I spent hours last weekend meandering through the 2018 New York Baby Show, the biggest baby expo in the country!! It was my 6th year in attendance, and as always, I was simply blown away with some of the innovative and amazing new products out there for baby, toddler, and parent! Keep reading for my top picks, and don't miss my highlights video at the bottom featuring exciting demos of some of my favorites! I'd also like to give a big shout out to Momtrends for their ongoing support of us NYC mom & dad bloggers, and their sponsorship and organization of the #NYBSBloggerLounge!
Please note, there are some affiliate links below - if you shop through these links, you won't pay anything extra but we will receive a small commission to help fund this blog - win win!!
Best for Bath: Summer Infant My Bath Seat
Bath time can be fun for baby and parents, but it can also be terrifying and exhausting, not to mention downright dangerous - especially when bathing twins or multiple children!! The Summer Infant My Bath Seat provides a baby or young toddler a safe place to sit and play - the seat secures to both sides of the tub and the back!! Please take care, even if using a safety seat such as this one, please PLEASE never never ever leave your child unattended in the bath (or even in the bathroom when water is running)!!!
Best for Twins: Romp & Roost
Snap in the mesh divider for a play pen built for two, or remove it for an oversized play yard or roomy toddler bed! It also folds up for easy transport (about 32 pounds, same as a double stroller). Where was this when my twins were itty bitties?!?
Best for Sterilizing: Coral UV
From baby bottles to pacifiers, and tooth brushes to make up brushes, the Coral UV will sterilize (without use of heat or water) any non-waterproof products that can fit inside, in just 10 minutes!! It also has a 30-60 minute dry feature which could come in handy to dry freshly washed items, as well as a storage option that sterilizes every 2 hours to keep items super clean and ready to go.
Best for Toddlers: STAYnEAT, The Helping Plate
This plate pretty much addresses every issue I've had with my toddlers' self-feeding messes and mishaps! It is non-slip but you can also press in the center to activate the toddler-proof suction stay power (simply lift the corner to unseal). It has an outer lip to prevent spillage, and the inner plate has an incline to keep juices from mixing in and messing up flavors and textures of other food on the plate. It's double sided with one side being divided and the other side being a simple plate. And oh yeah, It's also dishwasher safe.
Best Infant Bed: Mumbelli
With a removable inclined wedge (great for babies with reflux) and an adjustable foot support for a comfortable womb-like fit, Mumbelli makes a wonderful co-sleeper, crib-insert, or travel bed for baby's first few months of life (until they're ready to start rolling over).
Best for Car Travel: Travel Tray
So simple yet so brilliant - this little tray fits into any cup holder, making it the perfect accessory for a car seat (or stroller, movie theater seat, you name it)! It'll still hold your child's cup or bottle, but also snacks and small toys.
Best Stroller: Evenflo Pivot Xpand
There are a few strollers out there boasting the ability to transition from 1 to 2 kids, but the Evenflo Pivot Xpand is the only one I've seen that does so without the need for any tools or extra parts (you just need to buy the 2nd seat and/or stroller board, but no add-on converters - they're already built in!!). It can hold up to 150 pounds of cargo and kids (up to 3 kids: 2 in seats and 1 on ride on board), has an expandable basket up to 2 feet long, and it's also gorgeous! Be sure to check out the demo in my video at the bottom of this post to see it go from infant seat to toddler seat to 2 toddler seats (both are infant compatible making it a great option for twins) and adding the ride-on board (which just snaps on!!). Up to 22 configurations!!
Best for Dribble: Bibby
Babies drool and spit-up, some more than others, and even the best bibs often allow that dribble to hide deep in those adorable neck folds. Until now. Say hello to Bibby, featuring a thick tall turtleneck type top and a velcro closure! BRILLIANT!
Best for Monitoring: Nanit Smart Baby Monitor
Baby monitors are getting smarter and smarter, and parents have to decide exactly how much they really want to keep track of. The Nanit is a cool new monitor that not only offers a birds eye view of your sleeping angel (on multiple users' phones) and keeps track of room temperature and humidity, but also helps track, monitor, and improve your baby's sleep! It'll send key notifications to you such as when baby wakes and falls asleep, and track on an app sleep cycles, when and how often a parent tends to baby, and give suggestions about how to help baby sleep longer and better based on current trends. Do note, the higher level tracking and tips require a $10/month subscription.
