Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our MUST HAVES for the hospital bag!

I wanted to give you a list of the things for your hospital bag.  After 3 babies I think I have the hospital bag packing down!

Things for Mommy:

1. Annie & Isabel Designer Hospital Gown (Maternity gowns are HUGE and ugly!)
2.  Toiletries (The Push Pack is a fantastic way to ensure you don't forget anything!)
3.  A pillow (Hospital pillows are not particularly comfy)
4.  Going home clothes (think comfy maternity yoga pants and tshirts)
5.  Nursing bra or two (If you need lanolin during your stay ask for it - some hospitals have Soothies on hand and some don't, up to you whether you want to have a set on hand)
6.  A few DVDs (After delivering in three different hospitals we have come to learn that the TV selection in a hospital is terrible...and in the middle of the night it's nice to have something to watch if you are up with baby!)
7.  Camera including charger or batteries and digital card
8.  Charger for cell phone
9.  Baby book (You might have a few minutes to write down baby's birth story and getting those first foot and hand prints is fun!)
10.  Boppy Pillow 
11. Slippers with non-slip bottoms (taking a walk down the halls is nice and you want to make sure you don't slip)
12.  A cardigan or other sweater (it can be cool in the hospital)
13.  A nursing cover if you'll have visitors and want to be a little more modest

Things for Daddy:

1.  Daddy Scrubs (Mom doesn't have to be the only one wearing super snazzy delivery duds!)
2.  Toiletries
3.  Pajamas and a sweatshirt/hoodie (Snag a super cute "I'm the Daddy" hoodie!)
4.  A pillow and blanket (Hospital accomodations for Daddy aren't usually comfy and it's often chilly)
5.  Charger for cell phone
6.  Money for snacks and a trip to the cafeteria

Things for Baby:

1.  Going home outfit (Anything else you need during your stay will be provided by the hospital - including clothing, diapers, beanie hats, etc.)
2.  A cozy cuddly blanket for snuggling (We love Everything Happy and Little Giraffe blankets)
2.  Car seat installed and checked by a CPST

Our 10 MUST HAVES for Baby!

Since baby A will be 6 weeks old tomorrow I thought it was time for a Ten Must Haves for Baby list!

1.  Nap Nanny Chill ~ Everyone who has had a baby knows that sleep is a precious commodity with an infant.  Because of it's recline (and we think super soft cover) babies sleep like, well, babies in the Nap Nanny Chill.  It is super portable (we take ours upstairs and down daily), and if you see Nap Nanny at a trade show they may just have their adult version out (and yes, I am still waiting for this to be made available for purchase...I would love an adult Nap Nanny ;) ). 

2.  Beco Butterfly 2 or Beco Gemini Carrier ~ Without a carrier I would be lost.  This is how I grocery shop, take my older girls to ballet, watch soccer games, make cupcakes, and more.  Audrey loves to be comfy cozy inside the infant insert in the Butterfly 2 (and it comes with it,  not a separate purchase!) and I carried Gracie (now nearly 4) until she was 2 on my back.  The Butterfly 2 allows you to carry kiddos on both your front and back (and the Gemini does the same). 

3.  KowalliBaby Carrier Cover ~ Living in a cooler climate means that carrying a baby requires a little bit of extra insulation to keep everyone cozy warm.  I looked at the carrier cover options and of course in true SBS style I bought two different covers to try and the KowalliBaby is by FAR the best product out there.  It fits both me and my husband (he's 6'3" and I'm 5'6") and of course keeps baby Audrey warm and snuggly on those cooler days.  We love all of the color options and the adorable matching KozyHats and SnuggleBoots for baby (we think they need matching mommy hats too!!). 

4.  Little Giraffe Blankets & Hooded Towels ~ These are the softest blankets around and you will be super jealous of your little one getting to snuggle with one!  The Little Giraffe Hooded Towels are the perfect size and made with amazingly soft terrycloth and their super soft cozy fuzzy trim.  And of course you can't resist snapping a picture of your cutie with the adorable ears on the hood. 

5.  Ju-Ju-Be Diaper Bag & Accessories ~ JJBs have been my favorite bags for years now!  You have to love a diaper bag that is machine washable!  With amazing organization and options for every mom out there JJB wins the diaper bag race with us.  Patterns are bright and colorful or demure and gender neutral and accessories to match.  Our fave bag is the BFF and must have accessory is the BeQuick (trust us, you'll need more than one!). 

6.  Boppy Pillow ~ No matter if you breastfeed or formula feed your baby you need a Boppy!  There are so many uses for these ingenious pillows that I guarantee you will be super glad you have at least one.  And we love love the newest member of the Boppy Pillow family, the Travel Boppy Pillow.  The Travel Boppy Pillow folds into its own bag and comes complete with a carrying strap. 

