Six things I wish I had known about Breastfeeding!

The following article has been written by Megan Wynne, a fine artist, breastfeeding advocate and mother of two.  

“Still Attached” meganwynne.net

When I was pregnant with my first child, like many mothers-to-be, I was obsessed about being prepared for labor and delivery. My dad is an OB/GYN and I have always been fascinated by pregnancy and childbirth. However the real reason I read so many books and sat up front, asked questions, and took meticulous notes in my childbirth education classes was because I was absolutely terrified of having to do it myself. I just couldn’t even begin to wrap my brain around having to go through labor. I was so focused on the labor part, that comparatively speaking, I didn’t think too much about the baby-having part at the end of it.

After fourteen hours of labor and three hours of pushing, my child finally arrived with the assistance of vacuum extraction. And, as the nurse laid the child upon my chest, I literally gasped and exclaimed, “There’s a baby on me!!” as if I didn’t realize the purpose of my visit to the hospital until that very moment.

One of the childbirth classes offered at the hospital was on infant feeding. I paid close attention as I did with all the other classes I took. I felt prepared as I could possibly be. When my mom asked me if I was going to breastfeed I answered her with hesitation, “Um, If I can. I’ll try….” I wasn’t confident about it. Like many women, I started out never having seen a woman breastfeed before, and I’d only heard stories of how inconvenient and problematic it could be. At the hospital I remember my experience with the Lactation Consultant consisting of her watching me struggle in vain to get my baby latched correctly for fifteen minutes and then leaving. My daughter was getting milk, however, so I felt like everything was OK. Unfortunately in the coming weeks and months I ran into a long list of difficulties feeding my daughter. I overproduced, my milk ejection reflex was too strong, my daughter was very “colicky” and was extremely fussy when I tried to feed her. She was so rough on my nipples that they felt like they were on fire. I could go on and on. My health insurance didn’t cover the cost of a lactation consultant. None of my internet reasearch helped me. I felt like a failure as a mother.

Now, as a second time mom who is still nursing a two-and-a-half year old, these are the things I wish I had known back when I was struggling and miserable.

1. La Leche League meetings are free, you have no obligation to join, and the people are there to help you.

I am not the kind of person that joins a club in the first place. I had the assumption that to attend a LLL meeting you had to make a commitment and pay dues. Also (and what turned me off the most) was that I thought that the meetings would simply consist of a bunch of cliquey women effortlessly nursing together, congratulating each other, and complimenting eachother’s nursing bras (or something to that effect). That kind of enviroment was the last place on earth I wanted to be. I couldn’t bring myself to go to a meeting until after all my breastfeeding problems resolved on their own, when my daughter was almost a year old. I remember listening to the story of a new mother who was sitting across from me. She was having a terrible time making enough milk to feed her son. After the meeting I approached her and I touched her hand and I think all I got out was, “I’m sorry you’re going through this, I had a hard time too…” and I began to cry, and then we cried together. The leaders at the meetings are educated and helpful but the support of other nursing women is invaluable. And yes, becoming a member is probably a good idea afterall.

2. Don’t believe all the pro-breastfeeding propaganda 

OK I’m exaggerating a little bit here. Before I had a child I got the idea that breastfeeding was hard and not for eveybody. After I had a baby and was having so much trouble nursing her I ran to the library to try and diagnose myself (or my child, whichever of us was the problem, I had no idea). I read a lot of books about how beautiful and perfect breastfeeding is and got very little information on resolving problems that many women must have (right?) when breastfeeding. I read about how breastfeeding makes you lose weight. That wasn’t true for me, it made me gain weight because I was hungry alllll the time. I read about how convenient it was. It wasn’t convenient for me to feed a newborn that wouldn’t let me cover her* when I went anywhere because she was on and off the breast so much because of my “issues.” It was hard to have to be the only one who fed my daughter for the first six weeks because I didn’t want to use an artificial nipple for fear of her getting “nipple confusion.” I longed for a break. I couldn’t wait until I could pump a little and sleep for four hours straight. Sometimes in the breastfeeding community, legitimate issues can get glossed over because they (rightly) want more people to breastfeed and see it in a positive light. However this tactic for promoting the cause can backfire and make a woman struggling feel alienated (see #1).

3.  “Post Partum Depression” doesn’t mean that you are weak or that you are a bad mom.

The maternal experience in our culture is so often oversimplified and idealized to the point that discussing PPD is almost taboo. Additionally so much of the focus in the post partum period is on the baby, that the postpartum experience on the new mother can be severely downplayed or even ignored. When it was suggested to me that I might have it I felt ashamed, and immediately rejected the idea. PPD is caused by many factors, which differ depending on the mother, but I thought that I couldn’t have PPD because I was sad for a “real” reason: my life legitimately sucked.

