Ideas For Helping Your Single Mommy Friend Celebrate The Birth Of Her Baby

As a single mommy, I know just how hard it can be bringing up a little one on your own. The hardest time for single moms is when their child is newborn, as there is just so much pressure to deal with.

Most people think that when relationships break down, it’s always almost after the baby has been born, but that isn’t always the case. I have a few single mommy friends whose relationships broke down while they were pregnant, leaving them to muddle on alone.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who happens to be going it alone gave birth. As any new mom would be, she was over the moon that her baby was born safely and was healthy. But what she missed out on was the celebrations that come after giving birth.

Newborn Baby
Picture from Flickr

She didn’t have anyone to share her joy with because her ex-partner was absent from the birth and hasn’t been involved since. Having a baby is one of the most amazing things a woman can do, and I believe that every woman deserves to be celebrated for it.

That’s why I created this guide full of ideas for helping your single mommy friends to celebrate the birth of their child.

Surprise her with flowers and balloons
When married women, or women who are in relationships give birth, their partners tend to shower them with gifts. Flowers, balloons, chocolates – you name it, they’ll get it. It isn’t nice for a single mommy to see all the celebrations around her and have no flowers or balloons of her own. It’s hard being a single mom, and little things like this, just make it harder.

If you know that your single mom friend has just given birth, turn up at the hospital with a big bunch of flowers and congratulations balloons. It might seem silly, but trust me, the new mom will really appreciate the gesture.

Buy her a personalized gift to commemorate the birth
Having a baby is a big deal, and it should be celebrated. When you visit your friend at the hospital ask her what time her baby was born, the weight at birth, and what name she has decided on. You can then take this information and can use it to create her a personalized gift.

Personalized baby gifts are a fantastic way to celebrate the birth of a new baby, as they are not only cute but are also a great keepsake. From baby blankets and outfits to music boxes and dream catchers, there are all sorts of personalized gifts that you can choose from.

Welcome her home with a celebratory cake and lots of homemade food
The hardest thing for a new mom who is coming out of the hospital is taking her baby home on her own. You can make that a little easier for her, by delivering a celebratory cake and lots of homemade food to her house.

Don’t make the mistake of surprising her when she gets home, though, as chances are she will be exhausted. Instead leave her surprises on the kitchen counter, along with a card telling her that whatever she needs you are there for her. It might not be much, but trust me, she will really appreciate the gesture.

Having a baby is meant to be the most amazing time of your life. To ensure that your single friends enjoy their first few days of motherhood, there are lots of things that you can do to help them celebrate.

Is Your Baby Leaving Home? Our Guide To Helping Kids Fly The Nest

For any parent, the prospect of your baby being all grown up and ready to make their own way in the world is overwhelming. On the one hand, you may be worried sick about how they’ll manage. On the other hand, you’re secretly looking forward to getting the house back to yourself! Still, that coming of age ritual cannot be avoided. All kids will eventually fly the nest, and you’ll want to give them the best start you can.

It may be your teenager is heading off to college. Or perhaps your thirty-year-old son is finally getting married. Whatever age they head out, it is tough to get started. The first thing they need to worry about is accommodation.

When you first start out, you want accommodation to be cheap, practical and in the best location for work or college. Finding this first apartment or room share takes a lot of research. Always visit prospective accommodation before agreeing a lease.

Most rentals come fully furnished, but sometimes it is cheaper to take the places that are empty. If your child is in need of furniture, there are a few essentials you can help with. Beds are too big to travel with, but a futon might be acceptable. Alternatively, order a new bed to be delivered directly to the new address.

Seating is also quite essential. If you look at the product details of bean bag chairs, you will see they are practical enough to be moved around a room. This is ideal if there is a lack of furniture in the new accommodation. Finally, a flat-pack table for dining at and studying at is easy to transport.

Your child will need a simple toolkit for when they move out of the home. They might need to maintain their bicycle, put together their new furniture, or change the decor. Other essentials include a mop and a vacuum cleaner.

If your son or daughter is taking their bedding from home, why not invest in a vacuum storage bag? It shrinks duvets and pillows down to smaller sizes suitable for the car trunk. The same can be done with their clothes.

Once everything they need is packed, you can expect a lot of things to be left behind. If you are using their bedroom, you may want to use a storage facility for your child’s things until they are better set up. Some things relevant to their favorite hobbies might have to be forwarded at a later date.

