Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get What You Want This Mom's Day

Hi there,

I was just talking with some mom friends about how this coming mom's day with be our first. I kind of forget that...I have been celebrating my mom for so long I forgot I am a mom!

If you are like me, you might want to give your wonderful hubbie a little hint of what you are looking for this coming mom's day...because honestly, WE DESERVE IT!!!

Check out this cool new site some friends of mine started: www.dropyourhint.com!

You can go on here to pick the items you want and your family will get a "hint" of what you selected.

Check it out and get shopping for yourself!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mommy Challenges - Just a few

Ok, so I am loving being a mom, and now that Riley is almost 6 months old, every day brings new joys....and of course challenges.

Our latest challenge, teething! It is just tough to see a baby in pain with very little you can do for them. I am using Baby Tylenol when I can and a few homeopathic remedies, but it is just tough for her. And sleep comes and goes!

Another challenge, activity! Riley is rolling all over the floor - not quite crawling - but moving. This means mom has to be on all of the time. I tell people all of the time, the newborn stage was actually the easiest for me because she slept and chilled out most of the time! Now, she wants to talk, move and basically take part in life! Super fun, but does not give mom tons of time to do stuff.

Lastly, I am just having some body challenges: I am still nursing so my body is hormonal. I still overheat when I have a glass of wine, my Psoriasis on my scalp is still there and I cannot take medication until I stop nursing, my boobs are still big, my body is flabby and I am still crying at a lot of things!

Ok, that is it!

Love being a mom, but you know, we have those days!

The Baby Registry - Where to start

So, my good friend Joanne recently asked me for some help with her baby registry. I remember how stressful starting a registry was for me, so I wanted to give her a very detailed list of what I recommended. I got help from my good friend Liz who past down a list from her friends.

If you are a mom-to-be and you are looking for some registry help, here is my very long but detailed list! I hope this helps:

Top seven things you must have:

1. A swing - see list for brands I recommend, this is a must right away for newborn and on. Riley slept in hers early on for 3 hours at a time.
2. A basinet or co-sleeper - We did not put Riley in the crib until three months, so you will want a basinet or co-sleeper so she can sleep in the room with you. I did not buy a basinet because the Pack and Play I got had one (a lot of people do this).
3. Diaper garbage can thing and changing table...enough said
4. A monitor. Register for the one that has a monitor but it is wireless. We were not thinking and got a bigger one but it plugs into the wall, so we have to unplug and move it room to room. If you get the battery operated one you can just take it with you everwhere. You do want this though.
5. Car Seat and a stroller. Stollers can be complicated, my best recommendation, get a Graco Snug Ride (everyone has them and they are the best), and put a Snap and Go stroller on your registry (it is only $69 or something). The car seat clicks into the snap and go and you can stroll anywhere. I keep my Snap and Go in the car and then we have The Uppa Baby system for longer walks. This comes with a basinet and then a bigger girl seat which she is just getting into. Most strollers also have a car seat adapter you buy seperately...register or buy one if you know what stroller you want. Keep the stroller in your garage. Good for long walks, snap and go is not. You can also get the Bob or a jogging stroller now and use the carseat adapter until the baby gets bigger. I am going to buy a Bob later when she is ready for it, but really you can get it now and just use that.
6. Ok, you need a sound machine of some sort. People will probably you them, register for a good one. Tim put in a Sonos system in our house, and we have speakers in the nursery and our room. We put all of her sound CD's in the system and we still play the Ocean wave sound when she goes to bed...you want this from when she is right out of the womb for a while!
7. If you have room, a glider (rocker) is very helpful especially in the beginning. It is not necessary if you are holding off on the nursery or if you already have a reclining chair. Also, an excercise ball will help you pregnant and after when they are crying and you bounce up and down.

Below is most of the registry list I used with the brands I went with. I only registered at Babys R Us because it just seemed easier to register in one place and you can get a lot that you need there. Another place people are registering these days is Amazon.com or Diapers.com. Babies R Us gives you the option to pick what kind of mom you are and then they will recommend a variety of things for you. This helped me too...I did that and then supplemented with the list below.

1) Pack-n-play - I got one with the bassinet like this one: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3572949. This is great for home and travel and can be used when they are bigger. Order quilted sheets - I did not get sheets and it was very uncomfortable when she moved from the basinet to the mattress (probably around 6 weeks).

2) Bouncer - We have this one: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3310993. A girl I know has this one and loves it: http://www.babybjorn.com/us/products/bouncers/babysitter-balance/balance/. This one is more of a natural rocker which is nice especially when they are older like Riley's age...but for a newborn, the swing worked best.

