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!
This list is popping with inspiration, just like our fun kids' sunglasses are popping with color, and they fit perfectly under the tree, too! Check out our blue color changing sunglasses that will delight kids of all ages! Cute Christmas ornament crafts and gifts kids can make from our favorite craft blogs.
Pony Up Here's a DIY craft for pony lovers! This felt pony farm from Smashed Peas and Carrots can be folded up so it's perfect for on-the-go. And her pony collection fits perfectly in the side pockets.
Have a Ball For an easy project you can make from what you have in your recycling bin, try one of these pretty paper bulbs from How About Orange. Use wrapping paper or magazine pages to make the ornaments pop even more.
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.
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.
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:
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 momsadvise 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Everyone knows how stressful (but wonderful) our lives become once we bring a new tiny human into this world. All of a sudden our days are centered around eating and pooping, and we're not even the ones doing it. But alas, lucky for you you have a wonderful network of friends and family who helped ease you in to this transition by getting you the best baby shower gifts ever!
1. Laundry Basket DIY
You wouldn't believe how many loads of laundry the mom-to-be is about to run for the next 5 years. Why not get her started with an adorable basket like this full of baby clothes, detergent, blankets, diapers, etc. To make one exactly like the one shown above, check out what The Inspired Hive did here!
2. Washable and Squashable High Chair
How great is this portable high chair? It fits on most chairs for when you want to visit friends, family, or dare to take baby out to a restaurant. The best part is, you can just throw it in the washing machine after baby spills spaghetti all over it for the 3rd time. Buy it here.
3. Diaper Dekor
Diapers..as expected do not smell as adorable as the baby they are attached to. The mom-to-be will be so grateful to have a special diaper trash bin that is an attractive, odor-free disposal system receptacle. Buy it here.
4. A Classy, Functional Diaper Bag
You wouldn't believe how much stuff a tiny human needs. No purse is big enough to handle the depths of babies needs. Try a chic diaper bag like this one so mom can still look fashion forward and functional. Buy it here.
5. Sleep Safe, Sleep Tight
The safest crib is one that’s completely bare—no pillows, blankets or stuffed toys—so a Halo SleepSack is the smart, cozy choice for those cool nights. This product is also backed by First Candle/SIDS Alliance, which awarded it the #1 Safe Sleep Product gold seal. ($24.99, target.com)
Courtesy of parenting.com
7. Gift cards!
It's almost too easy, right? It's amazing how quickly mom's can run through things like diapers and formula, or how they can realize they forget to register for something that they really needed. Sure, it may not come in a big frilly basket or be covered in pink or blue ribbon, but trust us, no one was ever disappointed to get a gift card.
8. Ro•sham•bo baby sunglasses!
This one is a given. What better way to say, "I love your baby," by protecting one of their most important features -- their eyes! If you're feeling extra generous, buy mom a pair so the two can match on their daily outings! Check out our baby options here!
With the help of seasoned mom friends, an infinite selection of parenting books, and, of course, the internet, the good news is you'll be prepared for a lot of it. But no matter how much research you commit yourself to doing and how ready you feel to face parenthood head-on, having a baby will blindside you in the ways you least expect.
Here are six of the most surprising things about Motherhood: Year 1. Don't say we didn't warn you!
1. Getting out of the house will take forever.
Prebaby, you could say you were "just running out the door" and mean that you'd be at your destination in 10 minutes. Now, you'll always want to build in an extra 15-20 into your departure time. No matter how organized you think you are, you'll forget your cell phone, have to change a last-minute dirty diaper (after strapping Junior into the car seat, of course), realize you're missing a beloved lovey . . . trust us, it's just not as easy.
2. Your priorities will shift.
You may have a vision of yourself being a brilliantly well-balanced new mom. You'll hit the gym on your way into the office, have a monthly girls' night out on the schedule, fly through your unread emails while your baby's napping. In reality, having an infant sends your priorities into a tailspin.
If you'd rather spend a lazy weekend afternoon napping with your baby than checking items off your to-do list, that's A-OK. Cut yourself some slack!
3. Your weight may go up, then down, then up again.
If you're breastfeeding, there's a dirty little secret that the doctors and lactation consultants don't tell you. While one of the nice perks of nursing a baby is all the extra calories you burn, once he or she is weaned, you'll have to hit the gym to accomplish the same thing.
So be prepared — the baby weight might vanish quickly, but it could creep back when you least expect it!
4. Your period may stay at bay — for a while.
Dejpending on how long you breastfeed for and how your body reacts to pregnancy and childbirth, you may stop getting your period altogether (for up to a year or more!) or find that when it returns, your cycle is completely different than it was prebaby.
5. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you probably don't.
People talk a lot about sleep training, but sleep regression? Not so much. Many new moms are surprised to learn that a young baby who sleeps through the night won't continue to do so forever. Each developmental stage is likely to be accompanied by a change in your baby's sleep patterns.
When little ones are learning to crawl, walk, and talk, all that processing can be a lot for a little brain (and body!) to take. It's likely to keep them up at night, but you shouldn't panic. These phases start and resolve themselves (sometimes on their own, sometimes with a little help) when you least expect them to.
6. Your baby's appearance will change.
Hey, blondie! What happened to that blue-eyed, brown-haired baby I brought home from the hospital? Don't be surprised if everything from your infants' hair and eye color to facial features and height and weight percentiles change — multiple times — in the course of his or her first year.
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!
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!