I don’t believe I asked for your opinion thank you!

Mother knows best

You just found out you’re going to be a mommy! You let it sink in for as long as you like before shouting it from the rooftops and then…BAM!!! There they are, all of the well-meaning advice givers and unsolicited commenters. Somehow all of a sudden everything from diaper brands to just how close you are, or actually are not, to having that baby seems to be fair game.

Well my friend, find comfort in the fact that you are NOT alone! I quickly found out how many people have no filter. I once had two different people in a matter of a 15 minute grocery run point out how swollen my feet were and three other people in said grocery run let me know just how close I was to ‘ having that baby’! (I still had a month to go and I was already feeling like an upright cow.)

FYI people, pregnant women are very aware of their swollen feet and when their due date is and they DO NOT need you to point it out! If you feel compelled to make a comment, the only appropriate ones are something along the lines of how cute they are or that they are glowing! (Even if that ‘glow’ is actually sweat.)

Either way, do your best to just shake off the comments and any aversions you may have developed to mirrors, other reflective surfaces and stop trying to find the ‘right way’ to stand to make your shadow more flattering. Oh and avoid Target dressing rooms at all costs! (Many of them have front and back mirrors that left me in tears more than once. Remember at the end of the day, you are growing another human being and that in and of itself is amazing, therefore you are amazing! Every single ounce and inch of you! The next time you look in the mirror just picture yourself holding that little bundle of joy and smile knowing every moment of this will be worth it!

I wish I could say that pre-baby comments are the worst of it. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. You may want to mentally prepare yourself for the barrage that is about to ensue once you start toting that mini me around town. I once witnessed three people give nursing advice to a new mama friend of mine nursing her baby in the restroom of a church. One person even had the nerve to tell her that her baby looked small for her age right after she had finished telling me that she was worried that her milk supply may have been dwindling and she was worried about his weight gain! After seeing my friend fighting back tears, I wanted to give that lady a piece of my mind, church or no church.

In the midst of all the opinions and advice, what’s a mommy/parent to do? Be confident in your parenting choices, all of them! You alone know what is best for your child and your specific situation and you make the best choices you can for your family. Period. End of story. You do not have to defend your choices to anyone, not even family. Thank them for their opinion if you wish, consider the few good points some may have and apply what you feel is best for you and your family and don’t apologize to anyone for your choices. No one is perfect, but you learn from your mistakes, you do research and make the best informed decisions you can and that’s all you can do. At the end of the day, walk tall and show off that beautiful baby/baby bump because in the end somewhere deep down all of those opinions and put downs won’t matter one bit the next time you hear that little giggle or get that goodnight kiss.

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Why I chose Baby’s Only Organic formula

I exclusively breastfed for the first 5 1/2 months until the complications I was having outweighed the benefits for our family. (That will be another post.) There is an extreme amount of pressure placed on new mothers to breastfeed for the first year which caused me great anxiety over making the switch. Like most parents, I only want the best for my child, so I did tons of research on which formula may be the best option.

My concerns began when I took a look at the ingredients in the leading brands Similac and Enfamil samples I had received by mail and was shocked to read that the first ingredient in both brands was corn syrup solids. (Corn syrup solids are not the same as high fructose corn syrup, they are used as a form of carbohydrates which replaces lactose in formula when allergens are a concern, however it still bothered me that this was the first ingredient.) Before I continue, I do realize that there are thousands of babies exclusively fed these two brands of formula and they turned out very healthy, however I decided to do further research to ease my mind that I was giving my baby what I determined to be the best she could have since I was no longer able to offer breast milk and did not feel comfortable using donated milk as I felt that formula was much more regulated and consistent.

I read several articles and talked to several other mothers as well as my pediatrician who unfortunately offered little incite as to which brand was best to use other than to say that they are all very similar and any would do unless we found that she had allergies. This to me was like saying that eating McDonald’s daily was the same as eating a well-balanced diet of whole foods. There had to be a difference somewhere.

