April 05, 2017

17 Fabulous Baby Products for 2017

Choosing the right baby products can be overwhelming. I remember feeling panicked roaming the aisles of Babies R Us when I was pregnant with my first wondering what all my baby would need and what would make my life easier as a new Mom. I ended up over-buying and we didn’t even use some of the products. It was very frustrating.

 

When I found out I was pregnant for the second time I started to take inventory of the baby items I had. I'm usually a fairly frugal person and I'm all for re-using items. I figured I was all set for baby items. Then I really thought about what I liked and disliked about the products I used with my oldest. I realized that I bought a lot of items without doing much research. After being a Mom for a couple of years (and talking to countless other Moms) I had a better idea of what I needed.

 

 

Here are my favorite baby products for 2017:

 

1. A Better Nursing Cover

The cover I used with my oldest didn’t really do much in terms of giving me privacy when nursing in public. It meant that I didn’t want to nurse in public because I didn’t want to struggle with the cover. This time, I got a poncho-style nursing cover which is easy to use and keeps me comfortable.

 

2. Milkies Milk Savers

I really hate leaking milk. I don’t like feeling soggy or wearing damp clothes and it just makes me feel like a hot mess. I didn’t even think about the fact that I was wasting precious milk until I found Milk Savers. You insert it in your bra of the side you’re not nursing on and it catches the milk that’s released during your let-down. Then, you can put it in a bottle and save it for later. The extra bonus is that it kept me from leaking milk so I’m nice a dry!

 

3. Somewhere Safe to Put the Baby

Since we had a toddler at home, it wasn’t always a good idea to leave our baby on the floor for fear that my toddler might try to jump over him or pick him up. I’ve been really impressed with the different types of baby nests available. We have both the Snuggle Me Organic and the DockATot and they have been so helpful for keeping our baby happy and safe. Plus we bring one with us when visiting family or traveling because then we have a clean spot for the baby where ever we go.

 

4. A Versatile Changing Pad

Babies squirm and they put their hands places they shouldn’t during eventful diaper changes. This time we got a SnoofyBee changing pad that velcros the top half the the baby away from the bottom. There’s even a place to attach toys to it. I love that my son can keep his hands clean. Plus the pad is easily wiped down after messy changes.

 

5. A More Functional Diaper Bag

Like most first-time Moms, I picked my first diaper bag based on what I thought was cute and would make me look like an adorable new Mommy. It ended up feeling heavy and didn’t have enough room for the items I wanted to pack on a daily basis. This time around, I found a larger bag that has pockets for everything! I feel so much more organized and it’s large enough that I can use it as a carry-on when traveling.

 

6. An Adjustable Baby Carrier

When my oldest was a newborn, I had a baby carrier that wasn’t really adjustable. I worried a bit about if I was doing it right. This time, I decided to try a woven wrap. I met with a babywearing educator who taught me how to wrap. I tried it when my youngest was just a few days old and it was so comfortable for both of us! I was even able to teach my husband and it’s now his favorite carrier. I like that we can also use it on our 3-year-old because it’s one-size-fits-all.

 

7. A Sturdier Nursing Pillow

You know how you like a product until you find a better one? I had no idea that my old nursing pillow was too soft and that’s why my back always hurt. I tried a different brand that was much firmer and it’s been infinitely more comfortable! It holds my 16lb baby without sagging and keeps him at the right height. I wish I would have tried it with my oldest!

 

8. Thicker Sleep Sacks

I’ve been lucky enough to test out lots of swaddlers and sleep sacks and I have to say that my son really loves the thicker ones. My husband and I are smitten with the bamboo duvet sleep sacks from Gunapod. It’s not only super soft but my son stays warm all night long. Plus there’s a zipper that goes around the sack so we can change his diaper while he’s wearing the sack.

 

9. A Sound Machine

My oldest was a pretty solid sleeper, but I was always whispering anywhere in the house when he was sleeping. Now that we have 2 kids, I realize that I spend a lot of time trying to keep everyone quiet for fear of waking someone. That’s when it dawned on me that a sound machine would really help! We actually use it in our toddler’s room so he won’t hear our baby. And we take it with us traveling to mask the unfamiliar noises.

