How we went 2.5 years without any bath specific toys I'm not really sure, but we are finally getting into having more regular baths (and bubble baths) and I figured it was time to get us one of those bath toy scoop and storage baskets. So we went with this Mamma Loves bath scoop on Amazon.
It comes with a warning that the scoop is meant to hold toys and is not a toy in itself, but tell that to my toddler who thought it was just the coolest thing EVER! HA!
I haven't used any other scoops so have nothing to compare it to, but I love that the hook that suctions to the wall is separate from the scoop, so you don't have to keep resticking it. The suctions stay put and it hasn't fallen down yet so the suckers get an A+ in my book. The scoop itself is all plastic, so if you drop it or have a toddler who likes to smash things, well, you might end up with a crack or broken scoop but that just comes with the territory I suppose. The scoop has snaps so you can open it up to clean it, but in general it works great to scoop up the toys, rinse them out within the scoop, and then hang them all to dry til next time! It's quite large so it'll hold a good bit of toys, and the holes are large allowing for great drainage and air flow. And, it's free of BPA, Phthalates, and PVC - hooray!
One word of advice not related to the scoop - beware of bath toys that tend to hold water (like rubber duckies and the like) - they are prone to mold growth so do your best to expel all the water before storing them, and consider tossing them regularly or just avoid them entirely and go with toys that don't allow water to enter them, such as cups, boats, etc.
Sponsored Post Disclosure: Opinions are my own and not swayed by compensation of any kind. This post was sponsored, but I limit such posts to companies that meet my moral standards and I feel I can really stand behind (hey, I'm not a sell out!).
Things are chugging along pretty smoothly for us, knock on wood!! I'm up 30 pounds, which was my total weight gain when giving birth to Kenzo at 40 weeks 2 days! And we've still got a good 2 months to go...
The girls on the other hand are only at the 15th and 18th percentiles for size, not sure if this was always the case or not, it's just never been mentioned til today. Nobody seemed especially concerned but just said we'll pay close attention to it. I'm still going to the MFM (high risk specialist) every 2 weeks for scans (but today was my last cervical check - hoorah!!) and my OB has just bumped me up from every 4 weeks to every 2-3 weeks, not based on any problems but just that I'm now in the 3rd trimester.
I had been worried about my blood pressure for a while - around 16 weeks it seemed to be rising but by 19 weeks it was back down to under 110/70 and is holding steady, for now!
Kenzo has recently started enjoying feeling the babies kick. They're getting really active and it's so fun to watch him feel them and laugh and jump back and pretend to be scared. He's such a hoot!!
At the moment both babies are head down - Baby A has her head resting on my cervix apparently, and she's facing my back, whereas Baby B is facing my tummy. Baby A's placenta is anterior (my belly side) and Baby B's is posterior (more typical, my back side), so basically they're both resting their backs on their own placentas, ha! Since Baby A was hiding her face, we couldn't get a photo, but the sonographer was kind enough to switch on the 3D function (for free) for a minute to snap a mug shot of a very smushed Baby B:
Last weekend I had my glucose screening - you have to drink a bottle of sugar (like a flat orange Fanta) and then they take your blood an hour later to see if you're processing sugar correctly. I didn't realize but the doc told me today it's quite hard for twin moms to pass the test, but... he said, in these exact words, "You CRUSHED your glucose test!!" and I nearly did a happy dance!!! My score was a 97 and the cutoff for needing a follow up 3-hour test is 130. Just a theory but perhaps my massive sweet tooth has conditioned my body to process sugar super quickly. Is that possible? ha!! Whatever, I'm thrilled I don't have to go on a special (boring) diet for gestational diabetes!! My thyroid levels, which were tested due to my eyebrows thinning, came back A-OK, so they eyebrow thing is either due to low protein or just pregnancy in general.
The doctor is "optimistic" that, as long as Baby A is head down and not smaller than Baby B, I can try for a vaginal delivery. He said the doctors want a vaginal and I want a vaginal so if everything is looking good he thinks we can do it. He mentioned the medical staff are always super excited for a vaginal twin delivery, which made me laugh, and is also refreshing because you so often hear that OB's much rather do a c-section because it's fast and easy for them. But twin vaginal deliveries are less common, and can you imagine if I go for an unmedicated one!?? I'll be like a unicorn in the twin world! LOL!!! I'm scared as hell for all possible birthing scenarios, but am not letting myself worry about it until we are there...
You don't want to annoy your Facebook friends and family with hourly updates about your pregnancy, and you likely have a bazillion and one questions that you would feel more comfortable asking peers a bit more anonymously. So what's a mama-to-be to do? I have one word for you: PREGGIE!!
Preggie is a free private mobile network, available on the App Store and Google Play, that allows you to set parameters and share as much or as little as you want. You can post comments or photos, click "like", comment on a thread, "follow" to subscribe to someone's updates, and send another user a private message.
It feels a lot like Facebook, only it's a much smaller niche with live moderators to keep the app drama-free. They have a zero tolerance on bullying and social media shaming, and have installed security measures to eliminate fake accounts at registration. Of course you're never totally "safe" when out there online, so use with caution, but I love that they've taken such an active role in protecting their members and making it feel like a safe zone, especially when moms are sharing things such as photos of their bumps and babies!
Users can narrow their feed to include or not include pregnant moms, new moms, and moms planning to get pregnant. And you can also specify geographically how near or far from your location you want to see others' posts from. There is a search function as well, allowing you to search for users by location, or to search posts for a keyword or phrase.
Just like with Facebook or Instagram, you'll receive notifications when anyone likes or comments on your post or sends you a private message, and you can allow or deny push notifications.
