5 Tips For Helping Your Toddler Prepare For a New Baby

For the baby of the family, it can be an adjustment when a new baby is going to be joining the family. Confusion, jealousy, and even some acting out can be normal when you bring a new member into the family but with some planning, you can make it easier.

  1. Tell your toddler a couple months before baby is due. While your toddler may overlook your weight gain it is helpful to explain it to them. Let your toddler get used to the idea. Encourage your child to talk to the baby in your belly and feel it move. The more your toddler bonds with the baby before the birth the easier things will be when you bring baby home.
  2. Help your child understand what a new baby is. Toddlers that have not had much experience with babies will need a little help understanding. Point out babies while you are out of the house, read books to your toddler about babies, and answer questions your little one may be capable of expressing to you.
  3. Buy your baby a baby doll. Explain to your child that while mama takes care of the new baby they have a big job of taking care of their new baby. While waiting for the big day use the baby doll to teach your child how to hold and cuddle and be gentle with the baby.
  4. Ask your toddler for help prepare for the new baby. Allow your little one to feel involved in decisions like picking paint for the nursery. Your toddler may love to draw a picture that would be framed for the wall. If transitioning your toddler to a big kid bed so you can use the crib start early so it is not a big shock when baby arrives and the crib has a new occupant.
  5. Get your toddler a gift from the baby. A gift for your toddler the day the new baby arrives is a great way to make them feel important and prepare them for the next few months where the baby will be very needy. Children see this small gesture as a sign that they are still loved even though they are not the baby of the family anymore.

Anything that you did with your toddler to prepare them for a new baby?

6 Ways to Find Energy During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can zap energy from you leaving you wondering how you will make it through the day let alone finish everything on your to-do list. Add the fact that many of us have to make a major cut in our caffeine intake during pregnancy and the struggle gets worse. The good news is that you can fight it and find energy during your pregnancy.

This may sound obvious but plan ahead for a full nights sleep. You will wake up for a lot of trips to the bathroom and in the third trimester rolling over can become an Olympic sport. In the the end, it is vital that you take the time to go to bed early so that you will have a full nights sleep even if you are up repeatedly. Ideally, you need an hour earlier than normal to make up for lost time. To help with night wakings create a relaxing bedtime routine and cut off fluids early in the evening.

Start the day out right with a healthy energizing meal. Natural energy boosters like orange juice are a great addition to your breakfast. Planning a breakfast that will give you energy with plenty of filing protein is a great way to give your body an early morning energy boost without having to reach for coffee.

Plan your daytime snacks. Energy wanes and, let’s face it, pregnancy makes you hungry. Planning daily snacks helps you make it through the day and stops you from grabbing high carb or high sugar snacks that will send you crashing rather than give you the true fuel you need to keep you going.

Give energy boosting essential oils a try. Orange and lemon essential oils are invigorating and can help give you the pep in your step you need to make it through the day. Aromatherapy jewelry is great for keeping these handy for you to enjoy the fragrance all day long.

To help your body fight off tiredness you will find regular workouts go a long way. Even if all you can manage is a stroll around the park it will help give you a boost of energy and keep your body healthy and ready for the big day when it needs all the strength it can get. If you need something really low impact, swimming is an amazing workout you can enjoy that will take pressure off your back and hips giving you pain relief that goes a long way to making your day easier.

Don’t be afraid to take a nap. Creating an entire human can be exhausting and if you find yourself in need of a nap look for a comfy place and take advantage. You earned it.

xo, Julie

Swanling Innovations Giveaway

We’re celebrating sleep safety for infants and children with a special giveaway with our friends over at Swanling Innovations! One lucky winner will receive a Swanling Slumber Sleeper™ and a 2-hour BabyNav gift certificate for a phone/Skype consultation! It’s so easy to enter…all you have to do is fill out the form below with your information! We would also love for you to share the giveaway with your friends and family so they can get in on the fun!

What is the Swanling Slumber Sleeper™?

