Tuesday Introduction: JennV Photography

This Tuesday Introduction is a little different because I have been lucky enough to know Jenn for something like 15 years.  I have long admired her work at JennV Photography and think the photos she takes can become real treasures for families. Jenn is super talented and her work stands out amongst the crowded market of photographers by celebrating the everyday lives of families. She has one of those personalities that just makes you feel comfortable and at ease from the moment you meet her which is a must have when you are inviting someone into your home! 

How long ago did you start JennV Photography and what inspired you?

I started my business 9 years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago and what inspired me then and now are very different. Originally I loved capturing the details of my first born and the magic of everything that was new at the time. I wanted to share that magic with clients and their children. But in a pretty, perfectly posed way. Now I am a documentary family photographer and am inspired to capture moments that show real parents and the genuine love they have for their kids through their every day actions (even in the hard moments!) – whether that’s making pancakes, calming them after a tantrum, or heading to the zoo for a family outing. Parents work SO hard on the daily, and it’s so easy to dismiss it or not even think about it at all because we’re all so busy. I photograph it and celebrate it.

How is your photography different than other photographers?

Plainly put, I capture my clients’ legacy and their real, unposed and unfiltered memories forever. In 30 years their kids will look through an album that shows what a day in their life was like way back when. It’s the most beautiful story they’ll own. It’ll show the real chaos of life with kids, the calmness after Mom kissed their boo boo, and the love that shines through everything their parents did for them when they were young.

What is a tip you can give to a family to get ready for a day of having their photos taken?

Don’t stress! I know it’s cliche and overused but it’s true! Nothing about the day matters except your family being yourself. Even if it’s with a posed portrait photographer. Let your kids get a little wild, let them get away with stuff you ordinarily wouldn’t – you’ll be happy you did when the session is filled with laughter vs. the tension of expecting your kids to sit and smile stiffly for a stranger.

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?

Ha! It’s all over the place! I have three kids, the youngest of which is still in preschool so that makes my days a bit choppy. But every morning I am up at 5am and I get two solid hours of work done (and drink allll the coffee!). If I don’t have that consistency and time to myself before my kids wake up I get kind of…grumpy. I also have one full day a week to work without interruption so that helps. I do think the whole work-life balance thing is an illusion though. No woman has it all together and completely figured out. We’re all just swimming along trying to stay afloat, and beating ourselves up when one of the balls we’re juggling while swimming drops. I like to focus on a couple of things that I can do well in a week. Outsource stuff if I can and then choose to let the rest go.

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

I LOVE a good backpack diaper bag. It was the easiest thing to grab and go when may baby was a baby – and with my third we were always on the go! I recently saw the Birch Bag from Parker Baby on a friend and fell in love. It’s so cute, functional (pockets!), and gets major bonus points for not being feminine- which means Dad’s love it too!

Life with a new baby can seem to move by so quickly so I absolutely love the idea of a documentary family photographer like Jenn coming to capture those early days filled with feedings, diaper changes and sweet baby yawns. To see more of Jenn’s beautiful portfolio and book your documentary day with her head to http://jennvphotography.com or find her on Instagram

xo, Julie

Tuesday Introduction: The Parent Collective

In the last ten years we have learned about a lot of childbirth classes and new parent classes and mom groups but none of them as smart and useful for new families as The Parent Collective!  Jessica Hill co-founded this resource for parents after her own positive experiences in the U.K. We were lucky enough to get a little time with Jessica to learn more about the classes and the community that The Parent Collective offers expecting families.

How long ago did you start The Parent Collective and what inspired you?

I decided to start TPC back in 2016 after hearing from countless friends that they spent their early months and years with their baby feeling lonely and isolated.  Because I was lucky enough to have my boys in the UK and benefit from the NCT, my experience was wildly different, and I wanted to give a similar feeling of support through education to others.  Quite simply – I don’t know how I would have gotten through the early months of my first baby without my village of NCT moms who got me out of the house, listened to me vent when I was struggling, swap strategies for dealing with the latest feeding/sleeping/illness issues that crop up, and filled countless afternoons with conversation and companionship.  Everyone needs that support and I hope that TPC will fill this need.

