Getting Started with Cloth Diapers; How to Cloth Diaper a Newborn

This is not a sponsored post. The opinions and experiences are my own, thanks for stopping by! This may contain affiliate links, I'm not sure how to work those yet, but affiliate links mean I get credit if you use them.

      I started cloth diapering my my 2nd son when he was 8 months old. I didn't know a lot about cloth diapers, but jumped right in with a set of Econobums we were gifted. I later fell in love with pockets and started adding one or two at a time to our collection. For my 3rd son, I bought a collection of  'one size' pockets. Even though he was 9.5 lbs at birth, they didn't fit him until about 15 lbs and I highly valued our prefolds and covers.
     Our stash now contains 12 different brands and we have every style out there. I often get asked about gift diapers and creating a starter stash and want to share this information with you. I can make recommendations based on my preferences, but doing research is always helpful. Make sure to check out my Cloth Diaper Review List for some of our favorites! 
Grovia Prefolds
      A wonderful gift for someone getting ready to cloth diaper are prefolds and covers. Depending on your budget, you can spend anywhere from about $12 to hundreds. If I was buying cloth diapers for my SIL or a good friend to start out, I would get Grovia prefolds and some Thirsties size one and Toosha's (a WAHM) AI2 covers. The WAHM covers can be completely customized and come in any pattern you can imagine.
     Using a cover is a great way to reduce laundry and make cloth diapering easy. Where as a pocket diaper has to be washed after every use, a cover can be used a few times before requiring laundering. Our first Thirsties duo was a size 2, and they are very roomy! My son was nearly 30 lbs and he was swimming in it. After talking to other Moms and seeing the Thirsties size one covers, I realized that they may go far beyond the weight and size range on the package. They come in a great array of colors and patterns and are made in the USA!!

Thirsties Duo Covers
     A newborn will typically use prefolds in a diaper fold, and an older baby may use them the same way or in a trifold (like a pamphlet). While the trifold may be laid in the diaper and stays in place well, the diaper fold if often held in place with something known as a snappi. Snappis have replaced diaper pins and offer a great way to hold a prefold in place at 3 junctions. They can also offer an adjustable tension and fast changes without finger pricks.
     Diaper covers or shells are placed over the prefold to prevent leaks. The thirsties and toosha's come with an insert as well so its easy to be stocked up on inserts! Read more about Grovia's Prefolds and Toosha's cloth diapers.
     How often a parent intends on washing laundry determines how many diapers/covers you'll need. A newborn typically wets a lot and changing a diaper at least every 2 hours is recommended (both for disposables and cloth). Using 12 diapers a day is common. So an amazing gift or first purchase would be 12 prefolds and 3 covers. Where to purchase them? Amazon has an amazing cloth diaper selection, and the prefolds and has free shipping with $35 purchases and great returns. They also do a baby registry, so it's a great way to let friends and family know exactly what to purchase.

Great Prefold Graphic from Grovia
     As always thanks for stopping by! I'm always happy to chat or answer any questions you may have. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or feel free to message me here! Have a wonderful day!

Preparing Emotionally for A Child's Surgery

This is not a sponsored post, these are my thoughts and opinions and should be treated as such. Please seek professional help if you are having trouble, the internet is not a good place to diagnose or treat conditions.

     Lately my google searches include "How to prepare for your child's surgery." I've found many articles, including some from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) that give great instructions about when to stop eating for anesthesia, when to arrive at the hospital and how to manage pain post surgery. What these articles don't include, is how to prepare emotionally for surgery. How to keep a smile on your to be your child's rock...when you're envisioning someone cutting him with a scalpel.... It's a tough time for caregivers, and our whole family (especially me) is feeling the emotional toll as we approach our son's surgery date.
     There are several techniques I have been using to keep myself focused on the positive. Thinking about my son 10 years from now and how this surgery will benefit him. One of my favorite subjects in psychology is Cognitive Psychology. Where as many other areas focus on discussing and ruminating on troubling areas to heal them, Cognitive Psychology actually aims to change your life by altering the way you think and speak. I thought, I must apply this to my life or I could very quickly find myself lost in negative thoughts and tearful over my son's diagnosis.
1. Positive Thinking