 

10. A Softer Bathtub

Like most Moms, I got one of those plastic whale tubs with my oldest. He hated bath time and would squirm around and hit himself on the hard sides of the tub. Plus, I had to use it in our bath tub, so I’d end up sitting in our tub so I could reach him. This time, I got a Puj tub that fits in our sink. It’s made of foam and lays flat for easy storage. It’s also really flexible so my baby can move around without hurting himself.

 

11. Kangaroo Care Shirt

My oldest son was a NICU baby and I saw the power of skin-to-skin care firsthand. I knew instantly that I would do skin-to-skin as much as possible with any kids I may have. There are several companies who make babywearing shirts. It’s so easy to do kangaroo care with them, even if you need to multi-task.

 

12. An Easy Nursing Necklace

Nursing necklaces are not all the same. I learned that the hard way with my oldest. I got one that pulled the little hairs on the back of my neck and it was more painful to wear the necklace than it was to deal with my son pinching my skin. Now, I use fabric-covered nursing necklaces that are much more comfortable for me and my youngest loves playing with it. It’s been a good distraction and I hope it will allow me to nurse longer than I did with my first.

 

13. Attachable Teething Toys

Call me naïve, but I didn’t realize that my oldest would drop every single toy on the dirtiest floors I’ve ever seen. This time, I’m strictly using toys that I can attach to the cars eat, baby carrier, stroller, etc. One of my favorites right now are Chewbeads GO Links because they are teethers themselves, plus I can attach toys to them and link them to laundry baskets, the activity gym, the jumparoo, etc.

 

14. Absorbent Drool Bibs

I didn’t understand the purpose of drool bibs with my oldest. He had so many cute outfits that I just changed his clothes a lot. But, his onesies were always wet and his chest would get red. This time, I stocked up on the bandana bibs. While there are a lot of companies making bandana style bibs, the layer of fleece on the back of Matimati bibs really sets them apart. They truly keep clothes dry, even if your baby drools or spits up a lot. Plus, they look trendy and who doesn’t want a trendy baby?

 

15. Gadgets for Colds

There are few things worse than hearing a little baby cough or gasp for air. When your little one gets their first cold, you will feel so helpless. We rely heavily on our Nosefrida and our Oogiebear to help both our kids breathe. They are easy to use and our kids don’t seem bothered by them. They actually seem more relieved, which makes everyone a bit more relieved.

 

16. Cozy Blankets

My oldest was lucky enough to have many blankets specially made for him. He uses them every day. That’s when I realized how important blankets can be in helping kids feel safe and secure. For my youngest, I discovered Tula blankets and they are so incredibly soft! My baby actually smiles and grabs the blanket when I put it in the swing or car seat. They seem to comfort him instantly and I’m really happy to have found something to soothe him.

 

17. Nicer Nursing Clothes
I know this isn’t technically a baby item, but I’m including it in this list. I didn’t really see the point of nursing clothes with my oldest. I wore a lot of nursing camisoles with regular shirts on top and called it good. However, this time I invested in a nursing dress, some nursing shirts and (most importantly) nursing sweatshirts. They are so much easier to nurse in and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

 

These are just my top 17 products of 2017, so far. I’m excited to see what other new products I will discover later this year!

 

 

Marcie Cheung
Marcie in Mommyland

March 31, 2017

A Veteran Mom’s Guide to Baby Consignment Sales

I love shopping. There’s something about the thrill of the hunt that is the best form of entertainment for me. But nothing beats my love of scoring a good deal.
 
I started going to baby consignment sales when I was about 5 months pregnant with my oldest. I was able to get tickets to the New Mom pres-sale event, and we waited in line for about 30 minutes just to get in the doors. I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of stuff available and what a mad house it was! I had no game plan and just wandered aimlessly for hours. I found some great deals, but it was exhausting.
 
Since that first sale, I’ve experienced more than 20 baby consignment sales in the Seattle-area. Some are large-scale and held in huge spaces and others are small sales at co-op preschools. But I’ve been able to navigate each one quickly and effectively.
 
