Friday, February 22, 2013

Packing the Hospital Bag

Wanted to share one of my favorite moments: my husband meeting our son for the first time. He was traveling in Philadelphia (playing baseball professionally) and missed the birth...rushed home...and this was his first glimpse of our baby boy. Love at first sight.

If you are "Type A" {like me} you probably want to have your hospital bag packed ahead of time. Unless you want your hubby packing the bag...which could certainly prove to be interesting! I would suggest having a bag packed when you are full-term (37 weeks) just in case your little stinker tries to "break free" {like mine did}! These are the things that I would suggest you bring...along with a little list of things you should "snag" after your hospital stay.

Baby:
Bring:
  • 2-3 comfortable outfits - remember to keep it loose around the belly-button area. I would suggest preemie or NB sizing {you will not believe how tiny they are}.
  • Socks
  • Mittens
  • Fingernail file
  • Carseat (recommended that its already installed and been inspected)
  • Blanket + outerwear/sweater (depending on weather)
  • Swaddle
**The hospital will provide you with diapers, Vaseline, diaper creams, flannel swaddles & hats - but bring your own of these items if you would prefer cloth diapers or petroleum-free or natural products.

Snag:
Hats (the ones they give you are the perfect size and so so stretchy)
Flannel blankets/swaddles
Halo sleep sack (my hospital provided one of these)
A couple newborn diapers
Used products (they can't reuse the opened diaper rash creams, Vaseline, etc - so snag it!)


Momma:

Bring:
  • Insurance Information/ID (probably in your wallet)
  • Robe
  • Comfortable pajamas/lounge wear
  • Yoga pants/sweats/maxi dress to wear home from hospital (I would suggest bringing two outfits)
  • Nursing bra (under wire free)
  • Comfortable/cotton underwear (several pairs)
  • Slippers and/or socks
  • Toiletries (remember chapstick...it gets dry in that hospital room)
  • Pillow
  • Blanket (to share with baby)
  • Nursing Pillow
  • Maxi pads (only bring a few - they will have some provided for you)
  • Breast Pump - have the lactation nurses show you how to use it! And ask for help when you begin nursing your baby. They are free {and wonderful} resources - I would suggest you use them!
Snag:
  • Squirt bottle
  • Ice pack
  • Pumping and breast feeding supplies (storage bottles, breast shields, etc.)

Partner:

Bring:
  • Snacks
  • Pillow
  • Change of clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Music, books, games, iPad - things to keep you {both} distracted before baby arrives
  • Camera
  • Electronic chargers (for phone, iPad, camera, etc)
  • Pediatrician name/contact information
Snag:
  • Sentimental items (hospital bracelets, name tags, etc. for scrap booking, etc.)
  • Medical Paperwork
  • Prescription Drug Instructions + follow up appointments

If having C-section:

Bring:
  • Loose "Grandma Panties" - get one size up of a package of Hane's from Walmart. Trust me - low rise undies will hurt your incision. You won't care that you are not fashionable...you want them loose (and almost baggy).  
  • Robe
  • Maxi dress for wearing home...I found my incision to be sensitive and preferred to wear a flowy dress home (as opposed to pants).
  • Small/compact pillow to hug incision when laughing/sneezing/coughing - push it against the incision to help with pain.
Snag:
  • Gauzy Underwear - these hideous underwear that they provide after a C-section are amazing. They don't put pressure on your incision and are so comfortable. They are U.G.L.Y...but I would still ask your nurse if you can snag a few pairs.

Hope this little list helps! Did I forget anything?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gift Ideas: One Year



First Birthday Gift Ideas

I thought I would put together some wonderful gift ideas for a FIRST BIRTHDAY. These are all items that our son has loved and wanted to share!









Melissa & Doug Chomp & Clack
{$46.99} This little device is super sturdy and perfect for new walkers. Our son love to zip around the house with it - great on hard surfaces or carpet.



