Baby Products

Dr. Amy's Favorite Things for Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum

Over the years after working with so many mamas and of course my own children I have come across many products and ideas; some have worked wonders and some not. I would love to share my thoughts about my favorite things that I used and recommend!

PREGNANCY

Pregnancy Support Band: As your baby bump grows you will start to feel pressure on your pelvis. One great way to help ease the discomfort is a support band. This provides support under your belly. My favorite brand is www.babybellyband.com

Chiropractic Care: I highly recommend chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. It helps so much with alignment which can easily be thrown off in pregnancy. Good positioning of your baby is helpful for labor and birth. Regular chiropractic care is proven to help shorten labor and pushing. Dr. Amber Moravec with Naturally Aligned works right out of Health Foundations Birth Center. Of course I love her! She specializes in pregnancy and newborns.

BIRTH

Birth Plan Flexibility: I am a big fan of birth plans. I do like to think more of it a birth preferences. The thing about labor and birth is that it is different for everyone. There are guidelines of what a "text book birth" looks like which is great but everyone IS different. Things come up; things change. Try and keep an open mind and remain flexible for change.

POSTPARTUM

Double Electric Pump: Whether you are a working mama or not, having a pump is essential. Even if you are not working you will want to pump and introduce a bottle for times you are away. If you are going back to work you will want a good pump that is easy to transport. Check out our class PumpTalk 101; it is very helpful for coming up with a plan on introducing pumping. There are many good brands out there but I prefer Medela or Spectra

Hands-Free Pumping Bra: Along with a good pump, get a hands-free pumping bra! That way you can do other things like work on a computer or read a book. Try the Easy Expression Bustier.

Medela Hydrogel Pads: Even with a great latch your nipples will be tender the first few days. The Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads are heavenly. They are re-usable and help soothe your nipples. If you have cracked or bleeding nipples please reach out to lactation consultant right away. 

Bottle-warmer: Bottle warmers are a huge time saver. You never want to use a microwave to heat breastmilk or formula; it kills the nutrients and heats it unevenly. You can heat by placing in warm water but that takes a long time. The bottle warm is quick and heats the milk evenly. 

Nursing Tank: Nursing bras are great but nursing tanks are all you need in the first couple of weeks. They are easy and low-maintenance. Bravado has a great one; it is loose and comfortable during postpartum. You will find yourself living in it.

Woombie: I am a big fan of swaddling. When your baby was in-utero they were cozy and warm and didn't have a lot of space to move around. Think of swaddling as mimicking that space outside of the womb. It can be very calming for them and help promote good, restful sleep. I like the woombie because it is very easy to use and the shape of it is comfy for your babe. Swaddling should end by 2.5 months because of the possibility of rolling over.

Pacifier vs Fingers: Pacifiers in my opinion are awesome. Babies love to suck for comfort, it is very soothing. If you are breastfeeding you may find yourself constantly comfort nursing and it can be overwhelming. Pacifiers can help soothe your baby when cranky or tired. It can also help extend sleep. Sometimes parents are afraid of using one and will use their pinky finger to soothe. The problem is, your finger is attached to you! I remember hearing a mom say, "why don't they make fake fingers for babies?!" One popular brand is Avent Soothees.

Stroller with Click-In Carseat: Even if you love wearing your baby, a stroller is essential! Find one that works with your infant carseat. That way if your baby is sleeping you do not have to disturb them. Until your baby is sitting up strollers can be awkward and not very supportive to your baby's head and neck.

Top Five Breastfeeding Essentials for the First Two Weeks Postpartum

 photo credit: Meredith Westin

photo credit: Meredith Westin

Breastfeeding is a journey, both beautiful and challenging at times. To help ease the first two weeks of your postpartum we have put together a list of items that will hopefully make things easier!

Motherlove Nipple Cream: Nipple cream is essential, especially in the early days. Your baby will want to nurse very frequently. Even with a great latch, it takes some time for your nipples to get used to this. Put nipple cream on your nipples after each feeding. No need to wipe it off before feeding your baby.

Nursing Bra / Tank: You will want to have these before your baby is born. It can be helpful to get sized; after 36 weeks is a good time for this. During the first two weeks of postpartum you will find yourself living in your nursing tank!  It is easy and you don't have to put anything else on. Nursing tanks are supportive to your breasts and you can find ones that also support your postpartum tummy. I recommend having 2-3 of both nursing tanks and nursing bras.

Medela Hydrogel Pads: Hydrogel pads are a serious life saver for sore, cracked nipples. After about 24 hours your nipples will feel much better if they are cracked or very sore. In saying this, if you find yourself with very sore, cracked or bleeding nipples, be sure to contact a lactation specialist. It is normal for a little bit of soreness. If you are wincing in pain when it is time for a feeding, this is not normal.

Nursing Pads: Once your milk is in, you may find that your breasts are leaking milk. Whether you are nursing on one side and the other side begins to leak or if you have a let down when your baby is not feeding, you will want nursing pads in your bra at all times. There are washable and disposable options; get both.

