Sunday, January 30, 2011

Medela Breastmilk Labeling & Storage System Review & GIVEAWAY!

Medela has a new Breastmilk Labeling & Storage System that is designed to make the whole "what bag do I use?" part of pumping and breastfeeding less complicated. Here's what they have to say about it from

A new Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System — one that helps parents and caregivers track, label and organize breastmilk bottles in the refrigerator or freezer — is now available from Medela.

The all-in-one system includes one organizer tray, two labeling lids and two 5-ounce breastmilk bottles. The organizer tray provides dedicated space to protect up to six breastmilk bottles or storage bags, and keeps them organized and upright in the refrigerator or freezer. It also features a convenient handle that allows parents and caregivers to easily move the tray around or remove it for cleaning.
To help parents identify the freshest breastmilk and avoid waste, clearly marked “in” and “out” arrows identify which breastmilk bottle is “next in line” for a feeding. Twist-and-lock labeling lids — also available separately in a pack of six — allow parents to select a day of the week and time of day (a.m., p.m. or midday) to track when milk was pumped, or a “feed by” day for other caregivers.

“For moms who are separated from baby and pump frequently, it can be difficult to properly store and keep track of breastmilk bottles to make sure baby is getting the freshest breastmilk,” said Brian Warren, new business development manager at Medela. “The Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System helps mom, dad or a caregiver keep breastmilk bottles in one place, with clear indicators of when breastmilk was pumped for more organized feedings later.”

The organizer tray and labeling lids are compatible with all Medela polypropylene breastmilk bottles (not for use with glass bottles). Like all Medela products that come into contact with breastmilk, the bottles and the tray are Bisphenol A-free. The organizer tray is also compatible with Medela’s Pump & Save breastmilk bags (sold separately). It is 100 percent reusable and dishwasher safe.

The Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System will be available in independent and mass retailers starting in January 2011 at a retail price of $15.99. Breastmilk labeling lids (a pack of six) are also available separately at a retail price of $9.49. To find Medela retail stores visit
My Thoughts...
I was pretty excited about this concept when I first heard about it. I always have the problem of my family not knowing which bag of frozen or fresh milk to start with, and something always ends up going bad before it gets used. :( Even if you date bags, people don't always have the time to read them before pulling one. The tray that Medela designed has an "in" and "out" section so that you will in theory just move the bottles around the ring from "in" to "out" as they get used and you put more in. This will always keep the oldest milk moving forward.

It would be a better system if the "in" section was raised slightly so that the milk actually slid down towards the "out" section and you didn't have to physically push the bottles around. Medela says you can also use this with the bags instead of bottles, but when I put frozen bags of my milk into the organizer tray (I use the Lansinoh brand, but they are the same size as the Medela pumping bags), it didn't actually function so well because the bags didn't fit too well. I thought about solving this problem by letting the milk freeze in the bag as it sits IN the tray instead of it laying flat in the freezer before I move it, but then you may still have a problem moving it around and taking it out since the shape would remain the same as when you first put the milk bag into the tray. So plan on using bottles. :)

The bottles themselves are pretty cool. I don't like that they're a soft plastic, but the lids are great in that you can snap up the top part and spin it around to designate which day of the week and what time of day you pumped that particular milk. No sharpies needed, and the bottles should screw on to any standard pump so you can pump right into them. They're also big enough to express into by hand, which is what I did last night since I was too lazy to hook my pump all up.

Overall, I think it's a good concept but still needs a little more work to make it worth the money. Maybe I should contact Medela about being an inventor for them...

Win it!
Medela and BSM Media are giving away one of these Breastmilk Labeling & Storage Systems to a reader. Here's how we're going to do it...the first person to comment here and email me her name and mailing address (lifemoresimply at wins! Don't forget to do both steps: comment, email. If someone has already left a comment below, feel free to also do the same because you never know if that person really did complete the second step. Good luck!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CSN Stores Review Coming Soon!

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from tools, counter height stools, or great nursery decor! I have spent months, literally, digging through their website(s) and it's like discovering a treasure every time. The only thing I've found that they don't carry are wedding rings...which means they have cloth diapers, Lincoln Logs, patio furniture, and hand crafted door bell boxes. Oh. Yes.

When I tell people about I describe it as the of the regular e-commerce world. :) Definitely check it out (it's pretty fun, I will have you know), and keep watching Life More Simply because we'll be doing a review from them shortly!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nursing Mamas Can Be Sexy, Too!

