Right around Madeline’s first birthday we started looking for a solution for her to feed herself. We have followed a modified baby led weaning approach to introducing her to table food, but she’s at a point where she needs to learn to use utensils. Why? Because she is little miss independent, and spoon feeding her is no longer an option! That being said, yogurt is one of her favorite foods, and the only way she will eat veggies is in a pouch. So, without a solution, we’re left with a really messy kid!
That’s when I discovered the company ChooMee, and I have fallen in love!!! They make two different products, and we love them both for different reasons.
The first are these silicone spoons. They’re small, easy to hold, and malleable, so they’re perfect for little hands who don’t understand why spoons are curved with a top and bottom. They have a cutout on the spoon part, so when dipped, they pick up the food you’re trying to eat. This makes it easy for toddlers to learn, we found it works best with a thicker liquid, so yogurt was perfect! It absolutely helped Madeline learn how to use utensils and she loved that she was doing it herself.
Then I discovered these pouch tops! They are a life changing invention!
Essentially what you do is put this on top of the existing pouch spout. What it does is make it so that you have to suck on it for the food to come out! This helps avoid spills and not squeezing the pouch onto the floor (Madeline’s favorite activity) and helps your child learn to use a straw (same sucking motion). They have made giving Madeline a pouch wonderful and worry free, and she loves the independence of eating by herself!
We got our Choomee products on Amazon and in true prime fashion, they were here in two days! We love them, and while we no longer use the spoons, we don’t go anywhere without the pouch top!
Pumping at work can sound like a nightmare. Depending on where you live, the laws may vary as to how a pumping mom can expect to be accommodated. In our state of New York, the law states that employers have to allow moms time to pump whenever they need to (they can require that you make up that time you take to pump). We are both extremely lucky and fortunate to work for employers that were supportive and accommodating to let us pump whenever we need to and never ask twice.
There are a few awkward things that you may run into when you pump at work. FYM Emily is not a shy person, and tends to be an over sharer in general. Many times co-workers will come to her cube to talk as she’s getting up to pump and she has no problem telling them exactly where she’s going. It has certainly caused some strange looks but, hey – a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! Anytime there is a conversation about breast milk with a coworker, they may get a little uncomfortable. It’s all about just being sure you don’t cross a line.
With that being said here are some of our tips for ensuring that pumping at work is smooth and easy for you, thus be able to adequately feed your little one. 🙂
Make the Time
We all know that it can get busy at work, but be sure to listen to your body and never skip a session. Habit is key here and you have to stick to a firm and solid routine. Emily has gotten up and left the tail end of meetings because she needed to pump! If you can, block the time on your calendar every day to ensure you don’t miss a session. Emily does this so she is not scheduled in back to back meetings. If your employer doesn’t already have a dedicated nearby space for you, be sure you account for that time, too.
Ensuring you get the most from a pumping session is about relaxing and being comfortable, which we know can be hard to do at work. Perhaps you want to bring a comfy pillow with you or if you can turn the lights down or off. You should also bring in a photo or video of your baby so you feel more like a mom and less like a dairy cow!
Bring Snacks & Water
Staying hydrating throughout the day is key to producing milk. Throw some snacks in your pumping bag and grab your water with you when you go to pump. If it’s the only chance you’re going to get to eat, go for it!
Have the Right Tools
We both invested in a Sarah Wells pump bag to transport all of our pumping essentials. Emily used the Kiinde cooler bag to transport milk and Sherrie uses a lunch box that has built in freezer packs. We both highly suggest a hands free pumping bra, you can make your own or purchase one (we both love this one). It doesn’t hurt to pack an extra shirt (trust us), nursing pads, and a sharpie for labeling. You just never know and we’d rather you be prepared than find you are in need of anything!
We both know how stressful this can be. You got this mama – keep going! Do you have any tips for pumping at work that we missed? Let us know!
In the the past we reviewed the Kiinde Bottle System. Now what we love even more is Foodii, the baby food system made by the makers of Kiinde. This works perfectly in conjunction with the Beaba Babycook and is a staple in FYM Emily’s meal prep Sunday routine!
