I've said it a million times and I'll say it again, Bay Ridge Brooklyn is a totally amazing place to live and raise a family. There's so much going on for families it's really hard to stay on top of it all. From free classes at the library to a movie nights at the toy store, street festivals, and drop-in music classes, it could be a full time job trying to research and pencil in all this stuff on your calendar!
I spend a lot of time researching all this for myself, often sharing it with the 1,000+ members in the 2 local FB mommy groups I founded 3 years ago. So I thought, why not share the love on a bigger and more organized level? *LIGHTBULB*
I've decided to launch Bay Ridge Families' Weekly Newsletter, which will feature a roundup of all the kid-friendly events and activities going on each week (Wednesday-Tuesday) - it's pdf format meaning links are active, making clicking through for more info super easy. In addition, I plan to do quarterly and annual e-publications, roundups such as Summer Camps, Fall Classes, Birthday Party Places & Vendors, and more!!
All of these publications will be completely free for the 3000+ parents who will receive it through Facebook, my blog, social media, or my newsletter list serve (sign up here).
The plan is to monetize it through advertising. While basic listings of events, activities, and services will be free, businesses can buy enhanced listings and advertising space for as little as $5. If you have a business or service that you'd like to advertise to families in Bay Ridge, shoot me an e-mail to discuss the various options available!
You can download my inaugural newsletter below!
Expecting a baby this year? A new little one is an exciting addition to any family! Babies change your life in a great way. They also can need quite a lot of gear for such a tiny little one. We've put together a fabulous giveaway for new moms or moms-to-be, featuring several products that help keep baby close, fed, cozy, and diapered! Some of these brands are our personal faves for nursing and diapering essentials, and also make great baby shower gifts! Enter in the Rafflecoptor box at the bottom to win this collection of featured prizes for mom and baby!
Lalabu Soothe Shirt
The Lalabu Soothe Shirt is a stylish top for mom, cozy pouch for baby, and nursing bra all-in-one that is also made in the USA. Sign up to Lalabu's New Moms + Late Night series to learn fun facts about your newborn and get deals on the Soothe Shirt! Learn more at lalabu.com.
Duo Diary portable journal
A Duo Diary is a portable journal that allows you to monitor your postpartum health and wellness while you care for your new baby. Track all of your baby's feedings including breastfeeding, bottle, formula, and pumping; monitor behaviors, patterns, sleep, diapers, and more on one side. On the other side, care for yourself with a food journal; track water intake, sleep, and exercise, plus keep notes on how you are feeling mentally and physically postpartum. It's all here - everything you need to care for your baby AND yourself! Learn more at duodiary.com. Use code MOMMYSCENE at checkout and get 10% off!
Bun Maternity Nursing Tanks (two!)
Bun Maternity nursing tanks combine fashion and breastfeeding accessibility in one stylish tank top design. With shoulder straps that unclasp and a long length that covers the waistline, Bun Maternity nursing tanks come in a variety of colors. They are also made in the USA from USA-sourced soft ribbed cotton. Learn more at bunmaternity.com.
Buttons Diapers (Cloth diaper cover, daytime insert, small wet bag)
Buttons Cloth Diapers is a family company that designs adorable and modern cloth diapers, wet bags and Eco-friendly wipes and wool dryer balls. Their 2-in-1 cloth diapers feature PUL diaper covers, double leg gussets, and snap-in daytime and nighttime inserts, sizable for babies 9-35 lbs. Learn more at buttonsdiapers.com
Yummi Pouch Reusable Food Pouches (Set of 4 Brights)
When it's time to feed your baby solid foods, look no further than the Yummi Pouch. These Eco-friendly reusable food pouches can be filled with 6 ounces of homemade baby food and enjoyed on the go or at home in the high chair, no spoon required. They are easy to squeeze and dispense through the spout, so mom can feed baby or baby can feed themselves. Yummi Pouches close with a top resealable opening and are easily washed by hand or upside down in the dishwasher. Learn more at revelae.com.
Lady Lullaby Music (CD of Road to Dreamland: Unexpected Lullabies for All Ages)
"Jazz singer Jane Roman Pitt's oh-so-lovely album's subtitle, "Unexpected Lullabies for All Ages," is apt. Among the tender, off-the-beaten-path lullaby choices here, are the Thad Jones classic, "A Child is Born," Neil Young's "Barefoot Floors," and this exquisite little art song hinting of magic and fairyland: "The Sleep That Flits (on baby's eyes)" (text by Rabindranath Tagoe, music by John Alden Carpenter). Pitt's original "Dance Like the Wind," is a smooth fit; other soothing, well-chosen tracks include "Over the Rainbow," "The Nearness of You," and "Summertime." The jazz arrangements and instrumentation here are A+, and the singer herself, who styles the songs with lilting vibrato and a soft vocal caress, is chief among the album's unexpected treats." Lynne Heffley ©2016 Parents' Choice. Learn more at ladylullaby.com.
