Tips For New Moms

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ParentingWithPrimoH2o #CollectiveBias

I had someone call me a parenting “expert” before and I had to laugh. I don’t know if it’s because I have a parenting blog, I’ve spoken at parenting conferences, or because I had more than one child, but let me just start by saying I’m not an expert. I’m just a mom who has been there, done that and I’m still learning how to be successful at this parenting thing. I think I could be one of those tv moms with a couple dozen kids and still not be an expert because every child is so different! While I’m not an expert though, having just left the newborn stage with my third child means I do have a few tricks and tips I’ve discovered that have worked for our family. I wanted to share them in hopes they’d help make things easier for other moms. We’re all sleep-deprived and busy so anything that gives us a bit more time back with our kiddos or helps us sleep a few more minutes here and there is a win right?

I had to start off with a sweet photo of my oldest and youngest. As you can see there is a big gap between the two and I’ve learned a lot over this past decade of parenting (I feel so old now typing that…) Here are some things I’ve discovered:

Join a local mom’s group

I’ve talked about it here on the blog before but joining a mom’s group was probably one of the best things I have done as a parent. When I first had Jacob I only knew one other mom my age so I joined my first local mom’s group (that also had an online forum) when Jacob was just a few months old. I found it invaluable when I was up in the middle of the night with a question or just needed someone to talk to. I started going to playdates before Jacob was even moving around because I needed to get out of the house and talk to other moms. Eventually I’d join many other online mom’s groups as well but I found the local one where we could meet “IRL” so beneficial. If you are raising your child without family (or that village we hear so much about) around you’ll want to do this asap!

Always have an extra outfit for baby (and make sure it fits). Bring one for yourself, too.

Most parents have enough common sense to pack an extra outfit for baby in their diaper bag whenever they go out but do you always make sure it fits? I always keep one in there but discovered that I also want to occassionally check to make sure it’s baby’s size still. A month or so ago I was at a meeting and feeding Emma when I felt something warm in my lap (I’m sure you can all guess what had happened….) I grabbed a diaper, wipes, and her spare outfit and went to change her. I quickly realized, as I was putting the outfit on her, that even though it was her size it was definetely too small for her. Since I had nothing else for her to wear I had to just button up my little sausage baby and hope that the snaps held her baby fat in until we got home. I also recommend keeping a change of clothes in the car for yourself because Emma’s little accident had made me look like I peed myself but I didn’t have a pair of spare pants to change in to.

Don’t stock up on newborn clothes

As you can tell from the point above, babies outgrow their clothes quickly. Newborn clothes are probably one of the worst baby investments you can make because they sometimes only last a couple weeks before babies can’t wear them anymore. Plus, in the first month or so they will probably live in onesies and baby sleepers anyway. I had some of the cutest outfits hanging in Emma’s closet and she never got to wear them!

Make middle of the night feedings easier

When baby’s cries wake you up you’ll be half asleep and feeling like a zombie those first couple months. While you can’t avoid those middle of the night wake up calls, you can make things easier on yourself! If you breastfeed, have everything that you’ll need nearby. I had made myself a little basket with the essentials for pumping and put it right next to my chair so everything I needed was within reach when I was holding Emma. Now we use formula for our little girl and, though she doesn’t wake up as much, I still set everything up for the next time she’ll eat (which is especially helpful if I know daddy is getting up with her). I put a clean bottle on the counter along with her formula. I also leave a burp cloth next to the chair we sit in for feedings.

We used to fill her bottle up with tap water because we didn’t know any better…My mom yelled at me the first time she saw me do so and I brushed her words off saying she would be fine because we all drank the water. While most tap water contains chemicals and other contaminants that purified water doesn’t but I figured the water in my nice suburb wasn’t that bad. I was shocked when I looked it up online and discovered that my town’s water had 8 contaminants detected above health guidelines and 6 other detected contaminants! #MomFAIL. Pound for pound, a baby’s body can’t filter contaminants like an adult’s body can (even though adults shouldn’t be exposed to them either). Not only that but a lot of tap water sources are treated with fluoride, which also poses concerns for babies.

I knew I needed to stop having my family use tap water immediately because the quality of the water is just as important as the quality of the formula I have chosen. I heard about the Primo® First Steps Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser and it seemed like the perfect fit for our whole family. The dispenser provides cold, warm or hot drinking water with the warm option supplying water at 98.6-104 degrees Fahrenheit—specially designed for mixing baby formula. Middle of the night feedings are so much easier now that we just have to push a button to get water at the right temperature! When my boys were babies we used to have to stand over the sink holding the bottles under running warm water until the bottle was the perfect temperature. Those days are now in the past!

The unit sets up in minutes with no tools, plumbing, or installation required and the easy bottom-loading design means no more lifting heavy bottles. Primo® is the only brand that delivers best in class dispensers for the home and safe, great-tasting bulk water either exchange or refill water. The water dispenser uses 3 or 5-gallon bottles (sold separately) which we found at a number of stores nearby. Once we had purchased the water at our local Lowe’s all we had to do was hook it up and push it in the cabinet.

One of the things I was initially concerned about when looking at water coolers was that my baby would burn herself on the hot water once she started walking so it was comforting to know that the hot water has a child-resistant safety feature. Not only was there a switch to turn it off on the back but I could lock the front controls so none of the buttons would work if pushed by little fingers. There is also a self-sanitizing function that boils the water in the warm water reservoir every 12 hours (or more often if you choose) to ensure the quality of the water. While we got this mainly for the warm water for bottles and the icy cold water for drinking, having the hot water makes our hot cocoa for family movie nights a breeze to make which my older boys love!

You can learn more and purchase the Primo water dispenser at primowater.com. If baby isn’t here yet, consider adding it to your baby registry! I know sometimes, especially if you have other children, you might not need many baby things since you still have them from when your other kids were younger so this is a great gift idea if you really aren’t sure what to add to your registry!

Restock the diaper bag every evening

I learned this one the hard way. When my boys were younger I grabbed the diaper bag as I was running out the door for the day. I had forgotten that I used my last wipe and of course I needed them when I was out! Let’s just say that toilet paper does not work as well as a wipe does for cleaning dirty baby bottoms… Since mornings are always hectic I’ve found it easiest to get the diaper bag ready at night so I don’t have to worry about packing it while trying to get all three kids out the door.

Keep diapers and other necessities in more than one place

Before I had my first child I carefully set up the changing table with everything that I’d need for diaper changes. Once I actually had Jacob though I discovered that I rarely actually used the changing table. I typically would just lay a blanket out on our living room floor and change him there. Having diaper changing supplies in a few different places (my room, his room, and our living room) ended up making the most sense. This is especially true if you live in a two story home because who wants to be walking up and down steps all day just to change a dirty diaper?

What tips do you have? I’d love to hear them! Bonus points if they are helpful for babies who are on-the-go because that’s our next stage! (And honestly, it’s been almost a decade since I’ve been in that stage so I don’t remember much about it!) Chat with me on social! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

 

 

Outdoor Activities To Do With A Young Baby This Spring

This post contains affiliate links.

Emma was born at the end of December so she hasn’t spent a whole lot of time outside in the short three and a half months she’s been alive. Now that the weather is getting nicer I’m trying to get outside with her on a daily basis. Most of the ideas I’ve found online are for older babies so I wanted to put together a list of activities that can be done with younger babies (like 3-9 months old). In honor of Earth Day today, here are ideas to get baby outside to start their love of nature early:

Bring baby toys outside- The first day we could get outside I grabbed Emma’s activity table and brought it into the backyard. I then sat with Emma on the ground, letting her put her feet in the grass and we played for about 20 minutes before she was ready to go in. Any toys baby enjoys would be perfect for outside play as long as you can easily bring them outside.

Go for a walk- Wear baby in a baby carrier or put baby in a stroller and take a walk around your neighborhood. Talk with your baby about what you see as you walk.

Practice tummy time- Emma is not a fan of tummy time so going outside into a new environment helps keep her attention and encourages her to look up for longer periods of time. (Here are ideas for outdoor tummy time including what you can talk about with baby while they are on their tummy.)