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The Slumber Sleeper® is one of the best sleep aids available for young children as it comforts babies and children allowing them to sleep longer and safer. The all-in-one safe sleep solution combines a sleep sack, fitted sheet, flat sheet, and mattress protector. It is also recognized as “Hip Healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. Recommended by Pediatricians, especially for younger children who have started to roll over in their sleep but cannot roll back, the Slumber Sleeper, with its built in stretch fabric, regulates babies rolling so that they do not get stuck on their stomach in the nighttime. Once the child reaches the gross motor development stage then more movement in the Sleeper can occur as the child grows.

What does the 2-hour BabyNav consultation entail?

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BabyNav will work with your family to understand your lifestyle and your expectations and goals to create a custom timeline of everything that needs to get done. Babies love routine and you will too after working with BabyNav to create a custom routine. We will work together to develop a routine that reinforces play time, quiet time, feeding time, and sleeping time.

Please fill out the form below to enter the giveaway!

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Thank you so much for entering!

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

This year the timing worked out really well that I have been able to take advantage of some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals (and whatever those two days in-between are called) to do some personal shopping for clients. I know my clients appreciate being able to save on gear so I thought I would share the deals I have found so you could take advantage as well! But hurry…most of these end Monday 11/30 at midnight!

Baby Gear & Layette

Nested Bean – 30% off the entire site www.nestedbean.com

4Moms – 20% off all 4Moms gear with code: Thanks20 www.4moms.com

Burt’s Bees Baby – 40% off $75 or more www.burtsbeesbaby.com

Swaddle Designs – 30% off regular price items with code: GIFT30 www.swaddledesigns.com

Tea Collection – 30% off entire site and free shipping with code: SHOPNOW www.teacollection.com

Mabels Labels – 50% off plus free shipping www.mabelslabels.com

Earth Mama Angel Baby – 50% off entire site www.earthmamaangelbaby.com

LilleBaby – 25% off entire site with code: THANKFUL25 www.lillebaby.com

Pediped – Buy One Get One 50% off with code: BG50Off www.pediped.com

Giggle – 20-40% off gear including all UPPAbaby, high chairs, Maxi Cosi, diaper bags and furniture with code: BLACKFRIDAY www.giggle.com

Timi & Leslie – 30% off regularly priced merchandise with code: CM1530 www.timiandleslie.com

Nursery Design (Furniture, Bedding & More)

Pottery Barn Kids – 20% off order with code: Greatgifts www.potterybarnkids.com

WayFair – up to 60% off select nursery furniture www.wayfair.com

Restoration Hardware Baby & Child – Save $100 on every $500 with code: Save100, there are also sales up to 65% off on select products www.rhbabyandchild.com

Bloom – 20% off entire site with code: CYBER20 www.bloombaby.com

For Mom (Go ahead and treat yourself)

Rosie Pope (Both maternity and baby) – 20% off entire site http://www.rosiepope.com/shop

Bamboobies (great nursing pads and nursery clothing) – up to 40% off entire site www.buybamboobies.com

Boden – 30% off purchase with code: 7J4Z www.bodenusa.com

Toys

Melissa & Doug – Buy one get one half off entire site with code: CMBOGO www.melissaanddoug.com

Amazon – Check the deals page for lots of deals on toys for baby and toddlers www.amazon.com

Holiday Cards

Pinhole Press (cards and photo gifts) – 25% off All Products with code: Smile25 www.pinholepress.com

Shutterfly – 30% off site wide with code: CYBERSALE30 www.shutterfly.com

Party Planning

Birthday Express (much more than just birthday) – 25% off purchase with code: bx25sale www.birthdayexpress.com

Costume Express – 25% off purchase with code: cx25sale www.costumeexpress.com

Happy Shopping!!

xo, Julie

Simple, Safe DIY Playdough Recipe

Today Hasbro is celebrating National Play-Doh day (there is now officially a day for everything!). I have had a long love, hate relationship with Play-Doh because while I think it is a great sensory toys for little ones and a fun building toy for bigger kids I was constantly worried it would go into my kids mouth when they were young and I couldn’t stand to clean up those tiny little crumbles that inevitably ended up ground into our floors.

I tried several recipes for DIY recipes and some called for ingredients I didn’t always have on hand (hello, cream of tarter?) and many of them ended up with a texture that left something to be desired. When I finally tested the below recipe that uses Kool-Aid we knew we had a winner!

