"Deals" via Budget in Google Reader

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feeding Baby - Crackers

Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Flavor Goldfish Crackers, 1-Ounce Single Serve Package (Pack of 60)
Many toddlers I know would love to live on goldfish crackers. However if you are worried about what is in them, you can make your own at home with this recipe.
However if cost is your limitation, keep an eye out at meijer, they go on sale for $1 each about once per month. There are occasionally coupons at coupons.com that you can use to make them even cheaper also!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guest Blog: Loss

I'll Hold You In Heaven: (Recover/Revision)
This is an off topic post, but appropriate for today, so I am going ahead with it anyways.

Parenting or the desire to do so can come with ups and downs. There are many ways a parent can experience loss. Miscarriage, death of a child, a failed adoption, lost custody of a child, losing a child through adoption or the loss of not being able to have a child. All can be heartbreaking experiences.

Guest Blog by Angie:
A year and a half ago I sat with my sister and her husband in the Emergency Room on our family vacation. At 13 weeks, my sister had just announced her pregnancy and we were filled with joy. Like my husband and I, she and her husband had tried for two years to have a child. Unlike myself, she had already had a previous miscarriage and was now experiencing increasing bleeding and cramping that would not subside. I was speaking God’s Word over her, believing that this child was protected and everything would be made right with my sister’s body. An ultrasound revealed that her child had stopped developing at eight weeks and she was indeed miscarrying again. A well-meaning nurse tried to comfort us with the words “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be”, “This is God’s way of sparing _____ from a life of deformity, sickness, evil, etc.” – those phrases and many others are offered to those who are suffering loss in an attempt to bring comfort in a season of despair. But do those phrases really reflect the heart of God? Does God create life in a woman’s womb, only to extinguish it weeks or months or years later? While the world has many answers to that question, when we look to God’s Word we find that God’s heart is that we have life and give life. In John 10:10 Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
In Psalm 91:14-16 the Word says, “"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

What does it mean that God will show us His salvation? The beautiful word “sozo”, which is translated “saved” or “salvation” shows us the heart of God. Most of us understand that the word “saved” means spending an eternity with God someday. But there is so much more to salvation than that, so much more meaning than the translators were able to capture in one word. “Sozo”, or “salvation” is a present reality and means to be healed physically, delivered from evil, preserved for God, and made whole.
If we are to understand God’s heart for us we need to study Jesus. In John 5:19 it says, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself, He can only do what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
What did Jesus do when He was on earth? Matthew 8:16-17 says, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were under the power of demons, and he drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick. And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases.”
The passage that Jesus fulfilled is from Isaiah 53:4-5: “Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.”
Jesus died so that we could have physical health. He died so that our sin would be remembered no more and we would be declared right before God and thus able to spend this life and eternity with Him. He died so that we would not be burdened by sorrow. He died so that we could be whole.
The scripture says that we ignorantly considered Him as stricken and afflicted by God, as if God had done this. God does not bring sickness. One of His names is “Jehovah Rapha”, which means Healer. His name is what He does and how He acts. His name is His very nature. Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus, “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being”. We see God’s nature in the fact that Jesus healed everyone who came to Him when they came to Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-11 “What man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!”
Jesus would say of Himself in Luke 4:18-21, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
The scripture that Jesus was referencing was Isaiah 61:1-7, which beautifully describes God’s heart for us: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
If you are struggling with infertility or the loss of a child, know that it is God’s will for us to bear children and see them grow up. While we do not understand why people experience death or illness, we can trust that God feels our pain, will deliver us from it, and will restore what was lost.
If you have accepted what Jesus did for you, then you are righteous before God. 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21says, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].” There is no righteous woman in the Bible who asked the Lord for a child and was denied.
The Word says in Matthew 13 (the parable of the sower) that the devil will come and try to steal the Word that has been planted in you. The devil wants you to trust your experience instead of the Word of God. He will point to your experience or to the experiences of those around you and shout, “SEE! You can’t believe God for ______ because it didn’t happen this time or for this person.” The devil wants you to believe that you are an exception to the promises of God. But God’s Word says that God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11). Jesus died for your sickness (and infertility is sickness), to bind up your broken heart, to deliver you from evil, to be with you for eternity. I pray that the following verses will strengthen your faith that God’s will for you is to have life and give life.

