Your baby shower helped supply you with what you need for the first year of baby's life, but what about when you start the toddler years? Here are 11 must-have products to help you make it through with ease. Pssst! Be sure to read this list of 11 must-have toddler products all the way to the end!
Make handwashing even easier by attaching a faucet extender to the bathroom sink. The Aqueduck Single Handle Faucet Extender is a two-piece system that brings the water flow closer to the front of the sink and provides an extension to the faucet lever so kids can turn the water on and off easily after going potty. ($24.95)
Make sure those first steps are well supported. The soft soles of Robeez Shoes for toddlers promote balance by flexing and bending with each step. As a bonus, the elastic ankle feature ensures the tiny shoes stay in place, even on the most curious toddler. ($26)
Bye-bye bottles. Growing kids need to learn how to hold and drink from their own cups. Start with a Playtex Sipsters Stage 1 cup that features a soft silicone spout that makes it easy to transition from a nipple to a straw. The break-proof cup is molded to fit tiny toddler hands. ($7.99/2-count)
As soon as the potty becomes interesting, introduce your toddler to his or her first pair of washable big kid underwear. Gerber Training Pants feature covered elastic waistlines, making them easy for kids to pull up and down. Tucked inside are 100 percent cotton panels to absorb accidents. These training pants are available in sizes 18 months, 2T and 3T. ($15.99)
Bed Side Rail
After you've upgraded your crib escapee to a big kid bed, keep her safe with a protective side rail. The Babies R Us Extra Long Swing Down Bedrail features a 20-inch tall protective barrier that stretches 56-inches along the edge of the bed. When morning comes, simply fold down the rail until nap time. ($32.99)
Keep your little one safe and cozy during their time on the big potty. The Disappearing Potty Seat attaches to your existing toilet seat and tucks up into the lid via magnets when not in use. The slow-closing lid keeps little fingers from getting pinched. ($49.95–$59.95)
Playing in the pool with a toddler can often mean frequent potty breaks. Keep trips to the bathroom quick and simple by slipping your little one into a two-piece swimsuit. The Cabana Life Swim Shorts and Rashguard Set also offers long sleeves for optimal sun protection. ($32.90)
Once your toddler discovers how to make those little legs move, he'll be everywhere! The Graco Molded Step Stool makes it easy for him to reach the big potty, wash his hands at the sink, help you at the kitchen counter, and get in and out of his big kid bed. This stool offers a no-slip grip for tiny toes to stay put and a non-skid bottom to keep the stool securely in place. ($14.19)
Bathtub Spout Cover
Rub a dub dub, if you don't want any bumps in the tub, cover the faucet. The Kel-Gar Tubbly Bubbly elephant- or hippo-shaped bathtub spout cover allows water to flow while protecting your toddler's fingers from hot metal faucet spouts or accidental bruises and bumps when playing near the fixture during bath time.($12.59)
Table Booster Seat
When your baby outgrows his high chair, move into an elevated booster seat. The Graco Blossom Booster Seat features safety straps to keep kids in place and a removable back insert to help safely position your child as he grows and fills the seat. This portable booster seat is perfect for use at home, in restaurants, or on visits to see friends and family. ($29.99)
The dog days of Summer may be well behind us, but that doesn't mean it's time to pack in the outdoor adventures quite yet. Crisp Fall days are just around the corner they lend themselves perfectly to throwing on a sweater and embarking on family fun from sun up till sundown. Here, 22 ways to take advantage of the season!
Make a Pile of Leaves
. . . and jump in them!
Play With Sidewalk Chalk
One bucket of sidewalk chalk will lend itself to hours of entertainment and tons of learning opportunities. All you need is a concrete space, a wild imagination, and a hose for cleanup. Try these five ideas to start with.
Feed the Ducks
If your kids have been begging for a pet of their own for months and you're simply unable to oblige, give them the next best thing. Grab some stale bread to use as duck food, and head to your nearest lake or pond. You can even make a half-day trip of it, packing a lunch and hanging by the playground.