Best for Boobies: Ta-Ta Towel
Now, I haven't tried this personally, so I can't attest to how good the support is, or how well it lays under a shirt, but you can't argue that this isn't a truly unique nursing bra!! If I could rewind 2.5 years I would totally lounge around the house in this day and night! To top it off, the Ta-Ta Towel bras are handmade by women for women, in an eco-friendly factory in Los Angeles!
Best for Screen Free Digital Stories: Lunii
If it's for sale at MoMa, you know it's gotta be cool! This screen-free interactive digital device allows children to select their main characters, setting, and central object, which provides them one of 48 pre-loaded stories!! What's more? It's available in 8 languages! I see this as a great road trip item - since it's screen free, it shouldn't contribute to motion sickness (once all the characters are selected they just sit back and listen to the story)!
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BABY SHOW:
Looking for other great innovative products for babies and families? Check out my top picks from past years' New York Baby Shows!!
Whether you're exclusively pumping, mixing it up with breast and bottle, or traveling away from your little one for a while, the idea of flying while pumping and possibly dealing with days of milk storage and transportation can be overwhelming, to say the least! But don't worry, there are some amazing state-of-the-art products and accessories to help you out. And yes, there's even an app for that. Actually, more than one! So, keep reading for my guide to traveling with a breast pump (with some affiliate links to help fund the blog), and also a GIVEAWAY of the amazing new travel-friendly Motif Curve breast pump (ending 10/30/17 @ 11:59PM!!!
Light Weight Breast Pump: Motif Curve
Looking for a breast pump for moms-on-the-go? Weighing in at less than 1 pound with a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts 2.5 hours, the Motif Curve is where it's at! Other fab features include 9 suction control levels, automatic shut off, a BPA-free closed system, LED screen and one-handed control, the option for single or double pumping mode, and a discreet quiet motor. They retail for around $179 (though we've seen it on sale from $109 - $139) on Motif's website and Amazon, but don't forget mamas, most insurance plans cover 1 free breast pump per pregnancy!! Click here to fill out a form and have a rep from Aeroflow Breastpumps (carrier of Motif Curve) contact you to see if you qualify! Unfortunately I haven't been able to test this one out myself as I weaned my twins 6 months ago. Whomp whomp... If you have one or get one (or win the one in this giveaway - enter below!!!), please come back and leave a comment with your thoughts!
Pump in Private: Mamava Lactation Suites
It's one thing to be breastfeeding in public and be faced with the dilema of just whipping out your boob, covering up, or finding a private space. It's another to be faced with using a breast pump while traveling. That's why we are SO in love with Mamava Lactation Suites, popping up in more locations by the day!! Basically, it's a stand alone private pod with a bench, table, and outlets designed for nursing and pumping mothers on-the-go. You can find them at many airports, stadiums, college campuses, hospitals, museums, you name it! Click here to download their app (iOS or Android) or check out their list of locations.
Ship Your Breast Milk: Milk Stork
We all know how strict airport security is with those 3-1-1 rules on liquids. They have exceptions when it comes to babies and small children, but you never know when you're going to be faced with someone having a bad day and taking it out on you, and the stash of milk that you worked on accumulating so hard while away from your little one (check out TSA's website, you can carry on a "reasonable amount" hmmm thanks for clearing that up, guys!!)! It happened to Alyssa Milano at Heathrow, don't let it happen to you! If you don't want to risk it, ship it! There's actually a service specializing in the shipping of breast milk - it's called Milk Stork! They'll deliver the cooler to your hotel, pick it up after you've packed it full of your liquid gold, and ship it overnight to your home, with fees starting at $139. It also sounds like an ah-may-zing option for moms away for an extended period who don't want to wean prematurely - you can ship home your stash regularly so you keep your supply going and baby gets all that nutrition while you're away!
Hands-Free Pumping: Simple Wishes Bras
Simple Wishes' Signature Hands-Free Pumping Bra has been a long time beloved staple for pumping moms, but they've just launched an amazing new product that is a MUST-HAVE for all nursing moms, whether exclusively or part-time pumping! The SuperMom All-In-One Bra looks like a regular bra but features two layers that unclip down - one for hands-free pumping (with an additional support halter if you need) and one for nursing. It also features 6 rows of hook and eye in the back closure to allow for up to 2" ribcage expansion during pregnancy, as well as sewn in foam cups to provide a seamless t-shirt fit. Buy some for yourself and as a baby shower gift for all your mom-to-be friends! Those mamas will thank you!! They run for around $55 on SimpleWishes.com or Amazon (though it doesn't look like the SuperMom has hit Amazon just yet).