My baby was so “colicky” that she wouldn’t let me hold her at all when I wasn’t feeding her or she wasn’t alseep, for the first eight or so weeks of her life. She would arch her back and freak out, even when I fed her. When she was awake I couldn’t stop her from crying, only my husband could do it using a certain specific movement that my arms weren’t strong enough to do continually. Because of my crazy overproduction I had huge milk stains down my stretched out shirts and I smelled like cheese 24 hours a day. It wasn’t pretty, and neither was I. I believe my breastfeeding issues largely contributed to my PPD, but giving up would have made me feel even more like a failure. I was a total wreck. Regardless, any reason for a postpartum mother to be depressed is “real” enough, and should be taken seriously. Thankfully there are many resources out there, you just have to ask for help.

4. So breastfeeding can suck, and that’s ok.

After all the toubles I had, my daughter slowly became less colicky and miserable and my milk production became more reasonable. Eventually my nipples healed. It took a long time but I emerged from that terrible period of my life proud of myself for persevering. My point is that breastfeeding isn’t all sunshine and happy cuddles. Its not effortless. It can be a huge pain in the ass. But I’m telling you, as hard as it can be, in most cases the pros still outweight the cons. I’m not going to say “breast is best” because that makes formula seem like the neutral thing and breastmilk as an extra special step above it. Its not. Breastmilk from a human is what human babies are supposed to eat. That’s not a radical thing to say.

There are many many studies that on the surface appear to show all the extra special fancy things that breastmilk does for a child and breastfeeding does for a mother, but what those studies really show is that formula just doesn’t quite cut it when compared to breastmilk. Those “fancy” things about breastmilk and breastfeeding are things you are supposed to have as a human. And while my breastfeeding troubles may have contributed to my PPD, the oxytocin release I got from breastfeeding and bonding with my child probably saved me in the end. And I can’t even tell you how much my kids (eventually) appreciated their relationship to my boobs. The comfort and fulfillment that boobs give babies is mind boggling.

My daughters both called me, “Boobie” (or more accurately, “Buh-Buh”) long before they called me, “Mama”. That’s what I was, a walking set of breasts. I came in a room and they wouldn’t look me in the eye. It actually started to make me feel rather objectified. But I digress…That emotional benefit* shouldn’t be underestimated. If you ask, me the “feeding” part of breastfeeding is only half of it.  (*Yes, I know you can cuddle and feed a kid formula – or breastmilk – from a bottle and make them feel loved. As an adoptee I was only fed formula as a baby and I am an emotionally and physically healthy adult…but…sometimes I wonder how much smarter I would be now if I had been breastfed… 😉

Some women simply cannot breastfeed, no matter what they do or how hard they try and they should not feel guilty for it. Of course, I know it can be easier said than done. If a caretaker doesn’t have access to human milk, formula, relatively speaking, is an AMAZING substitute to have. I am very thankful to live in a society where formula exists and is safe. For one reason, without it I wouldn’t be alive.

5. You do NOT have to cover up or hide when you feed your child in public! 

Some people find it really easy to cover up with they breastfeed. I was not one of those women. I tried and tried, even after my second child was born. I was also very afraid of being harassed in public so I never wanted to do it. So I’d try to bring pumped milk in a bottle, but it was a pain. I’d have to put aside an extra 20 minutes to pump before we left, but I couldn’t pump any milk if my baby had just eaten. In that case I’d get milk from the freezer and defrost it, but I’d worry about the milk not staying cold enough the entire time we were out.

Then when we were out my breasts would become uncomfortably full with milk, or I’d let down and get soaked if my baby fussed. It seemed ridiculous to feed the child from a bottle when I had perfectly good milk in my own uncomfortably full breasts right then and there. I’d try to hide in my car in the heat of the summer to nurse, but people would see me if they walked near my car in the parking lot. Also after my second baby it seemed ridiculous and cruel to strap my older child into her car seat for 20 minutes in a hot idling car just so I could feed her little sister.

I’ve heard about people suggesting using public bathrooms to nurse. Besides the gross factor, the flushing toilets and hand dryers going off startled my baby so much that she wouldn’t eat at all. They still startle my kids and make them uncomfortable, and they are 2 and 4 years old now. Also, from my experience people usually don’t like when someone hogs public bathroom stalls (especially single person bathrooms) for 20 minutes at a time. And again, what do I do with the second kid?!?!

