Beautycounter

Skin Products: What Are We Putting On Our Body?

I remember before I became pregnant with my son, now five years old. I never really thought about the products I used on my body whether it was the facial cleanser , body wash, shampoo, body sprays, or lotion I used. When I became pregnant I quickly learned that not only everything I consumed impacted my growing baby, but what I put on my body did too!

It is extremely common for women to completely change how they view things and take a closer look at everything once they become pregnant and have children of their own. Once your child is born, it’s a whole other ball game. Some common questions include “is this safe for my baby?” “Is this safe to put on my body, when my child is nursing?” 

It is important that we do our research and live by example. Whether it be an example for our friends and family, or our growing children. Our children are watching us daily. If we are using products that are safe, our children will know no other way.

While at Shiftcon in December, I learned so much about an amazing company Beautycounter. I had just recently been introduced to it by my good friend Emily Boyd. I quickly learned that Beautycounter was much more then just a company selling beauty products, but this company is playing a huge part in the education and change of beauty products in the industry.

I invited Emily Boyd to chat with you and share exactly what Beautycounter is doing, how you can learn about what is safe and what is not safe to put on the largest organ of our body (yes, our skin!)

It was about two years ago when my close friend and boss got the devastating call that the lump in her breast was in fact cancer.

That moment was something I’ll never forget, but what was even more impactful to me was the response she had.

She decided that she was going to win the battle and make some powerful decisions to ensure she got healthy & stayed healthy. She was not going to be a victim and hide away in sadness. She was going to fight & I decided that I was going to journey on a similar path.

I have some influential voices in my life who have educated me on the impacts of foods we consume, products we use to clean our homes, and the personal care products we put on our hair, our eyes, and our largest organ: our skin. However, I have learned that during her treatment, she hosted a Beautycounter social and because I love my friend, I gladly obliged (Wine? Yes, please!). What I learned that night radically changed my view of personal care products.

Here are the key takeaways from that evening that eventually led to me being a business owner & educator with Beautycounter.

  1. Many of the products we use on our skin are loaded with toxic chemicals that are disrupting hormones, messing with our overall endocrine system, potentially changing our DNA (what?!) and many other scary health issues. People often ask…

  2. How is that even possible and legal? We haven’t passed a major federal law since 1938 that regulates the cosmetic industry. This industry that’s worth $60 billion only bans 30 ingredients from your products. The European Union bans well over 1400. So, what the heck are we doing about it?!

  3. Beautycounter and its 30,000+ (and growing) educators are working with legislators and trying hard to make federal changes that protect you. We are also sharing our missiong to “get safer products into the hands of everyone” through socials, conversations, posts like this (thanks, Erin!) and social media.

  4. So how do you know what’s harmful? We know some ingredients for sure are linked to human health, but we have barely even scratched the surface with other ingredients. Here are some major offenders: parabens, pthalates, sulfates, triclosan, and retinol. We actually provide consumers with our amazing Never List full of ingredient names & how they might be impacting you right here.

  5. What should you do? Flip your bottles, my friends. The first and most important thing you can do is figure out what’s harmful & what’s not. The Environmental Working Group (the EWG) provides a great database where you can look up your product or the specific ingredients in your products. It’s not entirely comprehensive, but it’s a good start.

  6. Don’t think for even one second that just because something says “organic” or “green” or “natural” that it actually is. These words can be slapped on anything and everything. It’s false marketing and quite frankly, pretty unethical in my opinion. Do your research.

Let me remind you… your health is your greatest asset. If you’re healthy, you can invest in relationships, a career, hobbies, and working towards the life you want to have. I know this certainly isn’t black and white, but I feel like our society has been taught that the way we treat our sickness is reactively. Why not choose to be proactive?

There has recently been articles about lead in personal care products (this is also legal to put in your skin, but in your paint – what?!), the impact of chemicals in teenagers from personal care products, and how “all safe/natural” products like Wen are causing serious issues like hair loss.

This post is intended to educate and inform. As a Beautycounter educator and business owner, I love the opportunity to work with women on some safer options to purchase, however my ultimate goal is for you to feel like you can make an informed purchasing decision. Maybe that means organic coconut oil is your body lotion or you use essential oils as your fragrance.

