Lifestyle

Breastfeeding Essentials

Infant baby girl wrapped in white sheet with pink bow in hair.

My Breastfeeding Journey

Today I am going to tell all you breastfeeding mamas about my must have breastfeeding essentials. This is going to be a multi part series about breastfeeding as I have been breastfeeding for just shy of 18 months. I have spent countless hours researching and have compiled a lot of good advice that I plan to share with you. This journey has had many ups and downs, tears and smiles. Breastfeeding might be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is definitely one of the most rewarding and biggest accomplishments of my life. I will go into my struggles and what helped me in future posts but this one is dedicated to my must haves so be sure to stay tuned.

Breastfeeding Essentials Pump and Pump Parts

Having a good quality pump is a very important breastfeeding essential. I received a Medela Pump in Style Advanced pump for my baby shower and have absolutely loved it. This pump is such great quality and that is key when choosing a pump. It is specifically designed to help with more breast milk expression. Be sure to get a good pump that is electric as manual pumps do not pull as much milk. Many insurance companies will pay for all or a portion of your pump. Heck get two if you are a working mom because lugging this thing around can be such a pain in the the butt! Below I am providing a link to my pump and a few others I have heard are good.

Pump Links

Medela Pump in Style Advanced
https://amzn.to/2lqsBTF
Spectra Pump
https://amzn.to/2lpCQri
Willow Breast Pump
https://shop.willowpump.com/pages/buy?kme=Google+Ad+Visit&km_Google+Ad+Id=340509355898&km_Google+Ad+Position=1o5&km_Google+Ad+Keyword=&km_Google+Ad+Matchtype=&km_Google+Ad+Network=g&km_Google+Ad+Device=c&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwpavpBRDQARIsAPfTwizF5nK8pCGGiP1NtztNW0zUVsWbqDAVCwzTbFwWZiEvg75jtlVLTVQaAouiEALw_wcB

This is a very useful tool used to collect excess milk on the opposite breast while feeding. It is especially useful before your milk is regulated when you tend to leak often.

Breastfeeding Essentials Pump Accessories

The right accessories for your pump can make all the difference. When you spend so much time attached to your pump you will find it helpful to make the process as painless as possible.

You have to purchase this car adapter for your pump. The Medela comes with a battery pack but you will burn through those batteries in no time. If you are like me and don’t have a good place to pump or travel frequently this is a LIFESAVER! It works with several pumps but be sure to check to make sure it works with yours.

If you are struggling with pain you need to give these a try. Its made of soft silicone and definitely provide a softer feel while pumping.

Freemie cups are a must have! You can insert these into your bra without having to have a special bra and can pump completely hands free. I used these daily. They are a lifesaver and an absolute must!

These two pillows are the most popular. I did not have much success with the Boppy. I believe that my breast friend would have worked better for me. However some women swear by and really love these pillows.

https://amzn.to/2Sh7uiU

These nursing covers can be used as a car seat cover and a nursing cover. They are stretchy and are super comfy.

These are my favorite bags for storing milk in. I also used the up and up brand from target. I used an extra flange as a funnel for pouring the milk in to keep it from spilling.

This is another one of my favorite ways to freeze milk in 1 oz portions so you can be more precise as well as minimize your plastic. I freeze these then combine them all in one big zip lock or food safe cloth bag.

Breastfeeding Essentials Increasing/Decreasing Milk Supply

I am going to go into some ways to increase/ decrease your milk supply and let down in a future post but here are my must have items you need to purchase.

Fenugreek is great for increasing your milk supply and I have had great success with this. Please be sure to get the okay from your doctor before use.

Fennel is a great essential oil to use when increasing your milk supply. You can apply directly to the breast avoiding the nipple area and not during feedings. As usual please ask your doctor before use.

Peppermint tea can be helpful if you have an oversupply. Be cautious as to not decrease your supply to much and as always check with your physician.

Breastfeeding Essentials Breast Care

Stock photo

There are tons of different nipple balms and creams out there but my favorite is good old fashioned coconut oil. This is edible and there is no need to remove it before breastfeeding. It can provide lubrication to your nipple during pumping if you find it painful and is a great overall moisturizer. We grab ours in bulk from Costco.