Top 10 Tips for Baby Consignment Sales


1. Make a List. The most important thing is to write down what items you are looking for. It’s easy to get distracted and you’ll want to focus your efforts on items you actually need.


2. Leave toddlers at home, if possible. They will slow you down and plead for all the toys.


3. Wear your baby in a carrier so you are more mobile.


4. Get there early. Bargain-hunters always arrive before the sale opens so be prepared to wait outside.


5. Bring a large bag. I like to bring my reusable IKEA bag because I mainly shop for toys and it can hold a lot. Some sales will lend bags during the sale but not for you to take home.


6. Start with Big Items. It’s been my experience that items like jumparoos, bouncers, swings, etc are some of the first items to go. The ones in great condition go instantly. If you are in the market for any of those, make that your first stop.


7. Take advantage of the Item Hold area. Usually, there’s a place for you to store large items that you want to buy but don’t want to drag all over the sale. Then, you can pick them up after you’ve paid for them.


8. If you need clothes, you will most likely be there a while as it’s a popular stop.


9. Don’t hoard expensive clothing brands just to immediately resell them online. This is more of a personal plea.


10. Cell reception is sometimes wonky at sales, so in your car, look up some of your purchases to see what kind of deals you’ve scored!
 
Most importantly, enjoy yourself! The sales aren’t for the faint-of-heart, but they can be an adrenaline rush for those who like good quality items for a fraction of the cost.
 
 

Marcie Cheung
Marcie in Mommyland

March 29, 2017

I'm just a mom...

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of my future.. A fancy wedding and a big white dress, my Daddy walking me down the isle and eventually babies.. lots of babies! And I got all of those things. I was happily married, I was a stay at home mom, I had a really good life. Until I didn't anymore. And I found myself divorced with three children.


Until a man, who I now call my husband, walked back into my life (we had dated a decade before) and I was in love again. All of a sudden I was not only a mom, I was dating.. which I hadn't done in about 9 years. Then I was introduced to my boyfriend's children. I wasn't really sure what my role was. From the get-go I loved them so much, but I didn't want to overstep. 


When we got married I went from Daddy's girlfriend to "step mom", though I preferred the term "bonus mom". Shortly after, we ended up with sole custody of the kids. Their biological mother was no longer involved. 


I was doing my best to blend our family, to take on my new role and find my place. To make sure everyone adapted and adjusted well. One day I came across this quote, "There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child; and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own." and everything just clicked for me. I wasn't a "step mom" I wasn't a "bonus mom" I was just a mom. I pick out their clothes and pack their lunches. I help with homework and took them to their activities. I take care of them when they're sick. I hug them and kiss them and love them as if they were my own. 


See, I was born to be a mother. It's the only thing I ever knew for sure I wanted to do. I have given birth four times and that love is instant. But these children needed a mom. They needed me and my love. It doesn't matter if they grew in my belly, they grew in my heart and they were mine.


Every situation is different. I know not every blended family functions the same as ours, and that's okay! It takes time to combine families and find what works. Being a "step mom" isn't easy.. but it's totally worth it! It takes time to earn their trust and build that bond. Especially if they've been hurt. But once you do, it's amazing. I can't imagine my life without my children. All 6 of them. God brought each and every one of them to me for a reason. 


I'm not a step mom, I'm not a bonus mom, I'm just a mom. And that's all I ever wanted! 

written by VHS contributor// Katie 
www.mrswatkins.com 
March 22, 2017

Hoping to have a VBAC? Hire a Doula!

I had a rough pregnancy with my oldest. I had a complete placenta previa, which is a condition where the placenta covers the cervix. It basically meant that I had a lot of bleeding, I would need to deliver via cesarean and was put on bed rest for about half of my pregnancy. I spent the last 2 months of my pregnancy in the hospital for closer monitoring. I ended up delivering 5 weeks early by c-section. My son was rushed to the NICU and my husband went with him. I ended up sitting alone recovering from surgery for hours before I got any updates. My husband then came down with the flu and wasn’t allowed near us. I spent the next 5 days recovering from my c-section, pumping like crazy, and staying in the NICU as long as possible. It was the hardest week of my life and I remember feeling so completely alone and I never wanted to experience that again.
 