Play in a shallow container of water- Playing in water is a fun activity for all ages! Babies will love splashing their hands in a small amount of water put in a shallow container. Another alternative is putting their feet in the water instead of their hands.

Enroll in a Tinkergarten class- Tinkergarten brings families together for classes where kids learn through well-designed, outdoor play-based activities. While most of the classes are for older children, they just introduced baby classes for ages 6 months and up. Amanda, a Tinkergarten leader in Mokena, IL that I know, says “I started leading because I truly believe in outdoor child led learning. I love the babies classes because it gets families in the habit of scheduling outdoor time, babies start learning in an outdoor classroom, families gain a community of like minded friends, and babies get a rich sensory experience.” Want to try Tinkergarten with your little one? Check out the Tinkergarten website to find a class near you.

Enjoy some music- Whether you listen to music from your smartphone or go to a live music festival (standing away from the speakers), babies love music! You can dance around with them in your arms, gently swaying them back and forth, and sing quietly along with the tunes. Another fun idea would be to use some little musical instruments and make music together with baby.

Read outside- Bring a few board books outside and sit with baby on a blanket while you read books to them.

Let baby take a nap- This winter I learned that, in some places, it’s normal for babies to sleep outside even when it’s cold out. While I don’t see myself ever letting Emma nap outside when it’s snowing, I think that a nap outside on a beautiful spring day could be a great idea. Let baby nap in the shade (love this Fisher-Price On-The-Go baby dome!) while you read a book next to her and you both get to enjoy the benefits of the fresh air!

What do you like to do with your baby when the weather is nice during the spring months? Chat with me on social! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

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Other recent baby posts I’ve written include:

Favorite baby items for the newborn stage

Baby lullabies that parents will enjoy too

Baby hair bow storage idea

Our Favorite Baby Items For Baby’s First Three Months

This post contains affiliate links.

Emma turned three months old yesterday! I feel like that time flew by (while at the same time thinking about how long each day sometimes seems to be…) Now that she is officially out of the newborn phase I wanted to share about some of our favorite things that got a lot of use over baby’s first few months.

Little Remedies Gripe Water

This isn’t a magical potion or anything but, I swear, every time Emma had gas and I gave this to her she’d immediately stop fussing the second it touched her tongue! I know that there’s no way the herbal supplement worked that fast to remove her tummy pain but it seemed to disappear immediately each time. Obviously talk with your doctor before giving your baby anything but this is a must-have in my book! We liked this day & night value pack.

Cheap Amazon bows

I’m currently obsessed with hairbows now that I’m finally a girl mom but my favorites at the moment are cheap ones I bought in bulk on Amazon. I got 20 colorful big bows for less than $10 (which I’ve discovered is a steal now that I’m checking out boutique bows). They are well made, fit her head nicely, and the set has a color to match most of her outfits. Find the exact bows I bought here.

Lots of blankets

Having a winter baby means stocking up on lots of blankets! My favorites are the large muslin swaddle blankets for swaddling at bedtime. We found that swaddling her top half tighter and letting her lower half loosely swaddled works best for us. Emma’s favorite blankets seem to be her small fleece blankets that she likes cuddling up with (one we got as a gift and the others were cheap thin ones we found on clearance at Meijer). Remember….do not put any loose blankets in the crib with baby. We only let Emma have her fleece blankets when we are watching her, especially since she likes to bury her face in them.

Boppy Newborn Lounger Pillow

One of the items that got the most use here in our home during the newborn stage was the Boppy Lounger. When my boys were little we used the regular Boppy often but, to be honest, we haven’t even used that once yet since Emma really seemed to love their new lounger. We normally keep a burp cloth were we lay Emma’s head in case she spits up but investing in a washable cover would be a smart choice in my opinion. Emma’s lounger was right next to me on the couch so I could chat with her while I attempted to work and it was a good place for her to lay when the boys fed her. She also loved laying and listening to music (these are our favorite baby lullabies).

Mustela No-rinse Soothing Cleansing Water for Very Sensitive Skin & Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment

Emma has very sensitive skin that started breaking out when she was about a month old. Between excema like dry patches and baby acne her poor little cheeks looked horrible. After some research online I chose to buy Mustela cleansing water made for very sensitive skin and I discovered it worked very well for her. The acne she had, which was the main skin issue I was trying to find a solution for, disappeared after just a couple uses. I also like the Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment which I put on her dry patches at night and it seems to improve them some (or at least doesn’t make the areas look so painful by reducing the redness).

One-Piece Sleepers

I bought tons of cute outfits for Emma but she ended up spending most of her early days in one-piece sleepers. They were easy to put on, made night-time diaper changes simple, and kept her warm and comfortable on chilly days. My favorites were Carter’s brand sleepers and the “little sister” ones were really cute! To save money on baby clothes check out Facebook Marketplace, thrift shops, and garage sales. Babies go through clothes sizes too fast sometimes that they don’t even get to wear all of the clothes hanging in their closets (especially the newborn sized ones they often outgrow within just a few weeks) so you can find inexpensive new-with-tags clothes.

Milestone Blanket

I loved taking Emma’s picture weekly her first three months of life (well after I got out of the post labor & delivery fog I was in the first two weeks) and I used two milestone blankets to document her growth. I love seeing how big she is getting. You can’t notice a change as the days pass by but look at the difference between her ‘leaving the hospital’ photo and her three month photo!

What are your favorite products for the newborn stage? Chat with me on social! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

By the way, I’m currently looking for stroller suggestions (I do not like my current one) and hearing about what toys your 3-6 month old loves! Stay tuned in a few months for another post to see what our favorite products are for the 3-6 month stage.

Baby Lullabies That Parents Will Enjoy Too

Now that I have a little one again we have been listening to a lot of lullabies. When my boys were younger I had lullaby CDs so we listened to the same songs over and over again. Nowadays, I typically tell Alexa to play baby lullabies when it’s time for Emma’s morning or afternoon nap and during tummy time (which is not a favorite activity of Emma’s) and Alexa plays a variety of songs. Some tunes I recognize from Disney movies, some are classics, and some I had never heard before these past few months. I thought I’d share my favorites for all of you who are looking for some new lullabies to listen to with your baby (because as much as I love “You Are My Sunshine” there’s only so many times a day I want to hear it….)

A Thousand Years (Lullaby) by Christina Perri

Father’s Lullaby by Nick Lachey

Wonderfully Made by Scripture Lullabies

Lullaby by Dixie Chicks

Keep You Safe by JJ Heller (and any of the songs on her ‘I Dream of You Volume II’ album)

A Mother’s Prayer by Rachel Aldous

Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman

Forever Young by Bob Dylan

Baby Mine by Alison Krauss

Sweet Dreams by Jewel

Then there’s the Rockabye Baby lullaby renditions of your favorite songs, like this flashback to my days of Blink-182 obsession- Adam’s Song lullaby rendition

Here are a couple other songs that aren’t lullabies but are still sweet messages to a child…

Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift

When I Pray For You by Dan & Shay

There are so many more choices of songs to sing baby to sleep then when my boys were little! What’s your favorite lullaby? Tweet with me and let me know!

 

Baby Shower Gift Guide

This gift guide contains affiliate links and some samples were received but all thoughts are my own and I’ve only included items I personally recommend.

Looking for that perfect gift to give a mom-to-be at the next baby shower you attend? I’m sharing some of my favorite picks, including some you might not think about gifting for mommy and baby. I’ll be adding to this baby shower gift guide throughout 2019 so come back often to see what’s been added!

Boppy Lounger

I used a Bobby Infant Support Pillow with my first two kids but Boppy recently came out with a Newborn Lounger that I absolutely love. As far as baby items go, our Boppy Newborn Lounger has been the most used item since baby #3 came into our lives a month and a half ago!

Buy Boppy products here.

Baby Bath Time Gift Basket

Gifting baby essentials is always appreciated! I received bath time products from friends, including an absolutely adorable unicorn baby bath towel which I thought was sweet. I put together this baby bath time gift basket which keeps all the bath time essentials handy.

