Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

It is true that we can have it all, especially as breastfeeding moms. If taking a child out to see the world by RV, plane or any other mode of transportation has always been on the bucket list, there are plenty of ways that we can breastfeed and travel at the same time.

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Sure, everyone who is breastfeeding and traveling with their child will need to plan and prepare in advance, but it is completely doable with a few extra steps and some creative thinking. The world has become vastly more accepting of breastfeeding moms, which means that there will be more spaces available and fewer disapproving stares from strangers.

Anyone who is ready to hit the road with their brand new bundle of joy can do so! Just follow these handy tips for a fool-proof plan to see all that the planet has to offer with the bouncing baby in tow.


Set Up Boundaries

Anyone who is traveling to see friends or family for the holidays might encounter those who have trouble taking no for an answer when it comes to the little ones.

These well-meaning relatives and friends might not understand that the baby is on a strict feeding schedule, and will insist upon holding him or her even when the new mom tries to intervene. Save everyone some stress, including the baby, by putting a foot down. It’s important to remember that the baby’s health and happiness come before relatives’ hurt feelings. Most people will understand and apologize.


Keep The Pumped Milk Cold

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Nobody ever knows when they will be able to feed their child, or when they will have to resort to the bottled stuff. This is where pumping and dumping come in handy. Keeping a few extra bottles of pumped milk on hand is a great idea.

The other reason why new moms should do this is that they never know how travel will affect their bodies. Some types of travel are just not conducive to milk production! Having enough supply of pumped milk means that the baby can eat all of the time, but you need to keep it cold.

Don’t let the milk go sour or get too warm. Instead, pack some bags of ice or even medical cooling pads to wrap around the bottles. Keep them in a small cooler to ensure that the temperature stays right where it is supposed to be. Always pack more ice than seems reasonably necessary, as most people underestimate how warm certain types of transportation can be.

Simply planning and packing ahead can save moms tons of time and anguish when it comes to feeding their little ones. All anyone needs is just a little bit of ice!


Stick With A Strict Feeding Schedule

When one is a breastfeeding mom, it pays to travel by land instead of air because they can stick with a strict feeding schedule! RVs are an ideal way to travel for new parents. There’s plenty of space, one can pull over at any time, and there’s no need to try to find a private place to pump or feed.

The American Southwest is a fabulous destination where one can find their perfect RV rental in Las Vegas and see the majority of the country from the comfort of a classic and reliable RV.

Land traveling by an RV is really the best option for many breastfeeding moms out there who want to see the whole world while maintaining the strict pumping and feeding schedule that their little ones require. Cross-country travel is also a great option for those who want to travel at their pace and see the country on their terms.

tips for breastfeeding and traveling

New Positions Could Come In Handy

When we are in the comfort of our own home it’s easy to snuggle up in the favorite chair and feed away, but public transportation is a whole different story. Airplanes are notoriously cramped, and unfortunately, they don’t give new mothers the benefit of a little extra legroom.

As such, the little bundle of joy might be squished or uncomfortable, to say nothing of mom! It makes sense to save ourselves some grief by trying out new positions before getting onto the plane or train. This way, new moms know what works for them and their babies, and positions can be tried out in the comfort of the home. It’s truly a smart strategy for anyone who is planning to hit the road.


Dress For Success

For logistical reasons, it makes sense to dress in clothes that will provide the baby with easy access to his or her food source. When traveling, wear flowy clothes and nursing bras that allow for some semblance of privacy along with ease of access. Some good options include larger shirts and sweaters with deep v-necks and button-down cardigans. It is also a good idea to bring along a scarf or nursing blanket for a little bit of privacy, in case one needs to stop at a rest place or public area to nurse.

Many people realize that nursing a baby is a natural act and would never dream of judging a mother for simply exercising her biological connection with a child, but some are still surprisingly judgemental. There are also plenty of moms out there who prefer to have a little bit more privacy while they are breastfeeding. Nobody knows what mood they will be in at any given time, so it is best to bring along a shawl, blanket or nursing cover just in case.

There is no reason why new mothers can’t see the world with their young children if they’d like to. Today, the planet is friendlier than ever towards nursing moms, and there are plenty of wonderful options out there for road trips, plane adventures, and boat trips.

As long as one plans ahead, there is absolutely no reason why breastfeeding or pumping on the road needs to be a chore, or why new moms and their babies need to be home bound.

Why It’s Never Too Early to Introduce STEM to Your Child

Why It’s Never Too Early to Introduce STEM to Your Child

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.

Why you should introduce your child to STEM and tips for doing so.

If you are a parent to a young child, it’s fun to imagine what career they’ll be undertaking in 20  years or so. It’s fun to get their opinion, too. What do they want to be? Astronaut? Pilot? Vet?

The truth, however, is that many of our kids will be starting their working life in a job we’re only just beginning to imagine. Some of today’s careers will vanish while some will remain (we’ll always need doctors, right?) but will evolve as technology develops further. Other brand new career options will appear, too.

Here’s what experts in STEM education in Dubai predict for the future.


A Future in STEM

The vast majority of new careers will be related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).  For today’s working generation, STEM has already opened up countless exciting career opportunities in these fields. AI and robotics, IT, aerospace, medicine, and climate science are just a few examples of areas where people are working right now in interesting, rewarding and well-paid jobs. And the list of STEM job titles will just keep getting longer.