     It's usually late at night, after everyone has gone to bed that the reality of sending my son for surgery sets in. My 2 year old was diagnosed with a bone lesion in his L femur which is not only deforming the bone, but is questionable in it's makeup. We have been told that it is most likely not cancer, but still needs to be surgically removed. The thought settled in, and has been ruminating in me. Oh my God...they're going to cut my son. It's a terrible thought, it sits in the pit of my stomach and is inexplicably sad. So how do I as a parent move past this? How do I wake up and make chocolate pancakes and start folding laundry? 
     Positive thinking. I consciously and purposely change my thoughts and focus on the good. When I find myself traveling down a sad or negative thought process, I change my thoughts and thus my outlook. I can do this by the way I think, or by reading a list of good things and the ideal outcome of my son's surgery. Some of these items include; Our doctor said it is most likely not Cancer, and he's the best in his field. Having this surgery done now means that my son's leg will start to grow more normally and he may even wind up playing sports on it. My 2 year old won't remember this. Years from now he'll probably say..'I had surgery on my leg when I was little...' and see the scar, but not remember much or anything about all of this. 
     Finding the positive in a sad and stressful time is very important. The proverbial diamond in the rough. Yes my son is going for surgery, when he goes under anesthesia and they wheel him away I'm going to be a basket case. However, up until that time I will focus on the good, find the positive and make sure he possibly even has fun on our road trips and doctor visits. 

2. Purposeful Activities
     Preparing for my sons surgery is a lot of work. I feel as thought I have been on the telephone constantly; Making appointments, collaborating with our insurance company, scheduling work hours...and Grandma and Pop. Packing snacks and diapers for road trips, gassing up the van and checking tire pressure, and of course trying to have fun with my family in between! 
     Gathering a collection of supplies for our hospital stay and trips to doctors visits has been a great way to spend time and energy in a very positive and purposeful manner. Instead of ruminating on thoughts and 'what ifs', I have taken to fulfilling a list of items that are both comforting and functional. Items include a blanket for my son to wear in the hospital, custom cloth diapers from Toosha's Diapers and hopefully (still searching!!) a happy themed or colored baby carrier or wrap.    
     Working in health care, and having spent a few days in the hospital myself, I know that temperatures can be chilly...and the thin blanket they give out is far from warm and comforting. My 2 year old picked out two fabrics, and with a few tips and suggestions, I have sewn him this blanket out of 2 yards fleece and 2 yards minky material!! 

     My 2 year old adores crayons. If he doesn't become an artist I'll be shocked! One thing I've noticed, is that everyone sees my son in his diaper. We're instructed to take his adorable outfit off even before the doctor comes into the room. So having adorable diapers is a must. I found this amazing crayon fabric from and an amazing Work at Home Mom who crafts diapers right here in the USA is making these customs for our trip! Not only did my son pick out the fabric and loooove it, but it will help clinic and hospital staff have something to talk about with him...and give them a clue about one of his favorite all time activities. Visit Toosha's on facebook and her shop on Hyena Cart.

    I have been searching high and low for a reasonably priced baby carrier that helps brighten our stay. Wearing my toddler or my infant has been a great way to keep everyone calm and happy, and with a few days admitted to the hospital and I'm sure a myriad of follow up appointments and therapy...having something cheerful will be a great addition to our supplies. I am watching wrap releases and looking at SSCs and am very up on what's coming out if anyone wants to chat!

3. Organization

     I feel like I have been on the phone nonstop since learning my son needed some medical procedures and appointments. It's frustrating. I think it has taken me 10 phone calls to get one simple thing done. Between our Pediatrician, Specialists, Pharmacy, Insurance company, Labs, Work and hospitals...let's just say I make a lot of phone calls. One thing that has been very helpful, is keeping an organized folder of information, and a list of helpful people...and their Direct contact cut down on unnecessary phone calls and wait time on hold. 
     I have signed release papers at every stop. I have requested that my sons records be forwarded to our pediatrician and our specialist...however...I have had to pull out the DVD of our x-rays and MRI from my purse at every visit, because the forwarding of information isn't as efficient or helpful as one would think. I now know to make sure I have a copy of films, studies and results BEFORE we leave a facility...even if it means an extra trip to medical records, to make sure we don't waste time at a doctor's appointment waiting for someone to find our MRI. 

     The next few weeks are going to be hard, we are T-minus two weeks for our surgery, unless something changes. We have two more upcoming appointments and are waiting to be given our arrival and surgery time. As this time approaches, and every day brings us closer to surgery, I feel myself beginning to wobble. Focusing on Positive Thoughts, Purpousful Activities and Organization is helping me keep calm and doing the best job I can for my family...because as parents we are our children's rock. Their go-to for comfort and need, they look to us for reassurance and guidance...and literally placing my son into a surgeon's hands as a blubbering mess would send the wrong message to my toddler...I'll wait until the OR doors close for that.
     As always, thank you for stopping by! I'm happy to chat and share experiences. You can always message me through here, facebook, twitter or instagram. Take care and I hope your day unfolds wonderfully.

TEGO AUDIO CERA Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Giveaway!

Mama Banana's Adventures is collaborating with Mami's 3 Little Monkeys and is participating as a giveaway promoter!

