Blake Lively Designed a Baby Bag—and Named It After Her Daughter!

Blake Lively 2014If you’re looking for a stylish baby bag that doesn’t quite look like a baby bag, look no further. Blake Lively, actress, mama, and aspiring lifestyle maven, has a solution for you: A custom-made, premium Horween leather bag that is available on Lively’s site. And the best part? The bag is named after her 8-month-old daughter, James.

Related: Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively’s Baby Name Is Revealed!—Finally!

Lively collaborated up with Sandast, a Los Angeles-based brand, to create the handbag. And with a hefty price tag of $860, the James Bag probably doesn’t fit the average mom’s budget. But if you’re planning to nudge your hubby for a lavish push present, it’s a great option. Plus, it’s stylish enough to use on date night or during your post-diaper bag days. (We love the cognac color and the just-distressed-enough look.)

Related: 9 Celeb Moms Who Want to Make Your Life Better

It’s important to note that the details about the bag tout the “premium plaid” lining and “imported RiRi zipper from Switzerland” (is that a big deal?) but make no mention of whether or not an all-important changing pad is included, or if that premium plaid lining is waterproof. Maybe “baby bag”—as the James Bag is called—isn’t synonymous with diaper bag.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

5 Baby Items You Can Live Without
5 Baby Items You Can Live Without
5 Baby Items You Can Live Without

Image of Lively: Jaguar PS/Shutterstock

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Twin Babies Came 4 Months Early—and Now a Family Is Stuck in Portugal

premature babiesOn paper, Fred and Kim Spratt’s babymoon sounded like a dream come true: a romantic trip to Portugal scheduled smack dab in the middle of Kim’s second trimester, when most of us preggos are brimming with energy. Still, Kim was pregnant with twins and didn’t want to take any chances, so she got her ob-gyn’s blessing before booking the vacation. The New Jersey couple’s European adventure was postcard-perfect—until the abdominal pains began.

Their twins’ arrival—four months early—was anything but storybook for the first-time parents. “Once I got into the delivery room, there had to be about anywhere between 10-15 people strapping down my legs, informing me it was too late for any drugs since I had inquired, a woman telling me to breathe, the OBGYN not even knowing my name but only that I was in labor with preemie twins,” Kim explained to ABC’s Los Angeles affiliate. “I can thoroughly remember looking to my right seeing the incubators and the doctors and nurses working tirelessly and the sadness I felt of not hearing the babies cry, feeling robbed of the joys of childbirth.”

When the preemie babies were born, on Mother’s Day no less, daughter Hayden and son Hudson each weighed barely more than a pound. Sadly, Hudson would only survive the first few weeks in the NICU; Hayden, meanwhile, was diagnosed with emphysema. With the financial support of a GoFundMe page set up by friends, the couple has been able to stay in Portugal while they mourn the loss of their son and watch their daughter grow stronger each day. Now, nearly three months later, the little girl weighs an impressive 5 pounds and has been cleared to go home to the U.S. via medical transport (doctors deemed a commercial flight too risky).

But hang on to your party hats—the Spratts aren’t out of the woods. According to Fred, their insurance company rejected a request for a medical transport, saying it wasn’t a medical necessity. (The flight costs $82,000 out of pocket.) But the couple’s other option—staying in Portugal until Hayden is healthy enough to fly home on a commercial flight—isn’t really viable either. Kim and Fred recently found out they may only be able to stay in Portugal for a few more weeks. With just over $55,000 donated via GoFundMe, the family has some financial help, but coughing up nearly $30,000 more just to bring their baby home is tough for any new parents.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time a U.S. mama has given birth unexpectedly on foreign soil, only to spend considerable time afterward wading through red tape. Earlier this year, Wendy Morrow went into labor at 32 weeks in Hong Kong’s airport. She later gave birth in a Hong Kong hospital and her son, Kyuss, spent time in the NICU. To make matters worse, her insurance company refused to cover the exorbitant costs because Morrow delivered outside of the U.S. Mom and baby are back home in Iowa now. Here’s hoping Kim, Fred, and Hayden have the same kind of happily-ever-after ending they so deserve.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies

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Should You Feed Your Baby Peanuts? The AAP Weighs In

Earlier this year, there was a collective gasp among parents over a study that suggested feeding babies some peanut products during the first year of life could help build up tolerance to and even prevent many nut allergies. It was the opposite of what we’d been taught and, frankly, seemed downright illogical. Give my infant the very thing that could cause a potentially dangerous allergic reaction? Yeah, right.