PinkBlush Maternity ($50 Gift Card)
For nearly a decade, PinkBlush has proudly provided women with confident, feminine, and flirty fashions that celebrate life's transitions. Our fashions honor a woman's sense of style and the female form, not just during pregnancy but beyond. A family business, as understandt he pressures of ahving a raising a family and, as such, we have earned customer confidence by providing both quality products and service. We offer free exchanges and free US shipping over $50 to ensure our customers find the right look and fit. Learn more at pinkblushmaternity.com.
Cozy Sleepwear by Revelae Kids
Cozy blanket pouches and enclosed sleepers create a secure sleeping environment that helps babies sleep through the night, keeping hands and feet cozy. Blanket pouches cover baby from the waist down and are hard to kick off, thanks to the soft elastic waistband. The fuzzy polyester material is comforting and can't be pulled up near the face. Cozy Sleepers feature an enclosed design that helps with startle reflex and even discourages a baby from sucking their fingers or thumb. These baby sleepers unzip from the bottom up for easy diaper changes, without having to fully undress your baby. Cozy Sleepers are great swaddle transition baby sleepers too! Learn more at revelae.com.
Enter for the chance to win these great products for mom and baby!
This giveaway is coordinated by Mommy Scene, sponsored by the participating brands, and is open to US entries. No purchase required to enter. One winner will be randomly chosen and displayed on the giveaway widget after the giveaway ends on July 13th, 2016. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand.
One by one, we fell like dominos. This is seriously the worst cold I have ever had. Me and all 3 kids have it. These past 2 weeks, with hubby out of town and the rest of us sick as dogs has been, in a word, miserable. Fevers, gunky coughs, snotty noses. My toddler is on antibiotics for the first time, for an ear infection, and I'm possibly dealing with a sinus infection... but mama just doesn't have time or energy to get herself to a doctor, so here's hoping I can fight it off!
So, if you were wondering where in the world I've been... well, I've pretty much been in hell! We haven't been out of the house in 10 days (except for a few hours at the pediatrician and drug store)!! I had to break down and order groceries for the first (and 2nd) time. And we've been getting a LOT of meal delivery.
I've developed quite a snot-removal system which goes a little something like this:
I really hope this isn't a taste of how it's going to be when my son starts Pre-K in the fall. You hear it's one cold after another when they first start day care or school, I'm definitely not looking forward to that aspect of it, though I'm very excited to have him out of the house (and my hair) on a regular basis!!
On the bright side, at least there was no stomach bug aspect to this! Knock on wood...
In need of some beautiful clothing that will work throughout your pregnancy and beyond, and that is breastfeeding-friendly but not obviously so? If yes, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Loyal Hana!!
The most unique and fabulous thing about Loyal Hana is how discreet they make their breastfeeding slits. Rather than simple nursing tanks with clips similar to nursing bras, Loyal Hana tops have breastfeeding slits that zip. That's right - zip! And when they're zipped up, you cannot tell they're there at all (see the pic below on the right - that is the top and bottom of the zipper - you can't see it!!). Really really cool. This means no one will possibly know you're wearing a nursing top, and you can keep it in your wardrobe even after you finish breastfeeding / pumping! SCORE!!
All of their pieces are wonderfully flowy - so they will fit you through all 4 trimesters of your pregnancy. Yes I said 4, that includes the "4th trimester" - the one where you are no longer pregnant but still have quite a bump that you wish to disguise. Let the dresses and tops flow or add a belt to accentuate your baby bump or postpartum waist.
I tested out the Amanda Black White Chevron v-neck tank ($90) and the Anya arrowhead print dress ($105). Both are a silk-like 100% polyester, light-weight and comfy. I found the quality to be top-notch and felt so super stylish (especially compared to my normal wardrobe of basic nursing tank and jeans), yet still able to quickly and discreetly whip out a boob to feed one (or both) of my babies. They are on the pricier side but their ability to work with you throughout pregnancy, breastfeeding, and beyond (so for years really) makes them quite a good bang for your buck in my opinion!!
