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10 WTF Surprises of Being a New Mom That You'll Never Read in Any Book

By Gen Cohen

Like most women, I was nervous about becoming a mom and worried a lot about what it would be like. I tried to prepare myself as best I could, and while I didn't read all the baby books, I definitely asked around. Before I gave birth, I knew I might be surprised by the challenges of breastfeeding and the weird noises my newborn would make in her sleep. I heard all about the squeeze bottle I'd soon keep by the toilet. And I was warned to get my sleep in now.

But there are some things I realized soon after becoming a mom that no one ever told me and I certainly didn't find while flipping through What to Expect When You're Expecting, or even when reading articles online chronicling the "37 Most Shocking Things You Never Knew About Motherhood." Here, 10 of the real WTF surprises and pieces of advice for first time moms.

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7 Carriers to Make Bike Riding With Tiny Ones Fun For the Whole Family

By Gen Cohen

Before we dive into this awesome list of 7 bike trailers for kids, it's important to remember to protect those baby blues with our kids' rubber sunglasses. They're light, comfortable, and they keep your junior's eyes safe from harmful UV rays!

 

 

Going for a bike ride as a family is a fun and fit bonding activity, but if you have a tiny one who isn't quite riding a bike on their own yet or can't keep up the same pace as older children, it could be difficult to execute. Don't skip the ride or have anyone stay behind — with one of these accessories, you can bring the entire family to the bike trail with ease.

Read on for seven bike accessories that will change your family's bike rides this Spring and Summer.

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We Let Our Baby Cry It Out, and 10 Years Later, This Is What Happened

By Gen Cohen

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12 Things Invented by Women That Moms Swear By

By Gen Cohen

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18 TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH A BABY

By Gen Cohen

Before we dive into this helpful article by Colleen Lanin, it's important to note that whether your vacation goes to beach or snow, protecting your kid's eyes is extremely important, and Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's baby polarized sunglasses are perfect for the job! Check out our pink and white kids' Wayfarer sunglasses!

Have a fun and stress-free vacation with baby by navigating on-the-go naps, time differences and cramped hotel rooms.

By Colleen Lanin via parenting.com

 

Does "vacationing" with your baby sound like an oxymoron? As someone who has ventured on road trips, beach getaways, cruises and more with my two kids, and who is writing a book about family travel—The Travel Mamas' Guide—I know that vacations now are not as easy as they were prebaby. And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there's not much advice for how to manage once you arrive. A few simple tricks have saved some of my family's trips.

Strategic Unpacking

Just as important as what you pack—and you can check out get-ready checklists here—in my opinion, is how you unpack.

Do it immediately

As soon as you arrive (unless someone in the family is overly cranky or tired), set up your room to make it as close to home as possible. Put the baby in the playpen or hotel crib with a pile of toys and occupy an older kid with a coloring book. Or have your partner take the older sibling out to get the lay of the land while you unpack. Settling in will help you remain organized (and sane) throughout your stay.

Designate a baby-changing station

Bring a box of wipes, lay out a changing pad (I like to put a disposable changing pad on top of a hotel towel) and stack a bunch of diapers in one area. That way, you won't need to chase down the diaper bag when that first big poop occurs.

Create a play space...

Stash toys and books on a low shelf or in a drawer, or keep all the playthings in one corner. Creating a place for your baby to play will make the room feel homey and keep it from looking like a disaster area.

...and a kitchen

Even if your room doesn't have a kitchen or bar area, establish a spot where you'll keep bottles, dishes, baby food, snacks, formula and dish soap. Sometimes the bathroom is best if it has the only sink in the room.

Napping Smarts

Your baby needs her naps, but you don't want to spend your whole vacation watching her snooze. Follow these strategies for squeezing in that daytime sleep:

Start walking

When my daughter, Karissa, was a baby, she wouldn't nap in a strange crib while on vacation. So we planned our days around taking long walks with her napping in a stroller. Some moms advise bringing the lightest, most compact umbrella stroller on vacation to save room, but I always pack a stroller that reclines completely to make stroller slumber easier.

Wear your baby

If your baby doesn't sleep well in a stroller, try a front carrier (like the BabyBjorn) or baby backpack. If you've never used one at home but think it might be convenient on vacation, try it out a few times before you leave. Not all babies will like it, and it might be too hard on your back.

Go for a scenic drive

Try taking leisurely drives to check out the area while your baby naps in the car seat. And on some trips, you can coordinate drive time between destinations with sleep time.