Does your son or daughter have a car? You may need to drive them to their new home. It can be tempting to unpack for them when you get there. Sometimes it’s best to make your goodbyes brief so you can let them get on with their new life.

Kids Going to College
Photo courtesy of Flickr.com

Of course, our kids are never really gone. Many come back with bags of laundry, or in desperate need of a good home-cooked meal. With so much social media, you are never really out of touch either. Letting go for the first time can be heart-wrenching, but when they’re back again, you’ll know that they will never really be out of your hair!

 

Join me for the Purell 30 Day Kick Off!!

My family is taking the Purell 30 Day Challenge to stop the spreading of germs and stay healthy this Back to School season!  You too can take the challenge RIGHT HERE!

Check out Audrey & Vera’s kick-off video and share it with your friends and family so they can take the Purell Challenge too!!

With a new little one at home, back-to-school is pretty scary for me.  Back-to-school means making friends for Colton and… SHARING GERMS that will get brought home.  So this PURELL Challenge has come at JUST the right time!

purell products

Here is how Colton and I plan to take on this challenge:
Use PURELL to fight germs with the Advanced Hand Sanitzer and Anti-Bacterial Wipes.

To strategize and make using PURELL easy I have strategically placed PURELL:
1. In his cubby at school.  This was actually the teacher’s idea so I can’t take credit, but each child in my son’s class has a bottle of PURELL to use throughout the day.
2. In our car.  I sometimes pick Colton up from school so having a bottle in the car is a must.
3. One for diaper bag.  My diaper bag is to the go-to thing for everything we need while we are out and about- obviously a travel sized one goes here.
4. On Colton’s Back Pack.  He loves having one on his backpack and he even shared it with the kids at the bus stop this morning <3
5. At my changing table- for obvious reasons… I need to sanitize after changing diapers :-)
6. At the front door.  This is so I can tell Colton to use PURELL as he walks in the door from school.  If we stop the germs at the door, there is less of a chance of him bringing those school germs home!

I also put a pack of the travel PURELL wipes in my diaper bag and have the other canister in my kitchen for easy access.

Purell 30 Day Challenge

The goal is to use PURELL 3 times a day.  With putting PURELL in these strategic places, I don’t think this will be a problem at all!  Wish us luck and don’t forget to sign up HERE and take the PURELL 30-Day Challenge for your chance to win too!

Stop into Best Buy for your Back to School Shopping!

Ahh- School is right around the corner and if you are a student or you have school aged kids I am sure you are needing to do some back to school shopping.  One thing that is essential for back to school in this day in age is a memory card to support safe storage for all of your devices.  Visit the SanDisk on Best Buy site to learn what card is right for you and your needs.

san disk memory

SanDisk for Digital Imaging: SanDisk products, from professional-grade camera memory to point-and-shoot SD cards to microSD cards, deliver industry-leading performance and reliability. SanDisk SD cards are also designed to meet the security, capacity, performance, and environmental requirements of next generation devices—because your stories span generations and your memory solutions should too.

san disk

With a SanDisk memory card you can capture more fast action, record more 4K Ultra HD and Full HD video, AND Transfer speeds up to 60MB/s FOR SMARTPHONES, TABLETS AND ACTION CAMERAS.  All this over 10X faster than ordinary cards3 AND Transfer speeds up to 80MB/s FOR DSLR CAMERAS AND CAMCORDERS.

sandisk memory stick

Mobile devices help you share stories every day, no matter where you go. SanDisk microSD™ cards give your smartphone or tablet a more responsive camera function and smoother media playback. Whether you want more storage for your phone or a card that makes it easy to shoot high resolution video on the go, you can choose the way you want to add fast, reliable data storage with capacity options from 4GB to 200GB.

sandisk logo

USB FOR IPHONE AND IPAD  ALLOWS FOR Easy transfer between iPhone, iPad, and computers AND Frees up iPhone and iPad memory with both lightning and USB connectors. Don’t have an iPhone, dual USB for ANDROID devices ALLOWS FOR Easy transfer between Android™ device and computers AND Frees up space for photos, videos, music and more.

There will be a special OFFER Coming Soon on SanDisk Products so keep an eye out on the Best Buy ad of this special offer :-)

Find the Perfect Birthday Gift at Best Buy

If you are like me, you want put a lot of thought into the gifts you give.  I love going to parties because I love giving gifts and now Best Buy has tool to make finding the perfect Birthday Gifts easier than ever!

