A Mama’s Guide to Newborn Essentials

a mama's guide to newborn essentialsI’ve gotta admit it, I’m in nesting mode.  I’ve been re-arranging baby’s room, clearing away clutter, and gathering essentials necessary to make my first few weeks with baby a breeze.  The crazy thing is, I’m finding that I actually do need more baby stuff.  I’ve found with the second pregnancy you learn which products worked and which didn’t.

To help aide my fellow mama’s and to steer them towards some pretty ah-mazing products that are sure to simplify life,  I’ve put together a Guide to Newborn Essentials:

NURSING:

1.  Medela double pump:  The Pump In Style is great because it’s hospital recommended, fairly quite, painless, and gets the job done faster.  Good news- most (if not all) insurance companies now will pay for your breast pump.  Just contact your provider.  I already did so and the process is simple.  You pick your pump (yes, a Medela double pump is an option!) via their chosen provider and 30 days prior to your delivery, you’ll receive the brand new pump.  Now you’ve freed up $250 to spend on other baby items :).

2.  Medela Tender Care Lanolin:  just throw this ointment into your basket and trust me and a mass of many other mama’s, that this item is God sent.  Oh and your nips will thank you too ;).

3.  Hands free breastpump brabecause it’s nice to have your hands free and able to do things for the 20 minutes you are stuck pumping.  Just think, you can get in the Facebook and Instagram time you crave.  That’s what I call multi-tasking.

4.  Nursing pillow:  My only experience is with a Boppy pillow and it was a good one.  Although My Breast Friend (seriously who comes up with these names?) is a great option too.  I believe you will be fine with any type you register for.  The one helpful tip is to order an extra cover for those spit up’s and projectile vomits that will definitely occur.

Also, a favorite of mine is the Boppy travel pillow which is perfect for all Mom’s on the go (just stash in your stroller).  For a mama who had a c-section, this pillow made nursing easier when I was out on the town, as it didn’t put any pressure on my birth-battle wound.

SLEEPING:

5.  Halo Bassinest:  hands down this is my favorite item!  It’s new to the market and when it launched a few months ago I knew it was going on my registry.  Perfect for any Mom (regular birth or c-section) because it allows you to safely co-sleep with your child, the bassinet swivels which allows you to get in and out of bed easier, one of the sides lower to allow for pulling your child in and out of, etc.  Honestly, I could talk forever on this bassinet but instead, check out this video.

6.  Nuna Travel Crib:  I recently became aware of this product and have to say, where was it when I first was researching travel cribs/playpens?  I love it because it provides BOTH a baby crib and a toddler crib/playpen.  Most on the market only provide a low-to-the ground crib or are tacky to look at.

7.  Ollie Swaddle:  my relationship with this swaddle company began when they first started following me on Instagram.  I’m following them too and I’m so glad because I found out why this swaddle stands out above the rest.  Not only is there velcro to make swaddling easy, but the bottom portion opens easily to allow for you to change your babies diaper without having to unswaddle (and possibly wake up) your baby.  I picked up this swaddle because I know my future sleep deprived self will thank me.  Right now, Ollie World is hosting daily savings up till Christmas.  I’m sure your 2 am-sleep deprived self with thank you too, so treat yourself to one :).

8.  Aden + Anais:  the Holy Grail of muslins you can do no wrong with any of their products.  I personally love their crib bedding because of the soft and breathable material.

GADGETS:

9.  Fisher Price Cradle and Swing:  okay, so I’ll admit this swing isn’t one of the more modern looking and will take a decent chunk of space in your home, but it’s practicality out wins any con.  You’ll never know which swinging motion will sooth your baby to sleep and this swing provides both a side/side and front/back rocking motion.  Yay, for all-in-one features (and sadly a rare feature for swings out on the market.)

Carrier:  I can’t pick just one.  It’s like picking your favorite kid.  I just can’t go there.  Instead I’ll have to share why I’m loving these 3 carriers.

10.  Solly Baby wraps are a California-based and family ran business whose wraps are American made.  You gotta love supporting locally, right?  But besides that, their product are awesome!  The material is breathable unlike its counterpart, the Moby.  Not to mention, it comes in a rainbow of colors (I recently picked up 2 because I was that indecisive between colors), and when you’re not wearing the Solly Baby, you can store it in it’s attached pouch.

11.  Baby K’tan:  a strategically sewn “wrap” you simply throw it over your shoulders and with a quick tie with the sash, you’ve got yourself ready to carry your newborn.  Bonus points because the Baby K’tan comes in a “Breeze” and “Active” material to allow for more breathability and active lifestyle.

12.  Ergo 360:  it’s about time Ergo added the feature of forward-front-facing.  This is an overall good carrier that will be sure to last babies’ first year.

