Modswads or how I {almost} solved the napping problem

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, PRODUCTS

modswad

 

Continuing the swaddling saga ( read the first part here)

I will not go into how Alexis just doesn’t like to sleep. I’ve written enough about it here and here and here and here and I am planning on a big post talking about the situation and solutions and what worked and what didn’t, just in case there is someone else struggling who has tried everything and have come to the conclusion that their baby just doesn’t sleep well. I’ve gone through every suggestion and tip in every book that doesn’t advocate a CIO method and almost every person, who gave unsolicited or solicited advice. At this point, we are at a somewhat reasonable “managed stage of sleep”. By that I mean, I can deal with it, and she gets her recommended amount of day time sleep.

I have to say though until certain things were implemented, we really really struggled with naps. She’d only sleep in our arms being rocked, she’d wake up every 5-10 minutes after being put down, she’d hate being swaddled, but yet her arms would always wake her up.  We were lost. We didn’t know what ELSE to do to keep her asleep.

When she was awake, she would struggle and scream if we’d put her in a swaddle until we released her, but then once she was  asleep, she would wake up the second we would try to put her in a swaddle. The challenge was that you needed to turn her around a few times to properly swaddle her. So when it was day time and she wasn’t as sleepy as she is at night, it was a suicide mission. So we let her go unswaddled. She’d spread her arms and sleep for 10 minutes before waking herself up by itching her nose or bringing her hands to her mouth.

Then one day, as a last ditch effort, I bought a Modswad from Zulily. Modswad is the luxury brand spin-off of Woombie. I had looked at the Woombie before and it always seemed to me that Alexis would hate it, seeing how she hates being bound. What made me consider Modswad is that it’s made out of bamboo and I know from experience how soft and stretchy bamboo is (plus I was obessessed with bamboo at that time). So I figured she would have her hands swaddled, but it will have enough “give” for her to move them around without being able to bring them to her face and wake herself up. Plus the whole zipper thing seemed much easier than a traditional swaddle.

{Note: I wrote in this post about how bamboo is made with a lot of chemicals, which was a huge concern for me. Luckily, there is a new process that uses non-toxic chemicals and is much more eco-friendly that Modswad is using. So I breathed a sigh of relief when I found that out, because it would really pain me to give up our Modswads}

At the same time I was talking to Karen, the owner of both Modswad and Woombie about trying out her new line and writing the review. She sent me a few items to try including a swaddle that was smaller than the recommended size, citing the fact that some babies need less give in the fabric. Alexis seemed to do just fine with the Medium size, but that’s a good tip to remember if your baby is really wiggly.

I was seriously so excited to receive the Modswads. I had put all my left-over hope into this “miracle” swaddle that would solve all my problems. Of course, it didn’t solve all my problems or Alexis’ nap problems, but man, did it make it sooo much easier!

The day I received it, Alexis was giving me the run for my money when it came to naps. I quickly threw in a load of baby clothes along with the swaddle and a few hours later it was ready for testing and I was ready for Alexis to finally sleep longer than 10 minutes.

I put her in, zipped up half way, we went around the room doing our nap routine, I rocked her to sleep. When she was good and asleep, I transferred her to our bed and carefully folded her arms in and zipped the modswad. All without waking her up. Then I turned on the monitor and tiptoed out of the room.

I won’t bore you with details but she slept for 2 hours. For the FIRST FREAKING TIME since she had been born, my baby girl napped for 2 hours on her own. I was shocked, elated, hopeful and scared that it was a fluke.

Fast forward to now, the swaddle definitely doesn’t magically make non-sleeping babies sleep, but it at least helps them sleep a whole lot better. Miracle Blanket became way too stiff once Alexis grew a bit and became more aware, muslin swaddles didn’t stand a chance a few weeks in, not swaddling would wake her up, so this was a perfect middle ground between swaddling and not letting her movements wake her up and not making her feel too restricted since she can move her hands underneath the swaddle.

For babies who like to be swaddled tighter or have a strong Moro reflex, getting a smaller size Modswad would work perfectly. I never tried the woombie but I would imagine that cotton isn’t as stretchy and pleasant to the skin as bamboo is.

Now in her non-swaddling phase, she currently sleeps in her Modswad sleeper. When one day she goes back to waking herself up with her arms again, I’ll switch back to the swaddle. If she suddenly struggles, I’ll unzip it but leave the legs in – love the versatility.