Then one day I was talking to my friend who worked with nursing women at WIC and she explained to me that she doesn’t advise women to cover because breastfeeding is nothing to be ashamed of. She told me that when more women see other women nursing it will make those women more comfortable nursing their children in public too. And that day I realized that the expectation for mothers to cover is a problem with society, not a problem with me or my child. If women can wear cleavage revealing tops (not to even mention all the butt and boob on display at the beach, on magazine covers, in the media, etc.) then why can’t I simply feed my poor little hungry baby? You know you can look away, right? Just as I’d expect you to look away from gratuitous boobie cleavage hanging out of a shirt or bathing suit if it made you uncomfortable.

Also it should be mentioned that it is not “immodest” to nurse uncovered by definition, since being immodest means to be indecent and shameless. Breastfeeding does not apply here whatsoever. This mindset that women should be ashamed to breastfeed comes from a culture whose priorities and values are all out of whack. It doesn’t reflect well on how we value women, or children for that matter, because they are the ones that suffer the most. When it is super inconvenient (and often mortifying) for a women to feed her child anywhere outside her home, that is a HUGE disincentive to keep breastfeeding. Considering the importance of breastfeeding, (see #4) you can see how this messed up perspective is failing the mothers and babies of our society. By the way, you do realize that mothers + babies = everybody, right?!

So if you want to and you’re feeling brave, go ahead, do it for all of us. Now I’m not saying you won’t get harassed, you might, but covering up doesn’t prevent you from getting harrassed either. For proof of that just join one of the many Facebook pages on the topic of Breastfeeding to read personal stories of other women. HOWEVER, some good news…

6. There are laws to protect you from harassment if you ever decide to leave your home! 

Check your state’s laws on public breastfeeding. When my first child was still nursing we only had a law here in Virginia to protect us from being arrested for indecent exposure. Yet if, for example, a store owner wanted to kick me out of their establishment for feeding my child and I refused to leave they could still have me arrested.

Thankfully this year a law was passed here in my state that protects women who nurse their children wherever they are allowed to be. Many states, while they have laws, don’t have any way for the law to actually be enforced. Its more like declaration of support and strong suggestion to business owners. This is obviously NOT good enough. We need more protection, we need more laws that support us in the workplace, and we need better parental leave. These are issues that advocates for parents and children are working on every day, and I have the honor of personally knowing some of these amazing people. Just know that things are changing, however slowly.

So, while you may come up against negativity as you embark on your amazing, beautiful, and complex nursing relationship, you may also get an unsolicited high-five from someone like me. And, I’m sure your baby will appreciate your perseverance and commitment to breastfeeding more than you know.


You can see Megan’s artwork on her website:  http://meganwynne.net

Editor’s note: The Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” now requires all health insurance plans to provide breastfeeding support including lactation consultants, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding.

The Dancing Baby That Changed Law

You may remember the news back in 2007 about how Universal Music Group freaked out and got YouTube to take down a 29-second long video of a baby dancing.  Why?  A song by Prince was playing in the background.  What is amazing to me is that the audio quality is so horrible that I’m practically unable to recognize the Prince song being played and I am a Prince fan!  This was shot back way in 2007 when YouTube was but an infant itself.

Universal claimed that the video was copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The ironically named Stephanie Lenz (get it?  Lenz? Like a camera lens?), who uploaded the video and is the mother of the baby, sued Universal for wrongly targeting lawful fair use.  This is pretty amazing when you think about it.  How many mom’s and dad’s would have just rolled their eyes and taken the video down?  Nope, not Lenz.  She knew this was stupid and fought for your rights to post your home movies.

The story caught the attention of the media at first, but as it slowly made it’s way though the courts everyone forgot about it. Now we finally have a decision that impacts the video she uploaded and extends way beyond into the thousands of videos upload by parents each year to Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.

On September 14th a three-judge panel in San Francisco’s federal appeals court sided with the dancing baby and ruled unanimously in favor of Lenz, saying that copyright holders must consider whether a use of material is fair before sending a take-down notice.

NPR’s Laura Sydell put it succinctly saying, “Fair Use permits people to use copyrighted material in certain situations like satire or news. Now three judges on the 9th circuit say that unless Universal evaluated whether it was fair use, it may have violated the rights of the video maker. The case is significant because critics say copyright owners like Universal abuse the take down process often at the expense of free expression.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, who represented Lens in the lawsuit, pointed to how this ruling will impact the 2016 presidential election by stating, “The decision made by the appeals court today has ramifications far beyond Ms. Lenz’s rights to share her video with family and friends. We will all watch a lot of online video and analysis of presidential candidates in the months to come, and this ruling will help make sure that information remains uncensored.”

So the next time you take a cute video of your kid dancing to a gratuitously sexual 80’s pop-funk genius – don’t fret.  That video is YOUR video.  This extends beyond kids too… Is the dog doing something stupid?  Quick, get a video! Let’s Go Crazy!