One of the biggest things new mothers have to combat after giving birth is their new body image. For 9 months, your body changed and developed into something entirely different than it was before. Beautifully encasing a growing baby, your body is (for most) easy to cherish during that time. Then the baby comes and it's as though your body morphed into something not-so-desirable in the snap of a finger. All of the sudden, you realize that you're overweight, have a very flabby belly, your thighs and butt are larger than they were before, and your boobs aren't nearly as perky.

While I am the first to say that mother's bodies are beautiful and the media has it totally wrong to consider the only form of beauty to be unhealthily thin models with large curves in very defined places (and forget stretch marks, or puffy eyes, right?), I am also the first to understand how hard it is to accept our new bodies once we become mothers. It's pretty tough to be sleep deprived, give of yourself so much in every way to those around you 24-hours a day, and somehow still feel beautiful.

After LoveBug's birth, it wasn't an option for me to do anything but breastfeed. I was so committed to it that I practically lived with my breast pump at all times since I had to work full time +. With breastfeeding also came the nursing bras...and boy, are they ugly! What is it with frumpy looking old-lady-beige colored nursing bras? Why didn't it occur to someone that us nursing moms need an extra boost of self confidence? I once heard a male coworker state "why would you need to wear a sexy bra after you're married? No one will see it..." I rolled my eyes.

It took me a very, very long time to find sexy nursing bras on the market that fit me (size 32huge--how would it make YOU feel if even Victoria's Secret didn't even carry your size?). Most of them are very expensive (at least to the cheapskate that I am), but I think they are totally worth it. So ladies, throw out your frumpy beige bolder holders, and stock your drawers full of these:

Hot Milk Lingerie

From New Zealand, they sell matching bra and panty sets, include 3/4 cup size for pregnant and nursing mamas. Not only this, but they also have a few lingerie "nightie" selections, some pj's, and a camisole.  Bras average around $60.00 and sport dramatic names like "Her Midnight Charm Was Striking" and "Tamed By Her Sensuality." Oh, yes. I snagged an "Awakened By Her Desire" bra over Black Friday and am happy to report that the fit is pretty good, and it's a very sturdy bra. I thought the lace overlay was cheesier in real life than in the photo, but it's still 100x better than the beige. The nursing enclosure, like most nursing bras, leaves a strap in place where the cup would be when you open the nursing flap.

Cake Lingerie
From their website: "Cake was born in 2008 when its founder; Tracey Montford yearned for beautiful lingerie during her pregnancy. All she could find was matronly, high cupped, uninspiring and unflattering product which did nothing for her self esteem and pride, during this period of vulnerability" ...Can it be said any better than this? This company is one that really gets it. In fact, they began a "Real Mums, Real Fit" campaign, using NO models and doing NO touch ups for stock photos. How much closer to awesome can a company get?! Their bras also retail for around $60 and matching panties are also available with 2 styles to choose from per bra. One exciting thing is that they're just about to launch a new line, and it looks pretty delicious (yes, pun intended).

My husband got me their "Plum Pudding" bra for Christmas and I have to say that it is the BEST fit in a bra that I have EVER had. I only wish that I had gotten a larger band size, but the cups are awesome! They're actually round and hold their shape which I can't say for most other bras (it seems that most are oblong one way or another). I also love that when you drop the nursing flap/cup, there is no strap that crosses your breast. It's just like a regular bra that will drop the cup on your command. Super comfy, very well made, and cute as all get out. I am hoping for another one come Valentine's Day and our anniversary. ;-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Babies 'R Us is giving away an ENTIRE Registry!

I thought this was pretty exciting, even if I am not pregnant...but if you are pregnant, you need to do this! Imagine how AWESOME it would be if you won!

If you're expecting a new baby, chances are that you're registered at the go-to spot for all things baby- Babies 'R Us. And even if you're registering days are long behind you, we have a feeling you know some moms who are expecting a new little bundle of joy. If you fall into either of these categories, you're definitely going to want to hear about the new Babies 'R Us sweepstakes, sponsored by Baby Brezza, the makers of The Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker!