What types of classes do you offer?

We offer a prenatal class series for expectant parents and after babies arrive, we offer CPR & First Aid classes, postpartum support groups as well as a wide range of workshops and online content developed in response to participant questions.

Our prenatal class, which is our core offering, is a 4-week series and in it, participants will discuss:

Session 1: What to expect in labor and delivery

Session 2: Relaxation techniques to help you through the early stages of labor, options for pain management and C-sections

Session 3: Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding information and advice, including latching on, pumping, milk storage, getting on a feeding schedule, and how to manage problems that may arise

Session 4: Newborn care

How are your classes unique to the classes at my local hospital?

The Parent Collective offers a new style of prenatal class which is designed to provide evidence-based information, foster open, judgment-free discussion and establish friendships among couples living in close proximity and due at the same time. We see ourselves as an alternative to other childbirth education classes and hope that couples taking the series will develop a social network through participation, gather playmates for the little ones on the way and of course, provide that crucial support system that parents so need.

The idea for these classes arose from my experience with having my boys in the UK where they have a prenatal class series called the NCT, or National Childbirth Trust. With these classes, couples register for a series of sessions with a group of couples who are all delivering around the same time and live local to one another. The idea being that along with learning what you need to about labor and caring for your newborn, you are also fostering a support network that will be invaluable to you during this next chapter in your lives.

I am always banging on about how important it is to have friends with babies the same age as yours.  I absolutely realize that it is hard to make friends as adults but with pregnancy as the common thread, it can sometimes be easier.  Mom and dad friends at every stage of the parenthood journey are super helpful, but friends who have kids the same age as yours are essential. No one can fully appreciate the daily trials of a newborn like your friend who is also navigating life with a newborn. From spilling preciously pumped milk to dealing with an explosive poo in-transit (which of course only manifests once you have run out of wipes). When you are in it, these feel like total disasters.  However, these stories will not elicit a visceral “gasp!” from a new parent, but rather a breath of relief as you realize another real person has experienced something similar—like, yesterday.

Parents need this camaraderie so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together. Our classes allow parents to solidify these relationships before babies arrive, so you don’t have to work so hard once they do.  You can already be texting from the hospital about the terrible food and a love you never thought possible.

Where do your classes take place?

We currently host regular classes in Fairfield County, CT, Manhattan, Long Island, NY, Bergen County, NJ and we will very soon be launching in Westchester, NY.

Also, TPC will soon be launching our prenatal series as a webinar.  Watch this space!!

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?

My boys are 8 & 10 so I am out of the very busy phase of parenting.  That said, when they get home from school, they still like me enough to want to play with me so I try to work while they are at school and then leave some afternoon time for a basketball game or the standard schlepping from activity to activity.  The juggling act of managing work and home life requires so much mental headspace that I am like a robot in the evening.  I have to power down and I sleep 8 or 9 hours most nights.

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

I would say any baby-wearing apparatus that allows you to move a bit more freely with the bubs in tow.  My youngest was colicky and screamed when he wasn’t being held so I couldn’t do much of anything because I was carrying him everywhere.  Once I figured out the baby wearing thing, it made my life so much easier!!

Thanks Jessica! You can learn more about the classes offered at The Parent Collective here or follow along with them on Instagram.

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!

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

Amazon Prime Day 2017 – Deals on Maternity and Baby Products

Tomorrow (actually it starts tonight at 9pm EST) is like Christmas in July…it is Amazon Prime day! First and foremost, in order to take advantage of the amazing deals that will be happening during this 30 hours of deals you have to be an Amazon Prime member. You can even just start with a 30-day trial which you can do here. As a busy mom, I can’t imagine not taking advantage of Amazon Prime…in addition to the free two day shipping, we love the free movie selections and I have just switched to using Amazon for the unlimited photo storage.

But as great as Amazon Prime Day is it can also be overwhelming combing through all the deals! So…check back here throughout the day where I will be posting as many great deals on products that we love that I can find. I am hoping for lots of great deals on all things baby gear!

