Mama Maker: Leah from LCeeeDesigns

American Made Baby Brands

Leah is a lawyer by day and a mom of three boys who embraces life’s chaos with the same resolve that her Midwestern home is known for. So much so, that a particularly messy plane ride with her first-born led to creating LCeeeDesigns and its first product, The Flipping Holder.

It all started when Leah decided to stock up on squeezable food pouches and accessories for her first flight with her then 1-year-old son. She typically made her own baby food, but figured that going through security didn’t need to be any more complicated than it is with baby gear in tow.

Unfortunately her best laid plans for feeding her son on the flight back-fired.

Literally.

“It was a matter of 30 seconds. I opened up one of the pouches…he grabbed at it, and it just squeezed everywhere. It got all over me and all over the person next…

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40 Working Mom Stories That Made 2017 Shine Brighter

2017 was undoubtedly a big year for women, and looking back it feels like working mamas are finally getting a chance to shine.

From a conference dedicated to mompreneurs in San Francisco to booming Facebook groups with 20,000+ members, there is a movement of moms leading and building businesses, and redefining corporate culture in the process.

As a working mom myself, I haven’t written as many stories about all these amazing mamas as I’d like to, so I found Twitter to be the next best way to quickly spread the word.

Here’s a recap of 40 moms, moments and would-be blog post topics I found to be particularly inspiring in 2017:

Working Mom Tales From the Road

Discovering the Working Parent Resource podcast set the year on the right foot. (Thanks Sarah for everything you’re doing to help make it easier for working parents to find their way!) Here are some of the working mom voices that inspired my morning drive time:

There’s nothing that gives a busy mama more relief than hearing a kindred spirit tell their story, which was my experience hearing Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less author Tiffany Dufu share hers on the Heroine podcast:

The Naked Truth About Working Motherhood

Getting other humans out the door in the morning is nothing to sneeze at, and Liz Petrone managed to bring humor to the madness:

While Neha Mandhani reminded us why it’s helpful to embrace imperfection…

Motherly editor Colleen Temple perfectly captured the conflicted emotions of motherhood, “to every mother who wants to give herself a hug when she checks on her sleeping children post-bedtime because today was a tough-as-nails day and now in the still of the dark night, she wonders if she was enough, did enough—I’m that mama, too.”

SWAAY captured confessions from 14 working moms, including the mompreneur behind Kindred Bravely (softest maternity/nursing bra ever!):

Why It’s Worth the Working Mama Juggle

Sometimes we need a reminder of why we’re crazy enough to try and juggle it all. Two videos captured it very nicely — one from tried and true baby food brand Happy Baby and another from DigitalMums.com which helps create flexible jobs:

Tend Lab founding CEO Amy Henderson is championing the evolution of corporate culture to better recognize and support parenthood. In addition to her spot-on quotes about the benefits of working moms in Mother, she also moderated a fantastic panel on juggling it all at the In Good Company conference:

These quotes are the closest things I’ve found to an antidote for working mom guilt. The first comes from a profile of stylish mompreneurs behind Nomad CollectiveELLIS BROOKLYNFreshly Picked Baby MoccasinsPembroke PR, and Catherine Kwong Design in Mother. The second is from the Krazy Coupon Lady who appeared on Mario Armstrong’s Never Settle Show:

Making Life Before and After Maternity Leave A Little Easier

I loved the words of maternity-benefit pioneer, Maven‘s CEO and founder, Kate Ryder, on the GirlBoss podcast discussing how to make the most of her time in the office as a new mom, “One of the first things I did when I had a kid was reduce meetings to 30 minutes.”

Author of Here’s the Plan.: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood and WeeSpring founder, Allyson Downey, is helping women educate themselves on maternity leave and returning to work after baby, as featured in Motherly:

Kim Chappell so eloquently captured the emotions of a new mom getting ready to head back to work after maternity leave, which made me want to reach through my phone and give her a reassuring hug:

Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel admits she “had no idea how I was going to feel, what I was going to take on, or how I was going to do it” once she became a working mother. She shared how she’s currently arranged childcare in a way that works for her:

A new mama who’s near and dear to the TripIt team, Natalie DiScala, wrote two great pieces for moms facing the reality of traveling for business, covering everything from nursing to childcare:

When Motherhood Inspires New Business Ideas

“Kids are the ultimate start-up.” I love this quote from the co-founder of bkr glass water bottles in Mother (which were a welcome inclusion in the spring The Zoe Report’s Box of Style along with other mompreneur-created products):

