DIY Outside baby playard

Living in Georgia our weather has been crazy this year. It’s hot then it’s cold then it’s yes then it’s no…needless to say when we get a warm sunny day we are headed outside to take advantage of our pre-pollen season . Pollen will soon be upon us. Not familiar, well it’s pretty incredible how there can be so much yellow pollen that attracts itself to your car in the matter of an hour. 

Yesterday Daddy and I took our 8 month old outside with my almost 6 year old and my 3 year old. Everyone wanted to play something different on the front yard and daddy was riding his bike in the culdasac. After holding the baby for 15 minutes I realized that I needed some non holding baby time too.

I looked in the garage and saw our lovely blue plastic hard sized kids pool. It’s just big enough to move with one hand. I grabbed that baby put a sheet in the bottom for a little padding and some baby friendly inside toys and sat my little non mobile 8 month old right in the middle. She loved it! She had her toys, she could sit and she could see 365 degrees around her. This was a mommy win for sure. 

  
What you will need:

A baby that sits

A hard sided plastic pool NOT filled with water

Baby toys

A blanket or sheet for padding
Make sure to place the pool on a flat surface. You will thank me later.

Share your Baby tricks and tips below. 

5 Awkward New Mom Moments 

 5 awkward moments 
As a mom of three I recently was reminded of a few social situations every new mom should be prepared for with the knowledge and understanding that comes with experience and repetition. Here are 5 common awkward new mom moments mothers currently or in the future will relate to.

1. Incorrect baby gender guessing.

Rarely is someone intentionally trying to incorrectly guess the gender of your baby. There is a 1 in 2 chance they will get it right which is better odds than winning the publishers clearinghouse.

Today while at a warehouse store I had a couple tell me how beautiful my baby boy was and asked old he was. Notice the picture for the blog was taken right before we left with a pink hat and a pink and red flowered onsie…

Most people are so busy they haven’t paid any attention that you went out of your way to put that huge pink bow on your baby’s tiny head, or the hat in my case, to help the new baby ambiguity. Not to mention the hot pink and black car seat cover or blanket you have her snuggled in.

People will always be so excited to speak with you (and at your baby in what they consider acceptable baby talk). So excited that they get all mixed up, and can’t relate pink with girl and blue with boy. Just be kind and move it along and realize it’s not you it’s them and even if you say something like I have her and a son and another daughter they will still continue to call the baby girl a boy. These individuals are in every store, church, baseball crowd, pizza carry out line… So of course I just answered the question of “his” age and didn’t even clarify. They were the sweetest couple of about 50 years old and helped me load my groceries on the belt and then happened to park next to me and helped when I was at the car again.

Until age two or three a young baby to toddler’s physical appearance can be tough for people to associate with a gender for some reason. You may even resort to telling them the baby’s name. There is no help just go with the mentality of “bless their heart” and you will get through it.

 I’m happy to say at age two and a half or three years of age this misidentification will decrease significantly although it may still occur especially if your son wears the fashionable shag hairdo.

2. Post pregnancy people will ask you when you are due or if you are pregnant.

You have grown a human inside your body. Your organs have moved, your body has added the fat necessary to prepare your body to provide nutrition to that new bouncing baby. Your uterus is on the shrink but girl, it took ten months for your body to morph it will not change back overnight or sometimes ever. All women who have born children deal with the comments and you are now part of a very elite club of women.

Don’t take it personal! That person would most likely not walk up to someone and say “you look fat, when are you going to start working out.” There is this social curiosity that exists when it comes to pregnancy and babies. People feel the need to “ask questions” and “engage in conversation” everywhere. They are just trying to strike up a conversation and aren’t sure how and what’s appropriate.

Complete strangers care about the wellbeing of mothers and when their little bundles will be joining them. Letting them know how old your baby only help initiate the regret, their embarrassment sets in and apologies flow out of their mouth. Realize you are beautiful because you are a miracle bearing woman who birthed a beautiful baby and one day you can get back to feeling sexy in your own skin whatever changes may have occurred.