Best Buy Birthday Party

Knowing what will make the perfect birthday gift can be hard!  Check out the Best Buy Gift Ideas Page  to get the gift inspiration you need with lists of great birthday gift ideas for ‘Him’, ‘Her’, ‘Kids’, and ‘Teens’.  Or you can check out the Top Tech Gifts list will inspire you with the latest and greatest in technology.  This helps you quickly zero-in on the right gifts for the right people.

When you are starting your gift giving shopping, I am sure you have a price point in mind before you start.  That is what is nice about shopping at Best Buy, it takes the guess work out of what you can get around your budget.  The Best Buy Gift Ideas Page has lists to help you find gifts in the range you are looking for. Including: Gifts under $25, gifts from $25-$49.99, gifts from $50-$99.99, gifts from $100-$249.99, and gifts over $250.

You can also create a Best Buy Wish List.  It is great for many things, weddings, graduation, house warming parties… OH and BIRTHDAY- umm hello ‘list of super awesome gifts to give me’!  If you have a birthday coming up- create a wish list to let your guests know what you want- it doesn’t have to be a long list, but it will help your friends and family know what to get you.  If you have a child that is hugely into something like say.. SKYLANDERS, you can create a wish list to let your guests know what Skylanders your little one wants for his collection.

You can also use the Best Buy Wish List to keep track of gift ideas- make a list of potential gifts for each of your friends :-)

Top Tips For Keeping The Kids Happy While On The Move

We all need a holiday during the summer just to take the edge off everyday life. Home can begin to get the better of us and start to become suffocating if we let it, so a holiday is a perfect antidote. Sun, sea and a couple of cocktails on the beach sounds like my idea of paradise! What isn’t paradise is trying to keep the kids happy while we are on the move. In fact, that is the part of vacationing that I hate because it can be incredibly difficult. Luckily, I’ve found a few tricks in my time that make it that little bit easier, and I’m going to share them with you.

Family on Planesource

Book Sensibly
Keep the children in mind when you are booking your holiday. Not that you are not thinking about your kids all of the time, but sometimes we get excited and make impulse buys. The biggest factor you need to consider is traveling time. Taking them to Disney Land will be the perfect experience for all the family, but can they handle the travel time? Driving or flying for hours on end are not easy for young kids.

Don’t Let Them Get Bored
Even though you want them to be quiet, that is not a good sign. It is like the quiet before the storm! Silence is a good indicator of boredom, and as soon as they are bored you will know about it. Soon, the silence will be replaced with moaning, whingeing and a lot of whining. Kids are easily amused, and it doesn’t take much to keep them ticking over. I always carry a pack of their favourite playing cards and travel board games in my purse and let them go crazy. I cannot tell you how many times a Pokémon card has saved my life!

Comfort
Comfort is a big part of travelling. You know yourself that the more comfortable you are, the better the flight or the drive or whatever mode of transport you use. Kids are no different. I like to keep a travel pillow and a blanket handy at all times just in case they do nod off, which isn’t likely! Also, try and regulate the temperature and keep the air con high if the sun is cracking the flags outside. Finally, take regular breaks. Kids are not able to deal with long journeys like we are, so a break is a great way to keep them refreshed.

Hope They Sleep!
With any luck, they will get their head down, and they will get some sleep. Sleep is the best way to make the journey go quicker. Once you close your eyes, you could wake up hours later and nearly be at your destination. Kids are not good at sleeping while travelling and they need to learn. If they do manage to fall asleep, however, do your best not to wake them!

Once you get to your destination, you can start to relax and have a great time with the family. Until that time, though, your job doesn’t stop!

Here’s How I Made My Bathroom As Child-Friendly As Possible And You Can Too

When you are a mom, especially to toddlers and small children, your whole world revolves around them. Every room in your house must be child-friendly. From the kitchen to the bathroom, every last inch of your home must be safe for your little ones.

Items in your home that you have never seen as being a hazard before, such as a rectangular coffee table, become dangerous. The worst place in the house when it comes to safety is the bathroom, not only are there water hazards, but your child could also slip on the wet floor.

When it comes to thinking about how to make your bathroom as child-friendly as possible, it isn’t just safety that you need to worry about. It’s also things like making baths fun, teaching your kids about washing, and ensuring that there is enough storage.