You can check out all of Loyal Hana's chic, stylish, and comfortable maternity and nursing garments on their website here.
Disclaimer: Although I did receive these products free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
If you travel with kids, navigate public transportation with the littles, or need a spare stroller for your trunk, you MUST know about this stroller. Get ready to be blown away with the Guinness World Record holding smallest folded stroller, the GB Pockit!
The Pockit weighs all of 9 pounds and folds to the ridiculously tiny size of 12” long x 7” wide x 14” high (and it can stand while folded, too!). You can see below it easily fits inside my Skip Hop Double Diaper Bag as well as in a tote bag! Whaaaaaat!? Of course it'll also easily stow in a plane or train's overhead compartment, in the trunk of your car, at your feet on the bus or in a restaurant, in your hallway closet, you name it!
There's no official carry strap, however there are a few options here. You can throw it in a bag with straps (see above). You can carry it by the handles or the foot rest (when folded the plastic foot rest becomes a little loop that is easy to grab onto). You can let your toddler or older child carry it (because at 9 pounds, it's feasible and let's face it, kids love to help with "grownup" jobs!). You can also make your own shoulder strap - I did so with a luggage belt - easy peasy (see right)!
The GB Pockit's biggest stand-out feature is the tiny fold, and to be able to fold that small it had to forego the bells and whistles that many strollers have. It does not recline, is not infant compatible, has no parent's console, no adjustable leg rest, and its canopy and basket are tiny.
That said, it is good for a wide range of riders - from 6 months old up to 55 pounds!! You can see in the photo above how well my 38" tall 34 pound 3.5 year old son still fits in it, with his head supported and well below the canopy. It's great for our 8 month old twins as well, one at a time of course! The angle of the seat is nice, allowing for both a good view for the child as well as decent napping despite having no reclining positions. The fabric seat (which comes in Monument Black, Lizard Khaki, Dragonfire Red, Sea Port Blue, Capri Blue, and Posh Pink) and strap pads all button easily on and off and are machine washable.
The front wheels have a 360 degree swivel and lock easily into place (see #1 below) for more difficult terrain, such as gravel or grass. There's a one-touch rear break and 5 point harness.
The basket is small (see #2 below) but can hold up to 11 pounds... so a small bag, or a couple of water bottles and diapers, let's say. I highly recommend the Sureshop side bags by Hatch Things (pictured right) - if you get one for each side of the Pockit, you'll be able to carry lots without worrying about the stroller tipping over.
The handles actually have 2 heights - the top position is the only one I can see an adult utilizing (and it's probably not the best for a 6'+ adult, though I'm 5'8" and find it to be a great height). The lower height can be fun for a child to push, if you trust them (see right)...
Folding and unfolding the Pockit isn't the easiest thing in the world, there is certainly a learning curve. Upon unboxing I was completely clueless and couldn't figure out how to unfold it. I had to search YouTube in order to unfold it and find the manual tucked inside! HA!! After practicing a bit, you'll get the hang of it, don't worry! I also have to add that it had a pretty strong "new stroller" smell upon unboxing it. I let it air out for a few days before using it which helped a great deal. The manual recommends washing before using, and I highly recommend this as well - for anything actually (clothes, etc) that will be touching your little one's skin or be in their breathing space.
As a family of 3 children ages 3 and under, the GB Pockit will not be our main every day stroller. We really need a double stroller to hold 2 of the 3 kids at any given time, as well as all of our stuff. How this stroller will really benefit our family is for holding that third child! Until now, when our toddler needs a rest or nap on the go, we have to wear one of the babies in a carrier so big brother can get a seat. But now... oh boy this is exciting... we can store the GB Pockit in the under-basket of our double stroller (StrollAir My Duo) and whip it out for big brother to use as needed!!! Of course, this is when dear husband is with us. Because there is NO WAY I'm able to walk around pushing two strollers, even being the "super mom" I am HAHA!!! But with the heat of the summer upon us, not having to babywear is pretty freaking exciting!
The GB Pockit will also greatly benefit us when having to use the bus, which requires you to collapse strollers. When I take the bus alone I have to put the babies in my TwinGo tandem carrier, and carry the diaper bag and collapsed stroller onto the bus, hold it all during the ride, and get it off the bus at our destination. NOT an easy task with a huge stroller! So, having this tiny one that my toddler can actually hold for me, or that I can throw over my shoulder using the luggage strap and then keep it compact at my feet out of the way of fellow passengers... ah-may-zing!