Genesis 1:26-28

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Genesis 25:21-22

Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
Exodus 23:25

“Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.”

Malachi 2:15

Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

Psalms 128

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.

Psalms 113:4-9
The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.
He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.

Psalms 91
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge
and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling--
even the LORD, who is my refuge--
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

Isaiah 54:14-15
“In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”

Romans 4:18-25
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

2 Corinthians 1:18-22
“But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2
“And working together with Him, I urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain – for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you”; behold, NOW in the acceptable time, NOW is the day of salvation.”

Romans 8:31b-32
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

1 John 5:11-15
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.”


Angie was there for me when we went through infertility before my son was born and she was there for me for the last 8 months as I have tried to make sense of everything. Today was my due date for a pregnancy that turned out to be a complete molar pregnancy.
In honor of this, I asked my friend Angie to do this guest blog.She is a wonderfully faithful woman and I praise God that I have had the pleasure of knowing her.

(for those of you who know me personally, I would appreciate this if you did not share this with other I know unless they are experiencing a loss that this post may be able to help them with.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feeding Baby - Solids

Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker
Feeding baby solids for the first time can be super exciting.

When to start
Most moms I know say their pediatricians suggest starting solids around 4 months old. Many recommend waiting until at least 6 months to start solids, some even say it is good to delay solids (more common for breastfeeding) for the first year of life. Every baby is different. Some babies may be physically able to handle at 3 months, while others maybe not be ready until after 6 months old. Another thing to keep in mind is that solids take more effort than offering the breast or mixing up a bottle of formula. So, while the first few times of watching your little one make one of her/his first steps in growing up, it adds more work and takes more time when you are feeding 3 meals per day. For all of the reasons listed above, some parents choose to let their baby take the lead with Baby Led Weaning.

Homemade vs. Store Bought
Healthier - I heard some say that jarred baby food has extra sugars and are not as good for baby, but I tried to find "blueberry buckle" for a baby shower game and I could not. I couldn't even find something with sugar as an added ingredient. Almost all food I could find was the main ingredient (peas) and water. So, I am not so sure about this one. However, it is always nice to know exactly what is in the food you feed your baby and if you make it yourself, you know.

Easier - When I hear sceptics of homemade baby food, they think jarred food is just so much easier and they just don't have time for homemade. Homemade doesn't have to be hard. If price is not an issue you may want to consider a Beaba Babycook. You can cook and puree all in one step. I did not want to invest in one, so I am not sure if they are worth the price or not. Otherwise, you can spend an afternoon cooking and pureeing foods and freezing them in ice cube trays. Wholesomebabyfood.com has a great chart for what freezes well and what does not.

Cheaper - I think that making your own food is hands down the cheapest option. If you buy the store brand baby food (target, meijer, walmart) you are still paying about $.50 per package of food. If you stock up on meijer "buy 10 for $10 get the 11th item free" weeks, you can get bags of frozen veggies for $1.

What did we do?
We started solids around 5 months, he had all of the signs of being ready, and at the time I was willing to do anything not to have to add formula back in to his diet.
We did a bit of both homemade and store bought.
  • First, I fell in love with the wholesomebabyfood.com website. So much so that I copied and pasted the best of it into a work document and had it printed and bound so I could have a copy in my kitchen. I wish I could share it, but I don't want to violate any copyright laws and they didn't respond to me when I asked permission.  
  • I got 6 ice cube trays at the dollar store (2 for $1)
  • I stocked up on frozen peas, broccoli and green beans, fresh carrots and squash and large jars of apple sauce because they all freeze well.
  • I would spend an afternoon once per month to cook, puree and freeze food and then put the frozen cubes in a zip lock bag.
  • If I remembered, I would get enough food out for the next day and put it in the fridge so it would be thawed and ready.
  • We would use The First Years/Learning Curve Take & Toss Bowls to send food to daycare.
    • The cubes were great because you could mix and match for different flavors.
  • I would buy the packaged store brand peaches, pears and mixed fruit from target or meijer (cheaper and bigger than gerber) since they did not freeze well. We also bought boxed baby cereals and used them to thicken the baby food.