Find a Place to Pump, on an App
Moms Pump Here - The most popular Nursing Room Locator app on the market, with over 5000 rooms or pods found and shared by nursing mothers since 2012! You can download their app for free on iOS and Android, and you can also access the locator on their website.
Pump Spotting - An app where nursing moms can connect with one another and find the best locations to pump, nurse, and nourish their babies.
Mommy Nearest - A trusted app for parents looking to discover family-friendly places across the nation, you can filter your search by category, even "nursing friendly", which may or may not always mean pumping-friendly, but hey, it's an awesome app for parents with amazing content too, and I don't just say so because I write for them (read my past work here!).
Discreet & Chic Nursing & Pumping Wear: Loyal Hana
You can't exactly rock up to a business meeting in a nursing tank that could double as pajamas. So what's a mama to do? Shop Loyal Hana, of course!!! Their tops and dresses feature concealed zippers, so no one would have a clue they're meant for nursing and pumping moms!
Phew! I told you this would be a helpful post, was I right?? But now, for the gooooood stuff... the GIVEAWAY!!!!
Enter to win a Motif Curve Breast Pump in the Rafflecopter box below!!
Giveaway open to US residents ages 18 and over. Giveaway ends at 11:59PM EST on October 30, 2017. A winner will be contacted by e-mail and have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner is chosen.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Motif Curve. I was compensated for writing this article and hosting the giveaway, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased. Cuz hey, I'm no sell out!
It just dawned on me. I have officially been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past 5 years straight, with only a 1 month break around January 2015. Like, whoa. The twins are nearly 18 months old now and I've been weaning them gradually. We're at the point where we may have already had our last nursing session - it's kind of hard to ever know when it's really your last, and we may have already had it.
It's totally bitter sweet, since these are my last babies, knock on wood, and as the last drop of milk flows from my body to theirs, my days as a Baby Growing Factory will officially be over. I simultaneously want to shout from the rooftops and celebrate with a couple bottles of champagne, while sobbing uncontrollably.
The truth is, as hard and overwhelming as it can be at times, it's been equally awesome. I loved being pregnant. Even at 39 weeks with twins, being the size of a house with debilitating hip pain, it is the most amazing experience you can ever imagine - creating and growing life in your body. Every hiccup and stretch, even every kick to your bladder, it's simply breathtaking (in the good and bad way!!). Likewise, birth, though excruciating and disgustingly mortifying (yes, please, let's have a dozen strangers watch babies eject from my vagina, thank you, this is such fun!!!), is incredibly beautiful and life changing. It's truly an experience I wish everyone (who wants it) could have, and leaves my heart weeping for friends who are not able to.
RELATED: Don't miss my 2 birth stories:
And breastfeeding, ohhhhhh breastfeeding. "Breast is best" and all that. Well, there is a lot of pressure put on women to do this, and I want to say it's not for every woman - either because she can't or it just doesn't work well for her or her baby, and there is nothing wrong with that. FED IS BEST!!! With that said, breastfeeding was an incredible journey for me, with both my son and my girls, and I feel blessed that it worked out for us. It certainly had its highs and lows, though. The painfully cracked nipples and anxiety over whether or not they were getting enough in those early days. The soaked nursing pads and fear of having to nurse in public! But then, suddenly, it all became so easy and beautiful. Having the ability to calm a crying baby isntantly, nourishing them, bonding with them in a way no other person on this earth could. Not having to worry about packing enough formula or cleaning bottles. Over a cumulative 3.5 years of breastfeeding, I have nursed my babies pretty much anywhere imaginable - in a bar, on planes and subways, at the pool... I could write a breastfeeding version of Green Eggs and Ham!
But, here I sit, with 1800 wonderful, crazy, painful, beautiful days of pregnancy and breastfeeding behind me. They made up such a huge part of who I was and who I am as a mother. As I get further away from these days of my life, they will likely become fuzzy distant memories, so, I want to pay tribute and immortalize them with some photos of my journey below, and then, when I'm ready, it's about time to organize some sort of booze-filled getaway weekend with my girl friends. BECAUSE I FINALLY CAN!!! Talk about a silver lining :)
Collage of my first pregnancy, my son, who made me a mother! From the first sonogram to our first time breastfeeding in public!
Collage of my second pregnancy, my twin girls, who made our family complete :)
And of course I have to include in this tribute the best pregnancy keepsake ever: the stop motion of my twins featuring their adorable big brother!!
