6 Tips For Dealing with Postpartum Depression

6 Tips For Dealing with Postpartum Depression

For new and expecting moms alike, the phrase “postpartum depression” can feel like a boogeyman. We’ve all heard the horror stories of extreme, postpartum psychosis, but what most don’t realize is that postpartum depression is much more prevalent than you think.

According to a study that surveyed 10,000 new mothers, just over 20 percent of mothers experience depression within the first year postpartum, illustrating just how prevalent a problem it is. However, the study also showed that the unfortunate stigma surrounding postpartum depression and mental health in general causes many suffering mothers to keep quiet about their issues. These results are apparent due to the fact that only 14 percent of pregnant and postpartum women sought out help or treatment for their depression –as compared to 26 percent of the general population. That’s why it’s important to highlight issues like postpartum depression to show these women that they’re not alone.

A sad woman with her face in her hands.

In fact, when you include the common and brief spell of depression most mothers shortly face after delivery knows as the “baby blues,” the number of mothers dealing with some form of depression or anxiety-based issue leaps to an astonishing 80 percent. Between that number and the high percentage of women dealing with full-on postpartum depression, there’s never been a better time to focus on this serious problem and give you useful tips to combat it.

But before we can fight the issue, it’s important to fully understand what postpartum depression is and how it’s different than the “baby blues.”


Postpartum Depression or Just Baby Blues?

One of the hardest questions anyone potentially dealing with any form of depression asks themselves is, “Am I really depressed, or am I just sad?” And for moms who can barely find time to eat, sleep, or shower, that question can quickly turn to, “Why did I even have a baby?” But the most important thing to remember when asking yourself either of those questions is that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed – everyone does from time-to-time.

It’s impossible to pinpoint the problem if you waste energy beating yourself up just for having emotions, and once you’ve accepted that feeling sadness, frustration, and even anger are normal, you can work on identifying the problem and finding a solution.

When it comes to differentiating baby blues from postpartum depression, there are actually medically established standards to identify each issue, so deciding which you may have is fairly simple. For the baby blues, symptoms can include bouts of anxiety, crying, insomnia, moodiness, and sadness along with feelings that you may not be capable or prepared to take care of a baby. These feelings are normal due to the massive swing in hormones that occurs in the days following delivery, where your hormone levels drop drastically, something that commonly leads to symptoms of depression. However, due to the reactionary nature of these symptoms, the baby blues typically only last for one to two weeks and disappear as your hormone levels stabilize again.

This occurrence is in contrast to postpartum depression, which, in addition to similar symptoms of moodiness and feelings of inadequacy, also includes trouble bonding with or feeling close to your baby. Symptoms of postpartum depression typically pop up within three weeks of giving birth and can last indefinitely if not addressed. Unlike baby blues, postpartum depression does not usually go away without some form of intervention, which makes finding ways to fight back crucial.

So to help you make a plan to beat postpartum depression, we’re offering six tips for dealing with the debilitating issue. And even if you don’t think you’re dealing with full-blown postpartum depression, these tips can help you get over those baby blues just as well:


1. Seek Professional Help

Too often, getting help from your general practice doctor or mental health professional is seen as the last resort – something you fall back on when you’ve tried everything else. However, the sooner you make your concerns known to a qualified professional, the quicker you can get back to feeling normal again. But it’s important to remember that going to a doctor doesn’t just mean you’ll be pumped full of pills, especially if you’re nursing or having to stay alert to take care of your newborn.

So as soon as you feel like your symptoms are getting beyond your ability to control, don’t wait to have a complete breakdown, just reach out and get help making a detailed plan to deal with your symptoms. Additionally, by making this your first step, you can run the other tips by your doctor and make sure that they each work well with your unique health situation.

Professional reaching out to help a woman that is covering her face because of postpartum depression

2. Exercise

Exercise is the most highly prescribed methods of dealing with depression, and it’s also one of the most effective.

Staying active has a nearly endless number of physical and mental health benefits to help you tackle the baby blues, postpartum depression, AND your New Year’s resolution, especially if you exercise outside. From a scientific perspective, exercise has been shown to enlarge the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in both regulating mood and creating new memories. Which means that not only does regular physical activity help you stay in a good mood, it can help clear up the forgetfulness and fogginess that often comes with depression as well. And that’s without even considering the age-old adage “look good, feel good.” So get moving, look good, and feel better.

These tips can help you fit in a workout as a new mom.

Mom and dad walking with a toddler and pushing a stroller. Exercise helps with postpartum depression.

3. Healthy Diet

“Diet & exercise” get lumped together as often as peanut butter and jelly, but too often people think doing just one or the other will solve all their problems. As the saying goes, “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” so no matter how hard you’re working out, if you’re eating poorly, you may feel like exercise is doing nothing to help your depression.

In fact, having a healthy diet may be even more important to your mental health than we previously thought, as a recent study observed a link between gut bacteria and depression. What the study found was that the same two types of bacteria were absent in each of the subjects that reported suffering from either mild or severe depression, illustrating a possible connection that links the food we eat to the way we feel – which shouldn’t be that surprising.

Think of it this way – if you’ve got a high-powered sports car and you fill it with regular gasoline, sure it’ll run, but you’re going to have a lot more issues later down the road than if you had used premium and the same applies to your body. Avoiding low-grade fuel like sugar and heavily-processed food in favor of premium ingredients and fresh-made meals is an indispensable part of sustaining your mental health.

Fruits, veggies and nuts.  Healthy eating can help with postpartum depression.

4. Natural Options

In addition to a healthy diet, there are supplements and other natural alternatives that can combine with diet and exercise in the pursuit of whole-body wellness.

Some of the most common sources of natural healing are essential oils, which are commonly useful for aromatherapy, which uses certain scents to elicit specific responses in the body. For example, lavender, chamomile, and bergamot oil are three of the most common, essential fragrances used to help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, but there’s also another type of all-natural oil that’s recently taken the nation by storm for its anxiolytic effects – CBD oil.

CBD oil has become increasingly popular for its wide-ranging effects that help people deal with things from pain to depression to lack of sleep, all without any reported side effects. The science of CBD oil can be a little complicated, but to put it simply, CBD works hand-in-hand with things like the digestive, immune, and nervous systems to keep your body well-balanced and running smoothly. However, when it comes to beginning a regimen of either essential oils or CBD oil, it’s best to talk to your doctor – especially if you’re nursing – to make sure that they are right for you.

Have you been considering try silver supplements? Check out my review of alkaline structured silver.

A glass bowl with supplement capsules.  Natural products can be helpful for postpartum depression.

5. Make Time for Sleep

This tip may be the most difficult item on the list, but it’s one of the most important.

Parents, and in particular new parents, have almost no time for sleep, which means getting sleep when they can is extremely crucial. Lack of sleep can be tremendously harmful to your overall mental state and is a driving factor of depression for many people – with one study showing that people with restrictive sleep apnea—a disorder which severely impacts sleep—were five times more likely to suffer from depression. This effect is one of the driving factors behind why baby blues are so common, and it’s also largely responsible for why some cases of postpartum depression pop up or stick around despite other forms of treatment.

One of the most often repeated words of advice is to sleep when your baby sleeps, rather than trying to use that time to catch up on emails, phone calls, or housework. This sync allows you to at least get small pockets of sleep throughout the day since getting a full eight hours at night is going to be next-to-impossible.

A woman laying in bed with a mug of tea. Getting sleep can help with postpartum depression.

6. Support System

Regardless of how you choose to tackle this stressful period in your life, you won’t be able to handle it on your own without having a complete and total breakdown. For this reason, having a support system is extremely important for new mothers to be able to both feel emotionally supported and receive physical help with childcare.

Research has shown that loneliness and isolation can lead to a host of negative health consequences, including high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and lack of sleep. Those consequences are precisely why finding a support network is so crucial – because no matter how much you want to be “supermom,” even superheroes need help sometimes. Even if your support system is just one or two close friends or family members, simply having someone to confide in, relate to, and depend on when things get difficult can be the difference between a bout of the baby blues and full-on postpartum depression.

A dad, mom and baby have their hands stacked.  A family support system can help with postpartum depression.

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MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

Recently I had the opportunity to review the collection of Alkaline Structured Silver Products from MyDoctorSuggests.com.  These products are marketed is being effective for a wide variety of issues affecting the typical young family.  According to the product site, these products may be helpful for yeast infections, acne, diaper rash, gut/microbiome, flu/colds, cuts, scrapes and burns, scaring and anti-aging among other things. 

I don’t know about you, but my family struggles with many of these things, so I was curious to see if structured silver would be a natural answer to the problems. 

Before I get into my experience using the products, I want to cover a little background on silver supplements.

Silver containing remedies have been used throughout history and are still used topically in some instances in traditional medicine today.  The first documented use was in the 1800s.  When talking about silver supplementation, there are two types of silver, colloidal silver and structured silver.


Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver is a liquid that contains tiny silver particles and has been marketed as a dietary supplement on the internet.  However, this product has been shown to not be safe for oral ingestion and can cause serious side effects such as argyria where the skin gets a bluish-gray discoloration.  In short, you don’t want to ingest colloidal silver.


Structured Silver

Structured silver was developed around 2010 and it’s 99.999% water and 0.001% silver that is bonded to the water.  Older products are acidic while newer products are alkaline making them more similar to the normal pH of blood.  The alkaline form of structured silver is designed to be taken every day and as needed.  These products do not accumulate in the body like colloidal silver, making them much safer.