Resources: I cannot stress how important good resources are during the early days of breastfeeding. Maybe it is your mom, sister or a good friend, someone to talk to on rough days, and someone with breastfeeding experience. Choose one or two people to reach out to for advice otherwise too much advice can be overwhelming. Never hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant if you need help with latch or have production issues. A great website to turn to is www.kellymom.com

A nursing station can be very helpful as well. You can prepare this before your baby arrives so it will be ready to go when you get home. Get a basket to set next to your bed and fill with snacks, water, a couple of diapers, wipes and a good book!

 

Five Essentials to Carry in Your Purse if You Ditch the Diaper Bag

Mom With Child Out & About

Many moms are choosing to forgo the traditional bulky diaper bag in favor of a more fashionable, multipurpose purse. A large purse can work great in lieu of a diaper bag as long as you pack for baby as well as yourself. If you’ve decided that you’re not the diaper bag toting type, here are 5 essential items to be sure you have in your purse at all times.

  1. Diapers: Needless to say, don’t leave home without at least 3 or 4 diapers on hand in case of accidents or just a necessary change. If you use cloth diapers, you’ll want to be sure you also have a wet bag to carry any soiled diapers home without a mess. 
  2. Wipes: Wipes are not only a necessity for diaper changes but can serve a multitude of other purposes from wiping hands, and faces to cleaning the surface of a high chair at a restaurant. Make sure you always have at least one pack of wipes in your bag at all times.
  3. A change of clothes: When a new diaper and wipes don’t cut it, a change of clothes may be necessary. You don’t want to be caught out and about with a baby who’s had a blowout and no clean change of clothes. Your spare change should include a onesie and pants and socks and a sweater if seasonally appropriate.
  4. Hand sanitizer: Especially when you have a new baby, hand sanitizer is your best friend. Whether you’ve touched the grocery cart or the gas pump or have just been around a sick friend, disinfect your hands before passing those germs to baby. Your baby’s immune system is still developing and he is more susceptible to harmful viruses, colds and bacteria now than ever.
  5. A soother: Whether your baby finds comfort in a pacifier or prefers to snuggle with a lovey, be sure to have a comfort object on hand in your bag. This can be an especially important item for car rides when mom can’t be close enough to comfort.

Obviously, there are many more items that may be useful and even necessary to carry in your bag for baby. These include but are not limited to, a hat, a bottle, a sippy cup (for older babies), diaper cream, a nursing cover and a baby sling. But if you are going for the just the essentials to throw in your purse, the above list should suffice for a brief outing. To learn more about what you’ll need for your baby or for any and all questions related to natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Sweet Corn and Avocado Puree

Homemade avocado puree

Avocado is a great first food for babies and corn adds a touch of sweetness to the taste. Try this simple recipe for making your own baby food at home and freeze the leftovers for a later meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cob of sweet corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon of breastmilk, water or formula

Directions:

1) Tear off corn husks and place in pot of boiling water

2) Boil until corn is soft (approximately 10 minutes)

3) Remove corn from water and cut kernels from cob once cooled

4) Cut open avocado, remove seed and scoop insides out

5) Place avocado, corn kernels and teaspoon of breastmilk, water or formula in a blender and blend until creamy and there are no kernels remaining.

Special precautions: 

  • This recipe should only be used for babies six months of age and older.
  • If your child has a history of eczema, asthma or food allergies, check with your pediatrician before serving.
  • This baby food can be frozen for up to four weeks.

Recipe transcribed from: KidsSpot - Kitchen

Homemade Baby Food for Beginners

Homemade baby food.jpg

Making your own baby food is a great way to provide your baby with nutritious meal options and save your family money as well. While store bought foods may contain unnecessary additives, when you make your own, you can buy organic fruits and veggies and know exactly what ingredients are going into baby’s precious tummy. It’s also a great way to expose baby to different tastes and textures and get them used to eating what you and the rest of your family enjoy. Here’s some basic info on how to get started making your own baby food when it’s time to start solids.

What You Will Need:

There are several options that can be easily used to make pureed baby food including:

  • A blender or food processor: Works great for large batches of food and you probably already have one in your home. It’s easy, quick and not too difficult to clean.
  • A hand blender: A quick, easy and an efficient way to blend foods to create smooth purees.
  • A baby food grinder: A non-electric, portable baby food maker that is inexpensive. The downside is that it will only make one texture.
  • Hand-turned food mill: A non-electric option that allows for different blades to be used to create different food textures.
  • All-in-one baby food maker: May be more expensive, but will steam, cook and then puree your food.  
  • A fork: Many foods that are already soft like avocado or banana can be easily mashed regular fork. 

Other supplies you will need for making your own baby food include:

  • Storage containers for freezing/refrigerating: Ice trays with a cover make a great makeshift baby food storage container. You can also buy special containers specifically for storing baby food in the freezer. Be sure to choose a container with baby-safe plastic. Check out this article on eco-friendly parenting to learn more about safe plastic.

What Foods to Introduce:

A great place to start when making baby food is with organic fruits and vegetables. Try introducing one food at a time if your baby hasn’t already had it before to prevent any confusion should an allergic reaction occur. The below foods are typically great, safe first food options to give to new eaters.

