5 Secrets to the Chic Diaper Bag

chic diaper bags
Want a chic diaper bag?   Here is a secret:  Nearly any oversized bag can make a stunningly stylish diaper bag, if you know what features you need.
 
  1. Look for something that is easy to clean.  If it is not machine washable, select something that has a smooth, slick, waterproof surface.  If it is cloth, choose a machine washable bag.Here are some helpful hints for your shopping:
  2. Look for something relatively easy to open with one hand.
  3. Look for something with pockets.  (You may use pockets for things like hand sanitizer, diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, burp cloths, small toys, ointment, plastic bags, bottles, and teething rings.)
  4. Look for something that is comfortable and easy to carry.  A backpack style is most certain to free your hands.
  5. Finally, purchase an insert for your oversized bag like the Skip Hop Pronto.  Having this truly transforms any larger bag to a diaper bag.  (Plus, it is all you need for travel, and your husband can maintain a feeling of manliness while carrying it.)
RED Valentino / Leather tote, $960 / Dooney & Bourke zip bag / Gucci tote, $650 / Vince Camuto bag / Topshop backpacking bag / Coach carryall bag / 3.1 Phillip Lim mesh tote bag / Backpacking bag / Ted Baker patent leather bag, $195 / Nine West tote

Coconut Oil, Coconut Juice, Coconut Milk, & Coconuts: Nutrition for Babies

coconut

It took us 4+ lactation consultants, 2 midwives, an ENT, 2 frenectomies, a dysphagia specialist, a Modified Barium Swallow Study, physical therapy, double-pumping with a hospital grade pump (every 2-3 hours, around the clock), donor breastmilk, a list of lactogenic herbs, nipple blisters, mastitis, and 7 weeks to establish breastfeeding.

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During our 7-week circus, I ran out of milk…several times.  It was heartbreaking.  Nevertheless, I had many hours in which I was hooked up to pump, and thus I spent many hours researching options for our newborn’s nutrition.  One of my delightful discoveries was the option of coconut juice/water/milk/oil for infant nutrition.  Apparently coconut is one of the least likely foods to elicit an allergy, and it is the first food fed to Thai babies.  In addition to being safe for infants, it is composed of the main fatty acid found in breast milk –lauric acid.

To assist you in navigating the benefits of the various renderings of the coconut, some basic descriptions may be helpful.

Coconut Glossary:

 Coconut Juice – This is the liquid from a young, green coconut, before it matures to the brown coconut.  This may be presented in stores as “coconut water”, but the juice is more flavorful than the coconut water from a mature, brown coconut.

Coconut Water – This is the liquid from a mature, brown coconut.  It is not as sweet as coconut juice from the green, immature coconut.

Coconut Milk – This white liquid is often used in cooking, and can be made from coconut “meat”.  (The process of making coconut milk is in a link below.)

Coconut Oil – This is solid, translucent white oil at room temperature.  There are many, many applications for this miracle oil.

 

Here are some of the resources I found in my research.  I hope they are helpful for you!

Coconut ‘meat’ provides B vitamins, protein, zinc, phosphorus and iron. Experts used to believe that coconut is too high in unhealthy fats to be considered a useful addition to the diet – but more recent research has suggested that the fat in coconut is actually very good for us!

This is because it is high in lauric acid, which also happens to be the main fatty acid found in breast milk. Lauric acid is what makes breast milk so digestible and is believed to protect the body from infection and boost the immune system.

Read more:  http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/can-babies-eat-coconut.html#ixzz21BTwd8UX

Here there are “formula” recipes* with goat milk & green coconut juice.
Here is a coconut milk based “formula” recipe.
Recipe for homemade coconut milk.
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*Because I was offering at least half of our son’s nutrition from breastmilk, I used the following simple recipe for our baby.
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Coconut Juice & Goat Milk Infant Formula Recipe
2 oz Green/Young Coconut Water or Juice
3 oz Goat Milk
Infant probiotics
I strongly advise against the use of any white or brown or raw sugar –no matter how small the amount– in infant formula recipes.  Young coconut juice is naturally sweet.