Sarah Michelle Gellar found the inspiration to start FoodStirs and step away from travel-intensive acting after she had her daughter:

Kango founder Sara Schaer set out to kick carpool chaos to the curb by launching a Lyft-like service in LA and SF, in which all the drivers are fingerprinted and background-checked:

Air Force veteran and Euphoric Herbals founder Cindy Collins started making herbal teas for her clients as a doula, around the time she had her first son. As her family grew, so did her business (from $3,200 in revenue in 2011 to more than $400,000 just five years later):

Beluga Baby wrap founder Haley Campbell launched her company four months after giving birth to her daughter. She lived to tell the tale in Motherly:

Advice from Women Who Paved the Way for Today’s Working Mamas

I’m lucky to be surrounded by inspiring women leaders at work, some of which were featured in Working Mother and Inc:

SitterCity CEO Elizabeth Harz has refined working motherhood by planning ahead and shared other tips with Working Mother on how to carve out more time and cut yourself some slack:

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, the powerhouse literary agent behind Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, Brene Brown and Arianna Huffington, reminded us that guilt is essentially useless:

Fashion mogul and pioneering mompreneur, Eileen Fisher, shared her one working mother regret on the How I Built This podcast:

Research that Gets it Right

It’s time for outdated research on “advanced maternal age,” “geriatric pregnancy” and my personal favorite, “elderly multigravida” to go the way of the dodo. The New York Times helped shed some light:

A study in the Atlantic followed up with 37 women who graduated together, 20 years later; the results from the  “Ambition Interviews” were both fascinating and heartbreaking. Authors Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace have written a book, The Ambition Decisions: What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life, which comes out in June 2018:

Working Mom Voices Are Getting Louder

Melinda Gates became a welcome and powerful voice in the gender gap discussion by highlighting how America’s workaholic culture isn’t helping moms–or anyone really. She’s not the only recognizable face bringing much needed attention to the issues facing working moms:

As a “digital” participant of the inaugural In Good Company conference, I was delighted to see these recaps (and live vicariously through them) in Vogue and the San Francisco Chronicle:

Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake made headlines when she IPO’d with her toddler in tow. I was equally interested in surfacing the day-in-the-life secrets to her success as a mompreneur:

I can’t wait to see what 2018 holds in store for working moms. In the meantime, you can count on me to keep sharing stories every chance I get!

When Working Mamas Need a Break

I’ve been hibernating. I haven’t written a blog post in two months. I just didn’t have it in me to give up any spare moments of rest. But I know I’m not alone.

Some of the most driven mamas I know — who are actively raising young children, working in corporate jobs and even building businesses on the side — find themselves needing to turn one dial down from time to time, like Sarah from Piperoos.

For Paula from Ceh Flora Gifts, caring for an aging parent comes with many curve balls. But it also puts things in perspective, and can even be a source of inspiration to change direction.

I’m learning from the mompreneurs I speak to that we all have different modes. Sometimes we’re on, sometimes we’re off. Building a career, a family and a business (or passion project) has to be at our own pace. But it’s hard to give yourself that forgiveness.

Patagonia has proven that you can keep an eye on the long game, while having ups and downs along the way:

“We didn’t know if we were going to make it or not,” said Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia on NPR’s “How I Built This,” about the period following a down turn.

“All decisions from then on were made as if we were going to be here 100 years from now. So, slowing down the growth, saying no to a lot of opportunities and just being more responsible.”

“One year we’ll grow 3 percent, another year we’ll grow 20 percent,” said Chouinard. “It’s not this smooth curve like public companies that have to grow 15 percent every year… There are two kinds of growth, one where you grow stronger and one where you grow fat.”

This philosophy comes from the same company that retains 100% of its moms by providing on-site childcare.

Have you taken time to recharge lately? I’d love to hear your story.

How Working Moms Find Inspiration in Hard Times

When the going gets tough, working moms get going. If you’re feeling saddened or discouraged by the wake of the recent hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes, just read the Twitter feed of mama mogul Bethenny Frankel. You’ll see a woman on a mission, filling up private jets and cargo ships to get supplies straight into the hands of victims.

As of mid-October, Bethenny’s B Strong organization has raised more than $4 million in in-kind donations for Puerto Rico and she’s now reaching out to companies, celebrities and citizens alike to help pool together more than $50 million in donations.

Bethenny’s a lifelong entrepreneur who was driven to create her own success after a difficult upbringing. You can read more about her journey in A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life.