But wary parents, take note: In a consensus published online Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with nine other medical professional organizations, threw their weight behind the study. The AAP’s endorsement read in part, “There is now scientific evidence that health care providers should recommend introducing peanut-containing products into the diets of ‘high-risk’ infants early on in life (between 4 and 11 months of age) in countries where peanut allergy is prevalent because delaying the introduction of peanut can be associated with an increased risk of peanut allergy.”

The study in question, conducted in England and published in February in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved 640 at-risk babies, ages 4-11 months. (Babies who develop severe eczema or an egg allergy in the first six months of life are considered high risk for a nut allergy.) One group of infants ate a small amount of peanut butter or peanut butter products, while a second group avoided it altogether. Fast forward five years, and the group that ate the nut products had 81 percent fewer nut allergies than the group that skipped peanut butter.

The AAP’s endorsement lends credibility to the study—and hopefully offers some comfort to parents of babies at risk for nut allergies. Make no mistake, the concern is very real: The number of children who develop a peanut allergy is on the rise, affecting between 1 percent and 3 percent of kids in many westernized countries. Here in the U.S., the number of kids affected may have tripled over the past 10 to 15 years, according to the statement. Allergic reactions run the gamut from itchy rashes, runny nose, and vomiting to anaphylaxis, where the blood pressure can drop and the child has difficulty breathing. (Yikes!)

Related: Smart Ways to Introduce Your Baby to Nuts

It’s important to note that the AAP emphasized the importance of relying on your pediatrician for guidance before you introduce nuts, especially if your kiddo is considered high risk.

Does the AAP’s endorsement change the way you feel about introducing peanut products to your baby? Tell us! And don’t forget to sign up to receive our free Parents Daily Baby newsletter.

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

When to Worry: Food Allergies
When to Worry: Food Allergies
When to Worry: Food Allergies

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Mom Gets Ticket for Breastfeeding…While Driving!?

breastfeeding while drivingExperts have already discovered that nearly all of us new parents make at least one major error when installing the car seat. But a too-loose harness is nothing compared to driving around with your baby sitting in your lap. In the front seat. While breastfeeding.

Yet that’s exactly what Washington state troopers saw when they pulled over an unidentified mom last week. Apparently, other drivers noticed the nursing 1-year-old boy riding shotgun sans car seat and called 911. Police managed to track down the woman and pull her over to the side of the road. “I WISH I WAS KIDDING: 911 caller reports baby riding on mom’s lap. When Trooper stops car, he realizes mom is breast feeding the child,” tweeted State Patrol trooper Mark Francis.

The woman’s reason for her on-the-road feeding sesh? Her son was crying and needed to be fed. But rather than pulling over and nursing safely, she decided to multitask. Even more frightening? This wasn’t the first time she’s breastfed behind the wheel. In fact, she was pulled over once before for it.

Look, I understand how the sound of your baby’s crying can drown out normal, rational thought. Science has even proven its dramatic effect on your brain. But still, that’s no excuse for putting your baby in harm’s way. And while some moms swear by pumping behind the wheel, I have yet to meet one who thinks actively breastfeeding while driving is a smart idea. Washington State troopers reportedly gave the woman a citation for child restraint violation. That’s a good start—and hopefully enough of a penalty to remind the mom to keep her babe where he belongs: safe and sound in his car seat.

Don’t forget to sign up to receive our free Parents Daily Baby newsletter!

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding in Public

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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6 Tips to Make Baby’s First Road Trip a Success

BabiesWhen my husband called on Friday to check in on his way home from work, and I told him, “You’re off the hook. I think you should stay home and relax.”