If you want to support our movement for #BetterBeauty, check out our “Chanel meets Whole Foods” products; the packaging is absolutely stunning and you never have to worry about what is in it. 

If this resonates with you, there is always an opportunity to participate in this growing company (we are only 3.5 years old!) and make a difference while earning extra cash. It’s not for everyone, but it certainly is for some people. Beautycounter knows that the only way we can make a lasting impact is to have more voices, so they offer a generous compensation plan to help everyone move the needle.

Oh yeah, and the company was started by a woman in the United States (yes!).

If you want to continue the conversation, send me a message through this site. Onward & upward, Midwest Moms & Wives.

 

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Bellies, Babies & Beyond a Postpartum Support Group

A strong passion of mine is supporting and connecting families with resources, whether this be details about events and activities, product and service reviews or information about my personal experience on certain topics. I feel the more information we are given and the more opportunities that are available to us, we can make the best decisions for ourselves and families.

Since the beginning of my postpartum doula journey, I have envisioned a place where mothers can come together in a safe and open place to share their concerns, thoughts, laughter, tears and just feel loved.

Beginning in February 2017, I will be hosting Bellies, Babies & Beyond twice a month. This group will be just that. I will be there twice a month to chat with you, answer your questions, and give you additional resources if needed. Do you not have any concerns or not sure what you want to talk about? That is okay too! Just come and be with us! This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and be with other mothers in the same place as you. 

I will be holding Bellies, Babies & Beyond twice a month:

The 1st Thursday of the month; 9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. at the Iowa Doula Agency located at 120 5th Street, West Des Moines.

The 3rd Saturday of the month; 9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. at Balance Chiropractic & Wellness located at 6611 University Avenue, Windsor Heights.

Feel free to come to both each month! This will be an open house style group. Feel free to come late and if you need to leave early, that is okay too! Registration in not required. Newborn babies to 12 month are welcome!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me here!

Note: Bellies, Babies & Beyond is registered with Postpartum Support International.
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7 Ways to Create “Me” Time Postpartum

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links!

After having a child, it can be harder to create alone time, or what some like to call “me” time. During your postpartum period it can be even more crucial as you are adjusting to life with a newborn, or with more children. Your “me” time allows you to relax, re-set and refocus on you. When you are finished with your “me” time, you can return to your children and family refreshed and happier.

Creating “me” time can be as simple as 10 minutes to 1 hour a day or it could be a few hours one afternoon, once a week. Allowing yourself time to re-set is important for your health, just as exercising and eating healthy is. If you are a planner and have a family calendar, carve these days out in your schedule. If it’s on the schedule then you and your significant other will be prepared and it is more likely to happen.

Are you not sure what to do during your “me” time? Check out this great list I put together!

Take a Hot bath, Epsom Salts & Lavender Essential Oils. This is my favorite and the most simplest way to have some alone time. Grab your favorite book and some hot tea. Of course, if you are newly postpartum you may need to wait a few weeks until your doctor approves you to bathe. Epsom salts are a great way to relax your tense muscles from carrying and nursing your baby. Add a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil to your bath. Lavender Essential Oil can help relieve nervous tension, enhance blood circulation and much more. Plus, it just smells amazing!

Spend an afternoon at a local coffee shop or book store. Grab your favorite book, a journal, or go look for a great book to read while taking your hot bath. Every new parent needs coffee right? Treat yourself and get a fancy, specialty drink and relax. Read your book or people watch. Both can be equally entertaining 🙂 Check out some great, local coffee shops here!

Spa Day! What woman doesn’t love a spa day? It doesn’t need to be an entire day, but you can go get a manicure and pedicure or an hour long massage. If someone is wanting to get you something postpartum, ask for a gift certificate! You just gave birth and are juggling life as a mom, you deserve some pampering. Do you live in Central Iowa? Check out some great spas in the area here.

