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Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Baby Einstein's new Baby Neptune saucer
We used to call my daughter’s activity center “the office.” We’d put her in, and she’d sit with a determined expression and get busy with the toys, spinning herself slowly around to access all of them. Her seriousness about it was hysterical for the adults in the house. It also drove home to us the adage that “play is a child’s work.” Mastering toys is a baby’s job!
Does your baby have an activity center or jumper that he or she adores? If so, we want to hear about it for our American Baby Bests contest. We’re taking nominations for products that babies and parents love, and will turn those into polls that will go live in a few weeks. (Don’t worry, I’ll announce when they’re up!) In the meantime, you can vote for your favorite baby products here. You have to join our Parents.com community in order to post there, but the good news is, posting about your favorite products makes you eligible for a $250 prize! The rules for that contest are here.
Meanwhile, if you don’t yet have an activity center and need one…this could be your big break! We’re photographing this awesome Baby Neptune Activity Saucer, from Baby Einstein, for a summer issue. And we’ve got an extra one still in its box that we’re happy to ship out to a baby who seriously needs to play. Leave a comment below—you can leave a comment once a day—anytime between now and the end of the day Wednesday, March 21st. We’ll randomly pick a person to win this $90 supertoy. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!
How happy is this baby?!
Categories: Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun, Your Child | Tags: activity center, baby, Baby Einstein, Baby neptune, GoodyBlog, Saucer, shopping, toys
Friday, February 24th, 2012
One of Britax's new models
One of the best parts about being a magazine editor? You get invited to fun events. We go to breakfasts and lunches to view and hear about new products. We enjoy free food, advance information about stuff that will be coming to market, and, if we’re lucky, a goody bag to boot!
Britax is holding one such breakfast on Tuesday, March 13th, and their invite added a cool twist. It says I can invite one American Baby devotee to join me! But there are serious limitations. You have to live in the New York City area, because you have to get yourself to Manhattan for the event. (No travel reimbursement.) Also, I can’t guarantee you’ll get anything interesting to take home other than a full belly! But if you’d love to play editor for a morning, see the Britax line of strollers and meet the people who design them, leave a comment here. You’re welcome to bring your baby, too. Post a comment now through the end of the day on Monday, March 5th. After that I’ll randomly select someone to join me between 9am and 11am, Tuesday March 13th, on the East Side of Manhattan. (I’ll email the winner exact directions!) Goody luck!
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
I was one of those people who planned each of my baby’s birth announcements while I was still pregnant. Grace’s were from a Martha Stewart kit (oh, the things we do for the firstborn!), and Joe’s were from a stationary Web site. Planning in advance, when when I was in nesting mode, was actually a good move. I didn’t yet know
Birth announcements from MyPublisher.com
the birth date or the baby’s weight, but I knew which font I liked and what border pattern was cute. I planned each announcement, then filled in the details after the baby was born.
But here’s what I did wrong: In my postpartum mania (I’m surely not the only person who felt adrenaline-filled euphoria for a week after giving birth, before I crashed), I got those announcements out fast. Like, mailed out within two weeks of the birth. Very efficient.
Unfortunately…newborns are not the most adorable creatures. I had gorgeous babies, but when I look back at their birth announcements, I cringe a little. I don’t think Grace’s was even in focus! And they were each SO much sweeter-looking a month later. I’m not even going to post their birth announcements here. Though I will show you one-month old Joe, because I need to make up in bragging now what I missed when I created those too-early birth announcements.
Tiny baby Joe
Here’s what you can learn from my mistake. Have a plan for the birth announcements, but don’t worry about mailing them out for a good month. Chances are everyone you’re close to will have seen pictures on Facebook anyway. That means the birth announcement isn’t everyone’s first look at the baby, but it IS the picture that will get stuck up on their fridge. Make sure it’s cute! Beyoncé seems to already know this. She waited a month before posting Blue’s photo online!