Did you make your own baby food? Why or why not? Have you used a Beaba BabyCook? Was it worth the investment?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feeding Baby - Formula

Good Start Gentle Plus Formula, Powder, 25.7-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6)

Of everything that was hard for us, my son did well on formula. Some babies have a tough time on certain formulas, forcing moms to need to purchase the most expensive formula. (This is one reason that, IF YOU ARE ABLE, giving breastfeeding a try could help you in the long run). Our son had no problems with the cheapest formulas and going between brands. Because of this, we used up a ton of samples that we got and that friends gave us. 

Getting Free or Cheap formula
  • Try the generic brands. They are in some cases more than half as much and nourish just as well. If you plan to formula feed from the start, you may want to bring your own to the hospital so you do not need to mess with transitioning to it. We paid about $11 per week for Meijer brand.
  • Sign up with the formula companies. I heard that moms that say they plan to breastfeed get more free samples than those that say they plan to formula feed.
  • Coupon! TheThriftyCouple (search formula) just started a weekly post on the best formula deals. Start stocking up while you are pregnant.
  • Find some breastfeeding friends. They will probably have a ton of formula samples that they will not use and be glad to give to you. You might even want to try and contact your local breastfeeding groups to see if they would be ok if you stopped by their meetings and pick-up samples. Just be prepared for the possibility for some well-meaning questions as to your reasons for not breastfeeding.
  • Freecycle
  • Watch the budget4baby RSS feed at the top of the page for deals!
Other things you may need (please excuse the cut and paste from last week):
Bottles -
    • We kept a bottle by my bed at night so it was ready to be mixed when he woke up.
    • We kept a bottle with water in the diaper bag for easy use.
    • He had 4 at daycare at a time. 
    • Add a night or two where we were just too tired to do dishes.
We started off with two medela gifting sets that we we registered for. I also picked up some bottles at in free bins at mom to mom sales and boiled them, and the breastfeeding center would let you take bottles home as well. When we need more nipples or bottles, we went with the gerber three pack bottles (they are cheaper at meijer than amazon has them listed). They were actually cheaper than buying just nipples and the medela caps and nipples worked on the bottles just as well.

Steamer bags - We have hard water, so we would hand wash all of our bottles and nipples. They are a really good deal because you can use each bag about 20 times and they even have a place to check off every time you use it so you know how many uses you have left!

Formula dispenser
Munchkin Powdered Formula Dispenser Combo Pack,Colors Vary
I loved these so much I felt they needed a picture. At one point, I would have been glad to have 5. Places I used mine:
  • The diaper bag for formula
  • The diaper bag for cereal
  • For babysitters (pre-scooped, so they couldn't mess it up)
  • Next to my bed (only had to refill every 3 nights) for late night feedings.
Bottle Brush - Formula gets gross if not rinsed out right away. Sometimes a bottle will get thrown behind the crib or the bed and is just NASTY a few weeks later when it is found. Get a bottle brush that has a nipple cleaner at the end to get any crustys out.

Are you willing to share why you choose/had to formula feed (disrespectful comments will be removed)? Are there any gadgets that you used to make your life easier? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lorex Baby Monitor

Lorex LW2003 LIVE snap Video Baby Monitor (White)
On Monday I added a post from My City Mommy for the Lorex LW2003 LIVE snap Video Baby Monitor (White). I have had my eye on this monitor since we moved my son downstairs. Once he is old enough to be in a big boy bed, I want to be able to know what he is up to.

I ordered it and it arrived on monday with free two day shipping from Amazon mom. So far I LOVE it!

Why I love this monitor
  • Both the camera and the monitor have the ability to run on batterys
  • It has a button that allows you to talk back to baby (this will be great when he is older)
  • It allows you to take pictures and saves them on an SD card (not great quality, but I could see where this might come in handy when he is in a cute sleeping position).
  • You can mount the camera on the wall
  • You can add up to 4 cameras and view them on the same montior
Of course it is still new, so I will keep you updated on anything I don't like or if it breaks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Babies R Us trade in event!