Robeez Fur Trim Booties
{$35.95} The all-leather soles are perfect for new walkers and are so comfy/cozy. They are available in all sorts of colors and designs (bears, bunnies, Elmo).


The Land of Nod Animal Flash Cards
{$12.99} Little ones can practice new words and animal noises with this precious little set from Land of Nod. PLUS the key ring helps to make sure that the cards are not thrown all over the house {huge added bonus}.


 Cloud b Twilight Constellation Turtle Night Light
{$28.00} This constellation turtle is the perfect little night light and makes a wonderful gift for all ages. Would highly recommend!



Jack Johnson: Curious George Sing-Alongs
{$9.99} Fun with a California-vibe. This CD will be enjoyed by little ones AND their parents.


 Tree Blocks
{$29.95}  Okay - I am a little bit of a hippie and I adore wooden toys. These blocks are BPA + paint free and are so cool! My son loves stacking these blocks and they are the perfect size for his little hands. Another favorite block collection (that are more budget friendly) are the B. Squeeze Soft Blocks {$10.19}.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Traveling with Baby

I thought I would start off with one of my favorite comedy routines re: traveling with baby {I adore Bill Cosby}:



Traveling with your little one(s) can certainly be stressful - even nightmare-worthy if you are planning your first trip. Let me assure you that it's not as scary as it sounds...people are generally SUPER friendly/helpful to mommas with babies {you should remember this... and pay it forward one day when you are old & grey}. Below, I have answered some questions that I had before making my first trip - hopefully the answers are useful to you:

What baby equipment should I bring and what will it cost?
In my experience, airlines allow you to check baby gear for free. PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK WITH YOUR SPECIFIC AIRLINE BEFORE TRAVEL but these are the current regulations for American Airlines. I would suggest checking the car seat upon check-in and checking an umbrella stroller upon gate-check. I also have had {several} friends tell me that they were allowed to check a pack n play/portable crib upon check-in (and that it classifies as a "baby item")...though I have never tried and can't 100% confirm. Anybody out there that can confirm that pack n plays can be checked for free? {Bueller?} You can also bring your electric breast pump as a carry-on and it did not "count" as a carry-on item...they allowed it to be an "extra." You just have to send it through the x-ray machine. I can't tell you how easy the Medela Pump in Style backpack is for traveling {its a breeze}.

What should I pack for my Carry On's?
Bring a stroller and/or a carrier. I really love a carrier because it keeps your little one close and free of random germs. You can go through the metal detector with baby IN the carrier...they will just do an extra scan. I would suggest a backpack for loading up your stuff...purses/straps can be pretty cumbersome when chasing around a crazy toddler at the airport. I have found that these nifty Knapp Sacks are amazing for travel - they are super sturdy and BIG for storing tons of goodies (including a special protective sleeve for your iPad)...plus they are hand-made (with COMPLETELY customizable color options) in Montana by my brother-in-law {shameless plug}. Hehe. 

I am a big fan of Freezer storage bags.
  • I used one storage bag for diapers/wipes/wet wipes.
  • One storage bag with any nursing or feeding supplies + binky for ear "poppage" (nursing cover, burp cloth, bottles, formula, etc.).  
  • One storage bag for two extra outfits (babies tend to blow out of their diapers at the WORST possible times...especially on airplanes).
  • One storage bag for snacks (non liquid)...cheerios, Goldfish, yogurt melts, etc. are small and distracting.
  • One storage bag with the liquid stuff that you have to send through Xray machine (hand sanitizer, chapstick, diaper rash ointment, etc.).
  • One storage bag with toys - I would suggest you pick up a few new toys that he/she has never seen...the Dollar aisle at Target has some goodies. For the courtesy of those around you, avoid overly noisy toys.
  • One storage bag with books.
Pack a thin swaddle blanket for coverage from germs and cold air IF baby naps {say a little prayer for a nap} - I love the Aden & Anais ones. Make sure to bring your iPad/Tablet and/or iPhone/Smartphone and make sure that you have PRE-DOWNLOADED some movies and apps (the WiFi on the plane can be too unpredictable to count on) - some of my favorite toddler apps are here.  Or bring a portable DVD player. Trust me - you need some sort of movie distraction for the flight.