3) Swing - A must! Riley slept for hours in this during the day so I could clean, shower, etc. This is the one we got: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3090973

4) Jumper - I have yet to get the jumper because Riley is just now big enough. You can hold off on this until later...or borrow one.

5) Carrier - Definitely register for a baby carrier. We got the Bjorn but I also went and bought a sling to just put her in when taking the dog out and such. Everyone in LA loves the Moby Wrap because it keeps the baby close to you and is like having the baby in your womb again. I did not get this one because it looked to hard to get on, but in hindsight, I probably would have because the sling I bought was not very secure. You might like this one a lot:http://www.pumpstation.com/pumpstation/product.asp?s_id=0&prod_name=Moby+Wrap++Moss&pf_id=PAKFICHNIKHHBGJE&dept_id=3481. When the baby gets a bit older, they want to look out and explore, and the Moby does not allow for that, and the Bjorn does. A lot of people get the Bjorn and a wrap like the Moby. The ERGO Baby carrier is supposed to be the best for your back but again does not allow for the baby to face front.

6) Playmat - You will start putting the baby on the playmat within a month or so, so register for one. We have this one but there are many options out there...this will be something you use for a while: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2266983.

7) Bottles - I use the Born Free ones - http://www.toysrus.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=born%20free&origkw=born%20free&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2255957&sr=1 and Riley likes them. Don't buy too many, because you may find the baby does not like them and you need to try another brand. Dr. Brown's are supposed to be good too. You can start with the starter kit and maybe register for a few more 9oz bottles and some extra stage 1 nipples. Get a bottle brush. We got a warmer but hardly ever used it. So kind of up to you on that.

Get a bottle drying rack as well like this -http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2747237

Pumps - Medela is the most highly recommended one...I got this one because it is supposed to be handsfree but I never really used it because it was too much work, so you can probably register for the one that is not handsfree and it is like $100 cheaper. This comes with bottles and stuff to get you started. http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3214492.

You will want to get nipple creams, breast pads for leaking. I definitely used the cream and the pads in the beginning but after two weeks I did not need them anymore. I also bought a few nursing bras before the baby came...I should have waited....I went and got fitted right after the baby and had to buy 2 more because my boobs were yet bigger! But you can get some nursing tanks before baby because you will want to bring them to the hospital and u will use them right away! Also, get a nursing cape to cover you when you are out...I never thought I would nurse in public, but you just have to some times.

The hospital gave us some formula to use for supplementing and we still use Similac. You probably don't need any because the hospital can give you some. Just ask them...they gave me some because Riley was getting frustrated with the small amount of milk coming out at the beginning. Within a week, my milk came out in full force!

8) Car seat - I mentioned that we got the Graco Snugride 35 (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4089529). Again, everyone recommended this and it is great. We also registered for the Snap and Go (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2327597). Lastly, register for two of the bases so you can put in your cars, makes it easy to just plop the seat in there: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3749233.

9) Bathtub - just get a cheap, plain plastic one that the baby can be comforable on. We have this one and it comes with a newborn sling: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2403667. As you know we don't even have a tub, so this works great right now and you will need this. Riley loves her baths. You can also register for hooded towels and wash cloths, people like to give these as gives (Riley also got robes). On baby soap, I like California Baby or any of the more natural options.

10) Diaper Pale - The Diaper Genie is probably the most well know, but I got the Diaper Dekor: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2919753. I do like it better because with the Genie you have to push the diaper in through a hole and the Dekor you just throw it in and it does a good job hiding any odor.

11) Diapers - I used the newborn pampers swaddlers. Register for big boxes in newborn and size 1. and pampers sensitive wipes too. We now order these at amazon.com. They have a moms section where you can get next day delivery and I think discounts. Again, diapers.com works well too.

12) Pacifier - You can pick what you like and baby adjusts...the hospital will get you started. St. John's gave us these and Riley loved them...for a whole week, then she gave up: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11004923

14) Highchair - We have not got a Highchair yet...soon but I am not going to start her on solids until 6 months. You can wait for this unless you want to register for it now.

15) Monitor - I would get something like this if I were to do it again: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3763010

16) Boppy Pillow for feeding - http://www.toysrus.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=boppy%20pillow&origkw=Boppy%20pillow&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2255957&sr=1
(I ended up getting another one so I had one in the bedroom and one in the nursery or living room..I have this second one: http://www.pumpstation.com/pumpstation/product.asp?s_id=0&prod_name=Luna+Lullaby+Bosom+Baby+Nursing+Pillow&pf_id=PAKFACDDIKEADFDB&dept_id=3030.