Why Does Silver Work?

It has antibacterial properties and may have antiviral and antifungal properties as well. It’s important to make sure to talk with your doctor prior to starting to use oral silver products. Likewise, talk to your vet before using silver-containing products for your pets.


What Products Did I Try?

I tried the following products:

  • Silver Solution
  • Silver Mint Mouthwash
  • All Natural Silver Lozenge (honey and lemon)
  • Silver-Infused Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion
  • Organic Silver Soap (all natural lavender)
  • Silver Gel with Aloe Vera
  • Silver Gel (activated for maximum strength)

I also received 3 booklets with helpful information.

  • The Silver Miracle
  • Health & Beauty Secrets for Her
  • Silver and Animals

So, What Did I Think of the Products?

Note: I did receive the products mentioned in this post as a gift.  However, this review is my own opinion and not influenced by the company in any way.

Silver Solution

The suggested use for an adult is 2 tsp twice a day.  For children over 4, it’s ½ tsp twice a day.  The liquid tasted like stale water.  Therefore, it was tolerable to just drink it straight.  However, I preferred to mix the two tsp into my tea.  When I did that, I didn’t even notice it was in there. 

I can’t say that I noticed any specific benefits of the solution.  However, I didn’t see any negative effects.  My husband and I both used the solution and while using it we stayed healthy.  Was this because of the silver or because it’s not cold/flu season anymore?  I’ll leave that to you to decide. This was probably my least favorite product. Keep reading to see which one was my favorite.

a bottle of alkaline structured silver solution from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver Mint Mouthwash

This was by far my favorite product.  The directions for this are to swish a mouthful for 30 seconds twice a day and then either swallow it or spit it out.  The taste was like a peppermint candy.  At first it was a little surprising because I was expecting the strong taste of other mouthwashes.  However, the taste was pleasant and left my mouth feeling refreshed.  An added bonus for this mouthwash is that it doesn’t contain alcohol.  Therefore, it didn’t leave me with horrible dry mouth like most other mouthwashes do.

I would say we saw benefit from this product.  My husband has horrible breath even when he has recently brushed his teeth and used normal mouthwash.  I’m guessing he has some bacteria built up in his mouth which is causing the bad breath.  While using the Silver Mint Mouthwash twice a day, I noticed a big difference in his breath.  I think the silver component helped knock down the bacteria in his mouth to improve his breath. The taste and my husband’s improved breath, put this product at the top of my list.

a bottle of silver mint mouthwash from MyDoctorSuggests

All Natural Silver Lozenge (honey and lemon)

These can be used to sooth sore throats or to provide silver supplementation instead of using the solution.  These were soothing for a sore throat, and they tasted amazing – like eating a piece of candy.  I didn’t try using them for supplementation. Other than tasting better than normal lozenges, I didn’t see a big benefit.  However, the silver could theoretically be beneficial if you have strep-throat due to its antibacterial properties.

All natural silver lozenge package from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver-Infused Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion

I have really dry hands because my job involves washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer.  I decided to try the lotion on my hands to see if it would be strong enough to moisturize them.  It did seem to work well.  My torn cuticles finally started to heal while using this lotion.  The silver component likely played a role by providing antibacterial effects to protect the broken skin. 

Silver infused hand & body lotion from MyDoctorSuggests

Organic Silver Soap (all natural lavender)

I really liked the soap.  I’m not usually a fan of bar soaps because they are difficult to use and I never feel like I get clean.  However, this Organic Silver Soap lathers really nicely, smells great and has a nice moisturizing component.  I liked the lavender scent, but there are other scents available that I would try. My husband even commented how much he liked this soap!

organic silver soap from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver Gel with Aloe Vera

I decided to make a habit of using this on my legs.  I have a horrible time with razer burn, and I can’t seem to find a razor that doesn’t cause it at least a little.  Therefore, my lower legs are always dry, sore and irritated.  I figured this gel would be perfect because it indicated it’s hydrating and the aloe vera sounded soothing. 

I used the gel every time I shaved, and I did notice a difference.  Traditional lotion hadn’t worked, so I was pleasantly surprised to see an improvement using this gel.  The only downside is the gel leaves my hands feeling sticky, but it’s easy enough to wash off.

pH Balanced Structured Silver Gel with Aloe Vera from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver Gel (activated for maximum strength)

While I kept the gel with aloe in my bathroom, I dedicated this gel to my son’s changing table.  I decided we would test it out for diaper rash treatment/prevention.  It seemed to work okay, but I don’t think I would replace traditional diaper rash creams as I don’t think a gel is quite as protective as a cream base. 

Even though I won’t be using this for diaper rash, I will be keeping this gel in the first aid kit.  My son is just figuring out the whole walking thing which means scrapes are somewhat common in our house.  This gel works really well on scrapes and burns because the silver is antibacterial and the gel itself is soothing.

Extra strength structured silver gel from MyDoctorSuggests

The booklets aren’t something that I would purchase on their own, but as an accompaniment to the products, they provide interesting background and recommendations.  Here is briefly what’s contained in each booklet.

The Silver Miracle Booklet

This booklet is designed to provide all the info you need about the history, benefits and future of silver products.  I did find some of the information helpful; however, some of it was a little doomsday-esque for my taste.  There is a helpful section that goes over all the possible uses and exactly how much of a product to use and how to use it which is helpful.

The Silver Miracle booklet from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver for Animals Booklet

This booklet includes background information as well as ideas for how silver may be beneficial for animals.  I don’t have a dog, and I wasn’t willing to administer anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to my cats, so I can’t say much more about this.

Silver and Animals booklet from MyDoctorSuggests

Health & Beauty Secrets for Her

This booklet includes quite a bit of background on silver products as well as recommendations for various uses.  The recommendations are detailed and easy to follow.

Health & Beauty Secrets for Her booklet from MyDoctorSuggests

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really liked the mouthwash, the soap and the aloe-containing silver gel.  I will also keep a bottle of the regular gel handy for first aid use, but hopefully won’t need it too often.  I didn’t really see sufficient benefit from the oral solution to justify continuing to use it, and I’m still debating on the lotion.  However, I’m off to try that on my son’s roughed-up knees, so he may be getting a new brand of lotion.    

Products like this work differently for different people.  If you are striving for a natural lifestyle, these may have some benefit.  If you want to give the products a try, you can get 20% off your first purchase at MyDoctorSuggests.com using my unique link. 

If you have tried silver products, leave a comment to let me know what you thought of them.

MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk

Feeding baby is often the most stressful part of being a new mother.  If you are breastfeeding, how do you make sure that baby is getting enough milk? If you are formula feeding, how much should a baby be eating?  There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer, but here I’ll answer some common questions to get you started in the right direction.  If you are still concerned, make sure to consult with your doctor or a lactation consultant.

FREE Newborn Feeding Log

Are you worried about how much your baby is eating? I was as a newborn, so I designed this feeding log to track my son’s feeding. It’s designed to help moms that are breastfeeding, formula feeding or a combination. Use this log for quick tracking that you can take to doctor and lactation appointments.

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    If you are concerned about how much milk baby is getting, make sure to download my feeding log.  I designed this as a new mom to get a picture of how much my son was eating.  I was trying to breastfeed but was constantly concerned he wasn’t eating enough, and his weight gain was inconsistent.  This allowed me to quickly and easily track every nursing session and bottle he received.  I had a sheet for each day that I kept in a folder.  I then took the sheets to doctor appointments and meetings with the lactation consultant.  It was immensely helpful to have this information recorded so that I could accurately answer the questions.  You can get my log here.

    newborn feeding log page

    How much milk should a baby be drinking?

    Each baby is different, but here are some common guidelines to give you an idea.

    • Newborn: 2 to 3 ounces every 3 or 4 hours
    • 1 Month: 4 ounces every 4 hours
    • 6 Months: 6 to 8 ounces 4 or 5 times a day

    Another way to look at it is an average baby will consume 2 to 3 ounces a day per pound of body weight up to a maximum of 32 ounces per day. 


    How can I tell how much milk my baby is drinking when breastfeeding?

    Weigh baby before and after feeding.  Breast milk has a density close to 1.  This means that the weight of breastmilk is approximately equivalent to the volume. Therefore, if you give a baby 1 oz of breastmilk, the baby will gain about 1 oz if weighed right after feeding.  You can use this information to monitor baby’s intake from breastfeeding.  Weigh your baby immediately before feeding.  Then breastfeed until your baby is satisfied.  Once your baby is finished feeding, weigh him again.  The weight gained is approximately the volume of milk that your baby drank.  You do need a sensitive scale designed for babies to do this.  Here is one version of a scale that would work if you are concerned enough to do this after multiple feedings a day.  However, if you just want to get a basic idea, you can do this in the doctor’s or lactation consultant’s office.  Some locally-owned baby stores also have nursing rooms with scales that you can use. 

    Do NOT waste money on devices designed to tell you how much baby is eating while nursing. I purchased this one to try and sent it back after a couple of days.  Devices like this are not to the point of being accurate and they are extremely cumbersome to use.  If you are already questioning your ability to breastfeed, the last thing you need is something else to juggle while trying to get baby to latch.


    Other Posts You May Like


    How can I tell if my baby is getting enough milk when breastfeeding?

