7 Must Have's for Bottle Feeding!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

If you came here thinking you were going to have to wade through bottle-shaming propaganda to get to the good stuff, you’re in the wrong place! This community LOVES bottle feeding! There are so many positives that come to mind when we think about supporting parents in introducing a bottle like giving both parents the ability to feed and granting the gestational parent some newfound freedom. It also allows for other people to help care for your baby for instances like overnight care (one of our most requested services) and for a much needed date night. Another positive with bottle feeding that you don’t get from breastfeeding is knowing (and seeing!) exactly how much your baby is eating. This can be so relieving to some parents and worth it all in itself! 

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times...and I’ll continue to remind you--we don’t care how you feed your baby. We care that your mental health is being protected and that your baby is being fed. The rest can be figured out and we can help! 

Over the years, we have supported hundreds of families in this transition so we’ve learned a thing or two about giving your baby a bottle. Our ultimate goal in everything we do is to make your life easier and the transitions smoother, so we’ve gathered the exact tools you need to make bottle feeding a breeze!

1. Fave Bottles-- This is a no-brainer! If you’re going to bottle feed, finding the right bottle for you and your baby is a must! We have 3 bottles that we looooooove! The first bottle is the Tommee Tippee bottle! This bottle is the most like a human nipple. I rarely meet a baby that doesn’t like Tommee Tippee bottles so I think it’s your safest bet when ordering a bottle! The chances that your baby rejects the Tommee Tippee is slim to none because it will feel so familiar! On the off chance that you baby does reject the Tommee Tippee, give the Comotomo a try! This is a silicon base bottle that also closely resembles the human breast. As your child grows and learns to hold their own bottle, you can add these slip-on handles to support your child’s intellectual leaps and independence! Finally, our third choice is Dr. Brown’s bottle! They even come in glass which we love!

Personally, I believe that “colic” or “anti-gas” bottles are a big gimmick. I don’t recommend spending substantial amounts of money on these fancy words when purchasing bottles. When we think about gas in babies, most of the time it is not actually the bottle itself, but the way we are feeding the baby. #humanerror This also means that with a few simple tweaks of the wrist and the positioning of your baby, we can cut down on their gas (and spit up!).

2. Soap-- This is intentionally the second on this list because it’s so important! Most people don’t consider the impact of the soap you’re using to clean your child’s bottles, but it can affect so much from skin rashes to spit up to gas. Here’s why: each time you heat up a plastic bottle (the nipples are silicone/plastic as well), the heat breaks down the plastic particles and makes the bottles a bit more porous. This includes heating them to sanitize and clean, too. The soap that you use will be absorbed into the bottles and then digested by your baby. This shouldn’t be too scary, as it happens to us everyday with our dishes, cups, and tupperware. However, it does mean that you have some control here. We recommend using Dr. Bonner’s Pure Castile Baby Soap that is designed for just this! We believe so heavily in this soap because we’ve seen the simple switch be the answer to severe reflux, eczema, and gas! If you think about the toxins in everyday dish soap, it’s no surprise that it can cause so many problems. You don’t want that going into your newborns belly. 

3. Bottle Brush-- If you’ve already introduced a bottle, you’ve probably noticed the thin layer of “slime” that is leftover from breastmilk (and some formulas) in the bottle. If you haven’t introduced a bottle yet, stay tuned, you’ll know what I’m talking about soon enough. This thin layer of ick is actually fat and we want to make sure that it gets cleaned before using that bottle again. Unfortunately, a bottle sanitizer (or boiling the bottles) isn’t going to get rid of the fatty remnants. You are going to need a bottle brush to accomplish this. Like many things in life, not all bottle brushes are created equal. In order to truly get every crevice in your baby’s bottle clean, you’re going to want a bottle that has bristles and a sponge like this one

4. Warmer-- Your baby’s belly is not designed to consume and digest cold milk--not even room temperature milk for the first few months. Before 6 months old, you should be warming your baby’s bottle to slightly warmer than body temperature. Each warmer will come with its’ own set of instructions and will step you through how long to warm up each bottle based on the ounces being warmed. Our favorite warmer is the Phillips Avent warmer! It’s sleek, fits almost all bottles, and has tons of varying heat settings. We also love the Kiinde bottle warmer, but it is slightly higher in price!

To check the temperature of your baby’s bottle, warm up the bottle and test it on your forearm. Hold out your arm and squirt a tiny amount of your forearm. if it is body temperature or slightly warmer, you are all set to serve it! If it’s too hot, you can either take off the top and blow it like hot soup or you can run the bottle (top on) under cold water for 90 seconds and test again. Be very careful not to scald your baby’s mouth and throat as this could cause an aversion to bottle feeding.

5. Grass + Trees-- This one is not self-explanatory, I know! Once you begin bottle feeding, you are going to need a place to store all these bottles...and nipples, and caps, and vent systems. While storing in the cabinet may seem logical, it isn’t quite that feasible because you will be reaching for these things every 2-3 hours. You’re going to want your child’s bottles to be stored conveniently and compactly. This grass drying rack is perfect for that. You can add these trees in to hold nipples and caps, plus any pacifiers! I recommend two trees for every pallet of grass!

Save 10% on your order of Smilo baby pacifiers with code 'TBH10'. 