You are definitely going to need some nursing pads. I love reusable ones as you can wash them, they are also safer for the environment and easier on your skin.

This massage tool is great for those who struggle with lumps and it helps to improve the flow of milk. I wish I had this at the beginning as I consistently had lumps and a lot of pain that was hard to work through.

Donation

I was able to donate over 500 ounces to those in need and I encourage you to look into this if you have an abundance of milk. I chose the Austin Milk Bank and will go into this at a further date.

Feeding Toddlers

Check out my previous post on what I feed my toddler for more information on providing sound meals and first foods in a thoughtful and healthful way.

Pink kids divided plate filled with cubed cheese, ham, and grapes

Breastfeeding Essentials Give Away

I am partnering with a mom of four including 5 month old twins in this giveaway. We will be giving away some nursing pads because you can never have enough. In order to be entered into the giveaway follow me on Instagram as well as her account on Instagram. Tag some mamas who need these nursing pads and a bonus entry is by following my blog. Give away ends Sunday night July 21, 2019 and the winner will be announced via Instagram on Monday July 22, 2019. Good luck to you all and I hope you enjoyed my Breastfeeding essentials.Breastfeeding essentials

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, I may earn a commission if you complete a purchase after following the link .

Lifestyle, Recipes

What I Feed My Toddler

Pink kids divided plate filled with cubed cheese, ham, and grapes

What I Feed My Toddler for Foodie Friday

Today I wanted to do something a little bit different for Foodie Friday. I am going to walk you through what I feed my toddler. As many of you already know I am a Registered Dietitian. I get questions quite often about what exactly I feed my daughter. These are my opinions and may or may not be what is best for your family. I hope I can provide some help to new moms who are looking for ideas on what to feed their toddler.

First Foods

When Amelia was six months old we introduced solids. Our first food was avocado. We chose this due to the fact that it was soft and not sweet. Ill let you take a look at the pictures below to see if you think she liked it or not.

As you can tell she was not a fan of avocado and still isn’t to this day. We stuck with a rule of one new food per three days. This was in order to determine if any allergies or intolerance may have occurred. This is such an important step when introducing foods. It can take a few days before you notice any changes in diapers, skin, etc. I kept a log so that I knew which foods we tried and the days in which we tried them. Needless to say she wasn’t too happy for a few days with just plain avocado. We decided to add in banana and mix it with the avocado and she loved it! Every few days we would add in a new food and continued with the old.

Food Textures

There are many different ways to start solids with little ones. This can include purees, baby led weaning or a little bit of both. Amelia did not do well with chunky textures at first. Gagging is unfortunately a normal part of learning to eat. It helps babies learn to move food back up to be further manipulated into more manageable pieces to swallow. We stuck with mostly smooth consistencies because along with the gagging she also vomited several times (TMI I know). I don’t know about you all but I HATE getting sick. Above all I wanted her to have association with food.

As she progressed and learned more about gumming her foods we attempted a thicker chunkier texture. If this lead to her getting sick we would not make a big deal about it and would try again later. As she reached around nine months she really wanted to hold onto her food. We introduced teething crackers which helped her learn how to chew and swallow even further. Amelia could feel them better in her mouth and learned what was too big of a bite. We continued with purees and slowly but surely went from puree to finger foods. By the end of her first year she could eat pretty much anything even without teeth!

To Make or Not to Make

It can be a tough decision when deciding exactly how to approach feeding your toddler. We made 99% of our baby food. It is cheaper, we had control of the ingredients, and we wanted to feed her what we ate. For example if were having Mexican sweet potatoes we would puree her up some sweet potatoes, and avocado. If chicken and broccoli are for dinner, broccoli puree it was.

I did some batch cooking for her to make it even easier. I would purchase the organic vegetables that were on sale. Bulk cook them and freeze them for later. I cooked grass fed ground beef added a little bit of broth and pureed that and froze it. This is a great way to make sure your little one is getting adequate iron. As we added in more food groups I made sure to provide more variety for optimal nutrients.

