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.

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.

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

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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.

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?

Toys on a Budget| The $8 Toy

Toys on a Budget| The $8 Toy
Toys on a Budget| The  Toy

Babies play with anything they can hold and put into their mouth, so why not provide them with toys on a budget?  It’s great for their development to make the items they have access to varied so that they can explore different textures, shapes, weights, etc.  For you, it’s nice when these items are cheap and quiet.  Enter the dump bucket.

The dump bucket is something I created by wandering through Doller Tree and spending a total of $8.  It’s one of the cheapest toys Paxton has, but the one that gets the most use, and the beauty is that as baby gets older you can change up the items in the container.  Here is what I included in Paxton’s dump bucket.

A plastic bucket, piece of felt, car drying rag, metal spoons, foam sheets, mixing spoons, measuring cups and a spatula laid out.
Items used to create Paxton’s dump bucket

1.)   A light-weight plastic container to hold everything.  Paxton loves this because he can dump it out, chew on it, and use it as a drum.  I love it because when I pick up his toys, I can toss everything back into it.

2.)   A piece of fleece

3.)   A vehicle drying mitt that is super soft with a weird texture.

4.)   Metal spoons

5.)   Pieces of foam for crafting

6.)   4-pack of plastic mixing spoons

7.)   Rubber spatula

8.)   Set of measuring cups

 To pick these items, I walked the aisles of Dollar Tree and selected things that would be safe for a baby to chew on.  When selecting your items, stay away from anything that has small pieces that may come off, items that are small enough to be swallowed and anything that may be toxic if ingested.  Otherwise, use your imagination to create a unique bucket for your child.

I’m always looking for new items to add, so let me know if you have something that your kiddo loves to play with!


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Toys on a Budget| The  Toy

10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes

10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes
10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes

Before having a baby, I thought baby clothes were cute and you selected them based on which ones were cutest or cheapest.  Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot in the past 9 months, so here are my 10 tips for first-time parents choosing baby clothes.

My Top 10 Tips

  1. Don’t register for or buy clothes in newborn or 3-month size.  People love to gift you with tiny baby clothes, you will have way more clothes than your tiny human can wear before growing out of them.  If you
    see something that you have to have, buy it in a bigger size.
  2. Know that sizes don’t line up with actual age.  A newborn baby may wear newborn clothes for a while or start out in 3-month clothes.  My 9-month old is wearing clothes ranging from 9-18 months.  It depends on the brand, material and style what size fits when.
  3. Make sure what you buy is weather appropriate.  Along with above, make sure if you live somewhere super hot like us that you aren’t buying long sleeved shirts your baby will grow out of before it finally gets cold enough for them.
  4. For newborn-6 months, don’t get any shirts that don’t have the layette (snaps at the bottom). Until baby can sit up on his own, shirts that don’t have the snaps will ride up constantly.  T-shirts were super
    annoying until Paxton could sit up. However, now they are great. 
  5. For shirts without layettes, plan to always be one size ahead in these compared to the rest of the clothes.  Because these can ride up, you want them a little bigger so that baby’s belly isn’t sticking out.
  6. Sleepers are great.  When you pick out ones that baby will wear before 4 months or so, get ones where the zipper starts at the top and ends at the bottom.  This probably seems like a really random detail, but when you are changing diapers and swaddling and unswaddling multiple times a night, only having to unzip part way is a lifesaver.  Once baby is generally sleeping through the night and not swaddled, the direction of the zipper doesn’t really matter.  Pro tip: Target
    has a good selection of ones that zip from the top down, but not every style they carry does this.
  7. Stay away from the thick sweaters and coats in tiny sizes.  Even if it’s cold, these aren’t recommended in car seats because the straps won’t fit right.  These may be super cute on a tiny baby but when it’s cold, you are going from one building to the car to another building.  Often times you do all this without taking baby out of the car seat. Even if you do take baby out, it’s so much effort to get those tiny, flimsy arms into thick sweaters and jackets, you likely won’t bother.  Save these for when baby is a little bigger and can at least help get them on.  In the meantime, dress baby in long sleeves, pants, socks and a hat and tuck a blanket around him once he’s in the car seat. You can also get a car seat cover to help keep the wind out.
  8. You don’t need plain white anything.  Babies always find a way to get their clothes dirty.  Exactly how will vary with age, but plain white is way more work to clean than it’s worth.  You will also have so many cute clothes for baby to wear, that using something plain white seems like a waste of a cute outfit opportunity. 
  9. When baby gets older, go with sleepers that don’t have feet.  This helps them fit a little longer than the ones with feet.  
  10. If you plan to take baby swimming, get a rash guard so that baby is completely covered on the top half.  We got Paxton a one-piece suit which had long sleeves, mid-length legs and a hood.  This was super cute and great for keeping me from worrying about sunburn. 