Welcome to the Tego Audio CERA Wireless Portable Speaker Giveaway!

Sponsored By: Tego Audio

CERA Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
CERA Wireless Portable Speaker - RedCERA Wireless Portable Speaker - BlackCERA Wireless Portable Speaker - White

Product Features:
  • Powerful Wireless Portable Speaker with Version 3.0 Bluetooth® Technology for a faster connection with better sound quality
  • Compatible with iPad®, iPod®, iPhone®, MP3, MP4, Laptop, PC and most Bluetooth® enabled devices
  • Voice notifications when CERA is on, in pairing mode, and pairing complete 
  • Simple pairing with most Bluetooth® enabled devices
  • Stream audio from your Bluetooth® enabled device from approx. 33ft (10m) away
  • Plugs into any non Bluetooth® enabled device with supplied 3.5mm (1/8) headphone jack as well
  • New Daisy Chain function allows an infinite number of CERA's to play at the same time
  • Illuminated Touch Control Panel
  • 360° Expanding Sound Chamber illuminated with blue lighting
  • Internal Lithium Ion Battery recharges over USB
  • Up to 5-7 hours playtime on a full charge (approx. 2-3 hours to fully charge)
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty
Package Contents: CERA Speaker, Charging Cable, 3.5mm Audio Cable, Daisy Chain Cable, Carrying Case, Quick Start Guide and User Manual

Technical Specs:
Dimensions: 90 x 62mm / 3.5 x 2.4in Diameter Net Weight: 165 g Speaker: 40mm
Amp. Freq. Range 100Hz- 20Khz S/N > 80dB Power Output: 3W
Charge Voltage: 5V + 0.5V Charge Time: 2 hrs Transmission Distance 33ft (10m)
Suitable Temperature: 0°C - 40°C Playback Time: 5-7 hrs Bluetooth Model V3.0
You can read Mami's 3 Little Monkeys full review of the CERA Wireless Speaker here.
Discount Code! 
Special offer from Tego Audio! 
Shop Tego Audio and receive 40% OFF your order. Be sure to use discount code: 40MLM at check out. 
No expiration date!
One lucky reader will win a CERA Bluetooth Wireless Speaker from Tego Audio. This giveaway is open to US residents whom are at least 18 years of age at the time of entrance. Giveaway runs from July 17th at 9am CST til July 31st at 11:59pm CST. One winner will be chosen at random via the entry form, winners entries will be verified and winner will be notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be chosen. One set of entries per household. Simply complete entries via the Giveaway Tools entry form below for your chance to win. The more you complete, the better your odds of winning will be. Good Luck! 

Disclosure: This blog and all other participating blogs were not compensated for this publication nor are they responsible for the fulfillment of the above prize. The prize will be shipped directly to the winner from Tego Audio. If you have any questions or comments please contact Sarh at mamis3littlemonkeysATyahooDOTcom. 

Grovia Cotton Bamboo Prefold Review and Econobum Comparison

This is not a sponsored post, I have not been paid to write this. These are our prefolds that we use on a regular basis and these are my opinions and photos of them. TY :)

     I have very fond memories of prefolds, they were our first cloth diapers! I didn't even know that I should prep them and took the diapers directly out of the box and started using them on my baby! Our set of Econobums, with 2 covers and 12 cotton prefolds is still in our rotation. I heard good things about four sack towels, but after purchasing them...I still prefer the thickness and design of of a good quality prefold and now use our FSTs for cleaning. I was very excited to try GroVia's prefolds, which boast a combination of bamboo and organic cotton and with our cloth diaper experience I couldn't wait to prep them and compare!

     Grovia's prefolds come in 4 different sizes and range from $8-$16 for packs of three. I purchased 4 packs of the Infant prefolds and was hoping they would be around the same size as our econobums. The Size 2, or 'Infant' are 14" x 15.5", however this is an approximate size and ours measured 13.5/8 x 15.5" before washing. After washing 5 times, they shrunk to 12 7/8" x 13", thus shrinking 2.5" off of total length.You can see the size difference in the before and after photos below with the soaker fold on our GroVia shells.

(Brand new prefold Above, Prepped prefold Below)

     While prepping a natural fiber like cotton and bamboo it not only shrinks, but as you can see above, it also becomes rippled. When you see these fiber changes, you know your prefolds are ready to go! Prepping prefolds helps them reach their maximum absorbency and decreases any risk of repelling liquid which is often the culprit for leaks. I was very pleased that after just one wash the Grovia prefolds feet remarkably soft and cushy. I knew they would only get better.