Take turns nap-sitting

If your tot isn't an in-transit sleeper, don't be afraid to schedule naps back in the room. While it's a different vacation rhythm than you're probably used to, an a.m. break and midday siesta can be relaxing for you, too. Just consider your baby's napping style when booking accommodations; if you'll need to return to the room often, a hotel near the beach may be a better bet than a spot farther away, even if it's a bit pricier. If you can, book a room with a balcony or patio so the parent "on duty" can enjoy the outdoors, too.

Easier Bedtimes

One of the most worrisome things about traveling with a baby is getting your tot to sleep in a new place. Here's how to up your odds of at least a few peaceful nights:

Do some trial runs

If you're bringing a portable travel bed, have your baby sleep in it for a few nights before you leave. That way, it will feel like a familiar, comfy spot to go night-night on vacation.

Give it a few days

While it can be tempting to throw in the blankie and drive home in the middle of a sleepless vacation night with an inconsolable baby, I implore you to power through. Eventually, babies will adjust to their new surroundings and schedule, and sleep. If you can survive a couple of nights, I am (almost) willing to promise happy vacation days ahead.

Book the right room(s)

If bedding down in the same room means no one will get any sleep, consider booking a suite or connecting rooms. A suite may offer the convenience of a kitchen area, but connecting rooms may afford more space at a cheaper price.

Stick to the routine

If your baby's bedtime ritual at home includes a bath, lullabies and a bottle, do the same on vacation to make up for the change in location.

Get adjusted

Instead of expecting your infant to shift her internal clock and adjust to a new time zone, shift your day: Stay up later or get up earlier than usual by a few hours.

Meals on Wheels

Sampling local cuisine and splurging on restaurant meals are vacation pleasures I refuse to give up. Dining with babies can be done.

Breakfast in Bed

Because our times to swim, hike, shop or visit an aquarium are limited by morning and afternoon naps, it makes sense for the entire family to eat something quick in the hotel room. So we pack plenty of ready-made breakfast foods like mini-bagels, cereal bars and fruit (bananas, apples).

BYOF

If your baby drinks formula, it helps to pack more than you think you'll need. To save space, empty powdered formula into zipper-lock plastic bags. Or order heavy staples like diapers and formula—even baby shampoo—from a site such as diapers.com or Babiestravellite.com that will ship to your destination (and since you won't have to carry the formula, consider splurging on the ready-to-feed type).

Nurse wherever you feel comfortable

You can breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be.

Bend the rules

To enjoy dinners out, you may have to encourage what you would normally consider bad behavior. I don't let my kids watch TV while eating at home, but we always bring portable DVD players when we eat out. Putting on some Sesame Street for them allows us to actually taste the food we're shelling out big bucks for.

Eat early

Sure, a romantic dinner would normally be at 8 p.m., but by dining out at 5:30, you'll likely have an empty restaurant, room to park your stroller, and a short wait for your food. Alternatively, if your newborn loves to sleep in her car seat, make later reservations and then feed her a bottle or nurse her while you wait for your appetizers. Hopefully, she'll be out for the rest of the meal.

 

Now, go enjoy! Toss out all your old ideas about what a vacation should be and embrace the new craziness that is traveling with a baby. Laugh at the fact that you're at the local playground by 6 a.m. and in bed for the night at 8 p.m. Consider all the gear and baby-lugging as great vacation exercise. And then savor going back home to "regular" life that much more.

Colleen Lanin is the creator of Travelmamas.com.

 

www.roshambobaby.com

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Safe Baby Teething Remedies

By Gen Cohen

Check out this list of the best baby teething products to get through what can be a stressful phase for both parent and baby. And make sure you grab a pair of our teething safe baby rubber sunglasses, like these red kids' Wayfarer sunglasses, before you go :)

Not sure how to ease your baby’s teething pain after the recall of Hyland’s Teething Tablets, and FDA warnings about benzocaine in Anbesol Baby and Baby Orajel? Try one of these safe ways to soothe teething (most are med-free!)

By Melanie Monroe Rosen via parenting.com

 

Gum Massage

All you need is a clean finger for this old-fashioned teething remedy. Gentle counter-pressure from Mom or Dad applied to a baby’s sore gums can help ease the pain of teething.

 

Cold Spoon
A spoon chilled in the fridge (not the freezer, or it can stick!) can offer much-needed relief. Just apply the rounded part of the spoon to baby’s gums. Best for before any teeth actually break through to avoid the risk of chipping a tooth.

 

Cold Washcloth
Frozen or merely chilled, a cold wet washcloth (dipped in water, breast milk, or—as some mom’s swear by—chamomile tea) can be comforting for baby to gnaw on.