Go Apple Picking
Seek out a nearby orchard and get picking! This will also solve your dilemma of what to do on upcoming rainy or overcast days, as your bushels of apples will make the most delicious pies, muffins, breads, and more.
Write a Fall Bucket List
Teach the kids about setting goals early on with a Fall bucket list. It doesn't have to be anything serious — think friendships, new sports, and recipes — but it will be fun to turn to your list for ideas next time you hear a chorus of "Mom, I'm bored . . . "
Make Chalk Spray
Switch up their usual sidewalk chalk play a bit and let them spray their artwork instead. By mixing paint, water, cornstarch, and soap, they'll have a unique formula that's fun to spritz on the driveway and sidewalk.
Take a Hike
The whole family will get a healthy dose of exercise by exploring a local park or new neighborhood on a kid-friendly hike.
Make a Garden Sensory Bin
Sensory boxes are a fun way to get kids talking about what they're seeing and feeling. This garden sensory bin is a great way to wrap a theme around the bin.
Play Dress-Up With Face Paint
Turn the kids into their favorite animals with face paint, glitter, and jewels. Don't worry if you're not a professional makeup artist, we have all the tips and tricks you need to know!
Go Pumpkin Picking
Carving a jack-o'-lantern is so much more satisfying when he's made from a pumpkin that your kids picked on their very own.
Make Ice Cream in a Coffee Can
Avoid the mess of making ice cream inside with this fun and toddler-friendly activity. Simply mix the ingredients and then have the kids roll the can back and forth!
Have a Campfire
Some of the best Indian Summer memories can be made around a campfire. If you have a fire pit or access to one, let the kids roast everything from veggies to s'mores. After everyone is fed and full, tell stories and share some laughs.
Plan a Treasure Hunt
Pull out the pirate hats and send your littlest mateys off on search of buried treasure. Make a map leading them to the bounty by staining paper with coffee and burning the edges. Then, have a prize — like gold coins — hidden at the end of the journey. Watching their excitement will be just as much fun for you as it is for them.
Set Up an Obstacle Course
Get the kids into a competitive spirit with an obstacle course. Using objects you already own (ropes, tubes, and beams), you can create a backyard course that tests their agility and will keep them entertained for hours. It also makes an affordable party theme!
Cruise For Fall Foliage
Follow Ralph Waldo Emerson's sage advice: "Life is a journey, not a destination," and take a meandering drive down a scenic stretch near your home — simply to soak in the beauty of the changing leaves. Not sure where to start? Check out The Weather Channel's guide to the best scenic drives in the country.
No need to wait until Christmas — bake up a batch of chewy sugar cookies and let your kids go to town with some al fresco frosting and decorating fun. Use cookie cutters, food coloring, and sprinkles to make each cookie unique.
Plant a Garden
Starting a garden is a great way to teach your kids about the value of fresh food, and inspire them to take an interest in the culinary arts later on. Between the watering and the weeding, a garden will give them an ongoing project that'll also be a fun and hands-on way to teach responsibility.
Plan a Picnic
Pack for a picnic and head to the park; it's time for an adventure! Bring along your family's favorite on-the-go eats and these picnic essentials for an afternoon of fun under the early Fall sun.
Make a Spray-Paint Craft
Get out the spray bottles: this artistic project may get a little messy, but when it's executed outdoors, cleanup's a breeze.
Have a Scavenger Hunt
Put your little detectives to work with a scavenger hunt. This is a great activity for a group of kids, and you can set it up anywhere: a park, your backyard, or around the neighborhood. Keep it simple or turn to this detective party for clues on how to set up a more elaborate adventure.
Go Backyard Camping (For a Few Hours!)
Actually spending the night outdoors may be a bit chilly in Fall, but for an evening of family fun, pitch a tent, make s'mores, and tell campfire stories — then cuddle up in the comfort of your own beds. It's the best of both worlds!