It doesn’t even matter if your new bundle of joy is secured in the cart, the inquisitor totally misses that thing in the cart is a baby.

Of course as a brand new mom of a one week old you feel like you look like your three to five months pregnant.  No one told you it would take “time” for everything to return or move and you are tired like no other. If you are like me, I’m additionally a little irritable for the first three months. Just hang in there and keep your cool. If not for you then for their sake. No one wants to unleash the wrath of the new momma.

3. The baby spitting up in your shoulder in public WILL be brought toyour attention by a stranger.

As a mother of three I accept that I will have spitup, buggers, tears, food and possibly poop on me depending on the day and maybe all at once. I chose this when I chose to be a mother and I know that my days of Banana Republic dry clean only clothes are lost. With baby one the frequency was a surprise, baby 2 it was just inconvenient and now with baby 3 it’s expected and I embrace it. I now just say “yep isn’t it awesome” with a smile and I move it along.

I chose to be a mother. I wanted to be a mother. I waited patiently for that day to come. I knew it would be filled with days of vomit, poop and crying but also days of happiness, smiles, cuddles and the cutest little people ever. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to have a plan in place.

I have found that wearing a cardigan and traveling with an extra shirt is helpful for a quick change and dressing in layers is easy. I have two of my favorite cardigans because one will always be washing while I wear the other. 

So thank you stranger for staying the obvious, that yes, I have a babyand that baby is spitting up and yes that baby missed the tiny Burpcloth or lack thereof (it is the third, I’m lucky if I have one onhand) so just flash them a kind smile and a “thank you” to them and keep it moving. No need to waste time talking about the obvious for I am amother and so many don’t have those blessed days.

4. Anywhere you go and anyone you see or speak to will have the urge to  offer unsolicited advice.

Take it all with a grain of salt and remember the less you encourage the person to continue talking by asking them questions the faster it will be over.
Every kid is different. Every baby is different. Have a trusted group of mommas that you can ask your question and get advice from people who know you and the situation.

Be specific if you are asking for advice to minimize irrelevant information. Always consult with your pediatrician if you are unsure, they are baby professionals and have seen the spectrum of severe to more minor things they will tell you not to worry about.

Be cautious of leading questions. You know what I’m talking about. The stranger asks, “is your baby sleeping through the night?” Or “does your baby always cry like that?” The curious person will then vomit advice regardless of the answer or share a personal story to connect. 

We are all experts on something and mothers on everything mother so the “with my baby…” Will happen. I like to always answer positively and withthe mentality once again of “bless their heart” because they just want to feel like their experience can “help” another. You may be surprised when it actually does. So stay open minded and keep that beautiful smile on your face. Undoubtedly we all are guilty of this on some level. 

5. Your child will break down and cry in a public place and someone will point it out. 

Actually you just might break down crying too. Having a baby is an emotional roller coaster. You aren’t alone although you may feel like it. Not every comment is meant to come out as rude. Rude comments may actually leave someone’s mouth but my laugh it off response is “yep, we were all babies once too. It’s a hard life being x years old”.  More often than not people are not being intentionally rude. 

There will be others there to help and lift you up. I have the outlook that we are all just trying to do our best. My best might look different than your best and vice versa. We should try to be patient with one another. 

I remember having my second baby and having to go to a fabric store with my then 2 1/2 year old little girl and eight week old boy.

Waiting to get fabric cut seemed like an eternity with a screaming baby in my cart and an active two and a half year old beside me. (Don’t let this fool you I am amateur at sewing) I was on the verge of tears. I felt like everyone was looking at me and I told myself that they were thinking, “she just can’t handle that baby and toddler” and “why would she be in a fabric store with a newborn anyway?”. I told myself what I thought they were thinking.