Graco Alano Travel System, Greer 
I just got a flier in the mail from Babies R us announcing that their trade in event starting January 28th and going until February 21st, 2011.

This is a great chance to get a rare discount on Car Seats, Strollers, Travel Systems, High Chairs, Play Yards, Bassinets, Cribs or toddler beds. All you need to do is bring in any one of the above items to buy any items above.

As an example, you could trade in the car seat that your Aunt Sally was saving to hand down to you after her kids outgrew it in 1985 and get 25% off of a new crib!

If you don't have any used items to trade in, ask around on freecycle or keep your eye open this summer at garage sales and take advantage of this deal next time it is offered. I have seen car seats for as low as $1. 

In the fine print, it also says "one coupon per trade in". For all of you couponers out there, does this mean you could use the 20% one baby item on top of everything else?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Feeding Baby - Breastfeeding

Udder Covers Nursing Covers - Maria
Even though I had so much trouble breastfeeding. When things were going well, I really enjoyed it! I think it is pretty cool that most woman can nourish their babies for the first year of their lives with only their own bodies!

Things I loved about breastfeeding:
  • Soothing my crying baby and watching his expression turn from panic to relaxed joy.
    • This was great when he got immunizations because he would cry, I would offer him food and all was right with the world again.
  • Night time feedings. I loved pulling my little guy in bed with me laying him on his side and me on my side and then going back to sleep while he nursed.  In a few hours if he woke up I would put him on my other side (with a bed rail) and let him nurse again and go back to sleep.
    • Of course this does not work for everyone and many experts strongly advise against it, but it worked for us and I attribute it to helping us nurse as long as we did.
  • Any feedings... It was warm, pre-mixed and didn't require any bottle washings afterward!
  • It's free!
Stuff you need:

If you never need or want to leave your baby for more than a couple of hours at a time, you can skip the bottles and the pump and save a lot of money!

A pump
For the rest of us, you many need to lay out a nice chunk of change. If you are working or need to spend a significant amount of time pumping, I would HIGHLY recommend a double pump. I couldn't imagine trying to use a single manual pump.. The double pumps are quite pricey, but I and many other moms I know were able to get their insurance to pay for most or all of the cost of a pump. I think I paid about $21 for mine. It was however quite hard to find. My insurance gave me a list of approved stores to buy one from and not one of those stores carried the approved pump. I ended up asking a co-worker where she got hers, called the insurance company back to make sure I could indeed purchase it there and finally got the pump. You will need a prescription for it however. You many also want to get extra cones if you are pumping a lot.

Bottles - I never had more than 4 or so "extra" bottles saved up, but we still needed a ton of bottles.
    • I had to take 4 to work for pumping
    • He had 4 at daycare 
    • Add a night or two where we were just too tired to do dishes
    • That is about 30 bottles right there.
We started off with two medela gifting sets that we we registered for. I also picked up some bottles at in free bins at mom to mom sales and boiled them, and the breastfeeding center would let you take bottles home as well. When we need more nipples or bottles, we went with the gerber three pack bottles (they are cheaper at meijer than amazon has them listed). They were actually cheaper than buying just nipples and the medela caps and nipples worked on the bottles just as well.

Milk storage bags - I never had enough to use them. Anyone have anything they want to share?

Steamer bags - We have hard water, so we would hand wash all of our bottles and nipples. Occasionally and when he had thrush, we would use steam bags. They also worked great for sanitizing the pump cones and tubes when we first got it. They are a really good deal because you can use each bag about 20 times and they even have a place to check off every time you use it so you know how many uses you have left!

Udder Cover - If you want/are willing to nurse in public you may want to get an uddercover or something similar. I tried to use a blanket and he would just pull it off and give everyone a free show.

Nursing Bra/Shirts -  I got a great deal on nursing bras at walmart when I was pregnant. Meijer also had some clearance nursing tanks that I got, but they were all too short, especially right after birth, which made me feel like this.  There are a ton of nursing tops out there, but I would just lift up my shirt while wearing a tank.