6. Sanitizer-- When it comes to sanitizing your baby’s bottle, you have lots of options! You can use this Nanobébé microwavable sanitizer system! It comes with moveable pegs to accommodate different bottle sizes and types plus sterilizes in just 4 minute! Another microwavable favorite are these Medela Quick Clean Bags! You simply put water in the bottom of the bag, place it in the microwave, and drain the bag! Be careful because it does create a lot of steam! This Baby Brezza Sterilizer is like a deluxe version of bottle sanitizers! It has all the bells and whistles, plus it looks like something from the future! If none of these fancy your liking, a good old fashioned pot of boiling water will do just fine! Bring the water to a boil and dunk each piece of the bottle and all pacifiers in the water. They should be submerged for 10-15 seconds to sanitize properly. Remove the pieces and hang on your grass rack and trees to dry! 

7. Bottle bag-- This is often something that parents forget about when it comes to bottle feeding! If you are bottle feeding with breastmilk, you’re going to need to keep the breastmilk cool on the go so it doesn’t spoil! We love this SkipHop Bottle Bag! It’s stylish, affordable, and perfect for taking your bottles wherever you go! If you are formula feeding, this portable pre-measured formula dispenser will be the biggest game-changer for you! You can thank me later!

*We’ve put all the necessary supplies in our Amazon Storefront to make it easy peasy for you to round-up everything you need!

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

Clogged Duct Rescue Kit

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Clogged ducts are no fun, but rest assured, we’ve got the key to getting you over this road block and back on track! We are so committed to helping you have a healthy feeding journey! This is HeHe’s secret sauce to releasing blocked ducts, plus at the bottom, you will find a few tips on preventing clogged ducts in the future!

Time Commitment: 20-60 Minutes

What you need:

*We’ve put all the necessary supplies in our Amazon Storefront to make it easy peasy for you to round-up everything you need!


Fill the bowl with warm water. The water should be as warm as you can stand it! Think the temperature of a hot bath or shower. The goal is to have it warmer than your body temperature so that it relaxes the tissues, blood vessels, and mammary glands in your breasts.

Add ⅔ cup of epsom salt. Stir until it is dissolved. This may cause the water to cool off too much. If that happens, simply warm the water up again.

Place the affected breast into the bowl, submerging as much of your breast as possible. *If the water is too hot, remove your breast and wait a few minutes for the water to cool.

Grab your vibrator or your LaVie massager and turn it on. Place it firmly against the blocked duct (usually a red, somewhat swollen area on your breast).

You’re going to stay here for 10-12 minutes. Keep your breast completely submerged and the vibrator on the clogged duct.

Next, removed your breast and dry it off. Turn off the vibrator. Grab your hand pump and pump for 3-5 minutes. The blocked duct may release.

If the clog doesn’t release, had back to the bowl + vibrator step. Don’t forget to rewarm the water. Do this for another 10-12 minutes, followed by the hand pump.

If the clogged duct still doesn’t release, repeat the water + vibrator for another 10-12 minutes. Following this “session,” you’re going to grab your electric pump. Begin on level 3-5. Do not pump more than 10 minutes as we are also being mindful of the messages we are sending your body about your milk supply.

Still Didn’t Release?

If a pump, whether hand or electric, doesn’t pull out the clogged duct, you have one last hail mary! Your baby can help! That’s right, your baby’s suck may be just the force that you need to release a clogged duct. You are going to do what we call “dangle feeding.” Before you dangle feed (between the electric pump and dangle feed), go back to the water + vibrator step for another 10-12 minutes.

Instead of grabbing a pump this time, grab your baby! Lie your baby on a flat surface, on their back. Get on hands and knees, and dangle the affected breast to their face allowing them to latch to feed. The trick? Point your baby’s chin towards the cogged duct. The power of your baby’s suck should be enough to release the blocked duct, especially after all the pump work.

You baby can consume the blocked duct. It will be thick and you want to be mindful of choking, but nutrition-wise it is totally fine for your baby to swallow the blocked duct. The block may contain a bit of blood or appear light pink, this is still safe for your baby to eat. If it comes out while you are pumping, it most likely won’t fit through a bottle nipple, so feel free to fish it out and toss it!

When to Contact Your Doctor:

If you want to call your doctor at the first signs of a clogged duct, then go for it! Otherwise, if you’re not able to unclog the duct, call your healthcare provider. If you develop a fever, give your provider a call and if the duct becomes more swollen or increasingly red/sore.

Preventing Clogged Ducts in the Future:

Sunflower Lecithin-- This is a supplement that I always suggest talking to your doctor about if you get more than 1 clogged duct. The way I look at it is, they are preventable. If you have one clogged duct, I usually consider it a one-time-deal, but if you’re experiencing recurring blocked ducts, that isn’t right. I mean, just listen to the name--blocked ducts or clogged ducts. Sunflower Lecithin can be so helpful in preventing this. Talk to your doctor about using Sunflower Lecithin to help support healthy breasts and a smooth breastfeeding journey.

Hydration-- Make sure you are staying extra hydrated as water plays a huge role in your breast health and your breastmilk production.

Bras-- Be sure you are wearing bras that are supportive of breastfeeding or nursing breasts. This means no bras that restrict your breasts or keep them tightly bound to your chest. It also means avoiding bras that have underwires, too. Sports bras are hit or miss. Some folks can manage a healthy, no clogged duct supply while wearing sports bras and some can not.

Draining your breasts-- When you feed your child or pump, make sure that you are completely draining your breast. This is twofold because if you are leaving milk in your breasts after a nursing or pumping session, not only can it cause clogged ducts (and mastitis!), but it can also impact your supply as your breast will think you don’t need to produce that much milk.

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

Tips for Traveling with Baby

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

(HeHe's article is published for Mama Goose HERE in its entirety.)

Traveling over the holidays can be a struggle when you have tiny humans. Kids seem to add so many new layers to traveling…more than I even knew was possible. I am an avid traveler and have been supporting families with small children for nearly a decade. Through this, I have learned many tricks to making life simpler and smoother for parents. One of my favorite “life hacks” to share with parents of little ones is how to travel light. 

