October 12, 2017

My Breastfeeding Kit Essentials

I take my job as milkmaid seriously. I also enjoy being prepared for anything and everything. So when I began my third journey with a newborn I got a bit wiser and put together my breastfeeding kit; a cute and portable basket filled with all the items I may need for a nursing session. These are things I use multiple times throughout the day and night and having them within easy reach (especially at night!) has been invaluable.

 

Water bottle- you can never drink enough water while breastfeeding! I occasionally wake up with dry mouth and know that's my cue to drink more water!

Snack bar, apricot fruit leather- once you settle in to nurse, getting up for anything proves difficult. Keep some snacks on hand.

Nursing pads- no one likes to spring a leak ;)

Soothies gel pads- I like to keep these refrigerated for a cooler compress but any way they feel ah-mazing. A friend gave me this tip which is genius- since you're only wanting to cover the nipple, cut each round into fourths to make them last longer!

Lanolin- to soothe cracked nipples (heaven forbid)

Vintage Honey Shop nursing necklace- have a grabby baby? Wear one of these stylish and functional nursing necklaces to occupy baby’s hands so they can concentrate on eating.

Burp cloth (not pictured)- just in case!


 

Extras for baby:

Sun drops- our pediatrician recommended these vitamin D3 drops and all it takes is one drop applied to the nipple to avoid the hassle of getting your baby to take them orally.

Nail clippers and nail files- since my son still falls asleep during nursing sessions I take the opportunity to trim and file his nails.

Boppy- this won’t fit in the basket but I cart this positioning pillow throughout the house.


Those are my breastfeeding essentials that make up my kit! Hope this eases some new mom anxiety and supports lactation!


written by VHS contributor// Whitney Smith
Work it Mommy

 

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October 02, 2017

Traveling with Breastmilk

Today's post comes from travel blogger, Tavia Carlson, founder of Big Brave Nomad. If you don't follow her check her out, she's a super mom trekking through 10 countries and 18 states with her two little ones in tow. When we read her recent blog post on traveling with breastmilk we had to steal it! Ok, we didn't actually steal it, Tavia was gracious enough to want to share it with all of you amazing mamas! Weather you're on the road or flying with breastmilk, Tavia's advice on travel is invaluable ...

 Something we have had to deal with time and again is transporting breast milk either in a checked bag or carry on.  Both of our kids were/are breastfed.  There were times that we knew we would need a stash of milk upon arrival (for a babysitter), but there wouldn't be time to store up enough before we needed it.  I have put together several resources and tips for breastfeeding mothers who need or want to travel without worrying about their baby's breastmilk.

Shipping Breastmilk:

Women have been shipping breastmilk for a long time.  It isn't new, but there also isn't a ton of information out there.  Here are some convenient ways to ship your breastmilk if you are going to be separated from your baby due to travel or if you want a stockpile waiting for you upon arrival.

  1. FedEx:  They have an actual Mommy program.  They offer refrigerated containers that can be pre-ordered and delivered to you to fill up with your milk bags, then drop them off at a FedEx location for overnight delivery.  Get all the details HERE.
  2. MilkStork: This company is dedicated to shipping breast milk.  They send you containers to fill up and ship.  They do all the hard work, you just pre-arrange delivery of empty boxes and drop them off full to be overnight shipped.  Get all the details HERE.
  3. For Military Moms or Long-Term separations check out this AMAZING post by Breastfeeding in Combat Boots.  It explains how to properly package your milk and discusses international regulations.  See it HERE.

Flying with Breastmilk - Carry-On:

The TSA (within the United States) allows "a reasonable amount" of breastmilk to be carried through whether a mother is with her child or not.  I personally flew with about 60 ounces of frozen milk in my carry on WITHOUT my baby from Nashville to Florida and no one (TSA) questioned it.  You can see the exact rules outlined HERE.  Other countries are not as lenient.  We saw in 2016 when a woman was made to dump 500 ounces of breastmilk at the Heathrow airport because her baby was not with her. She had over 100ml (3 ounces) of milk in her carry on.  The regulations in the European Union are strict about not having more than 3 ounces of Breastmilk in a CLEAR container if you do not have your baby with you. Knowing the international rules is imperative.  Had she known, she could have frozen, prepacked in ice, and checked all of her hard earned milk. 