Everyday I send pouches of homemade purees to daycare for Madeline each week. We have mentioned previously how it’s much easier to make baby food in advance. While I meal preps lunches and snacks for my husband and I on Sundays, I know started adding Madeline to the mix and found it only adds about 30-45 minutes of time.
Once everything has been made in the baby cook, or if it’s been made previously and frozen in cubes, I can put the puree into the foodii container. What I love about this container is that it holds 16oz! It has measurements on the side, so you can keep track as you’re filling your pouches. Madeline typically eats 2 oz of puree at a time, so I fill it to 4 oz. which gets us through a good two feedings. That’s perfect for a day at daycare, or if we’re out and running errands.
I typically label my pouches with the contents, amount, name and date. Then I blow air into them so they stand up and are ready to go. The Foodii system comes with a funnel that fits tightly in the top of the bags to avoid wasted spills. It’s important to note these pouches are the same bags from the Kiinde system I’ve been pumping into using for storage and bottles!
Now you’re good to go! Either put them right in the fridge to be used in the next few days or freeze them. I usually make 4 pouches of 3-4 varieties a weekend every other weekend and freeze some. This way I can be sure Madeline is getting a variety of flavors and nutrition.
When you’re ready to feed the baby, the top screws off and this spoon pops on. I LOVE this spoon, it’s the best part of the system. When the spoon is on, you just squeeze the pouch, or tip it down, and the channel fills the spoon for easy feeding. Sometimes we feed right from the pouches at home – less clean up! – but is great for on the go. When we’re on the go, you don’t have to re-screw the cap back on, there is a top for the spoon and fills the channel to ensure no spillage of food and fits tightly to keep the feeding part hygienic and clean! We actually leave a spoon attachment at daycare, it’s quick to wash and can be used over and over again.
We are really enjoying this new feeding adventure with Madeline and the Foodii system makes it so easy for us! You can read more about this great product on their website. Happy feeding!
I’ll admit, I have a scarf addiction. Even before I had Madeline, I have always loved to wear scarves, they’re such a fun and cute accessory! So when I saw this idea on Pinterest I knew I had to try it!
Feeding Madeline in public is something I am getting less and less shy about. While I’m still not at the point of where I will feed her without a cover, I no longer feel the need to bring a bottle with us when we’re out at a restaurant or running errands. Let’s be real here for a second, in our society people take things way too seriously. If I need to feed my baby, you can bet I’m going to do it. Personally, I like to cover, and luckily Madeline cooperates with that, because frankly – as much as you don’t want to see my boobs, I promise I want you to see them even less. I am always carrying a blanket and it can get cumbersome, particularly as Madeline is learning to grab things and will attempt to uncover herself. So, enter a nursing scarf. There are tons out there available to purchase, but I knew it must be easy to make I just had no idea how easy!
I searched, of course, for some Pinspiration and came across a variety of tutorials. Here’s where I netted out.
1 yard of stretchy Jersey Knit Fabric (in any pattern or color) 60 inches wide
Remember on any sewing project to always wash and dry your fabrics prior to working with them, it’s important that they shrink if need be prior to sewing. Once you have it washed and dried, you need to fold it in half like a hamburger, with right sides together. See below:
Are you ready for the hard part? Sew a straight line down the edge of the two fabrics meeting. Be sure to back stitch at the start and end. Trim your threads, and then, you’re done!
You now have created a fabric tube that works as an infinity scarf. Wear it out proudly! When it comes time to nurse your baby, it unfolds into an expansive cover. Bonus points, the cute scarf offers great coverage in case of leaks! And it’s super cute!
This is a really easy project that takes just minutes and is a staple in my wardrobe. as well as a must have for gifts for new moms!
Recently Madeline has begun teething. I could not believe it when I figured that out. By 13 weeks old my baby suddenly became extremely drooly, started chewing on her hands and fussing randomly. It took me a while to realize it could be teeth because I just thought it was too early! Turns out, if you reach in her mouth, sure enough the top two teeth are attempting to make their way out.