17) bumbo chair - they can learn to sit in here and you can feed them in these...good for travel...Riley was in hers by two months

18) First aid kit - Definitely register for this. You will want to also get a thermometer, they say the anal one is best, I have three of them. You can buy your own children's tylenol, gas relief and so on. Also, make sure you get baby clippers for the nails, you will need them.

19) Clothes - You don't need to register for clothes - people love to buy baby clothes. However, I did have to go and buy a lot of Newborn white and basic onesies and 3 month white and basic onesies. This is something you can register for and/or just buy yourself.

20) Diaper bag - this is obvious. I got a medium sized bag, but I am looking at buying a bigger one. This should come with a travel changing pad, if it does not, register for one. A travel wipe holder is good too.

21) Mobiles - register for one for the pack and play if you are not going to do a crib for a while (or get one for the crip). Mobiles are great early on for them to start focusing their eye sight and such. I bought a more modern looking one but there are lots of options

22) Swaddle blankets - the absolute BEST are Aden and Anais because they are breathable and big. They are worth the price.

23) Burp cloths, register or buy a big pack of disposable diapers....you will need a ton! The swaddle blankets are great for this too. If you get multiple swaddle blankets, that is OK, I use 8 in a rotation all week long.

24) Glider - This is the one we got, but there are many options and styles out there: https://www.minijake.com/mjcategory.cfm?L1=living&L2=seating&L3=adult%20seating&categoryoid=123&productoid=102073&itemoid=64875

25) Toys - we got some toys but not a lot. You don't need a lot right away, but chew toys will be one of the first things you need. Sophie the Giraffe is a big one.

26) A few other things: A lot of people get the Miracle Blanket for sleeping. I tried this but it was too much work to get her in and then get her out to change her during the night. I just ended up using the swaddle blankets. When your baby gets a bit older, around 3 months, these Angel Blankies are great for sleep training: http://www.pumpstation.com/pumpstation/product.asp?s_id=0&prod_name=Angel+Dear+Blankie+Pink+Giraffe&pf_id=PAKFACFLPBJEAMFM&dept_id=3339.

27.) I registered for baby hangers, you will need them. You will also need to get baby detergent because you need to wash everything before the baby comes.

Travel Tips with Baby

Hi all -

I recently put an updated list together of my travel tips for parents who are traveling with a baby! Here is that list for you!

Tips for Traveling with a Baby:

1. Relax and take your time, do not worry about anyone waiting behind you in the security line or on the plane if your baby cries...9 times out of 10 they have been there themselves, and if not, they will get over it!
2. Buy baby a seat if you can, especially for long trips. If you don't buy a seat (because let's face it, flying is expensive on our own not to mention adding in another person), bring your car seat to the gate with you just in case there is an extra seat you can get. If the flight is open and the gate agents are nice, they will work to get you a seat with an open seat next to it so you can put the baby in a seat! From personal experience, a short trip is OK with the baby in your lap, a long trip can be very tiring and tough on you to keep a baby in your lap the whole time. On a sidenote, when booking flights, try to fly on a day or time where it is not as busy as normal ( Tues - Thursday mornings and Saturdays). This will greatly increase your chances of getting an open seat!
3. If you are flying local or anywhere Southwest flies, check them out. I am an avid American flyer but flying Southwest last week was the best for baby! We got an open seat both ways, they have special family lines at security and you get to board after the A group. Plus no one gives you a dirty look for having a baby on board (this sometimes happens on American).
4. If you are bringing the car seat on the plane (if you did not buy a seat and they don't have an open seat for you, they will check the seat at the gate), I highly recommend bringing your Snap and Go or another stroller frame with you through the airport. I used the Bjorn on our first trip and it was so hard walking through the airport with baby, bags and delays! The gate agent will check the stroller at the gate as well and you just leave it when you are getting on board and they will have it for you when you get off. I HIGHLY recommend doing this!!! You can throw your carry-ons on the stroller as well and you can roam the airport freely. Again, a good solution especially if you run into a delay (which I have twice now) and you want to keep the baby comfortable and calm.
5. For your carry-on, bring a fully packed diaper bag. Bring a few extra sets of clothing, plenty of diapers and wipes, toys, a few bottles, a carrier just in case you don't get an open seat, and a travel changing pad for the airplane changing tables (very uncomfortable for baby)! Plan for anything that could happen including delays, blowouts and lost luggage.
6. Bring some things for yourself too if the baby sleeps - iPad, magazine, water, snacks and so on. You want to be comfortable so baby is comfortable. I usually bring a diaper bag and a personal carry-on.
7. Bring some identification for the Baby. I was asked on my last flight and did not have anything, so make sure to have a birth certificate, social security card and/or medical shot card.
8. Be friendly to the airline employees and they will help you out! Even the security, which I had someone help me put the stroller on the security belt when I was by myself once. And flight attendants love to hold babies, so don't hesitate to ask them if you need to go to the bathroom and you are on your own!
9. Feed the baby during takeoff and landing...I have not really needed to because Riley has slept through most of the takeoffs and landings, but have a bottle ready just in case if baby has their own seat or nurse if you are holding them and you are nursing. Riley has not really been bothered by the air pressure, but you never know.
10. If you have or get a seat for the baby, you cannot sit in the Exit Row with a youngster and you will need to put the baby car seat at the window.
11. RELAX - don't stress about traveling, just go with the flow and do your best. Stressing will be tough on you and the baby!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mommy and Me Classes - a must do