To kickstart your birth-announcement plans (or to help you create first-birthday party invites, or thank-you cards, or whatever), MyPublisher.com is letting us give away two $50 gift-certificate codes. The site used to be primarily for building photo books, but they’ve recently expanded to include birth announcements, invitations…lots of good stuff. Just leave a comment here between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, February 29th. You’re welcome to post one comment a day. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!
Categories: Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Pregnancy, Shopping & Gear | Tags: baby, Beyonce, birth announcements, Blue, GoodyBlog, MyPublisher.com, Pregnancy, shopping
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Breastfeeding is something you both have to learn; Mom and Baby. It’s rarely simple for a first-timers. But once you both get it, you can go on autopilot. I try to encourage pregnant women to have all kinds of tools for those first few weeks: A lactation consultant on-call, a comfy nursing bra you can wear all day and night, and a designated spot to sit where you can keep water to drink and have something to relax your mind, whether it’s the TV or a magazine or your smartphone to scroll through Facebook. Also you need a nursing pillow, which saves you from hunching over in a back-aching position while your newborn nurses every two hours around the clock. A nursing pillow makes everything nice and comfy for your baby, too!
Our readers seem to agree; for years now, in our Bests for Baby contest, the Boppy pillow has gotten the most votes as a new-mom must-have. It’s what I used; in fact, I think I had one on each floor of the house! The C-shape fits plenty of bodies and makes for a baby-propping support later on, when you’re helping your child learn to sit up.
There are a few new pillows on the market now too. Simplisse launched the Gia, which is more of a raindrop or a comma shape. It holds your baby at a slight incline, which could help with reflux, and provides lots of extra cushioning for his or her head. The cotton cover is anti-bacterial and removable. Seems smart!
And finally, this week we met the Mombo, a new U-shaped nursing pillow from Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony line. It’s more fitted to your body, so it stays in place. One side is firm, if your baby likes the support; flip it over for a softer side, if your baby prefers to lay on that. It comes with an optional vibration unit, too, to give your baby a little massage!
I’d love to know what you used to make breastfeeding easier. And please, join our community and post on the Baby Bests discussion boards, here. Spout off on all your favorite products: what you buy for friends’ baby showers, what little thing under $10 turned out to be a lifesaver, all that good stuff.
Finally if you leave a comment here at this blog, you’re eligible to win the Gia (worth $40) one of two Mombos (also worth $40 each), a Boppy ($40) or a Travel Boppy ($45). You have between now and the end of the day on Thursday, February 9th, to enter. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!
Categories: Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Pregnancy, Shopping & Gear, Your Child | Tags: baby, Baby Bests, Boppy, breastfeeding, Gia, GoodyBlog, health, Mombo, nursing, shopping
Thursday, January 5th, 2012
Joe meets blueberries
It’s an incredible responsibility, giving a baby his first taste of solid food. I made a big deal out of giving my son Joe his first rice cereal—I had a whole little ceremony at my Dad’s house. So of course Joe spit it right back out like it was poison. You’d think I would have learned my lesson after my firstborn, Grace, rejected the steamed, pureed carrots her aunt lovingly made for her first serving of veggies. Here’s the good news: Both my kids have gone on to be champion eaters. They will try anything, and enjoy most foods, even at the tricky ages of 6 and 9. I’d pat myself on the back except I’m not sure that I had much to do with it, beyond making sure they tasted a lot of different flavors between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. A 1-year-old will put anything in his mouth, it doesn’t have to be bland or sweet. But I have friends who served up a wide variety of tastes and still ended up with a picky kid, so it’s not a foolproof way to get a little foodie, just a good practice to try.