First of all refrain from that internal conversation. I had no idea what they were thinking and thinking about it was stressing me even more. As I was on the verge of crying and water already starting to enter my eyes, A lady came to my aid and offered to console my screaming newborn. My immediate response was “Are you sick?” While already unbuckling him from the seat to hand him over. She wasn’t and the handoff occurred. The other 6 ladies (all sweet as can be) somegrandmas some with children who were out of the house chimed in how lucky this lady was to hold the baby and they had wanted to help too.

They weren’t criticizing me at all. They understood and probably were just too scared to say anything. Now I also knew that if the stranger took off with my baby the other 6 women would chase her down and take care of it.

We don’t have to do this alone. I could have said, “no thank, you I’m fine” but I wasn’t fine. I needed help and those ladies could see it. God knew I needed an angel and he sent me one. It felt so good to have an extra pair of hands. 

The lady wouldn’t stop thanking me when she returned the baby. She said she had wanted to hold a little baby for the last five years. Her kids were in high school and she didn’t know anyone with a baby. She told me it made her year and that she was so happy to help. 

Regardless of what comments are made, or not made and the looks you might get, you are an amazing rocking mom. You are not alone and you can do this. The time of your child’s littleness passes so quickly there isn’t enough time to get hung up on everybody else. Do you. Be there and present for your baby and children. They won’t remember the mixed up gender comments or the looks of people who are staring while they are screaming for whatever reason. They will remember their loving sweet kind mother. 

The 5 best baby products

Every year baby companies try to come out with their latest and greatest to remarket to previous and acquire new moms as their customers. With baby number one I was a working momma and I told you about my favorite things for a Working momma in one of my very first blog posts ever. 

Now I’ve been a stay at home mom since baby number 2 and now on baby number three and the last.  My new favorite gadgets or baby “things” are awesome! Don’t believe me check them out. 

1. The WubaNub Pacifier ($12.95 Amazon.com)

This incredible invention is not new by any means but invented 17 years ago by a desperate momma.  (www.wubbanub.com) Forget that lost tiny pacifier that fell between the seat back of the rocking her chair and you couldn’t find. This little stuffed animal makes it a lot easier for you and others helping you, because you know you have told everyone to drop what they are doing and help you find that pacifier. 

So why is this on my new list? They come out with different stuffed animals of course. I was not a participant in the Beanie Baby craze but the retired and new animals are hot commodities. I mean look at their newest addition the “baby lion”. It’s adorable and those cute little two month hands can hold it and squeeze it and when you put the pacifier into your baby’s mouth it doesn’t falL right away to the side when they spit it out but rather the weighted feet keep it put.

  (Image compliments of WubaNub.com)
2. Carter’s Mix & Match Fresh Air Crib Liner ($59.99  Buybuybaby.com)

I know we have all thought about how terribly ugly the breathable mesh crib bumpers are and have owned one out of the feeling of duty and responsibility to our child’s safety. Well Carter’s (and a few other manufacturers) have developed a wonderful little thing called a crib liner. Decorated adorably to match the color theme of your room it provides a breathable mesh but with adorable fabric accents. 

The best part is that the bumper is  part of the liner. Instead of putting your mattress on your crib springs, the springs are covered by the   an attachmesh bottom that is attached. When you secure the liner like a normal crib number you set the mattress in and when you change a sheet there is no need to remove the number since it stays in place. 

  (Picture courtesy of buybuybaby.com)
3. Bright Starts Take Along Toy Carrier ($5.79 Target.com)

We have a Chicco keyfit30 car seat and this little guy has been amazing. Now equipped with Velcro on the sides to attatch the toy to the car seat for the perfect fit, it can be moved to the right height for the baby to reach. 

I put this on her seat last month (she was 2 months old) Mainly so her brother and sister could entertain her in the car. As soon as she turned 3 months she was rattling the zebra by herself and as if this week she is now pushing the Tigers nose to hear the music. 
4. Baby bunners cream by Homemade Addiction ($35.95 In the baby organic gift set Etsy.com )

My doctor said that diaper rash is inevitable. Dr. Aurora proceeded to explain that when urine and feces mix in a diaper it creates a chemical reaction and a irritant to the skin hence diaper rash. I try to be careful what I put on my baby’s behind. When I found the Homemade Addiction Baby Bunners Cream I was hooked. 