13.  Puj: the sleekest bath tub around because it can lay flat while stored.  Not to mention it’s plush foam-like material is beyond any comparison available.  If you are a frequent traveler, the Puj Flyte is even more compact but with the same amazing qualities as the original.

14.  Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy diaper bag: I wanted to desperately not love this diaper bag.  But after going through 2 other (not so bad) diaper bags, the Boxy bag fulfills all my check marks.  A combination of the carrying style (backpack/tote), wipeable material, magnetic closure, and plenty of storage space has been a lifesaver for this mama who is always out and about.  Having twins, two kiddos, or just need a bit more room?  Try the Abundance which is just a larger version of this top-quality diaper bag.

15.  Stokke Tripp Trappthis was another one of those purchases I made after my original high chair ended up not fulfilling my long-term needs.  I originally bought a Bloom high chair because of its contemporary look, but it failed to work for me past 18 months.  What makes the Tripp Trapp high chair superior is that it truly is functional for a lifetime.  It grows with your baby into an adult while still not sacrificing a modern style.  The other high chairs on the market can’t fit to slide up against the family table, leaving your child an arm’s length away.

TOYS:

16.  Wubbanub:  the simplest of inventions, this toy and soothie combination stops the soothie from falling out of your baby’s mouth.  You’ll no longer have to tediously bend over to pick up a soothie.  Trust when I say, pick up one or two of these.  Here’s a tip:  once your child has grown out of the pacifier phase, you can cut off the soothie and allow your child to continue to play with their cuddly little lamb.

17.  Sofie the giraffe teether:  another “it” item for your baby.  I don’t know of any other toy a baby loves more than this.  My son especially loved his and to this day I’ll catch him squeaking it around while he’s enjoying creative play.  It has become such a sentimental toy that I’m contemplating buying our new baby his very own Sofie to love.

STROLLERS:

Here’s another subject like the carriers (mentioned above) that I can’t just pick one.  Sadly, there isn’t a stroller that fulfills every need, but these strollers certainly are the best of the best and here’s why:

18.  BOB Revolution:  the perfect all-terrain stroller that is equally good for jogging as it is a city stroller.  I often wondered why they market themselves as a jogger when the BOB really does wonders in a city.  After all, not all streets are perfectly paved so this bad-boy of a stroller can handle cobblestone, gravel, and even my most relatable option- the beach.

19.  Uppababy G-Luxe: the best of the best when it comes to lightweight strollers, this glorified umbrella stroller shines bright (like a diamond).  One of its top-selling points is that you can start using it at 6 months rather than the usual year for umbrella strollers.  I use it traveling (see post here) and when I know I’m going to be in an area where the aisle-to-rack ratio is snug, I throw this stroller in the backseat of my car.  Good news for 2015 the Uppababy G-Luxe is releasing it also as a double stroller.  You can bet I’ll be getting my hands on one for sure.

20.  Baby Jogger City Selectif I was smart and asked myself if I was going to have more than one child fairly soon after my first, I would have bought this stroller 2 years ago.  I’m obsessed with the City Select because it’s slim (no worrying about moving through tight spaces), it can accommodate both a single and a double seat with plenty of room for both children, there is a large shopping basket underneath, and lastly the boogie board for your older child to hop on makes it my #1 stroller choice.  Oh, and if those features don’t win you- it fold down easily and is pretty lightweight.  Score!

21.  Doona:  coming to the US in 2015, this stroller is genius for combining itself as a car seat and stroller in one.  You simple pull out the car seat and with a push of a button the stroller wheels pop down!

(Want even more stroller options?  Honorable mentions go to: Uppababy Vista and the Bugaboo Donkey for their multi-use qualities.)

Sincerely, Kymberly

 

 

It’s a… {gender reveal}

gender reveal // it's a boy

So I have to confess, we unintentionally found out our baby’s gender a month ago.  A secret I have been horrible at keeping because I’ve been slipping and using the baby’s gender when addressing my child.  Although, I don’t think any of my friends had noticed my subtle use of “he.”

The surprising news came at my 22-week appointment where my baby’s bulge was on full display shortly after the ultrasound turned on.  A quick switch to 3D mode indeed proved that it’s a boy!  Our little guy seemed determined to set the record straight that he is a boy.  I’d like to believe he was fed up with constantly being called a “girl” or the fact I had already purchased several shoes and headbands in preparation for a girl to arrive.  A bit pre-mature on my part, but that my friends is how much I felt in my heart that I was carrying a girl.

Good thing I planned on an all-white nursery…

After a month of processing this news I’m now at a place where the shock of not carrying a girl has worn off and I’ve come to grips with the fact I am surrounded by boys.  I mean, even my dog is a boy.