STEM careers evolve rapidly thanks to investment, research and fast updating technology. For example, working in IT today can mean many more things than it did 30 years ago. Think about cybersecurity specialists, app developers, and web analysts — these are popular careers that didn’t exist at all back then. Even just five years ago, the picture looked quite different. For example, in medicine, new lines of diagnostics and treatment have led to a demand for new but highly trained staff in nuclear medicine and genetics.

The argument for encouraging your child to take an early interest in STEM subjects is strong when it comes to preparing them well for the future.


Why start early?

The study of STEM through school and into the college years will help prepare your child for a career in one of these areas. If your child is still a toddler or baby, that time is still a long way off. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to wait to get your child interested in the wonders of STEM. Cultivating this interest and curiosity early on is vital if you want to encourage your child to take the path towards a STEM career. And there are plenty of ways to do it.

Here are important reasons why encouraging a love of STEM from the earliest of ages will pay off:

1. Because young children are incredibly curious

Babies and toddlers are innately curious. If you watch them play with even the simplest toys, you can see that they are trying to make sense of their world. Give the youngest child wooden building blocks, for example, and they’ll experiment with bashing them together, observing the noise that they make. Toddlers may investigate how best to stack them to make the tallest tower.

These are young scientists, engineers and mathematicians at work, making observations, experimenting, testing ideas, and making sense of it all. The more we nurture these skills now, the more inclined our children will be to continue developing them.

2. Because “The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid”

This quote from German philosopher Thomas A. Kempis illustrates perfectly why children benefit so much from higher-quality early education. In fact, children who start formal school with a strong foundation in the STEM subjects, particularly math, tend to do better than their peers throughout their school careers.

One study by researchers from the University of Denver has even found that “early knowledge of math not only predicts later success in math, but also predicts later reading achievement even better than early reading skills.”

So, the more STEM knowledge and skills to be gained by preschoolers, the more they’ll benefit later in life.

3. Because you can help accelerate the development of soft skills

When your child experiments, plays with STEM-inspired toys, and takes part in STEM activities, then they are developing a whole range of skills that will benefit them in the future, no matter what career they go on to choose.

Confidence, problem-solving ability, and adaptability are all vital non-career specific skills that are brought on through STEM activities.


How do I inspire my young child and help them get a head start with STEM?

There are many ways you can help inspire your child to love STEM and start to build the foundations of STEM skills.

1. Use STEM language as often as possible

Getting accustomed to basic mathematical and scientific language is a vital early building block. Try to use these words as much as possible around your child and encourage them to use them, too.

For example, talk about toys and simple items around your home in terms of how many there are, how heavy/light they are, how they are shaped, and how they compare with others.

You could use language like, “Which is the heaviest block? How many blocks are in your tower? Which block is square and which is rectangular?”

2. Read STEM-based books

Look in your local bookstore or library and you are bound to find plenty of books that help children increase their STEM vocabulary or encourage an interest in STEM topics. Here are the kinds of books to look out for:

  • Books that involve numbers and counting
  • Books that teach shape names
  • Books about people who work in STEM (i.e., vets, doctors, astronauts, etc.)
  • Books about robots
  • Books about space
  • Both fiction and non-fiction that might inspire an interest in any kind of vehicle

For all these categories, there should be something age-appropriate for your child, even in baby board book form.

A great option for babies and toddlers are the Baby University book series. There are so many different books that explain complicated STEM topics in easy to understand ways for babies and toddlers. Parents may even brush up on their organic chemistry, rocket science and quantum physics.

3. Encourage your baby or toddler to investigate their world

Why It’s Never Too Early to Introduce STEM to Your Child

Here are some fun activities that will help develop your young child’s curious nature:

  • Water play. Investigate sinking and floating.
  • Color mixing. Play with paints and find out what happens when you mix colors.
  • Build bridges and ramps together to support toy vehicles.
  • Build with bricks. Lego is an amazing educational resource that your child can grow up with. It inspires STEM play, from engineering the simplest structures in toddlerhood through to robotics for older children.
  • Play with your shadows. Shadow puppets are amazing to behold.
  • Get out the bubbles for some cool chemistry fun.
  • For your child’s first piece of scientific equipment, give your child a magnifying glass and encourage them to investigate anything and everything.

As you can see from these activities, introducing the world of STEM to your baby or toddler is fun. It builds on their natural curiosities. It’s also hugely beneficial to their future progress in school. What’s more, it may well set them up for the most amazing career.

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.

14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

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.

If you are a parent with a baby that is more than a month old, you have probably heard about the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3).  This is a questionnaire that you will fill out every couple of months for your baby for the first five years, and it’s designed to screen for developmental delays.  The questions center around development in skills separated into 5 categories – communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social.  Each category contains 6 skills and asks you to rank each one on whether your child does it always, sometimes or not yet.  The score for each category is compared to what is considered average for a child of the same age.  It then is easy to tell if your child is at risk or falling behind in a certain category. 

While all the categories are important, this article answers the question “how to help baby develop gross motor skills” by focusing on activities that can be used to improve gross motor skill development in babies up to 18 months old.