Sign-up for a yoga class. Yoga is a great way to relax and to get your body moving. It does not have to be a sweaty workout, but it can be an opportunity for you to become re-centered. Yoga is a great time to meditate too! I know whenever I leave a yoga class, I am refreshed and ready for the world. If you live in the Des Moines area I highly recommend checking out The Family Tree Yoga. They offer several great classes and workshops for pregnancy, postpartum and more. They also offer massage too! 🙂 Check out Power Life Yoga, also! They offer several locations in the Des Moines area.

Take a walk. Fresh air is truly some of the best medicine. After being cooped up in the house all day with your newborn, getting outside and taking in the scenery can be a great way to unwind. The Des Moines area is truly blessed with tons of bike trails. One of my favorite places to walk and explore is the PappaJohn Sculpture Park located right by Central Library and Ritual Cafe. You can also walk along the Des Moines River on the Principal Riverwalk. Too chilly out? Check out Botanical Blues at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Take a class. After becoming a parent, you easily can forget to do things you love to do! Find something you want to learn or something you have always loved, and take a class. Are you artistic? Paint some pottery or canvas at Glazed Expressions! There are several places to do canvas art in the area. You can also take a cooking class! The Des Moines Public Library offers an Adult Coloring Time weekly.

Get adjusted! This seems simple and actually does not take much time at all, but can easily be added to your afternoon break before you head to the coffee shop or book store. After giving birth, whether it be vaginally or via c-section, your pelvis and entire body experiences changes. Not only from child birth, but from nursing positions, carrying your newborn, and carrying that hefty car seat! Getting adjusted regulary by a chiropractor you trust and is experienced with prenatal and postnatal adjustment is highly recommended! Check out Dr. Jennifer Thompson at Balance Chiropractic & Wellness.

Photo Credits: PappaJohn Sculpture Park, Smokey Row Coffee Shop
MommyConChicago

7 Reasons to Attend MommyCon Chicago This Year!

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s already 2017?! I have been gearing up and chatting about MommyCon 2017 since mid-2016 and it’s finally here!

I am so excited to be a part of MommyCon’s media team this year. I am extremely passionate about MommyCon and what it has to offer, not only mom’s, but the entire family. I have been TWICE! Once while pregnant, in Chicago and once with little Miss Amelia (who met TheBabyGuyNYC!!!) in Minneapolis. Whether you are planning a family, expecting, have multiple kiddos running around, MommyCon is for every family.

MommyCon Chicago is going to be extra special this year. Check out my top 7 reasons why you should attend!

MommyCon Chicago + WEAR Conference. For the first time ever, these two amazing conferences are coming together during the same weekend in Chicago. This means three amazing days filled with all things natural parenting AND babywearing!

Great place to research! If you are planning a family, expecting, or already have children, parents are always researching! “What is the best car seat? Should I go with a home birth or hospital birth? Should I use cloth diapers or disposables? WHICH cloth diapers should I use?” All of these questions and so much more can be answered for you at MommyCon. You can ask whatever questions you may have and get the facts before making your own decisions!

Shop, Shop & Shop! You could pretty much go to MommyCon and purchase everything you may need for your baby, toddler, and yourself 🙂 Just kidding. But, really …. SO MANY VENDORS, with so much to offer. Make a list of things you may want to look at while you are there (such as cloth diapers, baby carriers, car seats, cribs, postpartum items, etc.)

Meet other moms & families. The idea of natural parenting is growing and becoming more popular, but sometimes it’s hard to find other families that think and parent the same way as you do. MommyCon is a great place to come together and make connections. Parenting is hard and sometimes much harder when you are doing things a bit different then the norm, but MommyCon is a very welcoming place!

Everyone is invited! The term “natural parenting” can sometimes scare new parents, but MommyCon is for everyone. You don’t have to baby wear, use cloth diapers, not vaccinate and have a home birth to be included. These are all topics that may be talked about, but as a parent you make your final decisions. MommyCon is a place to become educated and make the best decision for you and your family.

Educated & knowledgeable speakers. They don’t just grab the average “Joe” off the street to speak 🙂 Although, the schedule has not been released yet, some speakers you may be able to hear include Abby Theuring – The Badass Breastfeeder, Dr. Bob Sears – Very well-known pediatrician, Jamie Grayson – Baby Gear Expert, and more!