For an umbrella stroller, it has a really great smooth push. It feels oddly wobbly but in actuality is very stable. It handled New York City curbs and cracked sidewalks without a problem, and my son deemed it super comfy!
Be sure to check out out my video review featuring a demo of how to open and close of GB Pockit stroller:
You can order your own GB Pockit on Amazon for about $250 or $270, depending on the color.
So what do you think? Is the GB Pockit a "must have" or a "no thanks" for you?? Leave a comment in a post below!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
We all want our kids to eat well, but there's only so much creativity and begging we can do before resulting to good old-fashioned trickery. Sneak those veggies in any and every way possible - we're talking spinach-packed smoothies, cauliflower rice, zucchini spaghetti, eggplant lasagna, and so on. But sometimes it's nice to leave the sneaking to someone else.
Happy Family makes veggie-fruit pouches, Kidfresh packs veggies into chicken nuggets and other frozen meals, and Sneakz Organic sneaks veggies into milk!
Two years ago I reviewed the Sneakz Organic Chocolate Milkshake (click here for the review; in a nutshell we LOVED it!), and now I'm thrilled to announce Sneakz has just introduced two new flavors: Strawberry and Vanilla!
Sneakz flavored milk boxes are certified with no GMO's, are gluten free, feature organic milk from grass fed cows, and are sweetened with natural cane sugar. Each box contains half a serving of vegetables as follows: Chocolate flavor (Carrot, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Beet, Spinach), Strawberry flavor (Carrot, Cauliflower, Beet, Sweet Potato), Vanilla flavor (Carrot, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Spinach). Each 8oz box has 5 grams of protein and 18 grams of sugar, which is quite a bit but way less than the whopping 27 grams of sugar in Horizon Organic Chocolate milk!
The real question is, though, how do they taste? In a word? DELICIOUS! My toddler cannot pick a favorite, he loves them all. He's only 3, he can't be faced with such difficult choices LOL! My personal favorite is the chocolate, but all 3 are really great - creamy and sweet, but not too sweet. I was also pleasantly surprised that the Strawberry had a very mild color - obviously not full of artificial coloring.
Sneakz has some really fun recipes featuring their flavored milk on their website, too! Snickerdoodle Shake (1 Vanilla Sneakz, 1/2 banana (peeled, sliced, and frozen), 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract) and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup (1 Chocolate Sneakz, 1/2 banana (peeled, sliced, and frozen), 1/4 c. organic creamy peanut butter), for example - YUM!!!
These are shelf stable and great for lunch boxes, picnics, travel, and of course drinking at home, too! You can buy Sneakz on their website (their store finder), on Amazon, at H-E-B, Albertson’s, Safeway, Wegmans, Sprouts, and coming soon to Wal-Mart. AND you can win some right here!!! 3 lucky winners will receive one 4-pack of their flavor of choice!! The giveaway will run through Wednesday, July 15 (11:59PM EST) and is open to US residents ages 18 and over. Enter to win in the rafflecopter box below - GOOD LUCK!!!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive these products free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Being a new mom or dad is tough. The anxiety and paranoia starts during pregnancy and simply doesn't end until the kids have grown up and left the house (maybe not even then!). You worry about all the things you don't know, if what you think you know is actually wrong, if you're wrecking your child, why everyone is silently (or not so silently) judging you, etc etc etc. Well, knowledge is power, so read up and ask friends and family. Find out as much as you can, use what works for your family, and fake it til you make it. That's right, you may think all your parent friends know what they're doing but it's all a guessing game and we're all just doing the best we can with what we have!
What do we have, what do we want, and what do we need? Sometimes it's hard to know the difference. There are TONS of products out there catering toward the paranoia of new parents. Most of them are absolutely unnecessary. That said, many can be quite helpful, put your mind at ease, and some may even save lives. So, without further ado, here are some interesting products that came about to solve the most common and peskiest of parenting paranoias. You may have never heard of these, but if budget allows you may want to take them into consideration for a splurge or to put on that good ol' baby registry! Here we go!
CONCERN #1: SIDS / Suffocation. "My baby has started rolling onto his belly! Will he suffocate?! Should I roll him onto his back every time?? I'm up all night doing this and am exhausted!!!"
Solution: A breathable mattress.
There are a few breathable sleep surfaces to choose from that will lower the risk of SIDS and suffocation when baby sleeps on belly, and also leave baby less sweaty. On a regular surface, the concern is that carbon dioxide gets trapped and rebreathed by baby. A breathable surface allows the carbon dioxide to flow freely away and provides baby a fresher breathing space.