14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

My son is one of those kids that is overly cautious and not into working any harder than necessary.  The result is that he has been behind in gross motor skill development pretty chronically for the first 1.5 years of his life despite being on track for the other 4 ASQ-3 categories. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some activities to incorporate to encourage the development of these important skills.  However, before you start, you will want to figure out what motivates your child.  For my son, food and car keys were the ultimate motivators.  Other items just didn’t hold enough appeal to get him to do things he didn’t want to.

Babies Not Yet Crawling

If your baby isn’t crawling yet, then focus on activities that build a strong motor skill base.

            Tummy Time

Tummy time is important from birth.  This is the first type of exercise baby will do start working on those motor skills.  If your baby hates tummy time, don’t be disheartened.  There are ways to do modified tummy time to get baby used to the idea.  Some ways to modify include using a Boppy pillow to prop baby’s chest up and laying on your back and putting baby on your chest.  These methods get baby off her back and used to being on her stomach.  However, it’s important to eventually progress to traditional tummy time for the full benefits.  You should aim for increasing amounts of tummy time (at least 30 to 60 minutes a day), but this can be broken down into sessions that are only a couple of minutes long.  Doing a minute or two of tummy time after every diaper change is a way to get in some good practice.


            Rolling

Rolling is one of the first major gross motor milestones.  Lots of tummy time helps encourage this skill, but once baby develops it, keep encouraging rolling.  Rolling is a great way for baby to start getting from point A to point B before crawling, and all that rolling helps further strengthen the abdominal muscles which are important for the upcoming gross motor milestones.

Baby rolling over to reach a toy is a great way to encourage motor skill development.

            Sitting

Baby will likely want to sit and look around well before she is actually able to stay upright on her own.  Encourage this by sitting baby on the floor between your legs.  Let her use your legs to help balance.  Slowly decrease the amount of support you provide and see how long she can sit before you need to help her rebalance.  At first this will be exhausting for baby but doing this consistently will quickly build up her stamina.

Baby sitting in a Bumbo seat to strengthen gross motor skills.

            Kneeling

Once baby has the core strength to roll over and stay sitting on his own, you can start encouraging him being on his knees.  There are a few ways to go about doing this.  An activity table is great because it’s low enough that baby can kneel and reach the buttons.  However, it’s too high to reach them while sitting.  Putting baby on his knees to balance against the table and play helps him get used to supporting his weight with his knees which is important for crawling. 

You can also help baby get into a crawling position and hold the hands and knees pose for a minute.  This can be done by helping to support baby’s legs in the crawling position and gradually decrease the support as baby gets stronger.

Baby kneeling by a play table helps get him ready to crawl.

            Jumperoos

Jumperoos can be fun for babies as they start to reach the point of having enough core strength to sit up.  These encourage putting weight on the legs and bending the knees to bounce.  However, keep in mind that while the legs get stronger, the support provided by the jumperoo is enough that core strength isn’t developed as much, so it’s important to encourage core strength development through other methods.

Note: Some babies are very interested and willing to get moving.  However, others are more reluctant and would prefer to have mom and dad (or older siblings) move them from point A to B.  Pay attention to your baby’s personality and know that you may have to let him struggle for a bit to learn that he is capable of moving himself.  With my son, he learned to roll, sit and stand while leaning against something.  However, he had no desire to move himself from laying to sitting or sitting to standing. 

A baby sitting in a Jumperoo and smiling.

Babies That Are Crawling (or close to it)

            Encourage Pulling To Stand

Before baby can walk, he has to be able to stand.  Some babies quickly figure out that they can get into a lot more trouble by pulling up on coffee tables and grabbing papers, cell phones or food.  However, if your child is more hesitant, pull out the super desirable object you identified at the beginning and place it on a low table.  Make sure your child is sitting near the table and knows the object is there. For some children that may be enough to entice them to stand.


Couch Climbing

If your baby isn’t willing to pull up on a coffee table, you may need to start with a lower object.  In this case, remove your couch cushion.  Sit baby on the floor by the cushion-less couch and use your tempting object to convince baby to pull up.  You may need to provide a little boost, and that’s okay.  Keep trying and each time provide a little less help.  Chances are good, baby will figure out he actually is capable of doing it himself. 

Once your child is pulling up, you can still use the cushion-less couch trick to teach baby to climb onto things.  A couch without a cushion is the perfect height for a new climber to gain some confidence.


            Playgrounds

Climbing is great for babies to continue developing their gross motor skills.  Playgrounds with play equipment involving steps, tunnels and slides are great for encouraging your child to explore, navigate different terrain and work on those climbing skills.  I suggest finding a playground that has separate play areas for little kids versus older kids.  This seems to keep a slower paced area that is safe for your little one to play without getting trampled by the bigger kids.  These little kid play areas are usually shorter which makes it easier for you to stay close and offer a helping hand while keeping your feet on the ground.

If you are struggling with bad weather, don’t forget to look for indoor playground options.  Many fast food restaurants and shopping malls have indoor play areas.  Many cities have indoor play centers of various designs as well.  These places can be great for getting energy out of a new mover on a rainy day.

Toddler playing at a playground.  Playgrounds are a great way to encourage gross motor skill development.

            Push Toys

Sometimes our kids are reluctant to walk because they lack confidence.  Push toys can be great for strengthening the walking muscles but still providing a secure, supportive feeling.  I really like this Melissa and Doug Alligator Push Toy as a starter push toy.  It’s solid and sturdy which provides a lot of support.  However, once walking with this got easy, a plastic push lawn mower was a good next step.  The plastic push toy wasn’t as stable, so it required more self-support from my son. 

