News Page 5 - The Vintage Honey Shop
February 02, 2017

The Diaper Bag

These days, diaper bags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  At my baby shower I was gifted a great diaper bag with a shoulder strap which we love, but it got to the point where it was just too heavy and bulky.  I eventually came across diaper backpacks and I have to say whoever came up with these is a genius!
 
Diapering
 
I know, the first thing you think of when it comes to a diaper bag is diapers of course.  But how many do you pack?  Well, it depends on the length of your trip and how often you have to change your little one.  For us, I usually pack 2-4 diapers and our trips usually range from a half an hour to about 4 hours at the longest.  Just remember that each baby is different so pack as many as you think will last the trip, just don't pack diapers and leave room for nothing else in your bag.  Something you may also want to include are of course wipes.  I suggest the normal size of wipes but depending on space, there are also smaller sizes.
 
Feeding
 
Bottles are a given.  Whether you just take one or go with a couple it's up to you and the length of your trip.  If you are feeding your little one formula you can also get premixed bottles and pack those as well.  Once the doctor says it's ok to start feeding baby food, you can food either in containers or jars (however it comes) with the utensils needed, just not the whole drawer.
 
Blankets
 
I can't tell you how easy it is to overpack with blankets!  Baby will always need one so depending on the weather or season you will need to choose wisely.  We live in a warmer climate so I usually go with soft muslin blankets.  I keep one in the car and in the diaper bag.  Muslin blankets are great because they can keep baby either warm or cool, whichever is needed and they're also great as a breastfeeding cover for a feeding on the go!
 
Health Monitoring
 
Our baby was a C-Section baby and like most C-Section babies she had some breathing and swallowing problems in the beginning so the nasal aspirator was a must.  I mean we took that thing everywhere for the first couple of months (even if it was the next room) because you just never know.  Something else you may want to consider is a small travel thermometer.  Let's face it, babies get sick.  It's always an added bonus if you have one handy, just in case.  Lotions are also great to keep on hand.  Our baby had really dry skin about 2 weekend after she was born and our doctor suggested a non-scented lotion for her which we still keep handy.  Also for the hotter months, sunscreen is a must!  Babies burn very easily and you want to keep your little one safe when you're out in the sun!
 
Clothes
 
Accidents happen and sometimes it’s best to pack an extra outfit if you have the space.  An extra onesie and pair of socks (and sweater depending on the weather) are usually good enough.
 
Entertainment
 
Does your little one have a favorite toy or book?  How about a baby mirror?  Bring it.  Sometimes peek-a-boo just won't cut it and you need some backup.  Also, some extra bonding time is great for everyone!
 
Everything Else
 
We would've never thought that our baby was starting the beginning stages of teeth at a little over 2 months but there we were.  With that in mind, I highly suggest at least packing a teething accessory of some sort, but me personally I try to always have a teething necklace on hand at all times.  Bibs are also a must.  Although our baby is a happy baby she sometimes spits up and drools and a bib comes in super handy.  Pacifiers are also great for self-soothing, because sometimes baby is cranky and needs a little "me" time.
 
Extras You May Want to Think About
 
Ever since we got the green light from the doctor to take the baby out (and she got her 2 month shots) we took our little one out a little more with each trip, even if it was to the grocery store and we learned a lot.  Something that no one ever thought to tell me was to bring a bag to put dirty diapers in.  I mean what are parents supposed to do if they're on the road and don't have a trash can handy?  Bring your own bag, even if it's a plastic one, it will make everyone involved a lot happier.  Also, your baby is going to spit up.  A lot.  And if you're like me, sometimes you won't notice it until you're in the checkout line at Target.  Bring an extra shirt.  Lastly, depending on your view on baby wearing you can pack either an inexpensive sling or wrap as well (because you never know when you will be in a situation where you'll need one).  I have a sling that easily folds up flat and I put in the front pocket of my diaper bag, it's such a life saver.
 