Did you do anything to commemorate being done with pregnancy and/or breastfeeding? Is it something you look forward to or dread?? Share in a comment below!!
Let's face it, when your sweet tooth craves sweets, it's pretty hard to resist. But why should you have to resist completely? Wouldn't it be nice if there were some treats that were not only delicious, but also nutritious? Well, you're in luck - I'm thrilled to be working with a brand featuring products that are just that. I'm pleased to introduce you to #MotherNurture!!
Mother Nurture products are marketed toward pregnant and breastfeeding moms, but I'll let you in on a little secret, you don't have to be pregnant or breastfeeding to find these tasty and packed with a little boost of nutrition! So, if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth with a bit less guilt, read on!!
I've tried several kinds of vitamin chews, and while they're not bad, they're certainly not mistaken for regular chocolate or candy. But Mother Nurture all natural Chocolate Truffles (in milk chocolate or dark chocolate with raspberry) are a whole other ball game. They are rich, creamy, melt in your mouth, scrumptious, OMG kinda chocolate. NO WAY I would in a million years imagine they were fortified, but they are!!! One truffle (but really, who eats just one??) contains 50mg of calcium, 40mcg of folic acid, 20mg of DHA, .75mcg of Vitamin D, 1 gram of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 70 calories. So, no, you shouldn't down an entire box, and they're not a replacement for a well-balanced diet and prenatal vitamins, but there's no need for an ounce of guilt for having one (or 3??) a day.
When you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you have to stay really hydrated. But drinking water all day and all night can be a bit tedious. Sometimes, you just need to taste something!! This is where Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters come in. They are sweet, delish, and packed with a nutritious punch to boot! Coming in 3 yummy flavors (Tropical Splash, Mixed Berry, and Pink Grapefruit), each 16.9 ounce bottle of triple filtered water contains 100mg of calcium, 50mg of choline, 75mcg of folic acid, .25mcg of Vitamin B12, 90 calories. There are a whopping 23 grams of sugar, however they use pure cane sugar, so none of those scary artificial sweeteners that you should avoid, especially when pregnant!
So, go on, go get you some! Did I mention they are non-GMO, Gluten-free, & Kosher with BPA-free packaging! And don't forget to follow Mother Nurture on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive these products free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
We are very excited to bring you another awesome giveaway and help announce the 2016 Fall Green Scene Mom Award Winners, hosted by Mommy Scene and celebrating Eco-friendly product design and creative innovation. Award winning products include natural body products, universal baby gear, essentials for moms, and items for solving problems and making family life with kids easier. Enter to win a fabulous collection of prizes! Open to US entries and ends 11/20/16.
Yoro Naturals Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream (2x 2 oz. jars)
You'll love this natural, creamy balm by YoRo Naturals. It’s incredibly soothing and healing for eczema, diaper rash, chapped skin, bug bites, cuts and scrapes. Use it anywhere your skin ails you. Gentle and safe for little ones. Soothing and effective for adults too. Full Award Details »
Back Buddy All-In-One Support Pillow
Back Buddy is an award-winning maternity and feeding support pillow, designed by a Chiropractor and a nursing mother. It alleviates common back pain, provides comfort and support for holding or feeding baby, and encourages proper position for breastfeeding. Made in the USA from high-quality structural foam that is certified to be made without harmful flame retardants, phthalates, CFC's, mercury, lead and other heavy metals. Full Award Details »
Bebe Bamboo zZippy Sleepsuit (Pear)
Bebe Bamboo specially designed zZippy sleepsuit makes change time quick and easy. The 2 way zipper unzips from the bottom for quicker changing without having to expose the chest, and top to bottom to undress your baby as usual. Extremely soft, delicate and smooth, and promotes comfortable and restful sleep. Full Award Details »
Andy Pandy Diapers 2 packs of bamboo diapers
These eco-friendly bamboo diapers are made from the highest quality premium materials. Naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial, making them ideal for babies with sensitive skin. Made from biodegradable bamboo, these diapers are extremely soft and silky to the touch, yet strong and absorbent. Moisture wicking and thermal regulating capabilities keep your baby's skin dry and comfortable in hot or cold temperatures. Natural aloe liner nourishs your baby's skin and a wetness indicator lets you know when baby needs to be changed. Does not contain chlorine, alcohol, peservatives, phthalates, latex, PVC, TBT, or antioxidants. Full Award Details »
Revelae Kids Cozy Sleeper and Blanket Pouch