Two articles in particular proved most helpful in making my decision. The first article is on the ‘food babe’ blog. Please note that I am not in the practice of trusting my child’s nutrition to someone who calls themselves the ‘food babe’, however the guest blogger featured in this post has excellent credentials. The article breaks down each ingredient in layman’s terms explaining how they affect babies. Click here for the article. The most concerning ingredient to me was palm oil which causes ‘soaps’ in the baby’s gut. (Soaps also explained in the article.) This concern is further validated in the other article which takes a slightly more laid back, yet just as credible source. Click here for the second article. 

After careful consideration, I chose Baby’s Only Organic Dairy ‘Toddler’ formula. It seemed to me to be the best formula available in the United States as far as I could determine by my research. The only other viable options seemed to be HiPP or Holle which are European formulas which are only available on the grey market in the United States and are not regulated by the USDA. It seemed to me that even if these two brands had slightly better ingredients, there was a chance I would not hear about any recalls and if there were recalls, I would most likely be forced to dump out my investment instead of having them replaced as I would be able to do with American made Baby’s Only.

There is some confusion with Baby’s Only as the can clearly reads ‘Toddler Formula’, however upon further review of the back of the can it is labeled this way to encourage breastfeeding for the entire first year. The formula is perfectly fine to for infants from birth on. Another concern that often arises is DHA and ARA. Baby’s Only offers a formula which is specifically labeled with DHA and ARA, however the plain dairy version also states on the back that it “includes Alpha-Linolenic and Linoleic Fatty Acids the human body converts to DHA & ARA. These fatty acids are found in breast milk and are important to brain and eye development.” (See previously referenced food babe article which states that these supplements may be more of a marketing scheme than they are actually beneficial for babies. Apparently Nature’s One is no different.) Because of this, I see no need to spend extra for the can that is labeled “with DHA & ARA.” That being said, if you so choose to purchase this version take note that Baby’s Only with DHA contains the only organic compliant form of DHA available. They use a process involving egg yolks which no other brand uses.

If you would like to know more about Nature’s One products concerning Non-GMO and their DHA process please click here.

I would be remiss if I did not post a review of the product I have suggested. As of today my little one has been on Baby’s Only for one month and we are very happy with it. She seems to like the taste and has very minimal spit up and no issues with gas. For the first few weeks she did have slight constipation which was eased with a small watered down dose of prune juice daily until symptoms subsided. (Please speak to your pediatrician as to prune juice dosage and formula options appropriate for your baby.)

11 month update – As we enter our last month on Baby’s Only Organic formula I have not one single complaint. My baby is happy and healthy and meeting all of her milestones and the pediatrician says she is in perfect health and thriving. I am very glad I did my research and know that I am giving my baby the best formula in the US!

7 baby items I can’t live without – Six months in

FEWAs soon as you find out you are pregnant you will inevitably start being bombarded with marketing ploys to get you to buy everything under the sun that your baby will ‘need’. Somewhere down the line you find out that you didn’t actually ‘need’ half of the things you were told you did! Here are a few things, most of which I ended up purchasing after the baby was here, that actually made life easier for both me and my baby.

Please note: Each item name is a clickable link to view and read more about the item. My hope is that