When I found out that we were expecting baby #2, I decided to explore the idea of hiring a doula. My friends loved their experience and encouraged me to interview their doula. I felt so comfortable and decided I really wanted to make sure to have some support. I really wanted my birth experience to be different this time around.
 
As my pregnancy went on, my doctor told me I’d be an ideal candidate for a VBAC. I honestly had never considered it as I just assumed I’d have a repeat c-section. My c-section recovery had been brutal and I didn’t know how much of it was due to the bed rest or healing from surgery. This time around I’d have a toddler and was worried about not being able to lift him. I did a lot of research and ultimately decided that I wanted to try a VBAC. This meant I had no idea what I was in for.
 
My doula was great at walking me through what to do during labor, how to prepare my toddler for a sibling and answered my many, many questions with grace and confidence. When I started labor, I immediately had my husband call her and she encouraged us to get our childcare plans set in motion. I had a very short labor and she calmed me as we raced to get to the hospital in time. I had been so worried about what to do with my toddler that I never really took a moment to prepare myself for childbirth. Our doula guided me through my intense labor and reinforced the strength I knew I had in me. She took photos and video of our baby’s first breaths and captured that special moment when parents meet their baby for the first time.


 
After our baby was born, she not only made sure my needs were met but she also made sure my husband was eating and that we were all settled. She talked to nurses for us and set us up to have a nice quiet first night in the hospital with our baby. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt this time around and I attribute a lot of it to the fact that I felt completely supported. She checked in with us a lot those first few weeks and she made the transition from one child to two feel as seamless as could be expected. I’m very glad I made the decision to involve a doula in my second pregnancy.
 

 

 written by VHS contributor// Marcie Cheung
Marcie in Mommyland

March 10, 2017

5 Misconceptions I had About Motherhood

My life before children seems like a distant memory from my current (very busy) life. Sleeping in, uninterrupted meals, and my put-together appearance were luxuries I always took for granted. I never realized how much life changes when you become a parent. Now sleeping in is 7 am, my meals are always cold, and I look like a frazzled mess with a sloppy bun most days. I always said I wouldn't be THIS mom. I had several misconceptions about mothers until I became one.

1. I will always work out...there is ALWAYS time to work out. No, there is not. When your day starts early and is filled with preparing meals, endless cleaning, a full time job, and playing with your children, there is little time left for yourself. I wish I could wake up early like I used to and squeeze in a workout before work. But right now I already wake up at 5:30 just to make it to work by 7:30. On good days (when the baby sleeps through the night and I feel rested) I can get up at 5 am and squeeze in some weight training while everyone else is still sleeping. I do miss my Saturday morning yoga classes and Sundays paddle boarding, along with evening spin classes during the week. But right now, with a toddler and infant at home, I just don't have the energy to go to these fitness classes!

2. I will always be one of those fashionable moms! I used to love buying nice clothes, and loved jewelry and makeup. I had the time to coordinate my outfits and apply my eyeliner perfectly. But now, getting out the door in the morning is a project! From changing diapers to dressing kids that don't want to be dressed, I find myself out of breath by time we are getting in the car. It's just easier to put my (unwashed) hair up in a bun and slap on some foundation and go! I try to do little things that make me feel put together, like putting on mascara or wearing a pretty accessory. Thankfully, I've found The Vintage Honey Shop's teething and nursing necklaces, they make me feel put together and are baby friendly.

3. I will still be on time for important events. I barely make it to work on time! Despite having two hours to get ready and a 3-minute commute, things just happen! It might be a crisis (like I made waffles for breakfast when my toddler wanted eggs) or maybe the hugs and kisses good-bye lasted a little longer than planned. No matter how well I try to plan and prepare, my punctuality is just not the same anymore.