The first few months - really first 6 weeks with Riley were interesting. I did not leave the house much as I was really getting use to this new being and everything that she brought to us.

Now that she is a bit older, I am finding I am able to get out of the house more and more, at least for a few hours at a time.

I joined a Mommy and Me class called Babygroup (www.babygroup.me) located in Santa Monica. It is a mommy support group/learning opportunity run by family and child therapists. The concept is great - bring new moms together with babies around the same age so they can learn new things about the baby's development, they can network and bond with other new moms and they have a place to bring issues and concerns. The group is in high demand, and I got really lucky that a space opened up last minute so I was able to join. The classes cost money, but from the two I have been to so far, I think it is definitely worth it!

I highly recommend it for any new moms and for women looking to make new mommy friends.

Two Months Shot!

Baby Riley is 11 weeks this week....just crazy how fast it has gone already. I will say, I am enjoying EVERY MOMENT!

Here is Riley's two month birthday shot, on Christmas Day!

Traveling with Baby

We took Riley on her first trip for the Holidays...we flew from LA to Denver, Denver to Chicago and then Chicago to LA. The first leg was tough...we chose not to buy her a seat so I wore her in a Bjorn through the airport and my back was killing me...even though I have traveled most of my life, I still overpack so even my carry-on bag was overloaded and heavy! Add a baby, a winter coat and a dog, and getting through security and the airport was kind of a pain. Then, while waiting at the gate, Riley started crying and that was tough. I tried feeding, changing her diaper and walking around to calm her. Once we got on the plane - which was a very tiny little jet so it was cramped and tight - I started to feed her. But we had to get up and change planes because there was a problem with the tire...super fun! Finally, we got on the plane and started for the takeoff and Riley was a gem from there on out. I fed her during lift-off, when she got fussy and as we started our descent. She stopped feeding and actually was laughing and joking during our landing....this girl was born to fly!

By the second leg, it got a lot better, I think just getting the first time out of the way was the hard part. And the final leg was the best....we upgraded ourselves so it was like heaven having all of the room to hold her and feed her and still feel some privacy.

Some things I learned during the experience -

1. Buy a seat if you can, it just gives you freedom to move around and get comfortable.
2. Upgrade if you can, first class is so much better...definitely worth it
3. Bring your Snap and Go stroller or a stroller to get through the airport...so much easier then carrying the baby with other bags hanging from your shoulder. Check it at the gate.
4. DO NOT STRESS - otherwise it will make the whole experience just a big pain and frustrating, plus the baby will feel it and get fussy
5. Take your time...who cares of people get frustrated in security
6. Feed during take-off and landing and whenever they get fussy, it does help. Riley did not cry once and other passengers hardly knew she was there
7. Flight attendants love babies...and want to hold them. Fine with me!
8. Babies enjoy flying...or at least mine does (hopefully this will last)
9. I love flying, but I am a 1000 times more nervous and sensitive to little bumps and noises with the baby traveling with me. I just don't want anything to happen to her...kind of confirms buying a seat will make me feel more comfortable, I hope.
10. Pack light, but make sure to have everything you need for baby!

Traveling is definitely a whole new ballgame with the baby, but I am so glad I am doing it!!! Up next, Hawaii at the end of the month!

Pix - Riley and dad in the Admirals Club in Denver!