Ergo Baby Carrier – I don’t leave the house without this thing! I tried several others before finally asking around with friends and several online forums and reading a blog that a chiropractor wrote recommending this one. I can carry my little one around in this for several hours and not have a back ache. I get my grocery shopping done while she naps or is content the whole time! When she was little and didn’t want me to put her down, the ergo allowed me to get things done around the house. One tip I never had to try but I have read works is if they are too big for the infant insert, but too small to be comfortable without it, fold up a small blanket and suff it in the bottom and let them sit on that.
Fisher-Price Deluxe Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – If you are like most parents, your baby will sleep in your room for the first few months and everything you read suggests that they sleep in a pack and play (play yard or playpen) or a bassinet. While those suggestions work for some babies, the rock ‘n play ended up being a life saver! Why is it so great? It’s small and compact so it can fit right next to your bed even in a small space which is really nice when your baby is waking up to be fed several times at night, it folds up and can easily be taken with you on the go, this particular model rocks itself which made my baby sleep for 5 + hours at a time most nights, it’s inclined which is great for babies that suffer from acid reflux, it is small and makes them feel secure as opposed to a pack and play and even some bassinets that can make them feel as if they are vulnerable. (If you think about it, they are used to the womb which is a warm tight space, so a pack and play may feel huge and scary!) This model also offers music and white noise which I later found out, white noise is an amazing sleep aide for babies. (Going back to the womb, it’s not quiet! Baby can hear your heart beat, voices and a multitude of other sounds in your environment, so loud white noise actually helps them to sleep.) One downside to this model is that the automatic rocker is a bit noisy and took me and my husband some time to get used to.
4Moms Infant Tub – I was lucky enough to find this item second hand but still new in the box, otherwise I probably would not have spent the money on it, however looking back, it totally would have been worth every penny had I paid retail! As first time parents we had no idea what temperature the bath water needed to be at and this tub takes the guesswork out of it with an on-board thermometer! It fits perfectly in a double sink and comes with a cup for rinsing as well as a cup holder which is very convenient. (The less I have to search for things, the better in my opinion.) It has several drains which allow fresh water to circulate around the baby while not getting too deep even for a newborn and continually flushes out dirty water so that your baby is not sitting in their own dirty water throughout the bath. I really can’t say enough good things about this tub! 
Graco Relay Click Connect Performance Jogger Stroller – I have had this for about two weeks now and I just love it! It has great shocks which absorb most of the impact from rough roads or gravel and a nice padded seat to keep baby comfortable. My Graco Click Connect infant car seat clicks right in snugly and allows my baby to see me while I run even with the sun shade down as it has a peek-a-boo mesh flap which can be opened or closed with velcro. It has a locking front wheel which makes it very stable and smooth. It folds up easily and has a convenient pocket for water bottles, phone and keys. There is also a storage compartment underneath the seat big enough for a diaper bag so you have everything you need. Running with it is much easier than I thought and so far my longest run with it has been 3.5 miles. Please note: Graco also makes a similar jogging stroller which is at a lower price point called the Fast Action Jogger, however it is my understanding that this version does not offer the shock system and there are several complaints about the sun shade snapping closed as soon as you start to jog. If you’re a serious runner like me and don’t want to spend the extra money on the BOB strollers, I highly recommend the Graco Relay.     
Baby Einstein Neighborhood Friends Activity Jumper – My baby LOVES this thing! She has gotten to the point where if she is not in it and wants to be she will start jumping in my arms and reaching for the jumper. I love this one because it has adjustable height, many different activities with a swiveling seat which allows me to turn her toward another activity station when she gets board with the one she is facing, the seat is removable cloth so that I can just throw it in the washing machine and the little piano has loud, quiet and off settings which I wish more toys offered! My little one is happy in her jumper for up to about 30 minutes which allows Mommy to get household chores done (or write this blog) with a clear line of site to my happy baby. 
Aquaphor Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo
– It has been drilled in my head for as long as I can remember that Johnson and Johnson babywash was the best thing on the market, so naturally that’s what I got when my baby was born. It worked fine in the summer months, but once winter rolled around I could not fathom how or why my 3 month old’s skin was so dry even after a daily lotion massage. I mean, she is a baby and there is a reason they say baby-soft skin is all the rage right? Well little did I know, it was the shampoo and lotion that was drying her out! I switched to Aquaphor and presto! My baby’s soft skin came back in less than 24 hours!  
Ubbi Diaper Pail – Okay, I think that we can all admit that smelly dirty diapers are one of the least favorite parts of bringing home that little bundle of joy and it seems to me that the Diaper Gene is all the rage, however it requires specific trash bags and apparently is a huge pain to empty with a twisted mess. The Ubbi uses everyday trash bags, is easy to empty and reload, locks so that toddlers can’t get into it and it really blocks the smell! What more could you ask for?

Do you have an item you can’t live without that’s not listed here? Feel free to lave them in the comments.

What you actually need and don’t need in your hospital bag

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Photo Credit: galleryhip.com

So you are in your third trimester and the baby could come any day now and no one, not even your doctor can accurately predict when the big moment will come. All you know is, you are uncomfortable and becoming a little too well acquainted with the bathroom lately.

The only thing left to do is register with your hospital, (Yes many hospitals offer preregistration so that they have you and your insurance info on file before you arrive, at which point you are in no mood, or better yet, have no time to fish through your wallet to find your provider info and fill out paperwork) and pack your bag.