    • Monitor baby’s fullness cues.  If baby latches on and nurses readily and then falls asleep, that’s a good indication that your baby is full.  When a baby is finished nursing, they often make a satisfied face.  My son would pick his head up, purse his lips and seem to be saying, “That was tasty!” right before curling up on me to sleep. 
    • A full feeding should sustain baby for at least 2 to 3 hours.  If your baby is wanting to nurse more often, pay attention to if he really seems to be hungry.  A baby may nurse more often for comfort and not because of hunger. Also, babies will nurse more frequently during growth spurts.  However, these periods shouldn’t last more than a couple of days.
    • Monitor for consistent weight gain. Babies naturally lose weight in the first couple of days after birth; however, they should be back to birth weight within about a week.  If your baby isn’t gaining weight, he may not be getting enough milk.
    • Watch baby eating to determine if he’s actually swallowing.  If your baby is taking long sucks and swallowing after no more than 4 sucks, then he is getting a decent amount of milk and actually eating versus suckling for comfort.

    What should I do if I don’t think my baby is getting enough milk?

    The first thing I suggest is meeting with a lactation consultant.  They are trained to evaluate your baby’s latch and feeding and give tips on ways to improve or make it easier.  Before deciding you need to supplement, meet with someone whose job it is to help women with breastfeeding. 

    If you are concerned that your supply is low, there are numerous lactation boosting recipes you can try like this lactation boosting protein shake.


    Is it alright to let someone give the baby a bottle of pumped milk once in a while?

    Yes, it can be wonderful for your sanity to let dad give your baby a bottle overnight while you sleep. However, there are a couple of valid concerns with giving your baby a bottle instead of nursing.  I’ll outline the concerns and tips for preventing any problems. 

    Concern #1: Baby will prefer a bottle to nursing.

    Drinking from a bottle is way less work for your baby than nursing.  The milk also tends to flow more quickly and doesn’t require time for a letdown.  Paced bottle feeding is important to make sure that your baby doesn’t get the idea that a bottle is better because he can now chug his milk.  Before giving your baby the first bottle, check out this article on paced bottle feeding!  I didn’t know about this before offering a bottle, and my son quickly decided nursing was way too much work, and he would rather have a bottle.

    Concern #2: Skipping a feeding will decrease your milk supply.

    This is another concern rooted in reality.  Breastfeeding is a supply and demand situation.  If demand goes up, supply will increase.  Conversely, if demand goes down, supply will decrease.  If you start consistently skipping an overnight feeding to get 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, you will start to see a decrease in milk supply. The first couple times your breasts will be really full when you get up, but after a couple days they will start being progressively less full.  This can be a slow decline that’s a slippery slope you don’t notice happening until your supply has dropped a lot.  Ideally, if baby gets a bottle, you should pump instead.  However, that often negates the benefits of having your partner get up for a feeding. To make this easier, make sure you have an efficient pump. You can view my breast pump comparison here.


    Related Content

    You have a few options. I suggest trying them all to figure out which works best for you but be very conscious of if you milk supply starts to drop.

    • Let your someone else feed your baby a bottle while you sleep (don’t go more than 6 hours between nursing sessions though).  Pump a couple of times after feedings during the day to get the milk for the bottle and help keep your supply up.
    • Have your partner get up with the baby and change the diaper, then bring the baby to you in bed to nurse.
    • Have your partner feed baby a bottle while you pump.

    You can do a combination of these as well.  Maybe you sleep through one or two feedings a week, but not every night.  Just make sure that anyone who feeds your baby a bottle is practicing paced bottle feeding and not letting baby chug the bottle to get back to bed faster.  If your baby will be getting a bottle regularly, it is a good idea to periodically do before and after feeding weights for a nursing session to make sure your baby hasn’t been getting lazy with nursing knowing that a bottle will be forthcoming at some point. 


    How can I keep track of how much my baby is eating? 

    You want to document not just the quantity of feedings, but also the quality.  Also, you will want to log any bottles baby receives.  There are numerous benefits to keeping track of baby’s feedings including seeing a pattern develop of how much baby needs to eat and tracking spit-up/other GI issues. Remembering to track can be difficult when you are an exhausted new parent.  Download the tracker I used here, to make tracking simple regardless of whether your baby is getting breast milk, formula, or a combination. If you are feeding formula at all, check out this price comparison to find the best value.

    FREE Newborn Feeding Log

    Are you worried about how much your baby is eating? I was as a newborn, so I designed this feeding log to track my son’s feeding. It’s designed to help moms that are breastfeeding, formula feeding or a combination. Use this log for quick tracking that you can take to doctor and lactation appointments.

      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      How do you monitor how much baby is eating?  Let me know in the comments.

      Also make sure to check out these posts!


      If you found this helpful, make sure to sign-up for my newsletter in the sidebar, so you don’t miss any great content!

      How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk

      Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

      Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

      Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

      We all have our go-to medications stocked in our medicine cabinets for the adult members of the family.  Maybe yours include Motrin, Tylenol, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, and/or allergy medications.  Most of us have a pretty good idea how to use these safely and can follow the directions on the bottle.  However, the game changes when we are talking about babies and toddlers.  They get the same ailments such as pain, fever, and allergies, but the directions on the packaging often don’t cover our littlest family members. Here is everything you need to know about giving medicine to a baby or toddler.

      As a pharmacist, I wanted to provide answers to the most common questions parents ask. However, this information should not be taken as medical advice because I don’t know all the details of your child’s illness. 

      Each situation is different, so it’s important that you use this information only as a guide and speak to your pharmacist and/or doctor about your child’s specific symptoms, and other characteristics.


      When Should I Call the Doctor?

      As a general rule of thumb, things are more severe the younger your baby is.  If you have a newborn, it’s a good idea to contact the nurse helpline or doctor whenever your baby is sick.  However, once your baby is a little older, you can treat low-grade fevers and minor colds at home as long as he’s generally healthy otherwise. 

      Doctor’s offices will usually have a nurse helpline that you can contact with questions and they can help you determine if your baby needs to be seen.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call this number.  It’s free and the worse that happens is you sit on hold for a bit waiting for your call to be answered.


      Reading Medication Labels

      Over-the-counter medications or OTCs are medications that you can purchase without a prescription.  These are medications that the FDA has determined can be used safely based on the directions on the label. 

      Drug Facts

      The Drug Facts section on the label is where all the information you need to use the medication safely is located.  This is what the FDA has determined is necessary for you to know to use the medication without a doctor or pharmacist being involved.  It includes 7 sections which I will go over below.

      Active Ingredient

      The section states what ingredients are included in the medication with the intent of providing the intended action.  The drug is listed by its generic name and the amount and purpose of the medication are stated.  This section is how you can tell the difference between products with similar packaging and names. 

      If you see ‘HPUS’ included in this section, it means that the medication is a homeopathic remedy.    Homeopathic remedies are beyond the scope of this article.  However, the basic principle is that illness is cured by giving tiny amounts of a substance that would be toxic in larger amounts.  Homeopathic remedy strength is indicated by HPUS and the less of a substance that the product contains the stronger it is.

      Uses

      This section lists the different symptoms the medication is likely to work for when dosed based on the information on the box.

      Warnings

      The warnings section is often the longest, but it’s a very important section.  Here you will find warnings about allergies, when to stop using and when to talk to a doctor or pharmacist prior to using the medication.

      Directions

      The directions are often what people jump to first, but the above sections are also important to read.  The directions state how much of the medication to take and how often to take it.  This is often divided into sections based on age.  However, you will find that many medications don’t providing dosing for children under 6 months or under 2 years.  This is because the FDA doesn’t think the medication can be safely used in this population without oversight from a doctor.

      Other Information

      This is other information that may be helpful such as how to store the medication.

      Inactive Ingredients

      These are the ingredients that aren’t expected to have beneficial effects.  These products are added to help form the tablet or liquid or to add color or flavor.  Medications all contain inactive ingredients in addition to the active one.  You would want to look at this section if your child has allergies as there may be an inactive ingredient that they are allergic to.  However, if you aren’t concerned about allergies, you can generally ignore this section.

      Questions or Comments?

      The final section is a phone number to contact the drug company if you have any questions or comments about the medication.


      Giving Medications to a Baby

      Medications for babies are in liquid form.  You will need a method to measure the dose and a method to administer it.  For measuring, you could use a syringe or measuring container.  Generally, medications will come with a plastic cup or syringe for measuring.  These are marked with milliliter or mL.  The directions on the packaging will tell you how many mL to give.  If the medication doesn’t have a measuring device or it gets lost, you can purchase one at most drug stores.

      The measuring devices can also work to administer the medication. However, depending on the age of your child, a small cup may not work for giving the medication, but a syringe often works well for giving medication to a baby.  There are many handy devices available if you prefer.  These include pacifiers and tiny bottles that are designed for you to put the medication into them and then baby gets the medication while sucking.


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      Giving medication can get challenging though, so parents have come up with some hacks for making the process easier.  For babies, a pacifier with an open back (like the hospital gives you) is about the right size for fitting a syringe into.  Cut a hole in the tip and while your baby is sucking on the pacifier, slowly squirt the medication out of the syringe.

      For toddlers that have mastered drinking from a straw, cut the back out of an empty juice box.  Then put the medication in a small cup into the juice box for the toddler to drink from a straw.