Just remember, these are all suggestions based on a new mama's experience.  Every baby is different and your little one may have different needs.  In the end it's all about you and your baby!

 

 

Written by VHS contributor// Allison Dandrea

www.linenlavender.com

January 18, 2017

How to Master Pre & Post Mama Work Style

Let's face it, finding a great work wardrobe is hard. It's even harder when you're trying to dress both a pregnant and then post-pregnant body, not to mention how expensive it can be. Just don't do it. If you can actually find clothes that fit, you'll most likely won't fit them in a short while anyway so essentially, it's a waste of money. What I didn't know when I was a soon-to-be mama and wished that someone told me was that I really didn't have to spend that much, most of the time what you wear while you're pregnant is totally wearable afterwards as well (when you're working on getting your pre-pregnant body back).

 

Here are some great mama approved work looks that you could totally rock when you're still transitioning your wardrobe and body, no matter the job.

 https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OVIflttA1Q8/WFN2cNI8KaI/AAAAAAAAFz8/TVg-qjpUdqsWSmUhZqsOblXKPDH_AXs2wCLcB/s1600/fb72a242575aa8ee0662670c61d49001little+blonde+book.jpg

Photo: Little Blonde Book

 

Whether you're meeting clients for a meeting or attending a luncheon, this look is great and it's all about comfort. As a soon-to-be mama, we all want to feel good in our clothes and most of all be comfortable. Just because you're not pregnant anymore doesn't mean that you have to throw out your maternity clothes, use them while you still can. Learn to love your post-pregnant body, and wearing clothes that fit will help you with that!

 

This look is great because we have everything about this look in our closets already. From the stretchy grey top and skinny pants to the comfortable booties, this is what makes this outfit so easy to copy and perfect for transitioning. The stretchy top that was tight in your third trimester, will perfectly cover your fourth trimester tummy, while you're still trying to get back to your normal self. Polished off by the blazer and in all neutral tones (which look good on everyone by the way), this look is a must.

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-IbOMbB2ekRw/WFN2b_tG8hI/AAAAAAAAFzs/D0EHQTP915k8wU1WtMxaAO8d7gWfHj3ngCEw/s1600/IMG_2669how+does+she.jpg 

Photo: How Does She

 

Office looks were definitely the hardest when I was pregnant. I wasn't the type of mama-to-be that wore super tight clothes that showed off my bump (even though it was super obvious and no offense to those who did/do), so I basically had to get creative. That's why this look is so great. No matter how much you grow while your pregnant and then shrunk afterwards, the shirt over the dress look is a great go to. The key to this look is finding a stretchy dress. It doesn't have to be a tight stretchy dress, just a comfortable dress and throw on a nice button-down shirt and there you go, office attire perfection.

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Photo: Pink Peonies

 

I wished that I could try heels when I was pregnant with my little one but alas, my feet were too swollen very early on, but kudos to you all that could do it (you know who you are). Whether you work in fashion or marketing or maybe you just have a killer sense of style, this look is for you! This look has got to be the easiest look on this list because it revolves around a black dress. What's so great about it? We all have it in our closets already! This look works great for someone who's pregnant and just had a baby because it's not only stretchy but classic so it's 100% transitional for your after

baby body. The black dress will still show off your shape but also be comfortable, just add a fitted jacket and a pop of color and you're go to go!

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Photo: Ella Brooks Blog

 

When I was pregnant I was very lucky because I worked at a very relaxed nonprofit in their art/marketing department and this was literally my outfit almost every single day (minus the hat). If your job dress code allows, this is the most fluid transitional look for mamas-to-be to mamas after baby. Everything about this look screams comfort

from the Birkenstocks all the way up to the long cardigan (without looking too relaxed for the office). This look is very forgiving and can either grow with you or shrink if need be. Even though I've lost most of my pregnant stomach, I still rock this look for time to time.