This awesome cream has zinc oxide to protect those cute cheeks and is really easy to apply. It’s not sticky or pasty and actually doesn’t appear white once it’s applied. I can read all the ingredients and know what they are. It’s great for sensitive skin. My daughters bum is protected and just as perfect as the day she was born. 

  
Picture compliments of etsy.com and homemade addiction 

5. Angelcare Baby bath support ($19.99 Target.com)

We have all battled the kitchen sink and lost at least once with the baby bathers that supposedly fit any size sink for those delicate little ones. The bathtub in our bathroom was made for bathing. I don’t know about you but I found that I could bath my baby quicker in the tub than the sink. This contoured bath support is made of perforated formed soft plastic. It dries quickly and is soft for the baby. It is easy to use and makes bath time a breeze. 

   Photo compliments of target.com
What’s your favorite baby product? Comment below. 

5 Simple tips to Select the right Baby Carrier

  Getting ready for our last baby a lot of things have changed. Let’s just say this momma is chasing after a two year old and a five year old. So while crossing a parking lot or let alone the street I have my five year old on one hand and my two year old on the other.  It dawned on me about a month ago I have two hands and am going to have three children.  I’m outnumbered.  I turned to a couple different friends who pointed me in the direction of considering a baby carrier to keep my hands free and save my back. I attended a free Baby Wearers International of Atlanta local meeting. After listening to a brief explanation about each type of carrier and how to wear the baby safely and correctly it was hands on. With fourty different carriers available to touch and feel and try on I decided there really are five things to consider when selecting a baby carrier.

  1. Budget: Baby carriers range from $15 to over $600 depending on brand, exclusivity, material, style etc. Knowing what your budget is can help you narrow down some options in the category of carrier you want. But if you know your budget is $100 don’t go into the $400 categories and fall in love with something you can’t afford. Stay within you budget you can fall in love with something there and not know the difference that a luxury carrier makes. Not following this counsel can lead to carrier envy as well as carrier disappointment.
  2. Style: If you are a first time mom or a mom of three there is a carrier for you and your lifestyle. Styles include mei tai, woven wraps, jersey wraps, soft structured carriers, slings/pouch, structured carriers, framed carriers. Trying on and touching these different styles will help you decide which style is right for your activities and body size. I thought I would love the tula since they are so cute with all of their adorable prints, and needless to say these narrow shoulders and small 5’6” frame of mine didn’t lend well to a good fit.
  3. Material: Besides the fact that many sensory issues now arise in our society, the feel and type of material has become very important. Finding a carrier that supports your baby in a material that is comfortable for you and baby will help you love your experience instead of dread putting that carrier on. Whether it’s a woven wrap (often similar to table cloth material), organic cotton, jersey stretch, or synthetic material consider the season you are using your wrap. I will have another summer baby. Sure any carrier will have its added heat issues as another human is right next to you exuding her body heat, but honestly selecting a jersey moby like wrap for a summer baby is just asking for heat stroke, unless of course you go around in the air conditioned pope mobile.
  4. Fit/Comfort: Know your body. Know what doesn’t feel right. Know if the carrier will fit baby and you correctly. The worst thing is having a carrier that doesn’t fit your baby or you. You can imagine how important this tip is. If there are sizing charts for the carrier I am interested in then don’t buy the wrong size. And just because it might fit, for example, the baby is able to meet the criteria for correct safe carrying, doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. That’s right, those jeans that are the stiffest jean material known to man but they fit. Yep, they definitely aren’t worth the discomfort to wear to a day out shopping. You are investing in a tool to help you as a mother and help your child and there isn’t a reason that you should compromise on fit or comfort even if that print is adorable.
  5. Purpose/Ease of Use: If the carrier takes too much time to put on and go it almost defeats the idea of convenience and ease of carrying the baby. I personally have an issue with buckles. I can’t seem to figure the darn things out. I’ve pinched myself, and baby in carriers with buckles and can’t stand the squeeze here and here to release for an extra safety caution. Remember I have two hands….two hands people not four to hold the baby, adjust a strap, clip the buckle and pick up a bag. Wrapping with a woven wrap doesn’t do buckles but It would take me a few weeks with a professional and a wrap the right size and instruction for me to really get the hang of how awesome they are.