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With regards to shoes, you don’t need them right away. However, there are some important considerations (and they are super cute). Get tips for selecting shoes here.

If you want more suggestions on what to register check out my real registry checklist here and my review of what nursery items are really needed here.

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10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes

Homemade Baby Food 101

Homemade Baby Food 101

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.

Homemade Baby Food 101

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    Overwhelmed at the thought of starting baby on solid foods?  Grab my free baby food meal planner HERE!


    Feeding baby.  The one thing that has stressed me out more than anything else since I became a mom.  But like all challenging things, I find a good way to overcome that is to change your mindset.  To that effect, I thrive in finding the healthiest, most affordable and most convenient way to feed my 9-month old son.   This ends up usually being homemade baby food.

    In this post I’m going to talk about how I make 90% of Paxton’s baby food.  However, if you aren’t to that stage yet, but breastfeeding exclusively isn’t working out (despite my best efforts I’ve used a lot of formula), check out my previous post on affording baby formula here

    How To Make Homemade Baby Food In 6 Steps

    Step 1: Outline Your Goals

    When you start your baby food making journey, you want to answer a few questions, so you accomplish what you want with the least amount of money, time and effort.  As a mom, I find that all three of those things are in short supply, so I try to conserve them as much as possible.

    • Are you planning to use exclusively homemade baby food, or intermix it with store-bought?
    • Are you passionate about baby only getting organic food?
    • How much freezer real estate do you have available?
    • Is baby eating finger foods yet or strictly purees?
    • What is baby’s consistency preference?
    • Any family history of allergies?

    Step 2: Decide How Often You Are Going to Make Homemade Baby Food

    You could make fresh baby food every day, but as a working mom, that’s really not practical for me to do.  I also know plenty of stay at home moms that don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch for baby every day.  If you do, more power to you, but if not, decide how often you are able to make baby food.  I plan to make some baby food every other weekend or so.  Therefore, I want to make sure there is enough quantity and variety to last a couple weeks.  Also consider if baby eats any adult food.  My son is to the point where he eats cheese, yogurt, bananas, etc. so I can sub those in instead of homemade food once in a while.

    Step 3: Make a Plan

    If there are certain things that baby really likes, make them in bulk.  This goes back to time-saving. However, for new things, make a small amount until you decide if baby likes it.  You should definitely retry things many times, but some of them are just too much of a battle no matter how much you try.  You don’t want a freezer full of something that puts you and baby in a bad mood every time you feed it. 

    I suggest making at least one new food each time, so that you have variety to introduce.  Once you have identified a few food baby enjoys, then make these often enough to keep a freezer stash.


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    Step 4: Assemble Your Toolkit and Ingredients

    When making baby food, you will need cookie sheets for baking, a steaming pot for steaming, containers to freeze food in, and a blender of some type.

    A bag of sweet potatoes and a bag of carrots
    A bag of sweet potatoes and a 5-pound bag of carrots are what I’m making into baby food today.

    I see no reason why someone needs to buy the blenders made specifically for baby food.  If you have a ninja, mini ninja, or some type of smoothie blender, then you are set.  I use my mini ninja pictured here and it works great!  There are plenty of storage things designed for freezing and storing baby food. I have these ones. However, I find that basic ice cube trays with lids from Target work great!  I also found these tiny ice cube trays that are great for making things as mix-ins.  I’ve made pears and zucchini in these.  Paxton eats a solid 2 ounces minimum now, but if you have a younger baby, having smaller cubes allows you to mix a couple of things without ending up with tons of food.

    Various sized icecube trays for freezing homemade baby food

    Once you have everything necessary for making the baby food, you need a way to store the frozen food.  If you have a baby food tray or ice cube tray that has a lid, you could store it in the tray.  You could also package the food into pouches and freeze these.  I have this machine to fill pouchesbut have never used it.  My hesitation is because the pouches aren’t really easier to feed at this stage and I can’t thaw them in the microwave.  I let everything freeze in the trays and then put the cubes into gallon-sized Ziplock bags.  I can write on the bag what it is and the date I made it.  It keeps the food from getting frost and is easy to store and label.