There’s no doubt that traveling with kids with inevitably create the need to travel with more stuff, but it doesn’t have to be a painful as many of us would image. I have put together a packing list for new parents that will help make traveling with kids much less of a headache! This podcast lays out tricks to make traveling with young children easier! Here is a list of clothing to pack for your baby, sleep necessities and helpful hints to minimize the “stuff” you have to bring along! 

For tips on what to pack for clothing, baby gear, sleep, baby carriers, and more check out the HeHe's full article here!

Bonus Tips:

  • Pack only a few diapers and wipes. When you get to your destination, you can purchase all the wipes and diapers you need. You’ll thank me later. 
  • Try to be as consistent as possible with your child’s sleep/bedtime routine. This will help your child feel safe and ease the anxiety that comes along with traveling by providing them with a predictable ending to their vacation days. Maintaining their sleep routines while on vacation will help your child get better, more restful sleep while away, too. 
  • Try changing over the contents of your diaper bag to a backpack! Backpacks are spacier and can be worn. There are precious backpack diaper bags! I love bags with stroller straps and a changing pad; especially made with Vegan Leather! Make sure your bag has enough storage space for a small electric breast-pump if you are using one.


  • Click HERE for a {FREE} guide for Traveling with Newborns
  • Click HERE for a {FREE} guide for Traveling Light with Kids

We've know how hard this can be! We've got you covered. Get ready to travel on and make the sweetest memories with your littles!

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

What I Learned From the Woman Who Threatened to Punch All Breastfeeding Moms and Babies

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

(HeHe's article is published for Family Education HERE in its entirety.)

Earlier this week, Carly Clark, a mother, posted a very violent and aggressive attack on breastfeeding mothers everywhere. In her post, she threatens to punch breastfeeding mothers and their babies if she sees anymore.
 “I’m not sorry – the next female that tries to whip her boob out to breastfeed in front of my kids will get a black eye, move that baby [because] I’ll punch it too #zerocare #why #inpublicletsjustshowkidsboobs #notmine.” 

As soon as I read it, my heart sank... yours did, too, didn’t it? It’s no wonder it’s going viral. Her reaction tells me that we have a bunch of adults who have zero emotional intelligence. It lets me know that as a society we struggle to understand that everyone gets to make their own choices and you don’t get a say in that. I encourage this mom to look deep inside herself, identify why she is feeling unworthy and unhappy with herself, and then deal with her own problems. She needs to work through those sticky emotions that came up.

One upset woman responded, “What in the actual hell??! How do people – especially a woman – still have this kind of mentality???! How ridiculous!! We have been feeding our babies the way our bodies intended since the dawn of time.”

Here is where my heart jumped in excitement because people are standing up to an clear exhibit of an unsafe mentality, but then I immediately took a big breath of “okay, we’ve got a lot of work to do.” I love to see people standing up for what they believe in, but we’ve gone so far from the idea of love and understanding that it’s painful. We have to start with love and trying to understand when we approach others.

(HeHe's article is published for Family Education HERE in its entirety.)

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

Let's Talk Toys! Tips for 6 Months to 12 Months!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

(This is a two part series! Check last week for Part One: birth to 6 months!)

Toys have so many great benefits! They bring joy, concentration, and education for children of all ages. Even adults can’t resist a good toy, like a new high-tech blender for the kitchen or a cool solar powered lawn mower for the yard. But when it comes time to build that baby registry and fill that nursery with toys for your expected baby, parents find it so difficult to choose the “right” ones from the thousands of toys out there on the market today. But it really doesn’t need to be that hard! You don’t need the newest addition of baby toys. Knowing what stage of development your baby is in and how to use the toys you have is the key to success when playing with your child during their first year. We are going to help you navigate that! I am going to break down the major developmental milestones of your baby’s first year of life and a few toys that can help foster that development. Playtime is going to be so fun for you and your baby!

6-9 Months

Your baby has a personality and it’s starting to show! They want to tell you things, show you new tricks, and are trying to make sense of the world around them. Babies are so curious at this age and we really want to encourage that curiosity through their play and social interactions. Play becomes more purposefully during the last half of a baby’s first year. Toys for this age remain focused on motor and language development and include a cause and effect reaction. Let’s see your baby show off a little!
O Ball creates a variety of toys similar to this one, including balls, rattles, etc. This specific one is great because it can be introduced and used appropriately at any age. The flexible “mesh” like top makes it easy for kids to manipulate on their own and with a playmate. They can hold it, shake it, and practice transferring it between each hand. The car feature will be so interesting to your baby. They may enjoy rolling it across the floor and will watch as the beads rattle in the wheels. Playing a passing game with your baby using this toy will promote social interactions through turn-taking. Don’t forget to model language during that back and forth play like using a “Ready, set, go!” narration as you pass the car!

I love these alternative stacking “blocks.” The weighted ball shape gives it a more interesting dynamic for your baby to explore. They can stack them in many ways and watch as it creates a more visually interesting structure when adding one on top of the other. This toy is great for babies to work on their fine motor skills and coordinate to avoid knocking it down. Your baby can stack, roll, spin, and transfer the different sized pieces as part of their play. I’ve seen many babies occupy themselves with this toy for extended periods of time. It’s fun for both your baby, and the caregiver!
    9 to 12 Months

    Your baby is closing in on those last few months of their first year and boy have they learned a lot! Time really does fly and it can sometimes be nostalgic to think about everything that’s happened leading up to this point. You and your baby have been through a lot together and there is still so much to learn and grow from. By now, your baby has preferences, understands more language, and is continuously learning, thinking and problem solving. Play should still be fun, but also challenging. We want to support your baby to achieve things like hand eye coordination, first words, and sustained attention.

