Introducing The Mommy Camp

So many times when I talked about how BabyNav came to be I would tell the story of working in Corporate America and creating a gantt chart to ensure I was ready for the arrival of my first baby. Once I did that I found so much solace in being prepared and organized and in the meantime I became obsessed with baby gear. I started creating gantt charts for women who were pregnant that I worked with along with my friends and BabyNav was born.

While I worked on building BabyNav and supporting expecting families I was also caring for my three beautiful kids. For a variety of reasons my kids don’t go to any camps for the summer so for the last seven summers I have run mommy camp at my home. I approached creating mommy camp for them the same way I approached that first gantt chart. My kids love their summers and look forward to our theme weeks. My secret is that while my kids are happy and active and learning I am able to work from home thanks to the simple process and schedule I created.

Since Covid-19 started we (obviously) haven’t been in anyone’s homes to set up their nurseries and haven’t been personal shopping in person with anyone.  In early May I started hearing from so many friends and people around me how they were stressed about the summer and worried their kids would be on screens non-stop. It was then I realized that I should again share my processes and help parents prepare for the summer and The Mommy Camp was born.

The Mommy Camp is simple routines, smart supplies and engaging themes to help parents execute camp at home for kids aged 2-12!  Over the years we have tried countless crafts, activities and recipes and know which ones work and which ones are more work cleaning up than they are worth doing. I know which summer activities keep kids entertained and engaged and I know which ones to avoid. I know which craft supplies and products will survive the summer heat and lots of use. I know which ones will excite your three year old and which ones won’t bore your 12 year old. You don’t have to break the bank filling up your yard with activities and you don’t have to spend your nights scrolling through Pinterest only to find you don’t have all the supplies you need at home. And the best part is that getting all this info from The Mommy Camp is FREE!

Since we launched in June the best part has been to receive emails from BabyNav clients who we helped to build their registry and now they are following our theme week calendars for The Mommy Camp!

Head to www.themommycamp.com to subscribe and each Sunday I will send your weekly theme calendar for a week of memory making.

xo, Julie

10 Trusted Resources for Expecting Parents During Quarantine

Expecting parents are always inundated with information but right now it is harder than ever to know who to trust. Below please find a list of trusted online resources and sources of expert information:

  • Sources for coronavirus related information for pregnancy:
  • Twiniversity (THE resource if you are expecting multiples and you can now take their classes online.)
  • Pregnant Chicken (Great info on all things pregnancy and baby gear related with a good sense of humor which we could all use right now.)
  • Birth Day Presence (This NYC based provider of prenatal classes is now offering live online classes including childbirth education, newborn care and infant CPR.)
  • Evidence Based Birth (A site created by a nurse who wanted to share the most current, evidence-based information on pregnancy and childbirth. She has added a comprehensive resource page dedicated to Covid-19.)
  • LYNZY & CO (Make sure you follow her on Instagram. She’s a working Physician’s Assistant in an ER, she’s currently expecting her 4th child, she has openly shared her family’s experience with Covid-19 and she shares good fact based info on pregnancy.)
  • Obe Fitness (If you are looking for online prenatal fitness classes look no further. The app offers on-demand fitness classes you can stream and there is an entire section of strength, yoga and cardio prenatal classes.)
  • Ask an Expert (Use this feature to access our swift, unbiased, expert  information on any baby gear or registry questions.)

xo, Julie

FREE Registry or Gear Consultations During Quarantine

My goal with the services we provide at BabyNav has always been to remove as much stress as possible for expecting parents so they can focus on a happy and healthy pregnancy. I can not imagine a time where this could be more important than right now!

This time of year is typically the busiest time of the year for registry creations, baby shower preparations and buying up lots of baby gear. With our country on quarantine it’s impossible for expecting parents to test drive strollers, head to a baby store to feel how a car seat feels on their arm or try on a baby carrier. It is also impossible for expecting parents to head to the store with friends and family members to get advice on what to add to their registry.

Most expecting parents right now are primarily concerned about protecting their health, the health of their baby and what is going to happen when they head to the hospital/birthing center when they go into labor. Expecting parents shouldn’t have any of the added stress right now of picking out the right bottles or if organic onesies are necessary. We want to support as many of those expecting parents as possible which is why we are going to make our registry and gear services free until May 15th, 2020.

What does that mean exactly? For each expecting parent that reaches out to us we will provide a free  1-hour virtual session for registry or gear consulting (no strings attached at all). If your registry is already started or completed we will review it and let you know what you might be missing or what items you simply don’t need. If you haven’t started your registry we can spend our time reviewing the big ticket items and what works best for your family. You can bring a list of questions on categories or specific brands and we will discuss what works best for your growing family. As an added bonus at the end of every call I will send each expecting parent a list of must-have and nursery stocking items to ensure you have time to shop for everything you need in advance of baby’s arrival.