(New out of package above, Prepped below)

     Right out of the package the prefolds feel a bit stiff and are perfectly flat. The stitching around the edges  is color coded and this light blue shade marks the 'Infant' size. Sizes range from Newborn to Toddler and the size chart from the Grovia website is below. If you notice the thickness is greater in the middle panel then in the two side panels. For my favorite fold (the soaker above) this isn't a big deal, but for other folds like the diaper fold (below), it makes pulling the fabric around baby's sides/legs easier.
     Although these are 'infant' prefolds, absorbency has been great for both my 6 month old and 25 month old. The prefolds are soft, moldable and don't appear as bulky as many of our other cloth diaper options. I have had zero leaks, however I change diapers at least every 2 hours, sometimes more often and always line dry my shells. The soaker fold or trifold is my go-to for prefolds and although I wish I ordered the larger size to account for shrinkage, these fit great for both of my cloth diapered boys. I would highly recommend these for babies of all sizes and ages.

     I have to mention this hole (below). After the 5 prep washes this little hole appeared in 1/12 prefolds. It doesn't impact function or absorbency, but there it is. I haven't even made a phone call over it, I imagine I'll just sew it closed and any others that may develop on these soft absorbent prefolds. So that's that. I'm using the prefolds with our GroVia Hybrid shells and use them interchangeably with our snap in soakers too.

     So how do these prefolds compare to Econobums?  In the photo below, you can see our well loved Econobum prefold poking out from underneath the GroVia which is lined in blue.
  • Econobums are 100% cotton and GroVias are Bamboo/Organic Cotton blend. 
  • Our GroVia prefolds shrunk into nearly a perfect square, while the Econobums are more rectangular. 
  • While the Econobum prefold is longer, the GroVia prefold is wider.
  • For softest feel, GroVia wins hands down, however after using our Econobums for 20 months and counting I have to give durability to Econobums.
  • Econobums come in 2 sizes; newborn and regular, GroVia come in 4 sizes.
  • Price; Econobums $59.95 for 3 shells and 12 regular prefolds, GroVia no covers, 12 'infant' prefolds for $48 and $56 for 'infant long.' Hybrid shells are sold separately for $16.95 (prices subject to change from the company).

     Overall I'm very impressed with the GroVia prefolds...if I plan on ordering more prefolds they'll certainly be in my shopping cart, but next time I'll get the bigger size. Shipping costs directly from GroVia were more then one pack of prefolds for my order, and the company recommended that I purchase them from a retailer with shipping deals to reduce this cost. GroVia does offer free shipping over $100, but my order was under that value. They are carried at many retailers, and many companies offer free shipping with a certain value, or coupon codes so be on the lookout for deals!
     As always, thanks for stopping by, and I'm happy to answer any questions or chat! Want to learn more about GroVia and their Hybrid system? Read my review HERE.

Pumping Hands Free; Simple Wishes Signature Bra Review and Giveaway

I was provided with a product sample to facilitate my review, however the opinions and experiences expressed here are my own. Please seek out your local La Leche League and or a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant IBCLC (certified part is important) to help with nursing and pumping concerns.

     My first son and I went home after an induction, an emergency c-section and 5 days in the hospital. Breastfeeding was going great until he was 'ordered' formula by our pediatrician (we have a new pediatrician). I later learned that he was experiencing nipple confusion. For some babies changing their oral motor skills from the breast to a synthetic nipple can be confusing and frustrating. It often causes latching and unlatching with fussiness at the breast and did so for us. I was given instructions by the hospital lactation consultant over the telephone to "pump before every feeding to cause let down"....and wow, my son was nursing very very frequently so I was constantly pumping too. I was sore, cracked and bleeding and dreaded the pump. I sat holding the breast shields to myself late one night... leaning forward so the milk went into the bottle and not down my stomach, this is awful! I WISH I had a hands-free pumping bra from the start!! 
     It wasn't until my 3rd son, and 3rd exclusively breastfed child that I purchased my first Simple Wishes hands-free bra. I first thought...there is no way this could work....little did I know that this would change pumping forever for me making it an effortless, enjoyable and great experience!! How did I live without this before? I now consider pumping a break! I can pump totally hands free and check e-mails, chat on facebook or shop online...all while pumping!! I even do my paperwork at work, eliminating the need for me to decrease my productivity for pumping sessions.
    So, I wanted to share my amazing find and break down how a pumping bra works for you. The simple wishes hands free bra comes in 6 easy to assemble parts. Once you have your bra set up, it can stay that way. If you lose or gain weight, or your bust changes size along with supply or after the first few weeks when engorgement is's totally adjustable and personalizable!!

