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Bottle or Breast, Fed is Best. This Post Includes a Link to an Excellent Formula Resource.

As the earnest home is gearing up to welcome baby number 3, another way that this mom is getting ready is with breast-feeding supplies.  In my previous post about postpartum preparedness I mentioned a breastfeeding kit I put together.  I have done this because I plan on breastfeeding.  I have nursed my previous children, and have also supplemented with formula as that is what worked for us!

With our firstborn, my goal was to nurse until he was one.  By 6 months, I was back at work, pumping, supply dwindling and the stress of having enough milk to feed my nursling was not helping in the supply department.  His weight dropped and the doctor became concerned and recommended we supplement with formula.  So, earnest dad and I began researching organic/high quality formulas for out little man Рthis was tedious but we felt it necessary, 7.5 years ago the options were not as available as they are today.  I continued to nurse at night and when he woke up until 9 months.  I was happy to make 9 months with him but knew with future babies I would want to nurse longer.

With our second, our breastfeeding journey was MUCH different.  I was blessed to be a full-time mom and although I supplemented with formula here and there, we nursed until she was 2.

As I prepare for this new little one to join us, my hopes again are to nurse him, but I am not putting too much pressure on myself as I want to be prepared for anything.  With that being said, as the title of this article states; Fed is Best, I am a firm believer in that. Some moms can nurse, some cannot, some need supplementing and some do not.  WHATEVER works for every family is most important for that family.  I like that breast milk is free and as natural as it gets but, formula works too.

In trying to be prepared, I am keeping all options open and I have found and EXCELLENT resource for formula comparisons.  If breastfeeding does not pan out for me (or for you) this website has done a lot of the leg work I had to do so many years ago when making the switch.  In their research they have included their favorite budget friendly formula, lactose based formula, soy formula, organic formula and generic formula.  The formula that I used to supplement with our second made the list at one of the few to be without ARA and DHA but was the only certified organic on their favorites list.  Their research can be found here:  https://www.reviews.com/baby-formula/

I found these reviews incredibly informative and helpful, if I have to go the formula route, it has aided in my choice of which one to use.  The article is bit lengthy but breaks down ingredients and additives, why they are in some not in others, what sweeteners are used and why, non-GMO vs GMO, and much more.  They have definitely given a plethora of information that was really new to me!  I find this to be an excellent resource and hope you do too!!

Not expecting?  Still bookmark this link, it may prove to be very helpful in the future.  Hope this helps earnest followers!!

x.  earnest mom.

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Postpartum Prep. Padsicles. 

I have been trying to get more prepared with baby number three, so far I have 8 freezer meals done, my hospital bag and baby’s bag packed, nursing pillow at the door with bags and breast pump all cleaned up. Now I am making myself some postpartum care essentials to keep on hand.

For recovery I have created a nursing basket packed full of breast pads, Silverette nursing cups, protein bars, nipple butter, chapstick and boxed waters. I have also created a postpartum basket stocked with the Fridababy Fridet mom washer, stool softeners, Earth Mama soothing bottom spray and bottom balm, organic overnight pads, Tucks pads and Dermaplast spray.  Definitely not my first time at the postpartum recovery rodeo and with two children already in tow РI am trying to be sure this mama has everything on hand for those first few, fuzzy days home with our newest addition.

The next thing I have done which is a first for me, is making some homemade padsicles. I remember the cooling, soothing relief I had with the ones I was given in the hospital after labor  with both previous pregnancies, and I missed them once I was home. This time around I have them stocked!!  Here is what I used:

  • Witch Hazel
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Organic Cotton Pads
  • Spray Bottle

I filled the spray bottle with Witch Hazel, 4-6 drops of the Lavender EO and shook well.



I then, opened the pads but kept the sticky liners on, applied a generous amount of Aloe Vera then followed with 6-8 sprays of the Witch Hazel/Lavender blend.