Yesterday I read an entertaining entry in my coworker’ baby food blog. Heather Morgan Shott chronicles her adventures feeding her son, Mason, at High Chair Times. Over the holidays, Mason accidentally ate peanut butter for the first time, giving his mom a scare as she watched to make sure he didn’t have an allergic reaction. It’s one of those funny-because-nothing-happened stories, and was similar to a scene that played out with me and baby Grace. She was sitting on my lap in a Thai restaurant when I absentmindedly let her chew on a steamed vegetable that had been in peanut sauce. In my sleep-deprived stupor, I didn’t even think about it until the end of the meal, when all I could do is be thankful she’s not allergic.
This is all to say that I salute all of you who are feeding a baby, or about to start. You’ll hear advice from everyone, but there is no one guideline to follow on the baby-food journey. You can get a rough idea of how much food—and what type—babies eat, here. And are you into the idea of making purees yourself? Check out our new story on homemade fruit purees. Since so many moms are on the make-your-own kick, I’m going to give away one Baby Brezza One-Step Baby Food Maker, which retails for $100, and one Baby Bullet set, worth $90. They’ll be part of a baby food maker slideshow, which I promise to post shortly. You have through Wednesday, January 11th to post a comment and be entered to win one of the two baby food makers; read the full rules here. You can only post once a day. Goody luck!
Categories: Babies, Food, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear, Your Child | Tags: baby, baby food, feeding, Food and Drink, GoodyBlog, little kids, solids
Thursday, December 29th, 2011
I may be a little obsessed with places to sit a baby. Last week I sang the praises of the Baby Bjorn Babysitter; this week, I’m on to the Graco SweetPeace. Let me unleash my baby-gear geekdom for a minute! Graco invented the baby swing way-back-when; it was inspired by a mom who soothed her baby while sitting on a glider swing in her backyard. (You can read the story here, along with a fact I love: That the son of the swing inventor dreamed up the Pack ‘n Play!) Baby swings have been tweaked over the years and made better; now the popular Fisher-Price cradle swings win one of our readers’-choice awards, the American Baby Bests, every year.
So what is the SweetPeace? It’s a fairly advanced soothing device for that first difficult half-year. Unlike any regular baby swing, the seat is superadjustable: You can recline it, or move it to face a different direction. You can even take the seat off and put in a Graco car seat if your baby prefers to sit in that. It comes with plenty of sounds, even white noise, but if you or your baby doesn’t like them, you can plug in your MP3 player and play anything you want. Oh and you can plug in the whole SweetPeace; you don’t have to run it on batteries. And of course you can set different swinging speeds.
The SweetPeace didn’t exist when my babies were tiny, so I’m sort of jealous of parents who have it now. It’s a swing, but maybe better than a swing, because it more closely mimics a parent’s natural rocking motion. It’s almost a whole new category of baby gear. It costs about $180, but I’m able to give one away here, thanks to Graco! So post a comment; how about you tell us what helps to calm your baby, if you’re a new parent? And if you’re pregnant, tell me where you’re making your baby registry (because I’m currently working on the mother of all registry guides). One lucky poster will win the SweetPeace; the full rules are here. You have through Wednesday, January 4th to comment. Goody luck!
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Baby Bjorn's Babysitter Balance
And no, we don’t mean someone who will watch your kid, though that’s certainly useful around New Year’s Eve. We mean the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance, which is an infant seat that can last you through the toddler years. I got one of these when my daughter was about 10 months old and had a cold; she had outgrown the bouncer seat and swing, but still needed to be sitting comfortably upright to breathe easily. A friend recommended it, and it worked like a charm. She sat in it (as a TV-watching chair, please don’t judge) through age 3. Then we used it for my son.
I got to thinking about the Babysitter Balance because of all the reports of other baby seats, mainly the Bumbo, tipping over when on a high surface. An advantage of the Babysitter is it’s pretty obvious it doesn’t go on a chair or counter; the wide base relegates it to the floor. And it has safety straps to hold a baby in place. The only downside is the price: $180. But it’s a good value, because you’ll use it for years with multiple kids. But don’t just trust me; it gets lots of 5-star reviews on Amazon.com.