 

Man Attempts to Steal Baby from Car

File this under, “Reasons to never leave you house.”

Local news affiliate WMAZ in Georgia reported a nightmarish tale that makes me want to invent a 6-point car seat harness that shoots lasers and is protected by a cage of razor wire.

After taking her daughter to a doctor visit, Isabel Midence, 35, of Lawrenceville GA swung into a McDonalds for breakfast. She was shocked when she went to exit her car stating, “When I was ready to get out, someone opened the door.”

A strange man had opened the door and was actively trying to steal Isabel’s daughter from her car seat. “Her left arm got stuck with the belt” she said. His reaction? He pulled the baby out by her neck.

Yes, by the baby’s neck.

Luckily Isabel was traveling with her father and the two of them worked to fight off the kidnapper. As she held onto her baby for dear life she used the most basic of tools as a weapon, her teeth!

“When I was fighting with him I kicked him, and bit him because I was holding my baby in my arms,” she said.

Now that’s a move you don’t see in MMA. Well done Isabel!

After the man ran off, police tracked him to a nearby hotel where they found Sterlyn Reynolds, 19, and charged him with Kidnapping and Cruelty to Children. Reynolds told police he had no knowledge of what happened. If you are concerned about him being a case of mistaken identity, police arrested him because he fit the description and he had a bite mark on his arm.

I can’t even imagine the post traumatic stress this mom is going to deal with after this incident. When my kid walks near a table with sharp corners I feel freaked out. This would make me live in a locked down bunker.

I’m fascinated to know what the motivation was for the alleged Sterlyn Reynolds. What type of scum bag tries to kidnap a child, and how crazy do you need to be to try and steal a kid out of a buckled carseat?!

4 Best Selling Baby Carriers Reviewed

Early on in my pregnancy I knew that I was going to have to carry my son a lot as we live in Brooklyn, and strollers aren’t always the most efficient mode of transportation. Pushing a stroller through snow banks only to find yourself carrying it down a flight of crowded subway stairs gets old FAST!  So one winter day I dragged my husband to a local boutique baby store and made us try several carriers in hopes of narrowing our options.  We liked three options, and we had already registered for the original Ergo carrier.  Over time we ended up buying and trading our way through 4 carriers.  My husband and I both used these extensively.

The following article reviews the carriers that we ended up purchasing and using:


Kinderpack Infant Carrier

BabyCarrier_Laundry
Using the Kinderpack to wear the baby AND do laundry. SuperDad?

We ended up purchasing the Kinderpack infant carrier by Kindercarry because I was having my son in the summer and I knew the Ergo’s infant insert was like a sleeping bag and way too hot for a NYC summer!

The Kinderpack is great because you can purchase it with a mesh front where baby sits allowing for ventilation on hot days (see featured image).  NYC summers can be brutal, and I am one of a few in this world who hates the heat.  In addition, it’s design is highly customizable allowing you to convert it into an infant carrier and then gradually transition it to a toddler size.

The Kinderpack straps also criss-cross in the back, which we have found is much more comfortable for us. In fact, the Kinderpack excels in this regard.  It has straps that can be adjusted from various angles making it easy to get the perfect fit.  Or, if you don’t like cross crossed straps you can wear it like a reversed backpack. My husband used to take our infant son out for walks at night and his only complaint was that while this carrier is hyper adjustable, he found that it was not always easy to adjust when he was by himself and unable to reach some of the back straps.

Their design also allows the Kinderpack to be worn in a hip carry position and on your back with your little one looking over your shoulder.  The one thing the Kinderpack does not offer is a forward facing front carry.

Kindercarry is a small family run business and all carriers are hand sewn in Illinois by a handful of people.  It feels great to support a small family business for something so convenient and well made as the Kinderpack.  They also have carriers in a wide range of fun prints.  Many of the prints appear to be limited, so if you see one you like it may not be available in 6 months.

I give the Kinderpack 4 out of 5 stars.  It really is an excellent carrier.  It is very comfortable, lightweight and the mesh is a great feature.  I just wish it had a forward facing/front carry option.  We have only experimented with back carry a few times.  Our son seems a little young for this, but perhaps as he gets older this position will fulfill the forward facing need.  In fact, I think it’s time we try it again… hold on… [trying back-carry again]  Okay, My husband just wore him around the house for 15 minutes and Jr seemed to like it, although I think he’s still a little too short and ended up watching a lot of my husband’s shoulders and neck.

PROS:

  • Lightweight and breathable fabric.
  • Very customizable straps for excellent comfort.
  • Also supports hip and back carry positions.
  • No need for accessories if you want to use it as an infant carrier.
  • Fun prints!

