Archives for January 2018

Easy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Moms

Easy Breakfast Ideas for Busy MomsThe mornings are probably you’re busiest time as you’re getting everyone, including yourself, ready to face their day. Everyone’s up on time, dressed and ready, lunches and book bags are packed, and everyone has eaten breakfast but you. Moms need to eat too so we’re sharing easy breakfast ideas for busy moms like you!

The first thought that may pop in your head when we bring up easy breakfast ideas for busy moms is something you bought from a store that comes in an individually wrapped package. Yes, those protein bars, breakfast biscuits, tubs of cereal and frozen breakfast sandwiches are super convenient but they are also filled with a lot of nonsense you don’t want in your body, especially if you are breastfeeding. We’re talking lots of sodium, unnatural chemicals and sugar.

Every once in awhile a pre-packaged breakfast will have to do but try to stick with natural whole foods whenever possible. Try some of these wholesome easy breakfast ideas for busy moms:

Oatmeal:  Not the kind that comes in the packets, but real whole oats are an amazing superfood that offers fantastic fiber to support stable blood sugar levels all day long. Plus, oatmeal is a known galactogogue, which means it helps naturally increase your milk supply.

Oatmeal is pretty simple to prepare on the stove or you can prep it the night before. If you’re not a fan of pure oatmeal, flavor it with natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or fruit. If you want an amazing twist on a regular bowl of oatmeal, work on flavor combos like carrot cake, banana maple crunch, apple cinnamon or berry delight. When taking oatmeal on-the-go, use a small insulated thermos to keep it warm and delicious.

Egg Muffins: In about 15 minutes time you can have a protein-packed breakfast ready to go and we bet your kiddos will love these too. Simply beat some eggs, pour them into greased muffin tins and bake for about 10-12 minutes. The eggs should fluff up nicely. Feel free to add spices you enjoy, cheese, turkey bacon, or veggies such as spinach, tomatoes, peppers and onions.

Smoothie: In about two minutes time you can have a delicious, healthy smoothie ready for the road. Just be sure to have the right ingredients on hand. Try hitting up every food group in your smoothie by ensuring you have several fruits and veggies, a source of protein (yogurt, nuts, nut butters, tofu or a hard boiled egg are all great choices), dairy (or alternative calcium source if you are dairy-free) and a superfood like amla, Spirulina, Moringa or maca.

Baked Bars: Did you know those store-bought breakfast bars can be made fresh in your own kitchen and without all the processed ingredients? There are many variations of homemade granola-type breakfast bars. The gist of them is using butter, baking soda and a natural sweetener combined with grains like rolled oats, flaxseed, chia seeds, quinoa, whole wheat flour, plus adding in the flavor tidbits you love like chocolate chips, dried fruit and nuts. Give this one a go and toss in some galactogogue ingredients like oats, almonds and ginger.

Quinoa: You may not think of quinoa as a breakfast food but it can absolutely be one. This is actually a great breakfast to prepare on Sunday nights and eat hot or cold throughout the week. Try flavoring your quinoa with dried fruit, berries or vanilla beans. You can eat it with similar fixings as oatmeal and enjoy some plant protein first thing in the morning.

Nut-butter Protein Bites: This no-bake popable breakfast is equally as easy to make and eat. In a food processor, mix together your favorite unsalted nuts, a few tablespoons of your favorite nut-butters, 5 pitted dates, super grains (like hempseeds, flaxseeds or chia seeds), oats, honey and coconut oil. Once your mixture is blended, scoop it into balls. Eat them right away or refrigerate for breakfasts during the week.

Superfood Muffins: Muffins are great for breakfasts and snacks on-the-go and freeze beautifully too. There are many ways to make an all-natural muffin but start with a base of ripe bananas, unsweetened applesauce or a pumpkin puree. Add in oats or whole wheat flour, a couple of eggs, a teaspoon of baking soda, super grains, and a natural sweetener (or two).

Greek Yogurt Parfait: Forget the fancy layers and just throw some Greek yogurt, nuts, fruit and a drizzle of honey into a to-go cup for the road. You’ll love the taste and feel satisfied until lunchtime with the perfect mixture of nutrients.

Extra Easy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Moms

When you have a minute or less to grab something but you want it to be healthy, natural fuel for your day, try one of these ideas:

  • A spoonful of almond butter
  • One handful of walnuts + one handful of dried fruit
  • Edamame
  • Peas with hemp hearts
  • Avocado on whole wheat toast

Sources: Creative Green Living, Keeper of the Home. Meraki Lane and Mom 365

Alternatives to a Baby Book

A traditional baby book is a fabulous account of your baby’s life but can be quite time-consuming. If you’re like most modern moms, you’re looking for a meaningful way to save the memories without interrupting your time to make new ones. That’s why we’re sharing alternatives to a baby book that help you keep track of your little one as she grows.