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 Photo: One Little Momma

 

This look is for everyone's favorite day of the week, Casual Friday. Even though the office dress code might allow you to technically wear a t-shirt and jeans, you want to

be comfortable and professional at the same time. While I was still pregnant, it was easy to swap out a graphic tee for a stretchy, loose fitting top that served the same purpose. Even after you have your little one, that top will still look great with your maternity jeans (if you still wear them) or a pair of comfortable skinny jeans. To polish off your look, add some cute peep toe shoes and your look is complete.

 

Just remember, no matter your size or shape it's so important to love who you are! Dressing your new body after baby should be fun, don't get discouraged because your "old clothes" don't fit anymore. It takes time to get your body back (you were carrying another human for crying out loud) and you should embrace the new you because you are beautiful!

 

Written by VHS contributor// Allison Dandrea

www.linenlavender.com

January 11, 2017

Learning to Love Green Smoothies

When my older daughter was about 8 months old, I became pregnant with her little sister. We were anxious, but excited! One of my earliest and most pressing concerns was keeping up my milk supply until she was at least a year old, and this was really a challenge with the hormonal changes of pregnancy. For me, this meant I needed to make sure I was taking in enough extra calories for both the needs of pregnancy AND breastfeeding.

One thing I started doing that I found really helpful and delicious was making smoothies. I would make up a big batch in our Baby Bullet in the morning, and it would be enough for both breakfast and a snack for the day. Initially, I just packed it with yogurt, fruit, and peanut butter. It was a good source of healthy calories for me but it was also high in fiber, so it kept me full between meals.

I still enjoy my smoothies now that I’m breastfeeding my second daughter. I’ve experimented over time with my “recipe,” and although it never really tastes the same, I have it down to a pretty good science. (I put recipe in quotations because I don’t measure anymore – I got a feel for throwing in a little of this and little of that, so I can make them much more efficiently now.) My latest and best addition has been spinach and kale. Thinking of giving it a try, but a green fruit smoothie freaks you out? I felt the same way! But I took it slow, and I made it work for me and still taste delicious. Bonus: my 2 year old loves my smoothies and always begs for some when she sees me take out the Bullet!

Here are my main ingredients and tips for making a healthy smoothie your whole family will love:

Start by blending together yogurt, a liquid, a banana, and a handful of frozen fruit. I like to use greek vanilla yogurt with at least a little fat. Depending on what I have in my fridge at the time, I’ll add a dash of orange juice or apple cider – just enough to help everything blend together without the blender having to work too hard. I also usually keep a frozen banana in the freezer in case we’re running low, and I stock up on fresh blueberries and strawberries when they’re on sale so I can freeze them and have them on hand for the winter. If I have some other fresh fruit at the time, I’ll also add that in. Mangoes are one of my favorites to change up the taste.

Next, add a teaspoon of peanut butter and a generous handful of spinach or a medium stalk of kale. If you’ve never added greens to a smoothie, I suggest starting small and adding in more as you become more comfortable with it. I honestly don’t notice any difference in the flavor even when my smoothie is 100% green in color. And neither does my toddler!

Since I’m breastfeeding, I also like to add about a tablespoon of flax seed and a teaspoon of Brewer’s Yeast. Any more than a teaspoon, and the flavor turns much too bitter for my taste. Flax seed is much more forgiving and mostly just changes texture more than flavor. I know there are a lot of other supplement options for breastfeeding and other uses, but these are the two that I’m comfortable using. As a general rule, I stick to ingredients that I would normally get from foods and avoid branded or herbal supplements – but do whatever you’re comfortable with!

A few other ingredients that I used to blend in but have kind of fallen away from (mostly just because I forget) include oats, Ovaltine, and honey.

My best advice for smoothies (green or not) is to just play around with ingredients and figure out what flavor and consistency you like the most. So go ahead – have some fun!

written by VHS contributor// Kendra St. Hilaire
@marebearmom
January 06, 2017

The Top 10 PERFECT New Year’s Resolutions For Any Busy Mama!

-Brought to you by the mamas from The Vintage Honey Shop! 