CONS

  • Not great for cold weather (if you purchase the mesh version).
  • Doesn’t support a forward front carry.

 

Ergobaby Original

ergobaby
Ergobaby Original

Now, I have raved about the Kinderpack because I think it is a fantastic carrier, but I will admit that I still used the Ergo Original a lot.

I used the Ergo primarily through the winter. Since we bought the Kinderpack with mesh, it wasn’t great for the miserable NYC winter. The Ergo is a very comfortable carrier, provided you don’t require the straps to crisscross your back.  The straps are very well padded, the weight distributes well, and it was cozy warm.

The pocket on the front of the carrier allowed me to slide in a wallet or keys when I just needed to run to the grocery store, and the hood was great to pull up over my son’s head on cold days when he would fall asleep.  All in all, the Ergo is a great carrier, and I am sure I will continue to use it, but we eventually purchased the Beco Gemini, which changed baby carrying for us in a big way.

I give the Ergo Original 4 out of 5 stars.  It is very comfortable, it was a great carrier through the winter, but it is a little warm for the summer months, especially with the infant insert. It would be nice if the straps could cross in the back and if a forward facing/front carry were an option, without having to upgrade to the Ergo 360. In retrospect, I wish we had registered for the 360 instead as it offers many of the features found in the Kinderpack and Beco Gemini [reviewed below].

PROS:

  • Very well padded straps.
  • Great for cold weather.
  • Helpful front pocket.
  • Popular, so it’s easy to find this used or as a trade.

CONS

  • Straps can only be worn in one position, like a reversed backpack.
  • Requires an additional insert to carry an infant.
  • In retrospect I wish we had registered for the Ergo 360 instead.
BabyCarrier
Braving the winter cold! Using the Ergo with an additional fleece cover.

Didymos DidyTai

Didymos DidyTai
Didymos DidyTai

When we went to the boutique store to try out the carriers, I tried on and really liked the Didymos Didytai.  It was lightweight, and a mix between a structured carrier and a wrap carrier.  It was also comfortable.  Keep in mind that I tried this with an 8 lb doll.  Effective, but VERY different from a live squirming baby.

Since there are no clicking buckles to struggle with, snaps in weird places or Velcro to scratch you, the result is a very natural feeling carrier that conforms to your body shape. A DidyTai allows for many tying variations including a front position, a hip carry and a baby backpack.  It doesn’t allows for a forward facing carry.

I purchased this wrap from another mother as it was out of my price range new.  I gave this wrap a try on a number of occasions.  I wore it through the neighborhood, into Manhattan, on long and short walks, and I realized as much as I liked the carrier, it just didn’t work for me.  I needed more structure.  The carrier constantly loosened on me and dropped too low.  I could never keep it at the correct height and I was always concerned something was too loose.  I still like the carrier and I think it would work for someone else.  It is a great concept and I really do wish it would have worked for me.

I give the Didymos DidyTai a 3 out of 5 stars for being a great concept, but it just didn’t fit me well. My husband wore this a few times.  It’s definitely the most feminine of the carries we owned so keep that in mind if your husband is concerned about those types of things.

PROS:

  • Lightweight!
  • Great for infants.  Super snuggly!
  • Comfortable.  Because it’s a wrap the weight is distributed widely across your body.
  • Unique look.

CONS

  • Can be a long process to put this on, especially if your kid is fighting it.
  • Hard to to adjust once you have it on.
  • Less structure than other carriers.
  • No forward facing option.

Beco Gemini

As I met other moms in the neighborhood and started to see all of the other carrying options, I began to see some of them wearing their little ones faced forward in the carrier.  This is something that I knew my son would LOVE.  Sadly, the Ergo Original and the Kinderpack did not allow for a forward faced carry.

I was able to trade the Didymos Didytai with another mom for the Beco Gemini.  I have to say, the minute my son was able to face forward, his mind was BLOWN.  Walks and outings became exciting trips.  He could see the world, not just my throat.  He rarely if ever fusses when in it, and it is as comfortable for me as the KinderPack and Ergo.

Now, that being said, facing him in again may not be an option.  We will see once winter comes again and the cold wind picks up, but every time I try to face him in now he tends to fight it, or tries to turn or hang out of the carrier so that he can see out.  I have tried back carry and hip carry both in the Beco Gemini and Kinderpack and those work fine as well, but nothing is the same as forward facing.

Let’s talk about the straps.  These can be worn Crisscrossed across your back or in the reverse backpack position.  Each has it’s own benefit.  The backpack style is very fast to put on and remove, although my husband never felt that this was as comfortable and secure as having the straps cross your back.

The Beco Gemini also has buckle locks.  Basically once you clip the straps together they have a third button your need to press in order to undo them.  This has been a mixed bag.  It’s nice having the extra safety, but taking this off can be a tricky feat of coordination until you get used to it.  We can undo them one handed now.