I wish I could credit the below recipe but I have had it hand-written on a piece of paper for 4+ years and can’t remember where it came from…if you recognize it let me know! This one is easy to make, is non-toxic, ends up with a soft, smooth texture and lasts in our fridge for weeks. My favorite thing about this recipe is that is doesn’t seem to crumble into those little bits like standard Play-Doh and it definitely doesn’t dry out as quickly.

This is a great recipe to make for baby to play with in his/her high-chair, supervised of-course. Once our twins could easily sit independently in their high-chair and our bigger guy could sit at the table this was my favorite thing to hand them to play with while I made dinner. It is non-toxic if some ended up in their mouth and it provided a sensory activity for them while I scrambled around the kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 3 packs of Kool-Aid
  • 2 cups of boiling water

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, salt, Kool-Aid and oil (Toddlers and big kids can measure and mix these ingredients)
  2. Add water (caution…kids shouldn’t help at this stage) and mix until cool
  3. Knead until smooth. I often add bits of extra flour to remove any stickiness.
  4. Once cool baby/kids can enjoy right away. Store in a storage bag in the refrigerator for enjoyment for a few weeks.

Bonus with this recipe is how easy it is to theme. I buy orange Kool-Aid for a sensory activity for Halloween, pink for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. We use the typical Play-Doh tools as well as rolling pins to enjoy this easy, homemade playdough recipe.

Happy molding!

xo, Julie

Be the best mom you can be – that is it!

As Mother’s Day approaches I have been thinking a lot about being a Mom and reading lots of parenting articles but today I just need to stand up for Moms everywhere…every Mom. I have read one too many articles lately that have slammed Moms for their use of Pinterest or their perfect parties or their perfect whatever….there is ALWAYS a trend in parenting and for some reason commiserating in our own agony of having the worst labor story, wearing yoga pants, going to the bathroom with a toddler, admitting to yelling and hating that “Pinterest worthy Mom” has become a big trend. Since when did trying your best become so bad?

Be the Mom you want to be. If you want to be on the floor rolling around with no plan but lots of love and energy or you want to plan a perfectly age appropriate, creative and beautiful craft then do it and don’t feel guilty.

As long as you are trying your best and giving your love (and what mom isn’t) then you are doing great. Amazing really! Being a Mom has never been easy but in the world of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and blogs it is not only hard but it is scrutinized with a strange and ever changing lense.

I remember being at the park when my kids were 3, 2 and 2 and I felt pretty good. We were out of the house, everyone was in clean clothes, we had a nutritious snack, no one was whining and I was dressed in something other than yoga pants. I felt good until I saw the perfectly worked out body of the mom happily pushing her son on the swings wearing gorgeous wedges and white jeans. I suddenly felt less than adequate. BUT why? This picture of her was like any post on Facebook…it was only one moment of her day and who knows what her other 23 hrs and 59 minutes looked like.

I think we should share the good, bad and ugly of parenting. We should share the moments of agony and defeat but we should also be allowed to celebrate the moments we do actually nail parenting. We should be able to say today I did it…today I got to everything on my to-do list and I didn’t yell just like we should be able to say today I wasn’t the best mom I can be but I will try again tomorrow. BUT what we have to stop doing is slamming the Mom that we think has it together because I can guarantee that she doesn’t. None of us do. But we all have moments we are nailing and we should celebrate that.

So do your thing for your family and I guarantee your kids think you are the best! Happy Mother’s Day!

xo, Julie

Do I really need a baby planner?

Based on the fact that you are reading this on a baby planning site I know you are probably thinking that the answer to the above question is obviously  “yes” but I would say the answer is “maybe not”. Wait, there is more!

There are some people that truly need the extra care and support but for most people having a baby planner isn’t truly a necessity. However, for almost every family that is expecting having a baby planner can be very beneficial. Having a baby planner can give you valuable time back, can actually save you money (more on that in a minute) and will definitely save you some unnecessary stress.

While baby planners are not medical professionals and should never give you any medical advice they can help you with information on almost any other topic related to your pregnancy, baby gear or getting started with baby at home. Baby planners are often very connected to the community and those that offer services intended for expecting moms and new parents. We call these our “concierge services”  but you may just see these listed as “friends” on other baby planner sites.