  1. Resolve to better hide the smell of chocolate on your breath. Your kids don’t need to know everything!!!
  2. Resolve to find the perfect pair of jeans and then buy them 2 sizes up so you feel SKIN......EEE!!! 
  3. Resolve to embrace Old McDonalds Spa night. Can you relax in the bathtub with 20 lifelike miniature barnyard animals? Oh yes you can! 
  4. Resolve to take some pics and videos of your third child. When did he get here anyway?  
  5. Resolve to buy a lock for you bathroom door. Need I say more?
  6. Resolve to re wash the laundry you already washed sitting in your washer within 48 hours. Girl, you got this!
  7. Resolve to learn better selfie taking angles than your 2 yr old.  
  8. Resolve to double no triple the Five Second Rule. That's right you have a full 15 seconds to pick that bagel up off the floor and eat it!  
  9. Resolve to refuse to let Anna and Elsa intimidate you with their hair braiding techniques. You know they have a whole team of stylists!
  10. Resolve to rock your VHS nursing + teething necklace!! 2017 is your year!!!
January 03, 2017

I Am a Good Mom

When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I received an overwhelming amount of advice and support. There were those that gave me cliché advice – “It goes by so fast” – and those who gave me unique advice – “make sure to use witch hazel after birth.” Although all the advice I received was true, nothing really prepared me for the amount of worry I would feel.

 

Before our first was born I worried about everything. What is the safest car seat? What is the best stroller on the market? What is the cutest crib? How much can that diaper bag fit in it? Will he know he is loved? Will he be happy? Will I be enough? Will I be a good mom? Once our son was born, the worry didn’t go away: it simply changed.

 

As he grew older I stopped worrying about what I carried in the diaper bag. A blow out happened and I don’t have a change of clothes? Who cares! I will figure it out if it happens. He crawled into a wall? Guess that means he will have to watch where he’s going. Of course I made sure he was always safe and wouldn’t really hurt himself. I just decided that it wasn’t worth the worry to control every aspect of his day. I’d rather him slow motion crawl into the wall, that can be cured with a cuddle and a kiss, than let him learn his limits and abilities when he can really hurt himself.

 

Even though I decided to let go of a lot of worry early on, I didn’t realize how much was still there until recently. Our second son is only 6 months old. He got a cold that has morphed into much more. It has been the saddest, most heartbreaking week and a half of my parenting journey. I have spent this time cuddling, rocking, soothing, and praying. It is very scary knowing there isn’t much you can personally do. It has brought me back to the basic worries I have always had: Does he know he’s loved? Is he happy? Am I enough? Am I a good mom?

 

Every smile shows me he knows he is loved. Every giggle he gives his brother, his puppy, his daddy, and me, shows me he is happy. Every loving stare shows me I am enough. This week and a half has been very humbling. I hope that I do not have to go through this or anything worse than this again. However, I am thankful it has reminded me of the most important thing: I am a good mom.

 

Written by VHS contributor// Meg Anderson
millennialmeg.com

December 30, 2016

A Supermom’s Guide to Flu Season

Tis the season – cold and flu season, that is!

As the temperatures get colder, the windows are shut tighter, and friends and family gather, there is a rise in the incidence of cold and flu viruses. While hibernation is unfortunately not an option for us, that doesn’t mean that we’re helpless in in the face of all the nasty germs. Here are some things I recommend to my patients that you can do to prevent and treat whatever comes your way.

Prevention

Breastfeeding: Chances are, most of you reading this article are already breastfeeding. Breastmilk not only nourishes your baby, but it also provides vital defenses for your baby against cold and flu viruses. Especially if you get the same cold that your baby has, your body will develop antibodies that kill off the virus. Antibodies are transferred via breastmilk to your baby. Your breastmilk is frequently changing to meet the needs of your baby, and this is just one of the cool ways!

