For mamas returning to work or stay at home moms that want to have a freezer stash, this is for YOU.
How much milk should you have in the freezer?
THERE IS NO SET ANSWER. I have seen recommendations to have just enough for one week (5 ounce bottle, 3 times a day x 5 days = 45 ounces). In theory this makes sense as you can just use that amount until its replenished. . .
BUT . . .
To make returning to work less stressful, I’d recommend having more. I set a personal goal for 150 ounces or more.
It might seem like overkill to have that much, but I want to be prepared. Prepared for if I have a stressful day at work and don’t produce enough as baby is eating.
Or if we want to have a date night and feel comforted that if I choose to have a drink, baby will have enough milk.
Or if I need to take a medicine that requires me to pump and dump.
AND 150 ounces is achievable and you can even easily surpass that amount! You overachiever, I see you! If you start pumping every morning after nursing baby (when the supply is the best, it is SO quick and easy to build a stash!)
Note, the first few times you pump you might not get much because your body has learned how much baby eats and has adjusted. SOME PEOPLE have no shortage and can pump a few ounces without any issue the first few times pumping! But pumping is all about supply and demand. Consistently is key for gradually increasing supply so you can make a freezer stash.
SO gameplan – starting at week 4, pump in the morning only after feeding baby. (I usually do between 8-9am) when we’re “up” for the day.
Let’s say you pump 2 oz every morning for that first week week 2oz x 7days in a week x 1 week = 14 ounces already! From weeks 5-10 weeks, lets say you pump 4 oz x 7 days in a week x 5 weeks = 140 ounces. So that is already a total of 154 ounces!
Another option is pumping twice a day if you only have a few weeks left and need to build a supply, you could pump in morning AND at night. Let’s say you get 6 oz daily between the two sessions and do this from 8-12 weeks. 6 oz x 7 days per week x 4 weeks = 168 ounces.
So whatever your timeline is, you can do it, you totally got this!
A baby registry can be SO FUN to put together. It can also be A BIT OVERWHELMING to do and INTIMIDATING, as you might feel you won’t know what you’ll to definitely use.
When I was planning my baby registry, I ran across so many LONG lists of items that, looking back now, were unnecessary and were confusing! But don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you ❤
So here is a basic list of the most useful baby items to put on your registry:
1.Baby burp cloths and receiving blankets
Burp cloths are ultra absorbent and are your best friend when feeding baby or whenever a mess happens. Receiving blankets are larger and thinner blankets that can be used for burping or diaper changes when out. For further info on the difference between burp cloths, receiving blankets, and muslin swaddles check out this post: Types of linens for baby
Cloth bibs are hands down the cutest and most effective way to help accessorize that adorable drooling baby. I also use them when feeding baby with a bottle so I don’t need to change onesies/outfits so often.
GREAT for swaddling, tummy time on the floor, or as a catch all when holding baby.
I didn’t get ONE initially for our first baby and we would take the diapers out immediately. After getting one, it has been AMAZING to just take the trash out every evening or every other day because the smell is contained so well!
I put 4 oz and 8 oz bottles on my registry along with a few nipple sizes as the baby would eventually switch flow types. We used the 4 oz bottles for a few months and then switched to the 8oz. I would aim for 4-6 of each bottle size. And of course you’ll need some bottle brushes along the way. You can opt for a reusable one or one you replace every few months.
THIS IS GAME CHANGER with keeping your bottles, pacifiers, pumping equipment sterile! The alternative is boiling water and sterilizing the things in there instead for 5 minutes and I did that for a few months FOR NO REASON before buying the microwave version. Just go for the $15-20 sterilizer : )
I would have at least 8-10 of each size (besides newborn, just have a few of that size) so you don’t have to do laundry daily if you do not have to. A newborn can go through 3-4 a day easily. People usually get onesies and outfits for babies that they pick, but you can ALWAYS put onesies or outfits on your registry that you LOVE.
19. OTHER items (also optional to put on registry but useful to get before babies arrival)
Pacifiers, diapers (people usually will give you diapers but feel free to list them), specific outfits or accessories (bows/hats) that you are IN LOVE with and would like friends/family to get your little one, baby sling/tub.
If you are having a summer baby, I would strongly suggest a baby dome so baby can hang with you outside, either catch a quick nap or do some tummy time.