I then folded the pads back together, placed back in their packages and then into a gallon sized ziplock bag. That’s it Рrepeat until then whole package is done, seal the bag and place in your freezer. It took me about 20 minutes total and it will be completely worth it!!  Trust me, your perineum will thank you ;).

Good luck mamas and hope my prep work will help you get prepared to recover after welcoming your darling littles into this world. Take care of yourself and then you can take care of others!

x. em.

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Baby is Expected in a Month?!

I remember being in my last month of pregnancy with my first two children, and it felt like eons had passed with many more to go!  This time around, I am all of a sudden into my 36th week of pregnancy and feel like I have NOTHING accomplished.  #momlife right?!

My current goal is baby bag, mommy bag and daddy bag for the hospital, and the birth plan (see my post last year about birth plans and how they changed my life here: Birth Plan).   I have been BLESSED this pregnancy to have a crazy supportive and helpful Doula who tasked me yesterday with resting and relaxing.  A much-needed task after surviving the weekend with my post-op hubby laid up in bed and two busy children running about the house!

Our third, and final pregnancy has been quite the whirlwind of emotions and life; I was diagnosed early on (after going to emergency with what I thought was a miscarriage) with a Subchorionic Hematoma, which has dissolved thank God, but had me on restricted activity for the first trimester and a half.  Then, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes which so far is 100% diet controlled and looking great (again, thank God)!  Needless to say, on top of pregnancy conditions and all other stresses life sends our way, the time has just flown by.

As I think about this being my last pregnancy, I am savoring every jab and kick Рeven though I am convinced he is trying to push his way out any way he can!  I am cherishing the hiccups, the late night rolling with in me and all the movement that I feel with this little miracle growing inside me.  I feel so blessed that I am able to carry my third and will forever treasure all three of my pregnancies!

I will be posting my postpartum kit and the baby’s hospital bag as I build them this week! ¬†Giving myself some accountability – of course unless this little man plans an early arrival ;).

Hope you have a great day and keep in your prayers all of those affected by hurricanes and earthquakes in the past few weeks!!

x.

em.

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Find Your Tribe of Moms, They are Looking for Someone Just Like You.

Autumn is a second Spring, where every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Fall is hands down my favorite season. ¬†With school starting back up, the weather getting cooler (at least here in PA) and pumpkin spice everything is flooding us – let’s get out in the gorgeous Fall weather and make the time to ¬†connect with other moms. ¬†Find some moms that you can make your mom tribe with. ¬†I know that as a stay at home mom, my life becomes filled with conversations, arguments and humbling grocery store trips with toddlers; only to overwhelm my husband the minute he walks in the door because I am craving adult interaction.

Early on when we decided to keep me home to be with our children, I stayed home (or went to local kid things) and my focus was kids, kids, KIDS.  Finally, last year I realized I needed to connect with other moms, other women in my community.  I began to look for local moms groups and even tried to kick up my own little group.  I did not have much success at all, but I knew that I could not sit at home and wait for my tribe to come and find me РI had to put myself out there, again.

Nobody enjoys being the “new” mom, or the one that no one knows, I know that being the newbie in the group is definitely my least favorite of places. ¬†As a mom though, I was craving connection, mom conversation and a group that I had life in common with. ¬†This is when I found my local MOPS group. ¬†I was so nervous, what if I do not fit in (like other groups I had tried), what if I did not feel welcome, what if the other moms did not like me, what if, what if, what if?! ¬†I had a whole list of ‘what ifs’ that could of just kept me home, kept me comfortable and kept me in my own little SAHM isolated bubble. ¬†I knew I needed more, I needed mom connections, I had to get free from my staying home routine.

So I did it, I stepped out on my own, walked into a giant church building filled with beautiful new and intimidating (only to me I am sure) faces and got out there.  The first meeting I sat with a group of moms that were welcoming, chatty and kind.  They were interested in me, my kids and why I wanted to join MOPS.  I felt so welcomed that the quiet voice in my head that kept reminding me that I was a stranger among a bunch of new strangers slowly quieted and I kept going back.  I found an awesome group of moms that I have connected with.   I enjoy MOPS so much, I joined the leadership group and have the humbling privilege of planning, creating and making welcoming meetings for other moms new to the group of regular attendees.  MOPS has changed my mom life, it has given me a comforting place to go twice and sometimes three times a month where I am getting more familiar with faces and names, and making deeper connections each time.  Our MOPS group kicks off our first meeting of the season this coming week and I am so ready to get back to meeting with moms and growing my tribe.