I suggest incorporating a walk with the push toy into your daily routine.  We started walking down the street every day after I got home from work.  My son would push his toy down the sidewalk, and I would supervise and make sure he stayed on the sidewalk.  This helped him develop the necessary muscles while still feeling secure.  I found walking outside was more effective than inside because inside he kept running into things and would quickly get frustrated.


            Toys Requiring Hands-Free Standing

Toys that require your toddler to stand without holding own are great for distracting them enough that they will stand without support.  We got a plastic t-ball set that my son was intrigued by enough that he would stand and take an occasional step without any support. 


            Shopping Carts

This goes along with encouraging more walking.  Some stores have kid-sized carts that are just the right height.  However, if your local stores don’t have these tiny carts, kids can still help push the full-sized cart.  You will need to help, but pushing a big cart makes your toddler feel important and gets in valuable walking muscle exercise while you are shopping.


            Walking While Holding A Hand

Once our son would walk while holding someone’s hand, we started having him walk everywhere holding a hand.  When we went to the store, we would have him walk from the car into the store while holding our hands.  When we run errands, he spends a lot of time in a car seat, so this routine helps him get exercise while we get things done. 

We found that this, plus daily push toy walks and pushing the shopping carts really helped him get the confidence to take his first steps.


            Walking On Uneven Ground

Walking on surfaces that are completely (or almost) flat and hard is a great way to start.  However, to up the difficulty level for your little one that doesn’t want to let go of your hand, go for some uneven surfaces.  Walking through the grass or on the mulch at a playground is a great way to work on stabilizing muscles.


            Tempt the First Steps

Eventually, your little one will need to get brave and take the first unsupported steps.  You will start to notice when your child is ready to take the first steps and just needs to develop the confidence.  This is where you can pull out the shiny object you identified above.  Tempt your child with something they love but usually can’t play with, but only allow them to have it if they are standing unsupported.  You can also encourage them to step forward one or two steps to reach it.  Just make sure that you do provide the reward and let your child play with the object.

We did this with our son and car keys.  We went into the middle of the room and stood him up, then gave him the keys and let him stand on his own.  He was so entertained that he forgot that he wasn’t holding onto anything.  When he would realize and sit down, the keys went away, and we would start over.  We then started getting him to take one or two steps to get the keys.  Once we did that a couple of times, he suddenly realized he could walk and started walking everywhere.

Toddler standing up and looking in a wallet.

Did your child take off walking early or were they a late walker?  What worked for you to encourage gross motor skills?

14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

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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.


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    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.


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    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.

      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!

      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      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.

      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      Is there anything cuter than squishy little baby feet? I don’t think so.

      So, it makes sense that none of us can resist all of those adorable baby socks and shoes?

      I mean, I had a shoe collection ready to go before my son was born that rivaled my own.

      So, imagine my surprise when I learned that just like adults – baby feet are not one-size-fits-all.

      Sadly, many of those first pairs of shoes I bought ended up donated without so much as having the tags cut off.

      Now that I’ve learned the expensive way how to find the best baby and toddler shoes for wide, thick little feet – I’m sharing all my best tips with you.

      Go forth and buy all the wide little shoes. I support you.

      circle of girl baby shoes

      But First, When Does Your Baby Need Shoes?

      Before we dive into those sweet shoe recommendations -let’s cover some basics:

      It may come as a surprise that babies actually do not need shoes. While socks and soft-soled baby shoes provide warmth – your baby does not actually need supportive shoes. In fact, restrictive or structured shoes may actually impair their mobility. Whenever possible, allow them to go barefoot, so their feet can breathe, stretch, and grow.

      That means that when shopping for shoes for your precious little nugget – you are really looking for soft-soled shoes made of soft, flexible materials that will allow them to move their feet comfortably. And, you’re only using them for as long as necessary.

      Once they are pulling up to stand and starting to walk, shoes begin to serve more of a purpose. Their shoes will protect their feet from sharp objects and provide a flat, supportive surface. But, still, when they’re home and in a safe environment, the best way for baby to learn to walk is barefoot  – so their flat feet can build arches and strengthen ankles.

      circle of boy shoes

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      Types of Baby & Toddler Shoes

      Once you’re ready to start shopping, you’ll want to know the key vocabulary.

      Pre-Walking Shoes:

      These are designed to be flexible and made with breathable material. Typically, these are more for the cute factor rather than serve a real purpose.

      However, some babies are incredibly adept at kicking off their shoes. For these little Houdini’s, you may find yourself snapping up a pair of those baby moccasins you see everywhere.

      A few of the most popular baby moc lines include:

      Walking Shoes:

      Once your precious little snowflake starts taking those first few steps, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a more structured shoe.

      But, not so fast, truth is – barefoot is still best when you know the environment is safe for them to strut.

      When you are ready to invest in those first pairs of real shoes, you’ll want to look for a few key criteria to determine the best shoes for your baby learning to walk.

      1. Do they have flexible, nonslip soles? This means you should be able to bend the toe of the shoe up easily.
      2. Are the shoes comfortably padded? Make sure the material is soft and there isn’t anything that will rub the toes, feet, ankles or heels. Baby skin is soft and won’t stand a chance against rough materials.
      3. Do they close securely?  You don’t want the shoes coming off or flopping around when your little one is already unstable. You want them to be easy to get on, but secure once fastened.
      4. Are they the right size? Believe it or not, babies’ feet can grow fast. You’ll want to re-measure every couple of months to make sure their shoes fit properly and allow their feet room to grow.