First, sign up for Prime and then check back here for all the great deals on all things maternity and baby!!

1. Amazon Echo Dot – this may not seem like an obvious baby item but it is so great for the nursery. The Echo can be used for a timer, to make your shopping lists hands free while you are nursing baby and even play white noise for baby to go to sleep. Prime Day Deal for only $34.99

2. Quinny Buzz Xtra 2.0 – this stroller is amazing for the fashion forward family on the go! It is a single stroller that is super easy to fold and has all-terrain, never go flat tires! I love the fabrics on the stroller and this deal is amazing! Normally $599.99 but the Prime Day Deal is for only $209-$319 (depending on the color). This one won’t last so I would get this one fast!


3. Spray Pal and Cloth Diaper Sprayer Bundle – if you are a cloth diapering family there is no doubt you need the Spray Pal!! Prime Day Deal for only $59.96.  UPDATE – SOLD OUT
4. Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One (Denim Gray) – This is one of our favorite 4-position carriers and it does NOT require an infant insert! Prime Day Deal only $111.03 (normally $189.95) UPDATE – SOLD OUT but price is only back up to $121.59 which is still 36% off!

5. Skip Hop Bath Toys & Accessories – Skip Hop definitely makes some of our fav products because they are well made, smart (yes that means easy for parents to use) and easy to clean.

The Moby bath Kneeler is normally $16 but with the Prime Day Deal you get an extra 20% off at checkout.

 

 


Moby Bath Tear-Free Waterfall Rinser is already on sale for $8.00 and with the Prime Day Deal you get an extra 20% off at checkout.

 

The Moby Bath Spout Cover Universal Fit is already  on sale for $10.40 and with the Prime Day Deal you get an extra 20% off at checkout.

 

Dunck Stacking Bath Toys are normally $7.00 but with the Prime Day Deal you get an extra 20% off at checkout. 
6. Ingrid & Isabel Pleated Tank Maternity Dress – this is one of our absolute favorite maternity dresses. It is perfect for summer and looks great on ANY size. You can dress this up or down throughout your pregnancy. Normally $100 and it is already on sale for $88 but then with the Prime Day Deal you get an extra 30% off at checkout! 


7. LILLEbaby 3-1 CarryOn All Seasons Toddler Carrier (Black) – This is an amazing toddler carrier that will allow you to carry your child up to 60 pounds! This carrier has a ton of padding so it is super comfy for parents but also has a temperature control panel to ensure your toddler is comfy as well. Normally $169.99 but with this Prime Day Deal it is only $126.99. UPDATE – NO LONGER AVAILABLE

8. GB Pockit Stroller– Yes, that is right…the stroller that has the Guinness World Record for the smallest fold, weights only 9.5 lbs and will fit in the overhead bin (it will probably fit right in your backpack) is in on this deal too! You can use this stroller from 6-months up until your child is 55 lbs. Normally $179.95 but you can get this amazing little stroller for $135 with this Prime Day Deal!  UPDATE – Only Capri Blue and Posh Pink available at Prime Deal price.

9. Baby Bjorn Cradle – This is a favorite of so many of our clients. This beautiful cradle is soft and breathable and offers a gentle rocking/bouncing motion for your baby. The materials are fully washable and weighing in at only 13 pounds it can be moved around your house. This can be used from birth up until 6 months. Normally $349.95 but you can get this beauty for $223 with the Prime Day Deal. UPDATE – SOLD OUT

10. Diono Rainier All-In-One Convertible Car Seat (Black Mist) – This car seat will grow with your baby from birth to booster: rear-facing from 5-50 lbs., forward-facing from 20-90 lbs. in a five-point harness, and booster mode from 50-120 lbs. (up to 57″ tall). This is ideal for parents who don’t want to use an infant seat in the beginning and/or for parents of multiples who might be looking for a more narrow convertible seat. This seat is already on sale for $264.74 and then with the Prime Day Deal you get another 20% off at checkout! 