BABYWEARING! Everything you want or need to know about babywearing! Ask questions, learn about different carriers, actually see and feel different baby carriers before buying and much more! Just the WEAR Conference alone, consists of 48 sessions, 24 speakers and 3 days filled of everything babywearing.

Okay, have I convinced you yet?! How about if you won 2 tickets to MommyCon Chicago? Lucky you, I am giving away 2-FREE tickets! Enter below.

 Enter here!

Disclosure: These tickets are only good for General Admission for MommyCon only. WEAR Conference tickets will need to be purchase separately!
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Sweet Me Photography + Giveaway!

I am so excited to announce that Midwest Mom & Wife is teaming up with Sweet Me Photography!

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Sweet Me Photography offers in-home and affordable newborn photography. There are photographers available all over, but just recently Sweet Me Photography has came to Des Moines.

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Why am I so excited about this? As a mom, I know how important those first photos are of your precious baby. But, as a postpartum doula, I know how important it is for you to rest, recover and bond with your newborn. Sweet Me Photography provides boutique sessions in the comfort of your own home. No need to pack up all sorts of baby necessities and no need for you to be up moving around. Let the Sweet Me photographers take care of it all. They bring lighting, heating, props, outfits (but if you have your own, you are more than welcome to use it!), blankets, and backdrops.

Go take a shower, get some rest and let the photographers capture some wonderful photos. Every Sweet Me photographer is also trained in baby safety, so you can rest assure they are properly taking care of your newborn.

Because Midwest Mom & Wife has begun an amazing partnership with Sweet Me Photography we are offering a giveaway! One lucky winner will win Sweet Me Photography’s package one valued at $350! And there is moreANYONE who enters for the giveaway will receive $25 off any package of their choosing, just for entering!

Giveaway will end Sunday, October 2nd! Make sure you share with all your expecting friends!

Enter here!

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From Belly To Birth: A Blog Created to Empower, Inform, and Amuse

I found out I was pregnant on the coldest day in January, during the particularly cold winter of 2014. I had my suspicions about being pregnant, but the test was negative that morning as I left to drive my husband to work. I got home, went to throw the test away, and saw the faintest little second line. WHaaaaa….?!? My husband (a surgery resident) was doing a rotation in electroshock anesthesia at that time, and texted me before he started his next case: “I’ll be done at 5, are you pregnant?” I responded, covertly: “Sounds great! See you then.” Phew…dodged that bullet. I’ll tell him in person tonight, I thought. Ding! “ARE YOU PREGNANT??” Not sure how else to respond I typed the three words that would change life forever: “I think so!”

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Photo credit: Studio 10101 @ www.karadunbar.com

New to the area, I had no idea who to request for an OB so I took the first available, and ended up with a doctor who would punch me lightly on the arm and say “Everything looks great, champ!” Every time he finished giving me a pelvic exam. It was awesome. Throughout the next months I scoured the internet for any and all information I could find on delivering at the University of Iowa Hospital – and other options for OB’s.

I really just wanted to know what to expect (Do they encourage skin to skin? Will I have to fight to avoid an episiotomy?) and how would it be delivering with this doctor? Luckily I had a different OB for delivery, and my experience was great. But it gave birth to the idea for my blog (sorry, I had to). I started with the vision of collecting thousands of birth stories, and with that, details of thousands of health professionals and birthing facilities. I wanted a woman to be able to find a birth story from someone who used her hospital or doctor. To be able to see how that doctor responded to a complication, what that hospital’s policies were for rooming in, or how the nurses responded when she didn’t want to breastfeed. Real life accounts are hard to find, especially for a specific practitioner or facility, and I wanted to be able to provide that.

As From Belly To Birth has grown and evolved, the birth stories coming in have ebbed and flowed. So I started sharing more of my own journey (and mishaps) as a mother and young woman navigating these years that so often revolve around babies. I definitely don’t have any accreditation as a mom, but I love sharing what works for me, and more often what doesn’t. Because it turns out, we’re all in a more similar place than we realize. I also love posting stuff that might make you smirk, or at least roll your eyes, because I feel like so often the stuff I scroll through makes me feel like I’m not good enough, life is hard, and the world is evil. So I hope I can make you to feel like you’re not alone in your shortcomings, life is pretty damn funny, and the world is good.