Revelae Kids Cozy Baby Sleepers create a secure sleeping environment that helps babies sleep through the night, thanks to the fully enclosed baby sleep sack design that resembles the womb and keeps hands and feet tucked inside. One-of-a-kind Cozy Blanket Pouches keep baby cozy from the waist down and are hard to kick off, secured by a soft elastic waistband. The fuzzy polyester material is comforting and can't be pulled up near the face, providing a cozy and safe sleep space. Full Award Details »
Baby Care by e-cloth chemical-free cleaning
(Stroller & Car Seat Cloth, Toy & Nursery Cloth, Table & High Chair Cloth)
Baby Care by e-cloth products clean with just water, 100% eliminating the risk of chemical sensitivities, allergic reactions, rashes and asthma attacks associated with the use of chemical additives, fragrances and dyes. Baby Care by e-cloth is the safe cleaning choice for thoughtful moms who want to protect their babies and kids by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals without sacrificing performance. Full Award Details »
Crane Cube Cool Mist Humidifier
Here at Crane, we put "Design for Better Living" into everything that we do. We started with a few designs in 2005 and continue to grow each year working towards solving your indoor needs. Crane products are designed with efficiency, function and style in mind. We love to be creative with colors, designs and we know our products will bring comfort and smiles to your home! Full Award Details »
(Egyptian Calendula & Aloe Baby Body Wash & Shampoo, Egyptian Calendula Calming Baby Bath, Body & Massage Oil, Egyptian Calendula & Comfrey Healing Baby Balm)
Active Essentials is a luxury organic skincare company offering safe products for babies, kids and adults that are made using ONLY fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers. Active Essentials products are free of any harsh chemicals and chemical preservatives, synthetic fragrances, GMOs, parabens, sulfates or phthalates and are cruelty-free, gluten-free, color-safe, vegan, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and naturally non-toxic. Full Award Details »
Fresh Wave Works Laundry Booster
Loads of happiness is within reach. Fresh Wave Laundry Booster removes odors using natural ingredients. No harsh chemicals. No harmful ingredients. Give your laundry detergent a boost and remove difficult, set-in odors. Add 2 to 4 capfuls during the wash or rinse cycle. To remove washer odors, wet a soft cloth with Laundry Booster. Wipe the rubber gasket, the door and any other visible seals. Full Award Details »
Buttons Diapers Muslin Burp Cloth Bibs
Buttons Diapers 100% cotton muslin burp cloths and bibs are the perfect baby essential. They work as a contoured over-the-shoulder burp cloth for baby, an large coverage bib during meals, and a handy cloth to wipe up messes. These cute muslin bibs are soft, breathable, absorbent, and made from natural material that gets even softer & fluffier each time you wash it. The burp cloth easily converts to a bib by using the sewn-in snap. Full Award Details »
Better Life New Baby Essentials Kit
(All-Purpose Cleaner (32oz), Nursery Cleaner, Lavender & Chamomile (16oz), Dish Soap (22oz), Hand and Body Soap (12oz), Hand and Body Lotion (12oz), Six-Compartment Cleaning Caddy, (2) General Purpose Microfiber Cloths - green)
Safe for bottles, binkies, bibs and even your baby's bum. Better Life was born by two dads who set out to create a line of plant-derived, non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaners that would be the perfect marriage of safety and performance. The result is a line of cleaners that work better and are safe enough for everything in your home and sink. Even baby. The Better Life New Baby Essentials Kit has everything you need to prep for baby and makes clean up a snap after your bundle of joy arrives! Full Award Details »
Pacific Baby Natural Bamboo Feeding Apple Plate (cream)
Made from natural bamboo, this modern apple plate is completely plastic-free. Strong, durable and safe, Pacific Baby bamboo feeding products are machine washable, top rack. Full Award Details »
This giveaway is coordinated by Mommy Scene, sponsored by the participating brands, and is open to US entries ages 18 and older. No purchase required to enter. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted through e-mail, and their name displayed on the giveaway widget after the giveaway ends on Nov. 20, 2016. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand. Have fun and good luck!
Enter to Win Now!!
Eating right is a challenge for many women, even more so when you're eating for two (or more)! There's never been a time in my life I was more aware and concerned about my nutrition than during my two pregnancies (especially the twin one!). Eating the best you can is important but not always easy what with morning sickness and terrible cravings/aversions), which is why prenatals and other nutritional supplements are so important! I'm excited to be working with a brand that has in mind the health and well-being of moms-to-be and breastfeeding moms!