Lullaby Earth Breeze Cover is waterproof and washable, with 3D spacer fabric that increases air circulation and enables air to flow between the baby and the mattress. It fits on most mattresses, and comes with the Lullaby Earth Breeze mattress which is a great non-toxic option since no fire retardant chemicals are added to it (but it still meets fire resistant standards). Check out my full review of this mattress and cover, which we're using for both of our twin girls (who have been rolling to belly since quite early on). ($99 for cover, $279 for mattress)
Newton is a revolutionary mattress - the entire mattress is breathable and washable. My concern with this one is that it's not waterproof, and if you add a waterproof topper than it's no longer breathable. But, a Newton rep told me the cover is water-resistant and most blowouts or spit-up don't permeate the cover, so laundering the cover only is usually sufficient (they recommend having a 2nd cover as a backup). If a nighttime mess gets through to the mattress, most parents choose to rinse off that side, and flip the mattress over til they can clean it better in the morning. ($350 on Amazon)
Secure Beginnings also makes a breathable sleeping surface for babies, but it is the priciest. You have to get the breathable mattress as well as the base. While it looks quite different from a traditional mattress, it should fit in most cribs. ($490 on Amazon)
CONCERN #2: Milk production. "I'm exclusively breastfeeding and worried if my newborn is getting enough milk. How do I know!??
Solution: Baby scale.
Having an excellent pediatrician and lactation consultant (LC) at your side is key to a healthy baby and successful breastfeeding. If baby is making enough wet diapers and weighing in appropriately at each checkup, you know you are producing enough milk. But some mamas would like a bit more reassurance in between those checkups and the solution is pretty simple. Find a very sensitive baby scale and weigh the baby before and after each feeding to find out how many ounces they consumed!!
Discuss with your pediatrician how many ounces the baby should be getting per 24 hours, and how many ounces in how many total feedings. If for some reason baby isn't getting enough, discuss with your doc and LC a game plan. It may be an issue of tongue tie or incorrect latch, or needing to increase supply through diet, hydration, and pumping.
If you go the route of the baby scale, make sure it's sensitive at least to the half ounce, and don't let yourself get obsessed with it! Perhaps you need to use it at each feeding for a day or two, and then here and there after that. There's no need to go overboard and let yourself go crazy over it!
Traditional digital baby scales run around $50 and are good through about 60 pounds. And interesting (pricier) option is the Hatch Baby Smart Pad - a "smart" changing table and scale in one that connect to your phone via wifi and keeps track of weight, feedings, and diaper changes! ($249 on Amazon)
CONCERN #3: Flat head. "I'm worried about my baby developing a flat head from the swing or Rock 'n Play or simply laying down all the time."
SOLUTION: Special pillow or hat.
Some babies may be more prone to developing flat or misshapen heads, it's part nature and part nurture. Most heads that develop mild flat spots will round back out naturally as soon as baby starts sitting and getting more time off of their head, but there are things you can do to help prevent flat spots in the first place. First of all, make sure baby isn't always lying with head facing the same direction. This could happen if you are laying baby down in the same spot in the same direction all the time (baby might naturally turn head toward you), or if baby has torticollis ("twisted neck" - discuss with your pediatrician). There are also a couple of products that might help:
The Tortle is a repositioning beanie baby wears that helps you control which way they lay their head thanks to a tiny pillow on the back that you can move from one side to the other. ($24.99 on Amazon)
The Boppy Noggin Nest is donut type pillow meant to be used in devices notorious for encouraging flat spot development, such as the swing, Rock 'n Play, or stroller. The idea is that it relieves pressure on the back of the head. ($14 on Amazon)
CONCERN #4: Crib rails. "My baby keeps bumping his head and getting his legs stuck in the crib rails!"
SOLUTION: Crib bumpers and liners.
A traditional padded crib bumper is not recommended for two reason. 1) It poses a suffocation risk. 2) It can be used as an aid in climbing out of the crib. However, there are a couple of products that can help without these risks.
A mesh crib liner will prevent limbs from escaping through the rails, and also will keep those pacifiers from being dropped! A win-win! It's breathable and collapsable, so cannot be used for climbing. ($24.99 on Amazon)
Wonder Bumpers are padded but instead of being one long piece around the entire crib, they go on each individual rail, leaving space to breathe between the rails. They will keep baby from bumping their head on the rails, and may help keep limbs inside.
Have you tried any of these products? Have any others that gave you peace of mind as a new parent? Share in a comment below!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)