Baby in Bathtub
Link for photo

As every parent knows, it isn’t always easy encouraging your children to take a bath. Some kids are scared of water while others just dislike bath time, but either way, getting them in the tub can be a real nightmare.

To help you create a bathroom that is not only safe but is also somewhere that your kids are happy to spend time in, follow the simple tips, below:

Avoid having tile or ceramic floors

Yes, tile and ceramic flooring might look stylish and last for a long time, but it can also be dangerous. If your child were to slip when getting out of the bath and whack their head on a tile or ceramic floor, they could seriously hurt themselves.

That’s why, for a child-friendly bathroom, softer flooring, like lino, is a better option. It may not look at stylish as a tile or ceramic floor would, but it will ensure that your children are as safe as possible while using the bathroom.

Add color to the bathroom

Every parent knows that kids love color and find neutral spaces boring. However, that doesn’t mean painting your bathroom in bright, bold colors, it just means adding some color to the space.

Instead of painting the walls white, why not paint them in a pastel color? Pastel colors, like duck egg and mint green, are very in right now, so would look great in your bathroom. Plus, adding some color to your bathroom would help to make it more fun for your children.

If you don’t fancy painting the walls with colored paint, you can always use accessories to add color to the space. Anything in the bathroom that is your child’s – their toothbrush, bath towel, and toilet step, should be a bright color. Kids love color, so it makes sense that their things should be nice and bright.

Ensure that you have adequate storage space

Classy Bathroom
Picture from Flickr

One of the best ways to make your bathroom somewhere that your children like to go is having lots of special toys in there. Your bathroom should be filled with lots of toys and games that your little ones can play with while in the bath.

While you will want to have lots of fun toys and games to keep your kids occupied while they take a bath, you won’t want them cluttering up the space. That’s why it’s crucial that you have lots of storage space in your bathroom, such as a bathroom vanity cupboard or a cabinet. There are lots of options when it comes to bathroom storage; you can get an idea of what’s on offer by checking out the Bella Bathrooms range.

Easy to clean

Kids make a mess, all parents know that. That’s why it’s crucial that your bathroom is as easy to clean as possible. You should aim to have tiles all around the bath and shower area, so that if the kids make a mess while washing, you can easily clean it up.

I have a young son, who I often let use bath crayons and body paint while in the bath. These are great, as not only do they act as soap, but they also keep him occupied while he’s in the bath. The only downside is that my bathroom is often left covered in multicolored soap marks, which is why I opted for a bathroom that is easy to clean.

It can be hard knowing where to start when it comes to making your bathroom as child-friendly as possible. However, by following these tips, you can make your bathroom much safer and more fun for your child. The key is to create a bathroom that is not only safe, but also somewhere that is fun and your child is happy to spend time in.

How To Overcome The Stresses And Strains Of Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be one of the most traumatic times in a woman’s life. I should know. My son caused me some serious issues during the later stages. With that in mind, I thought some of you might benefit from my experiences. The post you are reading today will offer some advice and guidance on the best ways to recover after the birth. Our bodies and minds can take a real thrashing, and so we have to work hard to get things back to normal. At the end of the day, you need to ensure you are healthy and active. That child isn’t going to look after itself. It needs a parent who feels enthusiastic about their new job.

Ask your doctor for counseling

Lots of women can become depressed after they give birth to a child. There can be bonding issues that make things even more difficult. The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence. There are many specialists who could help you to make it through the hard times. You just need to contact your doctor and ask for a referral. Don’t worry about what other people might think. You are doing that to improve your outlook and help you to look after the child properly. In some instances, the professional may prescribe medication. Make sure you take it as the doctor advises. Also, involve your partner in the process.

Breastfeed

Experts recommend that breastfeeding because it helps you to bond with your baby and many other health benefits to both mom and baby.  Mothers that breastfeed are actually less likely to have post partum depression and breastfeeding helps to regulate your hormones, which may get out of whack after you have a baby.  Breastfeeding helps your baby feel secure and that his needs, both physical and emotional, are met which makes for a happier baby and less-stressed mom. 

Get rid of those stretch marks

Stretch marks can make a woman feel ugly. However, that is the wrong attitude to take. You should consider them to be battle scars from the ordeal you’ve just experienced. They are not unsightly. They are a beautiful reaction to the strains placed on your body. Those of you who want to get rid of them quickly should speak to your GP. They will recommend the best product for stretch marks after pregnancy. You might have to use the products for a few months before you notice a difference. Even so, things will get back to normal if you stick with it.
Pregnant Belly
Image source

Now you know how to overcome the stresses and strains of pregnancy, I hope you can put more effort into the care of your child. Bringing up a young person in the modern world is difficult. The road ahead is filled with challenges that haven’t yet passed your mind. Life is going to be tough for the next eighteen years. However, it will be worth every ounce of effort you exert.