To set up a virtual consultation simply send an email to info@babynavbabyplanners.com with the subject “FREE consultation” and we will get our time together set up.

Hope you and your families are all safe and healthy! Looking forward to lots of Zoom calls with expecting families! xo, Julie

Must Have Registry List (Free Printable)

Choosing the gear that you will add to your baby registry can be a fun and exciting process but realizing the amount of baby gear available can become quickly overwhelming. This checklist will make sure that you have all the essentials that you need without all the other stuff you don’t. Take this list with you to the store you have chosen to register and pick the items in these categories that fit your personal preference, budget, lifestyle and home design. Look for products that are JPMA certified so you guarantee you are getting the safest products available for your baby!

(Right click on the below image and hit “save image as” to save to your computer and print for your personal use.) 

xo, Julie

Expecting Parent Checklist (Free Printable)

Congratulations! This is a very exciting time in your life but we also know it can get a little (okay a LOT) overwhelming. In the months ahead you may start to feel like there is a never ending list of decisions to make and things to do. Please print and use the below check-list as a guide of “things to do” as you navigate through your pregnancy journey.  We hope that by consolidating this list it will allow you to plan, prepare and take some of the stress out of one of the most precious times in your life!

(Right click on the below image and hit “save image as” to save to your computer and print for your personal use.) 

xo, Julie

Tuesday Introduction: Devi Ma Yoga

When I first met Kelly and heard her story and inspiration behind Devi Ma I was so intrigued. Devi Ma Yoga is so much more than yoga classes and Kelly brings so much experience and wisdom to each of the classes she teaches. I love the approach and flexibility that expecting and new parents can find at Devi Ma Yoga. Read on to hear more about Kelly’s story and what you will find at Devi Ma.

How long ago did you start Devi Ma Yoga and what inspired you?

Devi Ma Yoga opened in November 2018. It was another step on an amazing journey that began back in 2005 when I first started teaching prenatal yoga and Yoga for Labor and Delivery workshops.

However, I was originally inspired toward this work in the 1990s, as a result of my own experiences during pregnancy while living on the reservation in South Dakota. It was here that I glimpsed the powerful spirituality and traditions of pregnancy and birth which is deeply revered by First Nations people, yet starkly juxtaposed to the lack of services and modern realities of reservation life.

When I began teaching Yoga for Labor and Delivery, I realized just how important it is for women and their partners to know much more about birth, how the body and mind adjusts, options, questions to ask and what to expect. I also realized that a good number of women were not fully receiving this information and feeling “not heard”, dissatisfied with their birth experience, and generally disempowered by the system. I observed many women seeking a more meaningful, informed and even spiritual experience in welcoming their baby. This is when I made it one of my goals to offer classes that not only addressed the physical aspects of birth, but also the profound emotional, mental and spiritual aspects that are often overlooked. In 2006, I was nudged forward in this work yet again as I supported my sister’s birth and caught my niece upon her entry into the world. Since this time, I have supported over 70 births. Most recently, I supported the birth of my daughter-in-law and son, welcoming a new grandson Earth-side. In all of these births, I am always deeply struck by the awesome, innate power of women.

When considering names for my studio I was searching for something that captured this innate and powerful energy. Devi Ma seemed like the perfect name. It is a Sanskrit term meaning “goddess mother” and it represents the inherent abundance, power and creative force of the feminine… at all stages of life.

What types of classes do you offer?

I offer yoga classes that include prenatal and mom & baby yoga. I also offer Yin Goddess yoga which focuses on the deep transformations of peri-meno, menopause and beyond. In addition, a “regular” yoga class called Hatha Elements is on the schedule. This is a traditional yoga and meditation practice for both women and men of all ages. Fertility yoga classes will be on the schedule soon, but privates are available now.

I provide a comprehensive childbirth education series (3 classes) that guide parents-to-be through the last weeks of pregnancy, the entire birth process, and the realities of the first six weeks with baby. One of the unique aspects of my childbirth education series is that you get to choose when you take the classes, how many classes you take, and the order in which you attend. The website has a full description of the classes and my approach/philosophy on birth at: yogadevi.mom

My studio also offers workshops, guest speakers, doula services and doula training as well as yoga teacher trainings at both the basic and graduate levels. The yoga trainings I offer are: 200 hour Basic Yoga Teacher Training, Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, Yin Yoga Teacher Training, and continuing education workshops for yoga teachers, including a course I developed in 2009 called Adapting Asana for Prenatal Yoga Students.

