Car Trips with Babies – Moms Give Their Best Survival Tips!

With July 4th nearly upon us, lots of us will be packing suitcases, presents, and babies into cars for a drive to some holiday destination. Some of you may have little angels that can sleep 5 hours in the car without making a peep. For the rest of us, here are some handy tips from everyday moms who have taken baby on the road – and lived to tell about it.

Time it right.
“Timing is everything! Leave at a naptime and buy yourself 1-2 hours of quiet. Also don’t underestimate the power of a very early morning departure. Our little guy fell right back to sleep if we put him in the seat in his PJs early in the morning, and he wasn’t angry about restraints when he was sleeping! – Beth W.

Baby with toy

Make it new.
“We had a special bag of toys that only came out when we traveled. My kids are 10 and 7 now and we still do this.” – Melissa T.

“When they get sick of reading the books you brought along, use them for a game of I Spy. Have them find a picture of a truck, the letter K, a cat, etc.” – Anna M.

Plan ahead.
“The worst thing is when the baby is fussing and you can’t find the pacifier/blanket/bottle. Make sure you have all the items you’ll need within reach.” – Courtney G.

Do what works – even if it drives you crazy.
We once took our 11-month-old on a 14-hour road trip and The Wiggles saved us. He was entranced with ‘Hot potato, cold spaghetti’ most of the trip.”  – Appolina O.

“When I was traveling with my husband, I would often sit in the back if my little one was awake. It wasn’t as fun of a trip for me, but it was much easier to meet my daughter’s needs than reaching around from the front seat.” – Katie S.

Take a break.
“We would plan to drive until the twins fussed excessively and then stop for fresh air and ‘wiggle time.’ Then I’d nurse them, and we’d get back on the road around the start of their next nap.” – Amy F.

“On one trip, we mapped out city parks along the way. Our son loved this, and it made for a much happier baby.” – Appolina O.

Snacks are king.
“Snacks are key to getting where you want in less time. Or at least with less fuss.” – Katie S.

“Road trips are a great time to have fun, new, healthy snacks. It can be a novel and necessary way to buy a few minutes.” – Beth W.

Get creative.
“I stick stickers on my kids.  It completely occupies them trying to get them off their legs & arms. Then they end up sticking to their hands. Hours of fun.” – Brooke C.

Remember that sometimes, babies just need to cry.
“If you have met everyone of the baby’s needs and they are still crying their heads off, I used to crank up the music on my babies. They say it’s as loud as a vacuum in the womb, and sometimes loud music can help them settle down and go to sleep. So turn up the music, sing along, and tell yourself you will survive this!” – Melissa T.

Here’s to hoping your holiday car travels are safe and sound!

 

How New Moms Can Lose the Baby Weight

So you’ve had your little bundle of joy and now you’re starting to realize there’s still a little (or a not so little) bundle left on your midsection. Whether you call it your baby belly, pooch, jelly roll or muffin top, most of us would like it gone! Here we break down for you what it is and tried and true tips for getting rid of it.

First a few very important reminders…

You are unique.
It is vital to remember that every woman is different. Your age, starting weight, pregnancy complications, medical conditions, previous pregnancies and a host of other variables will all impact how your body responds to pregnancy and your post-pregnancy weight loss.

Be kind.
Your body just created, housed and birthed a human being! How amazing! And that process alone took 10 months. Plus, things are different now. Your body, life, sleep, hormones and free time also just got all shaken up and changed. Be kind to yourself and give yourself and your body time to adjust.

Okay, back to the belly….

What It Is

For the first few weeks after you give birth, there’s a good chance you’re still going to look and feel pregnant. Though the baby is out, your uterus doesn’t just snap back to its original size. Fortunately, your body is releasing hormones that will help shrink it down over the first 6-8 weeks. The extra fluid your body has retained during pregnancy will also be eliminated. (Goodbye cankles!) The part that doesn’t take care of itself? Those pesky pounds you may have put on.

What To Do

Let’s be honest – there is no magic key. You lose the post-pregnancy weight the same way you’d lose weight at any other time in your life – diet and exercise. These can be trickier though now that you have a tiny human that you’re caring for. So we went to the experts – the real experts – mom who have lost their pregnancy weight – for their real life tips.

