plan on breastfeeding her."   Sheila was THRILLED, but also told me what to expect.  She said that breastfeeding will be painful in the beginning for the first few weeks.  She explained that after my daughter was born, I would have this human who wants to be at my breast ALL THE TIME and that my breasts and nipples would not be used to it, so it would be painful until they "toughened up."  I was thankful that Sheila gave me a realistic picture what it would be like the first few weeks.  Had I not been told this, I would have thought I am a failure, because many books say that breastfeeding is painless.

Do not be afraid to seek out help. I had a cracked nipple and mastitis a week after Charis was born.  When my daughter's pediatrician found out I had mastitis, he wanted me to go see a Lactation Consultant.  Looking back, I am glad he recommended that.  The Lactation Consultant helped me see that Charis was not latching on correctly on my left side, where the cracked nipple was.  They also pointed me to a product that would help my breasts feel better, Lasinoh's Soothies Gel Pads.

About seven weeks after my daughter was born, I went back to working PRN at a local hospital in CCU.  Going back to work was hard.  I had bought a manual pump since I only worked 2 days/month.  If I have to work next time, I plan on buying an electric pump.  The biggest drawback for a manual pump was that I could only pump one breast at a time, so I was off the floor longer than I would have liked, but since I worked as a nurse infrequently it was fine for those needs. I have a two pumping recommendations: 
1. Pump in the morning when your milk supply is higher, during late afternoon/early evening the milk supply is lower.
2. When you are at work, try to pump the same amount of times your baby will be taking a bottle or nursing.  That way the demand is still there even when your child is at home.

I'm still nursing my daughter.  It's been over 13 months.  My goal was to breastfeed her for at least a year, and she's not showing any signs of wanting to stop.  One of the fears I had was, "What will I do when my daughter's teeth come?"  So far that fear has been completely unfounded.  The few times my daughter has bit me, I put my finger to break the latch and told her, "No.  Do not bite mommy."  I have also found with my daughter that when she bites, it usually means she is almost finished.  

About 20 months ago, I made the decision to breastfeed my child, and I am thrilled with that decision.  I hope you are too.


You can catch Sarah on her blog Musings of a SAHM.

Thank you Sarah for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom on the art of Breastfeeding!  ~Laura

Breastfeeding Guest Blogger - Jessica B.

Today's Guest Blogger for this week's Breastfeeding event is Jessica B.  Jessica is currently ready to pop with baby number three and ready to start another breastfeeding experience!  Here are her responses to the questions that I asked the guest bloggers to speak on.  If you have any questions or comments for Jessica, please leave them below!  And please, enjoy her breastfeeding journey!  ~Laura

Breastfeeding Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
My biggest tip is to relax, relax, relax.  Women have been doing this since the beginning of time – our bodies were created for this and we need to have more faith in them.  If someone tells you something and it doesn’t feel right – do not feel guilty for not believing them – do what’s best for YOU and your baby

Things you wish you had known prior to your first breastfeeding session

It’s hard.  And tiring.  But oh so rewarding. As I am anticipating the birth of my third child – the only thing that is getting me through my fear of labor and delivery is the chance to breastfeed again.  There is absolutely nothing like snuggling with your baby in the middle of the night while all is quiet and calm. 
Also – you can combo nurse-on-command and nurse-on-schedule.  But a baby does need a schedule – that’s one thing I wish I would have known.  My first BF experience was rough because I constantly offered the boob to her and she just wasn’t hungry half the time – she just need to fuss to burn some energy so she could eat better later.  There’s a fine line and you’ll know what it is!

How you dealt with going back to work and pumping
Start pumping early… very very early and build up your supply – it’s never too early to build it up. But make sure your freezer door shuts every time!  A picture never worked to help let my milk down but I took a blanket with me and the smell did the trick every time!

Manual vs. Electric Pump.  Include brand name and/or model if you found one that you highly recommend.
I bought a very expensive electric pump and it didn’t work at all for me.  I actually pumped by hand into a glass cup.  Yes… I really did.  Once you get the knack for it – I found I could pump twice the amount in half the time. 