And so, it looks like I won’t be passing along my imaginary Harry Winston jeweled crown to a future princess.  But that’s okay, I’m sort of diggin’ it a top my pageant hair.  All (in my household), hail to this Queen B ;).

Sincerely, Kymberly

5 tips for designing your Christmas card

Tiny Prints tri-fold christmas cardTiny Prints trifold holiday cardI’m excited to mention I just received our Christmas cards for this year!  This is the second year now where I’ve turned to Tiny Prints to design my cards.  When I opened up my box, I shrieked with excitement with how wonderful they turned out!  I think I even did a happy dance right then and there ;).  Although I’ve pictured in this post 2013’s Christmas card (I’m waiting to share 2014’s edition once I get around to mailing the cards out first), I continued the theme of picking a tri-fold template and once again upgrading to the pearlized paper.  But kudos to Tiny Prints because their  new letterpress, foil-stamped, and laser-cut designs are absolutely swoon worthy.  (Can you tell, I’m a paper-loving nerd?)

If you plan on working on your holiday cards this Thanksgiving week, take into account these 5 tips for designing your Christmas card.  Happy designing, friends! :)

5.  Whose on your list?  Start by writing down all the people who you will be mailing your Christmas card to.

As the years go by, you can streamline this process by having the names of your family/friends and their addresses already on file.   (Can I get a “that was easy” button press, please?)

On a personal note, I keep my holiday card list small to allow for me to splurge on the actual design of the card (see tip #4).  My reasoning is simple:  I use the help of social media to send out a virtual copy of my Christmas card via my blog, Instagram, and Facebook for everyone to enjoy.  Those that actually receive a copy tend to be family and close friends who don’t mind seeing our mug shots on their mantel all December long ;).  (Or in the case of my Mother, she keeps our card up all year long…thanks Mom!)

4.  Create a budget.  My husband would be proud to hear me listing this as a tip ;).  But it’s true.  That way when you’re searching the web and combing through the 100’s of designs, you’ll be able to narrow down what styles you can actually afford.  Keep in mind, some of your favorite paper companies have add-on options, so take those extra fees into account as well.  But on the same note, those same favorite paper companies almost always have a promotion going on to help reduce your cost.  So go ahead, apply that discount code, baby.

I’ve found that the best promotion codes allow for free shipping and a percentage off.  So if you can score one of those codes, you should complete your checkout ASAP.

3.  To have a photo shoot or not have a photo shoot?  If you decide to schedule a photo shoot with  your family photographer, do so in early fall (or earlier if possible)  to have adequate time to get your proofs back.

Or go the route of taking your camera out and snapping away some candid shots of your family.  Sometimes those can be the most memorable ones!

Is it just me, but I’m always a fan of the crying baby in Santa’s lap.  Classic.

2.  Consider your content.  I’m a big believer in customizing whenever possible.  Besides including a picture (or two) of your family, it’s always great to read a personal message from the sender.  This can be in the form of a lengthy letter,  highlights from the year, or a short one-liner that pertains to your family.

This year we enclosed our holiday card with a simple phrase of: “SEAS and GREETINGS.”  A play off of “season’s greetings;” it brings humor to my family’s love for coastal living.

1.  Don’t stress over your holiday cards.  Ideally Christmas cards should be sent out the first two weeks of December but if your schedule doesn’t permit, you can always send out New Years cards. Maybe you can make a tradition of sending New Years cards go forward.  Because after all, traditions are a great way to keep up a good habit :).

Sincerely, Kymberly

Pregnancy Update: 5 months

5 months pregnant

1.  How has this month been treating you?

Very well!  I’ve got that pregnancy glow…finally :).  

2.  Do I see a baby bump?

That is correct!  Baby bump has made its appearance as of week 18.  I went from having a frumpy front; to a hard and round belly overnight.  

3.  How’s baby doing?

Baby is a movin’ and a shakin’!  I feel consistent kicks come 9pm when I finally get to kick up my feet and have some “me” time.  (Go figures… if it’s not HB or my husband; now it’s my other baby wanting my attention ;) ).  

4.  What are you wearing as of lately?

Thanks to our east coast vacation, I finally got to break out my maternity pants which I coupled with my regular tops.  Being back in California, I’m still wearing my regular shift dresses.  Although (and this is a good although) I’m feeling a chill in the air, so I’ll be wearing my pants soon enough.

5.  What’s the highlight from this 5th month?

Hubby feeling the kicks for himself :).  We say, that the little one is a ninja ;).  