Once adjusted, this carrier stays in place and doesn’t drift or loosen.  Yet, somehow, the Beco Gemini has proven to be super easy to adjust as you wear it.  Sometimes we loosen it up if our son wants to squirm, other time we tighten for a snug feel.  Loosen it again to sit down and then tighten when we get up to walk again.  Loosen again to breastfeed, etc.  Besides the option of forward facing, the ability to easily adjust the carrier while being worn is it’s killer feature.

I give the Beco Gemini 5 out of 5 stars and our MostRoyal badge for being so versatile!   My husband also prefers using the Beco to carry our son, even at a his heavy 14 month old weight.

MostRoyal_Stamp

PROS:

  • Forward facing!
  • Allows for other carry positions such as facing in, back carry, side carry.
  • Confortable.  Straps are easy to adjust even after you have it on.
  • Straps can be crisscrossed or worn backpack style.
  • Extra safety locks on all belt clips.
  • No need for accessories if you want to use it as an infant carrier.

CONS

  • Fabric seems to get dirty easy (then again we use this the most).
  • We’ve read some complaints that the leg gap becomes too narrow as kids get older.  We are watching for this.
  • Extra safety locks on all belt clips would be a bad option for anyone with finger joint mobility concerns.

 

In conclusion, I would say that the Becco Gemini carrier has been our most versatile carrier.  The forward facing feature made such a difference for us carrying our son around the city.  The Kinderpack and Ergo come in a close second, and the Didytai was nice, but not for me.

I would absolutely recommend trying on carriers before you make any decisions.  If you have a baby who will cooperate, use them! If your little bundle of joy has yet to be born a weighted doll will suffice, so check to see if the store has one. Many do. If you are far into your pregnancy and have a belly to contend with, bring along your spouse or a friend who can also try the carrier on and give you their thoughts.

Baby carrying is a great way to bond with your child, and if you’re living in a city and do a lot of walking like we do, it is the perfect mode of transportation.

Perfect Poached Eggs in 2 min

One of the hardest changes for us was finding time for simple things like breakfast.  Each morning has become a tightly choreographed routine and most of the dance is focused on feeding the little one.

I found my wife, Steph, reverting back to college living and eating bowls of cereal every morning, and then again for lunch and again at night before bed.  As you might guess, Steph is not into cooking. She can make amazing food if you give her a recipe. She’s got a great binder full of cookies, cupcakes, lasagna, chicken curry casseroles and more but those aren’t exactly quick bites she can throw together. …nor are they healthy.  So, I set about looking for healthy and filling alernatives to cereal.

Today’s recipe is for super simple microwaved poached eggs.  In the time it will take you to make toast you can have a delicious and healthy breakfast.

The recipe also has super simple clean up allowing us to get right back to chasing our Little Prince as he toddles around.

Step 1:

To make microwaved poached eggs you will need a coffee mug and an egg.  You can also make this with two eggs in a larger mug.  Cooking times will be tricker though (more on that below).  To be honest I usually  make one egg, remove it and then cook the second.  Maybe this is easier, or maybe I’m lazy, but I still finish cooking the eggs before the toast is done.

MicrowavedPoachedEggs

Step 2:

Fill the mug halfway with water.  Crack the egg open and add it to the water very carefully so that you do not break the yoke.  Add a pinch of salt, if desired.  I find doing so makes everything cook a bit more evenly.

This is also when I toss some bread into the toaster.  I like my poached eggs with rye bread.

I can hear your concerns about clean up now.  Don’t worry.  When it comes to clean up you will be thrilled to know that when you dump this water there is almost zero residue left behind in the mug.  A quick rinse, wipe of the inside and into the dishwasher it goes!

MicrowavedPoachedEggs2

Step 3:

Place the mug into the microwave and cook on high.  The general rule of thumb is to cook your egg somewhere between 1 minute and 1 minute 30 seconds.  I find that 1:20 works great for my microwave.

This is where things can be a bit tricky.

If you don’t cook you egg long enough the whites will not have set.  If you cook for too long the egg will “pop” shooting water and egg goodness all over the inside of your microwave oven. This is when the simple clean up stops being simple.  Doh!

You may also try cooking for 2 min at 50 percent power.

This is really going to depend on a few factors such as the power of your microwave and the size of the eggs you buy.  I also cook using the cold filtered water that we keep in our fridge.

The first time you do this recipe you should be prepared for a potential mess so you might want to take this on after the little ones have gone to bed so you can experiment freely.  Once you know the cooking time for your set up, you will be able to replicate it time after time.

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Round and a-round we go!

