Breastfeeding Support Group

Although a nursing bra is an important component to successful breastfeeding, it is not the only support a nursing mother needs. Since nursing can be real challenge, it is helpful to find a network of moms who meet on a regular basis. Our local library hosts a fantastic group for moms every two weeks. It’s a very casual setting, that’s moderated by a knowledgeable nurse. Mainly we just get an opportunity to talk, ask questions, and offer support to others going through the same things. I wish I had found this group sooner because I didn’t feel that the La Leche League was the right fit for Hannah and me. Plus, the evening meetings would have been a challenge with her bedtime. However, I’m happy to go to a new group now to “share the light” that comes after a few months of successful nursing.

A very small number of moms experience no issues with breastfeeding and kudos to them! The truth is, nearly every woman (including myself) hits a wall with nursing for any number of issues that can creep up in the early stages. Working with a lactation consultant, calling experienced family members, and talking to other moms currently nursing are all great ways to find the information and strength needed to keep up with nursing. Luckily, beginning in 2012, insurance companies will be required to cover nursing-related medical expenses. I would encourage all moms to use this benefit and book a lactation consultation for the week after baby’s birth. 

Once nursing is established, Moms can look forward to experiencing a wonderful “high” during nursing. Chemically speaking, the body is producing oxytocin and slowing down the mother to take a moment to enjoy the experience. In “lay-mom’s” terms, this means you’ll look at your baby and think, “Oh my goodness, she is the sweetest baby in the world. I love her so much.” Of course, all Mom’s feel this way, but it’s nice to have your body reinforce the sentiment 6-8 times per day (especially during those wakeful nights.)

Look at this beautiful nursing mother!

Banana Wonder Bread

For someone who loves banana bread as much as I do, it’s hard to believe that I just made it for the first time on my own yesterday. I went with a standard recipe to use up my overripe bananas. The thing I like most about this delicious snack is the flexibility in the recipe. You can adapt it to fit dietary needs or to accommodate for missing items in the recipe. Consider subbing eggs for applesauce, choose butter, oil or margarine, or use any flour on hand. You can even add nuts, raisins, cinnamon and vanilla into the mix. After a few days, toast the bread and add butter to “wake” it back up. If you don’t have time to make the bread, but don’t want your bananas to go to waste, peel and mash them up before freezing. You can store them for up to a month this way.

Since Baby Eco loves bananas, too, it will be tough to decide which way to use the ripe ones!

 

12 Fluffy Deals of Christmas

It’s a great time to try cloth diapers if you haven’t already, or bulk up your stash because there are sales every day! My favorite retailer, Kelly’s Closet, is holding a sale called the 12 Fluffy Deals of Christmas. Each day, they will discount items from their vast inventory of cloth diapering necessities. This site has absolutely everything you need to successfully diaper your baby in modern and cute fluff! Not only will you find an ever-growing number of brands and styles of diapers, but you can also get detergent, wet bags, necessities for moms, and the newest addition to the product line- diaper jewelry! I was a little skeptical of “diaper jewelry,” but they are actually just removable patches you can swap to different diapers by attaching to snaps that aren’t in use. It’s a cute way to accessorize an otherwise plain diaper.

Think about giving new parents a gift that will save hundreds (and even thousands!) of dollars! Each time you reuse a diaper, you are reducing landfill waste. Even if you only cloth diaper part time, you can still make a huge impact. Consider changing 3 (or more) diapers to cloth each day and you will find out firsthand why so many parents love using them!

Green Gift Wrap

A few years ago my Grandfather sent me an article about Green Gift Wrap that suggested using newspaper to wrap gifts. We laughed because this writer’s “new” and “innovative” tip described the way Grandpa has wrapped gifts for as long as he’s given them. Even this year, Baby Eco will receive some of her first Christmas gifts in identical wrapping to my first presents.

Real Moms Love to Eat Review

Beth Aldrich is a Mom after my own heart. She is sharing her vast knowledge of loving and living in a healthy relationship with food through her new book Real Moms Love to Eat. I received an e-version of this book a few months ago to review and I’m convinced that this woman is one smart cookie (pun intended.)

