6 Tips to Make Baby’s 1st Holiday Card Splendiferous

It seems like every year the holiday season starts earlier and earlier and I for one am not complaining. I absolutely love this time of year but there is no denying my to-do list gets extra long about right now. As a mom the one holiday task that I have learned you can never start too early is planning for your holiday card! Just think, after you capture the perfect photo you need to choose your  favorite card, personalize your card, accept delivery of your cards, write out all the names and addresses of your friends and family, realize you don’t have enough stamps and head back to the post office (oh wait, is that one just always me?) and then get them in mail in time for the holidays. Check out these 6 tips to ensure your baby’s 1st holiday card is absolutely splendiferous by starting off with that perfect photo:

  1. Your baby’s photo doesn’t have to be taken by a professional. Thanks to the amazing cameras on our phones today you can put your little one somewhere with a lot of natural light and snap away. You can still have beautiful holiday cards without spending a lot on professional photography and no one will notice the difference.

    Minted, “sweet signature”
  2. It is perfectly acceptable to combine this year’s holiday card with your birth announcement (especially if you baby was born in the fall). You can get creative with the title and text on your holiday card while also announcing your baby’s arrival. This is one card people will leave up long after the tree has come down.

    Minted, “little bundle of joy”
  3. Timing can be everything. Even if the hottest photographer in town only has one slot open to take your holiday pics if it is right before nap-time or during feeding time you have to find someone else. Find a time where you know baby will be content for up to 30 minutes (hint, the morning usually works really well for this if you can get everyone ready) so baby is happy and so are you.

    Minted, “delicate boughs”
  4. Put baby in comfortable clothes and don’t overdue the props. It can be tempting to put baby in a brand new outfit and shoes and a jacket and a headband or a cute holiday hat. However, just like you wouldn’t be happy taking a photo in an itchy holiday sweater, baby might not be happy in fancy clothes or under a bunch of props. Look for seasonal clothing that is soft and comfortable like baby is used to everyday.

    Minted, “big bright joy”
  5. Your baby doesn’t need to be awake and smiling. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have baby looking right at the camera or smiling or even awake. After all, sleeping babies don’t cry and you might even be able to get a little more creative with your pic while baby happily sleeps.

    Minted, “most wonderful time”
  6. Don’t stress it and don’t hesitate to get in the photo! Everyone who receives your card is going to be so happy to see your little one and they won’t notice any little things in the picture that you might wish were different. The first holiday season with your new baby is a very special time and you will be happy you and your partner jumped in the picture when you look back on this time. Enjoy it!
    Minted, “winter bright”

    Bonus Tip #7 – Check out Minted for your holiday card! Minted has so many beautiful options that are unique and created by independent artists. Whether you need a Christmas card, Hanukkah card, holiday birth announcement card, New Years card or general holiday card, Minted has beautiful, on-trend designs to meet your needs. I love, love that I can upload my own perfect photo and then browse the Minted catalog with my picture in the designs. This year I was super excited to see their all new Vellum overlay holiday cards and the luxurious dimension the translucent vellum adds to the card (this is the top contender for my family holiday card this year)!

Happy Holidays! xo, Julie

This post is sponsored by Minted but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

4 Steps to Dressing Your Body Post Baby

Congratulations, your baby has arrived and mommyhood has taken you by the reigns. You have so much to focus on that getting dressed should be the least of your worries! Here are a four  simple tips to help as you start to dress your ever changing postpartum body:

Boob Fast Food T-Shirt Bra
  1. Be sure you’re wearing the right size undergarments! Get fitted to find your true bra size and keep those girls up. Don’t be afraid of going up in underwear size either.  Your new body is temporary and the point is to feel comfortable and have the perfect fit. Your clothes will feel and look better if the foundation underneath is solid! Trust me.

    Hatch, The Classic White
  2. Bodies don’t just spring back once baby is out, sadly. Maternity clothes will still be your friend over the next couple months, and that’s OK! In fact, it’ll be flattering, especially your maternity jeans. If nursing, you’ll also want to invest in some nursing friendly tops for ease and to be sure you are comfortable. As always, mixing and matching maternity and regular clothes according to what fits your body best is effective outfit planning.

    Ingrid & Isabel Essentials Cozy Wrap
  3. Layers add effortless style, create a shapely figure, provide warmth (for you and baby) and can make nursing in public a breeze. Cargo/leather/denim jackets, cardigans or scarves are great examples. Blanket scarves are super cozy for winter months and lightweight scarves are great for summer months. These even double up as blankets or sun shields if ever in a pinch! #winning

    Chewbeads Perry Necklace
  4. Lastly, and my favorite, are pops of color. Lots of new moms (even non-moms) can be self-conscious about their mid-section. Sticking to dark colors around wherever you’re uncomfortable and drawing attention to accessories with a bolder color for your earrings, shoes, lip gloss or manicure are fabulously fun distractions!

