3.24.2017

Teething Survival Tips and a GIVEAWAY!

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on any applicable links.

I am not going to represent myself as an expert on teething babies. However, I am all up in the mix with a teething infant, so I wanted to share some love and simple advice come-lately with all you mamas and dadas out there.

It seemed that we hit a serious drool situation right at around two months, which based on research is very normal and coincides with when they start working with their mouth more and literally get more saliva going to that area. Makes sense. However, we went from dripping drool to chewing like a crazed puppy pretty quickly, so I wasn't entirely surprised when we discovered teeth in Asher's mouth at twenty weeks. (OK, that's a lie. I kinda gasped when I felt those sharp little suckers during bath time. And I may or may not have cried, thinking about the limited days of his sweet gummy smile.) It still took weeks--almost a month, actually--before they were really visible, but that didn't stop him from feeling the effects of this new, quite painful addition to his little body.

I read somewhere that if adults had to go through the pain that a baby does while teething, we'd go insane. And observing an infant, that makes total sense. Sometimes they look like they're just losing their mind with discomfort, so we as parents should to do everything we can to make this development easier to bear.


Tips for Supporting Your Teething Infant


  1. Let them chew. Especially if you're a germaphobe, you may hate the idea of them chewing on everything. And I mean everything...their toys, your hand, water bottles, the cat. The counter-pressure helps bring relief, much as holding pressure on a smashed finger can feel better. If you don't want them chewing on items that could harm them (because they don't discriminate), get them a handful of teething "toys" that they can regularly access. (You can see some of my favorite teething items below.)
  2. Snuggle them. Let them cry. Let them meltdown, and hold them so, so close. It's not their fault they feel and are acting miserable. They are miserable. So comfort your sweet baby and put everything else aside. They'll probably pass out from the meltdown here shortly, so just hold them for a little bit longer and cover them with love and encouragement.
  3. Opt for Zen. When they're in the throes of cutting a new tooth, don't over-schedule your day with playdates, family gatherings, or back-to-back errands. Make the time (because it won't magically appear...you have a child, after all) to remain in their familiar environment--your home--and let them get through it moment by moment, knowing that their beloved toys and people (i.e. Mommy) are right there to support them. Give them Epsom salt baths, fire up the diffuser with essential oils, and give them lots of soothing baby massage. (I know, my crunchy is showing.) But seriously, they need this comfort more than anything, and you won't distract a baby out of teething. Yes, read them their favorite book over and over (and over again), and keep their mouths busy with appropriate things to gum and slobber on, but shuffling to and fro is not going to benefit you or your little one.  

Goobie Baby's Audrey teething necklace and some bright, chewy blocks


My Favorite Teething Products

  • Banana Teether - This is one of those favorites that you see time and time again, but Asher really does seem to like it. And you can actually use it as a baby toothbrush to help them start to get comfortable with that process.
  • Copaiba Essential Oil - We are big on Young Living essential oils in our home, and feel completely comfortable using oils on and around Asher. I am not a fan of a lot of the teething medications and products offered over-the-counter, but we've found that Copaiba oil is really effective when used on inflamed gums and to provide support when our little guy is most uncomfortable. 
  • Silicone Teether - These are great to keep in the fridge because the coolness feels soothing on their poor little inflamed gums. (Of note, it's not recommended that you freeze teething products to give to babies.) The shape of the Nuby teether also encourages coordination and makes it easy for them to handle on their own. Fair warning: They may try to stick the whole "nuby" end in their mouth...and you may laugh at your own baby.
  • Teething Necklace - I ordered a simple, cute teething necklace from Goobie Baby on Amazon and it has been a huge hit. This is also a great solution to distract those tiny hands when they discover the joy of pinching while nursing. Teething bracelets are another option, but I find myself wearing the necklace all the time because it's so cute. 


Giveaway Time!!

Because I have nothing but love for other mamas and daddies who are supporting their little ones during this difficult phase of growing up, I have a fantastic giveaway to share with y'all! 

Goobie Baby has very generously agreed to provide one of their adorable teething necklaces AND a set of their reversible, waterproof drool bandana bib sets for one of my readers! We call this the "Teething Survival Kit," though we regret that we can't include the glass of wine that you may desperately need as you cope alongside your precious babe. 

Enter using the form below, and I will choose one winner for this awesome prize on April 8th, which just so happens to be Asher's 6 month birthday. (WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!?)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Feel free to share and spread the word. Winner will be contacted on April 8th!