Real Tips For Losing the Baby Weight

Start small. “I gained 47 lbs. with my second pregnancy. So I started walking down at the beach with the double jogger. After 2 weeks of walking at a pace that made me sweat, I started to jog about a mile at a time. Jogging a mile at a time and walking the rest of the 5 miles made me feel less stressed and more confident. After 2 months I was running 3 miles.” – ALV

Take advantage of free childcare. “The best way I lost the weight after having my son was the ‘all you can’ childcare at the gym. It provided a much needed break from the kiddos and I spent about an hour a day (sometimes more) attending strength training classes and using the elliptical.” – KH

Reward your progress. “Rewarding myself with a new shirt or pair of jeans when I lost some weight, even if I wasn’t at my target, helped keep me motivated. Dropping 10-15 pounds can make a big difference in how clothes fit, and it can be nice to acknowledge your accomplishment with a new outfit, even if you are hoping not to lose more weight over the long run.” – CM

Accountability. “I have only been able to really lose baby weight by doing it with a friend.  It also helped to sign up for a 5K/10k race so that I had something to work towards.” – AM

Nap it off. “Sleep. A lack of sleep makes you lethargic and not want to exercise as well as increases your appetite. So don’t feel bad about grabbing a nap with the new little nugget.” – EC

Fit it in. “I walked hills everyday around my house during my kids’ morning naps. They slept in the stroller, and I got a good cardio workout in. “ – AO

Run it off. “I started running. When I ran, no matter how tired I was, ultimately I still needed to keep going to make it back home.” – AM

Veggie load. “When I have a minimum of 5 servings of veggies a day, it makes a huge difference in my diet.” – LN

Breastfeed. “After baby arrives, breastfeed, and breastfeed often. (It burns lots of calories!) But do watch what you eat. Breastfeeding also increases your appetite. Make sure the calories you put in your body are from nutrient-packed foods.” – KA

Run the numbers. “I kept a food journal and it made it real clear that 2800 calories a day was way too much. So I brought it down to 2100.” – ALV

Stealthy exercise. “Even little bits of movement, like a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood three times a days, adds up and helps get you moving. So even if you don’t have big chunks of time, take advantage of little ones.” – EC

Hydrate. “Drink water! Start the day drinking a big glass and one before each meal at least. Even the slightest bit of dehydration can be read by your body as hunger, not thirst.” – BC

Fake it. “I switched out of maternity clothes as soon as I could – they made me look and feel pregnant again. I wore a GlamourMom nursing tops under blouses and dark jeans which helped hold the pooch in. Plus I got a long-overdue haircut and color.” – MP

 

Busting Baby Myths- Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

baby mythsWhen it comes to babies, everyone seems to think they know best. The funny thing about all the advice you’re going to get is that some of it is just not true. There are rumors, myths and Old Wives’ Tales surrounding babies and pregnancy that keep getting passed down from generation to generation. So as a parent or parent-to-be, how do you make sense of all the myths and sort the facts from the fiction?

Here are some common baby myths busted and the actual truth revealed.

Myth: Extra Feedings before Bed Make Baby Sleep Longer

There is an old saying about newborns that extra feedings before bed will make your baby sleep longer. I even heard my family say that you should give some cereal in a feeding just before bed to make the baby sleep through the night. Most sleep-deprived new parents will do anything to get a good night’s sleep but before you fall victim to this common feeding myth, learn the facts.

Pediatrician William Sears, MD, author of The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night’s Rest for the Whole Family (Little Brown, 2005) says that there is no evidence to support this as true. In fact, he says you could have the opposite effect since indigestion is a common reason for babies waking up in the night. If you put your baby to bed with a fully tummy, he might wake up gassy or bloated.

Babies are much more responsive to routine. So if you want your baby to sleep at certain times, be consistent with this each night. Create a soothing bedtime routine that helps your baby know it’s time for bed and be sure he’s fed, dry and comfortable (not too hot or too cold) and you will set the stage for a good night’s sleep for you and baby.