Step 4:

Using a slotted spoon or a large soup spoon carefully remove your egg from the water.  Drain off any excess moisture and place on a plate or small bowl.

This is also when I dump the water, refill and crack a second egg into the coffee mug. Back into the microwave it goes!

If you are going to cook two batches make sure you dump the old water and pour fresh into the mug.  Otherwise it will have a tendency to boil over due to the water already being hot.

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I tossed a little basil chiffonade on top for pretty pictures, but you don’t need to do this.

Once the toast pops I cut it into strips and add to the bowl.  Usually the toast pops right before my second egg finishes cooking.

Step 5:

Add salt and pepper to taste. EAT!

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I’m not a food photographer, but you get the idea.

NUTRITION FACTS:

2 eggs with a slice of rye toast (no butter).

  • Calories: 220
  • Total Fat: 11.5g
    • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 370mg
  • Sodium: 380mg
  • Total Carbs: about 15g depending on the bread you use
  • Protein: 14g


Perfect Poached Eggs

21 Must Own Baby Board Books

If there’s anything we do, it’s a lot of research. This list of 21 must own baby books has been curated after days of scrutiny. We combed through our personal collection, read countless Amazon reviews, talked with other parents, pulled from library shelves (a great resource!), sourced teacher recommendations, dug through blogs and forums.

In short, if you own these 21 books – or even half of them – your babies’ library is off to an excellent start.

Is every book listed here perfect for everyone? Maybe not. In fact, we included one book that drives us nutty. But, since everyone else seems to love it we wanted to squash our harsh negativity and give you the chance to love it too. (We’ll let you know what book it is below.)

When possible, we have linked to the Board Book version being sold on Amazon.com.

So, here they are, MostRoyal’s 21 Must Own Baby Books:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Let’s be honest, as a parent you are required to own this one.  This is a no brainer.  It defines the entire genre and with good reason.  The story has a nice flow, the illustrations don’t grow tiresome and best of all it works great as a bedtime book. I personally like all the little details.  For example, check out the clock.  According to the watch face it takes this kid two hours to fall asleep!  …I can relate to that.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

A story that relies heavily on its illustrations, and doesn’t disappoint!  The rambunctious gorilla sneaks away the keys from his zookeeper and silently releases the other animals of the zoo from their cages as he says goodnight to each.  All of the animals then follow Mr. Zookeeper home for the night.   This is a book that is wonderful to share with your newborn and your toddler.

Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book by Karen Katz

This is a cute lift-the-flap book for toddlers, helping to teach body parts and concepts such as “behind the cup.”  As with most lift-the- flap books our son loves to be involved in lifting the pages to reveal the babies’  belly buttons and mouths, etc. The illustrations are colorful and cute, and our son loves to find our belly buttons now and point his out too.  I look forward to him growing with this book for many more months.

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell

This book is really cute.  It’s about a child looking to find his perfect pet, so he writes to the zoo and they keep sending him different animals.  Some are too big, some are too tall, etc.  Finally they send him the perfect pet that he decides to keep.  Someday maybe our son will get one too!

Guess How Much I Love You by by Sam McBratney

Okay, this is the one book we can’t stand.  To be fair, the story is super cute and the illustrations are very well done.  My complaint is in the author’s decision to write out the characters names in full each time they speak. Saying “Big NutBrown Hare” and “Little NutBrown Hare” doesn’t roll off my tongue.  (My mom also can’t stand it and had to switch to a different book midway.) That said, this book comes up time and time again in lists, reviews and discussions of great baby books.  It came up A LOT.  So, maybe it’s right for you. Just not me.

Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book) by Dorothy Kunhardt

This is the classic interactive touch and feel book for kids.  Main characters Paul and Judy can do all kinds of things, and they invite your little one to do the same.  Children love the interactive nature of this book and enjoy doing the activities along with Paul and Judy.  One word to the wise, it is recommended that you do not purchase the plastic comb bound version of this book, as children can very easily pull it apart.  Why anyone would bind a children’s book with a plastic comb binding is beyond me…  This is a cute book for kids and a must have for any library. Your children will be playing with it for a long time.

Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

A colorful and surprising peek-a-boo book for little ones, this colorful book has an animal hiding behind cut out pages allowing your little one to anticipate the turn of each page.  With colorful illustrations and rhyming text, this book will keep your child entertained every time you read it, and for some that could be multiple times a day!

A Good Day by Kevin Henkes

Really cute and straightforward illustrations are paired with a wonderful story of four creatures who start out having a bad day.  Everything turns around for the characters and in the process they learn that life will get better.  Essentially a, “Don’t cry over spilled milk” message that kids can easily understand.