So that’s pretty much where we are at right now. Most of the time, she manages to take a 30-40 minute nap without waking up, at which point I rock her back to sleep to finish it up. Her diminished reflux is also to thank, but time and time again I would watch her try to scratch her nose or move her arm in a swaddle and quiet back down to sleep because her arms are safely inside, which would never happen before the Modswad, so THANK YOU!

Besides the swaddles and sleepers, they have really cool ventilated sacks for hot weather and merino wool sleepers and swaddles for cold weather, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

BUY IT:

Modswad.com $34-40

WIN IT:

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are 3  mandatory entries for this giveaway, after which you will have additional entries available.
This giveaway is open to US  residents only.

The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway is open has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible)See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was NOT compensated for this post. Modswad sent me a sample to try out. All opinions are my own.

Swaddling: a love-hate relationship

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, New Mom Experience, PRODUCTS

miracle

 

Swaddling and the three of us have a love-hate relationship.

Rewind to Alexis birth:

I was so happy that our girl seemed completely content in a swaddle at first. I loved being able to make a perfect burrito baby and enjoyed using the organic muslin swaddles from Bambino Land.

A few weeks later, she got strong and would start breaking out of her swaddles. Even Bambino Land that has less give than A&A swaddles would eventually give in under the determination of a baby who suddenly decided she hates being swaddled. It was the perfect time to try the Miracle Blanket we had laying around, waiting to be used.   I know when I was pregnant I read about this swaddle on a million blogs I was reading so it was obvious to me that I should try it. It’s not called Miracle Blanket for nothing. It swaddles tightly and is super hard to break out of. I actually don’t remember a single occassion where she was able to even pull her arm out of it.

It’s really one of those things that you buy and use until you’re done swaddling. There are no sizes, no confusion- just one swaddle.

It came even more handy when nights got chilly, because it’s made out of warm thicker cotton. It’s not organic, unfortunately, and they don’t offer one, so we always made sure that she had clothes on under it.

The concept of this swaddle is pretty easy. It has two little wings that get wrapped around your baby’s arms to keep them down. Then the shorter outer wing gets wrapped around one side, and then the longer wings goes around and under the baby. This was the easiest most unintrusive way to swaddle for us at that point. Alexis would hate being swaddle when she is awake, so we had to be super stealth about it and only swaddle her once she was deeply asleep and hope and pray that we wouldn’t wake her up. You can read about the blanket  in detail here.

She slept like that for a while until one day she just wouldn’t have it. Swaddling was for babies and Alexis CLEARLY was old enough to sleep with her arms splayed across the bed. So we went with it. And it lasted a few weeks with her sleeping better than while swaddled.

Then all of a sudden, amidst the 4 months wakeful period sleep struggles that showed their ugly head a month too early, her Moro reflex ( or something else that makes her twitch and wake herself up) came back and she started waking herself up by throwing her arms in the air. So came back the trusty Miracle Blanket and we were back to loving being swaddled.

I am telling you: sometimes I feel that babies change their preferences just to send us, their parents, for a loop.

Now at 5 months, we moved onto something else when it comes to our precious baby girl’s sleep, but that’s another story for another day. And for now, the Miracle Blanket sits neatly in the drawer marked “For Future Baby”, because I know we’ll need it if that time comes.

BUY IT:

MiracleBlanket.com $24.95 on sale
Amazon.com $32

WIN IT: Click here to enter

Miracle Blanket

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There is 1 mandatory entry for this giveaway, after which you will have additional entries available,
. This giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway is open has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible)See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was NOT compensated for this post. Miracle Blanket provided me with a product sample to try out. All opinions are 100% my own.

Kicking Coaster

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, PRODUCTS

first years 2

Everyone has bought and used bouncers, seats, swings for their babies, and they are all fine, all virtually the same and work relatively good for most babies. Not for Alexis, who has done her best to defy everything that is written about newborns and babies out there. She feels “Meh!!” about most of them. We’ve tried 4-5 different seats and she hasn’t really liked them all that well.

One of the issues that some natural parenting books and authors have with seats and bouncers is the fact that the baby is completely limited in how they can move when place in these seats. So instead of moving around, or moving to adjust to the parent’s body while they’re carried in carriers or in arms, babies are sitting near motionless in these “baby-holders”.  We’ve done a really good job spending a ton of time carrying Alexis and playing with her on the floor, facilitated by family help around the house and the fact that we both work from home.

