Preventing Flathead Syndrome with Tortle (and a GIVEAWAY)

We first told you about Tortle when we came back from the ABC Kids Expo excited to have discovered this awesome little beanie! We have since met so many babies that have required therapy or worse, a helmet that we decided to get more info about the Tortle.

It is scary to learn that one million babies will be diagnosed with Flathead Syndrome this year in the US alone (that is 48% of babies 0-6 months)! Flathead Syndrome includes both Plagiocephaly (the flattening of the baby’s skull) and Torticollis (unbalanced neck muscles). Studies are now showing that Flathead Syndrome may not only cause a cosmetic issue but are causing cognitive and motor delays! Every infant is at risk but premature and multiples are at a higher risk and the Tortle is an easy, inexpensive (only $19.99), comfy solution to prevent Flathead Syndrome.

Tortle was founded by a pediatrician, neonatologist and mother of 4, Dr. Jane Scott.  The Tortle is a machine washable beanie designed to be worn while a child is in a car seat, bouncy seat or swing to offer a healthy range of head motion while keeping baby’s head from flattening. Offered in three sizes, the Tortle is meant to be used from birth until the baby is sitting up on its own. I recommend that every parent (especially those of multiples or any baby that has spent additional time in the hospital) consider purchasing a Tortle for their baby.  The Tortle is the easiest way to prevent Flathead Syndrome while allowing parents to safely follow the American Academy of Pediatric’s important Back to Sleep recommendation.

To learn more and hear from Dr. Jane on the best way to use the Tortle check out this video: Flat Head Syndrome & the Tortle by Dr. Jane

To hear from other moms and their experiences with Flathead Syndrome and the Tortle, check out this video: I wish I’d known – Baby Tortle

Follow Tortle on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TortlebyDr.Jane) or Twitter (TortlebyDrJane). To get your own, head over to www.Tortle.com!

AND we are excited that Dr. Jane and her team are allowing us to giveaway a Tortle (size Small, fits 0-2 months or 5-10 lbs)! To enter just leave a comment below and tell us if you would give the Tortle as a gift or if you are hoping to win for your own baby and we will have a random  drawing on Monday, March 11th at 12noon!

Happy Preventing! xoxo, Julie

“More Trial – Less Error” with Diaper Dabbler

Recently I totally had one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments when I was introduced to Diaper Dabbler! Started by a working mom of two, Diaper Dabbler is truly a one of a kind solution that helps parents answer the question of which diaper is best for their baby. As a baby planner, I spend a lot of time recommending baby gear based on a family’s aesthetic, lifestyle, budget and desire to be economically friendly. However, this criteria only helps a family get so far when it comes to disposable diapers. It isn’t until you meet baby and know their shape and how sensitive their skin will be to getting a rash that you can know which diaper is best for them.

The only way to find out what works for each baby is to try out the diapers (which isn’t cheap or convenient). Diaper Dabbler provides a solution by offering 20 different brands of diapers covering 3 sizes, from store brands like Target to popular brands like Huggies and Pampers to eco-friendly like Seventh Generation to new brands like the Honest Company.

An example of a Newborn sampler pack

With each Diaper Dabbler sampler pack, ranging from $18.00 to $29.00, you receive 3 of each type of diaper to test out. They even offer a fun rating chart to keep track of what you did and didn’t like from each diaper. The Mega Mom sampler pack is on my list of best baby shower gifts for 2013. It contains 12 brands of diapers and can include gift wrap to share with your favorite mom-to-be!

And… we are excited that from now until March 31, 2013 Diaper Dabbler is offering 20% off by using coupon code DDPC20FMP.

Happy dabbling! xoxo, Julie

BabyNav Favs from ABC

The ABC Kids Expo is the 2nd largest juvenile product showcase in the world with showcases by more than 3,000 exhibitors. Walking the show floor feels like you are navigating miles of baby gear and as overwhelming as that may seem to some, to me it is my baby gear nerd heaven. Last month, I was able to spend three days in Louisville, KY looking at new, updated classic, innovative and sometimes strange baby gear. ABC gives me a chance to hear the stories behind a brand or a product and each detail of why that product is good for moms, dads and babies! I was so pleased with what I saw this year and wanted to share my favs:

Top 5 Big Ticket Items: There were so many great strollers and car seat updates this year that this list could be a lot longer. These are the 5 that brought the most innovation and combined that with great design.