{Friday Fashion Finds} Pregnancy Chic: Belts

Have fun with your maternity wardrobe.  Accessorize and accentuate.  Putting a cute belt just above your bump is such a sweet way to switch up the look of your maternity LBD or your blouses.  I love the pop of color that a belt can bring to an outfit.  It is fabulous to have a belt with visual interest of sparkle, a cute buckle, bow, or flower.  I love the cute attention that a little bow belt brings to your bump –it would be perfect for some pregnancy pictures, don’t you think?
belts
How do you add flair to your maternity wardrobe?  Please share!
Witchery leather belt, $42 / Oasis studded belt, $24 / Patent leather belt, $98 / Genuine leather belt, $105 / Alice + Olivia skinny belt / Cole Haan wide leather belt / Topshop waist belt / Forever New waist belt, $18 / Dorothy Perkins / Forever New waist belt, $18 / 2b snake belt / 2b snake belt

X-Mini: The Must-Have for your Labor & Delivery Hospital Bag

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One thing I knew I wanted in the delivery room was soothing music.  With the help of a friend, and a number of hours sampling music on iTunes, I compiled a perfectly serene 14-hour playlist.  I then started looking for a speaker.  I wanted to find something small that I could pack for the hospital.  What good would my playlist be, if I couldn’t play it, right?

When I saw the X-mini on Amazon for less than $25, I thought that it was worth a try.  I am well pleased with the speaker, and thus I share this sagacious purchase with you.

The atmosphere of music during my labor and delivery was just perfect.  It was soothing.  It was comforting.  I could hear the music even from the bathtub of the en suite bathroom.  I think that the atmosphere of soothing sounds that I brought was appreciated by everyone in the hospital –including the midwife and nurses.  (My doula thought it was so wonderful that she purchased one herself.  I believe she wanted to have it for her future births.)

Since using my X-mini in the hospital, I have used it in the nursery, and in the home for social gatherings.  The sound quality and projection is truly amazing.  I cannot believe how it fits into the palm of my hand.  It is about the size of a small lime.

I love this sweet little thing so much.  If you love music, I’m sure you will too.

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What must-haves do you recommend for a labor & delivery hospital bag? Please share!

Mastitis 101: 8 Prevention Pearls

What is mastitis?  Mastitis is infection of the breast tissue.  (Inflammation or infection can be from bacteria or yeast –as in Candida mastitis.)
It sounds simple enough.  Just know this:
You do not want to have mastitis.  Prevention is the best route here.
Before I was pregnant, I had heard some horrific stories of mastitis, and I knew that I never wanted to encounter it myself.  I had decided that I would not, and I put no time into researching the topic.
Fast forward to a short time after the birth of my baby.  I found myself in a rapid onset of some of the worst pain I had ever encountered.  It evoked the pain of acute appendicitis.  It exceeded the pain of natural childbirth.  In North Carolina summer, I felt like I was freezing beneath layers of blankets while wearing winter layers, and yet it felt like there was wildfire beneath my flesh.  My whole body could not cease from trembling, and my only utterance between chattering teeth was prayer.  The pain was so acute that it induced repeated vomiting.  The mother of mastitis was mine.  Somehow I hadn’t done enough to prevent it, and thus my greatest solace at the time (and since) is the opportunity to educate and to help others prevent it for themselves.
Mastitis is horrible no matter how it presents.  If the picture I’ve portrayed is bleak, please know that, although I am sure it exists, I have not yet encountered a mastitis story as horrific as mine.  I am relieved to know that it is not necessarily that severe.  I share it because I was blown away by the severity of my experience, and I hope that it will inspire you to take caring for yourself seriously.  I was struck by this experience so profoundly that I never want anyone to experience it.  If you may make it through your childbearing years without experiencing mastitis, it is a gift to me.  Do everything you can to prevent it.
Here are eight prevention pearls:
1- Rest.  Be diligent about this.  Sleep when your baby sleeps.  Do not overbook yourself in your fourth trimester.  (Some privacy in your home would help.)  Give yourself a couple of months to adjust to motherhood, breastfeeding, and your little angel.

2- Relax.  Do things that are calming, like having a warm salt bath with lavender, or chamomile tea.  Listen to soothing music.  Listen to or read uplifting books.  Avoid stressful people, places, & things.

3- Wear  nursing bras.  Do not wear tight  things.  If you wear a bra to sleep, wear a nursing sleep bra.

4- Extra Virgin, Organic Coconut Oil.  It is anti-viral, anti-microbial, & anti-fungal.  It is safe for your baby to ingest.  Apply it after every feeding.  (Amazon, Trader Joe’s, & Costco have this for a good price.)

5- Breastfeed on demand.  Do not skip feedings.  If you are becoming full, offer to nurse your baby.  Do not abbreviate feedings.  Allow your baby to use you as a pacifier.

6- Sleep on your side or back.  Do not sleep on your stomach, or otherwise position yourself to compress your breast tissue.

7- Drink plenty of water.  Being well hydrated benefits every cell of your body.

8- Eat nutritious things.  Enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables, and the best quality of protein.

What advice do you have to add about preventing mastitis?  Please share!