Friday, October 4th, 2013
Each year we ask you what baby gear you love best. This year some 58,000 of you voted, and your favorite products have received the coveted American Baby Bests Award. There are 18 products on this year’s list, from the small (Sophie the Giraffe is your favorite little lifesaver) to the large (Graco’s travel system covers both your stroller and car-seat needs).
Fisher-Price often has a couple of winners, and this year was no exception. Both their bouncer seat (see it on the Today Show along with other winners!) and their Jumperoo won. You need safe, entertaining places to sit your baby for a minute; these two products are the key to making a meal, taking a shower, and getting dressed in the first six months.
I used to call our Jumperoo “the office” as in, “He’s going into the office now,” because our son looked so busy while he was in there! Did it take up a fair amount of our living room? Yes. Did we care? No, because I am not sure how we would have, for instance, gotten our older child dressed without it. And he loved being in there!
In fact, that’s the difference I see in our reader comments between the bouncer and the Jumperoo. The bouncer is for an infant, and so it’s all about how much it saves the mom’s day. But the Jumperoo is more about the baby; most readers write about the smiles they see when their baby is in the playspot.
If you’re in the market for a Jumperoo, Fisher-Price has paired with Babies R Us to offer 20 percent off the Go Wild Jumperoo from today until Thursday, October 24th, in honor of our American Baby Bests Awards. It’s $104 instead of $130 for the next few weeks; take that $26 savings while you can! Have a Goody weekend…
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Thursday, September 26th, 2013
I went into this summer intending to camp for reals. My family of four is very good at renting cabins. But tent-camping would save us a lot of cash, and the way we like to vacation, that is becoming necessary. Plus I feel like camping is a childhood rite of passage, something my kids should experience.
FIRST HURDLE: BAD MEMORIES Two years ago we borrowed a friend’s tent. There was a thunderstorm, and my then-6-year-old was having tummy issues, so he needed to be walked or carried uphill through mud to the bathroom every hour. The memory is seared in my brain, so there is no getting over this hurdle. Just around it.
SECOND HURDLE: NO TENT This was not supposed to be a hurdle, because I bought a tent a year ago, thinking that last
year would be our summer of camping. (Instead it was our summer of sheepishly upgrading, from bare KOA cabins to their deluxe models with a bathroom
.) But I can not
find our tent. Where can a tent hide?! I’ve searched the basement and under beds. But tents are so small these days, like the size of my travel toiletries bag. Someday I will probably find it tucked under the bathroom sink but for now…I have no idea where it it.
THIRD HURDLE: I WILL SLEEP ANYWHERE BUT THE GROUND, APPARENTLY I just didn’t realize it until my first campout of this summer. My son and I joined a group that included about a dozen second-grade boys, one of whom was celebrating his birthday, plus the birthday boy’s parents. I was offered room in any of the many tents, including the grown-up one, but…I slept in the SUV I drove. And was pretty psyched to do it.
I thought I would redeem myself on our big family trip to Yellowstone National Park
. We had a campground reservation. We had no tent, but I had a half-baked plan to buy one nearby. My husband thought the plan was dubious from the start. I think his exact words were “That’s f-ing crazy.” In the end, we coughed up about $180 for four of us in a no-frills hotel room in the park
So yea, we didn’t camp there either. But we saw buffalo, and they were awesome!
FOURTH HURDLE: I LOVE ME A RESTAURANT We had our third chance to camp in Montana. But I wasn’t sure if the campground was in driving distance to a restaurant. ‘Cause oh yea, I don’t know how to cook on a campfire. I mean, I can roast marshmallows. But our usual M.O. is to stay at a campground that’s an easy drive to someplace where people serve dinner to us while we talk about roasting marshmallows later. Outside our cabin.
FINAL HURDLE: I MAY NOT BE A TENT GIRL My last hurrah of the summer was a trip to Disney World. Did you know they have an awesome campground where you can stay for like $54 a night
? Of course, you need a tent, or an RV. As I pictured my weary, park-warrior, pool-swimming self coming home to a tent each night…well, it should be no surprise that I caved. I booked us into a Fort Wilderness Cabin
So maybe I am never going to be a tent-camper. But my summer of not camping still included fire pits, glow sticks, drinking my morning tea under the trees, animal sightings, stick collecting, and stargazing. It was fantastic. And maybe cabins are all the “camping” that my kids need. I will work on trimming our vacation expenses some other way. Like, maybe stopping the restaurant habit. Anyone have campfire recipes they want to share with me?