 

Chilled Foods
If your baby has already started solids, try offering him a cold food like applesauce or yogurt to help soothe gum pain and fill him up.

 

Breastfeeding
Every baby teethes in her own way. While sucking may aggravate teething pain for some babies (sometimes leading to a nursing strike), others may want to nurse more often for the sheer comfort of it. Is your baby using mama’s nipples as a teething toy? Teething does not need to mean the end of breastfeeding; if your baby seems tempted to bite during nursing, try rubbing a clean finger over her gums before beginning and ending the session once she seems full, but not yet bored.

 

Plush Teething Toy
A soft plush toy from an organic brand like Under the Nile is a safe option for baby to chew on when teething is a pain. We love their fruits and veggies line, like these striped bananas, as well as their plush ring toys and “blanket friend” toys because they’re both super soft and machine washable.

Striped Banana from underthenile.com, $7

 

OTC Pain Reliever
Be sure to ask your pediatrician first (especially for early teethers, as doctor’s approval should be given for acetaminophen in babies less than 3 months of age and ibuprofen in babies less than 6 months of age), but some parents find that a dose of infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen can work wonders, especially during a tough middle-of-the-night screaming episodes. Make sure to read the product labeling fully, especially in light of changes to the formulation of OTC versions of acetaminophen for infants.

 

Teething Jewelry for Moms

Moms of teething babes know that their little ones will grab just about anything within reach and start chomping. Fortunately, specially designed teething jewelry like Teething Bling from Smart Mom Jewelry is made to be gummed by little mouths. Made from FDA-approved silicone that is free of phthalates, BPA, PVC, latex and lead, it’s non-toxic and dishwasher-safe—and made from the same material as many teething toys, but way prettier hanging around your neck or wrist. Available in a rainbow of colors.

Lapis Lazuli Donut Shaped Pendant from smartmomjewelry.com, $19.10

 

Baby Orajel Naturals
Free of benzocaine, alcohol and dyes, Baby Orajel Naturals is an alternative to the regular version of Baby Orajel, which does contains benzocaine, an ingredient the FDA has recently issued a warning about because of its association with a rare but serious condition called metheminoglobinemia. The active ingredient in Baby Orajel Naturals is eugenol, which is derived from the oil of the clove plant, which is known for its antiseptic, analgesic, antibacterial and local anesthetic properties. (You may have read suggestions for rubbing diluted clove oil on baby’s gums for teething; this takes the guesswork out of the potency for mamas in desperate need of a remedy while baby is shrieking in pain.) Available at major retailers and pharmacies.

Baby Orajel Naturals from drugstore.com, $5.99

 

Camilia
A widely available alternative to teething products containing benzocaine is Camilia, a homeopathic medicine from French company Boiron. Camilia containes homeopathic preparations of German chamomile (for relief of teething pain and irritability), Poke (to soothe painful gums) and Chinese rhubarb (for help with minor digestive disorders, like diarrhea, sometimes associated with teething). Comes in 5 or 20 dose single-use dose packages. Reminder: be sure to check with your pediatrician before administering any OTC teething remedy.

Boiron Camilia from amazon.com, $6.39

 

Wooden Teether
Babies like to gnaw on all kinds of things, especially things that really don’t belong in their mouths. Next time baby reaches for the remote as a snack, hand her a sweet wooden teether, like one from HABA, Camden Rose or this sweet owl teether from Etsy shop Little Alouette. They’re handmade in Ohio from locally sourced hardwoods and are available either unfinished or finished with certified organic flaxseed oil.

Wee Wooden Owl Teething Toy from littlealouette.etsy.com, $15

 

Rubber Teether
Sophie the Giraffe has been helping babies get through teething for more than 50 years. Made of 100% natural rubber (BPA- and phthalate-free) and food paint, this squeaky toy made in the French Alps will likely prove to be one of your babe’s faves. We’re also fans of this Hevea panda teether, made from 100% natural rubber latex (free of BPA, PVC, pthalates and artificial colors; $13.50).

Sophie the Giraffe from jilliansdrawers.com, $21.95

 

Cold Fruit
Chilled fruit, like apple slices or banana, placed inside of a mesh feeder can provide relief (and a tasty snack) for a baby with sore gums.

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder from amazon.com, $7.69/2 pk

 

Distraction
Sometimes a change of scenery or activity is all it takes to help distract baby from teething pain, at least temporarily. Try running a bath for baby—the warm water may help him to relax—or even just some giving some unexpected cuddle time.

 

Chilled Teether
Placing a solid or liquid-filled teether in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before offering it to baby can amp up its soothing powers. We like this sweet easy-to-grab BPA- and PVC-free apple-shaped teether from Green Sprouts.