Those embarrassing Breastfeeding stories…we all have them!
My supply was always great and at least once if not twice a day my poor girl would get covered in a milk bath because she couldn't drink fast enough... hee hee  I remember the first time trying to nurse her in public.  My husband and I were shopping and I went into a fancy restroom in one of those fancy stores where they have couches.  It was an EPIC FAIL.  I remember trying to get her to latch on and she refused but was screaming with everything she had so of course I 'let down' and when I say sprayed, I mean I sprayed that girl with breastmilk.... trying to get her to latch on, holding her screaming body, trying to cover myself as other women were staring (some with sympathy, others with amusement, and others with disgust), and finally got myself put back together, picked everything up and rushed back out.  The look on my husband face was priceless.... it obviously did not go well since I was out in 5 minutes, my daughter was soaked from head to toe, and we were both still crying.  From that point on - we only nursed in the car where it was quiet and I had much more privacy!

When and how you came to the decision to Breastfeed.  When did you decide?  Prior to pregnancy?  During Pregnancy?  After delivery?  How did you decide?
I knew from the very beginning before I was pregnant that I would breastfeed – I was blessed to come from a family where my mother, grandmother, MIL, many cousins all breastfed and it was HUGELY accepted and encouraged. My husband used to walk down the formula aisle at the store and proudly state ‘I love boobs’ while looking at the prices.  Liquid gold it is.

How your friends, family, and significant other reacted to your decision to Breastfeed.  Were they supportive?
As I stated my husband was hugely supportive.  He was the official ‘burper’ for our children and that’s a great way to get him involved.

How long did you Breastfeed?  Why did you go that long?  Why did you stop at that point?  Was this a difficult transition for you or baby?
I breastfed my daughter until she was 14 months – the transition wasn’t too bad.  My son was still nursing at 14 months and I felt that it was time to wean.  Sadly it was very traumatic for both of us and after 3 miserable days we started up again.  For two more months we did evening nursings and he eventually weaned himself with no pain for me or him.  Let your child lead.

The one breastfeeding item that you could not live without?  Ie. Boppy, nursing pads, breast pump, etc.  Feel free to mention types, brand names, or models so that others know what you have used and loved.
A good sexy nursing bra.  Splurge and get a padded one – it will do wonders for your self confidence!  I used it only when I was out in public and needed to look ‘nice’ in our bedroom. So I kept it for good but it really was worth every penny .  

If given the chance to go back in time, would you change anything about your Breastfeeding experience?
Nope. Honestly not a thing.


You can catch Jessica on her blog Living Each Day for God.

Thank you Jessica for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom on the art of Breastfeeding!  ~Laura

Monday, October 10, 2011

Breastfeeding Guest Blogger - Sara R.

Our First Guest Blogger for this week's Breastfeeding event is Sara R.  If you have any questions or comments for Sara, please leave them below!  And please, enjoy her breastfeeding journey!  ~Laura

I have breastfed 5 kids. All five of my kids have been breastfed and all have been different.

My first, he was hard. I was told I had flat nipples and was handed a shield to use while nursing. No one told me that you should stop using it after a few weeks. After 5 weeks of nursing, I got a terrible breast infection. My sweet mother-in-law, a "retired" la leche league leader, told me that the best way was to just have him nurse it out. OUCH! It hurt so bad. And I was so sick. Fever, weakness, and I just wanted to sleep all the time. It didn't help that we were moving three states over in a week.

But I got better within a few days and moved without a hitch. But there we were, thousands of miles away from family and it was just the three of us. I lasted nursing him for 9 months. I just dried up. I don't know why I dried up, but I did. I think it might have been stress. I was going to go back to school, we moved again, and I was working. It was a crazy time, and I think my milk just couldn't survive that.