     Each bra comes with 2 side panels, 2 straps, 1 optional strip with zippers to widen the front, and a back panel to adhere the side panels too. See the shiny part on the bra photographed here? It's a not-so-scratchy velcro type material, that can be unhooked and reused as needed to adjust the size and fit of the bra. The signature bra comes in the black photographed here, and in the pink below. I have washed and used my pink bra over and over and it still works and looks great.

     First, you want to determine the girth of your bra and adjust the adherent fabric appropriately. After tweaking your bra size the optional shoulder straps can be applied. Even though the bra can be worn as a bustier without the straps I use them continuously. I find that if I need to wear my bra at work to pump again quickly, the straps help hold it up and I'm not adjusting the bra while I work. Although the zipper (seen above) can go on the top or bottom, I find it easiest to have it at the bottom for zipping the bra on at work.

     How do the pump shields in place? This is pretty genius. There are two sets of panels that hold the breast shield in place (and they really hold it in place!); One horizontal, and one vertical with the horizontal to the outside. I find it easiest to 1st Put on the bra, which I previously set up at home. 2nd Place the pump shields through these slits and align the nipple in the breast shield (you can see it sticking out through the bra). 3rd I pull my shirt partially over the shield, and leave the bottles or bags hanging out so I can monitor how much I've pumped. 

     This pumping shirt combo is exactly the same as the method I use for nursing in public. I'm wearing a tank and a loose fitting top shirt. I pull down the tank, hook up my pump to my Simple Wishes hands-free bra, and let the top shirt lay loosely over the breast shields for total discretion. **I do not recommend pumping and driving!!** However, I have pumped and driven with my car adapter to keep my supply up and discourage uncomfortable engorgement. I have taken it to get a coffee and stopped for full-service gas...and I'm pretty sure no one noticed!! But don't try this 'at home' er-ah- your car while driving.

    (Pumping with Simple Wishes hands-free bra and bottles above, and with bags below)
      When preparing my pumping supplies for work, I assemble my tubing and breast shields with either a bottle or bag and pack this setup in a reusable zippered bag. This not only saves time, but also limits handling the bottles and possibly contaminating them (I work in health care and am always exposed to illnesses). After I turn my pump on, I can use my hands to do paperwork, make phone calls, eat and check my ipad (if I'm breaking of course!). Because the Affordable Care Act (legislation that has made breast pumps accessible to Moms through insurance) mandates that employers give pumping time to employees (but not pay employees for it outside of regular breaks and a lunch), being able to work and pump can help Moms stay productive/on the clock at work, and pump the food my baby needs! Read more about Pumping and Returning to work here.

     One item I found that has been great for pumping on the go are these Jaq Jaq reusable bags. The green, white and pink bags pictured below were $18 for 2 and are about the size of a large ziploc bag. In one bag I have a pumping setup ready to be placed in my hands free bra and plugged into the pump. In the other I have pumping snacks! These typically include 2 bananas, 1 protein bar, 1 apple and a yogurt...but vary based on what's in my fridge. I haven't purchased a plastic disposable bag since I got these and LOVE them.

     What could you do while pumping hands free? Or, if you're returning to work, how could a hands free bra help you? Here's a great video from Simple Wishes demonstrating the bra! There is a great giveaway below, one winner will be chosen and prize awarded from Sime Wishes. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!


Natural Bug Repellant; DoTerra TerraShield Review and Giveaway

I have been provided with a product sample to facilitate this review, you can see it here in these photos. I have not been paid to say nice things about this company, the opinions here are my own. The statements here have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not meant to diagnose, treat or heal any conditions. Please contact your physician for any of that stuff :)

     It's that time of year. Warm humid summer nights, sunsets after 8 and the ritual swatting of mosquitoes while I walk through our garden looking for ripe tomatoes. They're everywhere! I don't want these little vamperous creatures making a meal out of me, or worse kids! When I'm washing their little heads of hair at night I think 'please don't find a tick please don't find a tick' because insects can carry some nasty diseases. 
     So how do I keep my family bug free? I have a bottle of 'bug repellant.' Off deep woods with DEET to be exact. I stare at it, I know it works...but at what cost? I've read about the harmful effects of DEET and even the National Institutes of Health (a government agency) has written about it's potential for harm. So where does that leave me? I have to decide which is the lesser evil; potential side effects from DEET or going bug repellant free and potentially catching West Nile Virus or Limes Disease.
     What about natural alternatives? I have a make-up baggie full of essential oils. I love the way they smell, and I even have a blending bottle to try mixing combinations. Every so often I mix one that smells amazing, but most  of the time I, this really stinks! I was so happy to find that doTerra makes a ready-to go blend to keep insects away. The TerraShield outdoor blend contains therapeutic grade (means it's processed appropriately) oils that have been found to repel insects!