1. Orbit Double Helix – There are a lot of reasons to like Orbit but the number one reason to be so excited about the Double Helix is that it is truly made for a growing family (or perfect if you are starting out with twins).  The Helix can be purchased as an upgrade kit to their current stroller frame to create a double or purchased as a double stroller frame from the get-go (which also means you can easily convert back to a single when you no longer need a double). It includes the signature Orbit swivel making it easy to get baby in and out as well as a plethora of  other features moms and dads will love (easy access shopping basket, cup-holders and iPad case).

2. Foonf convertible car seat by Clek – This seat is changing the game when it comes to convertible car seats. First, the seat which will hold a child up to 50 pounds rear-facing or 65 forward-facing, has a distinct design that includes crypton super fabrics that will repel water and stains. Secondly, with their React safety system including crumple zones (the stuff that makes race cars safe) they are able to reduce the force on a child in an accident by up to 40%. And lastly, using a rigid latch install system and creating a more narrow seat you are finally able to comfortably put three convertible seats in one row.

3. Mamas & Papas Mylo – The Mamas & Papas brand has been a hit in the UK since the early 80’s but it is just starting to make a big splash in the US and we are thankful they are here! Each product is designed and tested by moms and their goal is to bring style and simplicity to a parent’s every day life. With its plush fabric, leatherette handle, the easiest one hand push out there and a one handed fold,  Mylo is a  luxury stroller for any mom.

4. Quinny Yezz – I am generally never a fan of traditional umbrella strollers but Quinny has changed the game with the introduction of the Yezz. The Yezz has a super sleek design and 7 bright and modern color options. The best part is the entire stroller only weighs 11 pounds and folds up so compact you can easily navigate the city or the airport carrying the Yezz using its carry strap.

 

5. Nuna – This is cheating a little but the US introduction of the Nuna line of baby products made my list! Each of these items truly combines beautiful Dutch design with amazing function and there isn’t one detail missing. The Sena & Sena Mini play-yards have a truly simply one hand open and fold without weighing a ton.  The Zazz is the revolutionary high-chair you always wished you had. There is no place for crumbs to hide,  a hidden pneumatic lift so you can always have baby at the table and it converts into a designer chair that can hold up to 220 pounds. The Leaf is revolutionary motor-free seat with plus fabric and can hold up to 130 pounds! Each of the products from Nuna are ones that you can proudly display in your home without skimping on any function.

Top 5 Small (but mighty) Ticket Items: There are certainly NO shortage of small pieces of baby gear that are made to make life a little easier for parents or safer for babies. I saw a lot of new bottles, breast pumps, pacifiers, monitors,  carriers and bathing accessories but these stood out to me as pieces of gear that could really make a difference for parents. 1. Chewbeads – The Chewbeads Perry Necklace is the latest in a line of beautiful silicone beads made for Mom and baby. This BPA and phthalates free necklace and sensory tool makes for a great shower gift. What new mom wouldn’t want to look great and have something that makes baby happy too?

2. Zen Swaddle – This swaddle by Nested Bean is the first on the market that is designed to mimic touch and calm babies. Based on an impressive amount of research, this swaddle has three lighted weighted pouches that mimic they way a mom holds baby. The luxury cotton fabric is machine washable and the swaddle works in 2 sizes by incorporating an inner pouch for use with younger babies. This is the swaddle that every veteran mom is going to wish she had! 

3. Boon Fresh Changing Table – Boon is known for recreating, rethinking and modernizing baby gear and they have done it again with the Fresh changing table. This table has a contoured design and slip resistant base that is filled with a colorful foam, removable and wipeable pad. One of the nicest features is the (removable) overhead toy hook to keep baby distracted during changes. Watch for this to become available in February. 

4. Tortle – Following the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations of Back to Sleep is critical but combining that with the amount of time that kids spend on the go and there is now an increased risk for flat head syndrome. Founded by a pediatrician and neonatologists, Tortle is a great machine washable beanie designed to be worn while a child is in a car seat, bouncy seat or swing and repositions the baby’s head from side to side as the beanie is moved. Multiples and premature infants are at a particular risk and this is a great tool that can prevent flat head syndrome. 

5. Belly Armor – I walked away with one item that needs to be on every expecting mother’s list of things to buy for themselves and that is the Belly Armor Blanket. Although it isn’t yet known the effects of the everyday radiation (cell phone, iPad, laptop, etc) that a growing fetus is exposed to,  the World Health Organization and the FDA have all agreed there is some negative effect and it could take years to fully understand what it is. Belly Armor’s line of products are lined with silver fibers that shield radiation with a 99% effectiveness. There is radiation around us everyday but if you are working or at home on your iPad you can snuggle up with your Belly Armor Blanket and know you are providing protection.