1.31.2017

My Baby Essentials: The First 3 Months

Baby napping in Solly Wrap
Asher napping in his Solly Wrap
This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on any applicable links.

A few months back, I shared my Top Newborn Essentials. While many of those items are still in play, I wanted to share an updated list of some items that have been helpful during these early infant months. 


Life With Baby These Days


Asher is now 16 weeks old, and we're definitely in more of a rhythm as a family. But lest you think we have some kind of unicorn child, rest assured that the 4-month sleep regression, 15-week leap, and teething are no joke. (All things at once? Not cool, man. Not cool.) We're ALL UP IN this parenting thing and still learning every single day how to do it better (or at the very least, survive). I'm starting to figure out that we'll never really feel like we have a grasp on things. One day at a time, y'all.


Infant Essentials: 0-3 Months

  • Activity Mat  - We like to encourage play time, but there's only so much you can do with a three-month-old. The activity mat has been great for getting him active on the ground, rolling over, grasping at toys, and interacting with his reflection in the little mirror. (He typically just playfully screams at his reflection, but he loves it. No doubt, Dude has found his voice.) We also do Tummy Time on the mat, but he tends to prefer the Boppy for that.
  • Cloth Diapers - You can read a lot more about our cloth diaper journey here, but suffice to say, we are really happy with our decision to use AIOs (all-in-ones). We use both cloth diapers and wipes, and they're so much easier to use than we imagined. It's nice to know we're reducing our strain on the environment, and it's so cute to see a big fluffy baby butt.
  • Diaper Bag  - OK, this one is probably obvious, but I have to say that not all diaper bags are created equal. I had actually registered for a more expensive bag, but decided to use a gift card from a returned item at BBrU to get something more affordable, figuring I didn't really know what I would need until baby arrived (if that makes sense). I've been super happy with my tote. I love having lots of compartments to keep me organized, as well as a lightweight bag given that all the gear itself starts to add up.
  • Flannel Burp Cloths - I have to update my previous recommendation as far as burp cloths. While we do still use the Burt's Bees cloths a lot, a friend of mine made us some adorable fleece burp cloths, and we found that material is far superior when it comes to corralling the spit-up and drool. I ordered a set of flannel receiving blankets to use as additional burp cloths, providing more coverage and lasting us a little longer (since soaking one cloth every hour is a lot to keep up with), and they've been great.
    • Our choice: Luvable Friends Flannel Receiving Blanket - Set of 4 ($10)
      • Diaper tote to carry ALL THE THINGS
      • Note: I would not recommend these as actual blankets. They're really thin, small for a blanket, the print is only on one side, and they don't hold their shape. But for spit-up? All day long. Get you some. 
  • Slobber/Drool Bandanas - I admittedly had no idea that these things produce so much spit. The pee and poop? I saw that coming. But when Ash started leaking from his mouth on a regular basis around the two month mark, I didn't know what to think. It sadly took me a few weeks before I realized that now was a great time to start using bibs (Mommy Brain is so real, you guys), and while I really like the Aden + Anais muslin bibs (especially their size), I've found these adorable baby bandanas to be much more absorbent. And let's face it: they're also adorable. We have 8 bananas and 3 A+A bibs now, which is just enough to get us through laundry cycles. (Seriously, so much spit.)
  • Snot Sucker - I just don't know how else to phrase this, y'all. The idea of sucking the boogies out of my child's nose was straight up disgusting, but after I learned more about this little gadget and it came so highly recommended by many mamas that I trust, I caved. And I'm so glad I did. It's a genius invention and has made clearing LO's stuffy noses (which happen on the regular) so easy. He hated it at first, but now he tolerates it well, especially if we use a saline mist first and wipe the boogies clear with saline wipes.
  • Teether Toy - Asher likes to chew on everything. He's like a puppy. Seriously. I bought him a sensory play and teething toy for Christmas, and he loves it. It has been so great for keeping him occupied in his carseat or the Rock N Play, and I know it's also helping him with his coordination.
  • White Noise app - This has been huge on so many fronts. Aside from swaddling him (we like the Aden + Anais swaddle blankets), turning on white noise has been one of the best, most consistently successful ways that we can help him calm down and/or go to sleep. We use the noise to signal bed time (for both overnight and naps), and it's so nice to have this in app form so that it's always handy. We have it loaded on all of our phones, as well as a track of his mobile sounds so that we can help him wind down wherever we are. (One of the perks of being married to an audio engineer.) We find that the pink noise in this app has been most effective, for whatever reason, but there are lots of great sounds and tones to choose from. The best part? The app is free. Mama likey!
  • Wrap (for Baby Wearing) - Yes, I'm totally one of those moms. I love having my little dude near me, and I believe 100% in the 4th Trimester, so I am a huge fan of the wrap for this clingy period. We have an Ergo 360 Cool Air Carrier as well, which is generally M's jam for hanging out with Ash, but I love my wrap. It was a little cumbersome at first to get used to tying it and getting everything positioned just right, but after repeated use, I can get baby wrapped up and secure in about a minute. It's a great way to get your hands free for chores around the house (I can literally vacuum while wearing him and he falls asleep). I feel like it has allowed me to be more independent, as weird as that probably sounds, and I know he loves being close to mommy's heart. In fact, he still will only sleep if we're holding him, so he takes all his naps in the wrap, which allows me to work during that time. I cherish it, honestly.