Encourage your little shutterbugs to get snapping by creating a list of "photo missions," and accompanying them on a photo safari. Include things you're apt to see around your neighborhood — a red door, a mom with a double stroller, a white dog . . . get creative!
And don't forget to wear your ro•sham•bo shades while doing all outdoor activities! The air may be colder, but the sun still shines just as bright in the fall - even brighter when it has snow to bounce off of!
We don't have to tell you that there are tons of benefits to laving your kids participating in after-school activities. Extracurriculars help a child's physical development, boost social skills, improve academic performance, and build confidence. The only potential downside is the cost. Not to worry: These 11 tips to spend less on your kid's after-school extracurricular activities.
1. Register early
Fill out your child's registration paperwork and pay the fees as early as possible. Some organizations give a discount for early registration, and registering early gives you time to prepare for the activity so that you can accommodate it into your budget without last minute surprise expenses, says Clare K. Levison, author of Frugal Isn't Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better. Another reason to get your child enrolled early: you don't have to worry about forgetting to do it in time and then having to pay a late registration fee!
2. Ask for a discount
Some activities offer a multi-child or sibling discount, but you may not get it if you don't ask. Even if you only have one child participating in the program, check if there are any other discounts for which your child or family might qualify. You never know. A program may give a small percentage off if you or your spouse are military or law enforcement, or if your child is on the honor roll at school. "It never hurts to ask for a discount because every little bit helps," Levison says.
3. Look for a coupon
Yep, you may be able to find a coupon for your child's baseball team or dance class. "Thanks to sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, there are coupons for just about everything now, including extracurricular activities," says Michael Catania, co-founder of the savings community PromotionCode.org. "Do a quick search for the activity along with the month and year (for example, Pony League Baseball, Las Vegas, August 2016 offers) to see if what discounts might be available before you register," he says. It's also a good idea to look for discount codes when shopping for uniforms, equipment and other required items. Even if it's only a 5 percent off or BOGO offer, those savings add up.
4. Volunteer or barter
Volunteering with the organization can often reduce or remove the participation fees for your child, says consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. "You can offer to help with bookkeeping, coaching, or cleaning a dance studio, or you could offer your professional skills, whether that be marketing or web design," she says. Whatever you do, it doesn't have to be too time-consuming. It could be as simple as running the concession stands once a week. Every little bit helps, so talk to the program coordinators to see if there are ways you can pitch in while also reducing your child's fees. A couple of bonuses: You get to spend more time with your child doing something he enjoys, and depending on the activity, you may even get in a mini-workout.
5. Do a trial run
It's frustrating and financially draining when your child asks to participate in something, you fork over the cash, and then she begs to quit a couple of weeks later. If you're not sure that your kid will stick with a particular activity, ask if there's a way to try it out before making a full commitment. Some organizations will let your child to attend a class or two on a trial basis. It may be at no cost, or you may have to pay a small fee. Either way, it will give you and your kid time to see if this is really an activity she wants to be involved in, without you having to pay (and possibly lose) the whole fee.
6. Think thrifty
Of course, there are some things that should only be purchased new (such as mouthguards and helmets), but for many other things, secondhand is just as good. Asking family, friends, or neighbors for hand-me-downs is a great way to score gently used items like cleats, uniforms, bats, and art supplies for free or cheap. Buying used can keep more money in your pocketbook too. Check out thrift stores, eBay, Craigslist, yard sales, consignment shops, resellers like Play it Again Sports, or swap sites like SwapMeSports.com. And don't think that buying used means your child will get beat up gear. "A lot of times people try something, decide they don't like it (see above!) and then they have a piece of equipment that's practically brand new that they don't have a use for anymore, so it ends up at a thrift store [or other resale shop]," says Levison.
7. Rent equipment
Rather than paying for instruments, which can be expensive, look into renting. You can likely find rental options locally or through an online dealer. Another possibility: your library. "Some libraries, particularly those in big cities, offer rentals of musical instruments with just your library card," Catania says. Since you obviously won't be able to keep a library rental for the full school year, this option is best when your child is undecided about which instrument she wants to play and trying out different options. Once she's found the instrument she likes, you can look into a long-term rental from a music store or online.