With my second, I was a little weirded out about nursing a girl. In my crazy mind, I felt it was wrong. Thankfully, my husband said I was being stupid and it would be ok. I loved nursing my daughter. I was just sad when I dried up again. This time at 6 months. My doctor told me to stop nursing because she had quit growing. It broke my heart, but I knew I just wasn't producing the milk needed to help her grow. The time we did spend nursing, was great. No infections and no hang-ups. Just that one major one. lol!

Number three, well, I dried up super early. Just shy of 4 months. I was heart broken. He was my best nurser to date. I loved the special time with him. Again, I just wasn't producing the milk to help him grown. Still, I don't know why my first three kiddos I dried up. He was such a good baby, hardly spit up.

Number four, well, he was my only child that latched on within minutes of being born. All the others wouldn't latch on until about 6 hours after birth. Then, wouldn't really eat well until they were 24 hours old. But not number 4. He rooted around for my breast and just latched on for a good 45 minutes! You can guess, that he was my best nurser! We moved to a new states a week after he was born, and even though there was a ton of stress from that, whatever happened, I was able to nurse him for 14 months! We were both done at that time and it was a great weening experience. It was so easy.

As for number five. Well, we are still going strong! He nurses ALL. THE. TIME! He is great. No problems at all. I'm planning on going for as long as we can. I'll let him tell me when we are done.

Nursing isn't easy. It hurts so bad the first month. I know with each of my kids I have cried through a few nursing. The flat nipples went away. I used the shield with my daughter, but learned that they shouldn't be used for more than a few weeks. So I said good-bye to using a shield forever a few weeks after my daughter was born. I haven't had a problem with my nipples since then. I think a few children using them helps draw them out!

Teething and nursing does not mix. My kids like to grind their gums on my nipples. Or pull back with their head, while still attached. Both will earn them a short time at nursing.

All in all, nursing is touch, but well worth it. I've had a pretty easy time with it. Starting out is hard. It really is. But it's so worth it in the end! All I can say to new moms, don't give up! The pain will go away. You'll get a hang of it. Nursing is something that you and your sweet little one learn together. And when you need help, turn to your mother, or mother-in-law, a good friend or a la leche league advisor for help! But in the end, trust your instincts! 


You can also catch Sara on her blog Outta this World with Me.

Thank you Sara for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom on the art of Breastfeeding!  ~Laura

Breastfeeding Awareness Week!!

So, because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we are celebrating all things boobie, I have put together an event to celebrate Breastfeeding!  Throughout the week, you will be seeing reviews, giveaways, and guest posts by breastfeeding moms.  Breastfeeding can be beautiful, easy, difficult, painful, funny, sad, and basically every emotion you can name.  So this week, we are going to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of breastfeeding!

To kick the event off....HUGE Medela giveaway below!  Medela was WONDERFUL enough to donate a HUGE box of goodies for this event.  There will be multiple winners and each winner will get a goodie bag of Breastmilk storage magnets, Medela Tender Care Lanolin, and Medela disposable nursing pads.

Please follow Medela on Facebook and thank them for this ENORMOUS giveaway!  The box of goodies that arrived on my porch was CRAZY huge and they deserve an even bigger thank you for their support!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fun Fall Family Activities

Welcome today's Guest blogger, Kathleen Thomas!  Kathleen is a Communications Coordinator for the Atlanta day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.  Please welcome her and enjoy her thoughts on fun Fall activities for your family!  ~Laura

Fun Fall Family Activities
Article submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools by Kathleen Thomas

As autumn approaches and cool, crisp weather beckons, it's time to start making your list of activities for the entire family to enjoy. Whether you make plans to enjoy a local harvest festival, plan a neighborhood game night, or enjoy touring scenic destinations nearby, fall is the perfect time for family togetherness. This article offers some ideas for spending time with your family, while enjoying the fun that fall has to offer.