      What you don’t want to do is mix the medication into a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk or another liquid.  The reason is that often a child won’t drink the entire amount and then you don’t know how much medication was actually consumed.  Also, letting the medication sit in liquid for an extended period waiting for your child to drink it, can make the medication less effective.  If you do mix a medication into a drink, make sure that the entire drink is consumed in one sitting.

      Antibiotic-Specific Tips

      For antibiotics, you will need to make sure you shake the medication well before measuring out a dose.  Antibiotics come as suspensions which means that when they sit for an extended period, the medication will sink to the bottom of the bottle.  By shaking it, you make sure that the medication is evenly mixed before you measure a dose. 

      Many liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated and they are also only good for 10 to 14 days.  The pharmacist will tell you if it needs to be in the fridge and how long it’s good for.  It’s important that you keep antibiotics in the fridge if they require it.  This can also make it taste better which is a win. 

      It’s important that your child take the entire course of antibiotics.  If the doctor prescribes it for 10 days, then you need to give it for 10 days.  Your child should start to feel better well before 10 days is up, but if you stop the medication too early, the infection can come back.  At the end of the prescribed treatment, you want to discard any leftover medication.  Antibiotics aren’t good for very long once they are mixed, so the medication won’t keep for future use.


      Over-the-Counter (OTC) Baby Medicines

      Baby Medicine for Fever

      A fever is the body’s natural defense mechanism and indicates that there is some type of infection the body needs to fight.  Therefore, it isn’t completely bad.  If your baby has a mild fever and doesn’t appear to be too affected by it, then it may not need treated.  However, if a fever gets too high it can lead to seizures.  If your baby or toddler has a fever, it doesn’t hurt to contact the nurse hotline.  They may tell you it’s okay, but it never hurts to check since a fever does mean there is something else going on. 

      If you need to treat the fever, the medications that could be used are Infant’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Infant Motrin (ibuprofen).  These medications are both available over the counter.  Make sure to read the directions on the product you are using because there can be slight differences. If you need help figuring out how much to give, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. 

      When your baby has a fever, dehydration is more likely.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to have Pedialyte on hand to help encourage fluid intake.

      Baby Medicine for Colds

      There are a variety of readily available medications for adults with a cold.  However, these are not recommended for use in babies or toddlers.  If you see a product advertised as cold medicine for a baby or toddler, it’s likely a homeopathic remedy. 

      Having a nose suctioning device like this or this is helpful to decrease congestion.  For a full list of what you can do to help your baby feel better, check out this post.

      Baby Medicine for Allergies

      This is another condition where the adult medications are usually not appropriate.  If your baby appears to have seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor about recommendations.  If you are concerned about food allergies, bring your concern up to your doctor prior to introducing solid foods.  Your doctor can recommend something to have on hand in case an allergic reaction occurs.  Benadryl is a common recommendation, but the dosing on the package only goes down to 2 years old.  Therefore, your doctor needs to tell you what dose to give.  It is worth noting that children can react to Benadryl differently than adults.  Adults will usually get sleepy from the medication, but children can actually become excited.  Therefore, this medication should never be used to help your child sleep.


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      Baby Medicine Cabinet Essentials

      When preparing for a baby, it’s a good idea to have certain medicine cabinet essentials on hand.  The following are the items I recommend having about home before you actually need them.


      There are the tips straight from the pharmacist’s mouth.  As you can see, there are a lot of times when you will need to contact the doctor with regards to your sick baby.  You will eventually get a feel for what requires a call and what doesn’t.  I also strongly recommend asking your pharmacist for advice.  These tips are general information, but your local pharmacist can provide more specific information for your situation.

      Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

      Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      Mom Labels – What Is A Crunchy Mom?

      Mom Labels – What Is A Crunchy Mom?
      Mom Labels - What Is A Crunchy Mom?

      I love learning new things, and this week I learned that crunchy, silky and scrunchy are terms used to describe different kinds of moms.  Since I can’t be the only person who didn’t know moms are now defined by textures, I’ll give you a brief overview of what each means.


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      Crunchy: Moms that go with the natural option.  This includes home/unmedicated birth, exclusive breastfeeding until the child weans themselves, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, bed sharing, cloth diapering, and attachment parenting.  These moms are pro organic eating and natural medicine and are often vegetarians.  They are anti-vaccination, anti circumcision and anti-plastic.

      Silky: Moms that prefer a medicated, hospital birth, disposable diapers, crib sleeping, cry-it out sleep training, feed their baby formula +/- breastmilk, use approved medications.  These moms are pro vaccination and pro circumcision.

      Scrunchy (am I the only one who thinks big 90s ponytail holder here?): Moms that are a mix of crunchy and silky.


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      Regardless of what terminology you use, the most vocal of the current culture push that you aren’t as good of a mom if you aren’t exemplifying the characteristics of a crunchy mom.

      What Am I?

      I am SOOO not a crunchy mom. I am very much silky.  Does that make me a bad mom?  Let me explain why I don’t fit the bill for crunchy.

      1. There was no natural birth for me.  As soon as the pain set in, I demanded all the drugs STAT. I guess I was doomed to be a non crunchy mom from the start.
      2. I am pro disposable diapers.  I just can’t wrap my head around having to do anything more than ball up Paxton’s dirty diapers and toss them.  Cloth ones may be cute and eco-friendly, but you won’t find Paxton wearing them anytime soon.
      3. Give my kid all the vaccinations!  As a pharmacist I have been fully educated on all the scary diseases vaccines prevent, so I would like my child to be protected from those.  He will be vaccinated according to the well-thought out CDC schedule, and I will make sure the doctor doesn’t forget.  I was the mom that kept reminding the hospital that Paxton needed his first Hep B shot before leaving because that series should be started at birth.
      4. Organic produce is too expensive in most cases.  I have survived this long on ‘regular’ produce, I will continue my cost saving efforts and buy from the regular section of the grocery store regardless of whether it’s for Paxton or me.
      5. Where does one get coconut oil?  Supposedly, this is the cure for everything, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually owned a container (bottle, tub, jug,…??) of it.  Instead I go with whatever generic medication my pharmacy school knowledge tells me I need.
      6. Paxton has never shared a bedroom with us, let alone a bed. He started sleeping in his crib in his own room the day we brought him home from the hospital.  He has never, nor will he ever share our bed, except maybe to snuggle and watch some Saturday morning cartoons. 
      7. I did give breastfeeding a try.  Basically I figured if I was making it, I may as well save myself the money that I would have to spend on formula.  Actually, breastfeeding didn’t work out so well, so Paxton has had at least some formula since he was about 5 weeks old. I completely gave up on breastfeeding at 5.5 months.  And oh yeah, to top it off, he is stuck drinking generic formula.  Despite this, we are all much happier with this arrangement.
      8. The formula Paxton drinks, yeah it comes out of *gasp* plastic bottles.  Paxton also eats food that has been prepared in plastic, stored in plastic, microwaved in plastic – you get the picture.  Oh yeah, and he also has plenty of plastic toys that he LOVES to chew on.  I get the impression he thinks the sole purpose of plastic toys is for chewing on them.
      9. Paxton eats prepackaged snacks relatively often. Yeah, we do try to feed him healthy food the majority of the time, but we are not above giving him a cracker or yogi or puff or plenty of other things that come out of a box and I’m sure have been highly preserved.  I do make the majority of Paxton’s baby food, but he’s also eaten his share of store bought.
      10. I don’t want my kid sitting in front of the TV excessively, but if that’s what I need to do once in a while, then it happens.  And yes, Paxton enjoys watching the men in bright colors run all over the screen (aka football).

      This is not, I repeat – NOT, meant to put down any moms reading this that do any/all of the above. With the exception of not vaccinating, I believe all of the other points are very worthy goals.  Way to go mama if you can do any of them consistently.  I am not able to do any of these, and I’m okay with that.  My kid is fed, healthy and generally happy.  So, here’s to all the other okay moms out that that have fed and generally happy kids – I’ll raise my can of artificially sweetened, cancer-causing Diet Coke to you!  But then again everything in California causes cancer these days.

      California prop 65 warning
      CA Prop 65 warning that is on just about everything in CA.

      Further Resources

      If you are in my boat, but want to try to be more crunchy, check out this how-to article. https://www.scarymommy.com/how-to-be-a-crunchy-mom-in-12-easy-steps/

      If you are like me and happy in your silky ways, you may find these other articles I’ve written useful.

      If you are feeling guilty about not being crunchy enough, check out this article which puts mom perfectionism into perspective.

      Like what you read? Subscribe to email updates to receive updates straight to your inbox!

      Mom Labels - What Is A Crunchy Mom?

      Tips for Taking Frame-Worthy Photos of Baby

      Tips for Taking Frame-Worthy Photos of Baby
      Tips for Taking Frame-Worthy Photos of Baby

      Babies are so cute, you can’t help but take boatloads of pictures of them.  I absolutely love having amazing photos of Paxton, but I can’t afford to get professional photos done every season.  Therefore, my husband and I have drastically improved our photography game since Paxton was born.  Here are our top tips for taking photos of baby.

      Warning: Once you learn these tips, you will take so many pictures you won’t know what to do with them all! Check out this post about why you should digitiz them.