    Here are some toys that can help with that:

    This is twist on the modern classic I am sure most of us grew up with and loved. I know I did! At this age, your baby should now understand the idea of object permanence or the idea that when things disappear they are not gone forever. Your baby will love the surprise of the hungry caterpillar popping out of the box. The music provides an auditory stimulus your baby will learn to recognize before anticipating the pop up surprise. Try turning it the majority of the way and then encouraging your baby to finish. They eventually can use their developed fine motor skills and hand eye coordination to turn the toy completely by themselves. This toy is sure to bring many belly laughs!

    There are many, many, many, varieties of this toy. The classic shape sorter! I love this one because of its wooden material and simplicity. The more durable, eco-friendly material will last through your child’s first few years of life and into those pre-academic stages of learning. You can encourage your baby to put the correct shapes in the holes by pointing out where they go or letting them explore it on their own. The open top makes it easy for a baby to dump and fill - another great play skill babies love to show off. To promote gross motor development, put the shapes on top of the couch and encourage your baby to pull themselves up to stand and cruse along the length of the couch to collect each shape and dump into the box.
    Remember, playtime is important during your baby’s first year of life, but it should still be fun! Everyday objects around the house are just as good as an overpriced toy from your local toy store. Fill a water bottle with rice to make a rattle or have fun with an empty (or full) tissue box. Use playtime as an excuse to bond with your baby and don’t stress about what they may or may not be learning. Babies will naturally learn through play and we as parents just need to provide our tiny humans the time and space to explore that playtime environment!
    Post written by Caitlin LeBeau, TBH Team Member & Doula

    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

    Let's Talk Toys! Tips for Birth to 6 Months

    Wednesday, October 23, 2019

    (This is a two part series! Check back for part two 6 months to 12 months next week!)

    Toys have so many great benefits! They bring joy, concentration, and education for children of all ages. Even adults can’t resist a good toy, like a new high-tech blender for the kitchen or a cool solar powered lawn mower for the yard. But when it comes time to build that baby registry and fill that nursery with toys for your expected baby, parents find it so difficult to choose the “right” ones from the thousands of toys out there on the market today. But it really doesn’t need to be that hard! You don’t need the newest addition of baby toys. Knowing what stage of development your baby is in and how to use the toys you have is the key to success when playing with your child during their first year. We are going to help you navigate that! I am going to break down the major developmental milestones of your baby’s first year of life and a few toys that can help foster that development. Playtime is going to be so fun for you and your baby!

    Birth-3 Months

    Yes! Your babies do more than just eat, poop, and sleep during these first few months! Play doesn’t need to look like this big production and toy explosion. Having a few good toy staples will be super beneficial for both your sanity and your baby’s development. During this stage of development, we want to think about the motor development of both your baby’s large and small muscles and the start of their social interactions like responding to familiar voices, sounds and people.

    Here are a few toys to consider when thinking about play time in those first few months:
    I love this mirror because it is versatile and visually stimulating. Although your baby won’t recognize themselves yet, they will be so interested in that silly baby looking back at them. The contrasting colors are easy for your baby to see and the different pictures and shapes it comes with will spark their curiosity. Your baby will want to grab at the mirror’s reflection and they will begin to reach out to it to explore it more. Use this during tummy time to encourage baby to lift their head and look at themselves. Strengthening your baby’s neck muscles is so important for head control and later gross motor skills. This mirror is a must have if you have a fussy baby during tummy times. 
    I can’t say enough good things about crinkle paper. It is simple yet so developmentally stimulating and interesting for your baby! This toy really wakes up a baby’s senses in the best way. Babies learn about their environment through touch and sound. This toy is safe for babies to mouth, chew, grasp and shake. You can even play a little peekaboo with your baby using this paper as motivation to look for your face. Watch them smile when you reappear! 
    3 to 6 Months
    This is such a fun age for both parents and babies! Your baby is more alert and responsive to their environment. They are making more sounds, using facial expressions and learning how to navigate their surroundings better. Your baby is working so hard during play and you may not even realize it! During this stage, we are thinking about how to foster that language development and continuing to support gross motor skills through, you guessed it, more tummy time!!

    Here are a few toys to consider during months 3 to 6:

    Introducing a play mat will be helpful when encouraging your babes to tolerate tummy time for longer periods of time. This mat is awesome because it provides a few different support options depending on what position is most comfortable for your baby and where they are in development, whether it’s working on rolling, independent sitting or crawling. It allows for toy attachments and a mirror to make their experience more interactive and motivating. Your baby will be mastering those gross motor skills in no time!

    It may seem silly to read books to your child at such young age but it is totally appropriate and encouraged even before birth! Reading to your baby is a great way for them to recognize your voice, learn about speech patterns, and enhances a baby’s exposure to vocabulary and memory. This book is usually a hit with our younger crowd due to its interesting designs and high-contrast images. Don’t let the lackluster narration on each page detour you! You can assign your own language to each picture as you and your baby read together. Talk about what you see, what it reminds you of, and assign silly sounds or noises that are appropriate for each picture. The more you talk the more your baby will listen and absorb your language. They may even imitate a sound or two! Add books to your library for more variety during your play routine.
    Remember, playtime is important during your baby’s first year of life, but it should still be fun! Everyday objects around the house are just as good as an overpriced toy from your local toy store. Fill a water bottle with rice to make a rattle or have fun with an empty (or full) tissue box. Use playtime as an excuse to bond with your baby and don’t stress about what they may or may not be learning. Babies will naturally learn through play and we as parents just need to provide our tiny humans the time and space to explore that playtime environment!
    Post written by Caitlin LeBeau, TBH Team Member & Doula

    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

    Learning how to Let Go (In Parenthood & Beyond)

    Wednesday, October 16, 2019

    (HeHe's article is published for Birch Baby HERE in its entirety.)