So, if last Spring or the Spring before that you felt like maybe you were the leaf among the flowers of moms out there ( I know that I have felt that); let this Fall be your second Spring.  Let this Fall be the season where you find your group of moms that have been saving that seat just for you.  Sometimes, it is scary to just put ourselves out there but if we stay home and never get out there looking we may never find that perfect mom tribe that is out there looking for someone just like you or me!  As women and as moms, together we are always better, we need that emotional, social and loving support that can only be found in fellow moms.  Let this season be yours mamas!

x. earnest mom.

Interested in finding a MOPS group near you?  Search your zip here MOPS.org

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Earnest Mom Squad Feature: Avoid Summer Brain Drain

Here is a great article from Earnest Squad Member, Kahentiiosta.  Enjoy, e.m.

With summer in full swing, it can be easy for the kids to get bored quickly, and run out of ideas for keeping their minds optimal and ready for September.  Even though summer should be a carefree time, we need to keep in mind, that children are continuing to learn and finding creative ways to prevent the dreaded brain drain, will ensure that.

Here are some ideas and activities that can help with avoiding brain drain over the summer.

No electronics day instead of spending hours aimlessly looking at electronics, try putting them away and play some board games outside. I keep a few board games in reach for my girls to choose from and rotate every few days, so that they don’t feel as if they’re always playing the same games. One of our favorite games right now is Frozen Candyland.

Heading to the local library in your area is another free option. Most libraries have books, movies and CDs. There may even be some activities that day for the children to participate in.

We recently purchased some 2 x 4 pieces of wood and have used it to make our own life size Jenga set. Adding a number on the board and then having a sheet of math questions or simple words they need to spell out with a missing word.

Making a game of seek and find out of the weekly grocery store flyers is another way to find. Having a sheet of words that you would find in the flyer and they can cut out the picture and glue it to the paper, then write the words. For older children giving them a set budget they can try and find the prices and add up the prices for a shopping list.  Giving them a budget of $25 and see how many items they can purchase with that amount.

Make a letter a sensory bin of or a plastic bin, rice and foam letters. Place double the number of letters in the bin and they can spell out simple words and for the older children they can try and spell out the longest word with the letters they find.

Stick art kit out of pre-made pictures of stick art and tooth picks, keep in a small tote, and change pictures as needed. Templates can be found online under Stick Art Kit.

Lastly, making a summer bucket list of various activities the children want to do at home or within the surrounding neighborhood. Check the local town hall for various activities being offered.

Engaging the children in the planning with keeping them interesting in what they like to do, and finding fun ways to spend their summer holiday.

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far!

 

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An Earnest Summer!

This summer is FLYING by!  Sorry the posts have been sparse Рwe are enjoying the weather and this hot season.  We have been keeping busy with our local zoo, libraries, bowling and even took in a movie.  I have to admit, with a school-ager it is tough to keep the interest, allow some boredom, all without allowing the craziness to take the days over.

This summer, we decided on a different approach. ¬† Instead of trying to do BIG things like travel or get out everyday, we made a weekly schedule. ¬†A schedule easy enough to change if necessary but also help with the dreaded summer “brain drain” (we have a great article on these tips coming up next week by one of our moms in the Earnest Mom Squad). ¬†We decided weekends would still be the break so we assigned regular activities for the weekdays. ¬†Mondays we have a fun class on self regulation and practicing hand writing, Tuesdays our local library has a free special event that we attend, Wednesdays are backyard days, Thursdays are baking afternoons and par kour classes in the evenings, and Fridays are science experiments day.