Take a look at these alternatives to a baby book:

Memory Box

Set aside memorabilia, growth charts from your baby’s doctor’s visits, report cards, special clothing and other items in a memory box. You can even jot down notes and stick them inside to remind you of certain special moments.

Alternatives to a Baby BookPhoto Apps

There are many apps that will aggregate your photos from your smart phone and social media accounts and curate them into an online album. Some will print the album for free or for a small fee.

Memory Quilt

Take scraps of favorite outfits, blankets and stuffed toys and stitch them into a quilt. If you’re not a sewer, you can send off your patches to a professional and then mail you back a beautiful memory quilt for your baby.

Create a Website

This may sound like it would take more time than a baby book, but once you have the initial setup figured out, it’s really quite simple to add updates. Plus, you can send it to friends and family so you can share photos, videos and stories in real time. Then you have your baby’s childhood recorded online for posterity.

Calendar

Make a photo calendar for each year of your child’s life. Add funny quotes throughout. Once it is printed, go back and add in special dates on the calendar such as first words, first steps and first teeth.

Journal App

Keep a log of moments you want to remember such as first words, funny things your child says or does and observations. You and your little one will love looking back at it together one day.

Time Capsule

Create a time capsule for each year of your baby’s life. After the year is over, seal it up and start a new one. This way you’ll collect memories and be able to sort through them per year when your baby is older.

Letters to Your Baby

Write a letter to your baby each month or on special occasions and keep them for your little love to read when she is older. Your letters can include milestones and things the two of you are doing together at that time.

Fill-in-the-Blank Baby Book

Keep it super simple and buy a fill-in-the-blank baby book that will give you spots to record all sorts of important data so you don’t have to otherwise remember what to write.

Sources: Mom.me and Café Mom

Baby Nap Schedule

You may not notice it every day but your baby is constantly growing thanks to the phenomenal nutrients in your breast milk and her voracity for sleep. Babies are known for their ability to sleep, although it may not happen exactly when and for how long you desire. Today we’re diving into the baby nap schedule to give you a frame of reference for what to expect from your little love.

Baby Nap ScheduleNewborns tend to be quite sleepy and may take a nap every hour or so. But the naps are usually shorter and somewhat erratic. This is partially because your baby needs to eat every two to three hours. Focus on feeding on demand and let the naps happen as they will. No need to develop a baby nap schedule in the newborn stage.

Somewhere around 6 to 9 weeks your baby may start napping for longer stretches and become wakeful for longer as well. Three to five naps are common at this age although the timing may vary daily.

By three or four months a baby sleep schedule may naturally fall into place, though for some babies it doesn’t happen until six or nine months. Your baby might continue to take three to four naps but the timing may be more predictable.

At six months most babies are on a fairly regular routine of two or three naps daily. A morning and early afternoon nap are typical. Depending on their bedtime, some babies need a catnap in the early evening too.

By around nine months your baby can work with a solid two nap schedule. One will be in the morning, just a few hours after waking. The other will be in the early-to-mid afternoon. Expect naps to last between one and two hours.

Most toddlers transition to one midday or afternoon nap by 18 months. The loss of the morning nap is bitter sweet for many parents, but it does allow your baby to be more active for longer in the early part of the day.

Most children continue to nap throughout their 3rd and 4th year, some even nap into their 5th year. Naps may vary from one hour to three hours at this stage. As time progresses, your child may be OK skipping a nap every now and then and some children only nap occasionally when they really need it. If you find that naps are interfering with nighttime sleep, you may need to limit them to a shorter timeframe or push bedtime back a little.

Keep in mind that all babies, toddlers and young children are different so there is not a “one size fits all” template for a baby nap schedule. Rather, it’s important to take note of patterns and natural rhythm cues that your baby displays and then try to create a somewhat predictable baby nap schedule from there.

Also remember that almost everything in early childhood is temporary. Once you figure out your baby nap schedule, surely things will change far too soon. It’s the nature of parenting and raising children!

Sources: Baby Sleep Site and BabyCenter

The Diaper Change: Tips to Make Diaper Changes Easier

The Diaper Change: Tips to Make Diaper Changes EasierThe diaper change is one of the less-than-pleasant realities of being a new mom. It’s probably not so bad most of the time. But when you enter a diaper blowout phase or get sprayed with urine a time or two, you may start to dread the process. A fussy or squirmy baby only makes things worse.

You’ve probably got the diaper change basics under control. Your diaper changing station is set up with all the supplies you need. You’ve determined the right size diaper. You wash your hands before and after changing your baby. And you discard of soiled diapers in the least offensive manner possible.