Black on White by Tana Hoban

No words.  Iconic images.  Simple, strong, and oddly interactive as the work is on you and your child to point to the illustrations, talk together and bond as a family.  The others in the series are very popular too, but this one stands out as the best after researching the general consensus.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

Iconic illustrations by Eric Carle are paired with a nice rhythmic text from Bill Martin.  This book is part of themed series, each starting with a different bear (Baby Bear, Polar Bear & Panda Bear). We find Brown Bear to be the strongest of the set.  This book is also a good reason to do some research before buying.  We had picked up another book by Eric Carle assuming it would be just as good. Nope!  So it’s best to stick with this series and one other listed below.

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

Everyone needs a good counting book. “Five Monkeys” provides that with a nice lyrical text, charming illustrations and a great ending. In short, the story is that Momma tries to put the monkey children to bed, they start to jump on the bed when she leaves, someone falls off and hurts themselves and she tries all over again. I won’t give away the ending but it’s very cute.

I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy

Much like Black on White, this book is filled with illustrations utilizing contrast and well placed color. As a result this makes for a great infant experience.  The story builds as the barnyard animals all ask about the newly born baby duckling.  This one is filled with a sweet tenderness that parents and children will enjoy.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

This one will give you a serious case of “The Feels.” The tender text starts with, “”I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”  This book may put a lump in your throat and tears on your shirt as you think about your own parents and begin to understand how the love you feel for you own child was first felt by them for you.  Highly recommended.

Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton

Selecting a single book by Sandra Boynton is a difficult task.  Her works come up all the time in “best of” lists.  You can’t go wrong with Moo Baa La La La. Beyond this perennial favorite we personally like the silly Hippos Go Berserk!, the beautiful message of Happy Hippo, Angry Duck and our bedtime standard The Going-To-Bed Book (read our full review).

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

This book articulates many of the emotions a parent feels for their child without becoming too saccharin.  There is a great magical quality to the illustrations – although sometimes the “composited in photoshop” look feels a little strong for me.  This book makes a great present for new parents and would make a fantastic addition to any baby shower gift.  Another popular Tillman book is The Crown on Your Head, for which we wrote a full review.

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

A delightful book tacking concepts about shapes, colors and sequences. The entire text is made up of only 5 words (4 in the title) so you can imagine the creativity involved in telling this story. A very clever book that will make you laugh.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Design!  OMG.  The design and illustrations are just fantastic. The text lives up to the challenge with a great rhythmic pulse and playful vibe telling the story of a young child waking up to find freshly fallen snow and his adventure exploring.  This book was also the 1963 Caldecott Medal winner. Much like Goodnight Moon this is a must have.


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen

One of the best parts of researching this article was finding this book.  I had never heard of it before. I know what you’re thinking, “Well this can’t really be about a bear hunt.”  Nope, it is.  The story is based on an old camping chant/song and it’s a playful romp as a father and his four children go trekking through vistas in search of a bear, find it, and then get chased all the way back home.  A great read-aloud book.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This is the most popular book by Eric Carle and there is little question why.  The very hungry caterpillar eats his way through the pages of the book in bright bold colors.  Also, kids seem to love butterfly metamorphosis stories.  So, start with the best.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

You need to have some Dr Seuss!  This board book has an excellent text that’s full of silly sounds. This will be something your child will want you to read for many years and eventually they will want to read it out loud themselves. A classic.

Munch! by Matthew Van Fleet

Yes!  Yes, just buy this one.  We love this book so much we wrote an entire review about it.  Our kid loved this the first time we read it when he was just a few months old.  Not only has the story held up, but his enjoyment continues to deepen as he has grown older and begins to explore the tactile elements.  Of all the Matthen Van Fleet books (and they are all worth owning) I also think this one has the strongest writing.  Great rhythm to the words and a super fun read!

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Car Review [VIDEO]

We purchased the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Car for my son at the Holidays when he was just about six months old.  He is now 12 months and he has loved playing with this toy from day one.  It was delivered in frustration free packaging and we found it very easy to assemble.  As our son has developed over the past 6 months this toy has grown with him and gets plenty of use! Even the cat plays with it… But only when we are trying to sleep.

Cat playing with toy car

Every aspect of the toy has been explored from the shape sorting to the spinning back wheels, and the rotating dashboard.  It was even tested by a slightly older friend (at 15 months, he is the mature friend of our group) and was given a high approval rating by the car loving boy!  As with most children’s toys, the songs can get repetitive, but that’s what we get for purchasing battery operated toys in the first place, right?!

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I give the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Car 5 out of 5 stars for its ability to grow with the child and provide plenty of entertainment.  I expect my son to continue playing with this toy for many months (maybe years??) to come, making it a worthwhile purchase!

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