11. ezpz Mini Mat – One-piece silicone placemat + plate (Coral) – if you have ever used the ezpz or even seen the demonstration you know why it has its name and why it is a must have in toddler feeding. Prime Day Deal for $15.96 (and you better hurry because this won’t last). 

12. BOB Revolution Flex 2016 (Single and Duallie) Red -BOB is the leader in jogging strollers and for good reason. The state of the art suspension and air filled tires make this a smooth ride no matter the terrain. The Flex offers an adjustable handlebar and the seat padding ensures baby is comfy for your long runs. With the Prime Day Deal both the Single and Duallie are 20% off. 
13. BABYBJORN Bouncer Balance Soft (Black/Gray, Mesh) – This is one of our favorite bouncy seats because it is super light weight so you can easily move it from room to room and if company is coming over it lays flat and you can slid it under the couch. Baby will love it because the mesh keeps them cool and with a simple kick of their legs they will make themselves bounce. Already on sale for $168.78 this is going to be an even better deal with the Prime Day Deal goes live at 11:40!  UPDATE – SOLD OUT
14. Project Nursery Parent + Baby Smartband (Black) – Think of your Fitbit but now think of it also holding all the info that you need to keep track of fetal movements and doctor appointments too. Once you have baby you can keep track of diaper changes, naps and feedings! This is a must have for a modern parent. Already on sale for $79.99 and for this Prime Day Deal it is down to $69.99 which is 53% off the original price! 

15. Rubbermaid Storage – I realize this also isn’t a baby product but a baby definitely comes with a lot of stuff and a lot of that stuff they quickly outgrow and you will want to store….and storage can be expensive. These big rubbermaid storage containers are already on sale for $19.11 and with the Prime Day Deal you get another 20% off at checkout. 

16. Ergobaby 360 (Dewy Grey) – This is Ergo’s only 4 position carrier and it works from 12 pounds up until 33 pounds. This carrier will ensure your baby is in the right position and that you are super comfortable carrying. Normally $159.00 with the Prime Day Deal it is only $128.00. 
17. Mustela Newborn Arrival Gift Set – Whether you already use Mustela on your own little one or need a gift for an upcoming baby shower, grabbing this for 30% is a great deal. Prime Day Deal for only $31.49. (This one is going FAST)
18. Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard – This is a great option for trips to the beach or park this summer. This is super easy to set up and take down which makes it ideal for travel. Prime Day Deal for only $43.99. 
19. Dr. Brown’s Options Bottle, 4 Ounce (4 pack) – Bottles can be surprisingly expensive, especially when you realize how many you need so I would hurry and grab this deal on 4 bottles by Dr. Browns. We love these bottles because they remove more air than any other bottle but if you don’t have a gassy baby and that isn’t a concern you can remove the inner tube for easier cleaning. Prime Day Deal for $18.39. 

NOTE – don’t be tempted to grab a deal on something you don’t need or really want! The deals are great but you do not want a house full of baby gear you don’t use and doesn’t really work for your family!

 

 

 

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!

Tuesday Introduction: MommiesFirst

I am so pleased to be able to introduce you to a fantastic company that I am proud to call a partner to BabyNav! MommiesFirst is a subscription box service that starts providing customized and personalized care packages as early as 3 months in a woman’s pregnancy. We love the idea that an expecting mom can start to receive items to support her pregnancy journey and keep those going when she brings baby home. Most of all we love that each product or service is tested by the MommiesFirst council before it goes to any mom and brands can’t just purchase their way into the boxes. I am proud to say that BabyNav has been selected as a service that MommiesFirst provides to their expecting mommies. We love that at about the time an expecting mommy is in the trenches of selecting her baby gear she will get a MommiesFirst care package that includes a gift certificate for time with BabyNav to help select the gear that works for her family!

So, let’s meet mom-extraordinaire and founder of MommiesFirst, Lorena Scott! I promise you are going to love her and learn from her!

  • How long ago did you start MommiesFirst and what was your inspiration?