Flying with Breastmilk - Checked:

I have packed frozen milk into a small cooler with ice packs then packed the cooler in my luggage and checked it.  The flights were domestic and the milk was still fully frozen upon arrival.  I was able to then put them in the freezer and have them for babysitters.  This is much less risky than carrying large amounts of milk as a carry-on. If you package your milk appropriately, it will last the duration of your travel and be ready for baby upon arrival.  If you will be traveling for longer than 24-36 hours, I recommend checking out these breastmilk packing tips HERE.  For shorter travel days (8-10 hours), I have had no problem packing my milk with ice packs in small cooler.  There is no limit to the amount of milk checked through.

Roadtripping with Breastmilk:

In my opinion: this is the easiest way to travel with large amounts of breast milk.  I recommend one of two ways to roadtrip with frozen breast milk. 

  1. Buy a small travel fridge that you can plug into your car.  Store milk in this controlled environment. You can find one HERE.
  2. Bring a large cooler and pack it down with ice or dry ice.  You can continually refresh the ice as needed, which will keep the milk frozen solid.

If you're spending the night in a hotel on your road trip, bring the milk inside with you and if you can, put it in the freezer of the hotel!

Additional Information:

You can find a convenient packing list for pumping on the go HERE.

You can find more information about traveling with breastmilk and recommendations to mothers on the CDC's webpage HERE.

You can find the proper temperatures and suggested guidelines about freezing/storing breastmilk HERE.

Find breastfeeding support at these locations:

  1. International Lactation Consultant Association Directory
  2. La Leche League International
  3. Kelly Mom
  4. AMWELL Breastfeeding Support 24/7

With all things travel, don't be afraid of traveling while breastfeeding!! We have traveled to 10 countries while nursing.  I found breastfeeding to be convenient on travels since we didn't have to carry snacks/babyfood.

**I would like to add that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH FORMULA!!!  A fed baby is the best baby! We fully support either way!**

Check out our previous guest blog on how Europe changed my breastfeeding experience!

Fly Brave, Travel Often, See Everything,

Tavia

 


written by VHS contributor// Tavia Carlson
www.bigbravenomad.com

September 20, 2017

The Ultimate List of Breastfeeding Must Haves

Hey, Mama- we know breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. The nutritional, developmental and emotional benefits are undeniable. And breastfeeding helps create a bond between a mama and her baby in explainable ways. Many mamas report that feeding time soon becomes a special quiet moment during a hectic day.  But we won't lie to ya... we know breastfeeding has its challenges! From complete and utter exhaustion to cracked nipples and leaky boobs breastfeeding isn't always so fun. Here to help, we have The Ultimate List of Breastfeeding Must Haves! You're working hard and we know of some must haves products that will make breastfeeding a little easier. Keep up the good work mama- you're doing an amazing job!

 

Medela FreeStyle Hands Free Double Electric Pump

Reusable Nursing Pads

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow

Lansinoh Breast Therapy Hot or Cold Pads

Rumina Hands Free Pumping Bra

Medela Nursing Bra Lansinoh Nipple Shield

Como Toto Natural Feel Baby Bottle

Muslin Blankets

Large Water Bottle

Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter

Baby Nursing - Breastfeeding Tracker App

Nurselet Nursing Bracelets

Undercover Mama Nursing Tank

Aeroflow Breastpumps  

The Vintage Honey Shop Teething and Nursing Necklace

Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes
 

September 06, 2017

Baby Must Haves (3-6 months)

Joel is now 8 months! But I've rounded up a few must have items that kept baby and mama happy from month 3 through 6.