    When someone says something is bigger than you, a natural instinct is to be bigger than whatever is bigger than you, right? Wrong. That will only lead to a vicious and very unhealthy cycle. However, there are a few things you can do. I wish I could say, "take this magic pill and all your troubles will go away." (*cue my wanting to save the whole world complex*) I don't have a special pill, but I do have a few words of advice about what I've learned to do. 

    • Remind Yourself. Constantly remind yourself of what you have learned and why this is bigger than you. Whether that look like, "They are not a good person and no matter how nice I am to them, they won't change," or "This person needs more help than I can provide them and they aren't open to speaking with anyone new," or maybe even a little self-preservation of "I just can't continue to support this person because it is so negative and it is affecting my personal life/relationships." 
    • Do Some Soul Searching. When something doesn't sit right with us, it is important to search within yourself to understand why. It is important to understand your own triggers and your own boundaries when working with other people. Understanding this about yourself can help you be aware of when someone is getting close to crossing those lines, advocate for yourself and set your limits and expectations. 
    • Talk About It. Find someone you can trust and someone who understands and talk. Talk it through with that person. It's helpful if that person will challenge your thoughts to help you consider other viewpoints and angles. Some people want to talk about things once and they feel better, while others may want to continue to verbally process all the things so it may take a few conversations. Remember, there is a difference between coping and talking versus dwelling. 
    • Plan For The Future. What did you learn from this encounter? Take a bit to reflect. Self-reflection will help you learn things about yourself. Behavioral reflection will allow you to look at both parties' behaviors to learn something; plus this may give you an insight into where the other person might be coming from. Emotional reflection will help you evaluate your emotions going into the situation, during the situation, and what emotion the situation elicited from you afterward. You can also try to think about the other person's possible emotions. Through this time of reflection, you can think of ways that, if you had to have this conversation (or one similar) again, you would be better prepared to stay in control. 

    Whatever is going on in your life--especially in your pregnancy or on your journey to conceiving--take a pause to really think, "Is this bigger than me?" This time in your life is full of learning opportunities. 

    Having a child is just the beginning of a long journey of "a-ha moments" that help you realize things about yourself such as your boundaries, your weaknesses, your breaking points, your achievements, and your triumphs. 

    You will learn what you need to survive vs. what you need to be happy. You will learn what exhaustion really feels like, but you will always, somehow, find the energy to keep going.You will be amazed at yourself and your child, but also at your partner. 

    One of my darling friends said it best, recently. She said, "This year has been a year of pure happiness, pure exhaustion, pure amazement, pure anxiety, and most importantly pure love." It will also be filled with those moments that are bigger than you and that's okay.

    Looking to work on YOUR mindset in parenting?
    Grab our FREE Mindset & Parenthood guide HERE!

    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

    Our TOP Nutrition Posts

    Wednesday, October 9, 2019

    Our TOP Nutrition Posts

    You've requested it - here is our TBH round up for all things nutrition!

    • Eating for the Trimesters with Lainey Younkin - Lainey Younkin, whose nickname is “the dietician who doesn’t put people on diets”, is a nutritionist in Boston who takes an honest and realistic approach to helping her clients live a healthy lifestyle. Rather than putting clients on diets that often only yield the desired results in the short-term and can make you feel guilty about eating, Lainey helps her clients make gradual, more sustainable adjustments that allow them to live healthier lives in the long-term.
    • Sugar Detox and Fueling Your Body with Food - Hehe talks to sisters and business partners, Erika and Tiffany Brown, about their passion for food and the major impacts that what you eat can have on your life.The foods that you eat can affect countless aspects of your life, from your weight to your energy level to your skin and even your susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Cutting out certain foods can lead to noticeable differences in your mood and your overall health.
    • Gut Health with Liz Bane - Liz Bane, a wellness concierge and a holistic health coach certified by the Institute of Integrated Nutrition to help us understand this often mentioned yet often misunderstood system in our bodies. Liz is here to share all her best tips and tricks to helping your gut function at its optimal ability!
    • Low Down on Plus-Size Pregnancies - Pregnancy can be a tough journey for anybody, but if you’re plus-size, the journey can be even tougher. However, there are so many things you can do as a plus-size mama to help yourself along this journey, and we’re here to give you the low-down on that today!
    • Eliminating Toxins in Your Home with Bri Pruitt - Bri is a registered nurse and nutrition health coach and has been focusing on a healthy and holistic lifestyle for seven years.  She lives in Idaho with her six year old daughter and has countless tips and tricks for transitioning to a toxin-free lifestyle in steps so that you can achieve the life you want without feeling overwhelmed.
    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

    Respecting the "GOLDEN HOUR"

    Wednesday, October 2, 2019

     (HeHe's article is published for Birch Baby HERE in its entirety.)

    The time immediately following your birth is crucial to the well being of your child. Research says that respecting what is called “The Golden Hour” can help give your child the best possible start. 

    If it is possible, requesting that your medical staff and birth team respect this time can help your baby adjust to life on the outside before they are poked and prodded with newborn test and passed from person to person for birth stats. 

    The way in which the golden hour mentality is carried out varies from culture to culture. In some cultures an extended golden hour called “lying in” is a practice in which women are waited upon and only allowed to do minimal tasks such as getting up to use the bathroom, but not to shower. 