However, sometimes a baby just needs to be put in a seat- that’s a fact of life and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t strap her in a carrier when you need to make a meal- that’s dangerous. You can’t walk around picking things up and bending with a baby in a carrier. You cannot eat a hot meal with a baby in a carrier. I also never appreciated the fact that these seats have to always be on the floor. What kind of brain development can you expect from a baby when all she/he can see is your legs? I know, it is frowned upon, but we got around it by putting Lexi in a bouncer on a huge center island in the kitchen as long as there’s at least one parent who is constantly watching (and not doing something else, but is there TO watch and talk to her). But I never felt ok letting anyone else watch her because I couldn’t trust them not to step away for  second thinking “Oh nothing would happen” .

{ Lexi is wearing a Polarn O Pyret onesie and Jefferies Socks’ tights }

Now what I found recently is a seat that is very diffferent from anything I’ve seen out there.

It’s by The First Years and it’s called a Kicking Coaster.

First of all, it’s sturdy. As in, it has the kind of base that cannot be tipped over. It’s not a bouncer, it doesn’t move in a way a bouncer does. A baby simply can’t get enough inertia to flip it over. So I feel much much better putting it at our eye level when cooking and talking with her. Now I am sure The First Years doesn’t recommend putting it on high ground, just like some other products  have to warn against some ridiculous situation that any normal person wouldn’t even think to create, like don’t stick your fingers into an outlet or something equally crazy. Yes, we all know to never leave a baby unattented in most situations. It’s a given. But I feel pretty darn good about being right next to her cooking while she plays in the seat, BECAUSE she is strapped into the kind of seat that isn’t prone to “flipage”

What also makes it very different from other seats is the fact that  it’s interactive from the motor skills standpoint. Alexis would NEVER stand for sitting stationary in anything. She won’t sit in a stroller unless it is moving, in a carrier unless she is being walked, in a seat unless she’s talked to, on the floor unless she has foot support to crawl. She is the furthest from a complacent baby I have ever seen. {which paints a very hectic future for us once she is truly mobile}.

This seat is the only one that somewhat entertains her for a period of time. The seatbelt has a rattle/teether attached to it that I promptly replaced with an organic Haba clutching toy (you know me). Though I have to say that possibly that was unecessary, because The First Years products rate EXCELLENT on HealthyStuff.org
It has a kicky pad that is soft and rebounding and the seat itself glides back and forth when pushed (or can be made stationary for newborns). She’d kick off with her legs and straighten them thus sending the seat back, then relax her knees and glide back down. And every time she touches the kicky pad, she gets rewarded with lights and music. And unlike some other kicky pads (yes, it’s you, Tiny Love Gym that we love so much, except for your kicky pad sucks), it’s very touchy. So it doesn’t take a lot of effort to trigger it (sometimes our cats trigger it by brushing against it).

She really does get a kick out of it (get it? get it? ) and as she grows and gets smarter and even more aware, she’ll enjoy it even more.

So  why we love it:

  • touchy kick pad
  • lights and music
  • glides back and forth rather than bounces
  • reacts to baby’s motions
  • lets baby exercise his/her legs
  • can be made stationary with a click of a button

The only complaint I have is the recline of the seat. It seems awkward for Alexis. It’s sort of reclined. I think it was designed that way to accommodate both newborns and older babies, but I wish it was more upright. But to be completely fair, Alexis hates anything that is half way reclined, because she wants to sit upright all the time, so I am very surprised that she’ll actually tolerate the recline of this seat for a bit.

The First Years has a lot of baby items that I like, so be sure to check their website.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIRST YEARS

*** WEBSITE *** FACEBOOK *** TWITTER ***

BUY IT: Amazon
WIN IT: See details below

The First Years would like to give this seat away to one lucky reader. This time it’s very simple with just a few entries.

The First Years Kicking Coaster
BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are 2 mandatory entries , after which you will have additional entries available,
This giveaway is open to US residents only.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Each giveaway has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible)See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. The First Years provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Bottlefeeding, BPA and other dilemmas {+ Giveaway}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, PRODUCTS


When I was preparing for Alexis’ arrival, I was planning on pumping, storing milk & having daddy feed Alexis from the bottle occasionally. That meant that, even though I’d be exclusively breast feeding (EBF), I would still need all the supplies of a mom who bottle feeds. There lay 2 very big and important dilemmas: bottles that don’t contain toxic chemicals and bottle warmer’s that don’t kill all that is good about breast milk in the first place.