Myth: You Can Predict the Baby’s Gender By ___

baby gender mythsThere are probably more baby gender myths than anything else in babydom. Everyone seems to have a trick or method for telling the sex of your baby. One of the most common lies in how you carry the baby: If you carry in front, it’s a boy; if you’re wide at the middle, it’s a girl. Low is a boy and high is a girl.

Another involves stringing an item (such as your wedding ring) from a strand of the father’s hair over your belly. If the ring goes in a circle, your baby is a girl. If it goes back and forth, your baby is a boy.

If you have morning sickness all day, it’s a girl.

If the heartbeat is faster than 140bpm, it’s a girl. But less than 130bpm means a boy.

I tried all of these with five different children and they were wrong more often than they were right. They can be fun to do at your baby shower but don’t start buying pink layettes just yet. The only definitive way to know the sex of your unborn baby is through an ultrasound or amniocentesis.

Myth: Too Many Daily Naps Will Keep Baby Awake at Night

baby sleep mythsSome people say that if you let your baby sleep too much during the day, she won’t sleep at night. This is only partly true. When it comes to naps, there is a sweet spot for most infants and babies. No nap at all and your baby will be so overtired, she cannot sleep at night. She will be cranky, fidgety and restless when bedtime comes.

But too much sleep during the day and she might think nighttime is the time to play. So you want to allow naps but you also want to give your baby interaction, play time with mom and dad and tummy time that starts at birth. If your baby is already rolling or crawling, be sure she has some time on the floor in a safe location to do this every day. Make sure she has toys for learning and stimulating her brain. When nighttime comes, if she’s fed, dry and comfortable, she will sleep well for you.

Myth: Newborn Babies Do Nothing but Eat and Sleep

Anyone who has ever had a newborn probably already knows that this one is not true, yet people still stay it a lot. While they do sleep a lot, newborn babies do not just eat and sleep all the time. Janet Doman, director of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential says, “Newborn babies are not the happy little bundles that we like to imagine that they are.” She adds, “Instead they are very intent human beings struggling against very difficult circumstances to overcome blindness, deafness, and immobility…the sensory and motor pathways grow and develop based upon stimulation.”

Be ready to play and interact with your baby, to sing and dance, to read books and to provide stimulation and the building blocks of learning. There is more to having a baby than just feedings and changing.

Myth: You Should Talk “Baby Talk” To Your Baby

baby myths bustedIt is good to talk “baby talk” to your little bundle of joy? I’ve heard people say that baby loves it and that it’s good for the baby. I’ve heard others say that babies cannot really understand what we say anyway. The truth? Skip the baby talk!

Doman says, “Baby talk is essentially disrespectful of the intellectual ability of the tiny baby,” she says. “The baby has the right to hear his native tongue spoken properly, not in a degraded fashion that the baby will have to unlearn later.”

Each day the baby’s understanding grows in more and you are your baby’s first teacher. So take your time when talking to baby, use proper vocabulary and help her learn from the earliest age how to express herself.

Myth: Babies Can’t Talk

They myth that babies cannot talk goes right in line with the previous myth. The truth is that while babies may not be capable of speaking our language right from birth, they can definitely talk. He makes sounds that we do not understand yet as words but these are the beginnings of language and they definitely mean something. You should welcome the enthusiasm and energy that your baby spends on talking and be sure to respond to him. This will encourage him to continue to communicate, especially when he needs something. You will raise a child with the confidence to express his needs and feel secure that they will be met.

Myth: Heartburn in Pregnancy Means Your Baby will be Born with a Full Head of Hair

pregnancy mythsSurprise! This one is actually true. I thought it was complete coincidence when my three boys were each born with full heads of hair after I had terrible heartburn in my pregnancies. No heartburn with my girls and they were born bald as can be.

Still, I was shocked to learn that there was some truth to this common myth. In July 2007, researchers at Johns Hopkins released a study showing that a connection between heartburn and newborn hair does exist.

So there you go- some baby myths turn out to be true but if you’re ever in doubt, you should talk to your pediatrician or OB. Don’t put a lot of weight into the things that your friends and family will tell you. Even the best intentions will often steer you wrong.

What are some wacky baby myths you’ve heard over the years?

What’s the best baby carrier for new parents?