    Ziplock bags full of various types of homemade baby food cubes

    Step 5: Making Homemade Baby Food

    To actually make the food, you will wash, chop, peal and cook as required to get something that can be pureed or squished between the fingers (for older babies).  Most things can be either steamed or baked, but in general, baking preserves the nutrients a little better than steaming.  Once cooked until very soft, you can puree in your blender of choice.  Some things (like potatoes) will need a little water, breast milk or formula added to make it thin enough.  Other things (like pears) will be plenty watery without adding anything.  Below is a table of things I have made for Paxton, and my notes on making them.

    Chopped carrots on a white cutting board
    Carrots steaming on the stove
    Homemade baby food in containers ready to freeze
    Homemade baby food cubes on a red cutting board
    Here are the carrot cubes ready to put into a labeled bag.

    Step 6: Storing and Serving Homemade Baby Food

    Once the food is made, you can freeze it for up to 2 months.  Once thawed, you want to use the food within about 24 hours.  When reheating, I put the desired number of cubes into a baby bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  I stir and add an additional 30 seconds if required.  I then mix with Greek yogurt, oatmeal or rice cereal or applesauce as desired.  Alternatively, you can put the food for the next day into the fridge to thaw and serve it cold.  Baby doesn’t know what should be hot and what should be cold.  As long as it’s not frozen and not too hot, you are okay.  You do need to make sure you heat slowly and stir the food well to make sure there aren’t any hot spots.  I also mix the food with something cold like Greek yogurt or applesauce to further cool it down.

    “Homemade” Baby Food That Works Well For Baby, But Doesn’t Require Prep

    • No sugar added applesauce (just apples and water)
    • Bananas
    • Plain Greek yogurt
    • Avocado

    Note: Make sure all peels are removed prior to freezing.  I cook the sweet potatoes with the peel on and then scoop out the middle.  Everything else, I peel prior to cooking.  I also chop everything else prior to cooking so that it doesn’t take as long.  For butternut squash, I slice in half and scoop out the seeds prior to baking.


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    Note: There are different stages of solids.  When first starting baby on solid foods, you will want them very smooth and a little runny.  As baby gets more comfortable, you can increase the thickness.  Once baby is around 9-months old and can pick up food, you can start serving small pieces of food that can be squished between the fingers (like really well-cooked pasta or veggies) and things that dissolve quickly (like Cheerios).  Also, when first starting solids, only introduce a new food every 3 days or so.  This allows you to observe for any allergies.

    Ready to start planning meals for baby?  Get my free age-specific meal planner HERE!


    Homemade Baby Food 101
    Homemade Baby Food 101

    What homemade baby food have you made?  Was it successful?  Let me know in the comments.

    If your baby is drinking any formula (babies should drink breast milk or formula until they are at least a year old), check out my post on Affording Baby Formula.

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    Get a printable meal planner specific to your baby’s age. Each meal planner includes age-specific servings, a place to brainstorm foods and a calendar to plan meals and check which food groups are included.

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      Homemade Baby Food 101

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      Must-Have Classic Picture Books

      Must-Have Classic Picture Books

      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.

      Must-Have Classic Picture Books

      We all know that it’s good to read to kids starting at birth.  Generally kids aren’t too picky about the book at first; however, you will get tired of reading the same book over and over.  Make sure to start early with introducing your kids to the classic picture books you know and love from when you were a kid.  They have stood the test of time for a reason after all!  If you are a grandparent, then stock up on these books (or dig them out of storage) for a trip down memory lane to when you were a new parent reading these books to your kids.  These books make perfect gifts for kids and parents alike!



      Picture book Stellaluna

      Stellaluna

      This book is about a bat who gets lost and endsup growing up with baby birds.  Theybecome friends and when Stellaluna finds her way back to the bats, the friendsrealize how different they are but that they are also similar.  The final lesson is that they are friendsdespite any differences they may have.  Thisbook is on the longer side but has vibrant pictures throughout.


      Picture book Oh, the Places You'll Go!