Evaluate these five areas and your baby carrier searching will not only be narrowed down but you won’t be disappointed by looking at a wrap that doesn’t suit your needs. I feel more in control of my carrying experience as well as more educated on safe carrying. Walking through the zoo I was able to identify incorrect uses of carriers and boy it was a little creepy I have to admit.

My Favorite things when I was a working new mom

A friend of mine is due in August with her first and being super excited she is also a little anxious about what will happen when she goes back to work and asked if I had some favorite items that I found awesome while I was working. Of course I do and hence this blogpost. If you aren’t into reading about new mom “stuff” and the things that go along with that, namely carseats, breastfeeding, etc, read no further, I won’t take offense.

Now to give you an idea of my life when my husband and I found out I was going to have our first little baby I was working about 60 hours a week as a director of corporate relations for a local college and was in school full time earning my Master’s Degree. Besides that I had made the “decision” to have a breast milk baby. I know, I know, everyone I worked with thought I was crazy too and all said that they never attempted it. I almost agreed when I found out on day one of daycare I needed to provide 7 (4-6 oz) bottles of breastmilk. Ok, so here we go. I do want to note that my daughter was my first child and I really wanted to have to purchase some items only once so I did lean toward gray since I could always couple it with pink or blue.

Chicco Keyfit30 Carseat

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A great carseat that you love is really important. At the daycare I would drop my daughter off in her seat and we would put her in it when I picked her up. My husband had an extra base in his car so if he needed to pick up our daughter he just would grab and go.  I loved the Chicco Keyfit30 because it was one of the lightest on the market and having just had a car accident not too many years before I was all about the lightest possibility. Remember, when you pick up a carseat, which I did pick up every single one at Babies ‘R’ Us, your child will be in that seat until they are 1 years old and up to possibly 30 lbs, that car seat gets heavier and heavier not lighter and lighter. I loved the carseat and the best time to pick one up is on clearance when they switch their fabric prints, or with a coupon or competitor coupon. Do not buy any carseat used!!! A carseat base is fine but not a carseat. You don’t know the history of the seat and it could be compromised.  Definitely worth the investment and this was the most expensive baby item I owned. Yes, even more than my Medela Freestyle Breast Pump, and my crib. Luckily it didn’t expire before I had my second and he was able to use it because it was gender neutral.

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

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So the hype about this product is true! It’s awesome. I was on the road for about 65-70% of the time. Committing to pumping and working is a huge commitment when doing on-site events as a vendor at different companies locations. This pump is small and has a lot of power to do single or double pumping. Now, I was really budget conscious when I went shopping and yes I bought a used Medela freestyle pump off of ebay for about $100 instead of the $300+ they ask new at the baby stores. TAKE your pump with you to the hospital when you deliver. The lactation nurse will show you how to use it and give you a pumping 101. Now I have friends who thought, gross a used pump. Sure I looked at it as I just needed the actual battery powered motor everything else I could replace for under $25. I called Medela and they sent me new hoses free of charge since they don’t sell them. I went to Target and picked up new cups since everyone is a different size and mine didn’t come with any to sanitize anyway. So I ended up with a pump that was awesome for 1/3 of the price. I used this every day and it’s still going strong. There is a car charger for it that they sell separately and the battery, if you find one that says the battery is bad, is sold at Radioshak.