8. Make meals/snacks ahead of time
In addition to the costs of the activity, many families shell out extra cash on food and snacks. Think about it: When you're leaving a long day at work and then heading to this or that practice or game, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. So you load up on snacks at the concession stand or grab takeout on the way home—and increase your spending. "Usuallly we find we spend too much money when we find ourselves in a time crunch," Levison says. "So if you can plan your meals ahead, do your shopping at the beginning of the week, and plan easy but healthy meals on the nights you have activities, it can save a lot of time and money."
9. Save on gas
Another area that many parents don't factor into their budget with extracurricular activities is the added travel expenses. "Organize carpools with other parents and take turns driving to practices, games, and performances," Woroch says. Since everyone's schedule is likely to be busy, reach out to others to try to create a game plan as early in the season as possible. When it's your turn to drive, make sure you save on gas. "Start off by finding the lowest local prices with an app like Gas Buddy—a crowd-sourced app that offers near up-to-the-minute gas prices sorted by zip code," Catania says. And most gas stations have affiliations with credit cards and grocery stores, so if you carry a card or shop at a specific store, look to see if it can help you lower your fuel expenses.
10. Skip the add-ons
Just because your child participates in an activity doesn't mean he has to have every little item the team offers for sale. "Professional photos, videos, and extra shirts are fun to have, but the costs can really add up," Levison says. So pass on things that aren't necessities. You can take your own photos or videos, and skip the team shirts for mom and dad and show your support by wearing the team colors instead.
11. Just say "no"
If your kid wants to do football, soccer and swim, you may have to give him a choice. "I think we tend to want to sign our kids up for a lot of organized activities these days, but you don't have to go overboard, especially if it's affecting your finances," Levison says. Limit your child to one activity per season, and tell him to choose the one he wants to do most. If he has an interest in something else, he can do it at home or find a community center that is more affordable than, says, private art lessons. Sure, there may be some whining (or even tears), but you have to do what's right for your financial situation. And, add Levinson, this is a good opportunity to something else that's beneficial to your child: have a conversation about budgets and the cost of activities.
With savings like these, you can treat you and your kiddos to rad rosmbo shades! While your kids are out playing, make sure their eyes are safe! Added bonus that our shades are unbreakable.
From that unexpected stuffy nose to outdoor conditions that trigger your child's every sniffle, Fall weather can often throw allergies a curve ball. We're sharing our tips to help keep allergies at bay during the Fall season. By arming yourself and your child with allergy relief, you'll be able to focus on the exciting new experiences and activities that make this time of year so festive and fun.
With the chaos of juggling our own schedules with our kids' calendars, it's easy for your quality time to be limited to carpool conversations and the bedtime routine. Penciling in some one-on-one time with your favorite girl may require a little extra effort, but it'll pay off in spades. Here, 15 ways to stop stressing and start making memories.
The weeknight dinnertime rush tends to take the fun out of cooking. Bring it back by devoting a few hours to hands-on foodie fun with your little one. Look up a cooking school in your area — you may be surprised to find how many kid-friendly classes are out there.
Instead of trying to squeeze in a mani-pedi while your kids are at school or during your lunch hour, schedule appointments for two after school or on a weekend afternoon. It's a fun opportunity to indulge yourselves in some girl time.
Keep reading for more great mother-daughter date ideas!
Give her a lesson in where her food comes from by taking your daughter out for a one-on-one farmers market outing. Let her have a say in your selections, and encourage her to help turn your produce picks into dinner once you're back home.
We often take for granted that our own town or city has some pretty amazing sites to see. Spend an afternoon exploring with your girl. Head off to a destination that you've always wanted to check out, or take her to one of your own favorite spots that she hasn't seen yet.