      Get At or Below Baby’s Level

      If you are standing up and your subject is sitting down, you end up with a really unflattering angle.  Crouch down to the height of your subject to instantly improve the angle.  That said, you can still try different angles.  I find that directly above can work in some cases.  Here you can see you get a better view of my son in the image on the bottom where I was at his level versus the image on the top which I took standing up.

      baby in pumpkin patch standing next to big pumpkin
      Baby in pumpkin patch standing next to big pumpkin. pumpkin is orange and the rest of the photo is black and white.

      Play Around With Angles to See What Works Best

      Often you can get softer photos from a slight sideways angle compared to straight on.  You may also get better photos of tiny humans by being lower than their level and shooting up a little.  Play around with the angle at which you take the photo to find what works best for your baby and background.


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      Have an Assistant

      It’s really hard to jump around and clap and wave to get baby smiling and looking at the camera while trying to take the photo at the perfect time.  Having an assistant means they can jump around like crazy while you get the perfect shot.

      Zoom In

      If your subject fills the frame, the background automatically become more background and less of a focus. You can see in the pictures below, the zoomed in version gets the important part of the image front and center while hiding my cluttered house.

      Zoomed out photo of a girl in workout cloths lifting baby to the side.
      Zoomed in photo of a girl in workout cloths lifting baby to the side.

      Make Your Subject Off-Center

      If you want to get a particular part of the background in, off center your subject a bit.  This adds a slightly more ‘artsy’ feel to your photos.


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      Design a Fun Background

      Set up a background that matches the season.  We had great fun taking pictures with pumpkins for fall (check out this post for other fun fall ideas), and during the summer we took pictures by/in the pool.  However, landscaping can make a nice background as well.  The below images were taken with the same kid, same football, same pumpkin, same camera and only minutes apart.  Simply moving the setup to my landscaping instead of the front porch drastically changed the photo quality.

      baby sitting in a pumpkin with a football next to it on a front porch
      baby sitting in a pumpkin with a football next to it in the landscaping.

      Enlist a Friend to Take Family Photos

      If you just want photos of your babe with one parent, you can do without the friend.  However, if you are already doing a photo shoot, why not get some great family photos.  Have a friend come help you out, so you can all get in the photo.  You could even set up a fun photo shoot for both families and take turns taking the pictures. We had a friend take this photo which gave us much better quality and fun, spontaneous shots that we couldn’t achieve with a tripod and a timer

      A mom and dad standing on a front porch while dad lifts a baby into the air.

      Invest in a Good Camera

      Cell phone cameras are getting pretty impressive, but there is still something to be said for using a digital camera. The cell phone works great in a pinch, but when doing a mini photoshoot, the quality of pictures from our lower end digital camera far exceed cell phone pictures. More info on basic camera equipment is available here and here.

      Find a Good Photo Editor

      You can find something pretty good for free.  For cell phone editing I really like this app.  For editing on my desktop, I love this app which has versions for Mac and Windows.  Whichever editing program you choose, practice using it to learn everything it can do.

      Work a Toy (or Toy-Like Item) Into Your Shoot

      Older babies get bored quickly and will decide they would rather play with the nice background or leave the scene all together.  Keep baby happy with something cute to play with.  For our fall photos, a tiny pumpkin that Paxton could hold worked great and made a cute addition to the photos.

      A kid sitting on a front porch holding a small pumpkin with pumpkins behind him.

      Look to Pinterest for Ideas

      You can see what others have done for backgrounds and fun photos for different seasons or holidays.  We got the baby in a pumpkin idea from Pinterest.

      Set Yourself Up For Success

      Little ones have short attention spans and tolerance levels.  Plan to work quickly to get your shots.  This means setting up the background ahead of time and making sure you have all your props ready.  Also, start with a baby that is well rested and fed.  Taking photos at the time of day when baby is usually happiest helps too.  If that time of day is when it’s really sunny, then opt for putting your photoshoot in the shade or choose an overcast day.

      Know Where the Sun Is

      If you really want the perfect photo, take it during the morning or evening when the sun isn’t brightest.  If you take it midday try to do the photos in the shade or when it’s overcast.  If that’s not possible, position the sun to the side of your picture.  For indoor photos, you can never have too much light, but natural light is best if possible.

      There you have my tips for taking great photos!  Remember to get out from behind the lens and into some of the photos with baby.  You may want the cute baby pictures, but someday that baby will be grown and will want the pictures with mom and dad in them too.

      What are some tips you’ve discovered while taking pictures of baby?  Let me know in the comments.

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      Tips for Taking Frame-Worthy Photos of Baby

      Breast Pump Comparison

      Breast Pump Comparison

      Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      Breast Pump Comparison

      Breast pumps – do you need one, how do you decide which one, do you have to pay for it yourself? These are all questions that soon-to-be-moms will be asking at some point.  Looking back, I made a lot of mistakes selecting a breast pump.  But hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes.  Therefore, read on for my complete guide to selecting the perfect breast pump for you. I will cover definitions that are important to know when evaluating breast pumps and well as a breast pump comparison between all of the major brands. If you are looking for a breast pump because you’re worried your baby isn’t getting enough milk, make sure to check out this post.

      Around my second trimester, I got a random call from a company that supplies breast pumps.  My doctor had put in the order for me to get one through insurance.  The company rattled off a long list of all my options, and when finished asked which one I wanted.  I selected one I had heard of off the list and was told it would be at my door in a few days if it was covered.  Less than a week later, I had a new breast pump on my doorstep.  However, I ended up buying a second pump and wishing that I had yet another type.  Here are my tips for planning out your breast pump situation, so you end up with a pump you love (well as much as you can love something that leaves you feeling like a cow) as well as a comparison of all the readily available breast pumps.


      Terminology

      First things first, let’s cover breast pump terminology.

      Hospital-Grade Pump

      Heavy-duty pumps that have the most powerful motors and a higher amount of “sucks” per minute compared to personal pumps.  These pumps are more efficient but come with a higher price tag.

      Personal Pump

      These pumps are designed to fit the lifestyle of most moms.  They are usually relatively easy to transport and are more affordable than hospital grade pumps.  However, they are not as efficient as hospital-grade pumps.

      Electric Pump

      A pump that uses electricity via a wall outlet, but some pumps have the ability to run on batteries.  These pumps have the ability to pump both breasts at the same time and are much more efficient than manual pumps.

      Manual-Pump

      A pump that requires the user to do the work.  These pumps have a lever that requires a squeeze and release motion to express milk.  These pumps can be useful because they are highly portable and have few parts. However, they can be labor intensive.

      Closed-System

      Has a diaphragm that acts as a barrier.  This protects the milk from outside air and prevents milk from leaking into the pump tubing.  Therefore, expressed milk is never exposed to the pump tubing or motor which means that the tubing doesn’t require washing or sterilizing.

      Open-System

      Does not have a barrier between the tubing and the milk collection, so milk may potentially leak into the tubing.  This can be an inconvenience because it requires washing, sterilizing and air drying the tubing.  However, some moms report that small amounts of milk may get into the tubing without being noticed and this can lead to mold in the tubing. 

      Flanges/Shields

      These are the plastic pieces that go over your breast when pumping.  It is essential that these fit properly.  Flanges that are too small can cause pain from rubbing and flanges that are too big will not allow sufficient suction.  With some brands you can buy flanges in sizes other than what come with the pump, but this results in an added cost.

      Dual-Phase Expression

      The first step in breast milk expression is when the baby takes short, shallow and frequent sucks to cause a let-down.  The second phase occurs when the milk comes in and the baby’s sucks get longer and deeper. A dual-phase expression pump mimics these phases.


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      Things to Consider

      • Unique needs: Determine if you will be pumping at work or while traveling.
      • How many pumps: If possible, plan to get two pumps in case one breaks.  My first week back to work, I accidentally dropped my pump and it broke.  That left me without a pump for a day (thank goodness for Amazon Prime 1-day shipping!).  It was a very stressful day because I was at work and my son wasn’t a big fan of nursing, to begin with, so he was not impressed by having to act as the pump.  Once I got my new pump in the mail, I eventually got my original one fixed, so I kept one at home and one at work.  This was really the ideal situation.  If you are able to get two pumps, I recommend two different styles (one hands-free and one traditional).
      • Manual or Electric: If you are only planning to pump occassionally and/or you need to have something handy to use once in a while when traveling, you may be able to get by with a manual pump.  However, if you will be pumping with any consistency, then you definitely want an electric pump.
      • Hospital or Regular Grade: Breast pumps come as hospital grade and regular grade.  Hospital grade is the type that may be in pumping rooms at work and what the hospital will have.  These are designed to have multiple people use the same pump.  Regular pumps are designed to be single user.  They are smaller and easier to tote back and forth to work.  Regular grade is likely sufficient for what you are doing. 
      • Style: Once you focus on regular grade, electric pumps, you have two basic groups of pumps: the traditional style with the cones and bottles hanging off of them and the hands-free, discrete pumps.  If you are able to swing two pumps, I highly recommend getting one of each. 
      • Desirable characteristics: Things to look at and consider include the following:
        • Battery-powered option
        • The weight of the pump
        • Discrete and hands-free
        • Reviews
        • Availability of support and parts

      Breast Pump Comparison Tables

      Below is a comparison of all readily available electric breast pumps.  Hospital grade pumps and manual pumps are not included.