Spices, Garlic, and Fats Oh My

I was careful to be sure to include good fats like coconut oil and olive oil in my cooking. When she was still getting puree foods I mixed coconut oil in with her foods. She would sometimes take it straight off the spoon! Fat is excellent for brain development and I wanted to be sure she was getting enough of it. Currently we continue with healthy fats in addition to herbs, garlic, onions, spicy stuff and she typically gobbles it up.

Picky Eaters

We have been very careful to try and feed Amelia exactly as we eat. For this reason I believe we are blessed with a pretty good eater. There are times when some items are a little too spicy, tough, to chew etc. However for the most part she eats what we do.

I believe kids are picky in part because we allow them to be. Kids watch us and anticipate how to react even as young babies. If a parent doesn’t like a particular food and they make that known their children pick up on it. Now, I’m not saying you or your kid has to like broccoli. However I think its important to let our children decide for themselves if they like it or not. A prime example is grape tomatoes and black olives which I don’t care for. I am proud to say those are two of my kiddos favorite foods. I put my own bias aside and this has allowed her to develop her own opinion.

Clean your Plate

This is a controversial topic but I am going to give my opinion. A large reason why many people today have a problem with being overweight is due to being forced to clean our plates. Yes it is not good to waste but unless you are planning to donate your food it isn’t going to end up on the plate of those less fortunate anyway.

In my house we put an amount that we think Amelia will eat on her tray. She eats what she eats and we save the rest for later. It is as simple as that. In order to tell if your kiddo is full or not look to see if they are getting distracted. They tend to turn away and loose interest when they are done. As she has gotten older she will say “up”, or sometimes the food gets thrown on the ground. The biggest thing is to learn and pay attention to their cues.

I believe we are born with the innate ability to control what our body needs. If we are mindful we eat when we are hungry and stop when we are is full. Obviously you don’t want your kiddo going several meals without eating. If your child has skipped several meals, and you are worried please contact your pediatrician.

Links to some of the food items we used.

We bought a baby blender but found we didn’t like it as much as our regular blender. I know this is rather pricey but let me tell you its worth it! We have a Blendtec and I would repurchase again and again. If you are not looking to spend this much I have heard great things about the Ninja blender too.

Once we blended the food we would place in these silicone one ounce molds and freeze.

I purchased these reusable pouches which I still use today. We use them for smoothies and apple sauce. I also purchased these silicone toppers. I find they are more gentle on your little ones mouth and keep the food from getting everywhere.

We used this brand baby food if we needed to purchase in a pinch. I always choose organic and tried to stick with glass, and bpa free. Earth’s Best and Happy baby both make some great pouches and even Aldi has some good options.

These Creamies are awesome and they are full of really clean ingredients. They are also diary free for those babies who might not be able to tolerate diary.

These are my favorite teething “cookies” they are very clean and have very little sugar. They have a few different flavors and we like them all. I love that they are organic also.

Amelia loves freeze dried fruit. It can be hard to find organic but when you do its an awesome snack.

Here is a link to the divided plate pictured above

https://amzn.to/2Jhr2AJ

Food is For Fun

Remember the saying that before one food is just for fun. I tried to remind myself this on days where she didn’t eat as much. Remember to keep trying as tastes change, try and cook the item in different ways. I continue to offer the items that my daughter doesn’t like without force. One day I hope she will try it and decide she likes it. Take comfort in knowing that food is just for fun until one. Since you are breastfeeding or formula feeding for the first year its ok if a large amount is not consumed. Take this time to really experience flavors, textures and have fun with it!

If you have left over burgers from your fourth festivities and are looking for a delicious sauce try my tzatziki recipe. Add a little feta cheese and red onion and you have yourself a Greek burger.

Wooden bowl with metal spoon cucumber dip inside

Whats up with you

I hope you all have had a great fourth. Let’s keep the conversation going. Let me know what you feed your little ones.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualify purchases. Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, I may earn a commission if you complete a purchase after following the link .