Must Reads

Got Milk? – Mrs. Patel’s Review

Got Milk? – Mrs. Patel’s Review 3500 2333 Kanika

Ask any new mother about breastfeeding and she’s bound to tell you all about her personal experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though cluster feeding and sleep deprivation are no fun, I have always been fascinated by breastfeeding and its benefits so I kept at it with my boy-girl twins for nearly a year (tandem feeding using my Twin-Z pillow) and am currently breastfeeding my 4-month-old son. I am fortunate he is a good eater. At the hospital, the nurses and my lactation consultant were impressed and said, “Look at that latch. He knows exactly what to do and is a hungry hippo!” I have to admit however, like all nursing moms, I often wonder “am I making enough milk?”

This time around, I am doing all the things I used to do like taking Malunggay supplements, fennel capsules, oatmeal with flaxseed, lactation cookies (the secret ingredient is Brewer’s yeast), and guzzling 80 oz. of water a day. But I am adding one more variable to the mix — Mrs. Patel’s.

Trusted by over 100k mothers, Mrs. Patel’s features lactation teas, bars, and sprinkles. I found out about the company while browsing on Instagram and purchased the bundle package (box of lactation tea and bars for $35) to try the most popular products. Here’s my review.

Milk Water Tea (Chai Spice) – $12.99

Ingredients – Much like a masala chai, this is made of tea leaves and cinnamon with added all natural, ayurvedic herbs like dill seeds (suaa in Hindi) and alfalfa sprouts (rajko). Dill and alfalfa are the galactagogues, or milk-producing ingredients, while cinnamon is known to make breastmilk taste sweet. Your baby will love that!

Taste – I can’t go a day without brewing my masala chai in the morning, so I really liked this blend. Though it’s more watery than chai, it still has the distinct aroma and flavors. I stir in steamed whole milk to make it more frothy and satiating.

How I Consume It – The box comes with 7 sachets and mentions you can use each 3x. I actually steep one sachet into a medium carafe which yields 5-6 small cups of tea which I sip on throughout the day.

Did it Work? – An aunty of mine once told me that consuming liquids, be it water, milk, or soup, helps milk production. I used to concoct my own tea using dill seeds and ghee, but this tea tastes so much better and it has been working. I have seen a 1.5 oz increase to my pump sessions (I now produce 5 – 6 oz total for my 4-month-old).

Lactation Bar (Chocolate and Salted Caramel White) – $28

Ingredients – These bars are made of galactagogues like whole wheat flour, fenugreek (methi), and ghee, along with coconut flakes, cardamom, and a tinge of chili spice.

Taste – I have tried both the chocolate and salted caramel white flavors. I am a white chocolate lover so I devoured the salted caramel white bars. They both tasted a lot like a typical protein bar, though softer and much more rich. The glaze on top adds just the right amount of sweetness.

How I Consume It – This box has 12 bars. For nearly two weeks, I ate one bar every morning with a tall glass of whole milk. Delicious.

Did it Work? – Over the span of two weeks, I saw about a 1 oz. increase on each side which resulted in 5-6 oz total. My milk appears thicker than before. Since I breastfeed more often than I pump, it’s hard to measure exactly how much I produce so I gauge by how I feel. I essentially felt fuller and my baby seemed content after his feedings which is a good sign.

Disclaimer: I came across Mrs. Patel’s on my own and have provided my honest feedback. Since I have tried and tested these products and have seen results, they have become one of my brand partners. Use my link and enter promo code MOMSENSE15 for 15% off your order: http://bit.ly/2Dk1eBr

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review 1496 981 Kanika

PrettyMommies was my skincare line of choice during both my pregnancies and hereafter, so I am proud to be partnering with the brand to offer my readers 20% off their first order. To redeem, click here

During my first pregnancy with my twins, I was literally on a scavenger hunt to find natural products for my skin. I quickly discovered that the beauty brands I swore by my whole life were jam-packed with chemicals (Retin-A, hydriquinone, etc.) and even the so-called “organic” mainstream options had long ingredient lists and weren’t completely free of harmful additives. Here’s a list of the skincare ingredients to steer clear of when pregnant.

After spending hours doing research online, asking 20 questions of my doctor during visits, and calling hotlines like the La Leche League International for breastfeeding mothers, I finally nailed down a skincare regimen comprised of 100% organic products which produced optimum results. Watch my YouTube video on my natural skincare routine here.

In this article, I’d like to highlight a skincare collection made specifically for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, which happened to be a game changer for me. It’s called Pretty Mommies and has been recognized as the #1 physician recommended pregnancy skincare line. Founder Gina Gordy launched the collection because she suffered from acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her own pregnancy. Real talk – not everyone is lucky enough to flaunt that “pregnancy glow.” She said that “as her belly got bigger, my breakouts and hyper-pigmentation worsened.” Soon after, she made it her mission to provide safe, effective skincare products to expecting women. She used her industry connections with top cosmetic chemists, leading physicians, and labs to create Pretty Mommies.