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      Also, if your child has feet on the wider size, you may find that many baby shoes just don’t comfortably fit.

      That’s where I come in. You’re veritable Wide Feet Shoe Fairy. You’re welcome 😉

      Line of baby shoes

      Baby & Toddler Shoe Brands For Wide Feet

      Through trial and error, I have found 7 high-quality, affordable, adorable shoe stores that make wide enough shoes for babies and toddlers with wide feet.

      Let’s go shopping:

      See Kai Run:

      With fresh, fun prints, comfortable shoes and great sales, See Kai Run is a don’t miss on the baby shoe circuit. Their site is well organized and you can print out a size chart to measure feet and accurately determine a size. Now, if only they made sizes for adults…

      Black high top boots for baby girls
      High top boots from See Kai Run

      Pediped:

      Another big winner. Pediped’s are made so well – they’ll outlast your child. Plus, if you sign up for emails for the Pediped Outlet, you’ll be notified of big flash sales. I recommend ordering one pair first to make sure size and style work for you – as most of their deep discount sales are final sale. But, once you know what works for your little one, you’ll be able to snatch up a few pairs for less than what you’d pay for shoes at a discount store.


      Dr.Scholl’s From Nordstrom Rack:

      I love shopping Nordstrom Rack online because they have access to the full inventory, rather than just one store. I found Dr.Scholl’s online one day and remembered how comfortable they were for adult sizes and snatched some up. They ended up being fan favorites around here. They held up well enough to be donated to a friend’s baby and they said they loved them, too.


      Surprize by StrideRite for Target:

      This line is a more affordable version of the beloved Stride Rite line – but you won’t see a sacrifice in quality. Online they have even more options than in-store. These are cute, durable, and affordable. What else are you looking for? 😉

      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet
      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet
      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet
      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      Nike Tanjuns:

      At one point, my daughter had grown out of all her shoes and I hadn’t found a brand locally that could work. With shoes ordered and en route, I just needed a quick fix. I rifled through a bag of shoes donated from a friend that I had dismissed because all of the shoes were not wide enough, and found a pair of Nike Tanjuns at the bottom.

      Waddya know, because of the soft sides, these worked great. Nike has since been added to our baby and toddler shoe rotation and my son declares that his Nikes are his 2nd favorites. I find the best deals on Nike Tanjuns on Kohls.com.


      Puma:

      Yup, you guessed it – Pumas are his absolute favorite. He says they make him run “extra fast like the Flash”. They’re some of my favorites, too, because they come in adorable style and color options. You can find them for a steal at stores like DSW and they often participate in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – which is where I snagged my daughter’s sparkly pink Pumas that strangers stop and ask me about.

      Both my kids wore their Pumas for a recent trip to Disneyland and after a whole day of walking and playing, neither of them had so much as a red spot on their feet.

      I love you, Puma.


      Livie & Luca:

      If you’re looking for some adorable dress shoes for those family photos or that holiday party, look no further – here you go. Livie & Luca makes the most gorgeous dress shoes, sandals, and boots. But, they are pricey. I watch for the sale on sale and that’s when I buy. Because these are like special event shoes for us – I don’t choose them when she’s playing all day.

      I might have to grab some of their adorable winter boots, though, since she’s been wearing my Uggs around the house. Hmm…

      white baby girl dress shoes
      Special occasion shoes from Livie & Luca

      There you have it! 7 well made, fashionable, affordable shoes that are wide enough for your baby or toddler.

      Many of these retailers offer great sales, or special discounts when you sign up for emails.  They may even be available at a store near you.

      I hope you find something that both you and your child will love. If you have a favorite that I forgot – let us know in the comments below!

      For more information on baby items, check out these posts.

      Have a fabulous day,

      Erica

      Make sure to subscribe in the sidebar for updates, so you don’t miss out on any great content!

      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.

      What to Put in a Diaper Bag

      What to Put in a Diaper Bag

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

      What to Put in a Diaper Bag

      Your diaper bag will go everywhere baby goes.  You will carry it so much that it may even replace your purse.  Therefore, select a bag that you like, and it needs to have lots of pockets.  Once you have the bag, it can be hard to think of everything that should go in it until you are out somewhere and need something that you don’t have.  That leaves many new moms wondering “what to put in a diaper bag.” Below I outline everything that is in my diaper bag for my 8-month old son.  Some of the contents are pretty constant but others will come and go as baby grows and reaches new stages.  If you want to skip my narrative, you can download the list here.

      Get the Diaper Bag Packing List

      Make sure to never forget anything when heading out with Baby. Download my PDF diaper bag packing list.

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        Collection of baby items that go inside of a diaper bag spread out on a coffee table.
        Above is my diaper bag with all of the items that I keep in it.  Stocked like this it’s always ready to grab and walk out the door at a moment’s notice.

        The above image shows everything that fits into my bag and believe it or not, I have a bit of space left over.

        Thin blanket: good for putting down when you want to let baby play on the floor

        Extra onesie: messes happen, and it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you switch this when baby grows out of a clothing size.  Since it’s summer, a onesie is the only piece of extra clothing I have, but during the winter I will also have a pair of pants and socks.