    It is said to be supportive of postpartum healing and mother-child attachment. However, in some cultures, parents aren’t afforded any paid time off of work to recover from birth and bond with their baby. 

    Visitors are no exception to the rule. It varies widely from culture to culture and family to family. Some parents choose not to have visitors for at least a few days after the birth and some parents prefer to be surrounded by family and friends immediately following. 

    Whatever your preference, respecting The Golden Hour can be done in a quiet, intimate room or a room that looks like birth after party!

    (Click HERE to continue reading 'Respecting the 'Golden Hour'' on Birch Baby.)

    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

    7 Things to Do When You Bring Baby #2 Home

    Wednesday, September 25, 2019

    (This post is a piece HeHe wrote for JDEducational.  This article can be read in it's entirety by clicking HERE.)

    Bringing home a baby can be an exciting time for the whole family. However, it can also be challenging to navigate. Introducing Child #1 to Child #2 can cause new emotions to arise for your older child and disrupt any sense of normalcy you may have. Keeping these helpful hints in mind when preparing this transition can help for a smoother change in family dynamics.

    Tip #1: Prepare in Advance with Language, Books, Songs, Pretend Play
    Tip #2: Help your child settle into their new role.
    Tip #3: Involve your older child(ren)
    Tip #4: Routines (vs schedules)
    Tip #5: Carve out alone time for each child.
    Tip #6: Capture casual snapshots
    Tip #7: Ask for help

    (Read more about these tips by clicking HERE to read the full article!)

    The relationship between siblings is an unbreakable bond. However, your interaction and support as a parent is irreplaceable and absolutely necessary. Helping your child settle into their new role can be crucial to the way they view their role as an older sibling. Involving your older child(ren) and carving out special time for each child can help the transition and enhance sibling relationships. The chaos will be over before you know it and you’ll one day reminisce on the beautiful times. Don’t forget to take casual snapshots of your children so you can remember all of the laughs, snuggles, and special times.

    Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 
    "Welcome to The Birth Lounge"

    To Circumcise or Not?

    Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    Hey Tranquility Tribe! There seems to be about a million and one decisions that the world throws at you when you’re becoming a parent, and if you’re expecting a baby boy, there’s yet another one to add to the list: to circumcise or not to circumcise? This week, we’re going to learn all about circumcision and the pros and cons of the procedure to help you out with making the best informed decision that you can!

    As always, let’s get started with the basics - what exactly is circumcision? It’s a surgical procedure to remove the foreskin (the hood of skin that covers the head of the penis), done typically within a few days after birth. The procedure itself is relatively quick and simple. The penis is numbed via injection or topical cream, a clamp is attached to the penis and the foreskin is removed - all in the span of about ten minutes. It then takes about seven to ten days to heal, during which the bandage should be changed upon every diaper change. Some doctors use a plastic ring instead of a bandage, which will fall off on it’s own.

    One of the most common reasons that parents choose to have the procedure done is for religious reasons, such as is often done within the Jewish and Islamic faiths. Others do it out of hygienic concerns or in an effort to prevent possible health complications. Some do it simply for aesthetic purposes or even oThe American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend routine circumcision, but believes that it should absolutely be an option to those parents who want to do it.

    As with any decision when it comes to your baby, there are both benefits and risks. Easier hygiene is definitely one that many parents point too. While keeping the penis clean is a much simpler process when the foreskin is removed, boys can easily be taught and reminded to wash beneath the foreskin. Removal of the foreskin is also thought to decrease risk for a myriad of genital health issues, including urinary tract infections during the first year of life, sexually transmitted infections and even penile cancer - however, the risk for these issues is already pretty low in the first place. As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of bleeding and/or infection due to the process. 

    Some parents choose to not have their son circumcised so that he can make the decision for himself later in life. While this is an option, it’s important to keep in mind that the later in life a circumcision is performed, the more painful the experience becomes along with an increased risk for complications.

    At the end of the day, this is a deeply personal decision meant to be made by you and your partner. As with most matters of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood, people will have their opinions (and strong opinions at that!), but you need to strip down all the chatter to what you believe is personally best for your baby boy. Education is always the best tool when it comes to matters like these, so continue to educate yourself about the pros and cons and make the best informed choice that you can! 

    Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 
    "Welcome to The Birth Lounge"

    I Tried a Menstrual Cup and Here's What It Was Like

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    My First Time Using a Menstrual Cup

    I want to set the stage for you before we dive head first into my last period. I have been using Thinx period underwear for almost two years. I have nearly 10 pair. I do not period with them. I even travel with a pair or two when my period is nowhere in sight...ya know, just in case. When I say these underwear changed my life, I mean it.

    I made the transition to Thinx after an absolutely terrible (read: traumatic AF), 18-month journey with the copper IUD. I share more about this experience on episode #71 of The Tranquility Tribe Podcast. Because of this experience, I fell into the world of free-bleeding and this led to my discovery of these magical underwear. For the longest time, I was not open to anything else but Thinx to manage my period. You read that right. For nearly 18 months, I was free bleeding and even avoiding the pool if I was on my period. I had turned into that girl.

    It's important to note here that I don't love the feeling of "wetness." I am that person at theme parks that won't ride water rides if I am not one thousand percent sure I will dry soon. This usually requires me to be wearing the right clothing and shoes plus be 80 degrees or warmer. Otherwise, I will happily forgo the thrill of the ride.

    Finally, more than a year after using nothing but Thinx, I decided to explore other clean choices of menstrual management. I knew that I'd want to go swimming eventually or I might be traveling where it's easier to have other options rather than just Thinx. I explored lots of options and I finally Period like a Queen, but it was (and still is) a journey. Along this journey of exploration, I was asked so, so many times by clients, friends, and social media fans about using a menstrual cup. Just as I was super hesitant to stray from my strict thinx-only policy, I was even more hesitant to stick a plastic "cup" into my vagina. Hadn't I already decided tampons weren't for me? Didn't I already say to myself I was all-done putting outside things inside my body?