Veggies: Avocados, carrots, peas, squash, sweet potato, asparagus and sweet peppers

Fruits: Bananas, pears, mangoes, blueberries, prunes, apricots, apples and peaches

Steps to Getting Started:

  1. Wash the fruit or vegetable thoroughly.
  2. Peel or pit the fruit or vegetable when necessary and remove any seeds.
  3. Boil or steam veggies if necessary to soften before pureeing. 
  4. Place vegetables or fruit in blender or food processor.  
  5. Add liquid if desired to achieve a creamier texture. You can use breastmilk, water or formula.
  6. Blend until you have reached desired smooth texture. 
  7. Serve food to baby no higher than body temperature.
  8. Store remaining food in storage containers to be frozen and thawed for later meals.

Tips for Homemade Baby Food:

  • Don’t add sweeteners to food like sugar or honey. Honey can cause a potentially deadly food poisoning called botulism when given to babies.
  • Do experiment with different spices and textures to expose your baby to a wide variety of tastes. This is a great way to broaden your baby’s palate and create a child who enjoys trying new foods.
  • Only serve baby a portion that you think he will eat. Once his saliva from the spoon has touched the food, bacteria can grow and the food should not be saved.
  • Use refrigerated leftovers within two days.
  • Frozen fruits and veggies can be stored and used for up to 6 months. When you introduce meats in a puree, frozen leftovers should only be stored for 1-2 months. 

Making your own baby food at home is not only healthy and economical but simple and efficient. It will save you trips to the store, reduce your spending, and lessen your waste output as well. Best of all, you can know with certainty the quality of the produce and exactly what ingredients your baby is eating because it was made by you with love. For questions regarding infant care or all topics related to pregnancy and natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Cloth Versus Disposable Diapers

Cloth Diaper

Cloth diapering has made a comeback in recent years with more and more moms and dads looking for earth conscious ways to live and to parent. Many still feel however that committing to disposable free diapering sounds overwhelming, messy and labor intensive. If you’ve got a baby on the way and you are beginning to prepare your nursery, you may be starting to consider questions like whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both so that you and your partner can make the best decision for your baby and your family!

Cloth diapers

Pros:

  • Cloth diapers come in a variety of different forms from all-in-ones, to pockets, prefolds, fitted and hybrid diapers. There are even special cloth diapers for newborns, swimming and potty training.
  • Your financial investment in diapers can be as little as $300 for your baby’s diapering years.
  • Choosing cloth diapers eliminates as many as 6000 diapers per year from landfills.
  • You will never run out of diapers, have to take out diaper trash, or spend money on diapers after your initial investment.
  • You can reduce your baby’s exposure to harmful chemicals by choosing cloth over disposables.
  • Because of their adjustable fit and stronger elastic, cloth diapers can often contain messes more efficiently.
  • Choosing cloth can help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released via the production and distribution of disposable diapers.
  • Cloth diapers come in an endless variety of fabrics, colors and cute patterns from which to choose.
  • Cloth diapering may make potty training easier as your baby will more easily notice when their diaper is wet. 
  • Cloth diapers may reduce the occurrence of diaper rashes.

Cons: 

  • You will need to do additional 2-3 loads of laundry per week with cloth diapering. This can in turn increase your water and electric bills.
  • If you choose to use a cloth diaper service that picks up, washes and returns your diapers clean, you may spend up to an additional $3500 per year. 
  • Unless you are using the all-in-one cloth diapers which are more expensive, cloth diapers can be more burdensome to change.
  • If your baby has a messy cloth diaper while you are out and about, you will have to carry the dirty diaper home with you.
  • You will need to change your baby’s diaper more frequently in cloth. 

Disposables

Pros:

  • Disposables are easy. You put them on, take them off and toss them.
  • Disposables usually have better absorbency which means less frequent diaper changes.
  • Disposables are more convenient when you are away from home.
  • Disposables have a size for every baby, from newborn through toddlers. They also make disposable overnight diapers and swim diapers.
  • There are more environmentally friendly disposable options if you are willing to spend a little more money.

Cons:

  • The cost of using generic disposable diapers over a two year period is approximately $1400. If you choose more environmentally friendly disposables, your cost may be as much as $2500.
  • Disposables contain a chemical called dioxin which is a known carcinogen. While there have been no studies showing that disposables are harmful to babies, if you are concerned about exposure to chemicals you may wish to choose cloth diapering instead.
  • There are 20 billion disposable diapers thrown away each year which take approximately 500 years to decompose.
  • In addition to dioxin, disposable diapers may contain petroleum, plastic, wood pulp and perfumes.
  • Disposables may irritate baby’s skin causing more frequent diaper rashes.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your decision about how to diaper your baby. As with most parenting choices, it is a personal preference and your decision should reflect what feels right for your family. You can also always try both methods to see which works better for your baby. For all your questions about cloth diapering, please join us for our class with Do Good Diapers on February 8, 2016. We are here to help you prepare for the arrival of your little one!