We launched the MommiesFirst website on Mother’s Day 2012.  I had my two sons (at the time 6 months and 2.5 years old) on my lap when we pushed the site live.  It was really cool and I tried to explain to them what was happening, but they just wanted to play with the computer, of course! We shipped our first boxes in September 2012.  I often say we are a young company with big dreams of making a real difference in moms’ lives.

  • What types of products go into the MommiesFirst boxes and how do you select them?

Our care packages are stage-appropriate, so what that means for a mom is that she will receive a box of products specific to the month of her pregnancy or the age of her baby (up to the first year).  We have a broad range of products that are featured in our care packages – from a maternity tank to belly cream, a sippy cup, and personalized stationary.  While the products will vary, all of our brands are handpicked by our MommiesFirst Council, which means they are tried, tested and reviewed by a group or moms, dads and baby experts before they make it into our moms’ boxes and into their homes.

  •  How is MommiesFirst unique from other subscription box services?

I think this is a really good question and we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this before we launched MommiesFirst.  The idea of a subscription box business has become quite popular, and we wanted to make sure we provided a unique and valuable service for moms.

MommiesFirst is different in that we support both pregnant and new moms – our care packages start during month 3 of a mom’s pregnancy. And it is our goal to help moms during this incredible journey.  Our boxes are very personal, so that all of or members feel like they’re receiving a box made just for them – and that starts with our personalized note and tailored product.  It’s not just our tag line  – there is a lot of love and care that goes into creating each mom’s care package.  Importantly as well we are working with great service providers (like BabyNav) as well as great products.

  • What is your favorite thing about owning and operating MommiesFirst?

Wow – that’s a tough question to answer, because I love MommiesFirst. I really believe we are building a company that will be a resource to moms, and that’s inspiring. I truly enjoy making a moms day through our care packages – making her feel special and empowering her to make better decisions on which products and services to use a as a new mom.

The other “favorite thing” is the impact being an entrepreneur will hopefully have on my kids longer term. As their mom, I think a lot about what lies ahead for them as they grow older, and I really hope that they will follow their passions and take lots of leaps of faith while pursuing those dreams. I hope watching me build and grow MommiesFirst will inspire them to do whatever makes them happy and hopefully make a great impact on the world too!

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

There are two pieces of advice I’d give. One – just do it. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s so true.  I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur for so long, and for the longest time I was too scared to give it a try.  Now that I’m actually doing it, I pinch myself every day with excitement, and I really don’t know why it took me so long.

Two – ask for help.  Today I had a friend say I was super mom – and that’s simply not true. (although I totally appreciate the comment).  The reason I’m able to start a business, be a mom to two boys, be a wife to my husband, etc. is because I’m lucky to have a network of people who genuinely “have my back”.  It starts with a supportive husband who never lets me give up, a loving father who has moved in with us in order to help launch MommiesFirst, great friends who forgive me for being all consumed by work, etc.  I’m not doing this alone – it’s taking a village of amazing (and generous) people who are being supportive of my entrepreneurial dream and MommiesFirst. And all I had to do was ask for help and this village of people has surrounded me and with physical and emotional support.

  • What does your daily schedule look like? How do you divide your time and priorities between your children, your husband, your home and MommiesFirst?

My schedule is like that of most moms – it’s crazy and long. I try and have breakfast with my boys in the morning before heading off to work and then we have dinner as a family at night.  Once my kids have gone to bed and the house is quiet, I get back online to work – sometimes until 3am.  Starting a new business has meant a lot of sleepless nights as we get MommiesFirst off the ground.  However, I try and reorganize my work “day” in order to maximize quality time with my family, which usually means less sleep for me, but I wouldn’t change it.

  • Is there one piece of baby gear that you recommend a new parent must have?

For the early months to a baby’s first year, I loved my Baby Bjorn. With the help of a Bjorn I can take long walks, do errands, even work, and all the while sneak in kisses whenever I want. It’s also great for travel and managing multiple kids at the airport!

Thanks so much Lorena for the awesome advice and giving us a peak into life with MommiesFirst!

