Natalie O'Connor


As a mom, feeding your newborn is an essential, intimate & exhausting experience. It is undoubtedly rewarding, but at times the process can feel like a bit of an uphill battle. After having my first child, I found that there were a lot of opinions surrounding how you should feed newborns. For me, feeding my baby ended up becoming a negative experience in a lot of ways. The people that I spoke to all had their own opinions about what I should be doing, and why their way was best. In the end, I had to focus on what worked for me & my family, and that was pumping. For this blog post, I wanted to share some insights into pumping and the different things to consider when choosing a breast pump.

This post contains affiliate links to my favorite items, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

Benefits of Using a Breast Pump

Not every mom is able to breastfeed, and not every mom has the time to breastfeed. Having a breast pump allows you to easily express your milk and store it for later feedings. There were many reasons that I chose to pump, but one of them was that my husband was able give our son bottles at night so that I could get more than two hours of sleep at a time. This also meant that other caretakers could feed my baby if I had to go somewhere without him. Pumping also allowed me to continue giving our son breast milk even after I returned to work. I could pump at work and then bring the milk home for later feedings. This actually made the transition to being a working mom easier on me in many ways. 

Electric vs Manual Breast Pumps

One thing to consider when choosing a breast pump is whether you would like an electric or manual pump. When it comes to choosing between them, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer. An electric breast pump offers greater speed and convenience. However, manual pumps are more reliable in terms of performance, and they are often more budget friendly. There is no perfect option out there. I personally chose an electric breast pump because I enjoyed the flexibility that it gave me to do other things while I was pumping- I am a mom that just can’t sit still for 20 minutes! Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. The key is to investigate what will best suit you, and make a decision based on that.

Find a Breast Pump with Adjustable Settings

When it comes to finding an ideal breast pump, adjustable settings can make all the difference. It is essential to find a breast pump that allows for varied suction strengths so that you can adjust and experiment until you figure out exactly what works best for your body when pumping. Not only does adjustable suction help maximize efficiency and express milk faster, but it also reduces the chances of you feeling discomfort during pumping sessions.

Bellababy’s Electric Breast Pump

Personally, I loved Bellababy’s Electric Breast Pump. I was able to charge it in advance and then move around and take care of tasks while I was pumping. As I discussed above, it is important to find a pump that has adjustable settings. This pump has multiple suctions levels and modes that made it easy to find the one that worked for me. This was really important, especially being a first-time mom and having never pumped before! Finally, I found this breast pump VERY durable. It must have dropped more than 50 times (that is me being conservative with the number of times it fell). Accidents happen when you are a new mom, and it was nice to have a reliable pump that I knew could survive those accidents.

You might also be interested in this breast pump comparison post, where Sarah shares her experience with the Zomee & Lansinoh.

There is No Wrong Choice

Ultimately, it is important to remember that there is no wrong choice when deciding how to feed your baby. Each feeding option has its own pros and cons. For us, we decided that pumping was the best way for us. Picking out a breast pump may seem daunting, but with some research, you can make the best decision. I hope these tips have been helpful in guiding you towards finding the ideal breast pump for yourself. Just remember, everybody’s experiences are different when it comes to pumping, breastfeeding, or using formula, so try not to compare your experience to anybody else’s- just focus on what works best for you!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it can be hard to find age-appropriate activities that will keep your two-year-old entertained. Whether you’re looking for something quick and easy, or a more involved project, these fun Valentine’s Day activities are sure to provide hours of creative and heartwarming activities that your little one is sure to love. So, get out those markers and paper, baking ingredients, window markers, and let your toddler’s imaginations run wild with these special homemade gifts that they can share with their friends and family.

This post contains affiliate links to my favorite items, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

Baking Heart-Shaped Cookies

Baking heart-shaped cookies with your little ones is always a great idea around Valentine’s Day. I gather all the ingredients and get the measurements set out ahead of time – to avoid the ENTIRE bag of flour from spilling all over the dog. Then, I have the kids practice naming the different ingredients while mixing them together. Once the dough is ready, it is time to roll it out and use heart-shaped cookie cutters to get that just-right shape for these festive, Valentine’s Day treats. These heart-shaped cookie cutters from Amazon are great because they don’t have that sharp metal edge at the top, that can sometimes hurt your little one’s fingers when they use them. Now comes the fun part! Let your children’s imaginations run wild as they decorate their cookies with icing, chocolate chips, colorful sprinkles – anything goes!