How does feeding work?
As I said above - you can bring your electric pump through security - along with all of your feeding supplies (pumped milk, formula, dairy milk, etc). Be sure to pack AT LEAST two extra servings of formula or dairy milk if you are not breast feeding. You can never know if there will be delays, etc. And a hungry baby on a plane could prove to be disastrous. For nursing - just bring a nursing cover and request a window seat so that you can lean against the wall for added comfort and privacy. I would suggest nursing or bottle feeding your baby on take-off and landing - it will help to soothe him/her. If your child does not want to nurse or drink a bottle/sippy cup - be sure to bring a binky to help pop his/her ears. Also be sure to bring plenty of snacks and non-messy foods for munching/distracting. For warming pumped milk and formula - two things you can do:
  •  While in terminal - go to Starbucks/coffee shop and ask for a half full VENTI cup of hot water. Plop your bottle in there for warming.
  • While on plane - ask your flight attendant for a half full cup of hot water for warming your bottle.

How can I be proactive to fight against the airport/airplane germs?
Bring some Wet Wipes and wipe down your seating area and tray. Use hand sanitizer/wash hands frequently. Use the thin/gauzy swaddle to cover baby while sleeping to protect from germs coming from air vents. Give probiotics to baby (and momma) before and during travel - I swear by them!
  • My favorite brand is the Nature's Way Primadophis Children's - its a flavorless powder and dissolves in milk/formula when shaken.
  • The Florastor Kids powder is flavored and another favorite - I would suggest mixing into your little one's favorite yogurt.
  • Probiotics can also be found in Yobaby yogurt and Happy Bellies cereals (I really like both products...they are BOTH organic and have added DHA too).

How can I keep sane and organized?
Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before. Be sure to pack ahead of time (including carry on's and baby items). Be sure to take your probiotics and drink plenty of water. Arrive with PLENTY of extra time to the airport. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Avoid too much jewelry that will need to be removed during security. Bring yourself some snacks. Just breathe and enjoy this new experience with your baby. If you are relaxed and prepared - your baby will feel relaxed too!

Any other tips you can recommend!? Bon voyage! And don't forget to say a little travel prayer! :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Because Guys Need Help...



Valentine Gift Ideas

I just thought I would make a quick "Last Minute Gift Guide" for all the well-intentioned slackers this Valentine's Day {I am not judging...my husband is in the same group}. I work in an office full of dudes...and I have learned how you operate - you buy last minute. As much as I would love to give you some overly thoughtful ideas {maybe that adorable custom pendant necklace on etsy}...we are out of time, folks. So here is a list of Valentine gift ideas that you can pick up on your way home from the office. Everything is budget friendly and probably near your home and/or office. Ladies - feel free to {subtly} drop hints by sharing this post along to your very own "Slacker Valentine." 

Nothing says Valentine's Day like a pink chemise + love birds. Plus this lovely little item is $4.00 {that is less than my latte}. Swing over to Kohl's and grab this little LC by Lauren Conrad  number. Note: you will find this item in the Intimate/Nightgown department. 







These little stud earrings are a perfect addition to the chemise {above} - also by LC by Lauren Conrad {$9.00}. The best thing about buying this little duo at Kohl's is that they have a wrapping paper department! Grab a pink bag + matching tissue...you will probably need to stop at a drugstore on your way home for the Valentine's card. DO NOT FORGET A CARD. Note: you will find these in the jewelry department. 