Welcome to parenthood!

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Childcare Solution

When that time comes and you need to go back to work after having your little one I am sure the first thing that comes to mind is who is going to care for your precious little ones while you are at work.  As someone who has over 10 years of child care experience and also has little ones I wanted to give you some tips for finding that best solution for you.

Baby Sitting

Here are some options and the pros and cons of each:

1. Family or Friend that will babysit for free.  I am sure this is the most ideal option, doesn’t cost you anything and your child is with someone they know.  This may be in your home or theirs, depending on what you decide is best for everyone.

Some cons to this are: Since there isn’t a payment they are essentially doing you a HUGE favor and that means they may be a bit unreliable because their own plans may take importance over babysitting.  If you go with this option, it is best to have a back up in case the main person needs off something.

Another big con to using a friend or family member for free is that they may not see eye to eye on your rules or what you want for child.  Since there is no payment, they will feel this is not really a job and may bend your rules or not do things the way you want.  As the child’s PARENT it is important that you stress the things you want and make sure that your child care provider is on the same page- if it is a family member babysitting for free or a nanny that you pay a wage to.

me and michael and malena

2. Daycare Center.  A daycare center is what most working parents tend to gravitate to.  While it isn’t cheap, many parents find this to be one of the most affordable options.

Reasons to choose Daycare:
1. You would like your child around other children.
2. Many daycare centers have preschool included so you may choose a daycare center so your child is learning something that will prepare them for Kindergarten.
3. Some providers accept state funded assistance.  If you are low income you may qualify for reduced cost childcare through select providers, most of which are daycare centers.

Cons to Daycare:
1.  While you would like to have your child around other children, are you sure that the other students at the daycare are the right influence for your child.  Many daycares have large class sizes, and since they accept state funded assistance also have many children with home issues that may reflect on their behavior in the classroom.
2. Cleanliness of the daycare is a huge problem.  Illnesses tend to spread like wildfire through daycare centers.  When you enroll your child it is definitely best to have a plan in place for if they become sick and aren’t able to go to daycare.
3. The daycare may have restricted hours.  Unlike a babysitter, daycares often have open and close times, so if you get off work at 5 and your daycare closes at 5, that may cause an issue.

Tips to choosing the perfect Daycare:
Not all daycares are bad, the key is to finding one that IS perfect for your family.  After one horrible daycare experience, I was able to find one that was a GREAT fit for us and that we were very happy at.

1. Check out state ratings.  I live in Ohio and we have Step up to Quality Stars.  This is a 5 star system where a daycare center can earn additional stars by meeting goals.  There are VERY few 5 star daycare centers, so finding one of those would be a good start.
2. Know the student to teacher ratio and the maximum class size.  The lower the ratio, the more attention your child will get, but also class size is important because if there is a 6:1 ratio, and you had 3 teachers and 18 children in one classroom, that is a lot different than 6 children and one teacher in the classroom.
2. Ask about the cleanliness and what the classroom standards are.  Many daycares do not clean the toys every day, well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that germs spread easily with kids and if the daycare isn’t clean, it is just contributing to spreading illness.  Daycares that have good cleaning habits will have less illness reports.
3. Find out what the requirements are to be accepted to the daycare.  Is there an interview process? Do they dismiss children that are not a good fit for their program or are causing trouble?  Or do they accept everyone that is willing to pay?
4. Know your child’s teachers.  Make sure YOU are comfortable with them and leaving your child there.  Are they patient and friendly or angry and short tempered?
5. Know all policies of the daycare and make sure they coincide with your standards.  Some things to consider are: Discipline, Food (What is provided? What are you allowed to send?), Is there an open door policy?, What is the security like at the daycare? (Who can enter the building?  Who can pick up your child?  Are there cameras to verify if incidents happen?)

All these issues are important to finding the perfect daycare for your children, if you consider each issue and weigh out what you want as a parent, you will know you made the best decision you could for your child.

3. In-Home-Daycare Provider.  This is an additional option to a big daycare setting.  Just like the daycare, you need to do your research to make sure you do find a good in-home-daycare provider.