You're encouraged to input as much info about yourself as possible, including your name, location, age, other children's ages, and due date - so they can send you the fun baby progress updates we've all become so obsessed with. Preggie's updates are short and sweet and a little bit humorous, which is my kind of update!
I find Preggie to be a really helpful app, especially for moms-to-be who haven't yet found a group of mommy friends or local mommy group online. If you feel comfortable, maybe you even decide to meet up with some of the local Preggie moms in real life and become best buds and your kids end up getting married one day!! (Just please, you can never be too careful - never give out your address to a stranger and only meet in a public place at a decent hour!!) And even if you already have a local group, sometimes it's nice to be a bit more anonymous and ask the really embarrassing questions or share the TMI details that you just have to share. Plus, It's international, so chances are if you're up in the middle of the night with insomnia or feeding your little one, you can pop on and find someone to chat with or answer a burning question!
And let me tell you about breastfeeding during the first couple of months - you are up around the clock and feedings can last upwards of 45 minutes a session! There's only so much blissfully staring into your little ones eyes you can do. Scrolling through and interacting on Preggie will really come in handy to help you keep your sanity!!
So why not check Preggie out - did I mention it's FREE!?? I do love free stuff... I'll see you on Preggie!
Sponsored Post Disclosure: Opinions are my own and not swayed by compensation of any kind. This post was sponsored by Preggie, but I limit such posts to companies that meet my moral standards and I feel I can really stand behind (hey, I'm not a sell out!).
Most of us have some sort of insurance, many kinds actually. From health and life insurance to home owners and auto insurance, signing up and paying a relatively small fee can bring you peace of mind and protection. But let me ask you this. Have you ever thought of cord blood banking as a type of insurance policy for your child or family? Well, you should, and here's why.
What's so special about stem cells?
Stem cells harvested from a baby's umbilical cord can currently be used to treat or cure upwards of 80 types of blood-related and genetic diseases. What's even more exciting are the many clinical trials underway giving hope that one day, in the not too distant future, stem cells will be able to treat or cure things such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury!
Yes, you can harvest stem cells from the bone marrow of adults, but it has to be a much closer match genetically to the recipient. Stem cells from a baby's cord blood, on the other hand, are much more flexible and are more likely to work for a sibling, parent, or even a stranger. Not to mention there is no pain or risk in harvesting and banking cord blood, which otherwise is thrown out as medical waste... what a waste!!
What is the process of cord blood banking like?
First, you have to do some research to find the cord blood bank you want to use (you may find my comparative list on Mommy Nearest helpful), and you'll need to sign up between your 28th and 34th week of pregnancy. They'll send you the collection kit and all the information you need, and you'll have to inform your care provider that you will be banking your baby's cord blood. If you have a birth plan, go ahead and include it on there as well. After your baby is born, the cord will be cut as usual (you can even opt to delay cord clamping and still collect cord blood) and your baby will be handed to you, your partner, or to the nurse, and the doctor will take a few minutes to collect the cord blood (remember - the baby is no longer attached to the cord at this point, and you have no nerve connections to it either - so it is a 100% painless procedure). Your partner, or whoever you designated to be in charge, will call the specified courier to come pick up your kit, and you'll be notified after a certain amount of time if the collection was a success (i.e. a certain number of viable cells were collected).
Is cord blood banking worth it?
As with any type of insurance, it's all about weighing the risks, costs, and benefits, right? Well, it's estimated that 1 in 200 Americans will need a stem cell transplant during his or her lifetime, and as the uses for stem cells increases, so will your child's chance of ever needing them. The chance of finding a donor, as with any transplant, can be slim. Add to that being a racial minority and your chances are even slimmer. My children are half Japanese and half caucasian, not an especially common genetic makeup you can imagine, which is the main factor in my considering banking.
But what about the costs? I always thought of cord blood banking as one of those hoity toity luxuries that only the rich and famous can indulge in, so I didn't even look into it when pregnant with my first child. Boy was I wrong! Every cord blood bank is different in what they charge and what they offer, so you'll have to do research and call around for special promotions, but in general you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,000-2,000 for cord blood collection and storage for the first year, and another $100-200 per year for storage after that. Many offer great long term packages, payment plans, as well as additional storage options for placental blood and tissue.
For example, here's a breakdown of the current promotion being offered by one of the top cord blood banks, LifebankUSA:
Cord Blood: $1,550 for collection and 1st year of storage. $1,845 for 18 years of prepaid storage, or $2,562.50 for 25 years.
Cord Blood & Placenta Blood: $2,499 for collection and 1st year of storage. $3,690 for 18 years of prepaid storage, or $5,125 for 25 years. (Collecting placenta blood in addition to cord blood, as LifebankUSA gives you the option to do, allows for collecting 60-70% more CD34+ stem cells - the ones most important for rebuilding diseased blood with healthy blood, as well as more progenitor stem cells - the ones playing an important role in regenerative medicine).
Cord Blood, Placenta Blood, & Placenta Tissue: $3,499 for collection and 1st year of storage. $4,428 for 18 years of prepaid storage, or $6,150 for 25 years. (Placenta tissue contains mesenchymal cells (MSC), which have strong potential in regenerative therapies to rebuild bones and cartilage).
LifebankUSA also offers 12- and 24-month payment plans, so you don't have to worry about having the lump sum right at the start.
Sponsored Post Disclosure: Opinions are my own and not swayed by compensation of any kind. This post was sponsored by LifebankUSA, but I limit such posts to companies that meet my moral standards and I feel I can really stand behind (hey, I'm not a sell out!).
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!