        Hat: It’s sunny here and Paxton doesn’t have very much hair; therefore, I always have a hat on hand in case we are outside for more than a couple minutes.


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        Sling carrier: This carry is basically just a piece of fabric, so it’s easy to fold and store in my bag. I have this Seven Everyday Sling.

        Burp rags: I have 3 in my bag right now, but for younger babies that are still in the spit up stage, I recommend even more.  Burp rags are good for all sorts of things.

        Toy: I have one with a clip attached to the outside of my bag. It doesn’t require any space inside but is ready to pull out when I need baby entertainment in a pinch.

        Sunscreen: I have a little bottle on a clip in case we spend more time outside than previously planned.

        Empty bottle: For mixing and feeding formula

        Formula powder packets: I keep 3 or 4 of the powder packets that have enough powder in each to make a 4-ounce bottle. I use these formula packets*.

        Bottled water: For mixing with powder formula or a quick drink for myself.

        Ready to drink formula bottles: I keep 2 or 3 of the 2-ounce ready to serve bottles on hand.  These are the ones that I use. They were enough for a meal when
        Paxton was tiny, but now they just buy me a little time.


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        Nipples for ready to drink bottles: I keep 2 nipples on hand that can be screwed onto the top of the ready to drink bottles.

        Snack container: Now that Paxton is old enough to eat cheerios, yogis and puffs, I keep a snack container that has three compartments on hand for when Paxton starts getting hangry. I love this 3-compartment snack container*.

        Teething biscuits: Also good for buying time when Paxton is hangry.  A plus is that kids are usually able to eat these quite a bit earlier than they can eat cheerios. Paxton likes these ones.  They could easily get crumbled in a diaper bag though, so I store them in Crystal Lite drink mix plastic containers.

        Applesauce cup (no added sugar) and food pouch: For if Paxton needs something more substantial than snacks.

        Spoon and sip attachments for pouches: These make the pouch much less messy. I love these spoon attachments because they have a cap and lock so you can store the pouch.

        Baby spoon: For the applesauce.

        Bib: To keep the mess contained.

        Extra pacifier and strap: For mid-store meltdowns and the strap keeps it off the gross public floors.

        Diapers: I usually go with 1 per hour I’m going to be out plus a couple extra.

        Wipes: I keep 2 travel packs handy.

        Changing pad: So that you have a place to change baby (my bag has one build in)

        Diaper rash cream: I like the Honest Company travel tubes here because it’s less messy on my hands compared to other brands which is important when I’m out.

        Gallon-sized bags: I keep a few tucked into my bag for storing soiled clothes until I get home.  They are also good for messy diapers if you are somewhere that you can’t throw one away.

        Nasal bulb: You never know when a nose will need suctioning.

        Hand sanitizer: I use a cute little holder to attach it to the outside of my bag, so it’s always handy.

        Items for me (tissues, snack bar, notepad, pen, chapstick, ponytail holder, and wallet): Like I mentioned earlier, the diaper bag often replaces a purse.  (The items like tissues and snacks are good for dealing with hangry husbands too.)

        As a disclaimer, my husband refuses to carry my bag and is glad he has his own.  He skips the personal items, but otherwise has most of the same things as I do.

        If you have a younger baby, you won’t need the solid food options, but here are some additional items I suggest adding:  Extra formula packets or bottles, extra burp rags, and a spare shirt for you.

        Make sure to grab the PDF checklist here!

        What are some things that you think are must haves in a diaper bag?  Tell me in the comments.

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

        What to Put in a Diaper Bag

        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.

        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        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.

        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        Who knew that someone so tiny can come with so much stuff – certainly not my husband and me!  When we moved into our 4 bed, 3 bath house we thought we had space to spare, especially with an entire room dedicated to a future tiny human.  However, by the time we had everything we thought we needed and everyone told us we needed, we had filled that room and then some.  Some of the stuff people gave us/said we needed ended up being wonderful and other things aren’t so necessary.  Below is my review on what common nursery items are really necessary.  To see what toys are really necessary, check out this post.

        Rating Scale:

        –       Green: Definitely recommend purchasing

        –       Yellow: Might be good to have

        –       Red: Don’t bother

        Baby Furniture That Grows with Baby: Rating Green

                    There are many cute baby cribs and changing tables, but those only last a couple of years and then they get put in storage and don’t have any more use unless you have another baby.  However, various companies now make cribs that convert to toddler beds and then full-size beds and changing table toppers that attach to the top of dressers.  These sets also have dressers and end tables that go together.  This allows you to create a classy nursery with a good quality crib and safe changing place without ending up needing all new furniture in a couple of years.  We went with a medium grey set and purchased the low dresser with changing table topper, the crib, and toddler and full-size bed conversion sets.  We won’t need the conversion sets for a couple of years but wanted to make sure we had them in case the style was discontinued.  This ended up being a good idea since it was a Babies ‘R’ Us brand and now that’s no more. The set also has end tables, but everything is built very sturdy and we didn’t want too much clunky furniture filling up the room.  Walmart end tables that you put together ended up being a $10 solution that fits nicely into the room.  Other than a full-sized mattress and a desk, Paxton is set on bedroom furniture until he moves out.