If you're a working mom, make arrangements to bring your daughter in to visit your office for the day (or, depending on her age, an hour or two). Give her a better understanding of what her mom does for a living, and spark a conversation of what she could see herself doing as an adult.
This weekend, skip brunch or lunch with your gal pals, and instead take your special little lady out for a date a deux. A one-on-one meal is a great opportunity to get her to open up on what's happening at school, in her social circle, and more.
There may be a chill in the air, but don't let it slow you down. Bundle up, and hit up a local nature trail, park, or boardwalk (hot cocoa in hand, perhaps?) for some outdoor exercise and conversation.
Really? No sushi, no lunch meat, and I can't touch kitty litter??
[reposted from Lucie's List]
There are TONS of pregnancy myths and fact about what you should-- and shouldn't -- be doing during your pregnancy. Perhaps you've already been admonished by an annoying coworker about the dangers lurking inside your turkey sandwich.
The truth of the matter is that the majority of miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects occur from reasons that are totally outside of your control. This will either give you comfort or totally freak you out; hopefully it's the former.
As it turns out, many of the rules of the pregnancy police come not from actual data or studies, but from the "why-take-a-chance" philosophy that pervades American medicine, no matter how infinitesimal the actual risk.
First, a biology lesson.
Mr. (or Ms.) Fetus
Only half of your tiny peanut is identical to your own biology (the other half belonging, of course, to your sperm-donor-of-a-husband, or boyfriend, or fiance, or one-night-stand --- no one's judging here).
Because of this dissimilarity, your little ball of baby cells would normally be rejected by your body's own immune system (much like with a transplanted organ). Thankfully, our immune systems have evolved to NOT attack the developing fetus.
Essentially, your whole immune system lets down its guard for the duration of your pregnancy. As a result, pregnant women are more vulnerable to nasty stuff. This also explains why you'll get every strain of cold under the moon during the 3rd trimester, even if you are normally quite healthy.
So which of the rules are justifiable and which aren't? Let's have a look at some pregnancy myths that have been debunked or confirmed.
Listeria is the big bad bacteria that you want to avoid during pregnancy, mainly because it can cross the placental barrier and infect the fetus, which can result in miscarriage or fetal death.
True, pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to get listeria than the non-pregnant, but EVEN SO, it is EXTREMELY rare, infecting about 50-100 per million for those with a bun in the oven (3 to 5 million without).
~ This is even less likely than your chances of dying in a plane crash (1 in 30,000).
* For comparison's sake, 1 in 84 people die in car crashes.
It should also be noted that most listeria infections in pregnancy occur in the 3rd trimester, when suppression of Th1-mediated immunity is at its maximum.
The highest risk foods for listeria are preserved fish (lox and stuff), cheese from unpasteurized milk, and deli meats. Pate (pa-TAAAAAY). Under cooked hot dogs. Stuff like that.
Bottom line: With those kinds of odds, you should worry more about your driving and less about your turkey sandwich.
Most American OBs say, "No sushi for you!" However, if you look at the data, 85% of seafood illness comes from eating raw shellfish -- that's right, bivalve mollusks, namely, raw oysters and clams.
If you take those out of the equation, the risk of falling ill from eating seafood is 1 in 2 million servings. [By comparison, the risk from eating chicken is 1 in 25,000.] So... can we agree that we won't eat raw oysters and clams? I mean, really? Millions of Japanese women are not wrong (and yes, with some of the best public health officials in the world, they've looked into it).
Furthermore, fish eaten in a sushi restaurant in the US is almost always flash frozen before it gets to the restaurant, so any parasites or bacteria in the fish would have been killed during the process.
Bottom line: No raw shellfish, but your salmon roll shouldn't be any more scary than your chicken sandwich.
"You should eat lots of fish when you're pregnant." No wait... "You should avoid fish when you're pregnant."
Well, which is it?
"Between the warnings about parasites in sushi and about mercury in certain species of fish, pregnant women are being scared off fish altogether. And that's bad news, since the fatty acids in fish are the ideal nourishment for a developing baby," said Steven Shaw, a former food writer for The New York Times.