    What's a Menstrual Cup?
    A menstrual cup is a silicone hygiene product that can be inserted into the vagina and sits in the vaginal canal to collect menstrual blood rather than absorbing like a tampon. Menstrual cups are reusable and an eco-friendly, (often) non-toxic way to manage your period.

    My Decision
    To be one hundred percent transparent, my decision to try a menstrual cup was largely driven to be able to have answers for people who asked (since the questions came constantly) and the rest was obviously curiosity. Of course I wondered what it was like because the people who love it, love it. You know what I'm talking about? They say they've used it for 10 years--What?! I thought these things came out like 2 years ago... Or they say they forget they're on their period thanks to their cup... is that real? I'm a special kind of committed to my Thinx underwear but I don't forget I'm on my period.

    I needed to know what this hype was all about. 

    So I began to look into menstrual cups and...whoa, nelly. There are so many choices to choose from and it can easily get overwhelming. The first thing I learned was that there were different brands and no standards sizing. Apparently, (as read in Facebook mom groups) a small from this brand is totally different than a small from that brand. Another thing I learned from these massive threads of women sharing arguably way too many details about their menstrual cycle is that your body shape and size, plus any variations in your uterus or cervix will impact the fit and comfort of your cup. Almost every single women who tried multiple cups said that was key--don't give up and keep trying different brands until you find the perfect fit. I don't know about you, but I did this when I first started my period to find the perfect tampon for me so this made a lot of sense to me.

    Next, I knew that I wanted an honest company. But, I quickly realized I didn't know a lot of what I needed to when it came to making smart decisions about my period management. I began to utilize Elizabeth Raybould Wellness and she has been an incredible wealth of knowledge on this journey for me. One of the things to be aware of is what your cup is made of. When I began to research companies, I stumbled across Mahina Cup on Instagram. Their website states "Mahina Cup is made from soft, 100% medical-grade silicone, is latex-free and does not contain colouring, toxins, or bleach. It is hypoallergenic and is suitable for sensitive women. Mahina Cup is FDA registered." I have a latex allergy so this was extra appealing to me plus who knew latex would be used in the making of menstrual cups.

    Finally, I loved that Mahina Cup not only had size 1 and 2 (typical), but they also had an option of size 0 (teen). SOLD! This was a total 'shut up and take my money' moment. I decided to order right then and there. Unbeknownst to me, they were also having a sale as if the universe was saying, "do it."

    What Was The First Time Like?
    First of all, just like sex, I was so built up by the time I made it to actually using it that it was very anti-climactic and extremely different than I imagined. I had read so many internet articles and consumed so many blogs, I thought it'd be a quick thing. Boy, could I have been more wrong? I don't think so.

    To insert the menstrual cup, you are supposed to "roll" or "fold" the rim on the cup into what resembles a rose. With this tightly rolled silicone cup, you are supposed to slip it into your vagina and slide it in. As it slides in, the cup unrolls and creates a suction to catch your menstrual blood. The cup supposedly sits comfortably in your vaginal canal and viola! That's that!

    ....It wasn't quite that easy. Oh no, it took me a good 20 minutes to get it in and I contorted by body into positions that I didn't know was possible. I squatted. I stood. I used the squatty potty. I propped one leg up. I squatted on the toilet. I did the whole kneeling Captain Morgan. It was a sight, lemme tell ya.

    I would get the rolled rim in and it would start to unroll faster than I wanted or it would not feel right and I'd retry. I probably retried 15 times. An instructional video would have been nice, ya know? *Welcome to today's masterclass where we'll be sharing how to put in your menstrual cup, everyone get into position* After a few failed attempts, I decided I would actually insert my fingers just a bit to keep the rim rolled until I felt comfortable with it unrolling. It worked and I was ecstatic. I did a quick figure 8 and a little Jump On It action and I was off for the day.

    The Emotional Process
    The emotional part was really wild for me. I was totally excited to try it. I was trying to balance sharing such an intimate thing with the world--like how much is too much when it comes to you period? Ya know? I was also trying not to freak myself out about germs and the new process. Sticking a plastic cup that you then have to break the seal with one of your fingers is like no other experience I've ever had in regards to managing my period. I was not used to my menstrual blood getting on my hands and with the cup, it does. I'm used to having to clean my menstrual blood from my Thinx, but the cup actually collects it. It's like you put in a menstrual cup and a shot glass of blood emerges from your vagina 12 hours later.

    I was also somewhat worried/curious as to the suction and the "security" of the cup meaning if it was going to leak on me or not. I wore my Thinx underwear as back up and had zero leaking. All day I walked around with this anticipation that the cup was going to fall right out of me and blood would go everywhere like an accidental and misinterpreted murder scene. Spoiler alert: that never happened.

    The emotional process was something else. I hope next month is better and less rollercoaster-y.

    The actual wearing/feeling
    Remember those very strange people who said they "forgot" their cup was in? Well, add my name to the list and slap "strange" on my forehead. Yal, it's weird. If you don't get it right, you know immediately--it's not painful, just uncomfortable. You can use the "stem" at the bottom of the cup to slightly tilt it this way or that way to try to reposition it. If that doesn't work, use your finger to break the seal and re-insert the cup.

    When you get it right, you can not feel the cup at all-- or I couldn't at least. It was the wildest thing. I actually did forget I was on my period. It was incredible. I'm glad I was able to get my hands on an extra small (size 0) cup because I think finding the right fitting is key. 