4. Grocery shopping can't be that hard with kids... Ha! I am finally just getting to a point where it's not too bad bringing both kids to Costco or Target. But the first few months were tough by myself! My toddler would insist on walking, which led to him rearranging every shelf we walked past. Trying to keep in the cart led to a huge tantrum. My baby wanted to be carried, which wasn't too bad since I'm a huge fan of babywearing. But if I didn't time our outings perfectly, I would sometimes have to nurse her in the store. No easy feat with a shopping cart and a toddler!

5. I will still be social, I'll want the break from the kids. This was by far my biggest misconception. From the moment my first child was born, my social life went out the window. Not because I don't have the help, but because I never want to leave my babies. I'm gone from them 40 hours a week! Suddenly weekend brunches with my girlfriends or late nights out just don't sound as appealing as they once did. I'd rather be home with my babies, as chaotic and messy it may be!

My life has certainly changed since having children, but definitely for the better. Although I sometimes miss my days of freedom and putting more effort into my appearance, I wouldn't change it for the world. I have found ways to squeeze in some time for myself and incorporate my kids into my old habits. My cardio workouts are now walking or running with my kids in the jogging stroller. My getting-ready routine includes my toddler sitting on the counter with me while I put on makeup. I do crave my alone time often... but I know in a few years they won't want to spend as much time with me, and I will miss the days when they wanted me so badly.

 

written by VHS contributor// Gloria Brooks 
Sippy Cups and Seashells

 

March 06, 2017

How to make cloth wipes: a one day sewing project

As a busy mom, I have learned the hard way many times over how important it is to carve out “me” time. Unfortunately, the opportunity to get to that point is very hard! For me, one of my favorite ways to de-stress is by creating something, specifically sewing. I like sewing quilts, baby clothes, and baby carriers – but these are more time intensive projects and require some skill.

One of the easiest, most rewarding things I sew, on the other hand, are cloth wipes. They are super inexpensive to make, can serve many purposes, and are much gentler on skin than disposable wipes. In our house, we use them not just for dirty diapers but also for cleaning hands and faces after meals, quick body wipe downs between baths (especially for newborns!), and household cleaning. They are much more efficient at getting sticky and messy foods off hands (like peanut butter!).

Want to make some for your family? Here’s everything you need to know!

1) Pick your material. I prefer flannel. You can use old sheets, hospital receiving blankets, or pick up some cheap flannel scraps at the fabric store.

2) Cut your material. I cut my wipes to 7.5 inch squares. I make them double sided, and I typically make 10-15 at a time. So you should plan to cut 20 or more 7.5 inch pieces to start.

3) Figure out how to make a zig zag stitch on a sewing machine. Even basic machines will typically have this option. Place the wrong sides of your flannel fabric together and zig zag straight around all four edges of the square. I use quarter inch margins, and this allows some room for error in lining the squares up perfectly.

4) Make a wipes solution. There are plenty of recipes on the internet, but my favorite is 1 cup of water, 1 Tbsp baby oil, and 1 Tbsp liquid castile soap. I also like to add about 8 drops of grapefruit seed extract because of the antibacterial and antifungal properties. This recipe makes enough solution for 10-12 wipes. Stir the solution well to mix the oil and water. Place all the wipes in a bowl and pour the solution over the wipes to evenly moisten them. I ball my wipes up in a mixing bowl rather than stacking them so I don’t have to worry about the solution soaking all the way to the last wipe.

5) Store your wipes in a wet bag or a plastic wipes container. I store mine for about 2 days at a time, then I throw any unused wipes after that in the wash to avoid mold growth.

These wipes are great for use with kids of all ages, and they also make a great gift! You can play around with the material and thread color to jazz them up. So go make your wipes, and prepare to feel like a DIY and natural mama rock star!

 

written by VHS contributor// Kendra St. Hilaire
@marebearmom
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March 03, 2017

Play Date Must Haves

When you're a stay at home Mom of toddlers, play dates are crucial! Your kiddos get the socialization they need and you get the adult interaction you crave! If you're anything like me then play dates are really the only time spent with other adults.. aside from your spouse and your UPS driver (when he delivers the 5th Amazon Prime package this week).  