      The Criteria Evaluated

      • Hands Free (yes/no): Pumping bras are available to make any pump “hands-free” but being hands-free without a special bra is a big plus.
      • Runs on Battery (yes/no): Some pumps don’t maintain great suction on battery. However, having the option to use a pump on battery is helpful in a pinch.
      • Car Plug Ability (yes/no): The ability to power your pump with a car plug is a big plus when you are on the go.  If you can pump hands free, then pumping while driving is a great way to multi-task.
      • Digital Display (yes/no): Some mothers find a digital display really helpful for adjusting pump settings.  Usually pumps with a digital display come with additional features, like a timer or more setting options.
      • Closed System (yes/no): A closed system prevents any milk from getting into the tubing and potentially the pump motor which makes the pump more hygienic and saves you the hassle of cleaning the tubing.
      • Customer Support (yes/no): I learned the hard way that customer support is not a given with breast pumps, so I’ve included it as a criterion to evaluate.
      • Shield/Flange Size: You can often order a variety of sizes of shields/flanges. However, that’s an additional cost and hassle.
      • Warranty: If your pump breaks you want to know that it will be replaced quickly without additional cost to you.
      • Price: Many breast pumps are available through insurance.  However, if you are looking to get a second pump, or want one that isn’t covered, price is important to consider.
      • Amazon Rating: This seems to be the rating system that has the most submitted ratings, so I included it as a way to help compare the pumps.
      • Notes: This is where I included any additional features that I thought were important to consider.

      Medela Pumps

      Medela Pump In Style Advanced

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 27 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$200
      Amazon Rating
      4 stars
      Notes

      Medela Freestyle

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 27 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$300
      Amazon Rating
      3 stars
      Notes

      Medela Sonata

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 27 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$350
      Amazon Rating
      4 stars
      Notes

      Spectra Pumps

      Spectra S1

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 28 mm
      Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$200
      Amazon Rating
      4.5 stars
      Notes

      Spectra S2

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 28 mm
      Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$158
      Amazon Rating
      4.5 stars
      Notes

      Spectra 9 Plus

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor
      Price$180
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      Motif Pumps

      Motif Duo

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      21 and 24 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$200
      Amazon Rating
      4 stars
      Notes

      Motif Twist

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      21 and 24 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$100
      Amazon Rating
      3 stars
      Notes

      Freemie Pumps

      Freemie Liberty

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      25 and 28 mm
      WarrantyNone
      Price$300
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      NotesCan be charged with a USB

      Freemie Freedom

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      25 and 28 mm
      WarrantyNone
      Price$132
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      The First Years Pumps

      Breastflow Memory Pump

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      Comes with 2 sizes; unclear which ones
      WarrantyNone
      Price$74
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      NotesStores record of pumping sessions

      Quiet Expressions Plus

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      “Flexi fit shields”
      WarrantyNone
      Price$66
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      BelleMa Pumps

      Melon Comfort

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 27 mm
      Warranty18 months
      Price$105
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      E5

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 27 mm
      Warranty1 year
      Price$140
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      Plethora

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 27 mm
      Warranty18 months
      Price$130
      Amazon Rating
      2 stars
      Notes

      Effective Pro

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 and 27 mm
      Warranty18 months
      Price$130
      Amazon Rating
      4 stars
      NotesUSB charging

      Other Brands

      Lansinoh Smartpump

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      25 and 30.5 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$200
      Amazon Rating
      4.5 stars
      NotesBluetooth connectivity

      Momcozy Double Electric

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      Can’t determine
      WarrantyNone
      Price$60
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      NotesUSB charger; portable

      BabySteps Double Electric

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 mm
      WarrantyNone
      Price$59
      Amazon Rating
      4.5 stars
      Notes

      BellaBaby Double Electric

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      Can’t determine
      WarrantyNone
      Price$52
      Amazon Rating
      4 stars
      NotesUSB charging

      KidsTime Double Electric

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      Can’t determine
      WarrantyNone
      Price$33
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      NotesUSB charger; hot/cold message pads

      Philips Avent Double Electric

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      25 and 27 mm
      Warranty2 years
      Price$170
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      Nibble Electric Breast Pump

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      Can’t determineX
      Warranty1 year
      Price$70
      Amazon Rating
      2.5 stars
      NotesOnly comes with one bottle
      Hard to find additional bottles and parts
      Compatible with Medela bottles and some parts

      Ameda Finesse

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      25 and 30.5 mm
      Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$300
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      Evenflo Double Electric

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24.5, 28 and 30.5 mm
      Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
      Price$64
      Amazon Rating
      3.5 stars
      Notes

      Willow Wearable Breast Pump

      TraitYesNo
      Hands Free
      X
      Runs on Battery
      X
      Car Plug Ability
      X
      Digital Display
      X
      Closed System
      X
      Customer Support
      X
      TraitComment
      Shield/Flange Size
      24 mm
      WarrantyNone
      Price$480
      Amazon Rating
      N/A
      Notes27 mm is only other size available
      Run by smart phone app
      1:1 coaching included with pump purchase

      Additional Considerations

      The above section gives you the basics of each pump to help you narrow down your search.  Once you decide which pumps sound like the best fit for you, make sure to research and consider the following.

      • Availability and cost of spare parts
      • What size flange you need. Note: This may change over time.
      • Amazon reviews

      My Breast Pump Experience

      I originally got the Freemie Freedom Pump which is hands-free.  The cups go inside of your bra and then have a pour spout to put the milk into bottles or bags.  I loved this pump at home, but it’s the one I broke my first week back at work.  I called the company and they simply said they didn’t service their pumps.  Luckily my dad was able to fix it.  In the meantime, I ordered a Spectra S2 from Amazon.  This wasn’t hands-free, but I could purchase adaptor tubing to use my hands-free cups with this pump which I did.  Compared to my Freemie, this pump was lighter weight with better features like different settings, and it was quieter.  I could also use it with traditional cups or my hands-free ones. However, the S2 isn’t able to run on battery (the S1 is).  One that could run on the battery would have fit my lifestyle better, but I’ve heard other mothers say that when running on battery the pumps don’t have enough suction.


      Related Content

      If I was to do it again, I would get a traditional style pump (probably Spectra S1 or Medela) and either the Willow or the Freemie Liberty which are a little more discreet and allow you to walk around compared to the Freemie Freedom that kept me tethered to my desk.  I may gravitate towards the Willow having experienced the lack of support from Freemie.

      If, despite a great pump, you are finding you still need to supplement, check out this formula price comparison.

      Want more great info like this?  Subscribe in the sidebar for weekly updates and tips.

      Once you decide on a breast pump, make sure to check out these other posts on baby essentials.

      Breast Pump Comparison

      Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

      Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

      Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

      Let me guess – you have reached the point where it’s becoming a reality that your baby is going to have to come out eventually, you don’t want to forget anything you might need for the hospital, pregnancy brain has taken over, and you are the one that needs to make sure everything is packed and ready to go to the hospital.  I’ve been there.  I’m the person who would much rather over pack than under pack.  I obsessively searched the internet for hospital packing checklists during my third trimester and none of them seemed to cover everything.  In the end, I took a lot of stuff but used almost all of it.  Below I’ll go through everything that went on my packing list and why I recommend taking it.  There is also a downloadable PDF packing list that you can print to check off items.

      Get My Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist

      Get the only hospital packing list you will need for labor and delivery. This is the list I compiled for myself and then modified based on reality. Benefit from my experience!

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        Items Specifically For You

        Towel and garbage bag for in the car: Good to have just in case your water breaks on the way to the hospital.

        Gift for nurses: This is a nice gesture but not required.  I prepared a small jar with Hershey’s Kisses and tied on a cute bow.  I forgot to pull it out of my bag though, so I had been there a day before I gave it to anyone.  I recommend dropping it off at the nurses’ station shortly after arriving. If you are wondering why you would bring a small gift for someone whose job it is to take care of you, check out this story from a labor and delivery nurse where she talks about the training she did and the great and no so great parts of her job of trying to do everything she can for you and your baby.


        Related Content

        Copy of birth plan (if you have one): If you spend the time creating this, you want to make sure you take at least one copy, but 2-3 copies may be better.  I didn’t make a birth plan because my plan was to go with the flow and it worked out well for me.

        Yeti mug (or similar): I have a 32 oz Yeti mug that I kept at home full of ice water which really helped me to drink more.  Taking it along was a last-minute thought, but I’m so glad I did.  The nurses would bring me ice and water whenever I needed a refill.  I then had a mug with a lid that kept the water cold which really increased how much I drank.  Pro tip: Bring one along for your partner too.  The nurses are happy to provide ice water, but it would have been much better if he had a mug to keep it cold.

        Pillow: The hospital will provide pillows, but they aren’t very comfy.  Having one from home can make a big difference.  Pro tip: Bring one for your partner too.  My husband insisted that he didn’t need to take a pillow because the hospital ones would be fine.  He was fine because he kept taking my pillow.

        Exercise ball and pump: Bring this and leave it in the car until you decide you need it.  The hospital had two exercise balls, but someone was already using the bigger one, and the one they brought me was way too small.  Had my own definitely prevented a mid-labor meltdown.  Don’t forget to bring the pump as well so that you can add more air if you decide it’s too squishy.

        Handheld fan: Pushing is hard work, and I was doing it for 3 hours!  I’m so glad I had a rechargeable handheld fan that my husband could hold up to my face. This is the one that I’m so glad I had at the hospital.

        Music: Some people create a playlist specifically for labor.  If this is you, great.  If not, still bring some source of music in case you need something to block out the annoying sound of machines (or your husband).