      Oh The Places You’ll Go

      This book starts off encouraging about how you will be successful, but then it takes a turn by addressing the fact that sometimes things will go wrong.  It then shows the character getting his groove back and being on top once again.  This book is a great example of how things may go wrong, but you can work through them. The pictures are bright with a lot of details to take in.  The book is on the long end.


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      picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar

      The Very Hungry Caterpillar

      This is a cute book with brilliantly colored pictures that take your kiddo through a variety of foods the caterpillar eats before becoming a butterfly.  There is opportunity to practice counting and identifying common foods.  This book is short in length.


      picture book Where the Wild Things Are

      Where the Wild Things Are

      This book takes you on a trip into a little boy’s imagination.  On the trip, the boy becomes king of the wild things but decides he would rather go home and eat his dinner.  The pictures are somewhat dark but contain a lot of details.  The book is short in length.


      picture book Officer Buckle and Gloria

      Officer Buckle and Gloria

      This book is the story of a police officer and his dog Gloria.  They go to schools and give safety tip presentations.  However, the students only listen because Gloria is an entertaining partner.  This book is a moderate length.


      picture book Curious George

      Curious George

      This series is about a little monkey that is very curious which results in him getting into all kinds of trouble.  A wide variety of stories are available to entertain any child’s specific interests. These books are moderate in length and have colored pictures.  However, the pictures may not be as bright and engaging as some of the other books on this list.


      picture book Green Eggs and Ham

      Green Eggs and Ham

      This classic book is about a character that has no desire to try green eggs and ham. He’s convinced that he doesn’t like it. However, through rhyming nagging, he tries it and decides it’s pretty good.  This is a great way to address trying new foods with kids.  The book is moderate in length.


      picture book The Poky Little Puppy

      The Poky Little Puppy

      This book is about 5 puppies who keep getting into trouble for digging a hole under the fence.  The poky puppy is the last one home and lucks out a few times, but the last time he gets caught too.  This book is moderate in length and has bright pictures.


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      picture book Harry the Dirty Dog

      Harry the Dirty Dog

      Harry doesn’t like getting baths, so he hides the scrub brush and goes on an adventure. He gets really dirty to the point his family doesn’t recognize him.  He ends up begging for a bath to prove he’s Harry.  This book is moderate in length.  The pictures are colored, but not very bright.


      picture book Clifford Goes to Dog School

      Clifford the Big Red Dog

      Clifford is a giant red dog.  These books are about him, his owner Emily Elizabeth and their friends.  There are a variety of stories, but they all focus on a big idea that Clifford has.  These books are moderate in length and have colored pictures to keep young kids entertained.


      picture book Are You My Mother?

      Are You My Mother?

      This book follows the journey of a baby bird that fell from his nest.  He doesn’t remember what his mother looks like, so he keeps asking various animals and things if they are his mother.  In the end, he gets put back in the nest and his mother finds him there.  This book is a short read, but the pictures aren’t as engaging as some of the others on this list.


      picture book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

      Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

      This book is a story about a town where all the food comes from the sky.  However, the town eventually meets its demise when severe “food weather” strikes day after day and the citizens run for their lives.  This book has lots of pictures, and it is longer than many of the others.


      picture book The Cat in the Hat

      The Cat In The Hat

      The Cat comes to visit on a rainy day when the mother is out.  He then unleashes all kinds of chaos on the house despite the pet fish protesting.  In the end, everything is cleaned up before mother comes home.  This book is longer than the others and the pictures are somewhat enticing. 


      picture book Goodnight Moon

      Goodnight Moon

      This book starts with a description of a room and then says goodnight to everything in the room.  This book has bright pictures and is very short and basic.  It’s a great book for a child just learning to read.


      picture book Madeline

      Madeline

      This is the story of a little girl in Paris.  She comes down with appendicitis and has to have surgery.  When the other little girls go to visit her, they see how much fun she is having in the hospital and they want to have appendicitis too.  This book is moderate in length and has colored pictures, but they aren’t all that bright.


      Final Thoughts

      I am a firm believe that all kids should get a few books for Christmas.  These ones are classics that have stood the test of time.  Since these books are ones today’s parents likely remember from their childhood, they are perfect to share with their children!

      For more gift ideas, check out these baby clothes tips.

      What were your favorite childhood books?  Let me know in the comments.

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      Must-Have Classic Picture Books

      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.