Every baby is different, and I'm sure our necessities will drastically change when the saliva situation has let up. But for now, these are the helpers that keep us chugging along.

What were the must-haves for your little one's first 3 months?

1.30.2017

Cloth Diaper Review: bumGenius Freetime vs. Thirsties AIOs

Let me preface this post by saying we're eight weeks into cloth diapering. An expert in fluff, I am not. However, you learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn't. 


Starting Cloth


We totally skipped the newborn phase of CD'ing because of some sage advice I read while pregnant, and I think it was the best decision for us. We used Seventh Generation disposable diapers and wipes during the early days, and they suited us just fine. (We were also gifted some Honest Company wipes, which I liked too, though I recently switched to Water Wipes to have on hand because of how simple is the ingredients list.) Asher was about 8 weeks old when we started cloth, and I think that was a good age. We were past the "Sweet Heavens, what do we do with this little creature?!" phase, and he had gained enough weight to fit into the cloth diapers we purchased really well.

We opted for a stash of AIOs (all-in-ones) only. I read about more cost-effective options, but I knew that simplicity and sanity would rule the day (and I was right...which is pretty much the only thing about parenting that I estimated correctly). I also wanted a system that M could get behind as well, and AIOs are very similar to disposables, so I went that direction. We started stocking up early (once we were well into the second trimester), buying a diaper with each paycheck, and rounded out our stash thanks to two beautiful baby showers. 

Mommy Tip: The bumGenius diapers we got are coupon-eligible at Buy Buy Baby. Holla!

We ended up with 17 diapers in total (which turned out to be just right at his age), and it's a mix of bumGenius Freetimes and Thirsties All-in-Ones. I had read good reviews and feedback about both, but I have to say that one far outperforms the other...


bumGenius AIOs vs. Thirsties AIOs


I'll cut to the chase: bumGenius Freetimes for the win. No question. 


Thirsties AIOs (left) and bumGenius Freetimes (right)
They are very, very similar in style and function, which makes it easy to split a stash between the two. Thirsties has some really cute prints to select from, and they're ever so slightly cheaper. (We're talking $1, folks.) But when it comes to holding in the pee and poo (which, you know, is the whole point), the Freetimes hold up much better. 

Both styles are considered OS (one-size-fits-all), so they adjust to fit just right for your little one via snap configurations. (Thirsties also offers a Hook & Loop option.) But where bumGenius has two layers of microfleece (two attached inserts), Thirsties has only one. I even bought a set of bumGenius doublers to add to the Thirsties, and while it helped, I still get leaks with the Thirsties diapers. 

To be fair, cloth diapers are not as absorbent as disposables, so I am not expecting miracles. I changed his diaper every 1.5 - 2 hours, and I still regularly had leaks. I have yet to have a single leak with the Freetimes, even leaving him in the same diaper for 3 hours at times. (We've yet to have a single case of diaper rash, by the way. I apply a mix of organic coconut oil, Lavender oil, and Frankincense to his bum every other change and overnight, and we've been in good shape.)

Speaking of overnight, I will clarify that we do not cloth diaper for nighttime. After his evening bath, we use the homemade bum balm I just described and Seventh Generation disposables. Again, keeps things simple, and we rarely have leaks.