At the end of the day, you’re in survival mode keeping both you and baby comfortable. Plan ahead with some basics for you that make throwing on an outfit effortless. You’d be surprised at how looking pulled together and even getting a compliment from a stranger can really boost your mood.

Angela is a personal stylist and CT mom of 3 who loves helping women look and feel their best. Through her mindful services, she intends to get to the root of your true style so that you can confidently express your inner beauty on the outside too. Whether it’s a closet edit, in-person shopping session, wardrobe restyling out of your own closet, or virtual styling, her mission is to simplify your wardrobe goals and to guide you to effortlessly expressing your own unique fashion sense. Check her out at Styling Seed

New York Baby Show 2018 Ticket Giveaway

COMING SOON! The 2018 New York Baby Show, on May 19 & 20 at Pier 94 will once again be the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country. Not just because it is in my backyard, this show is one of my favorite all year and I hope to see lots of you there!

Now in its 8th year, no other event provides a better experience for expectant and new families from New York and neighboring counties, seeking a family-friendly jamboree of top brands, great speakers and seminars, big giveaways, and lots of learning, support, bonding, and fun.

We are giving away 10 FREE tickets for you and your family to experience the show.  Normal ticket price is $30 per family (for 2 adults and up to 4 children), and $20 per individual. Hurry and use the link below to grab one of these free tickets.

 Free Tickets

If you weren’t lucky enough to get a free ticket you can still enjoy 50% off tickets (family or single).

50% Off Tickets

Once you grab your tickets send me an email (julie@babynavbabyplanners.com) and let me know you are going to be there! I would love to say hello! 🙂

xo, Julie

Top 3 Expert Baby Bump Styling Tips

You’re pregnant! Congratulations and welcome to this amazing next chapter of your life.  As your baby grows, so do you and getting dressed can become frustrating, to say the least. That uncomfortable stage where it’s not yet an obvious baby bump and potentially just some extra weight around the waistline can leave you feeling frumpy, which isn’t good for anybody. Sometimes, women prefer to not invest in maternity style because it’s a temporary stage for your body, but if it negatively affects how you feel daily, keep reading to learn how a good outfit can boost your mood.

A Pea in the Pod Joe’s Secret Fit Belly Skinny Leg Maternity Jeans

1. To start, you can get away with your regular threads, leaning towards leggings, flowy or asymmetrical tops, over-sized shirts, jeans expanded by your elastic hair-tie, maybe a bra adjuster to expand your bra. But once that gets uncomfortable, I highly recommend finding the right pair of maternity jeans. Trust me, you won’t want to get out of them! (And you’ll be sporting them post-baby too.) Don’t make the mistake of buying regular clothes a size up because maternity lines stay true to your size and fit in flattering ways to show off your baby bump. Stick to the color and patterns that appeal to you and make that belly your greatest accessory!

Old Navy Maternity Bodycon Scoop-Neck Dress

2. Shopping maternity doesn’t need to break the bank. H&M, Old Navy (the above dress is only $20!), Target, and ASOS all carry fun styles that are budget friendly. If you’re into designer brands, A Pea in the Pod, Isabella Oliver, Nordstrom, and Hatch always have a solid selection for both quality and fit. You’ll definitely get plenty of wear out of your maternity clothes, plus maybe miles for another pregnancy, handing down to a good friend, or even consignment.

Ingrid & Isabel at Nordstrom

3. Not everything needs to be maternity! Wisely mix and match. A fabulous way to elevate a simple maternity dress is to wear it with your chic blazer, leather or denim jackets…no need to zip up! You could even wear a dress with a cool pair of sneakers for comfort and style. In addition, make the most of bold accessories to glam up any plain outfit. Accessories always fit, right?! Whether you’re wearing all black, colors, floral, or stripes, be sure you’re comfortable because true beauty shines with confidence.

If you’re still feeling stuck, create a Pinterest board to figure out a style you love. Or hire a personal stylist to get you through it by really digging into your closet and doing the legwork of shopping. Pregnant women are glowing and gorgeous. Try your best to embrace it!

Angela is a personal stylist and CT mom of 3 who loves helping women look and feel their best. Through her mindful services, she intends to get to the root of your true style so that you can confidently express your inner beauty on the outside too. Whether it’s a closet edit, in-person shopping session, wardrobe restyling out of your own closet, or virtual styling, her mission is to simplify your wardrobe goals and to guide you to effortlessly expressing your own unique fashion sense. Check her out at Styling Seed

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™?

swanling-JULY-6-2

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?

sleepplanning

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!

* indicates required field

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