You’ll find birth stories from around the Midwest (and beyond), my favorite Pinterest recipe board, Friday Funnies every week, updates on things like Zika, and much more.  I’d love it if you’d consider sharing your story to help empower women in your community. I think we all have more to give than we realize and what better place to start than with our stories of loss and birth, of heartache and life’s miracles.

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Empowering Moms With Yoga

I started practicing yoga in 2009 when I lived in Green Bay, WI. Shortly after, I found out that I was expecting my first child and continued in the same yoga class throughout my pregnancy. My instructor helped me with modifications as my belly grew, but he was not prenatal certified. During this time, I was also working toward becoming a certified birth doula (DONA). After the birth of my daughter, it became clear that these experiences could come together in a beautiful potion to empower, strengthen, and educate expecting women.

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In 2012, my husband, daughter and I moved back home to central Iowa (Ankeny), and shortly after I was introduced to Sandi Hoover, owner of The Family Tree (Des Moines) and founder of Roots Prenatal YogaTM. I took her Roots Prenatal Yoga Certification course (80 hours) in February 2013 and have been passionately sharing prenatal yoga with expecting women since.

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In January 2016, I began teaching my prenatal yoga classes in Ankeny! In my classes, I empower women to tune into their bodies, breath, and babies. Each class begins with time to chat with the other expecting women in class about a topic related to pregnancy, birth, or motherhood. We move through gentle yoga poses and end class with a few minutes of relaxation. EVERY (pregnant) BODY can benefit from participating in my prenatal yoga classes.

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I hear from many of the women in my classes after their babies are born. They thank me for the classes and say they felt more prepared physically and mentally for labor/birth. My Ankeny classes are held on Sunday evenings from 6:30 – 7:45 PM. Each 6-week series is $100 (less than $17/class)! To inquire or sign-up for the series that begins on September 11, 2016, please e-mail me at doulamel13@gmail.com.

Check Melissa’s website for current classes, dates and times here!

Follow her on Facebook here!

About the Author

Head shot 2Melissa Schnurr, PhD, CD(DONA):

Melissa is the mother of two daughters born in October 2010 and November 2014, an early childhood consultant for the State of Iowa, DONA certified birth doula, and a prenatal yoga certified instructor. Also the owner of Empowered Pregnancy & Birth LLC, Melissa has a passion for supporting women and their families during pregnancy and birth.

Making Sure Newborn Babies and Pets are Completely Copacetic

Making Sure Newborn Babies and Pets are Completely Copacetic

Becoming a parent and bringing a newborn into a house is challenging enough on its own, but adding a four-legged child into this situation comes with its own set of unique obstacles. There was a recent advertisement from the internet powerhouse Amazon that took a look at this problem from the dog’s point of view.

Making Sure Newborn Babies and Pets are Completely Copacetic

In this thirty-second short, a golden retriever feels alienated when a toddler is more interested in playing with a stuffed lion and goes off into a corner after the baby cries when the dog attempts to connect with the small child. When the father sees this occur, he places an order on Amazon, and later receives a package that contains a lion’s mane for the dog to wear. This is enough to get the toddler to connect with the canine.

This is a perfect example of how to ease these two strangers into a more comfortable environment together. Here are some tips on making this transition as smooth as possible.

Before The Bundle of Joy Arrives

If you haven’t already done so, think about crate training your animal, which is a relatively simple process. That way your pet will have their own space where they feel safe and have a place to retreat if they feel threatened. Before the baby arrives:

 

  • You’ll likely already have the nursery and many other items set up for the infant’s arrival, but make sure your pet has a chance to examine, smell and become familiar with them.
  • Think about carrying around a doll wrapped in a blanket in order to get pets used to you paying attention to someone else (or something else in this case).
  • If possible, bring home a blanket from the hospital before the baby comes home so that your pet can get used to their scent.
  • Dogs and cats have sensitive hearing so you may consider downloading or playing them sounds of baby’s laughing or crying to get them used to these strange sounds.
  • If your animal exhibits behavior like jumping on the furniture that might be inappropriate with an infant in the house, start training sooner, rather than later.