Fellow “Celebrity Apprentice” alumna Nely Galan has demonstrated the same boundless determination. Building her own fortune as a Cuban immigrant taught her lessons that perfectly capture the spirit of the mompreneur stories that follow:

I’ve added her book,  Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way to my reading list, and encourage you to do the same.

From personal struggle to a more flexible business

“I was sitting in ICU with my mother, who I almost lost the night before, and I knew I needed to be available to her when she was well enough to come home,” says Paula, who fits the definition of “Sandwich Generation,” caring for children and aging parents simultaneously.

As a personal concierge by day, Paula came up with the idea to create a service to help save busy professionals time by curating personalized gift boxes for special occasions. She “scratched out a rough business plan, started researching vendors and took the leap” to launch Ceh~Flora Gift Co.

Paula’s typical clients are busy working women, many of whom are moms as well. She’s raising 3- and 5-year-old “little divas” who she hopes to inspire to be “lady bosses of tomorrow.”

“I work while they’re at school. I set an agenda of 3-5 items I need to accomplish,” Paula says. “Whatever doesn’t get done before my oldest gets home moves to the top of the next day’s agenda.”

Gaining perspective and finding your voice

“Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it totally pulled the rug out from under our feet,” says Sarah, a “proud mumpreneur of two.”

“It made me realise that life is precious and it goes way too fast. That nothing is more important than spending time with those we love. It taught me to slow down and made me want to help others do the same,” says Sarah.

“I’d finally found the topic for my blog and so A Simple and Contented Life was born.”

For Sarah, it’s the relationships with her husband, parents and siblings that nurture her.

“My husband is my biggest support,” she says. “He works from home too so we share the workload when it comes to housework and school runs etc. As a family we’re very close, our parents and siblings are an amazing support and we all help one another out whenever we can. I have a great network of mum friends too!”

Sarah has a plan in place to build her blog in a way that doesn’t take away from quality family time:

“My youngest is at school, so I usually work between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m,” she says. “I try to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get an hour of writing in each day before everyone else gets up… but I don’t always manage it! I’ll sometimes work in the evening too. I sit on the sofa with my laptop whilst watching box sets on Netflix with my Hubby.”

“Friday nights and weekends are reserved for family time so there’s no working unless absolutely necessary.”

If these mamas can make lemonade out of lemons, so can the rest of us!

This is the latest post in a series on how working moms are building and leading companies.

 

Giving Mompreneurs a Boost with The Zoe Report’s Box of Style

Tuning in to The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo was part of my early curiosity around the inner workings of a #momboss. Fast forward a decade, and the glamorous mama mogul is now supporting other mompreneurs in The Zoe Report’s Box of Style.

Each season, a new set of emerging beauty and style brands – powered by female founders – are featured in a luxurious package that’s convenient enough for busy moms to feel pampered too.

Women Helping Women Succeed

After arriving in my Spring 2017 box, this foot-loomed Tribe Alive handbag – warmly tagged “Made in India With Love” – became my carryall for everything from notebooks and charging cords during the week, to diapers and wipes on the weekends.

Tribe Alive Handbag from Box of Style

For Tribe Alive CEO Carly Burson, The Zoe Report’s Box of Style has helped expand her brand’s mission to empower female artisans around the world to raise themselves out of poverty.

“We were able to reach a large audience of women through this collaboration and were thrilled over how well the design was received by Box of Style subscribers and how the mission behind our brand resonated with so many,” Carly says.

“Our team at Tribe Alive is full of hard-working moms and we all act as one support system,” she says. “We take on extra work for each other when one needs it, we offer to help with each other’s kids, and we understand that sometimes schedules need to be flexible. We work really hard to foster a culture that allows working moms to be successful in their career while also feeling successful at home.”

“Our team supports each other every step of the way so that we can accomplish all things in all areas of life,” says Carly.

Forever India. Forever changed. 📷 @erinloechner

A post shared by Carly Burson (@carlyrburson) on

“I’m honored that my ‘village’ is full of the women who sit beside me everyday to help me build a brand that in turn allows women all over the world the opportunity to care for their families.”

How this Mompreneur Makes it Work

Helping women succeed comes full circle for Carly: “My support system is my life line. I could not do what I do without the Tribe of women who hold me up.”

“I work with so many amazing women who help guide me through the balancing act of being a female entrepreneur,” Carly says. “Most days it feels like an impossible job, but I surround myself with colleagues and mentors who share about the true struggles of being a business owner and a mom.”