So is there a "too much"? All researchers can do is guess at it, but many suggest that the warnings against seafood consumption are dramatically overblown.
In fact, a study in the Seychelles [a high fish-eating population] showed no link between the children's development over their first 6 years and the levels of mercury contained in their mothers' hair during pregnancy, which is a measure of the amounts to which fetuses were exposed.
Bottom line: Common sense would tell us to limit consumption of fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (sorry, no shark for you this week [snort]).
The Truth About Kitty Litter
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite whose only natural host is the cat. Reeeer.
The truth is if you've had an indoor/outdoor cat for years, your chances of being immune from a previous exposure are fairly high - perhaps as high as 90%.
Studies show... of the 10% of pregnant cat owners that are susceptible, about 2% of those are exposed to toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Of those (now 0.2%), only 30% of the 0.2% become infected. If infected (this keeps getting better, huh?), only 30% of those are "clinically infected", meaning their newborn will be impacted in some noticeable way.
Where are we on the math? About 0.0018 (or, 1.8 in 100,000) of the fetuses of pregnant cat owners will get sick from toxoplasmosis. You can see why doctors really don't see this very often.
Should you tell your husband or partner that this really isn't a threat after all?
Hell-to-tha-NO! Let him think it's highly lethal for, like... the rest of your life (come on, you can't get drunk for the next few months, the least he can do is scoop some kitty crap, yeah?). It'll be our little secret. ;-)
Conclusion: Ladies, I'm not saying you can't get sick from things like listeria, sushi, and kitty litter. I'm just saying they're fairly unlikely (k, so don't sue me). The beauty is that everyone can decide based on their own risk tolerance. I love 'dis country!
Connecting With ASD Children (from Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine)
Communicating and connecting with someone who has Autism can be difficult. If you have a loved on or a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder you might notice they have difficulty making eye contact, or they may withdraw into themselves or they might seem uninterested in relating to family members. As a parent these symptoms can be frustrating and heartbreaking but there are ways you can remove boundaries that this disorder has created. As part of Autism awareness month we want to help you break down the barriers of ASD.
How common is ASD? According to the CDC approximately 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder. From a study performed by the CDC about 1 in 6 children in the United Stated had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy and autism. ASD is also more common in boys.
Although ASD has no cure, there is still hope through treatment. Doctors and other health experts have learned the key on how to deal and communicate with kids with Autism.
Be patient. Many children with ASD take longer to process information. Try slowing down your conversation to his or her speed.
Teach your child how to express anger without being too aggressive. Children with ASD should know they shouldn’t have to hold in their anger.
Be persistent yet resilient. Don’t get upset if your child does not respond to you as you’d like. Many children with ASD have trouble both showing and controlling their responses.
Be polite. Children with ASD respond best to positive reinforcement, so make sure to reward good behavior.
Ignore irritating attention-getting behavior. ASD children may act badly at times to get you to focus on them. The best way to prevent bad behavior is by ignoring it.
Interact through physical activity. ASD children tend to have short attention spans, especially when it comes to communicating. By letting your child run around and play outside it allows them to relax and feel calmer.
Be affectionate. Children with ASD just like other children need a hug every once in awhile. Often times children with ASD they have trouble showing their feelings, but they still need to know you love them.
The Tampa Bay chapter of Autism Speaks will hold this event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. Proceeds will support Autism Speaks’ mission: To fund research and family and adult services.
These adorable sunglasses for kids, like these black toddler Wayfarer sunglasses, come in a variety of colors and sizes. Designed to care for your baby or toddler’s eyes, a portion of the proceeds of these stylish specs goes to the Autism Research Institute.
People have been wearing babies for centuries. We could learn a thing or two from our ancestors.
American women went away from babywearing a couple of generations ago when doctors preached that a baby who received too much love, touch, and attention would be “spoilt.”