From January 13th until February 13th, you have the chance to win your entire Babies 'R Us registry*, just by adding the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker to your registry. That's right, one lucky mom-to-be will win her entire wish-list, including the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker! And trust us, this is one must-have that you'll want to add to your list anyway, since it's the only baby food maker that steams and blends in one simple step.
I've been wanting a Baby Brezza for a while, and the good Lord knows I would love a Babies 'R Us shopping maybe I'll go create a registry real quick for my two already-here babes...;)
Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a gift card and Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Paramedic's Drive Home

The snow has been furious the last two nights as I drove home. What normally takes me 35 minutes took me exactly one hour on Tuesday night (with my two babies strapped into the back seat) and what seemed like an endless amount of time on Wednesday night as well. For some reason, the plow and salt trucks didn't see a need to be out to clear the road that was covered with snow over a layer of ice which resulted in me driving 20 mph all.the.way.home. Nice. Yesterday, the problem was not the road condition, but the visibility factor. Huge, beautiful, and memorizing snow flakes came at my windshield like a computer screen saver for the whole drive. Not only did you have to fight the hypnotic state it created, but you really couldn't see anything including the lines on the road. Great.

All of this did make me realize one thing, though: there is no better motivation to drive extra-extra carefully than to know who will be cutting your clothes off if you crash.

The drive home of a paramedic goes something like this...

First, I double check my kids' car seats to make sure they're secured properly and that the thermal blanket is within arm's reach if I need it. As I begin my drive, I am extra cautious as I approach the classic crash sites, and I think about the medic that just took my place when my shift ended 30 minutes ago. I warned his partner before I left that they are under no circumstances to cut all of my clothes off in the event my car flips over, and he promised to abide by that. After all, good bras are ridiculously expensive and by no means do I need my coworkers seeing me unclothed either. Seriously.

As I navigate the road, I'm proud that I made it through the curve that my own car crashed on 7 or so years ago. In my mind, I prepare a list of who is home and would respond with the fire department whose district I'm in right now. I think to myself that I would tell the 911 dispatcher to let the fire and ambulance know who wrecked her car so that I'd be sure to have the people show up who I know would do a good job and take care of my kids. As I pass out of my "favorite" department's district though, I enter the next one.

There is no way I'm crashing here, and I slow down to 15 mph even though I could probably go 25. Why? Because I know one of the whackers in this department. Not only would he probably drive too fast for the conditions and slide his own truck into the side of my small car potentially killing my children, but he would have his scissors out before he could unbuckle his seat belt. I taste a little vomit in my mouth at the thought of this...maybe I'll go 10 mph.

The county line arrives now, and my stomach drops as I realize I'm now entering not only the worst part of my travel (including losing cell service), but I have also now changed ambulance districts. I also think about how I'm passing the home of a registered child rapist and that if I crashed in front of his house, he may come out to my car to see what's going on. No, thank you. I continue to drive as safe as is humanly possible, and I think to myself that the "Big & Rich" CD I'm listening to for the third time now is really great music to get you through a horrendous snow storm that no one in their right mind should be out during. Then it hits me: last time I had to be cut out of my car, this CD was playing...I immediately eject the CD and throw it on the passenger's seat.

Into the next district now. Only two more districts to go, and my ambulance partner is one of the chiefs in the one I'm in now (yes, I think in terms of "districts" rather than "miles"). I vow to call him after I get off the phone with 911 if the unspeakable happens. I know he'll run the show right.

Finally, finally, I arrive home and in one piece. I feel so successful that I want to broadcast my status on Facebook as "one more day goes by where my clothes stay intact."

Like I said, there is no better motivation to drive carefully then to know the people who will be cutting your clothes off. Join your local fire department.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Favorite Thing About 2011

I had some amazing things happen in 2010. First, the birth of my son. Secondly, a job change. And thirdly an most recently, a new husband.

I hope to write about my husband's and my journey during February (the month of looooooooove, ya know), but there's something I need to post today. I realize you may not understand all of it yet, but bear with me anyway.

Dear Ron,

You are my favorite thing about 2011. Little did anyone around us realize, but a month ago we were about to get divorced. Everything had built up over the last almost-five-years, you weren't changing, and I was done with being treated that way. I had begged you and told you it was happening, but it took my heart leaving you for you to wake up and realize and admit what you had been doing and how damaging it was to our family.

I love that you are once again the man I fell in love with. Since our wedding, I haven't been married to the man I said "yes" to. I have missed him so very much but have done my crying in silence and just endured things because I'm good at that and can find a way to be happy anyway. I wish I had understood that sometimes love says "no" and makes that "no" happen, maybe keeping us less broken in the process.

Either way, my heart is coming back. The journey we will be taking during this year can give us a beautiful ending to our lives, and I am glad we are in it together. Our babies are blessed to have you as their daddy, and I am elated to now, FINALLY, be married to that man I said "yes" to six years and almost five months ago to.

Don't give up. I am falling back in love with you.


"Can't Help Falling In Love" cover by Pearl Jam