Golden Slumber Organic Baby Clothes

One of my mommy friends owns this company and sent us one of her baby gowns when Emma was born. She has all sorts of fun designs in unique prints for babies and kids but this is one of my favorites! I love the tie bottom and bright, colorful print and Emma loved all the room it gave her to stretch her legs.

Check out the whole line of baby clothes and teethers from Golden Slumber, LLC here.

SwaddleDesigns Safe Sleepwear

Giving the gift of sleep is probably one of the best things you can give a new parent! Emma sleeps best when she is swaddled otherwise her arms flailing about will wake her up. I like SwaddleDesigns 3-step Safe Sleep Program because they have products for each stage babies are in and the SwaddleDesigns product line-up helps new parents and their babies get more sleep with their swaddling blankets, NEW Transitional Swaddle Sack, and zzZipMe Sack wearable blanket.

SwaddleDesigns has an exclusive line on Amazon called Amazing Baby and you can shop the whole line here.

Baby Milestone Blanket

Parents that snap a lot of photos for Instagram and Facebook will love receiving a baby milestone blanket to take weekly or monthly photos on. I had bought a fleece baby milestone blanket but then my friend gave me a really pretty cotton one, too. I have used both and think it’s a really fun way to document baby’s growth as the weeks and months go by.

Find a variety of baby milestone blankets for babies here.

Dry Baby Stain Resistant Baby Clothes

I rarely put my kids in white clothes because of how easily they stain so I was really excited to learn about Dry Baby, the only baby brand on the market that can actually repel liquids, making their clothing & accessories stain & odor resistant! Emma spits up quite a lot so I am loving this brand because liquids simply roll off the fabric! I also appreciate that little ones with sensitive skin can wear these products because they are made of a chemical free, soft cotton material.

Purchase Dry Baby clothes and accessories here.

Gift Card to a Photography Studio for Professional Baby Photos

I love getting my baby’s picture taken each month through the first year of life. I’ve done it with both my boys and I’m now taking Emma for monthly photos. Yes, I can take decent photos of my daughter at home and have had a lot of practice taking photos for blog posts over the past decade, but it’s nothing compared to the shots you can get during a professional photography session. Even if parents don’t want monthly photos they still probably would love to go for a maternity session, newborn photos, their child’s first birthday, or even family pictures during the holiday season (something mom can’t do herself when she actually needs to be in the photos). We take our kids to JcPenney’s Portrait Studio (see image above for a great shot our photographer got) but I recommend looking online for studios nearby where the expectant parent lives.

BooginHead Baby & Toddler Essentials

Ever have a baby or toddler who thinks you want to play fetch with their toy or sippy cup? I have, which is why I love BooginHead products like their PaciGrip and SippiGrip! They also have an adorable new line of Plush PaciPals that help keep track of baby’s pacifier plus give baby comfort. These BooginHead baby essentials are a lifesaver for parents of young kids!

Find BooginHead products here.

Piper Jade Kids Clothing

For those that love gifting clothes and accessories you’ll want to check out Piper Jade Kids. This online boutique has tons of adorable items for baby boys and baby girls (don’t say I didn’t warn you! You’ll want one of everything….). I love their giant bows (like the blue and white striped one on Emma in the photo at the beginning of this post), their selection of knit hats (like this unicorn one Emma is wearing), and the sweet prints they offer (like this little hedgehog covered outfit).

Abiie’s Huggs Contour Baby Carrier

The Huggs Contour baby carrier is the perfect gift for new moms and dads who love to babywear. This innovative baby carrier’s booster seat keeps baby ergonomically seated in a healthy hip position. It originated specifically to prevent hip dysplasia (a medical term for instability or looseness of the hip joint) which is something Emma is currently undergoing testing for since she spent most of the time in a breech position while in utero. Thousands of children are affected each year by this condition, ranging from mild instability to complete dislocation, so I love that this carrier was designed with the help of medical professionals to prevent this from happening to kids from how they are being carried around.

The carrier is lightweight and provides all-day comfort for both the parent and the child. The padded shoulder straps help to evenly distribute baby’s weight in combination with the waistband to maximize parent comfort by alleviating pressure on the wearer’s back and shoulders. It also has a double layer of the center panel which folds down, exposing breathable 3D mesh for fresh air to keep baby from getting to hot

You can learn more about the carrier here.

Photospring Digital Frame

This digital frame has made my Christmas gift guide two years in a row for good reason….I love it! If there was one thing in my home I can honestly say I use everyday it’s this frame. I have it in my tv room and love looking at it throughout the day and my mom loves it so much that she mentions how much she wants one every single time she comes to visit. There is nothing better than sitting and being able to remember our favorite times and see my kids smiling faces. New parents (and grandparents, too!) will love loading all of their favorite images on this frame and they make it easy for sleep-deprived parents to do so with their easy to use app that lets parents send photos from their phone to the frame with a couple clicks. I am obsessed with it still two years later and upload new photos to it weekly (probably more so now that I have a newborn again).

Buy it here.

Other items new parents could probably use include blankets, burb cloths, and diapers. What were your favorite gifts to get when you were expecting? Chat with me on Twitter and let me know!

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Essentials For New Moms

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com.

Having just had my third child over nine years after the birth of my second one, I feel like there are so many new products on the market so I was excited to receive BabbleBoxx’s New Mom, New Year box full of essentials. Read on to learn about my favorite picks for new moms.

Life Insurance from Nationwide

When you think about new mom essentials, life insurance probably doesn’t come to mind- but it should! Making sure our kids are taken care of is one of our main jobs as parents and, unfortunately, the reality is that this includes making plans for them if something should happen to us. Life insurance can give you peace of mind that the people you love will be taken care of if a tragedy strikes.

75% of all households believe they don’t need life insurance because they think their employer policy is adequate. While this provides some protection, it usually only covers 1 to 2 years of your or your spouse’s salary, which may not be enough. My husband and I had a serious discussion about this years ago and he got an additional life insurance plan (in addition to the one his job provides in his benefits package) because we decided we wanted to have enough to fully pay off our home and everything else so if something happened to him, the main breadwinner, the kids and I would not be out on the street and I wouldn’t be having to worry about how to pay all the bills myself while taking care of our three children. As moms we need life insurance as well!

If you are looking at getting life insurance, Nationwide can help. For those who are unfamiliar with life insurance, they will help you understand life insurance. They offer easy to use tools and calculators that help you understand how much coverage will cost and work with you to analyze your needs and select a policy that is right for you and your family. Get a life insurance quote today!

Breastfeeding Essentials from bamboobies

Breastfeeding moms will love the bamboobies brand! I first learned about this brand years ago from another breastfeeding mom and they’ve continued to develop new essentials for moms who breastfeed. I received two of their items, the open nursing shawl and the boob-ease USDA Organic Nipple Balm.

For those who want to be more discreet when breastfeeding, the open nursing shawl is perfect. I know some women don’t cover themselves up at all and that’s cool but I am definetely more shy when it comes to that and a cover was a must-have for nursing and pumping. I liked that this breastfeeding cover is made from a soft bamboo rayon fabric and comes in a stylish kimono shawl design that’s perfect for every body type. Plus, it’s ideal for babywearing because the lightweight material keeps mom comfortable and free to move while providing protection from the sun and other elements for baby with it’s UPF 50+ sun protection. Best of all, it doubles as a car seat cover when it’s not being worn. I’m all about items that serve more than one purpose!

Another must-have when breastfeeding? Nipple balm because a new mom’s body is already going through enough pain and uncomfort and we don’t need to add sore and cracked nipples to that list. I really like the boob-ease Nipple Balm because it’s very soothing and moisturizing. This nipple balm is non-toxic and certified organic so there’s no need to wipe it off before feeding baby. It’s lanolin free and made with five simple (and easy-to-pronounce!) ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, calendula flower, and marshmallow root. 

Special offer: There’s a 10% off coupon on Amazon for a 2 pack of Nipple Balm. The offer expires 2/6/19 or while supplies last (1 coupon per customer).