I am a mom who cannot stand to hear her child cry. Madeline’s cry is so sad and almost cartoon like and it pierces at my heart. Teething has not been fun for us, she gets fussy and will just randomly squeal and cry, almost like you had pinched her. I figured out that cold things like teething toys from the freezer seemed to really help. So I figured, what about frozen breast milk?
I wish I had thought about this prior to freezing some milk. They make popsicle makers that are smaller so you can pour the milk in and then freeze it but I of course I didn’t think of that. Instead, I had a few small sized bags of frozen milk, 2 oz or less, why not just give her those in one of those mesh feeders? Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to work with frozen breast milk but it is STICKY. The bags I have are not the same size that fit in the feeders, so imagine me, chiseling away at a sticky frozen block of milk, it was not fun. However, once assembled she is happy as a clam and it keeps her relatively pain free.
The next time we need them, I will plan better, but breast milk popsicles are the way to go!
Going back to work and knowing I would be pumping multiple times a day, I knew I would need a hands free pumping bra. The idea of pumping one side at a time so that I could have use of one hand or holding both flanges to my body just sounded like a miserable nightmare. A hands free pumping bra is one of the items we didn’t get from our registry and once Madeline got here, was something I kept forgetting to purchase, it was just so far from my mind. That is, until the week before I was supposed to go back to the office! Suddenly, I realized, even with Amazon Prime, the magical bra wouldn’t make it before my first day – and that just wasn’t going to work. Making the trip to a maternity store or Buy Buy Baby also just seemed to be too daunting of a task when I just wanted to spend my last few days at home snuggled up with my baby.
On Pinterest there are tons of tutorials on how to make your own hands free bra, most of them include hair ties and making loops for your nursing bras. None of them, to be honest, really seemed like they would work. They also were not easy to figure out. Then, I came across what is probably the easiest, best and most convenient idea ever! Are you ready for how easy this is? You’ll probably do what I did when you’re done, laugh that you didn’t think of this sooner!
Here’s what you need:
Old Sports Bra
Breast Pump Flanges
Put the sports bra on. Once it’s on comfortably, figure out where your nipples are in relation to the bra. Pull the fabric away from your body (this is important, you don’t want to cut yourself!) and make a cut where your nipples are. Keep in mind you just want to snip this, don’t cut a big hole yet. Take the bra off and get dressed again.
Now that you have the bra in front of you, push your breast pump flange through the hole you made as though you were wearing it -shield side in. This will help you know how big to make the hole you already cut. Use your scissors to make the hole wider, but not too wide, you want to ensure the flanges are held snugly to your body. Once you’re satisfied with the size of the holes and how the flanges fit – you’re done! Seriously, it’s that easy. Throw it on and get pumping!
While they are many things contributing to my success of pumping at work, my Sarah Wells Bag, my Kiinde System and Cooler Bag – this bra is by far the most important piece of it all (next to the pump!). It’s really great to have my hands free. It takes me about 7-10 minutes to pump each session, so to be able to multitask by checking emails, getting the bags ready for the milk I’m pumping, or just rearranging everything in my bag, I really can save a lot of time. Time saving is key here, because even though I need to stop working to pump, I still need to get out of work at the same time to pick up Madeline. I love this DIY hands free pumping bra and the best part is – it was free to make! I will be making more than one to eliminate having to wash this one every other day. Plus it was a huge money saver over the ones that you can purchase for $50! I can’t stress enough how important it is to have one of these for your pumping bag!
There are a few products that you don’t know you need until after you have a baby. The Beaba Babycook is certainly one of these products!
Emily was determined to make homemade baby food for Madeline. After all, she makes food for Bruce in the crock pot and then purees it in the food processor – how hard could it be? Well, actually the cooking and purée process takes a long time, so the Babycook is a life saver! Sherrie loved making homemade food for Logan and he loved it too!