I’m iffy about plastics, even plastics that claim that they are BPA/pthalates free. I always worry that if BPA is one component of plastics that disrupts hormones and just completely screws up our system, what’s not to say that there isn’t some other chemical that hasn’t been tested yet, considering most chemicals used by us in every day life haven’t been evaluated as to the effects they have on our bodies. It turns out my fears were not unfounded. While most companies did away with BPA, the question is what DID they replace it with? The answer for some of them – equally dangerous BPS that hasn’t been studied as well as BPA. I won’t go into detail but you can read more about it here if you’re interested.

So the only reasonable solution to the plastic bottle dilemma was glass. Glass bottles don’t leech any chemicals. Yes they are heavy and slightly more expensive but who can put a price on our kids’ health (did you know BPA is also linked to kids’ behavioral problems?). The problem with glass was they are pretty limited with what you can get. I wanted a wide neck and some kind of system that helped with the air bubbles. After spending hours searching the internet and lists of best bottles of each category, I found  the bottles that are the closest to what I want. You might not have the same needs or concerns, but this is what worked for us.

Glass bottles tend to be limited to a standard bottle and nipple. But when you’re a new mom, you’re worried about everything, including ” If I give my baby a bottle, it will screw up breast feeding”. The other concern that glass bottle manifactorers sometimes ignore is the flow of the milk and air bubbles that can cause gas. Ideally I wanted a system that prevents gas bubbles from forming and isn’t dripping with milk (I.e. more difficult to suck, mimicking a breast).

The closest I found to what I needed/wanted was Born Free glass bottles.

All their bottles have a wide nipple base to sort of mimick the shape of the breast. This way your baby should have minimal breast/bottle confusion, as the latch is not much different from the breast. They have a fancy-shmancy system called Active Flow Venting that according to their website “… [mimicks] mom’s natural milk flow, helps prevent nipple confusion and reduces air ingested while feeding, helps reduce colic symptoms like gas pain, spit-up, crying, and fussiness.”

Ok, EXACTLY what I needed. How did it fare in the real world? Exactly how you’d expect! Alexis has never had any gas pains or tummy trouble and the bottle definitely didn’t add to it. She did have reflux, but I hadn’t noticed any increase in that after bottle feeding, and even though we did introduce a bottle before the recommended 6 weeks, she’s obviously still breastfeeding, so no nipple confusion for this little lady.

All in all, there aren’t any other brand or bottles I am ever going to need to buy, because Born Free does exactly what I need.

I had contacted Born Free to help me run a giveaway for you guys and they would LOVE to give you a chance to win a Born Free 3 pack glass bottle set. When you’re done reading, scroll down to enter.

LEARN MORE:

*** Born Free website *** Facebook ***Twitter***

BUY IT: Amazon.com

WIN IT: See Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

 

The second discovery I made as I was researching a feeding system other than my breasts was that bottle warmers aren’t all that they are cracked up to be.  You aren’t supposed to heat milk in the microwave- that is well known. But almost any other heating system that uses steam or boiling water is just as detrimental to our natural breast milk. There’s the issue of hot spots, loss of those precious antibodies and nutrients we breastfeed our babies for, and the leakage of chemicals from the plastic containers. You can’t imagine how happy I was when I found a super cool looking Kiinde warmer.  It’s a warmer that can be used for breastmilk, formula, bottles, bags, baby food, pretty much anything that fits into it.

The concept is the following: it uses “… low temperature, nutrient-safe water bath that is safe for ALL bottle and bag types. The water in the warmer is about as warm as warm tap water.” Awesome, right?  Here how it’s achieved, if you’re curious for that type of thing ( I always am. Love the “How things work” documentaries)  It has “…circulating bath of warm water that improves warming efficiency, allowing the use of lower temperature water without compromising warming speed. The thermostatically controlled water bath is maintained at the temperature of warm tap water…” In layman’s terms, “it’s the flowing warm water that gets the job done safely and fast.”

Kiinde Kozii has a timer knob that you turn and it shuts off completely on its own when it is done. {Did you know how many bottle warmers that I looked into do not have an AUTO shut off button? That’s ridiculous} It also has a technology that ensures that the milk is always warmed up to approximately the same temperature, so your baby enjoys it like she/he would straight out of the breast.

It’s really a wonderful invention, especially for working moms and isn’t like anything else I’ve seen on the market.

LEARN MORE:

*** Kiinde Kozii website *** Facebook ***

BUY IT: Amazon.com

WIN IT: See Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

3 Pack Glass Bottles from Born Free & Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are 3 mandatory entries for each giveaway, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 2 daily entries for which you can come back to enter daily. This giveaway is open to continental US residents only.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible)See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}
Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Companies provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Favorite Organic Baby Clothing Brands + Big Giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, PRODUCTS

bestbabyorganics

I’ve been preparing for this post for a while and whew it’s finally here!