Green Sprouts Fruit Teether from jilliansdrawers.com, $3.95

 

Silicone Teether
Another popular option for teething tots is silicone teethers, like those from Born Free or this one from Lifefactory (shown). Dishwasher safe, this teether is BPA-, phthalate-, PVC- and latex-free. It can be stuck in the fridge or freezer, and best of all, worn by mama as a funky little bracelet, so relief is always close at hand. Available in a rainbow of bright colors.

Lifefactory Silicone Teether from jilliansdrawers.com, $6.95

 

Vibrating Teether
This teether from Sassy is not only multi-textured and water-filled (ideal for chilling in the fridge), but it vibrates when baby chomps on the water-filled section, which helps stimulate gums.

Sassy Vibrating Textures Teether from diapers.com, $5.99

 

Hyland’s Teething Gel
Although Hyland’s teething tablets were recently recalled by the FDA, its teething gel is still on store shelves. Hyland’s Teething Gel is a homeopathic teething remedy that contains very small amounts of its active ingredients: Calcarea Phosphorica (a mineral that supports teething), Chamomilla (a botanical that relieves irritability), Coffea Cruda (a botanical that relieves the symptoms of wakefulness and diuresis) and Belladonna (a botanical that relieves gum inflammation and redness). Although the Belladonna plant can be toxic when ingested in large doses, homeopathic Belladonna is safe and non-toxic, due to the miniscule concentration in the gel. Available at major retailers, pharmacies and health food stores nationwide.

Hyland’s Teething Gel from amazon.com, $4.55

 

Sippy Cup
If baby is old enough (around 6 months), try offering a slow flow sippy cup of cool water to suck on for comfort.

And don't forget, our roshambo baby sunglasses are small parts certified teething safe material as well!

 

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How This Mom's Morning Routine Sets Her Up for Success

By Gen Cohen

 

There's no denying that family mornings are hectic. Parents and kids need to eat breakfast, get dressed, gather belongings… there are lots of moving parts, and an ill-fitting sock, a missing glove, or spilled orange juice can derail the schedule in an instant. But busy mornings don't have to be stressful, and there are ways to find moments of bliss within the chaos. Here are a few methods that work for my (mostly functional) family of four.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

Wake Up Early. I set my alarm for 20 minutes before my youngest child usually yells, "Mama!" What do I do in this time? I stretch, freshen up, pull on a robe, and page through the newspaper or listen to morning news radio for a few minutes — by myself. That alone time is the perfect way to create a calm front to meet the whirlwind of energy that my kids create when they literally jump out of bed. Not a morning person? Try 10 minutes early at first and I'll bet you'll find this change helps you feel more rested overall. Bonus: This practice gives me a jump on the day when I sit down to my desk, too. No need to scroll through headlines, I've already had my morning news fix, so I can get right to work. That means the whole day is more productive.

Cue the Music. When my children bound down the stairs with requests for everything from clean shirts to buttermilk pancakes (not likely on a weekday, kid!), I put on some music. As a family, we created a "Morning Mix," which includes a little Beach Boys, a few Adele songs, and yes, one favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks number. The music creates a sense of ease that helps the morning flow, plus it's a mood booster that lifts their—and my—spirits well into the afternoon hours.

Savor a Taste. As the rush to brush teeth and put on shoes and tie ponytails swirls around me, I keep my sanity by focusing on the steaming cup of coffee I'll pick up after school drop-off. Each warm, rich sip reminds me to take things slow and steady as I begin the part of the day that is my own.

Bag the Accessories. Winter comes with… stuff. We stay organized by keeping child hats, gloves, and scarves in a bag in the entry closet. When the kids come home, they know the accessories go right into the bag. As we head out the door, the bag gets dumped and everyone grabs their respective items. It's messy but it works, which is pretty much our family motto.

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11 Must-Have Products for Toddlers

By Gen Cohen

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!

Originally shared on parenting.com

Faucet Extender

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)

 

Soft-Soled Shoes

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)

 

Sippy Cups

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)

 

Training Pants

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)

 

Two-Piece Pajamas

Make evening and morning visits to the potty simpler with two-piece PJs that pull off and on easily. Carter's offers several adorable cotton top and polyester pants sets to keep kids warm and ready to use the potty at a moment's notice. ($15.99)

 

Potty Training Seat

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)

 

Two-Piece Swimsuits

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)

 

Stepping Stool

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)

 

...and bonus item, of course unbreakable toddler sunglasses from ro·sham·bo baby, like these teal kids' wayfarer sunglasses (pictured)!

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