Playtex® Bras

There is nothing worse than an uncomfortable bra (other than maybe engorged breasts in an uncomfortable bra) so I was super happy to get some new nursing bras right when I needed them. Playtex® nursing bras are made to support you through your whole journey, from pregnancy to nursing. The styles are designed with mothers (and mothers-to-be) in mind and keep you comfortable every step of the way. 

The Playtex Nursing bras are constructed of Cool Comfort technology that helps keep you cool and comfortable. During the daytime, the Playtex Nursing Pretty Shaping Foam Wirefree Bra with it’s knit-in Support Zones plus extra side sling in cup provides additional support and security as you move about your day. When it’s time to go to bed new moms know they have to wear a bra (hello leaking boobs) and they’ll want the Playtex Nursing Sleep Bra. It has an easy-to-fit sizing with the Comfort Flex Fit® Wire free wrap pull-over design and features 2-ply cups with hidden pocket for nursing pads. I love that they have hidden pockets for nursing pads because it’s quite embarrasing to find your nursing pad is peaking out of the top of your shirt (not that I’ve ever experienced that embarrasing situation….) ?

Vichy Skin Creams

As a mom with a newborn and two tweens I know that once you have kids it’s easy to put yourself at the bottom of the priority list but we really need to stop doing this. I started this blog with the whole purpose of making time for myself because as parents ‘we can’t pour out of an empty pitcher’. When we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t take care of our kiddos. Since a day at the spa is a rare occurence I’ve found doing little things for myself every day makes a big impact. Things like sitting with a cup of coffee and reading a book or giving ourself a mini-facial are things we can do to make some “me” time for ourselves.

Vichy makes skin creams that make doing something for yourself easy and make your skin feel amazing. I recently tried their Aqualia Thermal Gel Cream and Aqualia Thermal Night Cream. The Aqualia Thermal Gel Cream is a paraben-free daytime moisturizer for normal/combo skin that has 97% natural origin ingredients including Hyaluronic Acid, Vichy’s Mineralizing Thermal Water & Plant Sugar. I really like lightweight water gel moisturizers over regular creams because I feel like they hydrate my skin the best. Not only does it hydrate but it smooths fine lines as well (something I’m starting to think about more at 35 years of age…) The Aqualia Thermal Night Cream is inspired by the Vichy Thermal Spa and this ultra-comfortable, velvety sleep mask infuses the skin with hydration overnight, when skin is most receptive to treatments. Skin is soft, soothed and supple by morning. Don’t we all want to look refreshed….as if we’ve gotten a full night of sleep and weren’t up every couple of hours with the baby!?

Special offer: Use discount code ‘Babble19’ for 15% off + Free Shipping! Offer expires 2/28/19.

Sprout Pouches

And I had to throw in an essential item for baby! Eventually our babies get bigger and require more than milk… that’s when Sprout Pouches will come in handy. Sprout is a maker of wholesome, organic baby food, including ready-to-eat purees and snacks for toddlers, too. They have options for every age and stage of baby’s development and their high-quality recipes are made only with USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO ingredients. They also have no added sugars, no flavors or colors, and never anything artificial. I personally love the convenience of their pouches, especially as a busy, always on-the-go mom who needs things I can easily grab and throw into the diaper bag. 

These Sprout Stage 2 Pouches are plant powered and made with whole, organic fruits and vegetables (each pouch contains 2 grams of vegetable-based protein). Formulated specifically for babies 6 months and up, Sprout Stage 2 purees are just right for developing preferences. They come in fun flavors, like Strawberry Apple Beet Red Bean & Apricot Banana Chickpea Fig, which help expand baby’s palate and introduces babies to both sweet and savory taste profiles. I also love that they are committed to helping babies eat more veggies (I wish these were around when Lucas was little because I think these would have really helped him learn to love vegetables!)

What items do you consider essential for new moms and babies?

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Introducing Emma Noelle

On December 29th we welcomed our daughter, Emma Noelle, into the world. She was due January 9th but, like was par for the course this pregnancy, did things on her own terms.

After being sent to the emergency room four times in a two and a half week period of time for tachycardia (twice) and hypertension (twice), the doctors decided to induce me the evening of December 27th since I’d developed pre-eclampsia. A day and a half of laboring later I developed an infection and was rushed to the OR for an emergency c-section.

After a four day stay in the NICU for Emma and a rough several days in the hospital for me we finally got to go home on New Year’s Day and we’ve been adjusting to life as a family of five since then!

Emma is a pretty content baby and I can’t wait to share more about her with you all in the years to come as she grows. Maybe I’ll eventually post more of her birth story since it was so eventful but for now I just wanted to share a bit and share some pictures we had taken when she was a week old.

I also wanted to say thanks for all the kind words, thoughts, and prayers over the past months. We are so blessed to have a community of people who love us so much <3

You can see more photos of her on my Instagram page here.

3 Travel-Friendly Finds For New Parents

Thanks to Momtrends for sponsoring this post. This post contains affiliate links.

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Chicago Baby Show at Navy Pier with my family (including the two soon-to-be big brothers you see above). Since my oldest was born over 10 years ago and my youngest over 9 years ago I knew a lot had changed in the baby gear world but I was amazed at all of the new items that had come to market since my boys were babies. I added so many things to my registry list for baby #3 and will be sharing about many of the items over the coming months but today I wanted to share three of my favorite items for busy moms who are on the go with their little ones.

First, is the Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller. This amazing carseat is also a stroller! Unlike typical car seats that attach to stroller bases, this car seat is the only car seat in the world with integrated wheels that fold down to turn the car seat into a stroller in seconds. I’d never seen anything like it before! I’ve always said that one stroller must-have for me is a large basket underneath but I’ll make an exception for this one because I can see so many uses for it! It would be perfect for those quick trips to return something at the store or when I have to run into the boy’s school to drop something off. Basically any time in the past where I didn’t need to unload my bulky stroller and I’d just grab the infant carseat and carry it in the crook of my arm I could have used this instead. The company that sells this carseat/stroller product also has additional accessories available to make it function more like a typical stroller but I’d probably still want a larger stroller for those trips to the zoo or anytime we are out for long periods of time.

Another must-have for parents of littles is this Pop ‘N Play™ Deluxe Ultimate Playard by Summer Infant. This product is perfect for parents who spend a lot of time outdoors during the warmer months whether it’s at the beach, camping, or at youth sports games and competitions. I think my family would get a lot of use out of this on summer weekends when we are at baseball games and practices because it’s a safe space for baby to crawl around while I watch my son play ball. I love that it is portable and easy to setup and also that if features a full canopy for sun protection and a padded floor for added comfort.

When it comes to older babies who need to eat on the go, the line of b.box baby feeding products is perfect. I especially love the travel bib and spoon set that keeps the mess contained because, after baby has finished eating, you just pop the spoon inside, fold the bib into the catcher and zip it closed. Then when you get home, you just wash and dry it and fold it back up until it’s ready for your next adventure. There are other items from the brand that would be helpful for travel, too, like the travel drying rack and the diaper wallet.

As a mom of two older kids I’ll be out and about with baby daily so I’m so happy I found some products that make life easier. What items have you discovered are helpful when you are on-the-go with baby? I’d love to hear about them! Chat with me on social here: twitter, instagram, facebook.

Baby Bath Time Gift Basket

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetJohnsonsBaby #ChooseGentle #CollectiveBias

Now that I’m in my second trimester I have a bit more energy than I’ve had over the past few months and I’m getting everything ready for baby before we are deep into our back-to-school routine and then before we know it the holidays are here and baby #3 arrives. We’ve set up the crib in our little baby nook and I’ve started buying baby things here and there. I’ll admit I have gotten a few I-don’t-really-need-this-but-baby-must-have-it items from the baby aisles of Target but I’m mostly stocking up on essentials.

 

(Interested in shopping for essentials online? Hover over the photo above to click through to shop JOHNSON’S® products at Target.com!)