As many of you know, my husband and I resolved to try our best to use organic clothing for Alexis for the first 6 months.

The reason for that is, like any other change we’ve made, to prevent Alexis’ exposure to chemicals as much as we can handle it. The number 6 months came from the fact that for the first six months of a baby’s life, her skin is very porous and absorbent, which means anything put on her skin gets right through to her bloodstream ( a percentage of it, anyways). That was also the reason why we attempted to cloth diaper at first (though it didn’t work for us when she was little, but I am hoping to resume within a month or two, unless Elements Naturals’ new 100% natural and compostable diapers turn out to be amazing). The other reason for using a 6 months limit was to give ourselves a sense that it doesn’t have to be that way forever, in case we find it more difficult or more expensive than we expected.

Obviously, everything can’t be changed to organic overnight or even ever. Our clothes all can’t be organic and she spends a significant amount of time in our arms, swings and seats and beds can’t all be organic. That’s something we expected and don’t fret about. Though I gotta tell you, if I had all the time in the world, I’d start an all organic baby line, including strollers, swings, mats, seats and rockers. I know I’d buy that.

Initially, I thought it would cost an arm and a leg to buy organic clothing for her, but shopping sales and using Zulily is turning out to be no more expensive than conventional stuff I would buy. In the last 4 months I have learned a lot about organic baby clothing, and I am happy to say that  while we won’t stay exclusively organic after 6 months, I will most likely continue shopping at my favorite organic stores and brands as much as possible.

I already posted about some of my favorite organic brands, but I have a different perspective on them now, since Alexis has had a chance to try them all. So here’s the update you’ve asked for and a big giveaway that you can enter to win a lot of baby clothing {details of each brand’s giveaway item are in the descriptions}

Cleanwater Collection by 4Moms

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, PRODUCTS


Another fabulous item as a part of the feature BEST FOR BABY is Cleanwater tub.

This brilliant collection is meant to get your baby from birth through 7+.

I remember when I was pregnant, I was looking at infant tubs with all the millions of choices, most tubs being pretty much the same. As soon as I read about Cleanwater, I immediately added it to my registry and hoped that someone would think it’d make a cool gift :) Well, now, having actually used it, I can say “It makes a REALLY cool gift!”
Just today my husband declared while bathing Lexi: “What would we do without our Clearwater tub?” It made me happy because when it comes to products, it’s hard to impress him.

4Moms is a company that is well known for their innovations in the world of baby gear. They are behind the cool and sleek MamaRoo (which I still really want), the even more advanced and futuristic Origami Stroller, and their first product was this Cleanwater Collection.

Just a little bit about the company since I feel it deserves a mention. It was named after their first focus group consisting of 4 moms ( well, really 5, but it’s too long to explain. Read about it here) and the goal of the company has always been making our (moms’) lives easier with the most innovative products. They have this really cool program, called 4moms Insiders, where you can receive news and exclusive opportunities to win 4Moms gear. Recently, they ran an awesome 30 day Origami giveaway and guess who was one of the lucky winners? Yours truly! I’ve never won anything in my life, so this was a shocker! Once Lexi is old enough to sit up and face out in a stroller, I am going to show it off here.

Imagine this: A sleek and clean looking bathtub with a soft cushy infant insert in it. Now add a precise temperature gauge to make sure your baby’s water isn’t too cold or too hot. You turn on the faucet, let the water pour past the gauge into a little container and then spill over into the main tub area, all while measuring the temperature of the running water. The tub fills up and the excess water pours out of the hole in the side, constantly cycling. The temperature gauge turns red and peeps, you promptly turn the faucet towards the cooler water and slowly the screen returns to green. Ahhh! You lower your baby into the tub cushioned by the spongy insert. Your baby’s feet rest on the curved area of the tub ( Alexis loves kick her legs on it). You pick up your favorite bottle of Lavanila body wash from one of the cup holders, lather that baby up, use the rinse cup to rinse her off, all while she’s busy kicking the Lavanila bottle off the baby tub and under it and having loads of fun. At one point I had loads of fun too, by laughing my butt off at my husband who totally felt into the bathtub while trying to fish that Lavanila bottle from under the Cleanwater tub. He didn’t think it was that amusing, though.



So my point is if you want the queen of baby tubs, this is it.