        Grey dresser with floating shelves
        Nursery with grey crib and glider and image images on wall

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        Glider/Rocker: Rating Green

         Some people said we needed this and others said it wasn’t necessary.  After 5 months I decided I’m glad we have this.  It was great for nursing when we first brought Paxton home because the armrests really helped me position him.  I did eventually start nursing on the couch or in other areas instead of always holing up in his room.  I would still recommend having some type of comfy chair that rocks and has armrests to have in the nursery.  There isn’t any reason why I can’t feed Paxton on the couch now, but I like being able to go into his room before his nap or bedtime and turn the lights off and feed him there to settle him down and get him into sleep mode.  This chair is also a lifesaver when he is cranky because we can go in there and snuggle and rock, and he calms right down.  Having a chair with the area beneath the armrests open allows for your baby’s legs to stretch out as he gets bigger, but I just put Paxton’s legs on top of the armrest and don’t have any problems. This is the one that I have and would highly recommend.

        Nursery with grey crib, glider and window shutters

        Humidifier: Rating Yellow

        This was something that registry lists said I should include, and other mothers told me it was a must-have.  However, in 5 months I haven’t felt like I had to have it.  I do run it on a low setting pretty continuously and it may have helped when Paxton was pretty stuffy the first few weeks after he was born.  We have one that is a cute elephant shape, so it looks nice in the nursery. You can see it here. I guess when you need it, you want to make sure you have it, but I haven’t really had a major need.


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        Mobile: Rating Yellow

        We registered for a cute safari mobile that would look great in the nursery.  However, all the cute ones are crank style.  This meant that it was pretty to look at but served almost no purpose.  Therefore, we ordered a more toy-like style off Amazon. This is the one we got that we really like.  This one plays for 40 minutes with just the push of a button and has an optional night light.  We still don’t use it a ton because Paxton prefers to fall asleep without it.  However, when he wakes up and I’m not quite ready for work, it usually buys me an extra 15 minutes to finish getting ready.

        Noise Machine: Rating Green

        We have a cute owl-shaped one for the nursery that shines stars on the ceiling and a little travel sized one for when we are away from home. You can see the owl noise machine here.  This is the travel noise machine we have. I would rate a noise machine as a must have.  I used the lights initially as a night light but after a couple of months, Paxton preferred sleeping in a totally dark room.  The noise machine has been on since the day we brought him home, and I definitely think it has helped him sleep as well as block out some of the noise we make while he’s sleeping.  He also is used to sleeping someplace that isn’t totally quite which helps when we need him to sleep on the go.

        Do you agree with my assessments?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

        For more help deciding what baby items you really need, check out these posts.

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        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        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.

        Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?

        Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?

        Disclaimer: These prices were obtained from the store websites at the time of writing.  They may be subject to change at any time.

        Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?

        There are what seems like a million different formula options available if you need to supplement breastfeeding or decide to skip breastfeeding altogether.  When I finally acknowledged that exclusively breastfeeding wasn’t going to work out, I was overwhelmed trying to decide which formula was the best option.  What baby formula is really the best deal?

        If you are supplementing because of low milk supply, make sure you have a good pump to boost your supply as much as possible. You can check out my pump comparison here.

        I wasn’t married to the thought of using brand name.  As a pharmacist, I trust the fact that the FDA has minimum requirements for all formulas and that these are based on research. However, there are differences between brands and generics in the consistency, how easily it mixes, ease of digesting and taste.  Our pediatrician told us that it really didn’t matter which formula we used, as long as Paxton liked it and seemed to be tolerating it.  We tried a bunch and ruled out Soy (it gave Paxton constipation) and the Similac spit-up formulation (it was really hard to mix and kept clogging the nipple).  Otherwise, Paxton was fine with whatever we used.  That led us to selecting the most cost-effective option.  But this tactic was harder than it seems.


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        The obvious way to do this would be to look at the price and choose the cheapest.  However, the different products come in different size containers.  In this case, you might want to see the price per ounce.  The ounces are clearly stated on the label, so it’s an easy calculation and gives you a little better comparison.  However, the listed weight indicates the weight of the entire container (powder + all packaging) and to further complicate things, the scoops are different sizes depending on brand even though all scoops provide enough powder for 2 fluid ounces of formula.  Therefore, list weight doesn’t directly correlate to how many ounces of formula it makes.  Another factor to consider is where to purchase from.  Does one store have better prices than another? To help out other exhausted moms in my shoes, I’ve done the math for you and outlined how much each brand is costing per fluid ounce of formula.  I did this with the sensitive/gentle formulations because that’s what I use.  There might be slight variations if you use a different formulation, but it will likely follow this trend.  I did the math with three scenarios: 1.) basic calculations for 3 popular retailers; 2.) taking into account manufacturer coupons; 3.) taking into account manufacturer coupons and Target’s popular formula sale

        Conversions used (obtained from formula packaging):

        • Enfamil: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
        • Similac: 22.5 ounce container = 169 fluid ounces
        • Gerber: 32 ounce container = 224 fluid ounces
        • GoodSense: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
        • Up&Up: 33.2 ounce container = 235 fluid ounces
        • Parent’s Choice: 33.2 ounce container = 238 fluid ounce

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        1.) In General, Which Is The Best Baby Formula Deal?

