Posts filed under Scruncy Mama Tips

Baby Food Made Simple

It's been several months since I've actually made pureed baby food but I have had several new moms asking me for tips, advice, recipes, etc. While it's still fresh on my mind I figured I would share with you all.

First things first, make sure you have a decent food processor or blender. There is truly no need to buy one made specifically for baby food, instead I suggest buying one you can use for many years to come for things other than baby food. I was lucky enough to get a hand me down Cuisinart food processor, it's one my favorite kitchen gadgets but if I were looking for an affordable, easy to use gadget I would probably go with a hand blender. Nothing fancy, just one that would do the job. 

Second, get several cheap ice trays. I went with a tougher more expensive ice tray and wish I would have went with them cheaper flimsier option as they are easier to pop cubes out of. 

Third, get some gallon size freezer bags.

Last but certainly not least, go out and buy some fresh or frozen produce. What you choose is going to vary based on your little one's age. I used Momtastic's Wholesome Baby Food food charts as a fantastic reference for what to feed mine at each stage, as well as her awesome recipes and allergy information.

Some of A & S' first favorite foods were: butternut squash, bananas, avocado, applesauce (no sugar added) and sweet potatoes. The great thing about bananas and avocados is that you don't have to have a blender to prep them if they're nice and ripe, instead you can just mash them with a fork. The consistency isn't as smooth if you mash them but it's definitely doable.

Also, keep in mind that foods such as apples and sweet potatoes have to be precooked before pureeing them. 

Once you puree the food, pour it into the ice trays and freeze. When the cubes are completely frozen, pop them out and separate them into freezer bags. If they are 2 different colors, toss more than one type of food into each bag but if they look similar it's best to use separate bags. Then, label each bag with they type food as well as the date it was made. The quality is best when used within three months of freezing but most foods are good for up to six months once frozen.

To thaw, grad what you need and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or pop the cubes in the microwave for 10 second intervals. Always remember, microwaves cook very unevenly, leaving hot spots that can and will burn. Please be sure to stir well and do not serve until it has cooled down throughout. 

Also, we just recently discovered the convenience of squeeze pouches. I am not a fan of most store bought baby food, including the pouches because they are filled with too many unnecessary ingredients and preservatives but check out these awesome reusable silicone Squeasy Snacker food pouches! We're using them now for a great on the go snack for things like yogurt, applesauce, pureed fruits and veggies. I highly recommend them no matter you littles ones age, they even have a no-spill insert that is dandy!

If you have any questions about making your own baby food, please comment below or shoot me an email! 

Posted on August 17, 2015 and filed under Motherhood, Scruncy Mama Tips, Twins.

Mother's Milk Donation: The Gift of Health

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I remember sitting in the hospital after my c-section and being so excited to produce a total of 20 ML of colostrum on the third day.  So excited that I took a picture and sent it to my mom and mimi.  Who would have thought that over 13.5 months, I would not only produce enough milk to feed twins but also an oversupply.  It took a lot of hard work and dedication and you can find more about my pumping journey here.

 

It just so happens that around the time I gave birth, the Oklahoma Mother's Milk Bank opened and they were looking for donors. Prior to giving birth I had little to no knowledge regarding human milk donations but a NICU nurse recommend I look into it if I continued to have an oversupply.  Well as with most new parents, life got in the way. Between bringing A &S home and developing postpartum thyroiditis, I barely had the energy to care of them and myself, let alone contact the OMMB, fill out paperwork and complete the required blood work.  In the mean time, I unfortunately ended up throwing hundreds upon hundreds of ounces of frozen breast milk away.

Finally, my thyroid levels evened back out and I got my energy back several months later.  I then decided to transition A & S to cows milk at 12 months and wean myself from pumping.  While I was weaning, I finally contacted the OMMB and completed the paperwork and blood work and I ended up donating 428ozs. The process was simple and I regret not contacting them sooner. I mean who enjoys throwing away such precious liquid?! Not me!

I highly encourage all breastfeeding mothers, who have an oversupply, to look into donating early on. By doing something so incredibly selfless and helpful for critically ill infants, I had such a feeling of empowerment. 

As always, I highly encourage you to contact your local milk bank and see how you can help: https://www.hmbana.org/milk-bank-locations

If you don't have a local milk bank, contact the closest one to you.  I know the OMMB will send you the supplies needed to ship out of state and cover all shipping expenses and I'm sure others will as well! Do you part and help give critically ill infants the best opportunity at thriving, even if you have to ship out of state.

Posted on May 29, 2014 and filed under Motherhood, Scruncy Mama Tips, Twins.

Exclusively Pumping: My Life with Medela

For the last 12.5 months I have been hooked up to a breast pump for several hours a day, whether at home or in the car. I am so thankful I have been blessed with the opportunity to be able to produce enough milk for A & S and be successful but I am also very excited to finally be weaning and not have to stop and pump every few hours.