7.  Everything Happy Blankies ~ Yes we have two different blankets on our must haves list but you can't have too many blankets right?  We love love the One to Love, One to Give mission that allows you to donate one Blankie for every one that you buy to a childrens' charity (from their list of giving destinations).  The cute characters that make up these fantastic Blankies will have you wanting one in your size as well!  Three sizes allow you to get one for your older kiddos too (both of our older girls have their own EH Blankie).  Oh and use code frances25 and get 25% off your order (through 11/30/12).

8.  Britax Car Seat ~ We have larger babies so we have the ability to use a convertible car seat from the beginning (we like the Boulevard) but Britax makes infant seats too.  Right now we have three Britax seats in our van for each one of our girls (6 years, nearly 4 years, and 1 month).  These seats are super easy to install and give us peace of mind knowing our kiddos are safe and secure.  (Always have your car seat installation checked by a CPST - 90% of car seats are installed incorrectly!!)

9.  Noodle & Boo Bath Products ~ When Gracie (our second kiddo) had super sensitive skin as a baby we finally found a product line that helped and it was Noodle & Boo.  So of course when Baby #3 was on the way I went back to my favorite bath products.  They smell wonderful and leave baby's skin feeling soft!  I also love love the line for adults called Glowology.  The Balm is the bomb (heeheee!!!). 

10.  Tivoli Couture NuComfort Memory Foam Stroller Pad ~ It's no secret that I am a bit of a stroller hoarder and finding something that made my strollers more comfy for baby was awesome!  Not only are these liners super soft and comfy but if you have a mess to clean up there is no concern about how to get the stroller clean, just clean the liner!  We have a Silly Monkeys in Blue in our Mutsy 4rider and definitely need another one in our Baby Jogger City Mini (and it's pink so we are thinking Sea Life in Pink or Damask). 

*The reviewer was was compensated by KowalliBaby and The Boppy Company ONLY, however the opinions are all her own!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sleep...glorious sleep (with a newborn!!!)!!!!!

I'll be honest, my first two girls DID NOT sleep well at all until they were about a year old.  It was awful, I was a mombie (my mom/zombie combo) everyday.  I tried everything to get them to settle and sleep even just for a few hours at a time.  We tried a swing, a bouncy seat, a pack n play, a bassinet that rocked, and even the crib...nothing worked.  So a few years ago when I learned about the Nap Nanny I bought one and stored it in the closet until the day when we would have baby #3. 

When we came home with baby #3 of course the Nap Nanny was ready and waiting for us.  But we only used it during the day and couldn't figure out why she would sleep during the day and not at night.  We had her in a Graco Pack n Play at night and she just never could settle.  So my mom suggested that we have her sleep in the Nap Nanny at night too and VOILA!!!!  SLEEP!!!!!!

The ingenious design of the Nap Nanny helps infants sleep longer, including my own!!  The Nap Nanny totally makes my "MUST HAVE" list!!!!!  If you are a mom-to-be, don't wait, BUY ONE!!!!  I recently talked to a mom with a baby just two weeks younger than my baby #3 and told her about the Nap Nanny, she went and bought one immediately!! I highly recommend an extra cover when you purchase your Nap Nanny Chill just in case you have a baby diaper blow out in the middle of the night and the travel bag is super if you do plan on taking your Nap Nanny with you when you travel.

Our Nap Nanny is a Second Generation version and we just love the newest Chill (and especially the Giraffe print cover!!).  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lela Knows!!!!

Are you overwhelmed by all of the choices out there for car seats, strollers, baby carriers, high chairs, and more?  Don't have a bunch of time to do research on each one of these categories?  Look no further my friends, Lela.com is here to help!!  In just a few minutes you can have a personalized list of products selected for you with super fabulous ratings to show you which products are the most compatible with your preferences and lifestyle. 

I am absolutely in LOVE with the side bar that breaks down the different types of car seats and strollers to let you choose which makes sense for your little one.  You are not necessarily locked in to the old infant car seat and Lela.com shows you the different seats that "grow with your child".  And the same goes for the strollesr, from jogging to lightweight all of your options are broken down.  And of course the carriers are broken down as well into the different categories so you can choose the style that fits your little one. 

Go check it out and save some time in picking those very important products for your baby!!  And Lela.com also has a Home & Electronics section so check that out too (and maybe snag a "push present" for the new Daddy!).  :)

Ready to go to Lela.com??  Click this link to get started: 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The designer hospital gown showdown.

With baby #3 on the way I started looking for things to make my  hospital stay more comfortable.  I knew I would be having a C-section (after two previous C-sections) and would have about three days in the hospital.  I wanted to feel as fabulous as I could for those three days.  I found several different designer hospital gown companies and brought the decision down to two, it was either going to be a Hot Mama Gown or an Annie & Isabel gown.  I couldn't decide...so I got one of each!  Here is what I thought of each...