(This image is a snip from the DoTerra Website)

     So how do you use a natural bug repellant? The DoTerra TerraShield recommends applying 2-3 drops that lasts for up to 6 hours! Good news is that it's safe for everyone, and if you're unsure you can always apply the product to clothing, shoes or even the stroller or babycarrier. We took the DoTerra TerraShield with us to a local amusement park well known for being in a wooded area. I am proud to report that we left bug bite free and I didn't need to swat any flying insects from around my family. DoTerra Rep Misty Rains reports that some people (like herself) may need a few more drops, and some less depending on your personal ability to attract bugs.

     Uses for essential oils are so numerous I can't even begin to count. As a frequent user of essential oils there are two important factors I look for. I want to make sure that my oils are therapeutic grade. This has to do with the collection process. Heating up the oil source too much can remove therapeutic properties and lessens the oil quality. The other factor I look for is that they are pesticide free. Who wants chemicals with their essential oils? I don't! DoTerra Oils meet both of these standards and can boast being Pesticide free, Non-GMO, and are therapeutic grade!
     One way to use DoTerra essential oils is by placing the oil, or oil blend into a carrier. A carrier may be anything from a massage oil, unscented lotion or directly into water or other oils to create blends and sprays. Here I have created a TerraShield bug repellant lotion:

 Home Made Bug Repellant Lotion
12 Drops DoTerra TerraShield Oil
1 oz Unscented baby safe lotion.
Stir well, replace cap and apply avoiding eyes and other sensitive areas. 
Mix batches as needed for personalized bug control, and customize with more or less oil.

DoTerra Representative Misty has her own blend for amazing bug repellant! She reports being especially delicious for biting insects and has found this to work very well!
10 drops of TerraShield
5 drops of Lemongrass
5 drops of Purify
Mix and use as needed! 

     TerraShield is one of DoTerra's oil blends, and with 250 drops per bottle it's very reasonably priced! Unlike many other brands, DoTerra oils are 3rd party tested and represented by brand consultants with whom you can personally speak with for advice, tips or general information. As a busy Mom and DoTerra rep Misty seeks out a healthy and green lifestyle. She is very friendly and you can message her directly with any questions or comments you may have about DoTerra products HERE.
     As always, thank you for stopping by! I spend a lot of time on these articles and enjoy knowing that they're enjoyed. As always, feel free to message me with comments or questions and have a great day!

Something We Didn't Expect

So this is what had been taking up most of my family's time lately. This is the thigh bone in my just turned 2 year old son. Looking at this photo makes me feel a gazillion times worse about the whole situation, because most of the time I can pretty much pretend this isn't there (aside from the abnormal way my son walks and his leg length difference). 
     We have been to specialists and told it could be everything from a cancerous bone tumor to a benign malformation (more then likely the benign malformation) Our last visit to the best Dr. we could find ( at CHOP) decided that surgery is needed. We have a few more weeks and appointments until that needs to happen. Hoping for this hideous terrible thing to be removed. Hoping that it's benign and we're hoping that he'll be able to walk on his leg right away. Praying that everything will turn out fine, and he won't remember this at all, and it'll be something we tell him about when he gets older (although it has definitely shaved years off of my life and may be a good excuse to let my hair turn white).

      I'm thankful for many things. He doesn't seem to be in pain. I'm so happy that he's still breastfeeding and he has nursed right after waking up from tests ( you should see the look on people's faces when I tell them that!) Our specialist's assistant asked "so, how's his diet, does he eat well." I said, "yes, he eats very well and is brestfeeding" ....sound of pages flipping through chart, she looks back at us and says..."oh, and he's two!". LOL!!! Yep, only the best for my babies. I'm thankful for babywearing because I have been wearing him or our infant on all these trips. I may need some help identifying carries that won't apply a lot of pressure to his leg while he recovers. I'm thankful for giant bags of coffee from Sam's club because it has really been keeping us going. I'm thankful for our clothdiapers because he looks adorable and finding the perfect Dr. appointment diaper helps me feel like I'm doing something, or have any control over all of this.
     Through all of this he has really been brave (and I don't like that word, but I can't come up with another), shocked the phlebotomists who thought he would need to be held down for bloodwork (he watched his blood being drawn and actually looked happy and interested!) and brings joy to everyone he has met. Despite the fact that he's normally more shy then his brothers, he seems to be enjoying the lollipops, presents and car trips. (Here he is below enjoying a bagel pre-trip in our Chimparoo).