        Amazon

        • Enfamil Gentlease (21.5 oz. container for $29.99): $1.39/container weight ounce
          • $0.19/fluid ounce of formula
        • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $31.99): $1.42/container weight ounce
          • $0.19/fluid ounce of formula
        • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $35.58): $1.11/container weight ounce
          • $0.16/fluid ounce of formula
        • GoodSense Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $15.19): $0.71/container weight ounce
          • $0.10/fluid ounce of formula

        Target

        • Enfamil Gentlease (21.5 oz. container for $26.88): $1.25/container weight ounce
          • $0.17/fluid ounce of formula
        • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $25.99): $1.15/container weight ounce
          • $0.15/fluid ounce of formula
        • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $35.99): $1.12/container weight ounce
          • $0.16/fluid ounce of formula
        • Up&Up Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $21.99): $0.69/container weight ounce
          • $0.09/fluid ounce of formula

        Walmart

        • Enfamil Gentlease (21.5 oz. container for $26.99): $1.26/container weight ounce
          • $0.17/fluid ounce of formula
        • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz container for $25.94): $1.15/container weight ounce
          • $0.15/fluid ounce of formula
        • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $35.58): $1.11/container weight ounce
          • $0.16/fluid ounce of formula
        • Parent’s Choice Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $19.98): $0.60/container weight ounce
          • $0.08/fluid ounce of formula

        For this category, it looks like the brand name products are pretty evenly priced across all three stores with Amazon being slightly more expensive.  Walmart’s generic formula comes in as the cheapest generic being more than $2.00 less per container than Target’s.  From this scenario, it appears that you should go generic all the way if your baby will tolerate it. But what if you have $5 manufacturer coupons for brand name products?  (Note only 1 coupon per brand can be used per purchase.)  As far as I can figure out, you can’t use the coupons on Amazon, so we will just look at this scenario for Target and Walmart.

        2.) With a $5 Manufacturer Coupon, Which Is The Best Baby Formula Deal?

        Conversions used (obtained from formula packaging):

        • Enfamil: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
        • Similac: 22.5 ounce container = 169 fluid ounces
        • Gerber: 32 ounce container = 224 fluid ounces
        • GoodSense: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
        • Up&Up: 33.2 ounce container = 235 fluid ounces
        • Parent’s Choice: 33.2 ounce container = 238 fluid ounces

        Target

        • Enfamil Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $21.88*): $1.02/container weight ounce
          • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
        • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $20.99*): $0.93/container weight ounce
          • $0.12/fluid ounce of formula
        • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $30.99*): $0.97/container weight ounce
          • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
        • Up&Up Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $21.99): $0.69/container weight ounce
          • $0.09/fluid ounce of formula

        Walmart

        • Enfamil Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $21.99*): $1.02/container weight ounce
          • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
        • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz container for $20.94*): $0.93/container weight ounce
          • $0.12/fluid ounce of formula
        • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $30.58*): $0.96/container weight ounce
          • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
        • Parent’s Choice Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $19.98): $0.60/container weight ounce
          • $0.08/fluid ounce of formula

        In this scenario, using a $5 coupon for brand name formula brings them closer to generic pricing, but they are still a bit more expensive. 

        Now let’s take into account the enticing sales Target offers: Consider this, what if you have $5 coupons for all 3 brand names (you can use all these together) and Target is running one of their sales where they give you a $10 gift card for buying 3 containers of brand name formula (mix and match)?  Note: Target actually runs this and other baby item sales pretty regularly.

        In this scenario you must buy one of each brand name formula to be able to use a coupon on each container, so we will compare that total (remember this has a $5 discount on each of the brand products PLUS $10 taken off of the final total) to the total cost for the same amount of formula ounces from the target brand at regular price.

        3.) With Multiple Manufacturer Coupons and a Target Sale, Which Is The Best Baby Formula Deal?

        Conversions used (obtained from formula packaging):

        • Enfamil: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
        • Similac: 22.5 ounce container = 169 fluid ounces
        • Gerber: 32 ounce container = 224 fluid ounces
        • GoodSense: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
        • Up&Up: 33.2 ounce container = 235 fluid ounces
        • Parent’s Choice: 33.2 ounce container = 238 fluid ounces

        Total brand cost: $73.86 – $10 = $63.86 for enough powder to make 549 fluid ounces of formula ($0.12/fluid ounce of formula)

        • Enfamil Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $21.88*): $1.02/container weight ounce
          • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
        • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $20.99*): $0.93/container weight ounce
          • $0.12/fluid ounce of formula
        • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $30.99*): $0.97/container weight ounce
          • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula

        Total generic cost for

        • Up&Up Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $21.99): $0.69/container weight ounce
          • $0.09/fluid ounce of formula

        Final Recommendations

        Based on the above summary, here is what I decided to do for formula:

        1. Register for the Enfamil and Similac programs that provide free formula samples and periodic rebate checks for $5 off any product.  You can sign up for Enfamil here and Similac here
        2. As illustrated above, $5 off isn’t enough to bring brand name down to the same price as generic.  However, you can use these to purchase formula packing that isn’t available in generic.  I use them to get travel-sized bottles of liquid formula and travel packets of the powder. 
        3. For everyday formula, I use Target’s generic gentle formula.

        For other money saving tips, see my post on The $8 Toy.

        What other stores do you want to see price comparisons for?  Let me know in the comments, and maybe I’ll do those next.

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        Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?