In-Home-Daycare vs Daycare Center: In-Home-Daycare is done in someone’s house.  They may or MAY NOT be certified through the state.  If they are certified through the state they will have guidelines to follow, just like daycare centers.  If they are 100% privately run, they will not have these same guidelines, this doesn’t mean they are a bad provider, it just means that there isn’t someone checking up on them.  You can ask the provider what qualifications and certifications they have when you are checking things out.

In-Home-Daycare providers can not accept as many kids and that is a huge plus.  That means more one on one time for your child vs traditional daycare center.

babysitting at the zoo

Nanny:  While this may be the most expensive option, if you are able to find the perfect nanny for your family, this is the best option.

Pros to hiring a nanny:
1. One on One attention to your children.
2. The nanny will come to your residence, so the children have the comfort of their own home.
3. You set the rules for the nanny to follow while you are not there.
4. You can include light housework or request meals made if time allows.
5. Since your nanny will be catering to only your child’s needs they can come up with crafts and activities that will suit your child.
6. If you would like your nanny to participate in group play, library time, or other outside activities you can request that and your children will get outside interaction.

Cons to hiring a nanny:
It is expensive compared to daycare.

Tips for finding the perfect Nanny:
1. Interview many candidates.
2. When you narrow to one or two, invite them to spend the day with you and your child so you can get to know them better.  You want to find someone that is patient and friendly with your children AND will follow the standards you set for your child’s care.
3. Find someone that has a similar parenting style as you.  If they have similar beliefs, they will be more understanding to your requests.  YOU ARE THE PARENT and they are your employee.
4. Treat them well.  They are taking care of your children, the most important people in the world, so you will want to treat them well, let them know they are appreciated.  My saying is if you treat your nanny like family she will treat your kids like her own.
5. Pay them well.  Find out what the standard is your area.  Make sure you are right on with that or even a little above.  I would suggest starting out right on target and give bonuses and raises to show appreciation.

Finding the perfect childcare solution is tough.  But if you use these tips, I am sure you will find what works best for your family.

Breastfeeding Essentials Guide

In celebration of National Breastfeeding week I wanted to share with you a list of things I found very helpful in my breastfeeding journey.  I nursed Colton for a full year and I am 4 months in with Caleb and going strong!

I know there are so many products out there for breastfeeding, different brands and all that fun stuff, so I hope this guide helps you!

If you plan on Breastfeeding, here are some things you will want to get BEFORE you have the baby so you are prepared:

1. Breastpump:  I have two because I use one upstairs in my room and the other down in the living room and it keeps me from having to pack up my whole pumping station if Colton is playing in the living room.  Do you need two pumps?  Definitely not. But I suggest having A PUMP before you have your little one because nothing is worse than when your milk comes in and you can’t get at least a little relief.

Also- the more you pump, the more milk you will produce.  Obviously if you are going back to work or school, you need a pump to supply milk for when you are away, but you can also use a pump to build up your supply if you feel you might be low.

The two I have are the Avent Comfort Double Breast Pump and the NUK Double Electric Breast Pump.

Avent Breast Pump

What I love about the Avent Comfort Double Breast Pump:
1. GREAT SUCTION that is adjustable to comfort.
2. Comes in a nice bag to carry if you need to transport it
3. Has soft silicone cushions on the breast shields that give added comfort while pumping.
4. Is designed so you can pump while sitting up straight and it actually works!
5. The pump connects right to the Avent Bottles.
6.  Phillips Avent ALWAYS takes time to make sure every detail of a product is thought of and they did a GREAT JOB with this one!
NUK Breast Pump

What I love about the NUK Double Electric Breast Pump:
1. GREAT SUCTION.  When turned all the way up, I felt like this one had the most suction… but I don’t recommend turning any pump all the way up because more suction does NOT mean more milk.
2. Has soft silicone cushions on the breast shields that give added comfort while pumping.
3. GREAT PRICE.  The price point on this is $99.99 and for a double electric pump that WORKS GREAT, This is a great value.

2. Nursing Pads.  If you are breastfeeding you will want to invest in these for sure!  I love the disposable Avent Nursing Pads for night time and when I am out and about.  They are SUPER soft and really comfortable.  The night time ones hold A LOT so you don’t have to worry about night time leaking and who wants to lug around wet nursing pads.  I always go disposable if I am leaving the house.

