Category Archives: Tips & Tools

Traveling with a Baby

We have now successfully traveled on an airplane with H three times, twice to Omaha from New York, and once to Chicago.

H and Daddy on Airplane

We have also done an overnight trip with him where we drove to our destination and here is what I’ve learned.

Pack light, but efficiently. The less you bring with you, the less you have to carry, which is key. Only pack what you really need and nothing more.

As organized as you think you are, be even more organized. This is your time to let your OCD shine.

Make a list and check it twice. This will help with tip number one. Make a list over a couple of days, writing down what you really use every day at home. Then go through that list and determine what you’ll really need while out-of-town and what you can live without.

Two parents are better than one. Even if you’re partner isn’t coming with you (which is what happened the first time I traveled with H) he was able to get a gate pass. I didn’t even know these things existed, but they’re great. Sweet talk the person who checks you in and your partner can go through security with you (huge plus) and sit with you at the gate until you board.

When there is only one parent, a carrier is your friend. I always bring my carrier with me because it folds up easily, but also allows me to have two free hands when boarding the plane so I can organize my stuff and put my suitcase (if I’m carrying on) in the overhead compartment.

The easier your stroller is to collapse, the better. I don’t generally like the snap-and-go stroller as compared to my City Mini, but for travel purposes it works great.

Changing your baby in your lap is just as easy as in the airplane bathroom. I can barely fit in the airplane bathrooms on my own without a baby. Especially if there are two of you traveling with baby, it’s much easier to just stay in your seats – enough said.

Boon Squirt Spoon

These spoons genius. From Boon, these are a lifesaver when you have to feed baby in the airport or on the go. The food goes in the base of the spoon and squirts out when baby needs another mouthful. There is a great cap that goes on the spoon when not in use. It’s easy to use and so, so smart.

Use Diapers.com. Order and ship as much as you can to your destination ahead of time. Or if you’re even luckier (which we have been), ask your parents or whoever you’re visiting to pick up a few supplies for you ahead of your arrival. This should include diapers, wipes, formula, and food. Otherwise make a trip on your way from the airport for these items so you have them, but don’t have to pack them.

Baby Clothes and Sizes

Baby Gap Clothes

The adorable new collection from Baby Gap.

When I first found out I was having a boy, the first thing I did was start buying clothes. This was exciting, but also, later became a learning experience.

I had no idea what he would really need, what would be easiest to put him in, what he would be comfortable in, what size he would be, how fast he would grown, and how big or small the different brands run. That’s a lot of money to spend on such uncertainty as I quickly learned.

Although I feel like I’m still learning different things about clothes, toys, gadgets, etc. here is what I’ve learned about clothes thus far that I think any new parent would appreciate knowing before hitting the stores.

These are the brands I have found to run small: Carter’s, Osh Kosh, and Ralph Lauren

These brands run about right on: Pretty much anything at Target, Gymboree, The Children’s Place, Patagonia, and Old Navy

But by far my favorite brand, and the one that I feel runs a bit big and lasts longer than the rest is: Baby Gap

Their sizing is usually 0-3, 3-6, 6-12 and so on and although I spend a bit more money on these items, they’re good quality, they last, and H has been able to grow into them, not grow out of them so fast. A neat feature on the one piece bodysuits is that the center snap in the crotch is always gold-colored, so it’s easy to line up those pesky snaps (especially if you haven’t gotten a lot of sleep). Plus, they’re just so darn cute!

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Pregnancy Photos

If you’ve been reading my past posts, you know I love photos. I have a photo charm necklace and one of my favorite apps is one that forces me to take and post a photo everyday of H.

I think it’s important to save memories and pass them on to your little one’s and someday their little one’s. I love scrapbooking, making photo books, and putting together scrap boxes with family mementos. So my pregnancy was no different.

Although somedays I certainly did not feel like having my photos taken (see the last one in this series) I thought it was important to take a photo every month while I was pregnant both to see the changes I was going through, but also as something fun to look back on after I had H.

Pregnancy Photos

If you decide to do something similar to this, these are the tips I would offer:

1. Make sure you and your photographer (in my case my husband) are in a good mood and you’re not rushed. It will make for a much better photo, I promise.

2. Choose an outfit from the beginning that you can wear in every photo you take throughout your pregnancy. It really shows off the changes more as you go through your pregnancy, which is the whole point.

3. Also, take the photo in the same place every time, for the same reason as above. Try also to do it at the same time of day each time when the natural lighting is best. I also did black and white to keep things as consistent as possible.

To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise? That is the Question

When we found out we were having a boy, the questions really started to fly. First we started debating names and then we started debating whether to circumcise H or not. Coming from the midwest, this was never even a question. We just did it because, well I’m not exactly sure why everyone seemed to do it.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics has never come outright and said “you should circumcise your child.” I had read an article in one of my parenting magazines that really struck a cord with me and I felt it was definitely worth researching and discussing with my husband. He, like me, originally did not understand what there was to talk about. He had been circumcised (not for religious reasons) and didn’t see why his son shouldn’t be as well.