Visit a Local Pick Your Own Farm -- Fall is harvest time in most communities, and the perfect time to score local fruits and vegetables. Do some online research to determine what's in season in your area, then visit a pick your own farm nearby to enjoy the fruits of the season. Many orchards offer apple picking, pressed cider, and apple butter, while pumpkin patches feature pick your own pumpkins, corn mazes, and hayrides. If your children are adults, you may find a local winery tour more appealing. Supporting local farms can be a great way to spend a weekend outdoors with the entire family in the crisp autumn air.

Enjoy the Fall Scenery -- Those who live in an area that enjoys a seasonal color display may wish to plan an outing to view the leaves as they turn brilliant shades of red and orange. If your seasons aren't as dramatic, perhaps you could book a family visit to a local tourist attraction, such as caverns, a mountain range, or a historic destination. Your family can learn a bit about your local area, and you can enjoy a last road trip before winters' harsher weather drives you indoors for the season.

Attend a Sporting Event -- For many, fall means football. If this is the case in your family, make the time to make each game an event.  We all know with day care, sports, ballet, and band family time is limited. Whether you're supporting your local high school or college team, or prefer to watch your favorite team on your big screen television, use the opportunity to bring your family together. Favorite snacks, dedicated pillows and blankets, and team jerseys for the entire family can help make games a traditional event that everyone can enjoy.

Get to Know Your Neighbors -- If the weather is too chilly for outdoor fun, consider planning an indoor game night. Invite your children's friends or other families from your neighborhood over, and bake sweet treats or serve warming soup and bread. You're sure to enjoy the chance to curl up inside away from the blustery fall chill, while getting to know your friends and neighbors and having a rousing good time in the process.

Please, share any other fun fall activities that you and your family enjoy in the comments below!

I hope you have enjoyed this post by Kathleen!  Happy Fall Everyone!!!  ~Laura

Monday, October 3, 2011

Smiley Cookie Review

We are now entering my favorite time of year…fall!  I love autumn, the colors, the changing leaves, and the holidays!  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are my favorite time of year…and of course, the season gets kicked off with my birthday!  So, my birthday has come and gone, and now it is time to get ready for the next event…Halloween!!!  Everyone loves Halloween!  It is so fun to get dressed up and go trick or treating.  The kiddos love to stuff their buckets full of candy, popcorn balls, cookies, and whatever else they can get their hands on! 

Did I say cookies?  Yes I did!  Which brings me to my amazing review for the day!  I had the pleasure of being chosen to review Smiley Cookies!  For those of you who have ever eaten at an Eat N Park, you will recognize the trademark smiley face cookie!  Even better, Smiley Cookie is based out of Pittsburgh!  I love supporting local western PA businesses!!!  You can see their assortment of Pittsburgh team theme cookies here!

Of course, when the box (which was packaged like Fort Knox) arrived and I opened it, my husband told me that I have the coolest job ever!  Cookies delivered to our front door was a dream come true for him!  He thinks I should get into food reviews!  Don't worry...I plan to stick to natural parenting and cloth diapers...but who could pass up a cookie review!?

On to the cookies...  If you are looking for a yummy treat, for any occasion (birthday, holiday, etc), and want it delivered right to your door…this is the place for you!  These cookies are delicious!  They arrived in a huge box, with tons of bubble wrap, not one of the cookies was cracked or broken, they were sealed in plastic, and they were perfectly soft and absolutely perfectly delicious.

The Halloween cookies are even more of a treat due to the candy corn face!  We all loved the candy corn face and we fought over who got the last cookie.  We ended up cutting it in thirds with each person getting a bite with candy corn!  Good thing there are only three of us!!!

Looking for a cute idea to give trick or treaters?  Try their Halloween mini cookies!!!  Perfect to hand out!

Or...Looking for a cute idea to announce that you are having a baby or to announce the gender of your upcoming arrival?  Try their baby cookies!!!

I highly recommend these cookies!  They were a yummy treat and would make a perfect addition to any holiday or celebration!  Think of the possibilities!!!!

Total Stars: ★★★★★

Want to purchase Smiley Cookies?  Become a fan of their Facebook page for 20% off your order of Halloween Cookie Gifts and Baskets!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.