What to Expect When You’re Expecting Giveaway

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a thorough guide to pregnancy that has been tremendously popular for over twenty years–and this week their website, What to Expect, is sponsoring a giveaway! We’re throwing in a few copies of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, to sweeten the winnings for two lucky readers. There are multiple ways to enter so get in on the action!

Prize #1
What to Expect Before You’re Expecting (+ a copy of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down to Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet)

For women who are planning conception and pregnancy, What to Expect Before You’re Expecting is a great resource. It provides tips on everything from nutrition to medical care for women (and men) in the months before you get pregnant. And it will help you make the good choices that will lead to a healthier newborn. For couples hoping to conceive quickly, Murkoff educates readers about how to pinpoint ovulation cycles to raise your odds of getting pregnant.

As for our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we’ve spoken to many women who received it late in their pregnancies only to wish that they would have read it months earlier. Why not learn about cloth diapers and used baby gear before you’re dealing with morning sickness and exhaustion? We hope that having the book far in advance will allow you to gather up the new and used green gear you need while saving thousands of dollars.

Prize #2
What to Expect When You’re Expecting(+ a copy of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down to Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet)

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is read by over 90% of pregnant women who read pregnancy books and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for decades. So what can you expect from the book? The book is organized into monthly chapters which provide information about how you may feel, common questions, a week-by-week guide to baby’s fetal development, and information about what your midwife or doctor is likely to say during that phase of pregnancy. The book also addresses childbirth plus the emotional and physical issues that couples face in the postpartum period. The question and answer format helped me pick out sections that were relevant to my pregnancy. I was too overwhelmed and exhausted by growing a fetus to actually read any book cover to cover so I appreciated being able to easily reference what I was looking for.

We wish every newly pregnant woman could get a free copy of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, just to have access to humble, humorous, hands-on advice for gearing up green on a budget. Since we can’t just stand on the corner and hand these out to pregnant passers-by, we’ve decided to send one to accompany What to Expect When You’re Expecting in this giveaway. We hope you can win!

Whether you’re lucky enough to win one of the prizes or not, you should know that What to Expect online now offers heaps of free information for expectant women and new parents. You can pick up a copy of many What to Expect books on Amazon for less than nine bucks and The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is currently on sale for less than eight dollars. (And it will save you much, much more than what you pay for it!)

Enter the What to Expect When You’re Expecting (and the Eco-nomical Baby Guide) Giveaway!

Each comment counts as an entry. You can enter up to four times. Here’s how:

1. Simply post a comment

2. Like the Green Baby Guide on Facebook (then tell us you did it in a separate comment)

3. Visit the What to Expect website and comment on what you learned.

4. Spread the news about the giveaway! Email someone, post it on Facebook, tweet it, blog it, or send someone a message about it via carrier pigeon. (And again, don’t forget to tell us all about it in the comments!)

This contest ends on Thursday, August 11th, and is only open to U.S. Residents.

Great luck!

Great luck!

BPA-free Containers for Storing Breast Milk and Homemade Baby Food

One of my first baby purchases was a set of  little containers for all of the pureed delights I planned to create for my child. In retrospect I can see this was an odd obsession, considering most babies don’t get a taste of solid food for a good six months after birth—but finding a good system for storing breast milk and homemade baby food can make the whole process much more manageable.

Two things I didn’t know back when I bought those containers in 2005: 1. I should have looked for BPA-free plastic—or found an alternative to plastic. 2. I should have considered buying containers that worked for storing expressed breast milk as well as pureed food to get the most bang for my buck.

The products listed below are all BPA-free, and most of them can be used for freezing ice cubes or storing regular food for years.

Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food and Breast Milk Trays. On sale—a set of two for $8! These BPA-free trays have snap-on lids and each cube can hold one ounce of food or breast milk.

Juvenile Solutions Baby Cubes (2 oz/Pack of 8) Another great deal for just $6.69.