Premama is the first nationwide line of natural powdered nutritional supplement drink mixes for women from preconception through breastfeeding. They allow women to skip that dreaded horse-pill sized prenatal vitamin, instead downing a delicious drink! They've got supplements to support fertility or lactation, a complete prenatal vitamin, prenatal vitamin with DHA, and now, they've just released, drum roll please...
Premama "Digestive Aid", a prenatal fiber and probiotic chew
Soft and absolutely scrumptious, each vanilla-caramel flavored digestive aid chew contains 2 grams of fiber, 1 billion CFU's of probiotics, 20 calories, 1 gram of sugar, and 4 carbs. Mamas are directed to consume 1-4 chews a day for optimal benefit, and after you taste one you just might find yourself having to resist the urge to down more than that. But remember, they're not candy (though they taste like it) - they are nutritional supplements and you don't want to overdo it!
But what are probiotics?
New to the whole probiotic ballgame? Basically, probiotics are "good" bacteria that balance the health of your gut, which is responsible for up to 70% of your body's immune system response! Your body starts building its good bacteria colonies from infancy - while traveling through mama's birth canal and then from the nipple while breastfeeding. However, taking antibiotics or having certain illnesses or disorders can wreak havoc on these healthy bacteria and so probiotic supplements and probiotic-rich foods (like yogurt, kimchee, sauerkraut, etc) are getting hyped up these days for good reason!
Each of Premama's Digestive Aid chews contains 1 billion CFU's of Bacillus coagulans, which according to Wikipedia is thought to improve vaginal flora, improve pain and bloating in IBS patients, and increase immune response to viral challenges.
Where to buy Premama Digestive Chews:
Promoting both healthy digestion and immune system, Premama's Digestive Aid is already available online ($15.99 for a box of 28 on Amazon) and will be in stores at the end of July (you can search for a store near you here)!
What do you think? Do you take vitamins or probiotics regularly - for general health or specific issues?
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge through MomSelect, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
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.
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!
This was my fourth time attending the New York Baby Show, which carries a lot of sentiment for me - 2013 was my first visit and was the show that started my wonderful relationship with the app and digital parenting magazine, Mommy Nearest! Every year you see a lot of similar faces and brands with oldie but goodie products as well as newly launched ones, in addition to a ton of brand new up and coming businesses, ones just launching in the US from abroad, and the underdog small mom and pop shops.
This year we started at the Momtrends Blogger Lounge (where we dropped my son off at The Nanny League's play center), fueled up (lunch for us and milk for my girls), and then took off to the expo floor! Here are some of the products that really stood out as the latest and greatest this year - I think you'll agree! Prepare for your mind to be blown!!
GB Pockit Compact Stroller (#1 Pick)
If you read my highlights post from last year's NY Baby Show you might remember I featured GB's Qbit stroller, which was the first stroller I'd seen to fold down super small (13” by 21” and under 15 pounds). Since then, a few strollers have come into the game, but GB is once again at the front of the race with their latest, the Pockit. It has the smallest fold on the market (actually holding the 2014 Guinness World Record for most compact stroller), weighing 9.5 pounds and folding quickly down to 11.8" x 7" x 13.8" to be exact. It's small but strong, holding a child up to 55 pounds with a basket holding up to 11 pounds. It doesn't recline and has a minimalist canopy, but this thing is bad assssss!
Cheeky Chompers (#2 Pick)
I am a big fan of bandana bibs, and the fact that these also have a silicone teether on the bottom. Ummm... YES!! LOVE IT!!! I am all about teethers than can't be dropped or thrown from a stroller, especially when they're as cute as these!
Nourish Nursing and Beyond (#3 Pick)
I have over 2.5 years (and counting) of breastfeeding under my belt and am a bit jaded with my closet. To be breastfeeding-friendly, dresses have to be v-neck or wrap style, which usually exposes more cleavage than I'm comfortable with. Nursing tanks generally have a smaller shelf than will fit my twin-feeding milk monsters, so again, major cleavage. MAJOR. Also, they tend to be maternity / nursing tops so they are baggy and ill fitting once you are no longer pregnant. So, when I came across Nourish, it was like HALLELUJAH. They have nursing-friendly tops and dresses that don't look like nursing wear. They have discreet panels which pull aside or unbutton to allow for breastfeeding, but seriously, no one would suspect it was a nursing top! So, you could wear these items well beyond weaning. Seriously fashionable, and practical. LOVE!!