So, there you have it, bumGenius Freetimes are the AIOs that take the cake (at least compared to Thirsties). They really are so simple to use and don't leak. I only have to wash the diapers every three days (which is not difficult at all, especially at the rate babies go through laundry in general), and have been so pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to transition to fluff. Not to mention, going from throwing away 50+ diapers a week to just 7 feels pretty dang good. 


Cloth Diaper Accessories Worth Mentioning


Since I don't plan to do eleventy thousand posts about the joys of CD (given that many, better posts are out there en masse), I will go ahead and share a few additional tidbits that helped make cloth work really well for us...

We switched to cloth wipes about a month ago, and I'm loving them as a natural extension of doing cloth diapers. If I'm washing diapers, I figure it's easy enough to do wipes at the same time. I use a mix of bumGenius flannel wipes and these ridiculously soft Duckery Kid washcloths. I keep them in our Munchkin wipe warmer, folded and soiled in a solution made with distilled water, witch hazel, Lavender oil, and Tea Tree oil (which I apply via the peri bottle from my delivery). I love that they're gentle enough to use on his face too (because all the drool), and I don't have to worry about a bunch of ingredients that are sure to damage him for life (because all the mommy guilt for everything).

We also use the Aquaus 360 sprayer and Aquaus SprayMate, which makes rinsing the poopy diapers super simple. You technically don't have to rinse poop if they're exclusively breast fed, but, ew. We put soiled diapers and wipes in the Ubbi diaper pail with the Ubbi cloth pail liner until we're ready to wash, and no stink, no fuss. Pop all of the above in the wash on laundry day, and there ya go! 

(I'm not even going to mention wash routine and all that, but I will say that Fluff Love has been an amazing resource for us, and I have had great luck following their guidance.)


Want more baby crap?

Nothing to shill here. All opinions are my own, and no discount or compensation has influenced this post.
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11.29.2016

Mommy Must-Have: The Ember Mug

As a new mom, there are many trade-offs experienced on a daily basis. I often sacrifice getting chores done so that I can hold Asher as he sleeps. I postpone showers so that I can spend time catching up with my husband in the evenings. I eat less-than-elaborate meals so that I can use one arm to hold my 7-week-old little buddy. 

One of the more minor -- albeit very real -- sacrifices since Ash arrived? Drinking coffee while it's still hot. As though on command, the very moment that my delicious Decaf La Silva is done brewing, a fit of fusiness ensues or I get distracted. After warming up a single, sad mug of coffee four times, I basically give up.

That is, until now...


Meet Ember
My sweet husband jumped on an awesome new product that he saw on IndieGoGo, and it is currently my favorite Mommy Must-Have. 

It's called Ember. It may just look like a sleek travel mug, but it's much more. It's a fully interactive coffee mug that you can pair with your smartphone to set temp preferences by beverage, get notifications, and even give it a name.

The feature that won my heart? It maintains the temperature of your drink for up to two hours on-the-go (longer when kept on the charging base, as shown in the photo). And it actually does that, for real. Find the temp you prefer, set the dial on the bottom, and your coffee will be as warm after an impromptu feeding or meltdown as it was when you brewed it.

It was an exciting day when Ember finally arrived, as M placed the order a while back. But, not surprisingly, the campaign did really well. Even Starbucks got in on the action, which I can imagine was a game-changer for the innovative folks behind the mug.

It's not cheap, and Ember is currently backordered given its incredible popularity, but if you're looking for something special for a lovely mommy in your life (including yourself!), I'd order Ember in a hot second and get on that waiting list!

This is NOT a sponsored post. I'm just super excited when we discover great products and had to share with y'all!

11.11.2016

My Top Newborn Essentials

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on any applicable links.

In the early days of bringing Asher home, we learned quickly that while there isn't much to do aside from changing, feeding, comforting, and coaxing to sleep, those activities take a lot of time and finesse. We loaded up our registry with great must-haves and nice-to-haves based on feedback from friends, family, and lots of research (including many blog posts just like this one), but those first weeks relied heavily on a few clutch items that I wanted to highlight for y'all. No two babies are the same, but these items were really helpful for taking care of Ash (and Mommy).