Stamp Markers

I have found that my little one loves to use these stamp markers – they come in a variety of shapes and as a bonus – they are washable! These markers are WAY less messy than fingerpainting, but still give our projects a similar feel. My son and I love to cut out different shapes, temporarily tape them to another piece of paper and go crazy with the markers. Once my little one is done with the page – we remove the shapes that were taped to the page and write personalized messages in the middle. These make great holiday cards for all our extended family, plus gave my little one something to do for a couple of hours. 

Handmade Cards

If your little one is in daycare, then you can handmake class gifts to give out on Valentine’s Day. You can cut out heart-shaped cards and have your child decorate them however they see fit. Afterwards, all you need to do is write the names of the classmates on each card and tape a small treat or gift to each one.

Window Markers

Window markers are a great tool to keep your little ones entertained this Valentine’s Day! Let their creativity run wild as they draw love-filled window decorations, from hearts and arrows to cupids and kisses! Your window decorations will brighten up your neighborhood, spreading the love of Valentine’s Day even further. Have fun encouraging your little ones as they create window art that’ll get everyone in the spirit of the holiday. You may be surprised at what their imaginations come up with – who said window markers only work for adults?

With so many great ideas, you are sure to find the perfect Valentine’s Day activities for your child. No matter what you choose to do, your little one is sure to have a blast and feel the love on this special holiday. So, get creative, have fun, and enjoy some quality time with your two-year-old this Valentine’s Day!

With so many toys on the market today at different price ranges, it can be difficult knowing which gift to choose for your little one. Watching your son explore and unwrap his present is always a special moment. However, finding something that fits into your budget, while also providing hours of educational playtime can feel like an absolute chore nowadays. Guess what?! It doesn’t actually have to feel like a challenge! We’ve put together a list of creative gift ideas that are sure to bring joy to any 2-year-old boy without breaking your bank.

This post contains affiliate links to my favorite items, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

Shop Thrift Stores or Marketplace

One of my best recommendations for saving your bank account, is to look for secondhand toys in thrift stores or on Facebook Marketplace. There are often toys there that have only been used a couple of times, or are even still in the original packaging! These are also places that can give you some more great gift ideas if you aren’t sure what to get your little boy. I find that my son’s favorite part of getting a gift is just unwrapping the present and seeing something new. After that, the toy generally gets played with for a day or two, and then forgotten about. Buying a secondhand toy is a great way to get your kids something that is new to them, without costing you a fortune. Plus, IF the toy ends up becoming a favorite, then you got a lifelong toy for cheap!

Cardboard Houses

Another gift idea that doesn’t cost a fortune: cardboard playhouses. These are one of the most creative and fun options you can give. Not only are cardboard houses incredibly cheap to make, but they also provide your little one with endless entertainment. All you need to do is take a few giant cardboard boxes that are sitting in your garage, and turn them into an imaginative playhouse for your toddler. Your little adventurer will have hours of fun playing in these cardboard dwellings; from pretend picnics, to space missions – the possibilities are endless. Plus, its compact size means it won’t take up much space in their bedroom or playroom!

A New Ball

This next gift idea may seem simple, but a new ball is an excellent choice that won’t break the bank. I love this one from Amazon, because it comes in different sizes, colors, and with a pump. This special gift will get your little one laughing, playing, and having great fun! Your child will be able to kick it around and even play catch while they develop new skills like balance and coordination. And best of all, they get them out in the fresh air with their friends or family members.

Exciting Adventures

Our final gift idea on a budget is simple. Spending quality time with your little one is something you simply can’t put a price on. That’s why, if you’re looking for fun ideas, try taking your two-year-old on an exciting and fun adventure – someplace they’ll never forget! Take them to explore the beach, go on a fun excursion to the zoo, or maybe brave some indoor parks if it’s too chilly or rainy. Often places like Groupon will have discounts or specials that they are running, and can give you some more gift ideas. When you spend the day with your little one, you’re helping create fantastic memories.

With a little bit of creativity and thinking outside the box, you can find budget-friendly gifts for your 2-year-old boy that will be cherished. Secondhand toys are a great option, or you could even get crafty and make a cardboard house – the possibilities are endless! And sometimes, the best gift is simply taking your child out for a special day together. Whatever you choose, your 2-year-old is sure to love it.