Flu shots: To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: this is the (often not so friendly) debate between so many moms and families. While I’m not here to start up a vaccine debate, the fact is that getting a flu shot can decrease the chance of catching the flu. For those who catch the flu despite getting a flu shot, the vaccine decreases the severity of the flu. There is some research to suggest that a breastfed baby will get some benefits from his or her mom getting a flu shot, but the best defense comes when mom, baby, and anyone else in the house all get vaccinated.

Essential oils: I know very, very little about essential oils, but I’m learning a little more each day from my Instagram friend @essentially_joilful. She shared with me that she likes to use melaleuca (tea tree oil), On Guard, and Wild Orange for her baby to help prevent and treat cold and flu symptoms. She has used these oils for her son from early on, but she dilutes them by 50/50 or greater with fractionated coconut oil. Diluted essential oils can be applied to the spine and feet of babies. Check her out for more tips and information!

Zinc: There are few vitamins and supplements that I recommend to my patients – but zinc is one that I am quick to share. At the first sign of illness, adults can take 50mg of Zinc twice daily for 5-10 days. Studies have shown that, when taken in the first 24-48 hours after the onset of symptoms, the duration and severity of the cold or flu will be significantly decreased. Keep in mind that zinc taken on a daily basis will actually decrease the immune system, so only take it as needed when symptoms arise.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is another supplement that I recommend in the winter and for my patients who live in New England or other parts of the country that don’t receive a lot of vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is a vital building block for healthy immune system function. Your doctor can recommend the right dose for you and your child.

Healthy eating, exercise, and rest: Easier said than done, right? But, these three things are self-explanatory and go a long way. Just do your best! When you take care of your body, it will take care of you.

Treatment

Breastfeeding: No, you’re not seeing double! Breastfeeding helps to prevent AND treat the flu. See my explanation above.

Hydration: For babies that aren’t breastfeeding, and for moms, dads, and big kids, make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration makes it harder to heal and makes cold and flu symptoms feel worse.

Humidification: Running a humidifier throughout the day and evening will help to loosen congestion and ease breathing, especially for babies.

Mattress elevation: Stick a rolled up towel or sheet under the head of a crib mattress to help babies cough less and sleep more soundly.

What won’t work

Antibiotics: One of the most important parts of my job is educating my patients and their families. And the role of antibiotics in treating colds and the flu comes up every day I’m in the office. Antibiotics, quite simply, DO NOT help to treat the common cold or the flu. Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, and antibiotics only kill bacteria. Antibiotics, when prescribed to people who have a virus, actually decrease the body’s ability to fight off viruses, because they kill good bacteria that help to defend against viruses. This can have short-term and long-term effects on the immune system. So if your doctor or health care practitioner doesn’t want to prescribe an antibiotic for you or your kids, trust them!

As always, make sure to ask your doctor or your child’s pediatrician any specific questions about symptoms or treatments related to colds and the flu.

Wishing you and your family good health this holiday season!

written by VHS contributor// Kendra St. Hilaire
@marebearmom
December 15, 2016

Tips for Breastfeeding at Holiday Gatherings

 

The holidays can be stressful.  There are a lot of holiday events and parties to go to.  And, bonus, it’s easy to bring a little breastfed baby to all the parties!  But it can also be tricky to navigate the where/why/how of breastfeeding at large gatherings.  Here are a few tips to make it easier!

  1. Ask the host if there’s a separate room you can nurse in. Sometimes, Christmas parties can be very very crowded, and there’s not always a comfortable spot available to sit to nurse.  When my daughter was a newborn, I would take the opportunity to slip away to a back bedroom and nurse there.  It was quiet, usually cooler than the other room, and sometimes there was a tv there.  While I don’t normally like to leave the room to go breastfeed, in this case it was nice to have a little break from all the merry-making.  Also, if you have an older baby who might get distracted by all the people, this is a great way to feed them quickly and away from the distractions.
  1. Bring your own water bottle. If you have your own access to water whenever, it makes it easier on yourself and on the host. You never know what might be served, and you could partake in it as well, but it’s nice to have your own source of water.