    The removal
    If you want one hundred percent transparency, I put off removing the cup for hours. I waited until I was literally climbing into bed for the night. I was terrified to take this thing out. I just kept thinking I was going to end up on an episode of Untold Stories of the ER as the girl who couldn't get her period cup out. *dies of embarrassment*

    Finally, I decided that I had to take this cup out or I was going to have to summons some help--what that meant, I did not know. Into the bathroom I went. I considered getting in the shower, but I really wanted to try to get the hang of it as if I were out in public and did not have access to a shower. So I decided to sit on the toilet. Breaking the seal required more pressure than I expected. The seal was very strong. So strong that I felt silly thinking about my fears of it falling out of me earlier in the day.
    I broke the seal just like "they" tell you to by sticking one finger into your vagina. Find the top of the menstrual cup and gently (or not so gently, in my case) press inward. Once the seal is broken, keep the rim of the cup bent inward. I made the mistake of releasing it and it sealed right back.

    I was really worried about making a huge mess, spilling the blood--remember the accidental and misinterpreted murder scene. Well, I wore the cup for over 12 hours and it was filled just over half way. There was no way it was going to spill. While your vaginal canal is slanted, it isn't that slanted as to spill the contents of your menstrual cup if you're on the toilet or standing. 

    The Clean Up
    You have lots of options here. You can pour it in the toilet, pour it in the sink, pour it in the shower, pour it in your yard, pour it in your house plants, or pour it in your garden. Curiosity got the best of me (I mean, when else do you explore menstrual blood?) and I poured it down the sink. I wanted to see if there were clots, did the blood coagulate, did it stain the cup, etc. I was basically consumed with the novelty of such a new experience.

    I rinsed the cup and briefly washed it with Dr. Bonner's Castile Soap. I decide to sleep in just my Thinx underwear and give my vagina a break. I also wanted to see if my vagina was going to have a reaction to the cup or any of its' ingredients. Before I used it the next morning, I boiled the cup for 3-4 minutes in boiling water.

    As always, I used Healthy Hoo Hoo wipes. These wipes are my favorite "on the go" menstrual care product! They come in small, single use packages and are 100% biodegradable! They are infused with aloe, green tea, and pomegranate extracts to moisturize and gently cleanse without stripping away protective barriers.

    The Final Say 
    Here are my final thoughts: Your mind is in so much control! From the way I allowed all the hype to get to me in the beginning to psyching myself up and making insertion much harder than it (probably) needed to be all the way to worrying myself sick and not removing the cup until the last possible second. My mind was in control, not me.

    I was so consumed with the "new-ness" of it all that I never once stopped to take the time to think grounding thoughts "I am safe to remove the cup," or "Millions of women safely use a cup to manage their periods. I am safe," or even "This has been an exciting experience and I am grateful I got to do exactly what I wished for." Instead I let my mindset tumble over and over again like a cement truck in the narrative of "this is scary," "this is new,' and "what if [something] goes wrong?"

    I think this is a place that so many women unknowingly fall into in pregnancy. They get stuck in this pattern of thinking things are going to go terribly wrong and they see writhing, excruciating pain in their near future. These women seek out information in the wrong places trying to calm their anxious minds, but it only (inaccurately) confirms their worrisome concerns. If mindset is 90% of the game, what playing field did you just create? A field of dreams or a field of land mines you're desperately trying to avoid?

    Try to avoid going to your neighbors sister's best friend who is visiting for the weekend for birth advice--unless she had your ideal birth. Also, mom groups on Facebook are not always super helpful. Remember, these decisions are meant to be intentional and that includes the sources you use to get your information. Be sure you're using reputable sources that share evidence based information. (Here are my top three picks: Evidence Based BirthMama Natural, and American Pregnancy Association)

    If you find yourself telling yourself that aren't helpful (ie: "What if you're allergic to this silicone, you dummy?! Then it's inside of you!! Oh this is BAD!!),

    What Else Do You Need to Know?
    The smell can be rancid. I was not prepared for the smell and honestly it's one of the biggest deterrents for me. I have never in my life experienced vaginal odor and when I took the cup out that very first time, I was consumed with the smell. Thank goodness I am used to the very distinct smells of birth because this was just too much otherwise.

    Cleaning is a little bit more than just rinsing your cup. Elizabeth Raybould shared with me that there's a common misconception that you can't develop TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) while using the cup and this just simply isn't true. If you are not intentional about the way you care for your cup and your vagina while using the cup, you could cause your vagina some serious harm. You can throw off the pH of your vagina, or worse, cause an infection. 

    Insertion is not as easy as you might think. Or at least not in the beginning. I posted a video to my Instagram stories fo me trying to get the cup in the first time and it was up and down and squatting and legs on a stool and a foot on the toilet and bending. I got tons of messages and comments from women saying they did the same exact thing.

    Your vagina is elastic. And it can fit a baby so a silicon cup is going to be a breeze. Remember that our vagina is all muscle and fat. It can stretch to accommodate the menstrual cup just as it does for tampons.

    Two Tampon Rule: You will wear your cup the same amount of time you would go through two tampons. Usually 8-12 hours. Of course, you may find that you can go longer, but that is a good place to start.

    My Second Choice
    If I didn't decide on the Mahina Cup, my second choice was The Lily Cup because of its' unique design. I couldn't find any information about it being latex free (as in, I think it does contain latex) and it took me quite a while to find that it was confirmed made from medical-grade silicone. 

    At some point, I'm sure I will try this cup as I'm still very curious. First, I want to master the art of using the cup in general and then I will expand my menstrual product horizon. Stay tuned, villagers! 

    Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 
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