Any baby planner that you would work with should have a vast amount of knowledge related to baby gear. Baby planners are able to provide advice on what pieces of gear you need and which ones you simply don’t need to bring into your home (this is where the money saving comes into play) based on your lifestyle. Often when you walk into a store to register for items for your baby shower you are given a very long list of items that you should register for….but no one needs all of that gear! A baby planner can help you determine not only which type of gear but provide recommendations on which brands and products where you would get the most use and value.

Here are a few things clients have said after working with us:
Here are a few things clients have said after working with us:

So how do you get started in the search for and hiring a baby planner? First, there may be very few if any in your immediate area but most baby planners offer some level of their services via email, Skype or over the phone. We are based in New York but have worked with families all over the US and Canada. Check out www.internationalbabyplanners.com for a listing of baby planners. Here are a things to think about when hiring a baby planner:

1. Ask them how many clients they have worked with on the specific services that you are interested in.

2. Test their gear knowledge (ask them their thoughts on the latest and greatest). You want them to be 100% up to date on the latest gear that is available and all safety standards.

3. Ask for references and call previous clients.

4. Look up articles they have written and watch any appearances they may have made.

You may decide that having a baby planner come along as you register or as you start to get your nursery in order are what works best for you. You may decide having them help you get your education classes booked and in hiring your nanny will be the most beneficial. Or you may decide after a consultation that there are no services that would be truly beneficial to your family (but I doubt that!).

xo, Julie

Tuesday Introduction: Rivertown Mamas

As soon as I met Stephanie, founder of Rivertown Mamas, I knew I was meeting someone that was an enthusiastic and caring resource for expecting and new moms. Her knowledge and passion for providing education and unique classes (including a reflective writing course for moms to capture their journey) combine to make a destination where moms are sure to get the info they need. We asked Stephanie a few questions about Rivertown Mamas and how she manages to run a successful business while being a mom:

rivertown mamas

How long ago did you start Rivertown Mamas and what inspired you?

The idea for the business started about 3 years ago. I was working with moms as a lactation counselor and was leading a new moms’ group out of my house, and at the same time started looking for classes to take with my infant daughter. I couldn’t find many of the types of classes I’d taken with my older daughters in Brooklyn, so I decided to open a space devoted to new moms where I could also offer classes for babies and toddlers. It has expanded in ways I hadn’t expected, and now we’re offering several classes just for moms.

What types of classes do you offer? Do you also offer private classes?

We now offer a wide variety of classes for moms and moms-to-be. We have quite a few yoga classes — prenatal, postnatal, baby yoga, toddler yoga, and a class just for moms — plus music, sign language, infant massage, and a tummy time class. We also offer a reflective writing class for moms, along with our much-loved Random Retreat every Friday — it’s a gathering just for moms that’s designed to be thought-provoking, creativity-sparking, energy-restoring time spent amongst other fabulous women. It’s hard to describe, but incredibly awesome!  And I also  teach breastfeeding classes, both group and private.

Is there one piece of baby gear that you recommend a new mom that wants to breastfeed have on hand?

As vague as it sounds, a comfortable place to sit. There are so many great products you can buy to help support you while you breastfeed, but if you don’t have a comfortable place to sit it’s not going to be a pleasant experience. I also think a breastfeeding cover-up is essential. Nursing in public can be difficult in so many ways, and having a cover-up that stays put is key.

What does your daily schedule look like? How do you divide your time and priorities between your kids, your husband, your home and your business?

Every day is different. Since I work primarily with newborns, my schedule usually isn’t solidified until a day or two in advance, and often I’ll see a new mom the same day she calls. Dividing time between work and family is incredibly challenging. I try to see clients while my kids are in school so that I can focus on them after school, and then I spend a couple of hours every night working after they go to bed — answering emails, updating my website, etc.

Do you have any advice to a mom that wants to start her own business?

Go for it! So many people thought I was crazy to start this business when I had young kids, but I love my work and think it’s great for my girls to see me energized by it. Having reliable childcare is of utmost importance, though — I couldn’t survive without my awesome sitter!