  2. Use a cover. Sometimes if there are a lot of people present, it feels more comfortable to use a cover of some kind. But this is ONLY if it makes YOU feel more comfortable.  If you’re more comfortable nursing uncovered, don’t feel like you have to use a cover if you don’t want to.

  3. Relax. It’s a party! Don’t worry too much about nursing, you know what’s best for your baby and the way things need to be to comfortably nurse.  Do what suits you best.

  4. Use a code word for when it’s time to politely go home. Don’t feel like you need to stay at the party the whole time. Leave as early as you feel comfortable with!  And if you don’t want to straight up say “ok, we’re leaving”, create a code word to use with your partner to give them time to say their goodbyes and then go snuggle your baby on your own couch.

written by blog contributor// Alysa Friesen
alysalovely.com

December 10, 2016

What’s In Mama’s Stocking

Do you exchange Christmas stockings with your husband?  I think that everyone should get a stocking, and what is in mama’s stocking is just as important as what is in the little ones stockings.  It’s time to take care of yourself, too!

Here are some ideas for things you can get your husband to fill your stocking with (or, that you can put in your own stocking)!

 

  1. The Vintage Honey Shop Nursing Necklace - perfect for a mama with any age babe.
  2. Makeup -  For when you have time to put some on ;)
  3. Socks -  You can never have too many pairs of socks .
  4. Gift cards – Wherever your favourite store is, a gift card is the perfect stocking stuffer. My personal favourite gift card to receive is for Starbucks.
  5. Mama’s Favourite Chocolate – Every stocking should have chocolate ;)
  6. Water Bottle – As a mama, I have a hard time getting all my water in. A pretty water bottle would be the perfect thing to help me remember to drink water.
  7. Candles – Who doesn’t love candles?
  8. Christmas tree ornament – There are so many for the kids, it’s fun to receive pretty ornaments for mama, too!

written by blog contributor// Alysa Friesen
alysalovely.com

December 07, 2016

What I want my kids to remember about the Holidays

 

Growing up my family, particularly my parents, tried their hardest to make sure we kids had a great Christmas. They always got us what we wanted. I remember one Christmas I had asked my Grandparents for The Little Mermaid bed sheets to which my Grandma happily obliged. Too bad for her I made these sheets up in my head. The Little Mermaid had been out for years and these bed sheets were nowhere to be found. All I remember is opening that present on Christmas day and seeing those glorious sheets I envisioned. To this day I couldn’t tell you what exactly these sheets looked like. What I can tell you is that those sheets are long gone.

Now that I have children, I am constantly thinking of stories like this. What do I want my kids to remember? Do I want them to remember what gift they asked for, and eventually got rid of? Or do I want them to remember what others have done for them? How others made them feel? How they made others feel? The holidays can be a constant struggle for me with my kids. I am not very far into this parenting journey, only 22 months, truth be told. However, I can already feel myself going “too far.”

 What is too far, might you ask? To me it’s too many materialist possessions. Why do I need to buy my son 10 Thomas The Trains? Is it because he wants 10, or is it because I want to see his face light up 10 times? If I am being honest, it’s the latter. I am sure my parents and grandparents did the same thing at times. Did my grandma give me the sheets to see my face light up? Maybe.

In hindsight she probably knew that even though my grandparents were physically giving me bed sheets, they were giving me so much more. They were giving me the memory of conversations with my grandparents about things I liked. They were giving me the memory of time spent with family. They were giving me the memory of the pure love they had for me. I still have no idea how she found them, this was pre-internet times, and I just know that she and my mom spent months looking for this just because I asked.

Now, I am not about to go out and get everything my kids ask for but I will get them a few things they ask for. My husband and I have long ago agreed that the kids will each get one small gift from Santa and one bigger joint gift from us. I fully plan on riding this train as long as possible but I also do not want to miss out on seeing the joy on my kids face and the little giggles of delight when they open their presents. My parents don’t know this but when I open gifts, I always watch them as I do. I see how happy it makes them seeing me happy in any way. It’s not the physical gift they are giving me; it’s the love that pours out of them. This is what I want my kids to remember when they grow up.