Galaxy Grey Baby CarrierWhether you are hiking a mountain trail with your tot, running to the store to pick up dinner, or just trying to fold laundry at home, a baby carrier can be one of the best and easiest ways to keep your baby close and you hands-free.

With all the baby carrier options on the market though, it can be hard to decide which style of carrier will suit you best. Here, we explain the different types of carriers and benefits of each style.

Soft-structured baby carriers

ERGObaby carrierSoft-structured carriers are made of a rectangular piece of material with shoulder straps and usually a waist belt that are all secured around the parent with buckles or clasps. Some create a seat with the baby’s legs wrapped around you and others keep the child more vertical with the child’s legs hanging down. Some soft-structured carriers offer a front-only carry position while others include back and hip options.

Why you’d want this type

  • Distributes the weight of the child with dual shoulder straps and hip belt
  • Carrying support – most have generously padded shoulder straps and padded waist belts. Some offer lumbar support too.
  • Use for around the house, errands, outings, neighborhood walks, hikes
  • Offers a quick on/off, and it’s usually easy to adjust for multiple wearers
  • Dad approved – most dads like the simplicity and practical look of soft-structured carriers.
Keep in mind: While some have the feature built-in, a few soft-structured carriers are not suitable for newborn infants without an additional infant insert to raise the child higher or provide additional head support. Also, most soft-structured carriers tend to be bulkier than other baby carriers making them tricky to stash in a diaper bag or purse.

Baby wraps

Babywearing wrapWrap baby carriers are a long, single piece of material that you wrap around yourself, snugly securing your baby to your body on the front, side, or back.

Why you’d want this type

  • Good choice for extended baby-wearing
  • Full support for newborns
  • Offers a variety of carry options. Most wraps offer between 5-8 different positions
  • Multiple caregivers use the same carrier
  • Quality wraps are more affordable than comparable quality in other types of baby carriers
  • Use around the house, running errands, breastfeeding, some yoga and light exercise movements
Keep in mind: Wrap carriers require that you learn and master the various tying positions. Plan on practice time with the manual, DVD, or online videos until you feel confident with the different options. The fabric length (often 16-18 feet long) can be overwhelming for some parents with small frames, those who get hot easily, or for putting on in less-than-sanitary locations like parking lots or restrooms.

Baby slings

Baby sling There are two main kinds of baby slings – pouch slings (a circular piece of material ordered in a specific size and worn over one shoulder to creates a pouch for baby) and ring slings that use a single swath of fabric looped through two rings to create an adjustable pouch for the baby.

Why you’d want this type

  • A simple, fuss-free baby carrier
  • Quick on/off carrier
  • Compact storage. Most slings can easily fit in a diaper bag or purse.
  • Use around the house, errands, outings, breastfeeding
  • Slings, especially pouch slings, are usually very affordable.
Keep in mind: With a sling, the weight of the baby is supported on one of your shoulders which may be uncomfortable for some. Most slings are also purchased in specific sizes, and it can be hard to judge your post-pregnancy size when you’re putting it on your registry before you even deliver. If you can’t try one on in person, read the brand’s sizing info carefully to make your best selection.

Mei Tai carrier

Mei tai carriers are a large rectangular piece of fabric tied around the parent by four straps. Most mei tai carriers can be used on the front, back, or hip.

Whether a wrap or sling, mei tai or soft-structured carrier, finding your perfect baby carrier will ensure you can keep your little one close while you work, play, travel, and parent.

Why you’d want this type

  • Helps distribute the carry weight of older/heavier babies with dual shoulder straps
  • Multiple caregivers can use the same carrier
  • Use around the house, errands, outings, neighborhood walks, hikes
  • Find your fashion match! A wide variety of styles, colors, and patterns available. Some companies even let you send in your own fabric swatch to personalize your carrier.
Keep in mind: Some mei tai carriers may not provide enough support for newborns or require a separate newborn insert. While some mei tai carriers do have padded shoulder straps, most do not have padded waist straps which may make them uncomfortable for heavier children or extended wear.

9 Reasons Why a Mom Would Choose an Ergobaby infant carrier

Thinking about getting an Ergobaby carrier? Here are 9 reasons to consider this popular kid carrier plus tips from experienced Ergo moms.