When it comes to shopping I’m sticking to many brands I know and have relied on for years. One of those brands is JOHNSON’S® and their baby care line. I used the products with my boys, who are 9 and 10 years old, when they were babies and will use them for our new little one, too.

(Sidenote…) I thought it was hilarious when I went back to look for this photo shared above of my oldest and saw this message from my college roommate…

Little did we both know I’d be sharing it with them all these years later!

Anyways….

Like I said, I loved JOHNSON’S® then and I love it now but I feel even more confident using JOHNSON’S® on baby now because they have reformulated their products, inside and out, to set a new standard for gentle. Their products now have 50% fewer ingredients and contain no parabens, no phthalates, and are hypoallergenic.

I made sure to stock up on all my favorite bath time essentials and put together a little bath time kit that would make a super cute, practical gift for a new mom. It also is something you can put together for your own baby, like I did, if you want all of the bath items in one easy-to-carry container that can be moved from one bathroom to the other.

I included a rolled up hooded bath towel, baby washclothes, a rubber ducky bath water thermometer, JOHNSON’S® Safety Swabs, and a variety of other JOHNSON’S® baby products. I included JOHNSON’S® Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo and JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion which are perfect for daytime baths along with my favorite trio for sleepy nighttime baths- JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Bath, JOHNSON’S® Calming Shampoo, and JOHNSON’S® bedtime lotion. The redesigned bottles are awesome with their easy-to-use pumps that are perfect for moms who are often trying to do everything one-handed as they hold their little one.

Everything went in to a durable container that I decorated with a little sweet, colorful garland. New moms will love getting the essentials their baby needs for a happy bath time routine and they will also appreciate how easy it is to carry baby’s bath essentials wherever they need them in their homes!

Target (my favorite store ever!) has all the items you need for this baby bathtime basket and there’s nothing better than strolling the aisles, coffee in hand, while you do your shopping. Plus, Target currently has a great offer going on for JOHNSON’S® baby products- buy 3, get a $5 gift card – which lasts through September 1st, 2018. And, if you are currently pregnant, don’t forget about Target’s baby registry because once you register you can get their amazing welcome kit (a $100 value) for free! It’s a great way to sample products from great brands like JOHNSON’S®.

Speaking of sampling products, be on the lookout for a Target in-store sampling on 8/26 where you can test out the Cotton Touch and the Bedtime lotions and also get a special coupon for the products.

What essentials do you stock up on for baby gifts or for your own baby? I’d love to hear so let me know on social by tweeting me (@aliciamarie112), PMing me on Instagram (aliciamarie112cb), or sharing on Facebook (/MakingTimeForMommy).

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The Best Universal Gift Registry For Those Engaged Or Expecting

Thanks to MyRegistry for sponsoring this post.

Out of all the things there are to do when you are engaged or expecting, one of the more exciting tasks on the to-do list is setting up a registry. Whether you are having a bridal or baby shower, or just have family and friends wanting to buy gifts for you, having a registry is one of the easiest ways to ensure you get things that you (and/or baby) can enjoy for years to come.

There are a variety of stores that offer registries and, often times, couples set up numerous registries to give their friends and loved ones an option when it comes to gift shopping. As a newly pregnant mama with 6 months to go still, and this being my third child, I mostly wanted to create a registry so I could easily keep track of what I wanted to purchase before the baby comes (because many registries give discounts on items when you get closer to the due date) and to have ideas if family asks for them. I had just planned on setting up one registry to have everything in one place and figured an Amazon registry would be great so I could get their free welcome box filled with baby goodies. Then I saw a few adorable things at Target and, before I knew it, I had started one at Target as well. I was recently introduced to MyRegistry.com and am so excited to now be able to combine all of my registries in one place!

 

Setting up an account is really easy and the best part is you can import all of the registries that you already have set up.

 

 

You can also add new registries or items from any website at any time, including the partner sites shown above. MyRegistry makes it easy with a “add to MyRegistry” desktop internet bookmark button, a smartphone app that lets you scan barcodes of items you find in stores, and inspiration boards on their site you can look at to find unique items you want to add to your list. You can also choose to include gift cards and cash funds (like a diaper fund or honeymoon fund) to your registry if you don’t need a lot of “things”. I was surprised that it was so easy to make a registry on MyRegistry.com and how easy it is to add items.

 

Since I just started my registry I only have some essentials and a few adorable outfits I want to get as soon as we find out if we are having a boy or girl. I still want to make an Ikea registry since we are purchasing some nursery furniture from there and they also have a “completion discount” so we can save some money making the purchase through our registry.

When you first set up your registry make sure to check out the offers page, too. They have a great giveaway going on right now through August 31st. Every weekday, MyRegistry will randomly select one winner from its list of new baby registry signups (who have activated their account, confirmed they wish to be entered on their Offers page, and added at least one gift to their baby registry). Winners will receive a Noobie pregnancy gift box containing the newest and best baby products!

The current Noobie Box includes:

  • LansinohⓇ Breastfeeding Set
  • Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment
  • MAM Anti-Colic Bottle
  • MAM Newborn Pacifier
  • WaterWipes
  • PurellⓇ Multi Surface Disinfectant
  • Dr Kids Natural Nasal Drops
  • And a Surprise Sample!

Such a great giveaway for those who create a baby registry! Head on over to MyRegistry.com to create your wedding registry or baby registry! Not engaged or expecting? You can make a wish list for your (or your child’s) birthday or Christmas!

Our Big News! (And Chicago Baby Show Tickets Giveaway)

Thanks to MomTrends and the Chicago Baby Show for sponsoring this post.

New baby coming soon

Those that follow me on social media already heard the news but, in case you missed it, we announced a couple weeks ago that we are expecting a baby in January 2019! I figured I should officially announce it here :) We are so excited and I’m lucky I’m going to have two extra sets of hands to help with this baby (which will be a change from the challenge of having raised these two “almost” Irish twins who always seemed to be going in opposite directions when they were little!)

Since my boys are older I have nothing for babies anymore and, because we live in a tiny, two bedroom place, I’m on the hunt for baby products that do double duty and space saving items that really maximize what little space we do have. I’m also interested in learning about all the newest trends and tech that’s been developed since I was raising babies 10 years ago.

I am really looking forward to heading to the Chicago Baby Show later this summer to get ideas before I complete my baby registry and start shopping for my little one. I’m also excited to connect with other local, expectant parents!

The 2018 Chicago Baby Show, held on August 25 & 26, 2018, will once again be the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country. Now in its 2nd year, no other event provides a better experience for thousands of expectant and new families from the Chicago area seeking a family-friendly jamboree of top brands, great speakers and seminars, big giveaways, and lots of learning, support, bonding, and fun as you make your way into parenthood. 

2018 Chicago Baby Show

I am partnering with the Chicago Baby Show to give 10 tickets away! You can head here to claim the free tickets. If you go to that link and receive a message saying that “the promotional code you entered is not valid” then all FREE tickets have been used and you can go here to get 50% off tickets instead. (The normal ticket price is $30 per family (for 2 adults and up to 4 children) and $20 per individual.)

If you can’t make the show, or do not live nearby, don’t worry because I will be sharing my top finds from the show here on the blog! In the meantime make sure to grab your tickets while they last and leave a comment letting me know what baby items you consider necessities! I need to know what I should be adding to my wish list :)

 

 

8 Diaper Bags That Don’t Look Like Diaper Bags

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. (And also, I’m not pregnant….didn’t want anyone thinking this was an announcement post.)

When my boys were little, my diaper bag couldn’t pass for anything but a diaper bag. It was baby blue and brown and had the name of a well-known children’s store embossed on it. At the time I loved how roomy it was but I’m really liking the new trend of having a diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag. If I have another child I’d want something that can pass for a purse when I’m sans kids. (Not that I’m sans kids often but a girl can dream of an evening out, right?)

Here are some of my favorite diaper bags from Baby Cubby, a chic store that carries the top items for mom and baby. All of these can pass for a purse or tote while after the kids are out of diapers.