Playtime

  1. Sophie Giraffe- He can literally chew on this ALL day long. We talk about Sophie like she’s a real person. When My Husband and I are looking for her, we are like " Where is Sophie at?!, Oh there you are, Sophie" lol. It's pretty funny!
  2. Nuby Squeak Rattle and Roll Plush Ball- This is his go-to car ride toy! This stays in our car and it entertains him from point A to point B, C and D
  3. Nuby Banana Teether- Whenever Joel is getting a bit fussy from teething, we give him this toy to chew on and he chews away. It has little bristles which clean and massage his sore gums.
  4. Evenflo Walker-This thing is a life saver. Whenever we are trying to get things done around the house, whether it's cooking, cleaning or a quick shower, we put Joel in the walker. From month 3 through 6, they do very little walking in it, but are very intrigued by the toys on the Walker. He'll sit in it for 30-60 minutes without complaining! What could you get done in 30 minutes?!
  5. Joovy Nook HighChair-Favorite high chair ever! First off, it's black and white! If you know me, you know I LOVE black and white. Next off its super slim when folded. So when it's not in use, you can fold it up, and put it away in almost any Nook. Other than the walker, Joel loves to sit in this while we're cooking!

Sleep time

  1. Lollipop Baby Monitor- hands down, best Baby Monitor ever. Read my in-depth review here!
  2. DockATot- This is a naptime must have. We make sure whenever Joel naps, he naps in his Dockatot. So whenever we are away from home for an extended period of time (family gatherings, or vacations) he always feels at home and has no trouble napping, because he's use to the comfort of his DockATot.
  3. Slumber Buddy- Another thing he sleeps with. Whenever we put him down for his nap, we turn on the light show, and play music for him. So no matter where we are at, he feels like he's at home. They have other animal designs, but we settled for the one that matches his room (Lime green)
  4. Nested Bean Sleep Sack- We put him in this every night (still, even at 8 months old). We don't feel very comfortable putting him to bed with a blanket, and we keep our house at 69 degrees at night, so having him in a sleep sack takes the worry out of bedtime. What's great about this particular sleep sack, is that it has a little weighted bean and on the chest, so it mimics the touch of mom or dad. Joel loves it!

Extras

  1. Freshly Picked Mocs- If he's not barefoot, he's in a fresh pair of moccasins. Whenever we drop him off at the gym daycare, the ladies go crazy over his Mocs.
  2. Moss & Marsh Pacifier Holder/Bandana Bib- literally the most functional thing we own. Stops the drooling from drenching his shirt and holds his pacifier! The back of the Bib is a terry cloth, so it’s a very soft material.
  3. Mam Pacifier- I wish I could say something cool about this pacifier, but it's LITERALLY the ONLY brand he'll take.
  4. Parasol Diapers- Our favorite organic brand! They come in cute prints, and they're not stiff. If you've ever tried any other organic brand diaper, you'll know that they are extremely stiff. Parasol diapers are not! It feels like a soft cotton cloth.

Well that’s all for my must have items for a 3-6 onth old baby. Stay Tuned for 6-9 months!

 written by VHS contributor// Aseky Bonnaire 
Aseky + The Boys


 

August 14, 2017

Lactogenic Overnight Oats

The official countdown is on- I have exactly one month before baby brother joins our family! I am equal parts ecstatic and ready and nervous and preparing all the things. Breastfeeding is always my number one priority after giving birth (I have already spent 3.5+ years of my 6.5 years of motherhood dedicated to this expression of love!) and am gearing up for another two years of nourishing our son.


Since morning times are the most hectic in my household and we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I wanted to focus on making that rush time less stressful by having an easy go-to meal; and these lactogenic overnight oats are just the answer!


Not only are they easy to prepare, just throw everything into a mason jar, you prep them the night before and let the fridge do its magic and the oats soften and the flavors mingle. Even better part? Use the same mason jar to heat and eat from! This can't be easier.  Bonus: all the ingredients in this recipe help produce/sustain your milk production!

Lactogenic Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 fresh or 2-3 dried apricots, diced

1 TBSP honey (a natural sweetener)

1 TBSP flaxseeds, optional

1/2 cup almondmilk or more depending on how thick/thin you like your oatmeal

 

Layer all the dry ingredients and then top off with almondmilk. Cover and shake to incorporate all the ingredients. Place in fridge overnight and heat in microwave for 1 min (Microwave times will vary) the next morning. Enjoy!