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        Robe and fuzzy socks: You will likely want to walk the halls at some point and you don’t want to do it wearing nothing but an open-backed hospital gown.  A robe and fuzzy socks are perfect… if you’re cold.  However, that’s where it’s also a good idea to bring PJ shorts that you can wear under your hospital gown if it’s too hot for a robe.  I wore my robe and fuzzy socks a decent amount after giving birth but was so hot while I was walking the halls that I just wore PJ shorts, a hospital gown and flip flops.

        Flip flops: Because no one wants to stand in the gross hospital showers without flip flops.  These also work for walking the halls if you’re too hot for the fuzzy socks.

        Nightgown/Labor and delivery dress: You can buy a dress designed for labor and delivery which is basically a fancy hospital gown.  If you do this, I would save it for after delivery.  What I did was purchase a stretchy tank top style nightgown from Target.  This was cool in case I got hot, had easier access compared to shorts and was stretchy at the top so I could pull it down for nursing.  Everyone thought I was wearing a sundress, but really it was just a nightgown.  I ended up going back and buying a second one in a different color after I got home. This one is similar to mine.

        Depends: It may require some effort to stoop to buying adult diapers, but these are a wonderful thing to have postpartum.  The mesh panties that the hospital provides do fit right and don’t stay put – they are essentially useless.  Depends on the other hand are extremely comfortable and can be discretely worn under yoga pants.  Get at least one pack and take a bunch to the hospital and have them at home.  I wore them for at least a week postpartum.

        Perineum Ice Packs: The hospital will provide you with diaper ice packs that work really well (and fit well inside Depends). However, they aren’t that comfortable to move around in.  I suggest ordering a package of perineum ice packs that you can activate at the time of use (these can be easily found on Amazon). Take a couple to the hospital and have the rest of the package on hand at home.  These are the ones I got, and they worked great.

        You will also want a bunch of other self-care items when you get home, but the hospital will supply you with everything else you need while you’re there.  To see what to have on hand at home, check out this post.

        Going home outfit: You will not automatically fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans.  However, you will be smaller than when you arrived, but how much varies from person to person.  I recommend leggings or yoga pants and a loose-fitting shirt which is a comfy outfit that can be cute and gives you wiggle room on what size you are when you leave the hospital.

        Nursing sleep bra: This may be necessary depending on what you are planning to wear in the hospital.  With the nightgown I mentioned above, it has built-in padding and is fitted enough to provide support, so I didn’t wear any other bras until I left.  A nursing sleep bra will come in handy when you go home though.

        Nursing pads: If everything goes smoothly, and you are discharged on schedule, your milk probably won’t have come in yet.  However, if you have an extended stay you may end up needing nursing pads.  I didn’t need them, but they are small, so I recommend taking a set or two just in case. These bamboo ones are the washable ones I suggest for long term.

        Breast pump with all accessories: The hospital will have a hospital-grade breast pump you can use if you need one.  However, if you are a first-time mom I recommend taking your personal breast pump and all the related pieces.  The lactation consultant can help you figure out how to use it and make sure everything fits appropriately.  For me this was a life saver.  If you are not new to the world of pumping, then you can probably just use the hospital one if necessary.

        Makeup: The thought of putting makeup on right after giving birth may sound crazy to some, but I’m so glad I had it with me.  As soon as I was given the okay to shower I did so and followed that by styling my hair and doing my makeup.  This took about 20 extra minutes, and I love the pictures of me and Paxton in the hospital. 

        Hair styling items and ponytail holders: See above for why you want to take hair styling items.  If your hair is long enough for a ponytail you will definitely want to utilize this style to get your hair out of your face during labor.

        Chapstick: Hospital air is dry, so you will want something for your lips.

        Glasses and contacts: If you have both, take both.  You may want contacts for labor in case your glasses get fogged up, but you may not want to put contacts in the entire time you’re in the hospital. 

        Laundry bag: You will generate laundry, so it’s helpful to have a designated place to keep it separate from things that aren’t dirty.

        Cell phone and charger, shower items, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash and deodorant: I hope that why you would want these items is pretty self-explanatory.

        Insurance card, ID and hospital paper work: I hope these items are pretty self-explanatory too.

        Items For Baby and Your Partner (because chances are you are responsible for everyone else. Get used to it.)

        Going home outfit for baby: This can be as fancy, as sentimental or as plain as you want.  Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s appropriate for a car seat and bring both newborn and 3-month size outfits.  My husband and I were both big babies that never fit into newborn clothes, but out son wore newborn clothes for a solid month.  You also don’t want to be in the position of having a baby that doesn’t fit into newborn clothes if that’s all you bought.  We had friends that had to go to the gift shop and get a bigger outfit for their baby to go home in because he didn’t fit in what they brought. 

        Car seat: Get this installed in your car ahead of time.  You can leave it in the car until you are close to leaving which helps keep the room from getting too cluttered.

        Stocked diaper bag: I cover what should go into a diaper bag in a different post.  You can view it here.  Most likely you won’t need any of these things before you get home, but you will quickly learn that baby and diaper bag go everywhere together.  It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.

        Baby blanket: If it’s cold, this can be used to tuck around baby in the car seat.  The hospital provides plenty of blankets for use while there, but some people prefer to have their own so consider what you prefer. We used the hospital ones until it was time to go home.

        Baby socks and Onsies: Something you may or may not need, but tiny enough they are worth tossing in. The nurses kept our son swaddled unless they were doing something with him, so we didn’t really see a need for baby clothes.  However, we eventually realized that he hated being cold and actually was happier dressed.

        Pillow for partner: See above (under your pillow) about why you must bring your partner a pillow.

        Entertainment: The last thing you want while you are in labor is a bored husband.  Make sure to have whatever will keep him entertained when you aren’t keeping him busy.

        PJs for partner: Sleeping in jeans is never fun, and you don’t need the whining.

        Cash for vending machines and snacks: The cafeteria is likely closed when you want to eat and the meals they deliver never seem to come at convenient times.  I was in the hospital for 2 days before I ever had a chance to eat one of the meals they brought me.

        Yeti mug (or similar for partner): Nice to have, and the nurses are happy to fill it up with ice water.

        Shower items, razor and shaving cream, ball cap, toothbrush, deodorant and cell phone and charger all for partner: Hopefully self-explanatory as to why these are needed.

        Card games: During early labor and after I got an epidural and slept for a couple of hours we played a bunch of card games.  Sometimes a pause was required for a contraction, but it was a great way to relax and keep us both occupied. This game got a lot of use in the hospital and while I was on maternity leave.

        Computer and charger: I can’t be the only one who never goes away overnight without taking my laptop.  I think I used it for maybe 10 minutes, but I’m sure I would have missed it if I hadn’t taken it.  The laptop can also be used for Skyping with family, listening to music or watching movies that you downloaded ahead of time (recommended).

        Extension cord: There may not be a plug near where your partner is sleeping so an extension cord can be good for allowing more flexibility with plugging in a cell phone.  In my room, the only outlets were behind my bed which wasn’t super convenient for keeping cell phones plugged in.

        Gum: Always good to have on hand for dry mouth, nausea and your partner’s bad breath.

        Camera: We took all pictures on cell phones, but if you are talented with a camera, don’t forget to take it.

        Overall, I am a strong proponent on taking everything that there is a slight chance you might need.  I hate being somewhere and wishing I had brought something, so I really don’t want to be in the situation while in labor or learning how to care for a new tiny human.  I do suggest packing multiple bags.  A bag for you, a bag for your partner, a bag for baby and a bag of stuff to leave in the car until needed.  It’s also helpful to have an extra bag to put stuff in as you finish with it.  Taking stuff used during labor to the car and bringing in baby stuff after our son was born worked well to keep the room from getting cluttered.

        Download PDF packing list here: Ultimate Hospital Packing List

        Did I miss anything?  What are you glad you had at the hospital?  Let me know in the comments.

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        Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery
        Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

        Get My Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist

        Get the only hospital packing list you will need for labor and delivery. This is the list I compiled for myself and then modified based on reality. Benefit from my experience!

          We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

          Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

          Tips for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

          Tips for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
          Tips for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

          The United States as a whole offers much less paid maternity leave than other countries.  However, it doesn’t matter if you get a long or short leave, it’s still hard to leave your snugly baby and head back to work.  Here are my 10 tips for returning to work after maternity leave. If you are really dreading the return, check out this post I wrote about why being a working mom is awesome.

          Top 10 Tips

          1. Practice Your Morning Routine

          You and baby have likely gotten into a morning routine that doesn’t involve leaving the house in time to be somewhere first thing. Work with your partner to plan what your morning routine will look like, and a couple weeks before you go back start practicing.

          2. Do a Daytime Care Trial Run

          Whether your partner will be staying home, you have a nanny coming to you, or baby is going to daycare, do a practice run or two. This allows you to make sure your baby is comfortable with the caregiver and gives the caregiver a chance to ask any questions that come up. If you are hesitant to give up any time with your baby, just make it a few hours. Use that time to run errands, get your hair done or just take a nap.

          If you are feeling guilty or worried about putting your baby into daycare, check out this post about why it’s okay.

          If you are thinking a nanny may be a better option, you will definitely want to ask these interview questions when finding the perfect one.