Set of 10 Baby Cubes 1 Oz. Baby Food Storage Containers. Also by Juvenile Solutions, a set of ten for $6.65. I like that these sets come with individual containers; you don’t have to transfer the food to another plate or bowl.

Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit Premium Baby Food Freezer Trays & Recipes. A bit more for $25, but a good system if you want to freeze a lot of food at once. Each tray holds 21 cubes of food.

Fresh N Freeze 2 oz. Reusable Baby Food Containers 12-Pack. $9.95 for a set of 12 two-ounce containers. Cute and practical. I’d get a lot of use out of these with a five-year-old!

What did you use (or what do you plan to use) for storing expressed breast milk or homemade baby food? Let us know what worked—and what flopped!

Gently Weaning a Toddler

Two weeks ago I begged for your collective wisdom to help wean my two-year-old daughter. After implementing a few strategies from our readers, my daughter and I gently gave up nursing within just three days.

First I stopped the morning feedings, which did involve some screaming and sadness, but with a little distraction she quickly acclimated. The next day we nursed at nap again, but at bedtime we had a special discussion of how this would be her last time drinking my milk. We snuggled, talked and really enjoyed it. The next day, my husband put her down for nap and bedtime and she peacefully went to sleep. If I would have known it would be that easy, I might have started sooner!

For those of you still struggling with weaning, Kathleen Huggins’ book, Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning – Revised: How to Bring Breastfeeding to a Gentle Close, and How to Decide When the Time Is Right looks like an excellent choice. Does anyone else have a favorite resource to support weaning a toddler?

The Eco-nomical Baby Guide Podcast on Dandeliondish

Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, is a record of how we saved thousands of dollars by going green. In my podcast with Tanya Lieberman of Dandeliondish.com, I got to reflect on how The Eco-nomical Baby Guide can support new parents as they save money and the planet. If you’re wondering exactly what the book is about, take about fifteen minutes to listen to this interview and see if it might work for you. (And The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is still miraculously cheap right now at just under eight bucks on Amazon–it will earn several dozen times its cost in savings!)

How Did You Wean Your Child?

Did your toddler simply lose interest in breastfeeding, or did you have to wean her? If you’re in the latter group, how did you do it?

My daughter, Jovi, turned two last week and I feel thoroughly ready to cut off her supply. She has different ideas. Jovi would like to nurse morning, noon and night for hours a time. She affectionately calls the source of her precious milk “eyes” or “boo-boo’s” and emphatically makes the milk sign (grabbing at an invisible cow’s udder) while she wheedles a long and desperate “plleease.” It’s hard to resist, I admit. But she’s still trying to nurse in the middle of the night, when she’s lonely, when she’s tired, when anyone else is nursing, when she’s cold, when she’s hungry and when she’s thirsty. And, honestly, all of those things happen during the day multiple times–which leaves me trying to fight her off as she reaches her chubby little fingers down my shirt and tries to abduct my breasts. It’s time.

Please, please, please share your wisdom with me! I so wish to have full possession of my body once again! Do you look forward to weaning or dread the day that you’ll lose the special bond of breastfeeding?

For the record, I fully support extended breastfeeding–but I also believe that it’s totally acceptable for a mom to decide when she’s ready to stop. And I’m there!

The Friday Question: What Helps With Milk Let Down?

I remember sitting in the filing room in the middle school where I teach and frantically eyeing the clock as my ten allocated minutes for pumping ticked away.  The more I worried about letdown, the less I was able to produce.  Eventually I brought photos of my kids and a tiny bouquet of lavender to help that file room feel more comfortable for pumping.  Now pumps like Hygeia’s EnJoye Breastpump (pictured above) actually record your children’s cries or coos so that you can play the sounds while pumping.  Brilliant!  I suppose you could do a quick video on your Ipod of your baby and get the same results. What do you do while you pump to help you relax enough to letdown quickly and maximize your time?  Other moms will greatly appreciate your tricks!