But the diaper change can still be a difficult scene. Here are some expert tips to make diaper changes easier:

Special Toys

Distraction is the name of the game when babies get fussy during diaper changes. Reserve special toys for the diaper change so you know your baby will be engaged, if only for the few minutes you need to do the deed. When you see she’s getting tired of the toys, switch them out for something better.

Special Songs

Sing a special song your baby loves during diaper changes only. If you can’t find one, write one yourself – about diaper changing of course. This can be something silly your baby looks forward to during diaper changes.

Make it Positive

When you have the dreaded face of a parent about to change a diaper, it’s hard for your baby to get excited about the proposition. Rather, be positive about the diaper change so your baby can mimic your good mood.

Change the Scenery

Perhaps a new environment is what you need to keep diaper changes more peaceful. Take it down to the floor or in another room if necessary. Always ensure your baby’s safety by never taking your hand off of her if she’s above ground level.

Offer Participation and Choices

For older babies, involve them in the process by letting them pull wipes from the box and select a diaper or clothes for the day. These small elements of participation and control can make your baby feel good about the diaper change and the role she has played in it.

Connect

It’s tempting to hold your breath and get through the diaper change as quickly as possible. But sometimes it’s nice to connect with your little one when you have the moment and proximity. Look her in the eyes and tell her a story. Tickle her precious skin. Give her kisses on her belly. Rub her nose with yours. Anything that helps your baby remain calm and feel your love is a great way to connect during a diaper change, and it may just keep her calm and engaged long enough for you to get the job done.

Sources: What to Expect, Mommy Shorts and Red Tricycle

Baby Skin Care: Protecting Your Baby’s Winter Skin

Baby Skin Care: Protecting Your Baby’s Winter SkinBurns, rashes, chapped skin and eczema are all common baby skin care issues this time of year.  Protecting your baby’s winter skin will help her avoid discomfort and maintain that smooth, soft, delicate skin you love to snuggle.

Here’s a guide to baby skin care issues and how to help resolve them:

Chapped Skin

The Issue: Dry winter air outdoors and indoors plus gusty winds beating on your child’s delicate skin can lead to chapped skin and lips. You may notice rosy cheeks or peeling lips as signs of chapped skin. Windburn looks and feels a lot like sunburn.

The Solution: Moisturize your baby’s skin day and night in the winter. Use a formula designed for a baby’s sensitive skin. Apply a baby-safe lip balm daily as well. Keep your baby protected from the wind with long clothing and a stroller cover.

Frostbite or Frostnip

The Issue: Frostbite and her younger sibling frostnip may set in faster than you think. Our bodies react to cold weather by reducing blood flow to the extremities in order to protect our organs. Frostbite and frostnip may appear as redness or skin may look bluish or lose color.

The Solution: Cover your baby’s body as much as possible with clothing, mittens and a hat that wraps around her ears and chin. Don’t stay out in extreme conditions too long. If you notice redness or discoloration that may be frostbite or frostnip, put your baby in a lukewarm bath and call your doctor.

Heat Rash

The Issue: Heat rash is common when babies are over-bundled for the weather. It is marked by red pimply skin in the areas that are overheated and sweaty, often in the creases of a baby’s arms, legs, neck and groin. This occurs when sweat glands become clogged.

The Solution: Aim for lose fitting clothing that still offers warmth rather than wrapping your baby too tightly. If your baby does develop a heat rash, blot the area with a water and baking soda mixture.

Sunburn

The Issue: Despite cold weather, the sun can still burn your baby’s skin during the winter. This is particularly common when the sun is out and snow is on the ground because the white snow reflects the sun back onto your baby’s skin.

The Solution: It’s great to help your baby get her Vitamin D naturally during winter months. It can boost her mood and support her entire body. But do apply a baby-safe sunscreen before spending time outside in the sun and try to stay out of direct sunlight in peak hours.

Eczema

The Issue: This dry, bumpy skin condition may be chronic but it is usually worse when skin is dry. It may look red and flaky with raised bumps.

The Solution:  Moisturizing, especially after a bath, is the best way to treat eczema. Also, keep your baby’s nails short so she doesn’t scratch the area and make it worse.

Sources: Parents, What to Expect and CNN

Overactive Letdown

Breastfeeding is a delicate balance – on the one hand you want to ensure your milk supply meets your baby’s needs and she’s able to suckle properly for adequate nourishment. On the other hand, sometimes overactive letdown and oversupply can become an issue that hinders your breastfeeding experience and causes some uncomfortable side effects for your baby.

Overactive letdown, also known as forceful letdown, occurs when your milk is forcefully ejected in great quantity early in a feeding to the point that your baby is overwhelmed by it. Your baby may immediately unlatch or clamp down on your breast to slow the flow of milk. She may also start to choke, gag, spit up, or swallow air that leads to gas and fussiness. In some cases babies refuse to nurse out of fear of the overactive letdown.