This Gilligan & O'Malley  robe {$22.00} is so adorable and comfortable {and available in several colors...grey, turquoise, black and coral}. And your Valentine will love how thoughtful you were to set up a luxurious bubble bath for her. Fill the tub {with the bath fizz ready to go...see below} + light some candles + pour a glass of wine. Set her new robe next to the tub. Voila. A perfect Valentine bubble bath. Note: you will find this robe in the intimate/Nightgown department. 




These bath fizz "bombs" {$5.99} will make the perfect addition to your Valentine's special bath. All natural and delish smelling. Note: you will find these in the bath section - with all the bubble baths, body washes, etc. If they don't carry these bath bombs at your Target location - there are going to be other options...just PLEASE don't buy her a jug of Mr. Bubble. Thanks. ;) 





Grab her 5 stems of peonies wrapped in brown paper {$12.99}. This is so much more romantic than buying a pre-made bouquet {in my opinion}. You will look like you ran to a Farmer's Market in Paris and picked her some beautiful blooms. If peonies are not available - I would suggest another "fluffy" and romantic option. Maybe hydrangeas. You can also find some beautiful flowers + gourmet chocolates at Central Market, Trader Joes or Market Street. Note: you will find these in the floral section (thank you Captain Obvious). 


Get some gourmet chocolates/sweets to go with your flowers {above} - salted caramels are always a lovely option. One of my personal favorites {love their sweets + packaging} is Vosges caramel marshmallows {$27}. She may even let you try one ;) Note: you will find the gourmet chocolates in a few places - the baked goods section, the candy/chocolate section..and they probably have a special Valentine display for you to shop at. 

These Kendra Scott earrings are so beautiful and easy to wear (they are surprisingly light-weight) {$52}. Plus they have them in SO many different colors - yellow, blue, pink, black, etc. -pick a color to match her style! The great thing about buying these at Nordstrom is that they will gift wrap for free - with their lovely silver bow. Please don't forget to pick up a Valentine's card on your way home. Note: you will find these in the jewelry department. 






Nothing says Valentine's Day like jewelry and bubble baths. And this Philosophy bubble bath is divine {$16.99}. Bring this + your earrings (above) to the register to be wrapped. So easy. Note: this product is in the cosmetic/fragrance department. 




I hope this helps! Like I said {a few times} above - please don't forget a heart-felt Valentine's card.  Happy Valentine's Day to all you love birds out there!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Best Apps for Toddlers

I always thought I would be the mother that didn't let my kids play on the iPhone/iPad...until I became a mother {moral of the story: don't judge}. I have found that there are some super educational and fun apps out there for your toddler (my son is 17 months old). Apps can be extremely helpful {and welcome} distractions at restaurants, while making dinner, while showering, etc. These are a few of my favorites - note that I did not pick any apps with the ANNOYING pop-up advertisements...those drive me bonkers: 

This lovely little app is "tap/touch" friendly for curious toddlers and teaches your child different animal noises and names. Not complicated. No fluff. Sharp images and high quality. 


This is a brother/sister of the Peekaboo Barn app (above)...{there is an entire Peekaboo series of apps - all are lovely. These two just happen to be my personal faves}. I adore Charley Harper's illustrations and my son loves that the little forest animals flitter, jump & hop when he touches them. Interactive with crisp & beautiful images. 


Bright and clear Eric Carle illustrations {so lovely} + educational games that include animal sounds, animal homes, flashcards and more. My son loves to look at the colorful imagery while making the animal noises. Plus they now offer this app in six new languages for your future multi-linguist {se habla espanol?}. 


We love Dr. Suess in our house...so this little interactive book is a no-brainer. You can click on the "auto play" option and the book will read aloud to your child (and flip the pages). The pages are super interactive and your child can click on words, letters and objects to be read aloud again. Fun for your little bookworm. 



This book is a classic - such clear/crisp images with a soothing narrator. This app is a great e-book for quiet time. Easy to use and follow for little ones too! 


Those are a few of my favorites - any apps you can't live without? 


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