Avent Nursing Pads

I also like the Milkies Softies Bamboo Nursing Pads They are reusable, which is a huge plus since you can wash and reuse over and over again.  They are also soft, and since they are bamboo they wick the moisture away from your skin which will reduce tenderness if you are experiencing any sort of irritation.

milkies Softies Nursing Pads

3. Nipple Balm In those first few weeks of breastfeeding (at least) you will want nipple balm to soothe and protect sore nipples.  Lets face it, it is a fact of life with breastfeeding- but it doesn’t have to be as bad as it seems.  I really liked the Milkies Nipple Nuture Balm  but there are several options out there.
milkies Nipple Nuture Balm

I like the Milkies Nipple Nuture Balm most because it is safe for mom AND baby.  It doesn’t need to be washed off before feedings.  Who wants to wipe off nipple balm from sore nipples before you feed your baby?  Also, I started off using lanolin and even with wiping it off, Caleb wouldn’t latch when I used it- once I switched to the Milkies Nipple Nuture Balm– we did not have this issue any more.

4. Nursing Bras and Tops I know this sounds like a no brainer, but you need these before you have the baby.  I don’t know about you, but I wanted to put my own bra on as soon as I could after delivery, so having a nursing bra on hand was a MUST.  I also love my nursing tops.  I have gotten pretty good with nursing in regular shirts too, but I really do prefer the ease of using my actual nursing tops.

5. Nursing Pillow I have a Boppy Nursing Pillow and I LOVE it!  If this is your first baby, I suggest this nursing pillow because it is two sided.  You have the soft cushiony side and the harder, but still soft side.  Since you won’t know which type of surface you prefer, I recommend this pillow since it is so versatile.  It also has a strap that makes it good to carry and stays in place while you are using it!

Boppy Nursing Pillow

I also have the Boppy Pregnancy Back Rest Pillow.  This was advertised for use while you are pregnant, but I have continued to use it for back support while I am nursing or pumping.

boppy back rest

5. Nursing Cover
Boppy Nursing Cover
I have the Boppy Nursing Cover that I use while we are out.  I like it because it attaches around my neck and has a plastic piece on top so I can peek under and check on Caleb as he nurses.

Hunched Babies Swaddle Blankets
I also use my Hanchell Babies Swaddle Blankets as nursing covers because they are large and light weight and also very versatile.

6. Breastfeeding Support Supplements
mamalicious
As you know you are burning a ton of calories while breastfeeding and you need to make sure you are getting the vitamins you need so you can product the best breast milk.  I drink Mamalicious every morning for breakfast.  It is PACKED with vitamins that support breastfeeding mothers and I feel SO GREAT when I am drinking it vs if I run out.

premama
If you are concerned about your supply I also suggest Premama Lactation Support Powder.  You can mix this right in with water.  It tastes really good and is another great supplement!

7. Sterilizer

Avent Sterilizer
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Avent 3 in 1 Electric Sterilizer.  It is basically the Mercedes of Sterilizers.  You need a sterilizer because you are dealing with food storage… for your newborn baby.  There no room for mistake and no want of any sort of bacteria.  So after you wash your pump parts and bottles, you will want to run them through the sterilizer to make sure you have all the icky bacteria KILLED.  I like this because it sits on the counter.  You don’t need to move it to or from the microwave.  Just load it up and you are ready to go.  It also comes with a nice dishwasher caddy if you have a dishwasher.  :-)

9. Bottle Drying Rack. I suggest this because it gives you a clean place to dry bottles and pump parts.

avent Bottle Rack

 

10.  Thermo Packs.

avent breastfeeding care
Avent Thermo Packs are AWESOME.  Cold to relieve sore or tender breasts and hot to do the same or stimulate milk flow.

11.  Milk Storage Bags.

avent milk storage bags
Another thing you need to stock up on for sure!  The Avent Milk storage bags are pre sterilized disposable bags that make milk storage easy!  I pump directly into the bag, seal it and Colton is my little milk runner and will run the milk to the freezer for me.  They even have a spot to write the date and amount on it :-)

I hope this helps you if you are considering breastfeeding.  I encourage you to give it a try and stick with it.  The bond with your little one is amazing and I can’t imaging feeding either of my boys any other way.  These products are things I personally used and felt were helpful in my breastfeed journey.  

FTC Disclosure:  I received and tested out many products that are included in this guide.  I gave only my true, honest opinions about the products. All opinions are my own.