 

Written by VHS contributor// Meg Anderson
millennialmeg.com

December 02, 2016

A dozen baby products I wish I’d known about with baby #1 (or still love with baby #2)

While I’m certainly far from an expert on motherhood, two babies worth of 2 am breastfeeding web surfing (and maybe a bit too much Amazon shopping) has turned me into a bit of a baby product connoisseur of sorts. I have so many other friends and family co-existing in this newborn world with me, and I’ve helped many of them create registries and pick out great products. It’s inspired me to create my list of products that I wish I had found before baby #2 as well as some that I did find with baby #1 and still use the heck out of.

I should warn that I’m one of those moms that’s a big fan of breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapers, but I think I rounded out this list with at least a little something for everyone. In no particular order (because we all know babies need A LOT of stuff), here are my favorites.

1) I worked my way through a few nipple creams before discovering Motherlove nipple cream. At a price point above most others, I debated buying it after the ones I already had lying all over my couch weren’t giving me the relief I hoped for. I was so glad I eventually gave in. It saved my poor sore nipples a few weeks into breastfeeding my first, and it was the only nipple cream I bought to have ready for baby #2. I usually buy it on Amazon, because they will sometimes sell a 2 or 3 pack that saves a few bucks.

2) I could never get used to disposable nursing pads. They felt rough and looked bulky. I quickly started using Bamboobies reusable pads exclusively. They are super soft, easy to wash, and plenty absorbent with both a day and night option. They are much more discrete under my clothes. I have about 7-8 pairs that I rotate through, and that is plenty with as much wash as I do with all the laundry my little monsters make. They even run a promotion to get a free pair for just the cost of shipping a few times a year!

3) I hate, hate, hate pumping. I pumped quite a bit with my first daughter because she wasn’t even 6 lbs at birth, and I needed to get her weight up sooner rather than later. I vowed to pump less with my second daughter as I didn’t want to waste what little time I had to split between the girls washing bottles and pump parts. I still, however, wanted to build up a bit of a stash before I returned to work and had no choice but to pump. Enter Milkies Milk Saver. The packaging states that most mothers waste 1-4 oz each time she breastfeeds. This is definitely an overestimate for me, but over the course of 2-3 days, I was able to collect enough to create and freeze a full bottle. The silicone oval-shaped device slips into any bra or tank, and you can just rinse between breastfeeding sessions. You’ll start to notice a theme here, but I also bought this on Amazon. Prime 2-day shipping has saved me more times than I can count.

4) Whether you pump or not, the Rumina pump and nurse tank is one of the most supportive nursing tanks I’ve found so far. And if you do pump, being hands-free is a game changer. I wear these tanks most days at home, and I also grabbed it to wear under a cardigan most work days. It’s great to not have to change into some form of pumping apparatus at work. I also love how quickly I can grab my babe once I get home and latch her on after missing her from a day at work. The tanks are really easy to wash and dry without having to worry about pilling, which is an issue with many others that I own. Rumina runs a factory-seconds sale occasionally and I love to stock up then so I am never without one before laundry day.

5) With baby #1, I got quite a bit of use out of a babywearing shirt and stretchy wrap. With baby #2, I discovered Vija Design shirts, and now it’s just about all I use. I loved the convenience of my first babywearing shirt, but it lacked the support that I would have liked in order to have my hands truly free to get things done. The Vija Design tops combine the support and the convenience I needed. Beyond that, it’s skin-to-skin for added bonding. And they even make one for Dads! My husband and I both have one, and they are worth their weight in gold. My daughter immediately calms down whenever we slip her in. It’s super convenient when I have to make my toddler dinner or I want to be able to play with her on the floor and still hold my newborn. You can find a great variety to choose from at http://www.milkandbaby.com/collections/kangaroo-care. (I have the t-shirt and nursing top in coral.)