     So this morning my goal is to get more calories into him (he's 32 lbs, but another couldn't hurt). I know from working in health care that he needs to be very nutritionally sound to go through surgery. It will help him recover and if he doesn't eat well for a few days I won't worry as much. I have made him Enfagrow chocolate strawberry pancakes. Our pediatrician gave us samples, and he won't drink it (it tastes pretty terrible). I did call them and ask for some chocolate! I'm hoping to boost his iron level a bit (since it was a tad low), so I directly mixed the enfagrow into the pancake batter and am hoping he doesn't notice! Bone surgery can result in blood loss and drop his iron level further, so I will be getting very creative with increasing his food based iron levels.

     So my short term goals are to remain calm, and positive. To have as much fun and hold him as much as possible before his surgery date (just in case). Hoping to find a carry or carrier for his post-surgical recovery, and cloth diapers he likes to wear for upcoming appointments. Packing our diaper bag with more matchbox cars, crayons (he has literally colored on every wall in our house), Yum Earth lollipops, chocolate chip organic clif bars and Happy Family blueberry beet banana pouches because I feel better when I'm prepared and stocked on snacks. Hoping that the next few weeks go by quickly and this will be a time we look back on and are thankful for. Thanks for stopping by, and I'll make sure to share when we know more.

Veri Soda Review

I am a Mom ambassador and received product samples to share with Mom friends from Moms Meet, however these opinions are my own.The photo here is of my sampling kit, others are stock photos from Veri Soda's website.

     Soda. As a Mom striving to keep healthy products in my cupboards, I'm always on the lookout for new organic and high quality items. That being said, every so often I enjoy a soda...usually Coke, and feel terrible for drinking it. Yes I know there are approximately a bijillion teaspoons of highly refined sugar in there, yes I know it can remove paint and is used to clean asphalt....but what can I say, a nice crisp cold soda on a hot day....yummm,...okay, now I'm making myself thirsty.
     Finding middle ground with beverages is tough. I often quench my desire for a bubbly soda by mixing a little organic juice with some sparkling mineral water. This combo usually does the trick, but options are limited to my cupboard and it's hard to make something sparkly and delicious when my household is chaotic. If I can buy something ready made (especially if I have a coupon), it may simplify my life a bit and free up a few very precious moments.
     I was excited when I received my Veri Soda sampling kit in the mail from Mom's Meet! The list of ingredients is impressive. Not only is this beverage delicious, but the contents are fantastic/guilt free too! This enlightened soda is organic, and for real organic...and only 60 calories. I pride myself on taking lots of hands on photos, but this went so fast....I'm lucky I got to sample any! At a suggested retail of $4.99 ($1.25 ea) for a 4 pack, Veri Soda is reasonably priced (considering the non-GMO USDA NOP-certified organic ingredients it contains) and will definitely make it's way into my shopping cart.
     Things you should know. Don't be surprised, the orange, ginger ale and lemon lime are pretty clear. No added dyes means all the taste with no scary color added. The 'cola' doesn't taste like Coke. It's good, but not mimicking Coke or Pepsi. There is no artificial sweetener taste like some other natural soda brands. The ginger ale tastes of real ginger....and I wish I would have had this when I was pregnant, I couldn't eat the candied ginger or ginger lollipops I ordered to help with nausea. They're light and refreshing, if left chilled in the fridge...may lead to serial Veri Soda drinking. Ingredients include: Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic juice, organic flavors, organic stevia. Organic caramel color in the cola, but that's the only one with color. 
     So, in short, I would recommend this. If you're looking for an exact drive-through brand soda taste, it's not the same because the ingredients are better quality and aiming for a healthy palate. They are ridiculously refreshing, sparkly and light. Visit the company on their Website, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for more information and updates! As always, thanks for stopping by and I'm happy to answer any questions you have or chat. Have a great day!

 (This is a photo collage I made using stock photos from Veri Soda's website, since our samples went really fast!)

10 Breastfeeding Must Have's for Nursing Moms

This is not a sponsored post. This information is derived from my personal experience. As always please seek out the advice of a certified lactation consultant with nursing issues (the certified part is important). I have some affiliate links here and if you click through for some of the photos I may get credit for you using them. 

As a proud Mom, tandem nursing and breastfeeding my 3rd baby, I want to share my top 10 breastfeeding essentials with you. I strongly believe that if you can make it the first 6 weeks, time spent breastfeeding afterwards gets easier and easier! A combination of personal struggles, a poor support system and terrible advice from the hospital nearly cost me my nursing relationship the first time around. Without an incredible support community and some great products I made it and hope you can too. Here is a list of 10 items that have really helped me, in no particular order.
  1. Mama Banana’s Top 10 Breastfeeding Must Have’s
1. A Well educated support system (even if it’s one person). The La Leche League; the LLL is an international breastfeeding support group! I discovered them online while struggling to breastfeed my first baby. My son was given formula in the hospital and I was encouraged by friends and family to stop breastfeeding and use formula to 'give me a rest.' I attended a meeting and our lives changed. I highly recommend finding your local chapter and getting to a meeting and/or finding the group on FB or through old fashioned phone calls.