Oemi Baby Leather Diaper Bag

Hands-down this is my favorite diaper bag I’ve come across. The Oemi leather bag is cut from the finest and softest distressed aniline leather available and is not only stylish but functional, too. It boasts five interior and three exterior pockets giving you more than enough room to stay prepared for everything you’ll need for your little one. Buy it here.

Skip Hop Greenwich Simply Chic Diaper Bag 

The Skip Hop Greenwich diaper backpack in smoke is chic and convenient. Made of wipeable vegan leather, it’s the perfect bag for busy parents! It has multiple pockets for ultimate organization and includes a changing pad and stroller straps. Buy it here.

Timi & Leslie Convertible Collection Rachel Satchel

The Timi & Leslie Rachel Satchel is made for the modern mom. Easy-to-clean faux leather, several interior and exterior pockets, included accessories and custom hardware make this a classic bag that won’t look like a diaper bag. Buy it here.

Coco and Kiwi Sydney 5 – Piece Diaper Bag

This sleek and simple design will make a big impact!  The Sydney 5-Piece Diaper Bag is sure to fulfill all your needs with its functional design and special included accessories! Buy it here.

Petunia Pickle Bottom Glazed Pathway Pack

The Pathway Pack is a super classy bag for modern parenting that even dads will want to use. It has great features like a laptop pocket and can be worn as a backpack or cross-body.  The sleek glazed canvas is easy to clean, and the fantastic colors offered will fit either parent’s style. Buy it here.

Little Unicorn Rambler Satchel Diaper Bag

If you need a bag that is both functional and stylish, this is it! The Little Unicorn Olive Rambler Satchel is the ultimate organizer bag with its 12 pockets. The durable cotton canvas is sure to hold up, and the vegan leather adds the perfect trendy touch. Buy it here.

Little Unicorn Rotunda Diaper Bag

The Rotunda diaper bag offers a sophisticated combination of style and thoughtful function while you’re on the go with or without your little one. Its sleek design makes it easy to incorporate the Rotunda into your wardrobe long after your babies are out of diapers. I love that it has a tech pocket to protect electronics. Buy it here.

Timi & Leslie Convertible Collection Charlie Tote

The Charlie tote is made from faux leather and features custom hardware in an antique brass finish. The tote is fashionable but has great accessories so it functions well as both a diaper bag and a purse. It has a zippered sac for soiled clothes, a changing bag with front mesh pocket to hold diaper changing necessities, and a stylish clutch with interior credit card slots and an inside zippered pocket for all of mom’s must-haves. Buy it here.

Baby Cubby carries more than just diaper bags, too. They have a large variety of everything parents need for babies and toddlers. I really love that they take the time to make videos about most of the items they carry so you can get an idea of what the products are like in person. They make the online ordering process easy for those of us that are not close by to their Lindon, Utah storefront.

Which diaper bag is your favorite?

 

Why Won’t My Baby Sleep?

The following is a guest post by Katie Pitts, M.S. CCC-SLP, CSSC, a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. I met Katie when I was at the Baby & Beyond conference a couple weeks ago and she had some great tips for getting Lucas to sleep easily so I invited her to share here on the blog. If you would like help or have questions please see the end of this post for how to contact her to receive a free 15 minute consultation.

Why won’t my baby sleep?

This is a question I often asked my first son when he was an infant. I asked it in a sweet voice, I asked it in a pleading voice, I asked it in an angry voice, but no matter how many times I asked, he never gave me the answer.

I can remember the night— and some of you will know exactly what I’m talking about— when I felt like I could not take it anymore. My son just would not stay asleep and I had hit rock bottom, exhausted from waking up multiple times every night and having to soothe him back to sleep. My husband found me at 3:00 in the morning sobbing away in our living room.

When our babies don’t sleep well, we tend to look for an explanation. We think it might be teething or gas. We worry that she’s too small and she needs to eat in the night, or he’s too big and he needs to eat more or he won’t feel full. The list goes on and on.

Are any of these explanations the real truth? Sometimes. But barring those times when your child has a burning fever or a new tooth coming in, the real reason most babies won’t sleep or stay asleep is that they just haven’t learned how.

We all have strategies that help us make the journey into sleep each night. We have bedtime routines that we tend to do without really thinking about it, and we do these things because they help us transition from the busyness of our day to a restful sleep.

Most of us have a favorite position on the bed that we turn to when we feel sleep about to come. Some of us need a glass of water beside the bed, some need white noise or music, others can’t sleep without the window open. Some need a cup of herbal tea, and some have to read for ten minutes…Whatever the differences might be, these are all sleep strategies, and without them we’d have trouble drifting off.

The same goes for babies. Many parents who haven’t developed a sleeping strategy for their babies will complain that their child can only fall asleep with the bottle, or while breastfeeding, or while being rocked or patted.

While this might be true, the trouble is, by offering these props, parents are creating a situation where their babies are dependent on something external to help them sleep. And that’s why they don’t sleep well.

Night waking is very common in babies who have not learned to sleep properly and are relying on a prop. When they wake up and the prop isn’t there to put them back to sleep, they have to wake up fully and cry in order to be soothed back to sleep. It’s not personal, Mom and Dad… they haven’t made it their personal mission to wake you up ten times a night. They just have no idea how to go to sleep without your help.

Luckily there is hope. There are lots of ways to give your child the tools she needs to be able to sleep independently, even from a very young age. Babies are capable of sleeping through the night, and learning those skills young will help make bedtimes and nighttimes relatively hassle-free.

A well-rested child is a happier, healthier child. And a well-rested parent is healthier and happier too!

Click here for 7 tips to try TONIGHT to help your baby sleep.

A few words about Katie:

Katie Pitts is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and the founder of Sleep Wise Consulting. Katie has dual master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Educational Administration. After 3 months of sleepless nights, Katie found a quick gentle solution to solve her son’s sleep problems. Shortly after this, she became certified as a baby and toddler sleep consultant and opened Sleep Wise Consulting. For over a year, Katie has given families the tools they need to teach their children to sleep at night. Interested in a FREE 15 minute evaluation to see how she can help your family? Start here: http://sleepwiseconsulting.com/free-15-minute-consultation/

Baby Shower Memories {Giveaway}

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Dreft. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine. Some parts of my pregnancies I’d like to forget- like the morning sickness, food aversions and puffy feet. Other things though, I remember fondly, like my baby shower that was thrown for me while I was pregnant with Jacob. I had a great group of people joining me to celebrate including family members, my work friends and even some of my college friends who came in from out of state. There were delicious foods and cute decorations and everyone gave me such thoughtful gifts. One of my favorite things that I received was a picture frame with everyone’s well wishes on it. I love personalized gifts like that. Other gifts I loved were adorable outfits for my baby and those necessities that every new mom needs like a highchair, a bouncer, toys and packs of diapers. Another item that new moms might not think to buy themselves is special laundry detergent made especially for their new baby’s delicate skin. When my boys were infants we used Dreftbecause it is gentle and hypoallergenic on baby’s sensitive skin, tough on stains and has a baby fresh scent. It is also the #1 baby laundry detergent choice of pediatricians and the #1 dermatologist recommended brand for baby clothes.

As babies grow and develop, laundry needs change for both little ones and their families, which is why Dreft introduced a new line of laundry products that are specially designed for different stages of babyhood. The line includes three products: Dreft Stage 1: Newborn; Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby and Dreft Blissfuls.

Now with Dreft’s line of laundry care products, families can focus less on the mess and more on the amazing moments they share together. I love the new Dreft Blissfuls in-wash scent booster because it lets me bring back that amazing baby scent (and all those memories) whenever I want.

I might not have a little baby anymore but one of my favorite celeb couples will soon and I can’t wait to follow their journey. Sean and Catherine Lowe from “The Bachelor” are expecting a child and Dreft has partnered with them to share their beautiful, messy moments of parenthood. For the first year they will be giving fans a glimpse into their lives as they journey into #amazinghood. Dreft threw them a “Loads of Love” baby shower last week where the couple was showered with all the love, support and essentials needed to prepare them for the arrival of their precious new baby.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Dreft “Baby Shower” Package (ARV $75) which will include:

Dreft product (Newborn, Active Baby, & Blissfuls)
Little Me Welcome to the World Bib and Burp Set
 Little Me Giraffe Gown
Gender Neutral Lovey

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment sharing your favorite pregnancy or baby related memory.