“Some of the women and friends I look to for guidance are Erin Loechner from Design For Mankind, Liz Bohannon of Sseko and our own [Tribe Alive] Brand Development Director, Reagan Shedden.”

Stay tuned for more stories of the mompreneurs featured in The Zoe Report’s Box of Style.

Fall 2017 Box of Style

Here’s my hyper-speed unveiling of my Fall 2017 box, which just arrived last week: ​ ​

This navy GiGi New York clutch converts into a laptop case…Be still this working mama’s heart!​​

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(To get $10 off the Fall 2017 box, use promo code FALLBOS10, or to get $20 off an annual subscription, enter promo code BOS20 at Box of Style.)

How Working Moms Build and Lead with Limited Time

In the age of startups, #hustle, and productivity gurus, never has so much emphasis been placed on the relationship between hours and success. Typically, this results in a frenetic work ethic that’s not sustainable for working parents and other groups that are responsible for the livelihood of family members.

It’s been five years since Anne Marie Slaughter nailed it on the head in “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” challenging “the belief that more time equals more value.” Sadly, her words still ring true: “the culture of ‘time macho’—a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you—remains astonishingly prevalent among professionals today.”

This precedent is in direct conflict with the realities of parenting: kids get sick, daycare isn’t always available, and doctors offices have limited hours. It’s time to be more transparent about the demands on working mothers, and elevate examples of leadership and entrepreneurship that don’t lead to burnout – or workforce dropout entirely.

For this series, I’m going to focus on working moms for two reasons:

  • While there’s been a lot of debate about the gender gap, examples of how women are building or leading companies – while actively raising children – aren’t typically part of the conversation. Without these stories, young women won’t have examples to inspire their early career choices, and women who are going through the life-altering transformation of becoming mothers will too easily feel defeated.
  • As a toddler mom, I’ve become somewhat of a cultural anthropologist on this topic for the last few years. I believe working moms are in a unique position to reshape corporate leadership and dispel the myths that perpetuate cut-throat startup culture. Stories from female founders who are simultaneously building companies and families are innovative by design.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

How Do You Build or Lead with Limited Time?

I’ve been fixated on answering this question for years, starting long before I became a mom. I was intimidated by the idea of working motherhood, so I read voraciously like any type A person would. From I Don’t Know How She Does It to I Know How She Does It, and Lean In, I couldn’t guzzle down stories about working moms fast enough.

While these gateway stories were inspiring, I finally felt empowered when any notions of super mom flew out the window. By talking to other parents with the same sleep deprivation or childcare struggles, it released the pressure I was needlessly putting on myself to return to my pre-maternity leave pace.

The way Sarah Argenal from the Working Parent Resource put it into words really resonated with me: “As an overachiever in my life before kids, I was used to learning new skills and then mastering them. To put it bluntly, I was used to being good at things in my life; and one of the hardest things I had to do as a parent was realize that I was never going to be perfect at it. Our kids change all the time, and it was really disorienting to have to adapt and adjust to every new developmental stage that my child went through.”

The same can be said for how I previously spent work time. I was used to saying yes to every opportunity, traveling on a regular basis, and spreading my time across a lot of different projects and people. I had to completely rethink how I used and valued my time as a mother.

By surfacing stories about how working moms are building businesses or leading organizations, we can address “time” as a major contributor to the gender gap.

How Working Moms Make the Most of Limited Time

No matter the method, these stories – and the resources that follow – are about placing a premium on the hours you have available, rather than treating your time as a never-ending commodity. It’s also about recognizing your limits and making adjustments when you need to.

Whitney, founder of SproutFit, juggles a corporate job that requires frequent business travel, her new adjustable baby clothing start-up, and a 3-year-old: “It’s a lot of prioritizing, a lot of asking for forgiveness of friends and family members when I can’t go to events because I’m traveling, or when I need to take a me day,” says Whitney.

“My biggest thing right now is truly prioritizing, and learning what can be priority A, B and C,” she says. “Being able to communicate with my husband; with his traveling job and my traveling job, we have to make sure we’re keeping everything in check. It’s a lot of communication, a lot of priority checking and a lot of saying no.”

“I wasn’t always good at saying no,” says Whitney. “But, I’m pretty good at saying no now because it’s to protect, my family, my sanity and my future… our future.”