You’ll also want to instill a no begging policy and teach them to stay away from food that doesn’t belong to them. This will help avoid them snatching food out of a toddler’s hand and the possibility of them eating unhealthy foods that are dropped, discarded or end up on the floor.

Curious Cats

Most of these tips and tricks are canine orientated, but they certainly apply to cats in these situations, but dogs can’t usually leap into a crib as easily as a feline. Be sure your cat is supervised when they’re in the nursery and don’t leave them along with the infant.

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Babies will turn into crawlers quickly, so be sure the litter box is in an area they can’t come in contact with it, even for short periods of time. If you must move the box before the baby arrives, it’s recommended to do it slowly, in two or three-foot increments at a time over the course of several days or weeks.

Baby Steps

When the big day arrives, you may want to come into the house first without the child and warm up to your pet without the infant present. Introduce the two slowly with at least two people present and you may want to keep them separate for the first few hours while they adjust to the concept.

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Keep your pet on their same schedule and don’t exclude them from their normal activities. There will likely be a little bit of jealousy and weirdness involved at first when introducing a newcomer into an existing family environment, but it doesn’t have to be that strange if we can follow some of these simple guidelines. We’re all family and we should treat each other with equal amounts of love and attention so no one feels left out.

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World Breastfeeding Week 2016 + Giveaway!

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

 

World Breastfeeding Week is always celebrated the first week in August and runs August 1st through August 7th all over the world!

Every year we celebrate women, their children, and their breastfeeding relationship. I get super excited this time of year because it can be such an empowering week. Many women will share their personal breastfeeding stories and pictures throughout social media. Not only does this help normalize breastfeeding, but also gives confidence to many women who may be struggling.

Not only is breastfeeding important for mom and baby, but this year’s World Breastfeeding theme is “on raising awareness of the links between breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals. By recognizing that breastfeeding is a key to sustainable development, we will value our wellbeing from the start of life, respect each other and care for the world we share.” This statement is so true and I am so happy that this has become the theme for this year.

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During this week, communities all over the world hold different celebrations to help spread the word about breastfeeding. One common event held in Central Iowa is the Big Latch On. Check here to see if there is one near you!

To help celebrate all the women who breastfeed, I am excited to hold a great giveaway! I am giving away a Kiinde Breastmilk Storage Set and a box of Ameda Store ‘n Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags.

The Kiinde Breastmilk Storage Set is an AMAZING set! It includes twist pouches where you can directly pump into, the adapters where so you can connect the pouches to your pump and is compatible with ALL major pumps, a squeeze natural feeding bottle, and much more! BONUS: There is also a Foodii Toddler Feeding Gift Pack inside!

The Ameda Store ‘n Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags are also great! When pumping milk you want to make sure that precious “gold” will not leak out! These bags have an easy-close zip seal so they will not leak. Freezer safe and no BPA and DEHP.

Breastfeeding does not strictly mean your baby exclusively nurses from your breast, but it includes those who work and pump, or who may exclusively pump. As a mother who breastfed two children 18 months and beyond, I know the challenges of working full-time and providing breastmilk and breastfeeding to your child exclusively. Having reliable products to ease the pumping and feeding is crucial!

Enter to win below! The giveaway ends Sunday, August 7th and I will announce a winner next week!

Enter here!

Preparing for Breastfeeding-3

Preparing for Breastfeeding

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

When you discover you are expecting, it is an exciting time! If you are a first-time mother, or you already have children at home, there are a lot of things that go through your mind. A lot of times creating a baby registry is the exciting and fun part of pregnancy. Picking out all the cute baby swings, bedding, clothes, high chairs, strollers, is fun, but also making sure you add breastfeeding necessities to your list is important.

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Every mother should make a decision whether they will want to breastfeed or attempt to breastfeed early on in their pregnancy so they can begin preparing for breastfeeding. There are several different items to add to your baby registry, classes you may want to take, create a resource list, and research support groups in your area to help you prepare for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Supplies

If you are a first-time mom you may be thinking, “what more do I need then my breast and the baby?” Luckily, in our day and age there are several tools and supplies that can help and guide you in a successful breastfeeding relationship. Adding these items to your baby registry, so your loved ones can purchase them for you, is a great way to prepare for breastfeeding.