Emily’s sister had the Classic Babycook for her first baby, Jack, who is now almost 4! Since then there have been a few versions of this. Sherrie used the newer version – the Beaba Babybook Pro 2x. She loved the ability to steam twice the veggies at once, however, you can still only blend one side with the Beaba Pro 2x. After hearing her input, my opinion is the Classic is the way to go! It doesn’t hold as much as food, but it still gets the job done and is cheaper than the other options (the Pro and Pro 2x).
Here’s a quick run down of how it works. You chop up the fruit or veggie you want to purée. If it’s something with a high water content like zucchini or apple, fill the container to 1. If it is not high water content like squash or potato, fill to 3. Pour the water in the steamer reservoir on the left and your veggie/fruit you’re making – peeled and chopped – to the steamer basket on the right. Turn the knob to steam and let it go. Usually about 7 minutes later it will beep to let you know it is done and you’re ready to rock and roll!
Since I’m making purees for Madeline’s first foods it was important to me that they be a good consistency and not too thick. I chose to keep all the cooking liquids in them. Once it’s done, you dump the contents of the steamer basket in and hold the knob to purée to desired consistency – then you’re done!
I chose to freeze them in 1 inch cubes using a silicone ice cube tray. Once fully frozen I put each variety I made in their own Ziploc and they went back into the freezer. I made zucchini, sweet potato, carrot and acorn squash. I estimate this is good for almost the first month of trying solids. When she is ready for solids you can also use the Babycook to defrost and reheat the food making the Babycook a 4 in 1 baby food maker – steam, puree, defrost and reheat! We both love it!
What we also love about this machine is how easy and quick it was to use. When it all was said and done it takes about 45 minutes to make everything. My only cost was the produce – so about $4. Plus it’s super healthy for my girl! I imagine this machine probably saved 2-3 hours of prep, cook and blend time! Clean up is also quick and easy as the parts are dishwasher safe (top rack only). For a working mom who relies on meal prep that’s precious time I get back to spend with my daughter. I feel like this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship for the Babycook and I!
Do you make your own food for baby? What are some of your tips and tricks? Tell us in the comments!
One of the things that I will say about breastfeeding is that it is hard work! When we were deciding between breast milk and formula I always thought breastfeeding would be easier. Man, I think I was wrong. Always being near my baby isn’t the hard part for me, but eating a nutritious diet and drinking enough water is! I’ve never been a person who drank a lot of water so this is tough for me, but I found something fun and super cute that helps! Enter Creative Customs. At Forever Young Moms were big fans of all things local. So when I stumbled across this local shop I had to get a few things from it!
My first swag item is this awesome water bottle. Not only does it have this super cute saying, “Drink more water make more milk!” but it holds 50 oz of water!!! That’s a great way to keep me motivated at work! I got one not only for myself but as part of a shower gift for a mom-to-be!
Second thing is despite how much I wanted to get working out I just hadn’t – and I was feeling some serious guilt about it. I kept thinking my “only” exercise was breastfeeding and that didn’t seem like enough. Enter my second swag item – this adorable tank (and me at my second home, Target!). It reads, “breastfeeding is my cardio.” Now I wear it proud for two reasons: 1- it’s a reminder that I’m doing great! And I am doing enough. 2- breastfeeding is a feat and I am conquering it! I can keep going!
Creative Customs isn’t just for breastfeeding mommies. She makes a ton of cute things!! She even surprised Sherrie and I and made this cute cup that mirrors our site, we just love it!
Check out her Facebook to see more or get your own breastfeeding swag!
I knew the few weeks before Madeline was born that I was going to need some sort of app to keep track of her feedings, diaper changes, etc. At first I just wanted to keep track of how long and on what side she was nursing on. My sister recommended BabyConnect and I love it!
There are so many features to this app I just love! The first is the nursing feature. There is a timer that you can pause and stop per side as you need. In addition you can add in bottle feedings and how many ounces your baby drank at what time. It will grow with her and allow for solids when we get there!
One of the best parts is the dashboard that gives you a constant time of how long it’s been since the last action so feeding, diaper change, sleep etc.