6) We’ve all been there. Struggling to get from parking lot to grocery store with a baby (or 2), a diaper bag, and various other paraphernalia in tow. And when you finally get inside and prepare to tuck your babe into the shopping cart, you realize you forgot that bulky cart cover. If you’re like me and cart germs give you a bit of a panic attack, this means another trip back and forth to the car when you’re already counting the seconds before you have to get back home before nap time. There has to be a better option! And there is, but I didn’t find it until baby #2. The Covered Goods multi-use nursing cover can be worn as an infinity scarf, but it’s also compact enough to keep in a diaper bag. It also can be used as a car seat cover and does a great job blocking out wind and rain while also allowing a view of baby. And of course the name gives away that it’s also a stretchy and light cover for nursing.

7) For my first Christmas as a new mom, my husband bought me a beautiful pendant necklace surrounded by tiny little inset diamonds. I wanted to wear it all the time – until my daughter’s hands figured out how to put it in her mouth, and I feared I’d be on a treasure hunt for the diamonds in her next diaper. And then I found The Vintage Honey Shop! I got a couple of necklaces from them with my first daughter, but I became obsessed with my second daughter. I wore her constantly to survive life with two babes, and so her little hands needed to be occupied all the more. I’m pretty sure there must be baby hand magnets imbedded in those wood beads! But, be warned, they’re kind of like Lay’s potato chips – you can’t stop at one!

8) Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray. It sprays upside down and smells nice when your postpartum lady parts, well, just don’t. If you’ve had a baby already, I’m sure you recall how much you need a little something soothing down there. And if you’re expecting your first baby, just trust me on this one. Enough said.

9) White noise is a great tool for keeping baby asleep a bit longer. And every minute counts when you have a newborn. We bought a Cloud B sleep sheep sometime after we transitioned my first daughter into her crib because I was looking for a sound machine that would turn itself back on if she started crying. Cloud B makes both a sheep and owl “smart sensor” version that does just that. My daughter is so accustomed to it now that I think she yells out in her half-asleep state because she has learned that she can get it back on. We had to buy a second for baby #2!

10) Babies go through A TON of diapers. That moment when your newborn poops in the diaper you JUST changed is enough to drive you crazy, especially with the cost of disposable diapers. With my first daughter, we used up the diapers given to us by the hospital, and then we transitioned into cloth diapers. With my second, we started cloth diapers even sooner. We settled upon a combination of newborn gDiapers and Chelory Mini-Cs for her and this allowed me to exclusively cloth diaper her even when she started sleeping longer stretches at night. I found that the newborn gDiapers (which we continue to use in the bigger sizes as the girls grow) actually fit those curled up tiny little babies better than disposables, thus preventing blow outs. The Chelory Mini-Cs are far more absorbent and thus a great night option, especially when paired with a doubler. Both are quite easy to wash, and with all the laundry babies make, it’s not all that much more work to care for.

11) Maybe I was a bit behind on this one, but stain removal is loads easier with Oxiclean. I have so many outfits from baby #1 that I love, but they were stained and ruined for baby #2. Until I discovered Oxiclean. It gets out spit up, poop, and even fruit and veggie stains in the very messy early days of starting solid foods. They even make a baby version, so you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals. You can find baby Oxiclean at Babies R Us and other baby stores.

12) My first daughter had VERY tiny feet. Even newborn socks were huge on her. I struggled to find anything that stayed on her feet other than boring plain white socks. With my second daughter, I discovered Zutano fleece booties. They run smaller than you might expect from other brands, and they are constructed with a great elastic and snap design that actually makes them stay on.

There are plenty of other products I love, and I will probably find more in the coming weeks. And I’m sure there are even more that other moms would tell me they can’t live without. But, in my 26 months of using and abusing baby products, these 12 are the ones I reach for the most! I hope they can make your life at least a little bit easier.

written by VHS contributor// Kendra St. Hilaire
@marebearmom
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