 

*Oats are a great source of iron, calcuim and fiber. (source)

*Almonds and cashews are believed to boost breastmilk production. (source)

*Apricots are high in fiber, Vitamins A, C, potassium and calcium. (source)

*Flaxseed has phytoestrogens that can influence breast milk production and also contains essential fatty acids. (source)

 

written by VHS contributor// Whitney Smith
Work it Mommy

 

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August 10, 2017

Natural Remedies for a Baby's Cold

One thing mama's dread with our precious children is the cold.

We do the best we can to protect our little babes from any harmful germs and bacteria. But there is only so much we can do. When baby catches a cold, it's so hard to help them out because options for medicines are so limited when they're so tiny.

Here are some natural tips and products that's I've applied and used in my almost 5 years of motherhood.

  1. Saline nose drops: the Saline breaks down the mucous and makes it easier for it to be suctioned up.
  • Nasal aspiratior: Babies and young toddlers can’t blow their nose very effectively. So having a good reliable Nasal Aspirator to suction out any mucus is a must have item.
  • A steamy shower and a humidifier: these two things go hand in hand. The steam from the shower and the humidifier loosens up the mucus that may be built up in the chest. This is really great for a stuffy nose. I don’t know if you've ever experienced it, but when a baby has a stuffy nose, it makes for a rough night of sleep.
  • Speaking of sleep, we like to co-sleep whenever our kids are sick. We will open up the playpen or DockATot and keep them next to our bed. Having them close by, you're able to monitor them in case they start coughing real bad, or have issues breathing, or because they're restless and it's a pain to walk back and forth between my room and the baby's room. Plus, extra cuddles makes for a speedy recovery.
  1. Lots of rest. Whenever any of our kids get sick, we try to do as little as possible until they are well again. As an adult, you know that when you're sick, you just love to lie around and be catered to. Same goes for a baby, resting the body is one of the best things you can do.
  • Lots of Fluid. I always try to offer the breast as much as possible, to keep them hydrated! Do you remember as a kid, when you were sick, there was always a bottle of water next to your bed, and your mom constantly saying to drink your water? So if your baby is not of age to drink water, offer breastmilk or formula as much as you can.

And remember, you’re the mama. Trust your gut instincts. You know your baby better than anyone else does. Don’t ever second guess if you should take your baby to the Doctor or not!

 written by VHS contributor// Aseky Bonnaire 
Aseky + The Boys

August 02, 2017

2017 World Breastfeeding Week// BIG giveaway!

On August 1st we take a whole week WORLDWIDE "time out" to celebrate breastfeeding! Why? Because breastfeeding is a big deal! It's a time to raise awareness and support nursing mamas. The Vintage Honey Shop along with Breastfeeding Mama Talk has put together a free and fun guide you will want to {bee} sure to read. You will discover nursing mama MUST HAVE items (and a treat yo'self shopping list ;)!  You will find special coupons from participating shops and "A survival guide for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding", written by your trusted source for creating confident moms, Lactation Link!

Back to the celebration...It's time for another BIG World Breastfeeding Week giveaway! Cross your fingers because one lucky mama is going to take home over $550 in prizes from seriously the best shops! We're even giving away a free consultation on pumping via skype courtesy of The Exclusively Pumping Mom. The giveaway is being held on our instagram page and is super quick and easy to enter!

To enter > go to @thevintagehoneyshop for details!

Here is the prize package breakdown!