The Annie & Isabel Susan Gown

First of all, I am absolutely in love with with company.  Their gowns are designed by two RNs so they know exactly what you need when it comes to a hospital stay.  The nurses were extremely impressed with my gown when I was in the small room getting prepped (IV, baby monitoring, pre-op meds, etc.) but they were worried they were going to get blood on it during the surgery so they asked if I would wear their gown and then change when I was in recovery.  I obliged as I wanted to wear my A&I gown during my stay and not have to change it immediately after surgery.  After I was in recovery and able to sit up without feeling nauseous (ICK!) they helped me change into my Susan gown.  Every single nurse thought it was absolutely adorable and were super impressed that it had been designed by RNs.  We left it open in the back so that the anesthesia folks could come in and check out my spinal block site since I was still in the "waiting to feel my legs again" stage.  Changing from the shapeless general hospital gown to one that was my size was amazing and made nursing the baby so much easier, there weren't flaps of fabric hanging everywhere.  The shoulders snap open and closed to make it super easy to nurse.  Once I was able to get up out of bed the next day I was able to use the side tie to ensure that I didn't flash everyone when I walked to the bathroom, and not having to ask for help with that was fantastic as I needed help with everything else.  When I was finally able to take a shower I changed to the Hot Mama Gown to give it a test drive...

The Hot Mama Antoinette Gown

I love that Hot Mama Gowns was started by a mom with a daughter nearly the same age as my first baby girl.  The organic cotton used in their gowns is super soft and supple.  And once again, having a gown that fit me versus the shapeless, meant to fit the 300 pound proverbial fat man was wonderful.  I honestly thought that I would like the HMG for nursing and toward the end of my hospital stay better, I thought the nursing access was more suited toward a longer stay.  I really had a hard time with the breastfeeding panels and the ties that allow that access and finally gave up and just used the snaps along the shoulder to nurse the baby.  There was so much fabric bunched up in the front of the gown that I felt a like I had and extra blanket on top of me.  It definitely provided me the same coverage on the backside so I was able to walk around without showing the world what was under the gown but I definitely didn't get as many compliments on my HMG compared to my A&I gown.  It was comfy but a bit complicated!  I did think that the additions to the HMG line to include headbands were super cool so I ordered a matching one along with my gown.  I was surprised that it was quite small, and I have a small head, and didn't fit so well.  The concept was great however and you can even get a matching hair clip as well.

So which one wins?

The Annie & Isabel gown was the best choice!  The more simple design allowed for easier use and the fact that it was designed by RNs made it so much easier for the RNs to gain access to anything they needed.  Nursing was super simple in my A&I gown compared to the specially designed panels in the HMG.  Both companies have amazing customer service with a personal touch (when my gowns arrived from each company I had a personal note from both company owners and HMG popped a bonus gift of their lip balm in my box which was lovely!). 

Friday, July 13, 2012

FINALLY a Travel Boppy!!! YYYAAAAYYYY!!!!

We travel, A LOT.  There are so many products made for traveling with babies but there was a gap, a big gap, for us nursing moms when we traveled...that magical Boppy nursing pillow.  Every time I got packed up for a trip I would say goodbye to my magic Boppy until I returned home.  It just wasn't practical to carry it along with all my normal gear (and I am a bit of an over packer) and the kiddo as I often travel by myself.  I always wished a travel Boppy pillow existed and now for my third baby that wish has come true!! 

This fabulous new Boppy Travel Pillow folds to less than half the size of a regular Boppy Pillow and has a great strap for over the shoulder or cross body carrying.  It zips open and closes easily for transport (and even has straps for you to attach to the stroller!).  Once opened it is just like having your old buddy Boppy right along with you.  Nursing a baby without a Boppy is often a strange version of yoga (and I have nursed babies in just about any venue you could imagine-including a US Navy Destroyer) and now with the Boppy Travel Pillow you won't have that crazy twisting and turning when on an airplane, at your in-laws, on vacation, or just out at the mall. 

The only part I had a bit of trouble with was the clasp meant to hold the shoulder strap to the pillow.  Just took a few extra minutes for me to figure out how to get this clasp undone and now it's super easy.  I am 100% in love with this product and will recommend it to every single mom out there, whether you travel often or just every once in awhile by plane, car, train, boat or burro you NEED a Boppy Travel Pillow!!!!!!

Thank you to the Boppy Company for sending me a Boppy Travel Pillow to review!!

*The reviewer was compensated with a Boppy Travel Pillow free of cost to review but the opinions are all her own!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Packing the hospital bag...must haves!!!