Sarah, founder of Piperoos, is going through “a phase where the balance of juggling Piperoos, and family and my day job has shifted in favor of family and day job.” In addition to a new role at work, she’s had to temporarily prioritize “the logistics of moving our family, and figuring out school, the new ballet class and swimming” over her environmentally conscious baby brand.

This isn’t the first time Sarah has had to rethink how she spends her time: “I struggled a huge amount after having my daughter. My identity had been so tied up in my career for so long.”

“Even if you have a really supportive spouse at home, even if you have a company that has set up structures in place that are supportive, you still end up facing a burden from a career perspective that you wouldn’t as a male in that situation,” she says.

Tips & Resources

  • Get a reality check on how many hours you have available: In the book I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, there are actual calendars of working moms with leadership positions and high pressure jobs. Many of the women interviewed overestimated the actual time spent on work, which helps debunk the myth that everyone else is putting in more hours than you.
  • Figure out what your unique contribution is: Find the sweet spot between the work you’re most passionate about, what others perceive your super power to be, and your impact on the bottom line. Once you do, it becomes very clear how to prioritize your precious time and help your team stay focused. It also makes the logistics of how you get your work done less of an issue, because the value you deliver is ultimately what matters.
  • Get into alignment before tackling your most important work: This is about creating the conditions to tap into flow, which allows you to create quality without a lot of quantity (as measured by time). It’s a popular topic in podcasts like The Lively Show. Don’t be discouraged by morning rituals, which can be difficult when you’re trying to get kids out the door. As an alternative, you can pinpoint optimal pockets of uninterrupted time in the day for your most important problem-solving or creative work.
  • Cluster your hustle: As someone who works primarily from home, I arrange for one 12+ hour day per week to travel to and from the office, when extended childcare can be covered by family. I make the most of the long train commute, respond to emails while hopping from train to bus to Lyft, and then I can be fully present with my team in the office. Same goes for major customer events or conferences. The other days of the week, Zoom, Slack, texts and calls make it seamless to stay connected with my colleagues, and then I’m available for my family in the morning and evening.
  • Bring in reinforcements: There are likely many things you don’t need to be the one to do, in order to make room for the things that only you can do. In today’s sharing economy, there’s no reason you can’t preserve precious parenting time outside of work by outsourcing grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning, your wardrobe, and more. By creating income for others, you can carve out time for you – and your family.

There’s so much more to say on this topic! If you have experiences to share, I would love for you to be part of the conversation. Please pipe in, either in the comments below, or by reaching out to me directly so we can chat.

Mama Maker: Kristen from Color Cloud Mill

American Made Baby Brands

Up the north coast of California in a breezy seaside village lives an unflappable mompreneur who’s just as sweet and authentic as the namesake of her American made organic cotton clothing line, Color Cloud Mill. Kristen makes thoughtful choices for her brand, whether it’s the name inspired by the nickname her son gives to sunrises and sunsets on the way to and from school, or her deliberate fabric choices.

Color Cloud Mill Organic Childrens Clothing Color Cloud Mill Organic Children’s Clothing The Color Cloud Mill shirt pictured below was my favorite for my son’s first year given how soft it was and how it simultaneously made him look like a teenager and a (tiny!) toddler at the same time.

Color Cloud Mill Organic Tshirt Our First Color Cloud Mill Tshirt I’ve since upgraded our collection to 2Ts (and will soon need 3Ts), although I still squeeze him into the original for bedtime when a bare midriff is no biggie.

Color Cloud Mill Organic Tshirt Color…

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The Working Mother’s Dilemma: What to Feed Baby

It starts when you return to work after maternity leave. How often do you pump during the workday? What do you do about business trips? How long can you keep it up?

The dilemma continues into the world of baby food jars and pouches. Which ones are the most nutritious? Which ones will my baby actually eat? Lead and BPA free? Least amount of sugar?

Pumping as a Working Mama

I made it through one month of full-time pumping and part-time work, which I was fortunate to have as a transition period, followed by full-time work and part-time pumping. That first month back started with an awkward series of pumping sessions amidst an overnight business trip that involved:

  • enough clean, spare pump parts and a portable battery pack for rushed airport mother’s lounge stops (and the sweetest Alaska Airlines lounge attendant ever)
  • runs back to my hotel room in between meetings and networking events which made me arrive late to everything
  • an incognito cooler to carry that precious cargo through TSA and all the way home
  • a poncho, the pumping mama’s wardrobe hack!