Now we know better: babies desperately want to hear the sound of your voice and the beating of your heart. They also have a very good sense of smell; just the scent of mommy or daddy is enough to calm their nerves. In fact, one study showed that infants who were carried/worn during the day cried and fussed 43% less (overall) and 51% less in the evening hours (4 pm to midnight)1. Yes, please! Sign me up for that.
The Tula Baby Carrier
Babywearing is also a practical logistical solution: wearing your baby allows you to go about your day like a normal person.
In the early days (before your baby can sit unassisted), babywearing is the only practical way to do things like grocery shopping, where you really need your hands free to push a cart. Things like getting the mail, walking the dog, going through airport security and boarding a plane, doing housework, or navigating through a crowded street market becomes infinitely easier with a baby carrier.
Nay, downright enjoyable!
As with strollers, there is no one carrier that is perfect for every situation, so my advice is to decidehow you will primarily use the carrier, then go from there. Meaning… will you use it for shorter periods of time, for doing things around the house, taking short walks around the neighborhood – OR – will you use it for longer periods of time, like going on long walks or hikes. Or both.
Speaking of lifestyle, excuse me while I grossly overgeneralize and stereotype people, but I really have noticed that there are two very different types of moms out there: the walkers and the drivers.
The walker is a mom who lives in a city or walkable suburb. They walk to neighborhood parks and cafes and take public transportation sometimes (or a lot). Perhaps they also go hiking, visit street markets/festivals, and generally have more of a metropolitan lifestyle. These moms greatly benefit from longer-term babywearing. (I just described all of my mommy friends in San Francisco.)
The driver is a mom who lives in the suburbs and rarely gets from A to B on foot. This mom mostly drives everywhere and her baby/toddler tends to spend most time away from home in her car seat or stroller. Perhaps this mom also has a long commute from work and doesn’t tend to leave the house again once she arrives home. These moms will be just fine with a “small baby” carrier and probably won’t need/use one after 6 months or so. (I just described all of my mommy friends in Atlanta and Tampa.)
After living in both environments, I can tell you that the needs of these two groups are very different (sorry for overgeneralizing, but it’s kinda true). (Yes, I know you can fall somewhere in the middle, just humor me.)
Picking an Infant Carrier
Infant carriers are smaller and meant to be worn anywhere from 0-4 to 0-9 months, at which point you would switch to a larger “soft structured carrier,” which will take you well into toddlerhood.
Nesting Days Newborn Carrier
You could also skip the infant carrier and go straight to a soft structured carrier to save some money – with the understanding that young babies (0-6 months) tend to get swallowed up in most SSCs.
Furthermore, many of the soft structured carriers (Ergo, for example), require the purchase of a newborn adapter in order to use it with a young baby (0-6 months). The newborn adapter is often about the same price as some of the infant carriers below, so…. you’re better off just getting an infant carrier that’s appropriate for young infants. Your choice.
Lucie's List (Meg Collins)2. Best Baby CarriersFollow On
Yes, she’s wearing socks on her hands. Sue me, it was cold…
For me, this is hands-down the easiest carrier to take on and off, especially if you leave it in its semi-intact position after taking it off. In the Bjorn, your baby can face in or out, which is fab. It can also be used very early on for newbs without needing a special newborn adapter. Lucie loved facing out in the Bjorn so she could watch the world go by.
However, this is not Sweden’s finest piece of engineering… the downside for the parent is the ouch-factor: think of carrying a heavy backpack on the front of your body. This carrier exerts a great deal of pressure on the lower back and the straps tend to dig into your shoulders. This results in a condition I call “Bjorn back” or “Baby back” (you may also be stricken with Baby wrist, Baby hips and knees, or Baby shoulder — none of which are pleasant). The BabyBjorn Miracle is slightly easier on the back, but for that price? I think you can do better.
People also love to hate on the Bjorn because it’s a dreaded “crotch dangler” [drink!], which means the baby is not in an ergonomically correct position and, in theory, could develop hip dysplasia. With casual use, I don’t think this is a real issue. However, for baby’s sake, I would not wear it heavily. Speak to your doctor if you have concerns.