Milkies Milk Saver

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Milk is precious when you need as much as you do for daycare, so the milkies milk saver works awesome for about the first 6 months and then is pretty much not as advantageous after. You can get an extra 4 oz if you use this while nursing or if you are pumping just one side because you are going to feed the baby when you pick them up.

Nest Elliot Diaper Bag

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I needed a diaper bag that looked like a bag that I could take out on a date or carry to work. Now, I had a skiphop special I picked up on clearance at Target to drop off at the daycare since it gets destroyed with the back and forth and the masking tape they put on all of the diaper bags with the name of the child. But my nest Elliot bag kept me feeling like I was still a sexy fashion forward mom that could go to work or church and have what I needed and she needed.  The nest Elliot Dipaer can run pretty pricey but you know I’m all about a good bargain so buying this bag new wasn’t a top priority for me. I love a good leather bag as I am a coach girl but I found a black bag on ebay for less than $80. For that one go to bag you are going to use for the first year and a half of your child’s life I felt like I got my moneys worth.

Itzbeen Timer

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The idea of a timer that you could use and “leave” with a babysitter or a husband was awesome. There are plenty of apps out there but you can’t “leave” your phone when you are leaving your baby at home. I went to evening school so this was super helpful for Daddy and Grandpa to figure out the last time the baby ate, had a diaper change, or slept. It helped them figure out the type of cry.

Lilypads

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I used a lot of Lansoah disposable nursing pads day to day and they worked well but I bought these anyway after a friend of mine shared  her recommendation. I loved these for when I would go swimming or for mothers day I went to get a massage, or intimate times when you might be afraid of leaking. These are self adhesive. I do recommend buying their cleaner with them.

Seven Slings

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This sling I picked up paying for shipping only. They run a lot of deals and coupon codes that make this “free” and they have a lot of prints so you can pick up two if you are about matching or changing it up. They also fold down pretty small which made it fit in my purse really well. I kept my baby in the sling at church to cut down on the “can I hold your baby and breathe all over it and I know its cold season but I really want to hold her and spread my germs”. It worked great.  Use promo code “MOTHER14SS” at SevenSlings.com to get aFREE Baby Carrier – a $40 value!

At Checkout they will give you codes to go to their sister sites for other free products and I’ve done that with the Carseat Canopy which is the next item.

Carseat Canopy

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A must have for a napping baby or to keep the sun out of their eyes. This carseat tentlike blanket gives a soft side that often times I used as a blanket for the baby to lay on with the regular fabric side on the ground. Sometimes I even had to use this to clean up messes or use as a birp cloth when nothing else could be found. It is very machine washable. There usually are coupon codes to get this for free as well. From their last promotion I received a few months ago they said  Check out our 12 brand new prints! Use promo code “MARCHMADNESS14” for a FREE Carseat Canopy ($50 value) at CarseatCanopy.com today!

Ipod nano

I said it. Getting your baby used to sleeping with noise and music will save you on sleep. Otherwise your child could end up being a light sleeper. Remember it is very loud in the womb and they are used to a lot of noise, to help them sleep this works fabulously. I didn’t buy one of these, I just added some music to mine and loaned it to the baby.

UdderCovers

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The nursing cover is great for if you are pumping in the car, yes, I know all about that as well, or if you are nursing in a mothers lounge or even at home when you have company. It also makes it a little dark for the baby and reduces distractions during nursing. I was always afraid someone would walk in on me pumping in the room they assigned to me at work so I used this all the time. Their most recent email newsletter offers a free one. Go to UdderCovers.com and use promo code “MARCHMADNESS14” to get your FREE Nursing Cover in any print ($35 Value) today!

Nalgene Bottle

This was for me to make sure I was drinking enough water. You can’t pump, you can nurse as effectively if you aren’t drinking enough fluids. No need to be dehydrated and this kept me aware of what I was putting in as I was taking out.

So to my friend, I hope this helps give you some tried and favorites of mine.