There were some other great products shown at ABC that I didn’t highlight here but will be testing and reviewing in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned!

xoxo, Julie

Baby Gear: Table for Two Please!

Necessity is the mother of invention!

I don’t think anyone understands this saying as well as a M.O.M. (Mother of Multiples)! A M.O.M. learns to take two pieces of gear that are not made to go together such as a Boppy pillow and a bouncy seat, add a receiving blanket (or 6) and suddenly have the “perfect” system to feed twins at once! I clearly remember the times when my twins (who had major acid reflux) were still bottle feeding and I would sit on the floor holding one in the nook of my left arm holding her bottle with my left hand and have my son sitting propped up in a Boppy with a pillow and feeding him with my right arm. Each time they needed to be burped I would have to attempt to reposition them and get the bottle back to them before they started screaming or got bored. Of course each time I did this the phone rang, my older son needed to sit on the potty or I would get a cramp in my arm. THANKFULLY, someone finally came along with an amazing product to save M.O.M.s from inventing their own feeding system (which leaves more time to invent systems to entertain twins while you shower). Table for Two is a beautiful, well designed and thoughtful piece of gear that should be at the top of any must-have list for a new M.O.M.

With its safety straps, arm rests, bottle holders and washable inserts, the functionality of this is unmatched with any other piece of gear available. Table for Two can be used to bottle feed, as a lounge seat and for the first solid feedings.

With all that functionality it still looks great! There are more than 25 options for the decorative inserts. Check out this navy and pale pink option for boy/girl twins.

If you have twins now, are expecting twins or need to buy a great gift for someone expecting twins, I strongly recommend adding Table for Two to your list of gear to purchase! And, thank you to Super-M.O.M. Lindsey for bringing us Table for Two!

Happy Feeding!

xoxo, Julie

Tuesday Introduction: Family Care Doulas

I am excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Jennifer Levinson, who owns Family Care Doulas! I know your first question may be “what is a doula?” (a little hint: it comes from the Greek word meaning “mother’s helper”). But not to worry as Jennifer answers that for us as well as gives some great advice to other moms who are thinking about starting their own business! Jennifer is the mom to two adorable little boys and you really feel her caring personality from the minute you meet her.

  • What exactly does a postpartum doula do and how is it different than other doulas?

A postpartum doula typically comes into the family’s home to help support them through the transition of the postpartum period. The doula offers informational, emotional, and resource support during this time, as well as feeding support. Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household chores; such as dishes, laundry, and organizing. There is also a birth doula, but their support is for the labor process

  • What inspired you to start Family Care Doulas?

I started Family Care Doulas 3 years ago. I had worked for a Doula agency before I went out on my own. I had just had my second son and felt like it was time to move on. The reason I became a postpartum doula was as a pay it forward for all the support and help I had from doulas with my first son. I had many challenges breast feeding, difficult labor and delivery, and emotional ups and downs, but my doulas were there for me.

  • What are your qualifications or certifications?

I am a Postpartum Certified Doula, PCD(DONA) and a Certified Lactation Counselor, CLC. I also have a masters in early education.

  • What about for our Moms of Multiples…do you you provide support for multiples?

I have been so lucky to work with over a handful of moms with multiples. I love working with families of multiples, there is just something so special about the twin connection!

  • What does your daily schedule look like?

My typical day could look like this:

Wake up
Get kids ready
School- drop off
Gym
Work
Pick up school
Doctors/services
Play
Dinner
Bed

However, a typically work day is 3-4 hours a few days a week, sometimes lasting only a week and others lasting months. It all depends on when the mom feels confident enough to do it on her own.

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

My advice for a mom looking to start her own business is to make sure you have great child are and or family that can help. I would not be able to do what I do if I didn’t have my sitter or my parents around. They truly are my life savers. I have a job that I love, 2 boys of my own and my husband, lots of doctors appointment for my oldest son, and I try to get to the gym everyday! The gym is my outlet and my way of staying active and healthy. It really is like a third job!

Make sure you check out Jennifer at FamilyCareDoulas.com!