When your baby grows out of the tub, you can still use the spout cover with the temperature gauge to make sure the water is the right temperature for your not-so-little one.

;

PROS:

  • Coolness factor
  • Convenience
  • Won’t let your baby freeze.
  • No need to rely on elbow water testing to make sure it’s not too hot
  • Keeps the water in the tub constantly cycling and renewing
  • No need to rinse the baby off
  • No sitting in dirty bath water
  • Additional temperature gauge faucet attachment that can be used on any faucet and in any tub
  • Soft removable infant insert
  • Two cup holders and a rinse cup

CONS:

  • Price
  • Relatively short life span that can be prolonged by using the spout cover
  • Needs batteries for the temperature gauge ( but what baby product doesn’t?)

BUY IT:

4Moms.com $89
Amazon.com $89

WIN IT:

See Rafflecopter to enter a Cleanwater Collection giveaway.

Cleanwater Collection

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries for each giveaway, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 2 daily entries for which you can come back to enter daily. This giveaway is open to continental US residents only.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway is open has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible). See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. 4moms provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

BEST FOR BABY: Boba Carrier

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, PRODUCTS

Today I start a series of reviews focused on baby carriers as a part of BEST FOR BABY feature. I had the opportunity to try out 5 different carriers and would like to share my experience with you.

BOBA CARRIER

I’ve always been a fan of hard carriers over wraps and slings, because the latter confounded me. It turns out they are not as hard to use as I thought, but hard carriers still remain my favorite. Before I used any of the carriers you see above, I had bought an Ergo with its infant insert. To be completely honest, I hated it and Alexis hated it. The carrier itself was fine, but the infant insert was like being wrapped in a down comforter. The process of putting a newborn into an infant insert and the an Ergo was ridiculous. And within a few seconds we would both be sweating. And with Alexis being the stubborn girl that she is, if she didn’t like something, she DID NOT LIKE IT. It would have been fine later on, but I needed something for when Lexi was still small. So I knew I needed to find a carrier that would allow newborns to be carried without any sort of “insert”.

That’s how I came upon BOBA carriers.

They have a really wide base, so instead of having any kind of insert or seat for infants, you simply fold your child’s legs into a frog position, like you would in a Moby wrap. I was concerned that Alexis wouldn’t like it or that the stiffer fabric would be rough on her feet, but surprisingly enough, she went with it. And as you all know, she’s not the kind of baby to just go with anything :)

Moreover, she seemed pretty comfortable being seated that way. It has head support flaps for when her head needed it and now that she has good head control and is bigger, she loves being able to see around and the little flap still supports her head when it’s a bit boppy.

I love having a cute looking carrier other than the standard black and Boba offers quite a few adorable designs besides Soho (which what I am wearing).

I haven’t tried using it in a front carry position yet, as I don’t think Alexis’ legs are quite long enough to fit comfortably, but I cannot wait to try it out since the seat is supposed to sort of cradle your baby’s butt and body. You can see that little bit of a curve to the carrier in the pictures.

I am still pretty new to baby wearing and I am sure I am doing some things wrong, like not pulling the back strap for better back comfort. But with Alexis it’s less about my comfort, more about “how do I get her into a carrier fast enough so she doesn’t start fussing?”.

A few other features that will come in handy in the future when I am able to get out and about a bit more:

  • 2 zipper pouches in the front of the carrier
  • a head sling for baby’s sleeping head ( though I doubt Lexi will ever be the kind of child to just fall asleep anywhere aside from in my arms on the rocking chair)
  • and the coolest footrests for an older child ( I am really excited about this one for some reason)

And the most important thing is, as you can see from the pictures, Alexis is enjoying the carrier just as much and was so focused on checking out the trees that she didn’t mind the hot weather and pictures snapped of her.

Speaking of hot weather, the carrier isn’t thick. It’s hard but thin, which makes it ideal for Florida weather.

Boba also has a cute wrap that I haven’t had the chance to try, along with two organic options, so be sure to check that out, as well.

BUY IT:
Boba Family Website $120-125
Amazon: $120

WIN IT: Boba is running an awesome igiveaway below and you can win a Boba carrier and 2 Boba wraps. Open internationally.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Boba provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Best for Baby: Lavanila Baby Care

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, HEALTH, PRODUCTS

LAVANILA

Today I bring to you a line of baby skin care products from Lavanila, a healthy skin care brand.