There are many suggestions out there as to what to put in your bag and even overpriced pre-made bags available with a bunch of things you will most likely never use. Much of what you will need for the baby will be provided by the hospital, except a few things that you will probably have by the time your baby shower is over anyway.

Here is a list of things I actually used and was happy to have in the first hours and few days spent in the hospital.

Driver’s License This was all I needed because I preregistered, but if you haven’t you will also need your insurance card and possibly a copy of your registration just in case they can’t find you in the system.
Mouthwash (You may not feel up to making your way to the sink for the first day or so, but it’s always nice to have a fresh, clean mouth.)
Body wash and a soft bath puff Hospitals typically provide one kind of soap for your hair and body which will leave you feeling dry and believe me, that is the last thing you want.
Travel size shampoo and conditioner
Typical toiletries for Mommy and Daddy
Hair ties
Hair Brush
Makeup
I almost didn’t bring mine, but I was so glad I did for photos and visitors.
Glasses/Contacts  If you have disposables that’s all the better so that you don’t have to fuss over cleaning solutions and cases. 
Going home outfits for Mommy and Daddy
This is the only outfit I actually wore other than what I went to the hospital in. I packed comfy clothes for the other days and ended up just wearing my hospital gown the whole time. Daddy on the other hand needs one nice outfit for going home and lounge outfits for the other days. Also, I recommend to bring loose-fitting or maternity pants as you will not go back to your pre-pregnancy shape right away. 
Dry shampoo This stuff is liquid gold when you are not able to shower yet but want to look presentable for those new family portraits.
Nursing cover If you plan to breastfeed (This is mainly for when family and friends visit as even the most modest mama may be surprised at how little she cares about doctors and nurses seeing her bare breasted after giving birth with a room full of them.)
Nursing pillow The popular brand is Boppy but there are several out there. This was helpful to have to aide in breastfeeding and can also be more comfortable and reassuring for family and guests to have something to rest their arms on while cuddling with the new and fragile bundle of joy. Daddy can also use it as a pillow at night as hospital pillows are sometimes not the most comfortable.
Baby book Often there is a place for their foot print, birth stats and first thoughts from parents and family. You may be surprised how fast you forget some of the small details in all of the commotion.
Chap stick All of that heavy breathing and ice chips are not very friendly to your kisser so this is a must have!
Warm blanket and hat for baby
One or two cute outfits for baby (Including going home outfit) It is becoming more and more common for hospitals to offer hospital photo shoots when baby is one day or less old. There is typically no cost to the parents unless they would like to purchase the photos and of course, who doesn’t want professional pics of their newborn? Yup they’ve got your number! But either way, it doesn’t hurt to have a cute outfit or two to photograph in and to take baby home in of course.
Car seat This may seem obvious, but in a rush, you may not think of it. I know this is technically not included in the hospital bag so think of it as a bonus.
Twin size blow up mattress, blanket and pillow for Daddy Although not a must, most hospitals offer little more than a bench suited for a preteen boy at best for new Dads to sleep on. Those first few days can be pretty demanding on them as well, so a good night sleep is essential. We wished we had thought of this by the end of the third day.
Advil or any other over the counter meds that Daddy may need. They offer plenty of drugs to mommy for pain, but if Daddy has a headache or body aches from the tiny bench/bed he’s pretty much SOL because the hospital cannot offer medication to anyone but their patients.
Phone chargers or extra batteries I ended up finding a set of extra batteries and a wall charger for our phones on Amazon because plugs are not always conveniently located near the hospital bed for easy access when you are answering a multitude of congratulatory text or social media messages. If you are anything like me, you won’t want to walk anymore than you have to at first.
Camera/Charger/Memory Cards

In the interest of helping you pack lighter, here are a few things you most likely will not need because the hospital typically provides them or you just don’t need them:

Warm socks for Mommy to be
Sanitary napkins Believe it or not, you will most likely actually appreciate the huge ones provided for you.
Granny panties The mesh ones the hospital provides are your friend!
Nursing pads So many people suggest to pack these and you won’t need them because your milk will most likely not come in fully until after you leave the hospital.
Diapers, wipes, pacifiers and other necessities for the baby The hospital provides all of these things.
Breast pump Hospital provides these.

If there is anything I have missed, please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.