So it's that time...time to start thinking about what I will pack in my hospital bag.  This is baby #3 so by this point I think I have this bag packing thing down.  Below is a little list of the things I like to pack in my bag (and my reasons why!!).  Not all of this will apply to everyone of course.  ;)

  • Your own shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, face wash, etc.  (Trust me, you will want a shower and sometimes hospitals provide those things and sometimes they don't.  Either way, having your own toiletries from home just makes you feel better.)
  • A hair dryer (Girls-this may be the last time you dry your hair while you have someone else gooing and gawing all over your baby for awhile!!)
  • Your own gown/clothes to change in to after the birth. (Birth is messy, let's just get that out of the way right now.  For me, I have a planned C-section coming up so I know they probably won't let me wear my own hospital gown in OR so my plan to change to one of the gowns I bought from Annie & Isabel or Hot Mama Gowns as soon as I can.)
  • Something super comfy to go home in, think maternity yoga pants and a tshirt.  (Trust me girls, you won't be going home in your pre-preggo jeans, just ain't gonna happen.)
  • Something for baby to go home in. (Remember that baby will still have an umbilical stump and something like a super fancy dress or mini tux is not really practical.)
  • A camera and extra batteries and/or charger for your iPhone!!  ;)
For me, those are pretty much the basics.  You can throw a blanket and pillow for you and daddy in too if you want some home comfort.  The "partner" bed can be miserably uncomfortable!  

Alright, hopefully that gets you poppin!!!  There are a million lists out there and lots have things on there that you certainly won't need.  I know my first hospital bag had so much stuff in it that we didn't even come close to needing.  Ask other moms that have delivered at the hospital you will be delivering and see what they did and didn't need.  For me it always changes, this will baby will be delivered in our third hospital!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The great diaper bag decision...

There are SO many diaper bag choices out there!! How do you make heads or tails of the options?  Well let me help a little...Hi, my name is Frances and I am a diaper bag snob.  My all time favorite diaper bag brand is Ju-Ju-Be.  There are so many features to mention, they are washable and have amazing organization.  When they designed these bags they thought of everything from a mommy pocket to an insulated bottle pocket and all kinds of great little pockets inside to organize everything for baby.  You could use one of each JJB but a few for the starter diaper bag addict would be the BFF, PackaBe and BeAll.  And you will need some of the super awesome accessories too.  You'll want a few BeQuicks (great for packing diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and more!) and even a fabulous BeRich or BeMajor for yourself.  Even the wallets are machine washable!!  We can't say enough good things about Ju-Ju-Bes, they are amazing and completely cover all of your diaper bag needs!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What do you really need for baby?

Recently I have had several friends asking for advice on what they need for their new babies. Most of them first time moms but a few moms with a second kiddo looking for things to accommodate both kids.  So here are a few of my "must haves" for your new little one.

1.  A good stroller.  Trust me, you will use your stroller A LOT and spending money on a quality one will serve you well (skip the travel system!!).  A few of our favorites are the Bumbleride Indie and Indie Twin, Baby Jogger City Mini and City Select, BOB, and the UPPABaby Vista.  And when baby gets a bit older and you want something a little more compact, we suggest the Joovy Kooper.

2.  If you are even considering part time cloth diapering then you'll definitely need a few essentials.  First, our all time favorite diaper is FuzziBunz Perfect Size.  They come in the cutest colors and fit our kiddos perfectly.  You will also need cloth diaper detergent and once again we have a favorite (of course we do!) and that is Rockin' Green.  They have a great tool on their site to determine which formula (Classic Rock, Soft Rock or Hard Rock) is best for the area that you live in.  And last but certainly not least is a Wet Bag, and you can get one of those when you pick up your FuzziBunz diapers!

3.  A good soft structured carrier (SSC).  If you want to grocery shop, then you need an SSC!!  Skip the Baby Bjorn and head straight for our two faves the Boba Carrier and the Beco Butterfly II.  Trust me, you'll be glad you did!!!!!

4.  This one might be kind of a duh but it's the type that we are looking at.  Skip the infant car seat, you use it for less than a year and need a convertible seat eventually anyway.  Instead head straight for the convertible seats, our faves are Britax.  We brought our middle child home from the hospital in a Britax Boulevard and she is now over 3 and still riding in that seat.  And remember, keep your kidlet rear facing until he/she is at least 2!!!!!!

5.  And last but certainly not least are the blankies, sleep sacks, and of course toys!  Our favorite blankies are Everything Happy Blankies (we LOVE the One to Love, One to Give mission and you can use code frances25 for 25% off!!) and Little Giraffe blankets, hooded towels, and of course Little GHalo sleep sacks are by far the best out there and we just love them!!  Then our favorite toy for little ones is by far Sophie the Giraffe and all of her friends!!

Well that should get you shopping for now and I'm sure we'll have more to add later!!!  ENJOY and happy baby gear shopping!

*I was not compensated to write this post.