2. A good natural fiber night-time nursing bra. My personal favorites come from Target! A night time bra is wireless and offers easy access to the girls for night-time feedings. Natural fibers help with air flow and allow breasts to dry faster and helps prevent moisture which can lead to rashes. Although these are ‘night time’ bras, I wear mine around the house too. Target has a great selection.

3. A good natural fiber day-time nursing bra.When shopping for a good nursing bra, you don’t need to spend a fourune. I was surprised to see the price tag on bras at maternity shops and realized it was easy to spend $400-$500 on a new seat of bras. If you're looking for a great selection of quality nursing bras that won't break the bank, you will be impressed with what Target has to offer! Most of mine were $16.99 and over 3 years later they still look and work really well.

4. A good double electric breast pump with hands-free bra. Even if you have no intention of pumping, you may find that using a pump is necessary and or helpful. A pump can be used to help build a supply in your freezer, alleviate some discomfort from engorgement (pumping just enough, not to aggravate oversupply) and to increase supply and keep your breast fed baby on Mama Milk if you also work outside of the home. I was lucky enough to have one covered by my insurance company this year and use the Ameda Purely Yours, a sealed double electric pump. Pumping is so easy with a hands-free bra which allows you to type, fold laundry or simply hang out without holding your pump up to your breasts.

5. A good breastfeeding Pillow to keep baby at a nipple-level for comfortable nursing. I’m currently crushing on my Dr. Brown’s Gia angled pillow (thicker on one side and thinner on the other), but your pillow preference may vary. I suggest placing it on your lap and testing out for good nipple-baby height while shopping for a match. When my first baby was born, I felt like I needed an extra arm to position him. His little head didn’t hold itself in place, and I didn’t know about side-lying. The right nursing pillow is so helpful and can mean the difference between a sore back/sore nipples and a much easier take off to your nursing relationship.

6. Natural Nipple cream. I remember the label on cream I was given in the hospital said ‘wipe off before nursing.’ I didn’t want to put something on me that wasn’t good for my baby to ingest. My personal favorites are Mother Love Herbal nipple cream and Earth Mama Angel Baby. 100% safe for baby and Mama, also may double as great balm for chapped hands and elbows.

 7. A Nursing Cover such as a swaddle blanket or actual cover. Now, I’m all for nursing in public. It’s totally normal and I will never understand any negative criticism towards it. However, if a cover helps a Mom to continue breastfeeding, or to gain confidence then go for it!!! My Balboa cover is going 3+ years strong. I don’t always use it, but it’s nice to have around as a confidence booster to know it’s available if needed. With my first son I was a bit awkward getting a breast out for nursing and this really helped me with my confidence. It's mostly used as a sun-shade for our stroller or careseat as now and is great for that!

8. BabyWearing; A baby carrier (not the kind you see in articles warning about hip-dysplasia in what are known as 'crotch danglers') to help your little one (and you) through fussy times. I get a lot of use out of my Boba Stardust, and our Moby stretchy wraps, however a woven wrap will go the distance and can be used from birth through toddlerhood! Soft structured carriers are great too, like an Ergo or Tula. Choosing the right carrier, or carriers is definitely a fun journey. The patterns and prints are amazing and something new is always coming out.

9. Healthy Diet. Be prepared! Nursing Moms can get very hungry and thirsty especially the first few weeks when baby nurses all the time. Calories that are burned to make milk need to be properly fueled and replaced. I love the extra calories I get to take in. Many nursing Moms help milk production with whole oatmeal (not the instant) and my favorite breast milk making breakfast is Whole organic oatmeal, 1 sliced banana, organic cinnamon and two heaping tablespoons of organic peanut butter with amazing good fat.

10. Gall; Some people love breastfeeding, other people don’t. Either way, you’re going to hear about it. Since becoming a Mom, I regularly receive unsolicited advice from strangers. There will be times when your Mama Bear needs to come out to tell others just where they can stick it. If you're in the middle of Lowes and your baby suddenly becomes very hungry and your instinct is to grab a folding chair from the next aisle, sit down and nurse....then that's what you do (I have absolutely done this!). Breastmilk has so many amazing properties including everything from providing antibodies to help fight diseases and infections to releasing oxytocin in baby and Mama which is a feel-good hormone that helps with decreasing post-partum depression and creates strong bonds that it should be openly encouraged by everyone, and someday I hope we get there.

     I hope this list helps you! I’m always open for discussion and to offer support. If you’re nursing, then Thank you for breastfeeding your baby, and if you’re planning on breastfeeding congratulations and you are about to start an amazing journey!