First, let me start out by saying I'm no breastfeeding/pumping radical and I would never suggest that you're any less of a parent for using formula. I ensure you that formula doesn't make you any less of a mama and you should never have to justify your choice and/or reasoning behind not breastfeeding. 

 3 days after delivery. I remember being soooo happy to get this much .

3 days after delivery. I remember being soooo happy to get this much.

Put simply, I attempted to breastfeed A & S but it was quite difficult since they had been fed through feeding tubes and then fed with bottles while they were in the NICU.  The nurses gave me many opportunities to attempt to breastfeed but A & S simply preferred the bottle over the boob.  I was okay with this, as my goal of breastfeeding was less about the emotional attachment and more about the health benefits. I continued to try every once in awhile once we got home and S would latch on for a bit, and I think I could have successfully breastfed him, but A was not having it.  I was not about to breastfeed one and pump for the other... that is for the birds! Instead, I decided I would exclusively pump for as long as I could.  I began pumping in the hospital within a few hours of delivery and I continue to do so 12.5 months later but I'm slowly weaning off and plan to be done by 13.5 months!

Regardless of your views on breastfeeding, I would say breastfeeding and/or pumping is one of the most selfless things a mother can do for her child if she is able to. 

Essentials of Exclusively pumping:

  • A great pump- I don't think you can really go wrong with a Medela, except the manual which is not realistic if you plan to pump more than once a day. I love my Medela Pump in Style Advanced.
  • Car adapter- this thing is a true life saver.  I save so much time being able to pump while I am driving. Plus, the babies are in their car seats and usually asleep instead of being upset I'm not holding or playing with them.
  • Hands free bra-  can you say multi-task?!  No baby, especially twins, is going to play independently for a whole pump session for several months! I tried the Medela bustier but I prefer the Simple Wishes, which has a lot more support.
  • Nipple cream & pads-  miracle in a tube for the first couple of months. 
  • Storage bags-  I tried the medela, nuk, lanolin and Up & Up and Up & Up are my favorite.  Just don't fill them more than 6 oz's or they are highly likely to get a hole... trust me,  I know from many times of doing so.
  • Bottles-  that fit your pump and enough for storage and feeding.
  • Soap- I used plain Palmolive but any kind is fine.  I always soak my pump gear and bottles in hot soapy water before washing them.  The tubs from the hospital work great for this!
  • Nursing bra-  I don't have much advice on this, because I could not find a properly fitted nursing bra.  The closest I could get was at Motherhood. Good luck if you have breasts larger than a D.
  • Sleep bra-  I love Target's Gilligan & O'Malley sleep bras
  • 2 sets of breast shields, valves and membranes to fit your pump
  • Insulated snack bag(s) and reusable ice cubes to keep milk cold when on the go.  My personal preference is the Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Snack Bags.  Convenient, affordable AND cute! When you need a larger supply such as road trips etc. a roomy cooler bag and re-freezable ice block work great!
  • Last but certainly not least- a support system.  My husband, family and friends have been super supportive.  Whether it's helping with the babies while I pump, letting me pump at their house without feeling awkward and just simply being there to say "keep it up", "you're doing awesome", "I'm proud of you"... it's those simple words that keep you going.  Exclusively pumping is a lot of work and takes a lot of patience and commitment but I promise you can do it as long as your body allows you to produce milk! Keep it up and know you are AWESOME and your persistence and commitment mean the world to your sweet baby xoxo.

My pumping schedule:

  • 1-3 months: every 2 hours, including overnight.
  • 3-5 months: every 2 hours and dropped the overnight sessions ((hallelujah))
  • 5-12 months: every 3-4 hours
  • Since the 12 month mark I have been weaning which has looked something like this:
    • Week 1: every 4-5 hours
    • Week 2: every 5-6 hours
    • Week 3 &4:  two sessions a day/ morning & night.  I'm not pumping until empty but enough to be comfortable. 

Thus far, I haven't had any issues or discomfort by slowly weaning.  I was pumping 60+ oz's a day and I'm down to about 24oz's a day.  I will be cutting the time in half or eliminating one of my pump sessions soon. In the mean time I'm freezing it all to donate to the Oklahoma Mother's Milk Bank, which is used to nourish critically ill infants.  I wish I would have contacted them sooner, as I have thrown away several hundred oz's of milk that went bad before I could use it. 

I highly encourage you to contact your local milk bank and see how you can help: https://www.hmbana.org/milk-bank-locations I mean how amazing is it that you can help nourish babies who have no other way to get the awesome nourishment they get from breast milk!?!?

Feel free to ask any questions!


Posted on March 29, 2014 and filed under Motherhood, Scruncy Mama Tips, Twins, NICU.