We had planned a road trip about 325 miles north up the coast of California to the Monterey area for the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends. But I knew hubs was tired, and I assumed this undertaking—our 1-year-old twins’ first major road trip—would be utterly exhausting. It might be better if he stayed home and recouped some rest instead. “No way,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss the babies’ first road trip!” So it was on.

And you know what? Traveling with babies was far from the fatiguing experience I feared it could be. In fact, it was manageable enough that I actually wondered why the words “road trip with baby” strike such terror in new parents’ hearts. I’m here to correct the record: Our first road trip with babies was a ton of fun!

Along the way, I picked up some tips for road tripping with babies that will make our next one even better—and can inspire you to get out there, too!

1. Pack the car the night before.

It’s true that babies come with gear—and all that schlepping is for sure one reason people chicken out about travel of any kind with their littles. But preparation really mitigates the stress here. I packed the car after the babies went down the night before we left, which reduced the departure-time stress and also helped everything move along swiftly. Plus, it allowed me to be more organized and reduce the chance I’d forget something. (My go-to app for packing—and a million other things—is Wunderlist.)

2. Keep important stuff out of the trunk.

Pack the trunk with the stroller and all the other bulky necessities—but keep out some of the essentials you’ll need on travel day: toys, bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, snacks, and the like. If you keep these in the car, you won’t have to pull over every time you need something basic.

3. Stockpile stuff within arm’s reach.

My babies—and I assume yours, too?—tend to chuck stuff out of their car seats for sport. So you can hand over one toy and hit the highway… only to have to get off at the next exit to retrieve it from its new position wedged between the seat and the door. Or you could do what we figured out after the first 150 miles: stockpile a little basket of toys somewhere within reach, for instance the center of the backseat or the floor under it, so you can hand back a new diversion whenever it’s necessary.

4. Keep your own stuff handy, too.

Of course you’ll find yourself hungry just as soon as the baby’s eyes close… but that’s probably not the best time to stop. So keep snacks and drinks handy for yourself, too. That way you’ll be able to tide yourself over until everyone’s ready to pull off the road for a proper meal and some fresh air. (Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for bathroom breaks, but it’s a start!)

5. Bring a friend.

My initial idea to liberate my husband was a bad one. First of all, he would have missed out, of course. But second of all, it helps to have a buddy in the car… and at the destination, if possible. Deciding to make a family trip out of it in celebration of my mom’s birthday, my parents hopped in their own car and met us up north. With two super-mobile babies, my parents’ support allowed us some grownup time to enjoy a different sort of vacation. Here’s an example: The babies were invited to my friend’s wedding, but my daughter woke up the night before and cried for an hour—likely because she didn’t recognize where she was and got scared. (I’d characterize this as the biggest hiccup of the trip… and it wasn’t huge.) This meant she was especially tired the next day (OK, we all were!) and wouldn’t have made the best company during a quiet ceremony, or at a dinner alongside old friends with tons to catch up on. So they spent the evening with their grandparents instead—a scenario for which I was super grateful. (Just as I’m grateful every day for four doting grandparents at home in Los Angeles!)

6. Relax and enjoy the journey.

Even writing that pat, cliché line above makes me cringe. It’s not easy to remain calm in stressful situations—duh—and I know that I contributed a lot of stress to our departure morning when I woke up in a tizzy. Assuming we were in for a day of chaos, I actually created my own, casting a negative tenor over what turned out to be truly only a positive experience. Bad mommy! I’d bought into the pervasive negative culture around traveling with babies and was perpetuating it.

In fact, trite as it is, it’s all about enjoying the (literal) journey. (Especially because, yes, a road trip with babies will probably take a bit longer with an extra stop or two.)

Get out there! And ease into the romantic, joyful notion of barreling down the open highway in a capsule filled with most of what you love most in the whole world.

Don’t forget to sign up to receive our free Parents Daily Baby newsletter.

Alesandra Dubin is a mom to one-year-old boy-girl twins. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo: Courtesy of Alesandra Dubin

Safe-Driving Rules For Moms
Safe-Driving Rules For Moms
Safe-Driving Rules For Moms

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