Newborn sized baby swaddles – Our first was so small and I just wanted him to be so cozy, but within a week we had moved up sizes! I remember ordering these off of amazon in the middle of the night. I was very sleep deprived and made some impulse purchases on these.
A second and third diaper bag. Not sure what I was thinking, but we really only use the first one that I bought. Sometimes I even just put a few things in my purse if we just run into the store. So crazy, I used to strategically overpack that bag, now I realize we hardly use more than 5 or 6 things (Burp cloth, swaddle, diaper, wipes, hand sanitizer, extra onesie).
Bottle warmer – YUP. It’s still in the box. I do think I tried it a few times but was a hassle and putting milk in a warm water bath or running under warm water was much easier and worked better for us.
WIPE warmer – babies are really okay with room temperature wipes.
Have a safe delivery all you mamas! Let me know what you think, what is your favorite must have baby item?
**Note: This post contains affiliate links to amazon products and I make a small commission on anything that is purchased at no cost to you.
Burp cloths, receiving blankets, swaddles. WAIT, what are they each used for?
Let’s break it down really quick. It can be confusing, all this parent lingo!
1. Receiving blankets
These are thin blankets used when feeding baby, for spit up, swaddling a newborn, for diaper changes, or really anytime.
Not very absorbent but relatively large, which makes them easy to use.
Standard size is 30 inch x 30 inch, but depending on the company, can be smaller or larger than this.
Many are flannel, which makes them soft and warm
2. Burp cloths
Thicker and smaller than receiving blankets used primarily for feeding a baby and burping a baby.
These can come in various sizes an shapes. These are more absorbent than receiving blankets and ARE MY GO TO WHEN FEEDING A BABY.
The largest of the three linens listed.
THESE ARE MY OVERALL FAVORITE
They can be used to swaddle a baby, for tummy time on the floor, feeding/burping, diaper changes when out, a nursing cover, a drape over the carseat, as a baby blanket in the carseat or when being held, to use on the changing table as a cover over the pad, to play peak-a-boo and more.
The term Muslin refers to how the cotton is loosely woven to make this blanket. So now you know when you hear the term Muslin swaddle they are referring to the light, breathable nature of the fabric.
This is the MOST VERSATILE and useful as the baby gets older. Though you can swaddle a newborn with a receiving blanket, these being larger make it easier as baby grows to swaddle or fully cover baby when holding them.
They are thin, very soft and prevent baby from overheating.
Sizes vary, typically between 44 x 44 inches and 47 x 47 inches.
Machine washable and do not quickly show signs of wear
Here is a picture comparing the sizes of a receiving blanket and swaddle.
IN SUMMARY, these three types of linen can ALL be used for feeding a baby, for diaper changes, and for any messes. When making a registry, all three are good to put on, as it is nice to have some of each. I would aim for at least 4-6 swaddles, 6-8 receiving blankets, and at least 8 burp cloths at the minimum. It really all depends on how often you want to do laundry. You can always have extras and you’ll be using them!
Have toothbrushes/travel sized items packed so you don’t have to scramble when you’re in labor grabbing those last minute things that could have been already packed well away.
At least one nursing bra if you plan on breastfeeding to wear
Cell phone charger
For all those adorable pictures you’re going to take of your little babe, along with letting family and friends know about the arrival of baby.
One or two comfortable outfits for lounging in the hospital room and for going home
Yoga pants and a loose fitting t-shirt are my pick for going home, around the room I like to wear a nursing gown and cotton robe 🙂
One or two outfits for newborn (at least one newborn size and one 0-3 size)
Most infants will fit into newborn clothes but it can’t hurt to have a 0-3 month size packed too just in case you have a nice healthy baby! Of course, feel free to bring a few favorites if you’re indecisive like myself.
Fuzzy socks or comfy socks to wear in the room
When you are in labor, it’s nice to wear your own comfy socks or after that first shower at the hospital.
Hairties and comb/brush
For brushing those gorgeous locks!
Optional but NICE to have:
Robe (in case the room/hallways are breezy)
Personal items for baby like muslin swaddles, headbands/hats, favorite infant outfits and an infant going home outfit, letter board to take a cute picture of baby’s arrival, personalized blankets/etc
Makeup – I always pack it but don’t always use it, but it is nice to have the option ❤
Headbands for mama when laboring or afterwards
SNACKS – most cafeterias are open 24/7, but having trail mix, granola bars, crackers or other favorite snacks can’t hurt if you are hungry
Note: You’ll need to have a carseat installed so you have a way to get baby home.