I was first introduced to it as a company that makes healthy fragrance. Most perfumes have parabens in them even if they are not listed (FDA allows manufacturers to not disclose the ingredients of the fragrance of their products due to trade law, so the listing that has “fragrance/perfum” as an ingredient can very well contain some of the worst chemicals).

Little did I know that they carry a small but amazing baby skincare line!

Babies don’t need much when it comes to personal care: a lotion, a wash, a diaper rash cream and maybe sunblock. It’s got it all.

What appeals to me the most is the fact that besides being 100% natural, it also delivers 30 essential vitamins and minerals that support the development of baby skin. However, many companies claim that their products  are “100% natural”, but it doesn’t always mean they’re harmless ( Hello, 7th generation cleaning products containing the 100% natural SLS!)

So I checked out the ingredients and I love it. See for yourselves:

BODY WASH

MY DIAPER RASH CREAM ORDEAL

The next test for me personally was the diaper rash cream. See, I’ve been striking out on diaper rash creams. When Alexis was first born, we used disposables and sorry to say, but we weren’t the greatest at changing her diaper promptly, because she never displayed any discomfort. So she developed a diaper rash and our pedi recommended A&D ointment or Destin. We immediately went to Walgreens to pick one of them up. I happened to glance at the ingredients of Destin and instantly put it back on the shelf: PARABENS! Seriously? They still TO THIS DAY put parabens into baby products???? That’s just ridiculous!

So we found A&D ointment. That one was better, however still contained a slew of known questionable chemicals. So I ordered an Earth Mama bottom balm, 100% natural ointment. The problem with it? No zinc oxide, which means no HEALING. The diaper rash would laugh in our faces when we put the Bottom Balm on it ( I’m sure it’s good for prevention, but not as a cure). So after some time I found a cream that both had zinc oxide  AND wasn’t too bad on the rest of the ingredients. It DID have mineral oil, which can dry out skin in the deeper layers of it, but I figured that beats parabens.

So (are you still with me?) when I saw the inredients for Lavanila Diaper Rash Cream, I did a happy dance! No parabens, no mineral oil, and YES to zinc oxide- hey these people know what they are doing! Needless to say our Lexi bottom has never looked so baby pink and smooth ( seriously!) and it took all of 2 days to clear it up. {I just had to stop writing and change Alexis’ diaper and I noticed how little of the Baby Bottom cream you need per diaper change, which is bonus}

Here’s what Lavanila’s promise is:
NO: Sulfates, Parabems, Phtalates, Silicone, Petrochemicals, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, Formaldehyde, Synthetic Fragrances or dyes

I say yes to something like that!

I also love the smell of the Healthy Baby body wash and the fact that it’s a foam and not liquidy soap.

Anyways, I am personally sold on this company and their products. I know I’ll be back there when my products run out. I am looking forward to trying out the baby sunblock in months to come. It promises to be safe (and ingredients prove it), it smells mild and doesn’t leave your skin white like most physical sunscreens do.

I find it funny that I had to stop writing this post 3 times before I was done with it {A diaper change, a bath and a feeding and rocking to sleep}… Oh Lexi! I love you!

So if your baby struggles with diaper rash and you had no idea the conventional ointments have such harmful chemicals, or if you just want to have an awesome cream at hand, here’s how to get it:

BUY IT: Use this code  LAVELENA to get 40% OFF Baby products at Lavanila.com ($15)  {till 3/30}

WIN IT: You can enter a giveaway below to win Healthy Baby Bottom Cream

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAY RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 1 daily entry for which you can come back to enter daily.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Please make sure to visit Lavanila  Facebook Page and write on their wall which product you’d love to try.
The giveaway is open to US residents only. See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then ENTER once the action is completed}


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Lavanila. I received their products in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions represented here are 100% my own

Best For Baby: amykathryn Diaper Bag

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Other Recommendations, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS

;

Ok, so I am starting a new series of reviews and giveaways of baby related products, titled BEST FOR BABY.

;


I’m attempting to do the same thing I did with the maternity clothes feature ( Pregnant With Style), which is find little known brands of baby products and baby related items and give my opinion on them, as well as give you a chance to win some of them. You can expect to see diaper bags, breastfeeding products, interesting toys, organic clothes, strollers, carriers, bottles, seats, personal care products, etc. I’ll be running them once a week just like before, so come back every weekend to see something new and hopefully win it.

We’re starting this feature with amykathryn Diaper Bags.

One of the first fun purchases pregnant women get to make for themselves in anticipation of their baby’s arrival is a cute and stylish diaper bag. Before becoming pregnant I had always heard about how ugly and plain diaper bags were, but it wasn’t until I had to look for one that I saw where the problem was.