When I came across the site, I called the customer service line and actually spoke to Gina on the phone. I asked her what made her formula so unique, and she explained that her products do not contain soy or soy peptides. Soy mimics estrogen in the body and should not be ingested or used topically when our hormones are raging from pregnancy. Most organic products on the market use soybean oil, but it should be avoided. In addition, many skincare products contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a known skin irritant. Pretty Mommies uses vegetable glycerin instead, which is non-toxic, colorless, and odorless and has antimicrobial effects to heal wounds and restore elasticity. Another common chemical is oxybenzone, a sunscreen found in almost all SPFs out there. It’s a synthetic estrogen and hormone disruptor and studies have shown links to low birth weight in babies. Pretty Mommies uses a chemical-free sunscreen made of pure non-nano zinc oxide that has been micronized so it cannot penetrate the skin. I was sold.

When I tried the 3-step system, I was really impressed with the results. The cleanser, “Let’s Be Clear,” is a gentle exfoliant and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, not to mention, it has a clean, all-natural scent from fruit/vegetable extracts. The “Truth Be Told” skin enhancer is a multifunctional moisturizer and feels as smooth as silk when you rub it into your skin. It helps brighten and reduce inflammation. Lastly, the “Protect & Reflect” sunscreen gives you superior broad UVA/UVB protection (SPF 32) and fills lines, wrinkles, and pores without clogging them. When I got the occasional pesky zit, I dabbed a bit of the sunscreen on there and it was gone by morning like magic. Amazing!

Pretty Mommies sent me the 3-step skin care system for my honest review (the first package I bought lasted a whole year which is worth the price tag!) and I have to say, I’m happy to be sharing this with expecting mothers out there. I would never endorse a brand I didn’t personally believe in; in fact, this is my go-to skincare line because I can’t imagine going back to using brands that use chemicals and parabens now.

I have a special promotion for you, my dear reader! You receive 20% off your first order using my link –  click here. Let me know how Pretty Mommies works for you in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories and help in any way I can! PrettyMommies.com.

Family Beach Vacation (With Packing List!)

Family Beach Vacation (With Packing List!) 1100 825 Kanika

 

Since I’m due with baby #3 this summer, I know my family and I won’t get much of an opportunity to travel or go on vacation with our newborn. So, shortly after the Memorial Day weekend rush, my husband and I decided to take a long weekend trip to the beach in Long Branch, NJ (just 45 min. away from home!) with a bunch of our friends and their kids. This was the first time we took our 16-month-old twins to the beach and pool, and given how much they LOVE splishing and splashing at bath time, I knew they would love it.

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We made a group decision and chose staying at a resort over a beach house. First off, there weren’t many viable options available since houses get booked up months in advance. Secondly, I knew I didn’t want to have to deal with the upkeep involved — making the beds, laundry, cooking, and cleaning the kitchen after meals. No thanks! I already do that enough at home and I wanted housekeeping and room service! We stayed at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa and had an amazing experience. The hotel staff were very friendly and provided us with everything we needed (1 pack & play, 1 crib, microwave). We ate our breakfast at the Seaview Restaurant in the main lobby and enjoyed our private entrance to the beach where we were given umbrellas, chairs, towels and were close to the boardwalk to be able to pick up snacks & drinks while we lounged. We also taught the older kids chess and let them play in the designated kids play room.

As for dining out, we explored the family friendly restaurants along the boardwalk. We took the kids own food along just incase (oatmeal, squeezable fruit) but mostly ordered items off the kids menu like grilled cheese & fries for them to eat.

Here’s what we packed for our toddlers (and managed to fit in our sedan!)

Beach Vacation Toddler Packing List:
Clothes & Toiletries:

  • 6 outfits for 4 days
  • 2 pairs of pajamas
  • Headbands for my daughter
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of sandals
  • Toothbrushes
  • Tom’s baby toothpaste
  • comb/hairbrush
  • coconut oil (we use this instead of lotion) in a small tub
  • Eucerin baby body wash/shampoo we transferred into a small travel size bottle

Diaper Bag:

Sleeping:

  • Toddler Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Teddy Bear & Baby Doll

Beach/Pool:

Food:

  • Trader Joe’s unsweetened applesauce
  • Trader Joe’s string cheese
  • Earths’s Best Organic baby oatmeal
  • Plum Organics squeezable fruit
  • Frozen aloo parathas from our local Indian grocery store
  • Homemade kichdi (rice and yellow moong daal) in glass containers which are microwavable
  • Gallon of milk (lasts us 2 days)
  • Gallon of water

Toys:

  • Books
  • Mini Football, Basketball
  • Plush Toys
  • Android Tablet with Case

Misc:

We stuck to our nap and bedtime schedule for the most part (which was fine with me since I napped with the kiddos at the hotel in the afternoon!), but we also allowed ourselves to go with the flow, like enjoying evening strolls well after bed time and dancing at the hotel Tiki Bar! The most important thing is to have fun — family vacay memories will last a lifetime!

This blog was featured on TotScene, a hub for parents to share and review family-friendly destinations and venues.