Nursing Pillow - Boppy pillows can be great for many things and are super easy to find cheap used. I was not however crazy about it for nursing. A normal bed pillow worked better for me. I also like the my breast friend nursing pillow when I used it at the breastfeeding center, but it was not something so awesome that I was willing to pay for or find a place to store.

Pumping Bra - Some women do not need these, but other do need something to hold the pump on while they do other work. There are a bunch of different hands free bras out there.

Lanolin -The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be painful until you are used to all the extra attention.  Lanolin is great to help irritation. Hydro gel pads are also great, but expensive, so make sure you ask for them at the hospital because you might get a stash for free.

Our childbirth educator also suggested these books: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding. Most areas have a La Leche League meetings that can be visited before and after giving birth. Some woman I have talked to have found their local group to be over the top, however, many have been been greatly helped by their advice and support. I had both experiences. Some groups were super helpful and others, even after listing everything I had done, made me feel like I had not tried hard enough.

If you breastfed, why did you choose to do so? How long did you/do you plan to breastfeed? Did you find it easy or hard? What did you love about breastfeeding? Do you have any advice for moms trying to decide if they should breastfeed or not?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feeding Baby - Breast Vs. Bottle

Is Breast Best?

Warning: This is a tough topic for me, as I will explain later, so I may be a bit jaded on this one.

Most people I have met are quite passionate about their choice to use the breast or the bottle. Others didn't have a choice. Since the general consensus is that "breast is best". I am going to focus on the cases when that may not be true for everyone.

My Story
When I found out I was pregnant, I was very set on breastfeeding. I posted all of my formula samples on freecycle and gave them away since I would not be feeding my baby any of that. I felt that those who formula fed must be either selfish or lazy. Why wouldn't you breastfeed?

At my sons two week appointment, he had not yet reached his birth weight and the pediatrician referred us to the breastfeeding clinic for advice. After he still was not gaining weight, we started adding some formula to his diet (which caused its own problem in that he was full when I should have been feeding him (stimulating more supply)). We also had a fun case of thrush when I was taking anti-biotics to treat the infection I had after giving birth. Over the next 9 months we fought a hard battle with the breast and tried pretty much everything to build my supply:
  • Pumping -  For awhile I was getting up at 2am to pump to make sure I was constantly trying to build supply.
  • Using a lactation aid (our breastfeeding center made me one for free from a syringe and feeding tube) so that I would get stimulation and he would get nutrition at the same time.
  • Using reglan (prescribed by the breastfeeding center) for off label use to increase milk supply
  • Using the herbs turmeric, blessed thistle and fenugreek.
From about 3-6 months old I was (barely) able to keep him off formula. However, the rest of the time we breastfed, he was getting formula as well.  At 9 months, after I was pumping for 3 hours a day and was only getting 4oz. Many times I would have to throw the milk away because I bleed in it, he was biting me and not interested, so we decided it was time to call it quits.

I still don't know why I couldn't fully breastfeed, but theories that were presented to me was what my pituitary gland was damaged after childbirth because I left the hospital with a hemoglobin of 6. However, I have not had any other symptoms of this. Some say that woman with C-sections or other "traumatic" births have more trouble breastfeeding. I also wonder if was a combination of the blood loss and then the infection I fought for a month after his birth....

I can say that I found http://www.noteveryonecanbreastfeed.com/ to be a great resource as well as the yahoo group http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/mobi/.