Happy Subscribing! xoxo, Julie

 

Want to know more? Here are is where you can find them!

Tuesday Introduction: From Pea to Pumpkin (and a Giveaway!)

I spend a lot of time researching and playing with all kinds of baby gear and baby products but there is one area that I don’t often pay too much attention and that is pregnancy journals and baby books. The reason I never spent much time in that category is that they all felt the same and I typically recommend to my moms that they just find one they enjoy looking through. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and I was given a journal where I was meant to write him a letter each week. Sadly, when I look back at that now there is little to learn about my pregnancy other than my horrible nausea because I stopped writing letters before my first trimester ended. Even as someone who loves to write, I just ran out of ideas!

I am excited to say that I was recently introduced to an easy to use, idea generating, beautifully illustrated, whimsical pregnancy journal, From Pea to Pumpkin! This journal provides watercolors of everyone’s favorite fruit and veggie examples of how your baby is growing! But for me, the best part of this journal are the questions that it asks each week to prompt you to think about new things. One of my favorites comes at week 37 – “When I lay awake at night I think about____”.  There are so many amazing things that happen on a pregnancy journey but there are also so many changes and this journal gives you a chance to capture it all. And I am super excited that the author Geralyn Broder Murray was kind enough to sit down with us and tell us a little more about From Pea to Pumpkin!

  • What was your inspiration to write the From Pea to Pumpkin pregnancy journal?

I really wish I remembered more about my pregnancies with my now six and nine year olds. I thought it would be lovely to create something special for those nine (ten?!) months.

  • Tell us about the beautiful artwork…did you really only learn to draw at 40?

Yes! Well, still learning. I’ve got produce somewhat down though.

  • Beyond the pregnancy journal can you describe the great community that surrounds Pea to Pumpkin?

I’ve loved growing with the online Facebook community of moms – such a nurturing lovely group over at http://www.facebook.com/PeatoPumpkin

  • What does your daily schedule look like? How do you divide your time and priorities between your children, your husband, your home and Pea to Pumpkin?

Oh dear, I don’t really. Some days are less crazy than others, but it’s mostly a nutty, not so balanced act helped out by a wonderfully sweet husband and two pretty terrific kids. I’m often stressed, thinking that I’m messing up most of it. Normal, right?

  • Is there one piece of advice you would give to an expecting or new Mom?

Be patient/kind with/to yourself. Just getting up and caring for you and your baby is huge – you are doing great.

  • Is there one piece of gear that you would tell a new Mom that she needs to have (besides the journal of course)?

A baby swing – or a permanent extra pair of helping hands, whichever you happen have access to most frequently.

  •  Here are a few tips from Geralyn on ways to use the journal:

-Carry the pregnancy journal in your purse – this way you can jot down a few notes very quickly while waiting at a doctor’s appointment/car wash/check-out line.

-Be candid.  This journal is for you and you alone. Don’t be afraid to share what’s really happening with you and your baby; you don’t want to look back on simply a good pregnancy story – you want to look back on your pregnancy story.

Thanks Geralyn for giving us a peak into From Pea to Pumpkin! The journal is available now at Amazon, Babies ‘R Us, and Barnes&Noble. One lucky BabyNav reader will win a From Pea to Pumpkin pregnancy journal! To enter leave a comment below and tell us one thing you would make sure to include in the journal about your pregnancy story.

We will have a random drawing on Monday, March 18th! Good luck!

Happy Writing! xoxo, Julie

 

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

the Ivy Joy benefit

I am proud to share that BabyNav is taking a little part in something amazing being organized by my dear friend Jordon at Georgia Grace. Georgia Grace is sold through trunk representatives and one of those, Mary, has been on a long road with her adoptive daughter and her congenital heart defect. Most recently Ivy Joy had her 5th open heart surgery which was unexpected and required an air ambulance to Boston! Jordon and her team at Georgia Grace have organized the “the Ivy Joy benefit” which includes some amazing raffles and all the proceeds will go to Mary and her family! Starting Monday, January 28th you will be able to visit the Georgia Grace Big Cartel Site and the Georgia Grace Facebok page to purchase a $1 ticket for each item for a chance to win. The more tickets the more chances to win! BabyNav has donated a 1 hour Skype consultation for the service of your choice (baby gear consulting or custom sleep plan/routine development).