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Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Very good things come from Vermont. Cheese (which I craved like a crazy person when I was pregnant) and Zutano’s cute cotton clothes (which I dressed both of my babies up in) are two of the things that come to mind. That’s my new niece, below, sporting a Zutano dress at only one month old! She’s a little one, and I love that Zutano has tiny newborn sizes, and even tinier preemie sizes if you’ve got an early bird.
We can give away both cheese and cute clothes this week, because the Vermont Creamery reached out to use about their Kids & Kids campaign, which is all about goat cheese…it is less allergenic than cow’s milk, which is why some toddlers are given goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk to drink. And tots may also respond better to goat cheese than some cow’s-milk cheeses. Get it? Kids (human) and kids (of the goat kind) go together. Read Dr. Alan Greene’s take on goat milk for more info!
Leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, July 24th, and you have the chance to win a $75 Zutano gift card to buy your little one some adorable outfits. And once your baby’s all dressed up in the new gear, you can go on a picnic with a Vermont Creamery Gift Basket. The basket includes six flavored goat cheeses, a “In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen” Cookbook and a Vermont Creamery cooler bag. The whole shebang is worth $150!
Here is where you can read the official rules. Goody luck!
Congratulations to our winner Doris Blouin!
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Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Last month, for every Boppy pillow purchased at Babies R Us, The Boppy Company pledged to donate one of their nursing pillows to Nurse-Family partnerships agencies, which can distribute them to women in need. The Get One, Give One program led to more than $250,000 in donated Boppy pillows, exciting new since our American Baby readers consistently rank the pillow as one of the most-necesary baby products!
Are you nursing or planning to start? Leave a comment below and you could win one of two nursing sets from Boppy. Each set includes a $40 Boppy pillow and one of their $25 nursing covers. Here’s where you can read all of our official rules. Goody luck!
PS This year’s updated list of the products our readers deem most necessary when you have a baby will be in our October issue, so if you’re not already an American Baby subscriber, sign up! We’re making our list and checking it twice!
Read the official rules here.
Congratulations to our winners Caron Boggs and Autumn Hall!
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Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
I’ve noticed that expectant parents pour oh-so-much thought into what kind of stroller to buy, and usually some hundreds of dollars into buying it, and then a year later want to ditch it for a lightweight stroller anyway. That big “first stroller” is a lifesaver when you have a tiny infant to move around, but as soon as your kid is sturdy enough to sit in a smaller stroller, that scaled-down piece of gear can save you a lot of hassle.
Our June issue of American Baby has a lightweight stroller guide. These are sometimes also called “umbrella strollers” because they fold up pretty small and are easy to carry. Note that we don’t show any of the under-$50 models that are more or less a sling of fabric on wheels. Those can be okay for short outings with preschoolers, but if your child is still 2 or under, I recommend something that can recline back, that has a basket to hold your stuff, and that has a canopy to keep the sun away.
Breaking news: Zulily has a sale starting June 22 on BeBeLove strollers that does include an umbrella stroller that reclines and has a canopy for a crazy $28! It’s this little blue number here. I seriously don’t think you can find a better bargain than that!
Enjoy summer outings with your baby!
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Thursday, June 20th, 2013
You know who sleeps well? A newborn, as demonstrated by my niece, below. When you’re one day old, what else are you going to do?
But as a mom of two, I know that this new baby is going to wake up and want to party like all of them do. And for that, my Bro and his wife are going to need strategies. Here are some from Cloud b (a company that focuses on products for baby’s sleep) that I agree with completely:
* You need a routine. If you do the same things night after night in the same order, eventually it signals sleep to a kid. Your routine can be bath/nursing/song/swaddle/lights out, or any variation, it’s just the consistency that matters.
* Swaddling helps most newborns. Not all, but most! It makes them feel like they’re still in the womb, and keeps them from waking themselves if they involuntarily startle.