For an extra entry you can share on a social channel and leave the link in a comment below.

Giveaway ends May 15, 2016 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older to enter and have a US mailing address (NO PO BOXES).

Two Easy Ways To Save On Diapers

This post was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

Those with little ones know that diapers are one of the most expensive monthly purchases new parents have which is why little made me more excited than finding a coupon for this necessity. Luvs is offering opportunities to save on diapers with a $2.00 print-at-home coupon offer that can be redeemed in stores through 7/31. Additionally, in partnership with Ibotta, Luvs is also offering a limited-time $5 rebate on any boxed variety of Luvs diapers, 54ct. box or larger.

Never used Ibotta? You have to download it! I have only had it for a couple weeks and already made $16 from using it just one time with their welcome bonus, one friend referral and one rebate redeemed.

Ibotta is super easy to use. Here’s how to get the $5 rebate:

  • Download the free Ibotta app on iTunes or Google Play
  • Before you go to the store, search “Luvs” and unlock the exclusive $5 rebate by clicking the “unlock” button
  • Go shopping for your Luvs Diapers at any participating store
  • Verify your purchases by scanning product barcodes and submitting a photo of your receipt in the app
  • That’s it! Your $5 cash back rebate will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours

With large stretch tabs, ultra-leakage protection, a money-back guarantee and multiple high-value coupon offers, Luvs with NightLock provides high-quality features for less cost than premium brands. What will you do with the money saved? I’d suggest ordering your sleep-deprived-self a fancy coffee. You deserve it, mom!

Playing With Purpose

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.)

When my kids were smaller it was always a joy to sit down on the floor with them and play. I noticed how much they progressed and learned just by playing with their baby toys and crawling around exploring the space around them. Bonding time with them through play at that age was priceless.

Today I am happy to announce a special fundraising and awareness campaign from Toys“R”Us, in partnership with Save the Children (a nonprofit committed to ensuring all U.S. children have a healthy start). Together, they are embarking on a mission to provide children in impoverished regions of the country with opportunities and resources to integrate purposeful play into their everyday lives; a factor proven critical in children’s emotional, physical and cognitive development and future growth.  The Play With Purpose campaign is designed to support Save the Children’s early childhood development programs – Early Steps to School Success, Literacy/Healthy Choices and the SummerBoost Initiative – which help children in some of America’s most underprivileged areas thrive. I love this special project because it will help all parents enjoy the bonding times through play that I enjoyed with my children.

From February 17 – April 17, customers can make cash donations at any Toys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us store, or online at Toysrus.com/PlayWithPurpose, to help bring learning through play to kids in need. Please take the time to watch this Save the Children video. It is worth everyone’s time to see it and share the video on social media using #PlayWithPurpose and tagging @Toysrus.

 

In 2014, Save the Children worked in 120 countries, including the United States, and helped more than 166 million children — including more than 55 million children directly. Together with the tremendous support of our donors and partners, we transformed children’s lives and the future we share. No one knows when or where the next crisis will hit. But we do know that children are disproportionally affected in times of crisis — and often suffer the most. That’s why Save the Children is dedicated to providing child-focused emergency readiness, relief and recovery in the United States and around the world.

Visit Toysrus.com/PlayWithPurpose to learn more about the program and make a donation. Donations will support Save the Children’s early childhood development programs, which help children in some of America’s most underprivileged areas thrive.

When my boys were younger our favorite way to play was stacking blocks and building elaborate train track configurations for trains. How about you and your kids?

 

Safer Car Rides

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Our family loves road trips, whether it’s to visit family or to discover a new town. In the summer we love to drive with the windows down to enjoy the warm breeze on our way to the beach. In the Fall we enjoy driving through the nearby forest preserves to look at the beautiful changing colors of the leaves. The biggest thing that makes road trips more enjoyable is that in the back of my mind I know my kids are safe in their car seats for the whole ride. Fortunately car travel has revolutionized itself since the time I was a toddler.

New parents might have lots of questions about which car seats are the best and as the children grow bigger more questions arise. In my case I always want to know if my boys are in appropriate seats for their individual sizes.  Luckily for all parents we have a great store we can shop at, with people that can help answer our questions, called Babies“R”Us.

Babies“R”Us and Evenflo, both advocates in child product safety, have come together to announce the newest innovation in car seat safety – the SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat, now available at Babies“R”Us stores nationwide and online at Babiesrus.com. I want to check it out because I think it would be a great fit for both my boys. Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately twice the federal crash test standard, the SafeMax™ All-in-One is the first car seat that has been dynamically rollover tested. I love that The SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat is appropriate for infants and children from 5 to 120 lbs or up to 57 inches in height, in three positions – rear facing, forward facing and booster seating. Beyond just safety, this car seat offers SafeZone™ Headrest: A combination of premium materials designed to absorb and dissipate crash forces, providing advanced protection where your child needs it most.

Evenflo believes car seat installation is so important that they give Evenflo car seat owners access to live video chat help when installing their car seat. I think that’s an awesome service! You can also find a free car seat inspection station near you here.

Want to get one of these new car seats? It’s the perfect time because the popular “Great Trade-In” event is back at Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores nationwide! Through this national safety event, Toys“R”Us, Inc. provides people with its latest call to action to rid their homes of potentially unsafe, old and secondhand baby gear and furniture in exchange for savings on a new item that meets the latest safety standards. Since August 2009, the company’s Great Trade-In event has resulted in the removal of more than 1.1 million pieces of used and potentially unsafe cribs, car seats and more from homes, garages and attics nationwide.

During the event the following deals can be found:

  • 25% savings with trade-in of a used gear or furniture item
  • 30% discount when using an “R”Us Credit Card
  • No trade-in? No problem! 15% off with an in-store and online coupon available online

Make sure to visit any Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores nationwide Monday, February 1st through Monday, February 29th to participate in this promotion. To learn more, please visit Babiesrus.com/GreatTradeIn.

March of Dimes Dad

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post , but all thoughts are my own.

I am a brother. I am a son. At work I am a manager. When I have time I am a soccer player. We all have many roles in our daily life. My favorite role above all is being a father. I was born to be a good father and make my kids safe and happy. When my boys were born all I wished for was that they would be healthy with all 10 fingers and 10 toes. And whenever I see parents to be I wish the same for them. There is an organization called March Of Dimes that feels the same way.

For more than 75 years, the March of Dimes has been a leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

Founded in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, of the March of Dimes original mission was to defeat polio. By 1955, with funding from the March of Dimes, the Salk vaccine had been developed and tested, followed by the Sabin oral vaccine in 1962, and polio was on its way out.

Throughout its history, the March of Dimes has tackled infant health problems.Campaigns have supported programs related to polio, birth defects, folic acid, newborn screening and premature birth.

Today, the March of Dimes is inspired by all babies – those born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. These babies are the millions of reasons behind our urgent mission and why the March of Dimes:

 

  • supports all important research into the causes and preventions for premature birth and birth defects;
  • fights for health insurance for all pregnant women and children;
  • pushes for expanded newborn screening that could save lives and prevent disabilities;
  • reaches out to women with healthy pregnancy information and services;
  • provides comfort and information to families with a newborn in intensive care.

I am very proud to announce I am a Dad Ambassador for the imbornto campaign for March of Dimes.

imbornto is a national cause marketing campaign that benefits the March of Dimes. It taps into the collective hopes, dreams and aspirations that we have for our babies and ourselves. All babies are born to do something great; something special and theirs alone. But they can’t do it on their own. Thanks to your support, the March of Dimes can help babies be born strong and healthy. The imbornto campaign raises money for the organization’s vital research and programs that improve the lives of babies and families everywhere.

Doing well as a company leads to doing good for the community. March of Dimes has several partners that have created special deals for its customers that wish to support March of Dimes and  #imbornto campaign. With Fathers day on the horizon check out the deals and make Dad happy and proud to help babies.