6.  Give up the details on weight gain, will ya?

I’m now midway thru my 22nd week and I’ve gain an additional 5 lbs since my last update.  For a total of 12lbs.  Its looking like a consistent one-pound gain per week (I hope!)

Sincerely, Kymberly

Cape Cod vacation {recap}

Chatham Bars Inn_cottage_ocean view Chatham Bars Inn_cottageChatham Bars Inn croquet fieldcroquet playingtoddler playing croquetcroquet playing in Cape CodChatham Bars Inn_Cape CodChatham Bars InnChatham Bars Inn_clam bakeChatham Bars Inn outdoor diningChatham Bars Inn beachChatham_Cape Cod19 weeks pregnantLighthouse Lane_Cape CodChatham Fish MarketChatham Fish Market PierfamilyHunter bootsBocce ballNauset Lighthousetoddler fall fashionNauset Light_Cape CodNauset Beach_Cape Codselfiecape cod chip factorycape cod chip factory_walk wayWhat can I say, Cape Cod- you have my heart.    I like you a lot.  Like, a lot a lot.

After visiting Washington, D.C. and Boston; relaxation was my number one priority when we reached Cape Cod.  To accomplish this, I booked us a private cottage that overlooked the Atlantic.  Our stay at Chatham Bars Inn was luxurious, relaxing, and provided the quintessential New England vibe I had wanted to experience.

My second priority while in the Cape was to enjoy fresh seafood.  I did just that.  Lobster became my go-to grub and I enjoyed ever single bite from my 2 pounders I’d order.  Here’s an insider’s tip: want to feel like a local and save $$$ like a local, order your lobster dinner at the local fish market where they will prep and cook the lobster for you.  Then take it home to enjoy in the comforts of your hotel.

Having never been to Cape Cod before, it turned out to be the exact trip I had hoped for.  We cycled through our routine of walking the beach, horsing around the croquet court (which conveniently was located in front of our cottage), window shopped Chatham’s quaint main street, snapped a few pictures in front of some iconic lighthouses, and even took a trip to the Cape Cod potato chip factory.

Granted I had hoped to test out my newly certified sailors license, but the lack of fair winds made it impossible to do.  Oh well.  Looks like I’ll just have to keep “sailing the Atlantic” on my bucket list for a little bit longer.  But I’m not complaining, all the more reason to plan a return trip to the Cape.  ;)

Sincerely, Kymberly

 

Boston vacation {recap}

Old Navy_Best Son Ever_shirtStarbucks cupCambridge_fall_leavespregnant bump_fall_leaves19 weeks pregnantHead of the Charles Regatta programHead of the Charles Regatta_Cambridge_MassachusettsHead of the Charles Regatta_CrewCharles River_Boston_Massachusettscrew_Head of the Charles Regatta_HOCRElliot Bridge_Head of the Charles Regattatoddler Harvard shirtHead of the Charles Regatta teddy bearHarvard UniversityHarvard University buildingHarvard University_fall leavesmommy and son kissfuture freshmen_Harvard UniversityHarvard Square19 weeks pregnant_fall maternity fashionFenway Park_BostonBoston CommonBoston Red Sox hatAfter our week stay in Washington D.C., we hopped aboard our next flight to Boston, Massachusetts.  From the moment we touched down in Boston Harbor, I was one giddy mama.  I had mentioned in an earlier post about heading to New England for the fall, but I failed to mention we were coming in town specifically for the Head of the Charles Regatta (the largest crew competition in the world.)  Being big nautical fans, the Regatta had been on my bucket list.

Additionally, living by the California coast, I actually crave the cold.  Not the usual “cold” I experience (that being the morning fog that rolls in, but then is burnt off come 11am.)  No, I crave the “drop in weather and wearing fashionable layers of plaid, vests, and scarfs” kind of cold.  That being said, our trip to Massachusetts was the perfect East Coast state to visit this time of year.

I found our 3 day stay in the city to be perfect.  We stayed in Cambridge and visited Harvard.  I quickly gifted our son with enough toddler-sized Harvard gear to hopefully instill a love for the University.  So fingers crossed I have a future freshmen on my hands :).

Another day was spent enjoying the HOCR as we watched the rowers compete along the Charles River.  An absolutely relaxing day, we literally spent the day at the River watching the competition, eating amazing food truck grub, and indulging in some retail shopping thanks to Brook Brothers and the other preppy brands available.

On our last day in Boston, we were super touristy and checked out a “hop on and off” tour bus so that we could see all the major tourist spots.  I’d have to say it was a great way to see a town in a day.  We visited several spots, but my favorites included: Fenway Park and Boston Common.

Stay tuned for part 3 of my East Coast recap.  Our Cape Cod adventures might just be my favorite part :).

Sincerely, Kymberly