9 Reasons to Buy An Ergo

1. Multiple carry positions – whether you like to carry your child on the front, on your hip, or on your back, the Ergo makes each position comfortable and convenient. Its one limitation – you can’t carry your child forward facing out.

I liked the idea that I had the option to wear my babies on my front or back.” – Anne C.

 

2. Long use range – the Ergo carrier is suitable for newborns (with the Infant Insert) up to 45 lbs. giving it an incredibly long range of use. There are not many pieces of baby gear that can be useful for 3-4 years. This saves you money and the hassle of having to buy multiple new carriers.

I wear my 1-year-old and sometimes my 3-year-old in it. I even wore my 6-year-old once….but she’s a peanut.” – Brooke C.

 

3. Comfortable for baby – the Ergo provides support for baby in an ergonomic, natural sitting position that adequately supports the baby’s spine, pelvis and hips.

My favorite thing about my Ergo was that it felt like I was cuddling my baby, not just wearing him.” – Leahna L.

 

ERGObaby 360 Carrier4. Comfortable for parents – from padded shoulder straps to a waist belt that helps disperse the child’s weight, the Ergo carrier keeps parent comfort in mind – whether you’re carrying a newborn or a toddler.

 “I love that you can carry your child in it until about 3 years old. I’ve owned other carriers and I find this one to be the easiest on your back. The strap that goes around your hips really helps alleviate the strain on your back from carrying a heavy child around.”  – Katie K.

 

ERGObaby Carrier Patterns5. Many designer fabrics – if the plain jane solid fabrics of the original Ergo didn’t satisfy your sense of style, choose one of Ergo’s designer fabrics with eye-catching prints.

“They now make Ergo in great prints so they are more stylish than some of their other earlier designs.” – Mindy E.

 

6. Smart features – most Ergo models come standard with a small zippered pocket on the outside of the carrier, perfect for stashing your keys, cash or phone if you’re out for a quick walk. The carrier also comes with a sun/sleeping hood which keeps your babe safe from the sun and blocks out extra noise and light when baby needs to nap.

“I love the pocket on the front!  The pocket is big enough to store your phone and keys, so you can leave the house without a bag.” – Kristine C.

I used the head shade all the time especially when we were in the sun or he was asleep in a light place.” – Colleen K.

 

7. Machine washable – babies are not neat. But the Ergo is safe to throw in your washing machine making it that much easier to keep it clean from dirt, drool and pureed peas.

“I loved that I could just throw it in the wash!” – Tracy H.

 

8. Breastfeeding friendly – No need to take the baby out of the carrier to feed. With the Ergo, your child can discretely breastfeed right in the carrier.

 I love to nurse in the Ergo in public. Plus the sleeping hood provides some privacy.” – Jessica L.

 

9. Suitable during pregnancy – Many front carriers can’t be used with a growing belly. With the Ergo’s options of back and side carry positions, you can continue to use it right through your next pregnancy.

After using an Ergo, I’d never go back to another carrier because it surpasses them all in weight distribution. I was able to wear my son in the side carrier position for much of a subsequent pregnancy because of this.” – Lisa W.

 

Tips From Ergo Moms

We asked moms who have used and loved their Ergo carriers over multiple years and kids. Here are their tips for new Ergo users.

 New moms should watch the Ergobaby video demo to be certain to how put it on with greater ease.” – Alisa H.

 “It takes a bit to coordinate putting it on by yourself. At the beginning I found an extra set of hands were helpful (clipping small buckles and adjusting straps). You’ll get to the point you can do all of this on your own but takes a bit to get used to.”  – Mindy E.

 “I’d wait to use it until the baby was big enough that you didn’t need the infant insert.  I found that to be big, bulky and uncomfortable.” – Beth M.

 “If it doesn’t work out with the infant insert, don’t think that it will never work for you. Put it aside and take it out again when your baby is a little sturdier.” – Jessica L.

 “I LOVE the Ergo on airplanes. The baby can sit in your lap or sleep on you and you are still hands free. It was easy to walk on and off the plane without gate checking a stroller too.”  – Mindy E

ERGO 360 carrier

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