What I love even more is the reporting available on the app. Every section has a graphs feature so I can see cumulatively how long she’s nursed or how many times. This really helps to see when she’s cluster feeding or if something is different than usual.
Diaper changes work very similar to nursing with the same reporting capabilities. The only difference is you log them based on what was in the diaper and the size. It also lets you choose if there was a diaper leak or an open air accident! This is a great quick reference for the pediatrician when they’re wondering how many diapers baby is making each day and the consistency and color. I always make sure my phone is charged so I have all the info for doctors appointments.
Speaking of doctors appointments the medical section is wonderful. You can keep track of all visits, shots etc. What I love is that as you can add heights and weights and it tells you what percentile your baby is in, so you can keep track between visits!
The sleep section is great because it is basically a timer so you can keep track of how long and how often baby sleeps. I find this really helpful at night. Madeline has a two hour stretch where she’s awake and if I track when and how much she’s slept throughout the day I can figure out when that stretch will be! As she has grown, I’ve been able to watch how her nap patterns change and have been able to plan around them so as not to disturb her when we have company or we need to go to the grocery store. I’ve found if she misses a nap she is REALLY cranky and hard to get to sleep at night.
What I love most about this app is that you can share it! All of the data can be exported to excel and you can also add users. For instance my husband is added as a caretaker, so is my mom and now it’s on their devices. I can even add my daycare provider so whoever is taking care of my baby can add information. The app then syncs across all devices so the crazy first time mom in me can keep tabs on her! You can gift this app to your caretakers so that they’re not paying out of pocket to download it, which is also a nice touch.
The only down side is there is a cost for this app but it’s the best $5 I’ve spent! Worth every penny!
One of the items that I am glad I registered for was my Sarah Wells breast pump bag! It seemed extravagant to me to spend over $100 on yet another bag, I already had two designer diaper bags on my registry, but this one had a completely different purpose. Let me tell you, this is one of the best investments you can make if you’re a working mom who will be breastfeeding/pumping.
I’m blessed to work for a company that is very mommy friendly. Each of the buildings in our office complex have a nursing room that has soft lights and locks for a dedicated space for mom’s to pump and/or nurse if their child is with them. In addition, they also offer a nursing mother’s support group. Even though we have dedicated rooms for nursing moms, we don’t have a dedicated refrigerator. I knew that going back to work I would be putting my milk and pump parts in a shared fridge with multiple departments in our break room in between pumping sessions. That thought made me a little more than uncomfortable – then I found this great bag!
The one thing that I love most about this bag is how beautiful it is!
Despite the fact that it holds a breast pump, flanges, membranes, milk bags, bottles, cleaning wipes, and sanitizing bags, you would never know that by looking at the outside. This is a bag that I would normally use as a work bag or even a big purse! But it’s better – it has zippered compartments on the bottom that hold my pump, plug and battery backup. The other side is insulated and holds an ice pack and the bags of milk after each pumping session. This way, even if someone were to open the top of the bag, or if I carry my wallet and other important items, I don’t have to be worried about anyone seeing my pump or pump parts.
This little bag, however, is the lifesaver of the whole set.
Did you know that if you put pump parts, such as flanges, membranes, etc. in the fridge between sessions, you won’t have to wash them each and every time? As someone who will have to pump three to four times a day at work, this is a life saver. Not to mention, I’d have to wash the parts in the same communal break room – awkward! Instead, I put all of the parts in this bag, and then this bag goes into the refrigerator. It’s pretty and looks just like a lunch box. No one will know that it belongs to my breast pump! At the end of the day it just comes home with me, where I wash everything and sterilize the parts for the next day!
This bag will help me to pump when I’m back at work – and feeling good about pumping at work or on the go I think is half the battle. I was at a wedding recently and took the bag out for its first trial run- it was perfect! I was comfortable knowing no one knew what it was and I didn’t have to worry. Stress has an effect on milk supply and this bag will help us get to our goal of one year of breastfeeding – so worth the money! If you’d like to purchase this bag or one similar check them out on Amazon!