Reasons why people don't breastfeed:
As I had many friends who were having babies just before me and then after my own experiences, I learned many reasons WHY you would not breast feed.
  • Adoption - This is an obvious reason why a mom would not breastfeed. There are still however critics that feel that an adoptive mother should induce lactation. If this is something that you are passionate about, I say go for it! However, I do not think that a mother should be judged for choosing not to do this! I had to do many of the things that woman do to induce lactation to build my supply and it is hard work even if there were not a newborn to care for!
  • They can't - Rarely, woman won't even produce a drop of milk after they have a baby. Others, like me can't produce enough and going back and forth between the bottle and the breast is hard work! I think formula is a much better option than starvation.
  • They think its gross - I read a blog of someone who I know is a great mom, but she tried to breastfeed and hated it. Making milk grossed her out. I think that a baby would benefit much more by spending time with a happy mom feeding him/her a bottle than a mom that was uncomfortable for 10 feedings a day.
  • They need to work can can't pump - I work for a super supportive group and it was awkward for me, a pretty open and semi-outspoken person, to inform my boss of my intentions to pump and a need for a place to do it. I think it could be hard for many women to negotiate for pumping space and time, even though it is the law.
  • They are busy or "need a life" -  However, there are others out there that are quite the opposite. You hear all the time on commercials that "breast is best", babies who are held more are smarter, babies need nurturing. However, I think babies mostly need you to be YOU (as long as you have you babies best interests in mind). I think some woman would be miserable at home all day and need to work to be good parents when they are home. I think a baby sees right through it if you are pretending to be affectionate when you are not an affectionate person. As, stated in my disclaimer, I am not a child psychologist, but I think being "fake" would cause a whole new set of problems. Now, I am not suggesting that if you child comes running to you for a hug that you turn them away because you don't like hugs. In the same spirit, you shouldn't work all day because that's "who you are". After all you did bring a child into the world and you need to make adjustments for that, but life needs balance. If breastfeeding is the one thing keeping you from being a good parent, I think formula would be good option.
  • They are not educated about the benefits of breastfeeding - There are some cultures and families where breastfeeding just isn't done. Grandma didn't do it, mom didn't do it, my friends don't do it. Why should I? I think part of the reason I choose to breastfeed was because my mom did. I also relied on the breastfeeding clinic and friends a lot for advice and to ask "is this normal"?
  • They are lazy or selfish - Of course some Moms out there do fall into the category, but far fewer than I originally thought.
Other people that are annoying:
One weird thing about feeding choices was that people (even in their 80's) seemed to have a strong opinion on what was best for my baby and my family.  When I was fighting hard to keep breastfeeding, I offended people that quit breastfeeding before I did or didn't try. When I was considering quitting breastfeeding people would suggest I try harder (yes, even after I told them everything I just told you). It's a touchy subject!

Did you choose breast or bottle? Why? Did you intend to do one thing while you were pregnant and change your mind (or were forced) to choose the other option?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Series Intro - Feeding Baby

Next up is our "What to feed baby" series.

What to feed baby can be a VERY touchy subject for some (maybe even most) people. I know because I have been on both extremes (more details later). I hope to provide factual information for all feeding options so that individual Moms can make informed decisions about what is best for their families.

Here are the following topics to be covered:
  1. Breast Vs. Bottle
    1. Breastfeeding
    2. Formula Feeding
  2. Solids Store Bought vs. Homemade
    1.  Featured Recipe Week

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Homemade Toddler paint

Happy New Year!!! I know I have not been posting like I used to. I do plan to get some more regular posts out there, but I am really enjoying my Christmas break with my little boy and husband, so they will have to wait until I am forced back into the "real world".

On to today's post............
So, I found this recipe on parentsconnect.com to make homemade washable, edible paint for your child and was super excited to try it out and share it with you. I thought it was perfect for this website because it is for kids and Do It Youself, so it must be cheap too!

The recipe called for equal parts Dry Milk and water and then some food coloring.
First problem: The generic brand dry milk was almost $5!!
 Organic Valley Organic Nonfat Dry Milk Powder, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) 

Second problem: I was expecting finger paint and this was like, well... Milk....

First Solution Attempt: Add more milk powder.
Result: It just got lumpy

I have a very unhappy teething toddler on my hands, so failure is not an option.
Second Solution Attempt: Scrap they dry milk all together, make some vanilla pudding and add food coloring.
Jell-O Instant Pudding & Pie Filling, Vanilla, 3.4-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 24) 

That is not as big of a mess as I expect from my little boy.... he must need more:

He took his bib off before I could stop him. 
Does anyone with older kids want to try the milk paint and see how older kids do with it? 
Does anyone want to try pudding paint and share pictures on our facebook page?