  1. Snacks- Goldfish, yogurt/ applesauce pouches, juice boxes, granola bars. Kids are happier when their little bellies are full! And for some reason when they're with other kids, they're extra hungry! 
  2. Bubbles- But only if they can blow them themselves.. otherwise you'll be blowing bubbles for two hours rather than enjoying the company of your friend. 
  3. Crayons and coloring books- Kids love to color! And they'll do it forever as long as they have blank pages. Make sure you're keeping an eye on them though, that is if you don't want their artwork on the walls! 
  4. Play Doh- Though I highly recommend only doing this if the weather is nice enough to be outside! Because then once everyone leaves, you'll be picking play doh out of everything for days! 
  5. And most importantly, wine. Or coffee. Or both! While the kiddos eat and play, Momma's deserve to enjoy a little adult beverage while they gossip! 

written by VHS contributor// Katie 
www.mrswatkins.com 
February 27, 2017

This Is Real Life...

As a wife and stay at home momma of 6 kiddos, life gets pretty crazy! I find myself getting so stressed sometimes..

There are days I look in a mirror and I'm such a hot mess, when was the last time I even took a shower? My wardrobe that was once filled with nice, sexy, "going out" clothes has now been replaced with leggings, camis and hoodies. I try to get makeup on so I don't look like a total "mombie" but my hair is almost always in a bun on the top of my head. And I haven't slept through the night in years. So I'm exhausted. 

My days are filled with cooking, cleaning and laundry (oh the mountains of laundry). And I change more diapers and wipe more boogie noses then I can count! 

Sometimes I cry to my husband because I'm so overwhelmed with all these little ones who need me every second of every day. Because I don't have any "me time". He's so amazing and he tries to understand, he'll even hold down the fort for a bit so I can get in the shower or have some time with my girlfriends.. but he doesn't really because he gets to escape every day and go to work! I know, I know it's work it's not actually a break.. but really, it is. 

I long for adult interaction, for a break, for bedtime. And I feel like the worst mom in the world. Because everyone else seems to have it all together.. No one else seems to get this stressed out? I look on Facebook or Instagram at all these perfect homes, delicious looking dinners, mom's completely put together doing things with their kids. And I feel like a failure. But then I realize, my social media probably makes it seem like I have it all together too. Because we don't talk about the tough days! So when I work up the courage to call one of my friends and they get it, they understand, they're going through the same thing too. Because they have these days too! This is real life. 

Don't get my wrong, my children are amazing! I love them more than anything. I am so blessed to have each and every one of them and I am so thankful to be their Mommy. Their smiles, their hugs and their kisses.. Just watching them grow makes it all worth it.  And I wouldn't change it for the world. 

One day they won't be little anymore, one day we'll miss these moments, one day we'll look back on our lives and laugh! But right now, it's a lot! Some days are so hard! 

Just know, you're not alone. You're not the only one who feels this way. Talk to your friends, to your mom, heck come talk to me! And have that glass of wine! Because you deserve it! 

written by VHS contributor// Katie 
February 16, 2017

7 Things That I Wished I Got at My Baby Shower (and Didn't Know It)

 

We received so much at our baby shower for our little girl (which we were more than thankful for) but there are some things that you just can't put on your registry and totally need to. Unfortunately, you don't find these things out until you're knee-deep in motherhood. Here are a few things from one mama to another that could've made my first few weeks more manageable.

 

Marley Rocking Chair Land of Nod// $1,000

Whether you're breastfeeding or formula feeding, a comfortable chair is everything. For our nursery, we used a vintage wooden rocking chair that has been in the family for years. Bad idea. No matter how many pillows and blankets I threw on it, my hips on down would painfully become numb at each nightly feeding. I often found myself wondering how my ancestors enjoyed using this chair to relax, when there was definitely nothing remotely relaxing about it.

 The search for the perfect nursing chair can go on forever. Are you looking for a rocker, or do you just want to go with a club style chair? It's never ending. In my

opinion, if the chair is comfortable for your back and arms is what you need to go with in the end. The modern design of the Marley is a great look, no matter the style of the room this chair will always look great (also grows with baby and child).