Overactive LetdownFor those moms who experience it, overactive letdown usually begins between three and six weeks once your mature milk is in and your milk supply is strong – in this case perhaps too strong. All the wonderful efforts you have made to increase your milk supply may lead to an oversupply, one of the most common causes of overactive letdown. Usually the issue naturally resolves by around three months because your body learns to adjust to your baby’s needs and your milk supply stabilizes.

In the mean time, there are several methods to control an overactive letdown and how it affects your baby. Most experts first recommend trying to position your baby to use gravity to her benefit. This means your baby will be more upright than sideways the fast flow of milk will more easily drain down her throat.

You can also try nursing your baby more frequently to avoid a larger build-up of milk in your breasts between feedings. If that doesn’t work, you can let your baby nurse until the letdown occurs, then remove her from the breast for a few minutes to allow the forceful ejection to occur (into a towel or cup) and then resume feeding. Or you can pump through the letdown and then begin feeding your baby. Another tactic is nursing when your baby is drowsy so she won’t suck as hard and hopefully the letdown will come slower and smoother.

If overactive letdown is still an issue, you may need to address the root cause, your oversupply of breast milk. It’s important to first note that trying to decrease an oversupply of milk should not be attempted in the first month of breastfeeding as it may backfire and lead to low milk supply.

Pumping may seem like the obvious solution to oversupply but pumping may actually increase your milk supply. Experts suggest two methods. The first is simply switching sides frequently during a feeding. However, one issue with this method (which also may be true of the entire issue of overactive letdown): your baby is primarily getting foremilk and not the valuable fatty hind milk.

The other method is block feeding. In this scenario moms will feed from only one breast for a period of time and then switch to the other breast for the next block of time. This allows one breast to drain fully and letdowns are not as forceful. Of course the other breast may then be rather full so you can pump it until you are comfortable, trying to pump less and less day-by-day. Cold compresses between feedings may also restrict milk supply but be careful not to cause plugged ducts and engorgement.

The delicate balance of your milk supply can be challenging to say the least. Overactive letdown is a temporary issue, though. With the right combination of solutions and handling the problem in stride, you and your baby will find this balance.

Sources: Kelly Mom, La Leche League and Mama Natural

Bath Safety

Bath SafetyJanuary is National Bath Safety Month so we’re sharing tips on bath safety.

Bath time should be a splashy, splashy fun experience for your little one and can be a part of a wonderful daytime or nighttime routine. But the bathroom can also be a dangerous place for babies if you don’t take bath safety precautions.

Keep these bath safety tips in mind for your home and anywhere your child may bathe regularly:

  • Never leave your baby unattended in a bathroom. Babies can drown in only an inch or two of water and it can happen very quickly.
  • Have all items with you in the bathroom before you begin giving your baby a bath. This includes towels, washcloths, toys, a change of clothes and a fresh diaper.
  • If you must leave the bathroom, wrap your baby in a towel and bring her with you.
  • Babies typically prefer water cooler than adults. Set your water heater so it never exceeds 120 degrees to eliminate risk of burns.
  • Fill the tub with two to four inches of water and no higher than your baby’s waist level.
  • Place a no-skid mat in the tub to avoid slips and falls.
  • Cover the bath spout with soft protection.
  • Keep the bathroom temperature toasty to keep your baby warm when she gets out of the bath.
  • It’s best to give your baby a sponge bath until the umbilical cord nub has fallen off and circumcisions have healed. Then you can move to a baby tub with a sling that will safely prop your baby to avoid submersion.
  • Empty bath water as soon as you’re done with it. Leaving water in the bath is dangerous if your baby or toddler wanders into the bathroom unattended.
  • Close and lock toilet seats to avoid babies from playing with the water and potentially falling in.
  • Lock medicine cabinets and keep all medications, including vitamins, out of reach.
  • Put away electronics so they don’t accidently fall into the bath.
  • Your baby does not need a bath every day but it’s fine to give one if your baby enjoys it and it helps you create a calming or stimulating routine.
  • Use a baby-safe soap free of dyes and fragrances sparingly. It’s fine to wash your baby in plain water and use soap only a few days a week.
  • If soap tends to dry out your baby’s skin, apply it at the end of the bath so your baby is not sitting in soapy water for too long.
  • Never let your baby play with or turn on the faucet. While it may be innocent and harmless now, it is a habit that might be dangerous in the future.
  • Bubble baths may seem like fun but they can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Switch bathroom locks so your child can never lock herself in the bathroom.
  • Feel free to take a bath with your baby. This can be a fun, relaxing and bonding ritual for you both.

We hope you implement these bath safety tips for the safety and wellbeing of your little one during National Bath Safety Month.

Sources: Healthy Children, Parents and BabyCenter