Pumping Extra Milk While Breastfeeding to Get More Sleep

A new mom is struggling horribly through her first few months with her baby. She can’t seem to nap during the day. At night, when the baby awakens, her and her husband spend hours trying to soothe her down. Neither parent is getting needed rest, and everyone is at the breaking point.

I don’t actually know this woman, but a close friend of mine has been sharing her story with me and it pains me. Why? Because I remember that desperate hysteria of exhaustion from my first days as a new mom–and how impossible it was to even think of solutions.

I worried that I’d never emerge from my fatigued haze, but some wise friends were able to help me set up a feeding schedule that made a huge difference. If I could just get four hours of sleep each night, I enjoyed my baby so much more the following day and could problem-solve other challenges of early parenthood. I pumped after each feeding so that there was enough available for my husband to do the 11pm feeding. I went to sleep at 8pm and sometimes even slept for a whopping six hour stretch. It was amazing!

Can’t get enough milk pumping? If you pump just a few minutes after each feeding, your milk supply will increase over time since our bodies automatically respond to higher demand. (You can also take an herbal pill called fenugreek, which will naturally increase your milk supply while making you smell like maple syrup. Pancakes anyone?)

Are you currently in the haze of exhaustion?  Do you have good solutions to offer other tired souls?

How Do You Support Moms Who Struggle With Breastfeeding?

A hilarious quiz in Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, made me think about the difference between support and pressure when it comes to breastfeeding.  Nursing is hard work, especially in those early days, and new moms need encouragement, meals and commiseration.  (And humor.  They might need a copy of Tina’s book, or just a glance at the photo to the right.)

My best strategy for supporting new breastfeeding moms is to let them know that the really hard part comes right at first in those grueling early weeks.  It does get easier month by month, and more precious as babies start to become toddlers and those moments of snuggling start to disappear.

I also candidly share that I often totally felt exhausted and frustrated by nursing early on. New breastfeeding moms can feel physically chained to an infant and then have secondary feelings of guilt that they aren’t enjoying nursing.  It’s a relief to know that lots of breastfeeding women feel that way at some point.

What happens when we provide all of that support and advice and a few of our friends decide to switch to formula anyway?

Hopefully, we veer far, far away from pitying their child, loading them up with guilt, or reflecting on how great our breastfeeding experience was. Hopefully we let them know that they don’t have to make a hard and fast choice–that it’s possible to part breastfeeding and part formula and alter that ratio in whatever way works for mom and baby. And if they do switch exclusively to formula, we respect their choice.

What do you do to support new moms in their breastfeeding efforts?  What was helpful (or unhelpful) to you in those early days?

Giveaway Winner Updates!

From the Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump, to a copy of Fifteen Minutes Outside, to a Smartklean Laundry Ball, we’ve been hosting fabulous giveaways in the last few weeks.  And now it’s time for a drum roll:

Juley A. from Anchorage, Alaska will soon be getting her copy of 15 Minutes Outside on her doorstep.  Enjoy!  Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, it will be even easier to gain inspiration to be outdoors with baby.

In just a matter of days, Andrea B. from Chandler, Arizona will be able to toss a the Smartklean Laundry Ball into her washer without using any laundry detergent–for an entire year!

And, our biggest winner so far of the Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump is….Ashley B from Los Angeles, California.

Thank you so much for your comments and interest.  We have some more exciting giveaways coming up so keep coming back to see if you’ll be our next lucky winner!

What is Hardest About Green Parenting Right Now?

Is it deciphering cloth diaper vocabulary?  (Like hybrid, chinese prefold, pocket diaper, all-in-one?)  Is it being able to afford the organic produce you’d like to buy?  Is it the physical challenge of early breastfeeding?  Do you need some homemade babyfood recipes? Or are you still trying to prepare for baby’s arrival with the planet in mind?

My children are now leaving the realm of babyhood and hearing your questions and challenges keeps us connected with what our readers need in those early days of parenting.  If you have a problem, chances are there are dozens of other women face the same dilemma.  Thanks for sharing ideas that we can present to our readers for future Friday questions!