You can buy veggie burgers in the frozen section of most grocery stores, but HAVE YOU ever had a homemade one? They are a GAME CHANGER.
I feel like I can openly say I am a veggie burger snob. I have tried SO many more veggie burger recipes that I like to admit. Most have minimal flavor and are so mushy mushy. I have finally created one that I like the best after trial and error and is my now GO TO. I present to you my sweet potato, onion, black bean seasoned veggie burger.
Let’s get started:
1. You’ll want to cook rice for the recipe (or use leftover cooked rice) and roast one sweet potato and 1/4 of an onion (see directions below)
(I recently got a rice cooker and typically make 1 cup of dried rice (which makes about 3 cups of cooked rice. I like to have more than I need so I have extra leftover rice for bowls later in the week)
I roast the chopped sweet potato and onion on a parchment lined baking sheet for easy cleanup.
2. Measure and gather all ingredients together for easy assembly
3. Next layer ingredients in food processor, cover, pulse together to combine, then refrigerate for 30 minutes if you have time (if you do not have time, proceed to next step).
4. Form veggie burgers on a plate then cook in preheated pan with oil.
5. If desired after the veggie burgers are done, top with a slice of your favorite cheese.
1/2 cup onion -chopped and roasted (about 1/4 of a large onion)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (panko or plain)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
Olive oil (for cooking)
Make rice according to package directions. Typically 1/2 cup of dried rice will make more than 1-1.5 cups of rice.
To roast the sweet potato and onion, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper if you have it, makes cleanup a breeze. Peel and chop the sweet potato and onion and place on baking sheet. Drizzle lightly (about 1 tbsp) with olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes, stir and then cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.
Combine ingredients in food processor. First add cooked rice to the bottom of the food processor, then layer the other ingredients and sprinkle the spices on top. Cover with lid and pulse for 10-12 times in 2 second bursts, until well combined but still choppy.
Remove blade and set aside and cover top of bowl, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to making burgers.
Remove mixture from fridge and form burgers. (Better to keep them thick versus thin, as they won’t get too crumby if you keep them thick). It should make 5-6 burgers.
Preheat pan to medium with 1 tbsp olive oil. After 2-3 minutes, add burgers. Cook for 4 minutes on each side without covering. Turn off heat, leave pan on burner and if desired, add a slice of cheese.
Whats better than a bowl of tasty chili when it’s cold out? *crickets*
So check it out, I’ll show you a step by step of the quick process to get you on your way to trying my chili. It is a slow cooker recipe that makes life EASIER. Who doesn’t like taking the extra work out of cooking!? It does not disappoint. : )
So first gather the beans, tomatoes, tomato soup, spices and chopped onion
Brown the ground turkey in a pan
Layer the ground turkey, onions, tomatoes, tomato soup, beans, and spices. Then mix ingredients, cover with lid, and set crockpot for 8 hrs on low or 4 hrs on high.
Top with cheese, crackers, and enjoy by itself or with warm cornbread
Hope’s Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 (10.75 ounce) cans low sodium tomato soup
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1/2 medium yellow onion , chopped
2 tablespoons chili power
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
salt to taste
Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Brown turkey in the skillet and then drain.
Layer ingredients in then crockpot starting with turkey, onion, beans, tomatoes, tomato soup kidney beans, black beans and onion. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and cumin.
Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High.
*Note* – You can substitute ground beef or ground chicken for ground turkey or make it vegan by usually additional beans. You can also decrease the red pepper flakes and chili powder if you prefer more mild chili. This makes a medium spicy chili.
Challenging myself to not say the phrase “I can’t wait until….”
….baby sleeps at night, baby walks, baby feeds himself, baby does this or that, or for me to work less or exercise more, have a clean house, bigger or better house, more money, more more more more more more
TODAY is today. We are all works in progress and WAITING for this or that to happen takes away from the joy of today. So trying my best and making priorities for today, but also enjoying the little things and big things.
So I CAN wait.
Today is a beautiful day and is just how it is supposed to be. Who knows what tomorrow or next month or year will bring. Today is today. ❤
SOME babies will use a pacifier for months regularly and then not ever miss it.
MOST babies are NOT like that and it takes some time and going in with a strategy to make the pacifier disappear and stay gone. ❤
Pediatricians vary on the best time to phase out the pacifier and every baby and family is different with how long they choose to use it. Talk to your doctor about their recommendations of when to stop using a pacifier.