Newborn Essentials


  • Wipe Warmer - This is one of those items that many lists I found online considered unnecessary. And admittedly, yes, you don't have to have this for your little one. However, across the board when I polled my family for their recommendations, a wipe warmer was mentioned. And it makes sense. I wouldn't want a cold, wet wipe on my tushy in the middle of the night. It made changings far less dramatic, and for the price point, it's a no-brainer in my opinion. 
  • Burp Cloths - Babies spit up. A lot. We have yet to have projectile spit-up thankfully, but even just your run of the mill post-feeding mess requires the constant presence of a within-reach burp cloth. We only bought one set and were gifted a few others, but I found myself willing to do a quick load of laundry to ensure some of my faves were always available. (I've since ordered another set.) Look for soft, absorbent (duh), and sized to provide solid coverage.
  • Changing Pad Liner - For whatever reason, Ash is one happy camper when he's on his changing pad. He kicks, coos, and generally has the best demeanor while he's stretched out on it. (We've loved the L.A. Baby 4-Sided Changing Pad with the Burt's Bees Pad Covers.) That being said, with a baby boy I could be changing the cover every other day between mid-change spit ups and that wayward willie. Having washable changing pad liners allows me to quickly and easily switch out just the top layer and move on, one-handed at that, which is how you simply must roll in the early baby days.
  • Infant Car Seat - I had actually second guessed whether I even should have purchased an infant carrier/car seat because I had big plans to wear baby as much as possible out-and-about (in which case, I could have just jumped straight to a convertible car seat). However, turns out Little Man would take some getting used to being carried/wrapped, and he loves his car seat! We had a few nights that first week when only being tucked into the infant carrier would soothe him. (And don't worry, he wasn't left unsupervised nor did he spend a whole night there.) Not to mention, the system is so easy to install, with or without LATCH, so I've been able to confidently use it without adult supervision.
  • Nipple Shield - This can be a very controversial item, but I have to be honest: if it weren't for this little gem, I might have given up on breastfeeding in that first week. This was given to me by the Lactation Consultants at the hospital because Ash and I were having a hard time feeding, but it allowed us to find a rhythm while still helping him put on weight. It works like training wheels, and while I probably used it longer than I should have (close to 4 weeks), we are now feeding without it and no one had to go into Time-Out. Breastfeeding is not an easy task, despite how it's represented to the unsuspecting new mom, so if tools like the shield help you make it work so you and baby both get to enjoy the incredible benefits, then party on!
  • Gripe Water - This can also be a controversial one, but we got the OK from our pediatrician, so I wanted to include it. As sweet and generally happy as Asher is, most evenings he has bouts of fussiness. They range from absolutely awful with Mommy and Baby both in tears, to simply tiring and sad to watch. While we naturally saw some improvement in his overall tummy situation and demeanor around week three, as he got a little older and feeding came more naturally to us both, we found that giving him some gripe water (two doses a day, max) seemed to help alleviate some of his discomfort. We introduced probiotics at week three, and that coupled with regular chiropractic adjustments and the gripe water seemed to help. We now (at week five) just use gripe water occasionally, but make sure we get those probiotics in him every day (and Mommy, too!).

Honorable Mention Items


  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear diapers
    • Absorbant, no harsh chemicals, doesn't irritate baby's skin; we opted for these before we dive into cloth diapering once he's big enough for the bumGenius all-in-ones
  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear wipes
    • Soft, non-irritating, gets the job done well
  • Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play
    • This became our go-to solution for naps and to allow Mommy to use both arms, as he'll hang out in this (for a short bit, at least) even while awake; great for post-feedings to reduce gas and reflux
    • TIP: Check resale shops for these! Many parents swear by these but they have a brief shelf life (3 months).
    • TIP: If you're concerned about flat head, we love the Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support for the RNP and swing.
  • Gerber Onesies
    • They really are the best, and Asher lives in these and his sleep-n-plays (someday I'll dress him cute, but Mama ain't got time for that yet)
    • TIP: Those little shoulder folds come in really handy to remove the onesie from the top-down when blowouts occur.
  • Baby mittens
    • Baby nails are razor sharp, so if you plan to breastfeed, you need some protection from their adorable little talons
    • TIP: When you're ready to start clipping baby's nails (we waited three weeks to feel comfortable), I highly recommend the Simba Baby Safety Scissors.
  • Clif Bars
    • When you gather your supplies to have nearby for your Nursing Nest, I highly recommend including some easy, heathy snacks for those middle of the night feedings when you'll feel ravenous and need some nutrition; also, oats are apparently magic when it comes to breastfeeding, so get you some!

I'm by no means an authority on this whole baby thing, but hopefully these recommendations are helpful in steering you toward some gear that had been super helpful in our home.


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