Another safe place to put an older, sitting-upright baby is in an ExerSaucer, or a Jumperoo, or some other stationary activity center. Or in the highchair (use the straps!). I’m sure someone will want to comment “how about just holding your kid?” but everyone needs a safe place to sit a baby for 20 minutes here and there during the day, to use the bathroom, get dressed, or make a meal. Most of the day you can hold your baby or wear her in a carrier, but while you shower is just not one of those times!
How do you solve the challenge of either keeping your sniffly baby upright, or seating your baby somewhere safe? Leave a comment below; one lucky poster will win the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance for their child! It’s a light blue seat with dark blue trim, but otherwise, just like the one pictured here, and a $180 retail value. You have through Wednesday, December 28th to post and can post just once a day; read the full rules here. Goody luck!
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Rosie Pope over the phone for our February issue, and last week, I got to meet her in person. If you haven’t seen her Bravo show Pregnant in Heels, it’s a reality show where Rosie helps out-of-touch pregnant couples, mostly New Yorkers, get ready to have their baby. She’s filming a new season—and pregnant with her third child, due in May!
The “pregnant” part is relevant because Rosie is very open about her fertility struggles. She has used IVF; she’s had to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. Her current pregnancy came more or less “naturally,” though she jokes that having been “jacked up on fertility drugs” in the recent past probably played a role. Her candor and honesty about it all makes you feel like, in her, you have a girlfriend you’ve known all your life. (Albeit one with a funny hybrid American-English accent and crazy long dancer’s legs…in other words, much more glamorous than most girlfriends.) So if you’re looking to hear from someone who has been on the front lines of fertility struggles, perhaps because you’re going through them yourself, I highly suggest you check out her blog which describes some of her heartache and hope.
Here are 3 things I learned from my time with Rosie and also with Susan Wysocki, a renowned nurse practitioner:
1. We take home-pregnancy tests for granted. Like, ridiculously for granted. It wasn’t so long ago that a doctor would have to inject an animal with a woman’s urine to know, early on, if she was pregnant! But the fact that we have easy tests doesn’t seem to make us any more relaxed. We expect to get pregnant as soon as we start trying, and we’ll test ourselves six times, as if we’ll get a different answer. Testing is simpler and more private now, but getting pregnant is still the same “miracle,” as Rosie says, it has always been.
2. Nosiness is at an all-time high. It’s tempting to shake a finger at the tabloids and their overzealous “is she pregnant?” speculation (poor Kate Middleton!), but my coworkers and I were tracking Jessica Simpson as if we couldn’t help it. We were waiting for Beyonce’s announcement with baited breath too. But Rosie pointed out that it’s the real-world nosiness that really gets to you; the people who ask “Are you trying?!” over Christmas dinner. (Her response: “That’s private,” said firmly but with a smile, ends the conversation…unless maybe you’re talking to your mother or mother-in-law.)
3. More pregnancies happen over the holidays than any other time, according to Susan, who was at our soiree as a spokeswoman for Clearblue. Why? Who knows! But many of us have extra time off, and nice meals at home, and maybe alcohol gets involved…at any rate, a lot of babies are born in August and September, nine months after the Thanksgiving-to-New-Years run.
And on that note…maybe you’re trying for a baby in 2012? In case you are, the folks at Clearblue are generously providing three goody bags that I can give to three very lucky people. Each bag has one of their highly rated Clearblue fertility monitors, 30 fertility monitor test sticks, 7 ovulation tests, and 2 pregnancy tests. That’s $350 worth of pregnancy tools per bag! Interested? Post a comment here; don’t be shy, we’re a whole community of parents and we get it. You have through the end of the day on Wednesday, December 21st, to post, and are allowed to post once a day. For the full rules, click here. Goody luck!
Categories: Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Shopping & Gear, Your Life | Tags: baby, Clearblue, fertility monitor, getting pregnant, Giveaway, Pregnancy, pregnancy test, pregnancy test results, Rosie Pope