* Noise helps nearly every infant. They are not used to the sound of silence because the womb is noisy 24/7 thanks to mom’s whooshing blood. A white-noise device helps babies feel at home.
I’d also add that babies need to be put down awake so they settle themselves to sleep. I failed miserably at this; I nursed each of my babies to sleep and then carefully laid them down conked out, and let’s just say it didn’t do anyone any favors. I finally read Have a Great Sleeper, from Parents magazine advisor Dr. Harvey Karp, and now I get that I should have rocked them gently awake after laying them down, so they could resettle themselves in those first few minutes. It’s such good advice. Have any of you tried this and had it work?
And if any of you are struggling with sleep issues, Cloud b may be able to rescue you with a Sleep-Well package valued at more than $100. One lucky person who comments below will win the Cloud b Tranquil Turtle (which shines soothing dots of lights on the ceiling and plays sea sounds), Sleep Sheep, shown above (a great white-noise device), a Lullabag for safe sleep since you never want a blanket in the crib, and Twinkles to Go Octo, so you even have a soother for vacation. Leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, June 26th. We’ll pick one lucky commenter at random to win. Here are the official rules. Goody luck!
Congratulations to out winner Roxanne Winkleman!
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Friday, June 14th, 2013
My brother, due to become a first-time father this month, got one baby item that is his and his alone: A Steelers diaper bag. He’s pretty psyched to carry it. And I’m a little jealous!
We’re a football family but, this being baseball season, I want to give an shout-out to one of my favorite dad-inspired companies, Diaper Dude, which just debuted a Major League Baseball line. Getting Dad a diaper bag that he likes not only makes him a part of the whole “nesting” phenomenon, it helps ensure that he’ll actually take the baby on outings without you. In other words, it’s pretty key!
And you know, you can totally take one of these bags to a ballgame long after your baby is out of diapers.
I’m just going to have to ask the Diaper Dude owner, Chris Pegula, shown here with two of his kids, why I’m not seeing the Pirates as one of the team choices. Hey! We’re not all from LA or NY!
What’s your favorite baseball team? Leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Thursday, June 20th, and you can win a Diaper Dude MLB bag, worth $78. If you win, you can pick your team! (Though you may be limited to the ones they show on their site.) Because our comments below use Facebook technology, you’re going to want to check your “other” Facebook message folder on June 21st to see if you’ve won. I’ve included a picture of what it looks like; it’s the gray word “other” next to your message inbox. We’ll also try and post the winner’s name as a comment to help you all out. Here’s where you can read all the official rules. Goody luck!
Congratulations to our winners Tiffany Sugranes and Holly Marie Nace!
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Friday, June 7th, 2013
Does your child’s room have a theme? Often we start out theming a baby’s room, and then as he or she grows, it becomes a bit of a hodge-podge of whatever they’re into at the moment. My daughter’s room started out red and flowery but then grew pink as she went through her pink phase, and now it looks like an American Girl store exploded into a stuffed-animal emporium. My son’s room had a transportation theme originally, but now he’s put Star Wars stickers all over one wall and pictures of penguins on another. And graffiti on the closet. Sigh.
What I need is a weekend to devote to cleaning/organizing/painting and yes, giving a real “look” to each of their rooms. Maybe it will happen this summer.
Part of what’s inspiring me is that the Disney folks came through our offices to talk up their Disney paint line, with lots of pictures of perfectly pulled-together kid rooms. I know our rooms won’t ever look as clean as their models, but at the same time, I know I can do better than we’re doing now!
Disney Paint is going to give two lucky commenters a Disney-themed comforter plus a $150 Walmart gift card to get going on your child’s room upgrade. You can choose between a Cars 2-themed comforter and a Disney Fairies comforter. All you have to do is leave a comment below; you can leave up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Thursday, June 13th. Check back here on the 14th and we’ll announce the winner (and contact the winner via Facebook; look for our message in your “other” Facebook message folder; I’ve included a picture so you can see where I mean!).
Read the official rules here. Goody luck!
Congratulations to our winners Nicole Amorosi Rollins and Nicole Crisafulli Grant!
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