And I am excited to announce that I will be partnering with Stephanie to bring a Baby Gear 101 workshop to Rivertown Mamas May 10th. If you are in the NY or CT area you can register here to come see me and talk about how to choose the baby gear right for your family! It is going to be interactive, fun, full of tips and you get a goodie bag!

Thanks Stephanie for being such a valuable resource and giving us a little peek into your world!

xo, Julie

Thank you Boston

On April 14, 2013 I was at home preparing to head to Boston for a marathon. It wasn’t the same marathon that thousands of people had trained for and would be running the next day but a marathon hospital stay for our 3 year old son. For three years we had seen amazing physicians in New York and had several successful procedures and surgeries at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at New York-Presbyterian but this time we would be heading to Boston Children’s Hospital for a surgery that we hoped would give our son a better chance at truly surviving CHD.

On April 15, 2013 we had the car packed and were spending quality time with our 5 year old son and 3 year daughter before leaving from New York for Boston. Around 3:00 our phones started ringing and text messages started coming as we turned on the television to see the terrifying events that had just taken place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I was frozen in fear as the city that I was supposed to be taking my son to that afternoon was under attack. Our hotel was within a mile of the bombings and there was no way we would get there that evening but we had amazing friends who took care of getting us settled in a hotel outside of the city that evening. I went to sleep that night after lying in bed for hours praying that our son would survive his surgery the next day and for each of the victims and their friends and families.

On April 16, 2013 we woke up extra early and headed to downtown Boston. We had no idea if we would even be able to reach the hospital and if we did would his surgery still take place as planned. We arrived to a heavily guarded Boston Children’s Hospital and headed up to check in for surgery. That is where my marvel at the people of Boston began. From the administrators that checked us in to the nurses that took his vitals to the doctors that prepared us for what was about to happen, it was clear that not one person was going to allow what was happening outside the hospital doors to affect the care they were giving our son. By 8:30am our son was taken into open heart surgery wearing a full Superman costume. Twelve very long hours later our son came out of surgery with a heart that had four working chambers for the first time in his life.

Over the next several days as our son fought to recover from surgery and had to go in for a second surgery to have a pacemaker placed, we watched secret service men and women move throughout the hospital, we saw Michelle Obama on a visit to the youngest victims, we became accustomed to the heavily armed police presence at the hospital doors and we were amazed the care our son received from every doctor and nurse that came into his room.

On April 19, 2013 the city of Boston was placed on a lock down. My husband was at a hotel over a mile away as I was in the hospital with our son. That mile seemed like a thousand as I continued to stare at my son and prayed my husband would be safe. For the first time that week I watched the live news coverage as did everyone else. The mood was tense and whispers were heard as shifts were about to change not knowing if after a 12 hour shift as a pediatric intensive care nurse if they would be able to head home. But again they continued to give our son remarkable care and attention.

In the days that we prepared to go home we began to thank our loved ones that had cared for our other two children, that had prayed for our son and supported us in any way that they could. This was a picture we sent out in one of our many updates from Boston over the two weeks we were there. When we got home we sent special thanks to the doctors that had performed what seemed like a miracle on our son. IMG_20130427_115849The one thank you that I didn’t take care of a year ago was to the amazing city of Boston! So, THANK YOU Boston! Thank you to each person that touched our son and was a vital part in his recovery. Thank you to every administrator, nurse, doctor, facilities worker, clergy member, security officer, valet, food service worker and anyone else it took to keep the hospital up and running the days following April 15th, 2013. Thank you to every Boston policeman and policewoman that stood guard in front of the hospital to ensure that everyone was safe and protected. Thank you to the hotel staff that offered us comfort in words and gifts. Thank you to each person of Boston that our family encountered that set aside their own fears for their friends, family and neighbors to focus on giving our son a tremendous amount of medical care and love. A year later as I watch my beautiful, strong son run around the yard with his brother and sister I am still praying for the victims of the horrific acts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and their families.  Thank you for being Boston Strong!

To learn more:

http://www.onefundboston.org/

http://www.childrenshospital.org/

http://www.childrensheartfoundation.org/

With  much love and gratitude! xo, Julie