 

 

 

Mouth //$114

 Prepared meals are key for new mamas. Subscription boxes are a great option to feed yourself when you just don't have time or a clone. Mouth is a indie food subscription service that sends you premade dishes, snacks, etc. for a price (non subscription boxes available as well). This particular box was curated by the geniuses at Cool Mom Picks for those mamas who can now finally indulge in everything that they couldn't have during pregnancy. Win.

 

 

 

Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Water Bottle// $18

 Please tell me why water bottles aren't on registries (if you're breastfeeding you know what I mean). Well here you go, the ultimate water bottle for the breastfeeding and pumping mama. Just because you still look like you're six months pregnant and breastfeeding doesn't mean that you aren't working out. Your body is literally running a marathon make milk for your little babe and not all of us can hold our wiggly child, try to breastfeed him or her and hydrate all at the same time. This water hands free water bottle is for you. Also it comes with a pouch, bonus points.

 

 

 Organic Cotton Baby Wrap Moby// $60

Baby wearing is so important for your own health and baby's health as well. No one tells you these things. Something else no one tells you is that your child will choose how he or she wants to be carried. Also, no one told us this. We were given a very nice Baby Bjorn carrier before our child arrived and thought that we were set. Wrong. Very early on I tried to regain my independence as a new mama and come to find out my child hated it. The carrier wasn't right for her, she didn't feel comfortable (until she could hold her head up and I could face her away from me in it) and at that point she just dealt with it. I couldn't wait around so I tried other carriers. Slings were better but she still wasn't satisfied. Finally, I broke down and got a generic baby wrap. I felt bad initially because I had promised my fiance that I wouldn't wrap her because it didn't look safe and I didn't trust myself. Also, very wrong. She ended up loving it and I learned that babies choose the carriers, not the parents.

I did alot of research on wrap before I ended up getting one. The Moby wrap was great for my child because she is large for her age and I had read that this particular wrap held up well and didn't get all stretched out after several uses. It's a great

beginner's wrap and is very forgiving if you're not very confident with wrapping. Something to keep in mind though is that the fabric is very stretchy and thick to hold baby but also can get hot if you live in a warmer climate (babies hate being hot). Also, when baby is more than 10 pounds, you may want to consider wrapping her the "real" way because I found the manufacturer's way just wasn't cutting it anymore. Either way, I was able to do things around the house and bond with my little girl all at the same time.

 

The Vintage Honey Shop Teething + Nursing Necklace// $25

First of all, teething necklaces are great. They come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, you name it and there they are. You can usually find them in silicone but there are some really awesome shops like The Vintage Honey Shop that have your back and make many different styles for mamas to wear but they are more than just pretty necklaces because they double as a baby teether (and they're really affordable too, ranging between $25-$30). I was so addicted to these things when I was pregnant that I wore them as jewelry too! They are complete life savers once your little one starts teething (my little girl started at two months, just so you know). The counter presser helps to soothe sore gums plus these necklaces provide a distraction during feeding time. That's right no more fidgeting fingers pulling my hair or pinching my skin. There are so many cute patterns and colors you will want them all!

 

 

Fitbit Alta// $130

Your health is so very important. After you have a child your body goes through so many changes, and it's just never the same again. From stretch marks to saggy skin, it's new and overwhelming and all you want to do is get healthy again. It's important to take it one step at a time and when you get your doctor's ok to start exercising again using a fitness tracker can help you reach your goals (and have fun doing it). And for those times when you're not there yet, you can track your sleep and maybe laugh a little. Either way, you'll enjoy yourself.

 

 

Netflix Gift Card// $30

One of the things that truly saved my sanity in the early weeks of mamahood was Netflix. During those long, late night feedings you need something to stimulate your mind (or help baby sleep) and Netflix is the way to go. If you don't pay for it now, you will in the future. You're welcome.

Although there is nothing that can prepare you for having a child, hopefully these things can at least help you get through it. I honestly didn't know how I would get past the first four weeks of colic and endless nightly feedings that I thought would last forever but it happened. And now we have a happy, healthy little girl that makes us grateful to be alive every single day.