I’m here to offer an easy step by step guide how to kiss the pacifier goodbye when ready.
Start cutting use out during the day while baby is awake.
Start cutting use out at nap time.
Start cutting use out at night.
Be consistent (if possible) with bedtime routine – bath/pajamas, book, sip of water or snack, brushing teeth etc. Once a good routine is established, it makes it easy to have a new “last thing” before sleeping 🙂
Also, determine how flexible/strict you are going to be and how attached the babe is. As you can see from the picture above, our baby LOVED his pacifiers. We phased out the pacifier before our son was 13 month old over about a 2 week course going step by step every few days with the 4 steps listed above and it went smooth. He had pretty much just been using it for naps and at bedtime most days by the time he was 1 year old. For you, it could be a slow process over a few days, weeks, or months or possibly there is a desired deadline(before age 18 months or 2 yrs or 3 yrs or a designated cut off that you’ve been aiming for). It may instead be a simple and quick change to use the four steps above and within a few days or weeks the pacifier has left the building.
Pacifier use has research that supports use to decrease risk of SIDS, help baby self soothe, ease discomfort, and satisfy the innate suck reflex. (article here) There is also research that recommends to start to wean baby from pacifier use after 6 months to reduce the evidence of otitis media (ear infections) and dental issues. (article here) Some pediatricians recommend weaning use by the child’s first or second birthday. Again talk to your doctor for their recommendation.
What worked for you when you phased the pacifier out or is this a current struggle for any of you guys?
I’m Hope. I love to cook DELICIOUS food and spend time crafting, exploring the outdoors, taking pictures, and enjoying time with friends and family. Check out the rest of the blog to navigate through easy and healthy recipes, along with motherhood and parenting content.
So, topic today is MEAL PLANNING. Ugh. I know, sounds boring.
BUT, it doesn’t have to BE and it does not have to be hard. It is a game changer with helping organize meals for the week so you don’t get in the rut of staring at the pantry or in the refrigerator, hoping something pops out.
I use a few easy tricks to plan meals and I wanted to share them with you.
Let’s get to it.
Designate one day a week to consistently plan meals/grocery lists. When you get in the habit of planning meals once weekly, it becomes second nature. I usually spend 10-20 minutes planning the meals and making a grocery list on Saturday and then grocery shop on Sunday. Easy peasy.
Plan 5-6 meals to make for dinners for the week and options for lunches
I personally prefer to have 5 weekday dinners set but not necessarily the day, depending on what we are craving that day.
I’ve learned to plan for what we typically eat, just so we don’t waste produce. For us, I plan on having enough for lunches and 5-6 dinners and extra frozen food in case we stay in, but we like to have flexibility if we eat with friends or family or go out to eat.
I usually cook a big meal on Sunday afternoon or evening, which always has left overs to start the week with. I also typically also try to make extra roasted vegetables or have vegetables ready for salads and a big pot of lentils, quinoa or pasta that can be thrown together for a quick meal or eaten as lunch.
I keep the meals varied – every week I try to include one of these types of dishes:
One night I’ll make a Mexican dish – tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, nachos, or quesadillas
One night I’ll make an Italian dish – vegetarian lasagna, linguine with vegetables, spaghetti, chicken parmesan, baked pasta, fetticini alfredo
One night I’ll make an easy chicken dish – oven baked chicken, breaded chicken, barbeque chicken, chicken wings etc
One night I’ll make a not otherwise categorized dish that are just our favorite random dishes– loaded baked potato bar, grilled salmon, salad bar, some type of sandwich (turkey burgers/ veggies burgers/ grilled cheese etc) a tasty ethnic dish (pad thai, ramen, sushi etc) or a second Mexican or Italian dish if we are craving that and I have the supplies.
Homemade pizza or frozen pizza (yes, frozen pizza is a GREAT go to after a long day at work and I have NO shame admitting that! I like California pizza kitchen, Newman’s own, and also the simple truth brand of pizzas). It is also so quick to use fast rising yeast or pizza yeast and make from scratch, layer with sauce, mozzarella and your favorite toppings.
During the fall and winter, I do soup usually once a week as well but not as often in the summer
If you haven’t already, I suggest investing in a good amount of glass or microwave safe containers and locate their lids for easy food prep. It makes all the difference!