          3. Make Sure Baby Will Drink a Bottle

          If you have been exclusively breastfeeding while on maternity leave, your baby may not be too impressed with an impersonal bottle at first. Start practicing a couple weeks ahead of time, so baby gets used to it. The last thing you want is to be spending your first day back worrying about if your baby is eating.


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          4. Practice Pumping

          Along with baby practicing drinking from a bottle, you will need to practice pumping if you plan to continue breastfeeding. You don’t want to be trying to figure out how to use your pump when you get to work.

          5. Build Up a Milk Stash

          If you are planning to pump at work, you will be pumping to feed your baby the next day. It never hurts to have a little bit of a milk stash built up. If you have enough supply, start creating a freezer stash a couple weeks before going back to work.

          6. Preemptively Skim Your Emails

          If you have a job where you get a lot of emails, find some time to at least start going through them. Delete all the ones that are junk or no longer relevant. This will drastically cut the size of your inbox. Simply knowing what you are in for when you are opening your email on your first day back can help with the dread. I used my midnight pumping sessions to go through my emails.

          7. Stop By Work For a Visit

          Simply stopping by with your baby for a few minutes and chatting with coworkers can make going back not seem so bad.

          8. Incorporate Your Favorite Part of Work Into Your First Day Back

          For me, I love the traveling and speaking aspect of my job.  Therefore, the weekend right before I went back to work I traveled to spend the weekend speaking.  This was like ripping the bandage off.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to go at first but ended up enjoying myself and afterwards going to work for a day seemed easy.  Maybe traveling isn’t what you want to do, but if you love getting lunch with a coworker, try to plan lunch on your first day back so you have something to look forward to.

          9. Consider Adjusting Your Schedule

          Sometimes there may be a better way to make it all work. It could be worth asking your boss about flexibility. Are you able to condense your work week or work from home some days? I was able to change from working five days a week to working 10 hour days four days a week. I still work the same 40 hours but have a whole extra day with Paxton each week which makes a big difference.

          10. Don’t Make Any Drastic Changes Until You’ve Been Back to Work for at Least 1 Month

          As maternity leave nears its end, it can be really tempting to decide you want to be a stay-at-home mom. Don’t make this decision while you are on leave. Go back to your commitments for at least 1 month and try your hardest to make it work. If after one month you are still sure that you would rather be a stay-at-home mom, then it may be worth considering if that’s a possibility.

          Once you are back to work, check out these 35 tips from working moms on how they manage to balance everything.

          Final Thoughts

          In summary, plan ahead.  I dreaded going back to work for the last couple of weeks of maternity leave.  However, I realized that once I had a plan in place and slowly started getting involved in the work world again, it wasn’t that horrible of a thought.  I also found that leaving the house every day to go to work forces me to step out of my role as mom and focus on my other roles which keep me from getting burned out with any one thing.

          If you really want to focus on you, check out my tips for fitting fitness into a working mom schedule here.

          What helped you go back to work after maternity leave?  Let me know in the comments. If you are still looking for more tips, here are some additional tips for returning to work after maternity leave.

          If you want to hear from other working moms that make it work, check out this interview series. I was even included as one of the interviews. You can view mine here.

          Like what you read? Subscribe to email updates to receive updates straight to your inbox!

          Tips for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

          How to Get Through Baby’s First Cold

          How to Get Through Baby’s First Cold
          How to Get Through Baby's First Cold

          Last week, I went to a 1-year-old’s birthday party.  It was a great party, there were lots of children running – and crawling – around, adults chatting about adult things, and of course there was a cake smash!  It was nice to get out of the house for a while and be around adults.  As the weather gets colder, I spend less and less time outside, and the only company I have at home during the day is a 5-month-old baby.  It was a well needed outing, even if it was the beginning of a terrible week.

          A day and a half after that 1-year-old’s birthday party, I got a head cold.  It felt like I had a rock sitting in my sinuses and it was NOT budging.  Being that I am the only adult home with the baby during the day, I can’t just avoid the baby all day!  I have to feed her, change her diaper, carry her from one place to another, hand her toys -that will inevitably end up in her mouth – it is simply unavoidable.

          Avoiding Baby Without Actually Avoiding her

          Knowing that I was sick and probably contagious, I was very careful with what and when I held the baby and her things.  I washed my hands before every interaction, after I touched my face, before I made her food, before AND after I changed her bum.  It felt like I was constantly standing at the sink, washing my hands.  I covered my nose and mouth when I coughed or sneezed; I did everything I could to prevent my baby girl from getting this awful cold; she didn’t have Mommy kisses for almost a week!

          Alas, everything I could do wasn’t enough.  One afternoon, I went to the nursery to get the baby after her nap as she had been crying at the top of her lungs – much more than the usual wake up cry.  I picked her up to console her – didn’t calm her down.  Gave her a bottle – she didn’t want it.  I changed her dirty diaper – there was barely anything in it.  Then, as I was lightly bouncing up and down trying to console her and figure out what was wrong, she stopped crying and I noticed her breathing sounded stuffy – we all know the sound of someone trying to breathe through a stuffed nose, they are the ones that we want to yell at to BLOW YOUR NOSE!


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          I’m Not Terrible, I’m Actually Quite a Good Mother!

          She caught the cold from me.  I felt awful – I’m a terrible mother for not washing my hands more, or not staying away from her more, or not disinfecting all the surfaces more, or… or nothing.  I am not a terrible mother for getting my 5-month-old baby sick.  These things happen and being there for her to take care of her and suck the snot out of her nose when it gets to be too much – that is what makes me a good mother.  Here are some ways you can take care of your baby and make it through that first cold.

          Let Baby Sleep

          I know, it seems like she is just coming out of the “eat, sleep, poop, repeat” phase, but let her take an extra half hour for her nap, or an extra nap all together.  Allow her to go to bed early if she is showing signs of sleepiness.  Rest will only help your sick baby recover, plus it gives you a little extra time to yourself! Enjoy it!  Much like you and I, baby needs sleep to get over her cold.  My baby normally has a 45 minute to hour long nap.  While she was sick, she had 2-2 1/2  hour naps.  Although, if baby is lethargic, you may want to see a doctor.

          Keep Baby Hydrated

          Again, just like you, Baby needs certain things to get over her cold.  Sleep and Hydration being the two main categories.  If she is cranky, give her a bottle or breastfeed her and see if it helps.  When we are sick, it drains us of energy and makes us dehydrated.  Having a baby who is both sick and dehydrated can cause added on health issues, and nobody wants that for their sick baby.  If Baby’s soft spot on the top of her head is extremely sunken, she may be dehydrated, and you should consult a Doctor.

          Saline Drops 

          To help loosen the mucus in baby’s sinuses, you can buy (at any pharmacy, or even grocery store in some cases) an over-the-counter saline drop.  You can put a drop or two up baby’s nose while she is upright or slightly reclined, and wait a few seconds before using a nasal aspirator to suck out any excess saline and mucus.  

          You can get a bulb nasal aspirator, or one of the ones where Mom/Dad sucks it out through a long tube (your mouth doesn’t touch any snot, I promise!) 

          This is NOT the easiest task – as you can imagine – with a squirmy baby who turns her head at any sight of something – that isn’t a bottle – coming toward her face.  I recommend having someone else there to assist you.


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          Put Moisture into the Air

          Putting moisture into the air can also help with loosening mucus in the sinus cavity.  You can do this in multiple ways:

          Run the Shower

          You can turn the shower on hot and sit in the bathroom with baby.  DO NOT allow the baby to touch the hot water, it will burn.  Leave the bathroom fan off for a greater effect.  Stay in the bathroom with baby for about 15 minutes as the air gets steamy and moist.  Once the 15 minutes is up, use the nasal aspirator to remove any mucus.  I found this to be extremely effective when the baby first woke up in the morning.  I would give her a bottle as soon as we were finished.  The warm air and moisture made it easier for her to drink the bottle.

          Use a Humidifier or Diffuser

          Any run of the mill humidifier can help clear baby’s sinuses.  Run it all night long, or for a few hours at a time.  You can also use a diffuser with essential oils such as lemon or lavender.  Some essential oils are safe for adults to take orally, however this is NOT SAFE for babies.  Ensure all essential oils are through a diffuser.

          Cuddles

          Sometimes all you need is a hug.  Baby may seem very needy and clingy while she is sick, and you should give her ALL the cuddles she wants.  It isn’t fun being sick as an adult, I imagine it is much worse when you are an infant and can’t blow your nose or wipe your eyes, much less have any idea of what is going on or why you feel this way.  Comfort her.  Let her know she will be okay.

          Do NOT Give Your Baby Over-the-Counter Cold Medicines

          Although I’m pretty sure most of the baby cold medicines have been removed from shelves, if you happen to find one, DO NOT USE IT.  Consult a Doctor if you think your baby needs more than what is mentioned above.

          More information about medications is available here.

          When to Take Your Baby to the Doctor

          If your baby is less than 3 months old, call your doctor within the first couple of days if not the first day.  Newborns can develop more serious illnesses very quickly.  

          If your baby is older than 3 months old, call your doctor in the event of:

          • A fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
          • Your baby stops eating
          • Has trouble breathing – Not the stuffy nose kind, but from the lungs.

          Click here for 10 other instances of when to take baby to a Doctor.

          Always Remember

          You are a good Mother.  Just because the baby got the cold from you, doesn’t make you a bad Mom.  These things happen to the best of us!