The Vintage Honey Shop// $50 gift card
Fairhaven Health//  1 Milk-Saver & 1 Milk Tray
RubyClaire Boutique// $50 Shop Credit
Undercover Mama// $25 giftcard
Lactalite// 1 pair of Lactalite Breast Pump Lights
The Dairy Fairy// $30 shop credit
White Loft// $50 shop credit
BizyBelle// One BizyBelle Tribal Arrow, Lovey Blanket
Bessie's Best Lactation Cookies//  A dozen cookies
North + Grace// A Just Because Gift Box 
Narra Nest// A baby carrier cover in choice of print
Dwell + Slumber// $62 Shop Credit
Little Sweets Co// $20 store credit
Sarah Wells Bags// "Kelly" greige breast pump bag
Lillemer Products LLC//one pair of lil'buds
Live Sweet Shop// $30 Gift Card
The Exclusive Pumping Mom// fennel oil + free pumping consultation with me on pumping

 

July 31, 2017

Free Baby of mine nursery wall art printable

Hey mama! We're kicking off World Breastfeeding Week 2017 early with a sneak peak of our FREE nursery wall art printable! This fun Scandinavian inspired design is perfect for both a sweet little girl's nursery or little man's nursery room! Download our free printable, print it on your home computer (or send it to your local printers), hang & enjoy!

 

Do you love free printables? We do! Sign up to receive amazing offers and new printables from The Vintage Honey Shop here!

July 19, 2017

Parenting with a Chronic Illness

There was so much information coming out of his mouth, but all I could hear were fragments of what he was saying. I kept nodding to keep up the apprearance that I was understanding what was going on, but all I heard was things like, "you are JAK2 positive....life expectancy ten years...chemotherapy...trial studies...bone marrow transplant". The room was spinning. I could hardly breathe. Was I going to die? Will my boys grow up without a mother? Why me?

I needed to get out of that exam room. I needed to breathe. I needed to wake up from this horrible nightmare.

This all happened two years ago, almost to the day. I was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease called Essential Thrombocythemia with a JAK2+ mutation (or ET for short...because I didn't already feel like an alien already!) where my stem cells mutated causing my body to over produce platelets which could turn into blood clots. Not good. The day that I found out my mother was watching my boys so that my husband & I could meet with an oncologist. I texted her asking if she could watch the boys for a few days. I knew that if I saw their faces that I would breakdown & scare them. We got home & all I could do was sob. I fell asleep in the arms of my husband crying as he prayed over me.

The next morning we had an appointment with another oncologist that specializes in bone marrow diseases that the other oncologist set up for me. We scheduled a bone marrow biopsy for a few weeks later. For an entire month I grieved. I cried every single day. I wanted to crawl up into a ball & not leave my bed. I wanted to shut down. But I couldn't. I had three boys who needed me. Though time seemed to have stopped, life kept going on around me. Food needed to be made, laundry had to be done. I had to keep moving. My family needed me.

A month later my bone marrow biopsy results came back that other than my mutation, my bone marrow looked good! This specialist believes that since my marrow was in good shape & because of my age that I should live a typical life expectancy! It was like I had been holding my breath for an entire month and I could finally take a breath. He explained that I basically have a form of blood cancer, chronic leukemia, or as they call it 'a happy cancer'. I will live but I will need to be on a daily aspirin & a daily low dose chemotherapy drug for the rest of my life.

OK, I can handle that. It sucks, but at least I'm not dying!

At the time of diagnosis (found with routine blood work), I had no symptoms. They asked me if I was tired or exhausted. I said yes but I thought that was suppose to be normal because I had three boys that I homeschool & run a business (a shout out to The Vintage Honey Shop, woot-woot)! I stayed symptom free for a few months which was great because coming to terms with a chronic disease was more than I could handle. Slowly I began to become more tired. I felt heavy, like there was an elephant sitting on top of me. It was like I was coming down with the flu. You know how your body starts to feel achey? Your bones, skin & muscles begin to hurt? Like all you want to do is crawl into your bed & sleep it off? This is how I feel everyday. Thankfully I have a pill that helps combat those symptoms but there are a few hours everyday that I'm feeling like a truck has hit me before the pills kick in. 

Dealing with chronic pain is hard. Dealing with chronic pain is harder when you have children who need you. There are days when I am laying around all day. On those days we stay in our pajamas, watch Netflix & order pizza. In the perspective of kids it's probably the best days ever. In the perspective of a mother, I feel like a failure.