We discussed our options with my doctor to start. She said that here on the East Coast it’s about 50/50 circumcised vs. not so our child would most likely not run into criticism one way or the other. And that more often than not, parents decided to do whatever the father was because some day he will have to explain why his is different than your son’s if you decide to go in a different direction. We had heard that it could be more hygenic to do so, but again, the AAP has never backed that theory. Then of course I had read about botched circumcision jobs and the horror storie about everything that could go wrong.

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Parenting Apps I Can’t Live Without

I don’t know how parents did it before the technology we have today. One piece of technology that I can’t live without (even before H was born) is my iPhone and all of the great apps that you can get on it. I’m sure there are dozens of apps out there that I would love, that I don’t even know exist.

But after I had H, my iPhone and some new apps became even more vital. Some of these have become less relevant as H has gotten older, but I could not have lived without them in the early weeks and months when I was most sleep-deprived and still getting the lay of the land.

Baby Connect

Baby Connect, $4.99 (and worth every penny)
This app single handedly kept me sane in the first few months. It let’s you keep track of when your baby sleeps, eats (and how much and what, and if you’re breast feeding, which side he fed on and for how long), when he had a dirty diaper (what it was, consistency, size, etc.), medicine (if he needs it), activity time, and so much more. I only tracked the most necessary, but the feeding tracker was my favorite because it reminded me of the last time H ate, what side, how much, etc. It was such a savior. A bonus is that you can download all of this information and email it to your pediatrician. It also provides graphs and charts of everything so you can ensure that your baby is eating enough, going to the bathroom often, and is staying healthy.

Project 365

Project365, free
This is a great app, especially if you have family far away like we do. It’s a bit of work, but I think it’s totally worth it. I take a photo of H every day (yes, every day) and I upload it to this app, add a description (I try to make mine fun and quirky and as if they’re from H himself), and then the app uploads them to a website, which you can share with your friends and family. Here is our site. This also keeps us from driving those friends on Facebook crazy with endless photos of our baby. Because let’s be honest: Not everyone cares that H made a funny face three days in a row.

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Introducing Solids

H just turned four months the other day – where has the time gone? And although my pediatrician was very clear that she does not suggest introducing solids until six months, H cannot get enough milk and I certainly can’t keep up with him.

Introducing Solid Foods

So after doing a lot of research on my own, and asking my sister-in-law who is a pediatric physician’s assistant what she felt was safe, I decided to go for it and introduce some rice cereal. I figured, the worst thing that could happen was that he wouldn’t like it and we would try again another time, but that was not the case.

He took to it like a duck to water! He knew exactly what to do and seemed to really enjoy it. In fact, he almost ate the whole bowl (which was a tablespoon of rice cereal mixed with two-three tablespoons of breast milk).

I by no means think I know more than a pediatrician, although my actions may say differently, but I just couldn’t imagine H finishing an entire bottle of 8 ounces and then going back and filling it up again would keep him full and satisfied. I also feel that every child is different and that there is no rule across the board that works for EVERY child. And I did not enter into this decision lightly.

Some tips I found that helped are:

1. I sate him in his high chair at the table with us while we were eating for almost two weeks before we started the cereal. I gave him toys while he sat there because I wanted him to get used to his chair and associate it with fun.

2. My husband and I also talked to him about what we were eating and how delicious it was. I try to tell him as much about what I’m doing anyway, so this was just an extension of that. I figure it can only help him learn about his surroundings.

3. I introduced the cereal when he was in a good mood. This was right after he woke up from a nap and was not starving, but was getting hungry. If he starts to fuss, I give him his bottle. If he still seems hungry after his bottle, I try the cereal again. He usually takes it before and after his bottle with no problem, and because he’s in a good mood, my hope is he will associate food and happiness together.

What other tips do you have for introducing solids to your little one?

Cooking and Being a Mom

I love to cook, it’s one of my many joys. And before I had H I would spend hours each weekend preparing dinner parties, make ahead meals, and menus for the upcoming week. I even prepared a bunch of casseroles, soups, and pot pies to put in our freezer so we could just defrost and heat after H arrived. If you’re expecting (even if you’re not a cook) I highly recommend doing this, it was such a big help when we were short on time (and sleep).

Recipes

After I found out I was pregnant, I knew that cooking was one of the many things I would have less time for, which made me sad, but I was bound and determined to not give it up all together. After all, mom and dad have to eat too and someday soon I’ll be making food for H as well.

With some planning ahead and good ol’ organization, I’m still able to cook many of my favorite things, and I don’t just mean mac n’ cheese or frozen pizzas. I’m making real recipes and meals.

I love trying new recipes and to keep them organized, I have a recipe box and binder as well as a Pinterest board for new recipes I find online. If I need inspiration for the week, I just spend a few minutes before bed and go through these tools or my favorite cookbooks. My new favorite is Ina Garten Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust because it is foolproof, perfect for busy moms.

After I’ve been inspired and have a couple of recipes for the week, on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning I make a list of all the ingredients I’ll need for the recipes and lunches, snacks, etc. I then order all of my groceries through FreshDirect. If you don’t have FreshDirect in your neck of the woods, check to see if you have PeaPod or ask your local grocer if they deliver. It saves a ton of time ordering your groceries, and it saves me money because I’m not wondering the aisles at the grocery store buying things I (and my hips) don’t need.

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