Happy Intros! xoxo, Julie

 

Adventures in Diapering Part#2

I am happy to report that we have made it through the holidays and through two stomach bugs and we are still happily in cloth diapers. (Okay…so we are in cloth diapers part time but I have a perfectly good explanation!) I really started on this adventure with the idea that I wanted to fully understand cloth diapering, find the best way to be organized and the best system to pass onto our BabyNav moms. In that, I think “twin B” and I have been successful…we have found the system that works for us. Unfortunately, that does mean that Monday through Friday afternoon she is still in disposables and over the weekend she is in her gDiapers. Our kids are in daycare through the week and NY state does not allow cloth diapers…not even hybrids with a disposable insert. (tip#1 – whether daycare, nanny or other make sure you understand where your childcare provider stands on cloth diapers before making your decision to go this route). We started on the gDiapers hybrid system with cloth inserts but found ourselves on the go so much on the weekends that I have really relied on the disposable inserts. Either way, I feel good that we are putting less waste out for mother earth to deal with! I have to say that the biggest advantage for us has been a decrease in the number of diaper rashes and when she does get one they aren’t as severe (even with the disposable inserts). We even gave “twin A” a weekend in cloth when he got a bad diaper rash and it seemed to clear quicker than other rashes. So here are few more tips on making your decision and making your diapering, happy diapering!

tip#2 – EDUCATE yourself. There are so many options out there now for cloth! Will you go with Prefolds, a Hybrid system, or All-In-Ones? Any of these options also include options for some great fashions so make sure you check out a variety of brands.

tip#3 – EDUCATE yourself (seeing the theme?). If you would like to go to cloth for sustainability reasons make sure you account for the increased water and electrical usage from the laundry or fuel from using a diaper service. That is one reason we feel great about the gDiapers disposable inserts….they are plastic free, 100% biodegradable, compostable and flushable.

tip#4 – If you go with cloth, an organized (almost) daily laundry system is a must from the beginning.

We are headed toward potty training (a whole different adventure) but plan to continue our adventures in cloth diapering with gDiapers until then! Good luck and happy diapering!

xoxo, Julie

Adventures in Diapering Part #1

My oldest son wore Pampers and we loved them and never thought twice about it. My twins came along when he was only 19 months old and it was like Pampers in newborn size had just always been sitting there waiting for their arrival. We still loved them but when I started to get a little more sleep I started to think about them a little bit. I was at that time putting approx. 26-30 diapers a day into my Diaper Genie (a MUST have by the way). I was reading more and more about cloth diapers and more and more moms started asking about them but honestly, Pampers were such a no-brainer part of our routine that I was nervous to look elsewhere.

My oldest took to potty training like a champ (thanks to a large wall of reward stickers) and he was out of diapers by 24 months. But around that time, my daughter started having diaper rash and then more diaper rash. We had our cocktail of changing and drying and creams but it always seemed to come back. Still having a bit of guilt about the number of diapers we were sending out the door, I decided it was time to give cloth diapers a try.

I was so lucky to get to meet the founder of gDiapers (www.gDiapers.com) at the ABC Kids Expo along with two of her diaper therapists and learn more about their system of cloth diapers. I was so impressed with this company and their products….it is clear they truly believe in what they are doing! So it was settled, I was going to try ‘twin B’ in cloth diapers. I was really excited to receive my box of starter goodies, complete with adorable pants, inserts and disposable liners. In fact, too excited and I didn’t follow the directions which clearly told me to wash the liners 6 times to ensure absorbency before the first use. The pants were so cute that after one wash I decided there was no harm in giving them a try. Lesson #1 – follow directions! We had a leak and I decided I should finish the set up of my system correctly so back she went to Pampers. But…I was determined to make this work so after 5 more easy washes I organized everything I needed in the nursery and ensured the diaper bag was stocked. We now have one adorable tushy in some adorable pants and we feel like we are doing more for the future of Mother Earth.

Check back next month to see how we are doing in cloth and get some tips and tricks on making cloth diapering a success for your family!

xoxo, Julie

Don’t be afraid of…

No, not the dark. The Grocery Store! The grocery store is actually a great family outing and can be a fun learning experience for babies and toddlers. Heading to the grocery can even be a good choice for the first few outings for a new baby. Make sure you have a packed diaper bag, a travel changing pad, your nursing cover or the next bottle and of course your shopping list (or you iPhone/iPad with the Grocery iQ app loaded). You can keep your baby cozy and away from germs by keeping him in his infant car seat. However, I know it is tempting but don’t prop the baby up in the child seat of the shopping cart….instead you push one cart with the baby and have your husband grab a second for the food. No matter your baby’s age, he will enjoy the different lights, faces and colors that he gets to experience each week. Once you have a baby that sits up we recommend a shopping cart cover that covers all sides of the seat and includes a safety strap (check out Balboa Baby). Go for style and skip anything with toys…instead keep baby busy by describing all the great colors and textures in the produce section, letting him peak at the lobsters and snuggling in the frozen food section.

Worried about bringing your older children with a new baby? Give him a job depending on his age….older kids can do anything from holding the list to actually loading and uloading the cart. You can keep everyone engaged and get a little help along the way!

Happy Shopping! xoxo, Julie