Tuesdays, our local libraries have been great. ¬†We have seen magic shows, balloon shows, local baseball teams, the traveling zoo and bouncing play times. ¬†All free and it is fun to get out and let the kids play in a new space with new activities each week. ¬†Wednesday’s backyard day is literally time playing in the yard – nothing too special and sometimes we fill up the kiddie pool. ¬†We usually get out everyday, at least the kids do but this is a special time where we all go out together and I may garden or rest my swelling feet and the earnest littles get to run and play to their hearts content. ¬†All before rest time of course to help the nap process along.

On Thursdays when Earnest Babe takes her two hour nap, Earnest Boy gets up from his 20 minute rest and him and I bake together. ¬†The first week was GREAT, we baked this Starbucks Copy Cat Banana Bread recipe (from myfrugaladeventures.com) with the bananas that my children will not eat once they have freckled, we substituted chocolate chips for the walnuts and enjoyed it for four or five days. ¬†It was delicious. ¬†The second Thursday, we tried our hand at strawberry jam with the strawberries we picked earlier that morning. ¬†We made this recipe from www.intimateweddings.com. ¬†The whole process took a lot longer than we had thought but the result was yummy plus it did not use pectin, only sugar and lemon juice. ¬†The last two weeks we had family in from out of town so we did not bake but today we are back in the swing of things with Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies. ¬†We are using the classic Nestle Tollhouse Recipe (not my french aunt’s recipe for you Friends fans out there) and using all organic ingredients. ¬†The baking day was created at the request of Earnest Boy, I was surprised he was interested in cooking but he is home with me all summer and I love baking and cooking.

Our Science Fridays have been so much fun!!  Once again, we wait until Earnest Babe is napping so we can focus on the experiments at hand.  Now before you get to thinking this Earnest Mom has crazy organization skills and creativity to plan and execute educational science experiments, hold on.  We decided to purchase a monthly subscription for the summer to The Spangler Science Club.  They send you 1-10 experiments a month that are focused on STEM and growing the curiosities of 7-14 year-olds.  So far we have grown polymers, experimented with the grown polymers, grown crystals and currently we are on a polymer alligator growth watch.  This post is not sponsored, we just are loving the Spangler Science Subscription and feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck no matter the price level subscription that is chosen.

This summer, I feel as though I am not feeling pressure any day or week to keep kids entertained Рthey know what to expect each day and we get excited for every activity we do together.  All days, the activity is not a full day event so we are able to spend free time together and time that is scheduled.  I feel a lot less stressed!!! Any earnest followers have some fun activities planned for their little or big ones this summer to keep the boredom and/or summer crazies to a low?  Please share.

x. earnest mom.

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Earnest Mom Mompreneur Feature: The Amber Monkey

The Amber Monkey is a small business owned by a mom of three girls. The Amber Monkey was launched three years ago when Teresa sold her natural boutique to follow her dream to design and manufacture Baltic amber jewelry. We are proud to be currently carried in over 300 mom and pop boutiques around the United States. Teresa has now expanded The Amber Monkey line to include Baltic amber, gemstones, Hazel-wood and aroma diffusing necklaces. Teresa’s favorite part of owning the business is designing new unique necklaces and jewelry, working with amazing retailers and hearing stories of how Amber has helped young and old alike.

What is Amber?

Amber is a wonderful way to help with baby, kid and adult aches and pains. It’s amazing how the amber relieves colic, teething pain, migraines and arthritis. And when it’s time for braces, amber is there to help with that pain as well. The Amber Monkey has the highest quality amber and gemstones, which we back up with our warranty. Check out our basic and unique jewelry here:¬†http://www.theambermonkey.com/default.asp
How About a Giveaway?
The Amber Monkey is giving away one Polished Baltic Amber & Aroma Diffusing 10-11

Amber Giveawayinch necklace in Green Trio to ONE lucky  earnest mom reader!  The Giveaway will run from June 26- July 5th at midnight (EST).

Enter Here: Amber Necklace Giveaway

x. earnest mom.