Nipple Cream – When you begin nursing and when your baby is a newborn, there will be a lot of frequent and long feedings. Your nipples may become sore and cracked. This is a common reason many women end their breastfeeding relationship. My personal favorite nipple cream is Natural Nipple Butter from Earth Mama, Baby Angel. This specific nipple cream contains no preservatives or additives and it does not need to be removed before breastfeeding. It is completely safe for your baby.

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Nursing pads – As a breastfeeding mother, leaking nipples is very common. It is also even more common at the beginning of breastfeeding as your body is still getting used to a cycle and rhythm of breastfeeding with your newborn. To help contain leaking breast milk, using nursing pads are recommended. There are several different varieties available and there are also ways you can make your own!

Breast pump – If you are planning on going back to work or even being away for the baby a few hours or days at a time, investing in a breast pump is important. There are several different types of breast pumps available. A very popular breast pump is the Medela. Most health insurances cover the purchase of a breast pump or give you a credit to use towards a breast pump. You can also rent a breast pump too. Make sure you contact your health insurance early on in your pregnancy so you can make sure you have it before the baby arrives!

Breast pump shield – If you are purchasing or renting a breast pump, you will need to get some breast pump shields. These are what hook up to the breast pump tubes and cover your nipples as it suctions breast milk out of your breasts. There are different sizes available and it depends on how big your breasts are. Purchasing these before the baby arrives may be a bit difficult, but you may be able to gage what size you need.

Bottles – Yes you are planning to breastfeed, but if you know you will need to pump then you will need to purchase bottles to pump in to. I recommend buying bottles that are the same brand as your pump. For example, if you purchase/rent a Medela pump, purchase Medela bottles and caps. You will know they will fit properly. These do not need to be the bottles you feed your baby with. Once the baby arrives you can figure out which bottle and nipple to use. Sometimes it takes several to determine what your baby will like.

Breastfeeding cover – As a new mother, it may an awkward and little uncomfortable to breastfeed in public. Adding a breastfeeding cover to your registry is a great idea and will help you feel comfortable when breastfeeding in public. They have lots of fun prints and come in all different sizes.

Nipple shields – There are a lot of products on the market such as nipple shields that are used to help with a baby’s latch. I highly recommend to NOT purchase these items. Some of these products can really cause issues with breastfeeding. If there is an issue, contacting a lactation consultant is recommended. Your lactation consultant may recommend one for you at that time and set-up a plan on how to use it.

Check out this wonderful Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle, you can add to your registry list!

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Classes & Lactation Consultants

Alright, so you have some of the necessities prepared for breastfeeding, but it is also extremely important to learn about breastfeeding and meet/introduce yourself to someone who will be available to help, if there are issues.

A lot of local hospitals offer basic breastfeeding classes that discuss the anatomy of the breast, stages of breastfeeding, when your breast milk will come in, the types of breast milk, how your baby has an effect on your breast milk, cues to look for when breastfeeding your baby, and much more. There is a lot of information and having a little background will help you feel a bit more comfortable when you behind this journey with your newborn.

Introducing and meeting a lactation consultant is also important or even just having their contact information. A lactation consultant is a trained professional with lots of education and hours of experience in breastfeeding. If there are any issues or questions at all, contacting this individual will help you tremendously. A lot of lactation consultants will even make home visits.

Support Groups

A lot of communities have breastfeeding support groups available. Do your research and find out what support groups are available in your community and the dates and times they meet. Breastfeeding support groups, such a La Leche League, is not only a place to ask questions about breastfeeding, but is also a great place to socialize and meet other mothers traveling the same breastfeeding journey as you.

There are lots of aspects to preparing for a baby when you discover you are pregnant, but preparing for breastfeeding is extremely important too! Make sure you do your research and be prepared before your new bundle of joy arrives.

If you are located in Central Iowa, check our local Business Directory for lactation consultants, breastfeeding groups, where to rent and/or buy a breast pump and more!