First of all, look at those amazingly adorable bento style stainless steal plates. They even have lids so they can be packed for school lunch (something on my mind currently since my toddler will be off to Pre-K in the fall!!). I'm also loving their various sizes of storage containers - freezer trays with half ounce or 3 ounce cubes, stackable and twistable containers, not to mention their cute baby teethers! Innobaby has tons of good stuff, you can see more on their website!
We don't have a car, but if we did, this might be on my shopping list. Basically it's a system that hooks up to your car seat and connects to your phone. It tells you things like the temperature in the back seat (the dad behind the app showed me an example of the outside temperature being 85 degrees but the inside temperature reading 115 degrees before the AC kicked in - WOW!!). It will send you an alert if your little stinker unbuckles himself. And if your little one is still in the car after x-amount of time passes without the car moving, you'll receive an alert. If you don't respond within x-amount of time, it'll automatically notify your list of emergency contacts.
We've all tried a million and one of same-same-but-different snack cups. All "spill-proof" but really, our toddlers somehow still manage to spill... But the Munchie Mug has a very unique top that really sets it apart. It's actually made of food grade polypropylene/spandex blend fabric, and you can see from my photos above it is completely closed when your fingers aren't reaching through. It's all dishwasher safe, to boot! Pretty cool!!
Not that I have the time for baby books, but I love the idea of making them for each of our kids. So Savor really caught my idea - not only are their keepsake boxes and storage systems beautiful and a great way to stay organized, they can handle actual 3D objects. Their Baby Edition Keepsake Box has 9 drawers to hold things like baby teeth, lock of hair, baby shoes, etc. It also holds 8 vertical files, personalizing initials, and a birthday survey to document yearly highlights.
We want what's best for our babies, and baby food is no different, whether we make our own or buy jars and pouches. But is it possible we are being misled by the big brands out there? It is suggested that the way most food (baby and adult) is processed through heat, a good amount of the original nutrition is lost, and then added back in with with things that may or may not be absorbed as well by our bodies. A relatively new process out there called HPP processes food by pressure instead of heat, thus maintaining the original nutrition. Once Upon A Farm is a new baby food company using this HPP technology. You can find them in the refrigerated section, because they do not contain the preservatives that allow other baby foods to be shelf stable for months or years. They also have really gourmet blends, packed with nutrition and helping your baby to develop their palate.
There are a few reasons these toys made my list. 1, it's a huge Japanese company just launching here in the States. In fact, it's the same company behind the uber popular Magna-tiles (LOVE them!!) 2, their Mochi by People line of baby toys (pictured on left) are made of rice, how cool! 3, their "Brain Builder" toys (pictured on right) feature different toys specifically designed for each month of a baby's development. From textures and sounds to twists and whistles, they'll keep your baby interested and learning. 4, They make some really cool magnetic blocks which are perfect for babies and toddlers alike.
Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary access to this event and a "swag bag" but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased - hey, I'm no sell out!
Must Haves for Baby Twins
**updated in 2020: rock 'n plays and similar products have been recalled - DO NOT purchase these second hand, they can be dangerous**
In celebration of our twins' half birthday, I'd like to present you with the products I deem must-haves for baby twins - the things we simply couldn't have survived without! I'll also throw in a few which may not be *essential* but are fun to add to your baby registry or splurge on if you have the budget! Ready, set, GO!!!
Twins Prep Book & Classes
"What To Do When You're Having Two" will educate you on how to eat for three and get through your pregnancy, what to expect at the birth, how to tandem breastfeed or bottle feed, create schedules, interview pediatricians and nannies, you name it!! While you're at it, check out author Natalie Diaz' awesome website, Twiniversity, and in-person and on-line twins prep classes!
Tandem Nursing / Feeding Pillow
There are 2 awesome pillows out there for tandem feeding twins. Mothers tend to be divided over preferring one over the other, so I really can't say definitively that one is better. Personally, I preferred the My Brest Friend Twins Feeding Pillow but only because I found the height of the pillow higher and better for me. The Twin Z Pillow (see my review here) is the other beloved one, especially if you have a c-section or are bottle feeding. It also doubles as a baby lounger, and has built-in back support for mama.