How are your classes unique to the classes at my local hospital or gym yoga classes? Where do your classes take place?

Classes at Devi Ma encompass a traditional yoga practice that goes beyond just the practice of physical yoga poses. In addition to movement, we practice yogic breath, meditation and relaxation techniques that serve as effective tools for birth and beyond. We sing to babies, work on subtle body alignment (chakras), address pelvic floor integrity, changes in breast tissue, discuss tips and resources, and find time to just chat. Classes are designed to nurture the “whole woman” by addressing the profound physical, emotional, mental and spiritual transformations of pregnancy and motherhood. As a seasoned doula, childbirth educator and prenatal/postnatal yoga teacher, I combine all of my skill bases for a more comprehensive and informative class. Beyond the average yoga class, my goal is to guide women in how to trust their body, release trepidation surrounding birth and breastfeeding, and reconnect with their internal wisdom. In this way they can navigate the rapid shifts of pregnancy and motherhood with greater understanding, ease and calm.

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?

Most of my classes are held in the mornings, evenings, or weekends. But, when I am on-call as a doula, I never know when (or how long) I will be at a birth. In this way, my schedule is sometimes a moving target. In between classes, I prepare lesson plans, update and write training curriculums, mentor new doulas and yoga teachers, and run a business.

My children are now grown. But, I am mom to a very gregarious and talkative parrot. As any bird parent will tell you, caring for a parrot is very similar to having a small child in terms of the care, daily routine and attention they require. So this is actually the anchor that keeps me centered in maintaining a routine that also includes time for myself and my husband every week.

Is there one piece of baby gear that you tell a new mom she needs to have for breastfeeding?

The Haakaa breast milk collector is great for catching milk that leaks from the opposite breast as you are nursing baby. My daughter-in-law used one and said it best: “This was a lifesaver the first three months, and I built up a good stash just doing this.”

Thanks Kelly!

xo, Julie

One Nursery Closet Three Ways

Having an organized nursery where you can see everything, access everything you need without digging and are able to quickly grab exactly what you need can make a really big difference in your day taking care of baby. Unfortunately, custom closets can be really expensive and not always an option when you are already in investing in all new baby gear and not every space and not every nursery closet is created the same.

Thankfully we discovered a closet system that gives you the feeling of a custom closet but at a much more affordable price. We recently installed a nursery closet using a super versatile (and easy to install) system by Modular Closets.  With Modular Closets you can choose from one of their pre-designed closets based on your closet dimensions or choose from their closet sections to build the closet of your dreams. Once we picked the pieces that would work best for our nursery we utilized their free design services and ended up with the nursery closet that worked perfect in our space!

We loved the end result so much we decided to stock it and style it three ways to show you just how versatile it can be in any nursery space. We chose to go with three hanging sections, a cubby section, three shelves and 4 drawers to ensure we could fit everything we needed for this nursery now and still have room for gifts that would be coming and the next size of clothes and diapering needs.

Gender Neutral 

Styling a gender neutral nursery can be challenging but bringing in neutrals through metallics or natural elements like easy to care for plants can bring the space together. Having different size storage baskets is great in this space for swaddles, extra crib sheets, baby’s towels and toys. In this Modular Closets system we chose to utilize three hanging spaces for carriers, clothes and sleep sacks but we could easily add more shelving in those spaces later if we needed.

Super Feminine Nursery

Creating a super feminine nursery doesn’t mean it has to be all pink or purple but you can add soft baskets or blankets to make the nursery perfect for your little girl. In this space we chose to bring in more books, frame an ultrasound photo and highlight some gifts to make this nursery closet feel more personal.

Shared Big Boy/Baby Room

When your new baby needs to share a room with a big brother or sister it is even more important to have an organized nursery. For this shared space we dedicated half the nursery closet for baby’s items and half the closet for big brother’s items. We left more hanging space for big brother’s clothes and baskets below for toys. For baby’s items we incorporated more storage  baskets on the top shelves and lots of organizers in the drawers.

Right now Modular Closets is offering 15% off your order when you use  code “babynav15”. We love this system so much for how easy it is to install, how high quality the materials are, how versatile it is and great it looks in this space. We can’t wait to see this in more clients’ nurseries!

If you want a full review that includes how we designed and installed this nursery closet you can check out our full video review here.

If you are looking for some of the baskets we used or other products to help organize the nursery check out our Amazon Page here.

Happy Nursery! xo, Julie

Disclosure: Modular Closets provided free product for review. However, all opinions are my own.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means, we may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase something from a link we post because we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you anything. We appreciate your support!

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