 

 

Written by VHS contributor// Allison Dandrea
www.linenlavender.com

February 02, 2017

The Diaper Bag

These days, diaper bags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  At my baby shower I was gifted a great diaper bag with a shoulder strap which we love, but it got to the point where it was just too heavy and bulky.  I eventually came across diaper backpacks and I have to say whoever came up with these is a genius!
 
Diapering
 
I know, the first thing you think of when it comes to a diaper bag is diapers of course.  But how many do you pack?  Well, it depends on the length of your trip and how often you have to change your little one.  For us, I usually pack 2-4 diapers and our trips usually range from a half an hour to about 4 hours at the longest.  Just remember that each baby is different so pack as many as you think will last the trip, just don't pack diapers and leave room for nothing else in your bag.  Something you may also want to include are of course wipes.  I suggest the normal size of wipes but depending on space, there are also smaller sizes.
 
Feeding
 
Bottles are a given.  Whether you just take one or go with a couple it's up to you and the length of your trip.  If you are feeding your little one formula you can also get premixed bottles and pack those as well.  Once the doctor says it's ok to start feeding baby food, you can food either in containers or jars (however it comes) with the utensils needed, just not the whole drawer.
 
Blankets
 
I can't tell you how easy it is to overpack with blankets!  Baby will always need one so depending on the weather or season you will need to choose wisely.  We live in a warmer climate so I usually go with soft muslin blankets.  I keep one in the car and in the diaper bag.  Muslin blankets are great because they can keep baby either warm or cool, whichever is needed and they're also great as a breastfeeding cover for a feeding on the go!
 
Health Monitoring
 
Our baby was a C-Section baby and like most C-Section babies she had some breathing and swallowing problems in the beginning so the nasal aspirator was a must.  I mean we took that thing everywhere for the first couple of months (even if it was the next room) because you just never know.  Something else you may want to consider is a small travel thermometer.  Let's face it, babies get sick.  It's always an added bonus if you have one handy, just in case.  Lotions are also great to keep on hand.  Our baby had really dry skin about 2 weekend after she was born and our doctor suggested a non-scented lotion for her which we still keep handy.  Also for the hotter months, sunscreen is a must!  Babies burn very easily and you want to keep your little one safe when you're out in the sun!
 
Clothes
 
Accidents happen and sometimes it’s best to pack an extra outfit if you have the space.  An extra onesie and pair of socks (and sweater depending on the weather) are usually good enough.
 
Entertainment
 
Does your little one have a favorite toy or book?  How about a baby mirror?  Bring it.  Sometimes peek-a-boo just won't cut it and you need some backup.  Also, some extra bonding time is great for everyone!
 
Everything Else
 
We would've never thought that our baby was starting the beginning stages of teeth at a little over 2 months but there we were.  With that in mind, I highly suggest at least packing a teething accessory of some sort, but me personally I try to always have a teething necklace on hand at all times.  Bibs are also a must.  Although our baby is a happy baby she sometimes spits up and drools and a bib comes in super handy.  Pacifiers are also great for self-soothing, because sometimes baby is cranky and needs a little "me" time.
 
Extras You May Want to Think About
 
Ever since we got the green light from the doctor to take the baby out (and she got her 2 month shots) we took our little one out a little more with each trip, even if it was to the grocery store and we learned a lot.  Something that no one ever thought to tell me was to bring a bag to put dirty diapers in.  I mean what are parents supposed to do if they're on the road and don't have a trash can handy?  Bring your own bag, even if it's a plastic one, it will make everyone involved a lot happier.  Also, your baby is going to spit up.  A lot.  And if you're like me, sometimes you won't notice it until you're in the checkout line at Target.  Bring an extra shirt.  Lastly, depending on your view on baby wearing you can pack either an inexpensive sling or wrap as well (because you never know when you will be in a situation where you'll need one).  I have a sling that easily folds up flat and I put in the front pocket of my diaper bag, it's such a life saver.
 
Just remember, these are all suggestions based on a new mama's experience.  Every baby is different and your little one may have different needs.  In the end it's all about you and your baby!

 

 

Written by VHS contributor// Allison Dandrea

www.linenlavender.com

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