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The Long, Slow Wean

My first month back to work full-time was less motivating. I started looking out at the horizon to a 3-night business trip, which coincided with the 6-month mark, and it felt like the right time for me to start a long, slow wean. It was hard to find resources on weaning over a 4-week period, but fortunately I found a post that showed me the ropes.

I dropped one feeding at a time every few days (starting with workday pumping) until I was nursing every 12 hours (first thing in the morning; right before bed), then every 18 hours, then once a day, every other day and so on. The grand finale was one last nursing session after I returned from my work trip where I had made it three days without pumping. It was also the night before my son turned 6 months old.

I think the decision to wean is entirely personal and I admire the working mamas who keep it up through the first year and beyond. You are true warriors!

Formula for On-the-Go

Sometimes formula is the only option and I found early on that my hungry little guy needed to supplement the real thing. I did a lot of research and found Baby’s Only to be the closest to mom, with the cleanest ingredients:

Baby’s Only Organic Dairy with DHA & ARA Formula, 12.7 Ounce

However, when I figured out that there was a room temperature option, that was also portable, organic, and didn’t create a powdery mess, I made the switch to these handy pre-mixed 2-oz containers:

Similac Advance Organic Infant Baby Formula, 48 Bottles, 2-Fl Oz, Ready to Feed

I eventually discovered auto-shipments directly from the manufacturer were the most cost-effective and mom-brain proof. They were perfect for the first few months at daycare, trips to the gym, and traveling.

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The Best Baby Food Jars & Pouches

I left behind any notions of making my own baby food, despite how much I like to cook, when time became precious as a working mom. Our weekends were for rest and play; I didn’t envision myself in a baby-food making frenzy. So I searched for the closest thing I could find: jars with the purest organic ingredients.

Stage 1 favorites included:

Earth’s Best First Apples, Og, 2.50-Ounce (Pack of 12) ( Value Bulk Multi-pack)

Earths Best Organic First Beginner Food – Pear, 2.5 Ounce — 12 per case.

Stage 2 favorites included:

Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food Stage 2 Apples and Apricots — 4 oz

Earth’s Best Organic Stage 2, Corn & Butternut Squash, 4 Ounce Jar (Pack of 12)

Earth’s Best Harvest Squash Turkey Dinner (12×4 Oz)

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Then we graduated to pouches, which were even easier to feed on-the-go. Favorite pouches for stage 3, 6 months and up:

Earth’s Best Organic Stage 3, Pumpkin, Cranberry & Apple, 4.2 Ounce Pouch (Pack of 12) (Packaging May Vary)

Plum Organics Baby Food – Organic – Quinoa and Leeks with Chicken and Tarragon – Stage 3 – 6 Months and Up – 4 oz – Case of 6-95%+ Organic – Wheat Free-

Favorite toddler pouches:

Happy Tot Organic Stage 4 Super Foods, Apples & Butternut Squash + Super Chia, 4.22 Ounce (Pack of 16)

Happy Tot Organic Stage 4 Super Foods, Apples, Spinach, Peas & Broccoli + Super Chia, 4.22 oz (Pack of 16)

Happy Tot Organic Toddler Food Plus, Kale Apple & Mango, 4.22 Ounce (Pack of 16)

I’ll admit when I first started feeding solids, I was focused on ingredients and wasn’t yet thinking about sugar. Later in the toddler stage, I searched high and low for the least amount of sugar and it came down to these two.

Lowest sugar toddler pouches:

Happy Tot Organic Stage 4 Baby Food, Love My Veggies, Zucchini/Pear/Chickpeas & Kale, 4.2 Ounce (Pack of 16)

Once Upon a Farm Cold-Pressured Wild Rumpus Avocado

Safeguarding Against Contaminants (and Mom Guilt)

And then this morning, while I’m trying to enjoy a few sips of coffee in between chasing my toddler around, I hear that lead and other contaminants were detected in 20 percent of baby food. Lovely. Just what this paranoid mama bear needs to hear.

I double checked that all of the formula, jars and pouches mentioned above made a list of “clean” baby food in an independent study conducted by the Clean Label Project, and/or were verified directly with the brand (in the case of Happy Baby and Once Upon a Farm).

Avoiding overly processed, packaged foods is always a good idea for babies and adults. Also, the reality is that soil contains lead and other contaminants, so when in doubt, check to with the baby brands directly to see if they conduct testing.

When mom guilt rears its ugly head, we have to remember we do our best for each moment. Hopefully my research can give busy mamas back some time and peace of mind.