You may know that congenital heart defects (CHD) are very close to my heart every day. (If not, you can read our story here.) I am really excited for this benefit as I am anything that raises awareness for CHD but this also helps a really special little girl and her mom. I have never met Mary personally but through her honest and open sharing of Ivy Joy’s story I have developed so much respect and admiration for her.

I encourage you to check out Georgia Grace, read Ivy’s story and to participate in the Ivy Joy benefit. Not only are you going to have the chance to win some amazing raffles you will be helping an amazing mom and her family!

xoxo, Julie

Tuesday Introduction: City Grips (and a GIVEAWAY)

By now, you know that I am a BIG fan of mom-owned businesses but I get super excited when I see a mom with an idea that goes after it and succeeds. CityGrips is a product that seems so simple  but can make a big difference in how you view your stroller. Whether you are taking your baby out for their first outing and want your stroller to stand out or you are trying to run off those last few pounds of baby weight and need something to keep your handle from getting grimy, CityGrips provides a solution. These fashionable, machine washable and easy to use stroller handlebar grip covers fit all two handlebar strollers and nearly all single-bar strollers. Camie Gontier, mom and inventor of CityGrips gives us some insight into how she began and how she makes it all happen!

  • How long ago did you start CityGrips and what was your inspiration?

I started CityGrips 3 years ago now. The first year was purely development and trying to figure out how to work with a 2 year old running around. Like most first time moms, I became a germaphobe and one day while I was strolling with my son trying to get in my daily workout, I realized just how dirty the hand grips on my stroller were. My hands were sweating and I was picking things up off the ground that my son was throwing overboard and before I knew it was using the bottom of my t-shirt to push him back home.

On my way home I was like, “why don’t they have a removable, washable grip cover?” When I couldn’t find anything like that on the market, I decided to make my own and so CityGrips were born.

  • What was your first step in turning your idea into a reality?

The first step is to have a goal and just keep working at it. It’s all about persistence and never throwing in the towel.

  • What is your favorite thing about owning and operating CityGrips?

I truly love what I do. I love working from home so i’m here for my son. It’s a challenge at times but we make it work. I love the independence having my own small business gives me. If my son is sick or I need to be a chaperon for a school outing it’s never an issue i’m the boss, lol.

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

The only advice I can give any mother who wants to start their own business is to know that it’s possible. You can do it, you just need to never give up. I want to give up at least once a week and I just don’t, so here I am still standing. Join a support group, take an online class – there are many.

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

I wake up at 7am every morning, have my coffee do email, get my son ready for school, take him to school, at 9:15 I work out for 30 to 45 min. I take a shower and back at my computer by 10am. I work from home which is perfect for us.

I like to schedule certain days for certain activities because it keeps me organized. For example, on Mondays i’ll do marketing, Tuesdays sales, Wednesdays new product development, Thursday follow ups, Friday catch-up day.

My son is home between 3pm and 5pm and after he’s home I’m on mommy duty, cook, clean, and REST.

  • Is there one piece of baby gear that you recommend? One thing that as a Mom you couldn’t live without (besides CityGrips of course!)?

LOL, this is such a hard question to answer because for a NYC mom it’s all about your stroller, one that is light weight, easy to push, great wheels, easy to fold and hang, geezzzz the list can go on and on.

THANKS Camie for being so open, sharing some great advice and bringing us CityGrips!

AND Camie was nice enough to let us give away two sets of CityGrips! Perfect for a little girl or any stroller for Valentine’s Day we have a single bar in this adorable pink owl pattern. We also  have a double bar (think umbrella stroller) in safari blue!

To enter just leave a comment below and tell us which set of CityGrips you would want to win and we will have a random  drawing on Friday, January 25th at 12noon!

Happy Strolling! xoxo, Julie