We weren’t sure how we would introduce the idea of a baby growing inside my tummy or how breastfeeding works to our then 3 ½ year old. Thank goodness we had 9 months to prepare him to not be our “baby” anymore. These are a few suggestions I have for mamas to help their little ones get ready.
Read To Them
My favorite book to read together was “What Baby Needs” by William Sears, Martha Sears, and Christie Watts Kelly. This one helped me give the run down of breastfeeding would be like once a baby came into the world. My son certainly didn’t remember nursing, and the thought was slightly confusing to him, so this was nice to read about together!
Another book I highly suggest is “I’m A Big Brother!” (Or Sister) by Ronne Randall and Kristina Stephenson. I love how this one explains to the sibling that babies grow up slowly, and cannot play, roll balls, or interact with them right away.
A few other cute ones are “The New Baby” by Mercer Mayer as well as “The Birds, The Bees, and The Berenstain Bears” by Stan & Jan Berenstain.
Big Brother/Sister Gifts
Once we got close to my due date I got together a fun little big brother gift basket. He had just turned 4 so we ordered some fun water beads, a new space book, an interactive Minion coloring book for his Ipad, and new pajamas to stay over at Grammy and Poppi’s house while we were at the hospital! I had planned to get him a disposable camera to use at the hospital to take pictures of the baby and our family, but we ran out of time to buy one.
I’m so thankful for that first book, “What Baby Needs” that we read over and over after his little brother was born, to help him realize he will always have mommy to spend time with and mommy just needs to feed brother because he can’t eat like him. We ended up having a smooth transition and he was a wonderful big brother to his baby. Good luck to all you expecting mamas out there!
written by VHS contributor// Britney Kaufman
The Busy Boy Mama
I'll admit I'm a control freak. Not even a little one, a huge giant control freak. It's hard for me to relax during a normal week, but add holiday stress into the mix and I'm a hot mess. Finally after 5 years of being a working mom I'm learning to ask for help and do things for myself. I'm realizing how important self-care is for my mental health and without that, I can't properly take care of the kids and myself.
Here are my self-care tips for mothers, especially new mothers, around the holidays.
Let others do the cooking.
Touching on the topic of me being a control freak, I used to stress myself out doing a million things rather than try to ask for help. This is definitely the hardest for me. Why would I want to spend 10-15 minutes explaining something and answering questions, than just doing it myself? Well it took me almost 5 years to figure out that I didn't have to do everything myself and if I took 10 minutes explaining how to clean or cook something, or even where to take the kids, I could have 45+ minutes to myself. Instruct someone how they can help you out by cooking or what to cook. If you're hosting a holiday party, have people bring side dishes and desserts!
Pictured below is an incident from one week after Christmas, being at 37 weeks pregnant trying to bake birthday cupcakes:
Take a walk.
I'm not talking about around the mall while you're shopping for gifts, I mean getting outside! Exercising can boost your mood, and this is especially important to postpartum mothers. Also, if you live somewhere where it's cold and gray during the winter, you could also be at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is another good reason to get outside in the (limited) sunshine during the winter and get yourself some vitamin D.
Whether It be an extra coffee, tea, glass of wine, massage, or splurging on that $10 bath bomb. Make sure you do something extra for yourself! You are more than likely doing most of the shopping and planning for the holiday, you deserve an early gift.
Take a break from social media.
Taking a break doesn’t have to mean a week; even if it's putting your phone up for a few hours, or a whole day. It's hard to not compare yourself to other families or moms that have their whole homes perfectly decorated. I grew up in a house that was beautiful every year, and do I remember what it looked like? NO! I remember the experience of putting ornaments on a tree and going to dinner at my grandmas. Live in the moment with your baby/kids and enjoy it!
Hope these tips help you relax a little bit and remember it’s ok to be selfish once in a while!
written by VHS contributor// Britney Kaufman
The Busy Boy Mama
We can almost smell the turkey and mashed potatoes! Who else is getting stoked for Thanksgiving?! If you haven't noticed yet we love to celebrate holidays around here by giving away printables! This free "thankful and blessed" printable is just perfect for this time of year. Frame it and this would make a wonderful (and inexpensive) hostess gift to give to whoever hosts Turkey Day in your family! I have mine hanging in our studio with some cute washi tape. If you're thankful :) for it let us know by pinning or sharing this post and we will keep the free printables a coming!
We're also having some fun over at our Honey Mamas Facebook Fan Group ! If you're not a Honey Mama Fan yet we would love for you to join us. Our Honey Mamas have access to exclusive coupons, flash sales & giveaways! Oh and we're even offering an exclusive necklace (at a special sales price woot woot) for members only! So come hang out with us.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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,
written by VHS contributor// Tavia Carlson
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.
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