 

Make the time to visit  www.imbornto.com and http://www.marchofdimes.org to learn more and get involved. Checkout Twitter for the conversation  #imbornto (secondary hashtag: #MoDSquad).

Keep up with me and my kids to see what I get for Fathers day and to learn more about March of Dimes.

10 Things New Parents Learn

I always knew I would be a dad someday. The plan was I would amass a great amount of wisdom and coolness first in order to be ready. Honestly nothing really prepares anyone for parenthood completely. I personally read books and asked around and truth be told when my first son was born I had tons of questions. I found myself living the dream and somewhere along the lines I learned great things about being a Dad.

So here is my list of 10 things new parents (specifically dads) learn:

1. Children change your life (for the better): All of a sudden staying in is way more important than hanging out with the guys at a bar on Friday night.
2. You learn the importance of sleep: Napping while they nap is awesome and sleeping in while the grandparents take the kids is a must.
3. Changing diapers like a pro: This is repetition meets survival because no one wants pee in their face or a big mess.
4. Your newborn knows who you are: Nothing is sweeter than when you realize your kid knows you and recognizes you and they are excited to be held by you.
5. 3 am feedings are the best bonding time: I worked 2 jobs as a restaurant manger and the hours were crazy but spending time with my kids in the middle of the night to feed them and comfort them was priceless
6. It is never too soon to start a 529 (college savings plan): This one is important. The economy is not what it used to be and no matter your income, college savings plans are best started early.
7. Men get baby fever too: My second son is the result of this but also in seriousness I do have moments when I think our family should be bigger and I wish to have a daughter.
8. It gets easier after the first year: Trust me, things fall into place and routines happen, kids get bigger and life gets easier.
9. Kids are resilient and they truly just need your love : All kids get scrapes and cuts but in the end they heal. Your love and attention is what helps them the most.
10. Kids absorb your every word: Kid’s little brains are like thirsty sponges and they are very aware of everything being said around them and to them.

What did you learn as a new parent?

The Promises We Make To Our Children

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

When I first became a mom I remember looking down at my son and instantly falling in love with the little swaddled child in my arms. Even though we had just met, I made many promises to him. Among those were the promise that I’d love him forever and that I’d be the very best mom I could be.

These desires didn’t end when we left the hospital, but have only grown stronger over the years. Every time I look at my child I find myself thinking that I couldn’t possibly love him more and then the next day comes and I realize I love him more than I did the day before and even more than the day before that one. Every hour I grow more in love and with that comes the strong maternal desire to keep him safe. One way I keep my children safe is by trying to always make the best decisions with them in mind. I love when I discover that companies have the same values that I do and one of those companies is Johnson & Johnson.

Moms make promises to their babies all the time and J&J listened to moms and made one too! They recently changed the formula of their baby care products because parents shared their concerns and they wanted to give parents peace of mind when using the products on their little ones.

What promises do you make to your children?

Babies “R” Us Happy Places Design Events {Nationwide}

When I found out the gender of my first child I did two things: buy a bunch of blue baby clothes and start planning the nursery. To help with the fun, but often overwhelming, task of designing the nursery, Babies“R”Us is launching a nationwide campaign to help expectant parents and I’m happy to be partnering with them to promote it in this sponsored post.

This Sunday, June 29th, from 12-1pm, Babies“R”Us stores nationwide will host an in-store event, where parents can meet with local designers about how to create a happy place for their baby or toddler, browse 6 room vignettes specially designed by a Disney Baby Designer, peruse a palette of paint colors provided by Home Depot, and review a printed look book of select “dream rooms” to help foster inspiration and design ideas. Plus, attendees will enjoy giveaways and prizes throughout the event. You can learn more, here.

If you are on Twitter, make sure to join the #BRUHappyPlaces Twitter party this Wednesday!

On Wednesday, June 25 at 9pm EST, we will be hosting a @Babiesrus Twitter Party and would love for you (and your readers) to participate! Babies“R”Us will be leading the chat, sharing helpful tips and tricks regarding nursery and toddler room design. To join the conversation, use #BRUHappyPlaces.

 

Baby Monitors Get High Tech

(Disclosure: Motorola sent me their baby monitor to review but all thoughts are my own.)

At the ages of 4 and 5, my children are old enough to play on their own in our home but young enough that they still occasionally get into things they shouldn’t. We live in a small home and have a pretty open layout so I can sit in our living room on the first floor and hear them while they play in their room on the second floor. Normally they are playing with their toys but a few months back Lucas found a stray crayon and decided to color on the wall with it.

I can’t, and don’t want to, shadow my kids 24/7. They need a little freedom but I still want to know what they are doing so one solution we’ve found is to put a video baby monitor in their room. Anytime I hear things get quiet (which all parents know is the sign that your child is up to something) I can just turn the monitor on and peek in.

The Motorola MBP41 is a 2.8” video monitor that gives parents the ability to keep a close eye on their children. Some of the great features include:

  • • 2.4Ghz FHSS Wireless Technology
  • • 2.8” Color TFT LCD Screen
  • • Pair up to 4 Cameras
  • • Infrared Night Vision
  • • Remote Pan, Tilt and Zoom
  • • Visual Sound Level Indicator
  • • Two-way Communication
  • • Range Up to 590 Feet
  • • Out-of-Range Alert
  • • High Sensitivity Microphone
  • • Low Battery Alert
  • • Support Stand

Setup of the unit was quick and easy. Make sure to let the parent half of the monitor charge fully before you try to use it. The parent’s unit has a stand but is also small enough that it can fit in a pocket so it’s easy to carry around while doing laundry or cleaning.  This is so much nicer than the bulky monitor units that I used with my kids.

I love that the parent can speak to the child through the monitor and it reminds me of those room-to-room speakers some homes have. Being able to pair up to four cameras is a great feature as well to track multiple areas of the home at the same time.  The night vision mode is nice. My favorite feature has to be that the unit in the child’s room has a moving video camera which lets the parent see the whole room just by pushing some buttons on the parent’s monitor. Isn’t that awesome!?

Fits in the palm of your hand!

I wish they had monitors like this when my kids were babies! Do you use a video baby monitor like this? If so, what’s your favorite feature?

(Please note: A baby monitor does not replace adult supervision.)

Giving The Gift Of Sleep {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.)

By interviewing over 9,000 moms about what was important for their baby, Pampers found the number one unmet need is a diaper that provides superior overnight dryness.  Pampers incorporated this firsthand insight, as well as the brand’s deep understanding of baby and baby’s needs, to design a diaper that both mom and baby can count on for up to 12 hours of overnight protection. Pampers Baby Dry now features a longer, blue tinted absorbent area, more absorbent materials making it 15% more absorbent and new and updated Sesame Street designs that moms love.

Pampers sent me on a mission to give the “Gift of Sleep” to a family or baby in my community. I thought of a friend at Church who is pregnant with her second child. She welcomed my family with open arms when we first came to the Church and coordinated the Special Needs Ministry ensuring that my children would be well cared for in a safe, loving environment while I attended service. I had been wanting to do something special for her and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do so!

I created a little gift basket for her and the baby including Pampers Swaddlers and Baby Dry diapers along with Pampers wipes. For the baby I got a fleece pair of pajamas and blanket to keep him nice and warm, a rattle to play with, and a rubber ducky for bath time. I chose some lavender scented baby wash and lotion and a snooze wrap to ensure he would drift off to sleep easily.

I didn’t forget about the mommy-to-be either! I am giving her a copy of Dayspring’s Inspirational Daily Calendar with words from Ann Voskamp, one of my favorite bloggers/authors. I also added a teething bracelet for when the little one starts teething. I can’t wait to give her the basket of goodies on Sunday!

GIVEAWAY:

 Sleep Sheep Sound Machine, cozy blankets for Mom/Baby and a $50 Visa gift card

HOW TO ENTER:

1) Tell me who you’d give the gift of sleep to

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Pampers on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

5) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right column)

Giveaway ends October 28, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident and 18 or older to win.