This book contains wholesome recipes, thoughtful advice for understanding a healthful way to eat, and quirky rules that will inspire you to take the right steps for your body. She gradually introduces you to her important concepts with 5 easy steps per week. The book not only teaches you why you should eat this way, but it also encourages you to explore and learn about how to create a diet you will love and your body will thank you for. Some of her key teachings are to drink more water, eat foods that generate the most energy, and avoid foods that don’t bring out the best in you. Did I mention that you have to eat a piece of chocolate every day? Yes, you have to!

I was happy to find that most of the rules were easy to adapt into my diet, especially since I’m already eating well for nursing. However, even I benefited from her suggestion to start each day with a smoothie. It gave me so much energy I was literally singing! I also love that she includes an entire meal plan in the book. There are so many delicious, healthy recipes you will never get bored! Plus, the meals are healthy for the entire family. Not only will you set a positive example for your kids, but you’ll actually be able to cook one delicious meal for everyone.

If you’re looking for a resource for your new year’s resolution- this is it. You will undoubtedly find health, wellness, and energy from reading this book and adapting the plan into your lifestyle. Cheers and happy eating!

I like to think of eating well, for pleasure and radiant health, like having an affair with your own husband- you know he’s good for you, so you bring back the joy, the excitement, the flavor of your first exciting encounters. You can trust him. Food isn’t a quick fix, a fling- it’s a marriage, but it can stay spicy forever. Savor each delicious bite and crave more. 
– Beth Aldrich, Real Moms Love to Eat

New Puppy on the Way

We’re getting ready for a Christmas Eve puppy to arrive, so it’s time to look into reducing our “carbon pawprint.” Green animal lovers suggest several ways to regularly care for your pets using eco-friendly practices. You can use biodegradable bags for collecting pet waste, feed pets organic food, reduce the amount of containers used, or recycle pet food bags and containers. It’s just as important to think about the materials used to produce the products they regularly come in contact with as it is for humans. I was shocked (but ultimately not surprised) to find out that regular studies show toxins in pets to be much higher than people.

Since I’m new to this, but would love to learn more, I’m asking you to be the expert! Do you know a great shop for organic pet toys or concentrated puppy shampoo? Maybe you’ve perfected the recipe for homemade dog food. Is there a true, no-mess way to scoop poop? If you’ve got an eco-friendly tip that’s also economically friendly, I’d love to hear it! Please post your suggestions in the comments.

 

Semi Green Couponing

These days everyone is looking for as many ways as possible to cut household expenses. Even though couponing in general is not very green, there are a few ways to minimize the impact on the environment that every grocery shopper should consider.

1. Bring Your Own Bag

I’m not talking about the cheap bags they sell at the end of the checkout aisle. Consider making your own bag or purchasing one from http://www.chicobag.com. These can be washed and there are bags for everything in the store. You can even have your reusable produce bag weighed in advance so that you won’t have an extra charge when you check out.

2. Organization is the Key!

It takes extra time, but organizing your stock pile and creating meal plans will keep you from wasting expired foods. Any food you waste is the most expensive food in your house, so you should try to avoid this whether or not you are going green! Also, consider reusable storage items for leftovers.

3. Couponing for a Cause?

Just because you are donating items, does not mean they are going to good use. Know your cause to avoid this! For instance, I volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House and my husband is a veteran. When I can pick up extra cereal, toys, toothpaste, or socks I know that these items will be used. Don’t expect a local food bank to be able to utilized hundreds of nearly-expired boxes of Hamburger Helper without doing a little research.

4. Learn About Mobile Couponing

A new site, http://www.savingstar.com offers web coupons that link to your store accounts. After you reach a threshold, you can cash in for gift cards to online retailers. This site has some pretty good coupons already, and as it gets bigger you can expect even more.

5. Put Your Savings to Good Use!

If you’re regularly saving $50 or $100, you can easily reinvest that into making your house more green. Consider purchasing a concentrated cleaning kit, kitchen towels, reusable cloth diapers, or organic food. These things cost more upfront, but offer savings in the long run that can’t be matched!

6. Limit Your Driving

Try to group shopping trips on the same day. If you can shop in an area that allows you to park in one spot and hit several stores, that’s even better. Prep yourself for the weather and walk between the shops instead of driving to each one as long as there are sidewalks. If your coupon scenario requires two or more transactions, do them in the same day. A friendly smile to the sales associates is all you need to get away with this. Simply step out of line or walk your bag out to the car in between.