Do you know what the worst thing about having this disease is? It's not the pain or exhaustion, it's the guilt. While I'm beyond happy & feel so blessed to be alive, I do struggle with feeling like a failure as a mother. I use to take my kids to the zoo, the park, museums. I use to do craft projects with them...I was like a Disneyland mom all the time. I had it in my head that a good mom was someone who did all of those things, so when I couldn't do them anymore because of my exhaustion & acheiness it hit me hard. It broke my heart to hear one of my sons tell a stranger at the store that 'mommy is sick every days'. Is this how they see me? Will they look back to their childhood to remember mommy being sick all the time? It is more than my heart can handle sometimes.

Then I tell myself "Jennifer, you are a darn good mom! You aren't ruining the boys, in fact they are going to look back and see all the things you did with a chronic illness with amazement! They are going to see you as a fighter!" 

If you are living with a chronic illness while parenting it's totally fine...and normal to feel overwhelmed. Parenting in itself is overwhelming let alone doing it when you don't feel good! Here are some tips that have helped me:

•You aren't super mom, so don't be afraid to ask for help! If a friend offers to help you out...don't turn it down! If they didn't want to do it they wouldn't have asked.

•Try to get outside as much as you can. I find that just sitting outside on a park bench while my kids play on the playground is helpful to all of us. I can rest while they play!

•If you are having a bad day physically, declare it 'Pajama & Movie Day'! No child has ever been ruined by wantching movies or Netflix all day with their mama!

•Take a big blanket outside with a bunch of books & have a 'let's lay down and read some books' kind of an afternoon!

•Order out! There is nothing wrong with ordering pizzas or something on Uber Eats! 

•When you do cook, make double so that you can freeze the other half. On days you don't feel good you can pop a casserole in the oven! 

•Do NOT hold your feelings inside of you! Look for an online support group on Facebook. It's sometimes easier to vent to strangers than to your friends & family...especially when they are going through the exact same thing as you!

•Try a new hobby! I've recently been experimenting with painting & needlework. Doing something new helps keep my mind off not feeling good! 

Just know that you aren't alone. You are an awesome mom & your children will grow up stronger for it! How can they not, they have a fighter raising them!!!

 

July 18, 2017

50 Family Fun Summer Activities

  1. Make s'mores
  2. Blow bubbles
  3. Make chalk paint {equal parts cornstartch and water plus food coloring}
  4. Run through the sprinklers
  5. Have a picnic
  6. Make popsicles
  7. Play hopscotch
  8. Take a bike ride {don't forget the helmets!}
  9. Have a backyard camp out
  10. Go berry picking
  11. Make ice cream
  12. Catch bugs
  13. Go on a hike
  14. Make daisy chains
  15. Play at a park
  16. Make a bird feeder {pinecone + peanut butter + bird seed}
  17. Use that kiddie pool and have a pool party
  18. Play shadow tag
  19. Plant a hummingbird garden
  20. Go geocaching
  21. Stargaze
  22. Play flashlight tag at night
  23. Go bird watching
  24. Collect shells from the beach
  25. Make a tic-tac-toe game from found objects {rocks/shells/acorns, etc.}
  26. Tie-dye a tee shirt
  27. Have a movie night
  28. Discover a Children's Museum
  29. Have a water balloon fight
  30. Make fruit smoothies
  31. Visit a Farmer's Market
  32. Participate in a Summer Reading Challenge at a local library
  33. Fly a kite
  34. Make lemonade
  35. Build a sand castle
  36. Cloud watch
  37. Build a pillow fort
  38. Climb a tree
  39. Have a nature scavenger hunt
  40. Watch the sun set
  41. Go to the fair
  42. Jump rope
  43. Shoot some hoops
  44. Bake cookies
  45. Visit an Amusement Park
  46. Play board games
  47. Learn a card trick
  48. Make play dough
  49. Color and/or draw
  50. Skip rocks across a pond or lake

Enjoy what precious time is left of Summer!

 written by VHS contributor// Whitney Smith
Work it Mommy

 

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