Newborn Twins Baby Carrier
For newborn twins, some parents are able to figure out how to tandem wear using the Moby or a woven wrap. This mama? Not so much. For me, the WeeGo Twin Carrier was a lifesaver. Seriously. (Check out my "Life With Newborn Twins" video featuring the magic of this carrier!). The WeeGo is good from 3 pounds until they're about 6 months, however I found that once they hit 10 pounds each I couldn't use it anymore. I never got it to fit right and it hung from my shoulders quite painfully... still, when both newborns were screaming and they'd been fed and changed, this was often the only thing I could do to get them both quiet and asleep!!
Tandem Baby Carrier
For older twins, or even a toddler and baby, the TwinGo Carrier is amazing!!! You can wear them as 2 separate carriers (one for mom and one for dad, let's say), or remove one set of shoulder straps and hook them together so you can wear one child on the front and one on the back. They also have great pocket storage allowing you to forgo the diaper bag! Check out my full review here.
Stroller for Twins
Strollers all have various features which may or may not be what you are looking for. Many twin parents will go with a twin snap 'n go followed by a Baby Jogger City Select, or something like that, because they get the job done and are budget-friendly. But my family had some unique requirements. Being city dwellers with a toddler, newborn twins, and no car, I needed a stroller that had infant-compatible reversible seats, and preferred side-by-side over tandem alignment. The ONLY stroller out there that fit the bill was the StrollAir MyDuo. (If you're thinking Bugaboo Donkey works, no... it's not infant compatible - you have to use the bassinet until baby is 6 months or so). Overall, we LOVE LOVE LOVE our StrollAir!!! You can use with 2 seats (good for infant or toddler), 2 car seats (with universal adapters), 2 infant bassinets, or any combination of those! You can get standard never-flat tires or upgrade to the air-filled tires for a smoother ride (what we have). It's really an amazing stroller!! We also purchased the Englacha X-Rider sit/stand toddler board which has been a GREAT add-on, and later used the Lascal BuggyBoard Maxi+ with Saddle (which doesn't have as sturdy a seat but is easier to take the seat off while out and about to use as a stand board, or to pull the whole thing up and out of the way when not needed). The StrollAir MyDuo comes with 2 plastic rain covers, but we prefer the Manito (see my review here).
**2020 update note: StrollAir's newer version of the MyDuo is the TwinWay, and their tandem version of that is the Solo to Tango a great stroller that goes from single to double! Evenflo Pivot Xpand is another single - double converting stroller that we loved. Video reviews and demo's below!!
Eventually, unless you plan on one giant "family bed," you will need your twins in their own separate cribs. Some choose to go straight there from day one, others wait a month, six months, a year... It's up to you! You can start them off in co-sleepers or cradles, sharing a crib, or whatever, but one really unique option is the Babyhome So-Ro Twin Cradle (see my full review here). It rocks smoothly and has the babies' heads slightly elevated (good for reflux) and when they grow out of it at around 6 months it flips to the side and becomes a storage shelf (or a fun bartender's nook as some friends advised me!!)
I prefer BB Blocks (wooden numbered blocks) for weekly and monthly photos, but Milesone Cards have a twin-specific set with cards such as "We came home today" and "We smiled at each other for the first time today" which are really fun to use and keep (if you ever find the time to put together baby books for them)! They also include a set for each individual baby because let's face it, they will hit most milestones such as rolling over, sleeping through the night, and crawling at different times.
Crib Mattress, Cover & Sheet Savers:
Soothing & Pacifiers:
So there you go, my must-haves for twins! As far as diapers and toys and bathtime and all that, they need pretty much the same products as a regular singleton baby. I took the advice I received at my Twiniversity prep class which was to get one of each and get a 2nd after we're home and decide we NEED another. For example, we started out with two auto-rocking Rock 'n Plays (which they slept in for the first month - BUT THESE ARE NOW RECALLED - DO NOT GET ROCK N PLAYS even second hand!!!), and decided after a few weeks to go ahead and get a 2nd Baby Bjorn Bouncer and Fisher Price Swing. We still have only got one exersaucer, one play mat, one Bumbo seat, and one activity seat, and I just kind of rotate them through those! We also have one baby bath because I can only bathe one at a time, HA! You will most likely eventually need two cribs, two high chairs, and if you drive, two car seats.
My final piece of advice is to search for your local Mothers of Multiples group. You can save a TON by buying all of these products used and/or selling them used after you're finished with them!! This tip and many others are offered in my article "How to prepare for having twins" - check it out!
Did I miss any great twin-related products? Do you have some I should check out for older twins? Share in a comment below!!
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!