Having just talked all that smack, I have to admit I LOVE the Bjorn for its easy on/off, around the house convenience. Need to throw it on to unload the dishwasher, get the mail, or tend to another child? YEP! For 0-4 months or so, this is a very handy carrier indeed. Closeted, crotch-dangling mothers around America agree. But after baby hits the 15 lb mark? Forget it, your back will be DYING. It absolutely pains me to see moms or dads carrying around older infants or even young toddlers in a goddang Bjorn. Ouch, people! It makes me want to have an impromptu baby carrier intervention.
I’m not sure I would buy one new, but if you can borrow one from a friend for the first few months, you’ll be glad you did. It’s all about options! BabyBjorn introduced a new carrier, the Baby Carrier One, named so to be “the only carrier you’ll need from birth through toddlerhood.” This is a pricey (but pretty nice!) carrier that behaves more like a traditional soft structured carrier, like the Ergo, but with the convenience of easy in and out that Bjorn is known for. Read our complete review of the BabyBjorn One.
The Moby is the bizzaro Bjorn: difficult to get on, but a pleasure to wear. The closeness and comfort that you have with a Moby is like no other, mainly because you are literally wrapping baby to your body so you move together as one unit.
The Moby is a single, long piece of stretchy fabric that you tie around you and your baby and, like grits, is an acquired taste. It takes a bit of practice to tie it correctly, but once you do, you’ll be in love. Unlike the Bjorn, it’s great for wearing for long durations because it doesn’t cause back fatigue. Seriously though, I would never have figured out how to tie it if I had just read the manual.
I made an instructional video here:
Just remember: it takes some practice and patience. If you lack both of these qualities, see #3. The Moby is totally perfect for your 0-6 month old baby and at ~$45, it’s very affordable.
A lesser known, but similar wrap is the Boba Wrap. Many moms like it better because it’s more stretchy and less bulky (and cheaper!).
Ergobaby released the Ergobaby Wrap in March of 2014. This wrap has a built-in pocket to store all the fabric so it doesn’t drag on the ground. It’s about $80 though; almost double the price of the others. So unless someone else is buying… see my review here.
The K’tan is the Moby without all of the intricate tying – the best of both worlds if you ask me. Your baby can face in or out (yay!), and can be carried on your hip when they get older. Unlike most other carriers, the K’tan is not one-size-fits-all. It is sized to fit the wearer (you), not your babe. Therefore, you may not be able to share it with your partner if there is a great size difference (which there usually is). This is the biggest downside.
For a video on how the K’tan compares to something like the Moby, click here.
Pay close attention to the sizing recommendations. If you are at all in-between sizes, get the smaller one. The material is quite stretchy.
It comes with an extra piece of fabric that you can tie around to give you extra support (more like a Moby) if you feel like you need it. Some people forget about this piece then complain it isn’t secure enough. It’s there – use it.
The Nesting Days carrier is different because you wear it around your tummy, like a shaper, which makes it very secure, comfortable, and totally hands free. This carrier also gives much needed tummy support after giving birth, especially for C-section moms.
Snug as a bug
The creator of Nesting Days, Julie Arvan, is a nurse and postpartum doula who also worked in the apparel industry. With the Nesting Days carrier, she brought together the best of both worlds. The fabric’s are soft, stretchy, and completely machine washable.
This has become my go-to gift for new moms and the friends who received one can’t stop raving about it. See our demonstration video here.
Nesting Days is ‘made-to-order’ in small batches in San Francisco. Immediate delivery is $99. Pre-orders that ship in 4 to 6 weeks are $89. Sizing is based on your pre-pregnancy dress size. They run a little small, so size up when you order. Wrong size? Nesting Days sends you the right size in a few days, and a pre-paid envelope for the return. Made for newborns 5-18 pounds. You’re going to love going skin-to-skin!