Most diaper bags look frumpy- bad fabrics, bad colors, bad design- it’s like they scream: “Hi! I’m a diaper bag! My owner gave up on style” . Then there are those that look like normal large purses with lots of pockets, but the prices are YIKES! Finally, you can always buy a reasonably priced non-diaper bag, but then without the extra storage, it always looks like a trash can in there and you still need to get a separate changing pad that might or might not fit into or match the bag.

Enter the world of cute, girly, large and functional diaper bags that won’t cost as much as a stroller: amykathryn!


I’ve been eyeing her bags for a few months now, trying to decide which one I liked more, because as you will see her whole line is outright A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! In the pictures I’m carrying the Hydrangea Lilac Messenger bag and I am in LOVE with its design and colors. It’s perfect for spring, and goes with pretty much any outfit. I liked it so much that I promptly emptied my previous diaper bag and stocked this one up.

Here’s what we’ve got there pocket wise:

  • Large interior zipper pocket
  • 3 interior open pockets
  • 2 exterior zipper pockets
  • 2 exterior open pockets

PROS:

  • GORGEOUS! The styles are awesome: from bright spring colors, to boho chic to classy neutrals
  • Large bag sure to fit everything plus a blanket
  • Lots of pockets that are generously sized
  • Affordable at $99 (can also be found on sale sites like Zulily, MyHabit and Gilt )
  • Doubles as a non-diaper purse if needed
  • Super soft changing pad that you don’t mind your baby’s precious naked booty lying on ( though it’s questionable whether you’d want that precious booty to poop on that awesome leather)
  • Animal-friendly faux (SOOOOOFT) leather, organic cotton canvas and custom print designs

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with a wipes case or a zip up wetbag, but chances are you already have something of that kind to use.

HOW TO BUY IT:

Visit amykathryn.com to check out latest styles and prices, but be warned this spring collection is bound to sell out FAST.
Occasionally, you can find sales for half off on Zulily, MyHabit and Gilt

You can follow their blog, FB page and Twitter to get new about sales and discounts as well as new releases.

HOW TO WIN IT:

Enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a $100 credit to amykathryn shop where you can pick out your own gorgeous bag. Open to US and Canadian residents.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received this bag in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Organic Clothing

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, My Pregnancy, PRODUCTS


ORGANIC CLOTHING

As a follow up to my organic post, here are a few organic clothing brands that I found that I really like.
Some are cheaper, others are more expensive, so you sort of have to see what  fits your budget and your style.

 

BUNGALOW BEBE

This company was started in 2007 in New York, with a few very unique girl and boy pieces. All clothes is made with 100% organic cotton and Fair Trade practices. I love some of their girly girl dresses they sell  and cool boy shorts. They offer US and  international shipping  and you can find their brand in many retail and online stores, as well.

Eva Spin Dress: $19.60
Simply Cris Romper: $32.00

FINN & EMMA

Finn&Emma has the most adorable organic outfits. It doesn’t help that it’s all in shades of lavender which has been my favorite color lately. Super cute designs, my favorite by far. The details like little flowers and decorations are even more precious. Prices range from $25-$40. And you can find a range of super cute accessories like booties, bibs, hats, blankets, crib bedding and toys. I am definitely buying a few of their organic toys once I know what Alexis needs and likes.

This Flower Footie is $38


Eva Spin Dress:

A fun spunky brand that has the brightest cutest girl dresses (check out the Eva Spin Dress:) and cute boy onesies. Owls is a common theme, as you can see below. Their designs are definitely unique – not something you’ll see just anywhere. Prices range from $12 for a onesie to $39 for a dress.

Eva Spin Dress: below is $16 (sale)

Eva Spin Dress: are on sale for $14


Eva Spin Dress:

2Chix has Eva Spin Dress: too, including 2 Eva Spin Dress:, for a boy and a girl.

They come in natural colors, so no bleaching or dyes there and can be bought for $38 each.

 BAMBINO LAND

Founded by one creative thinker, one nature lover and two little boys, Bambino Land is the kind of online store that has all that you need: organic crib sheets, receiving blankets, hooded towels, kimono gowns, hats, swaddles, yoga outfits, bibs, burp cloths, washcloths.

The gowns have no annoying tags that irritate the baby’s skin, which was one of my concerns ( babies are uncofortable enough to deal with scratchy tags) and are soft to touch.

You might want to check out Bambino Land’s adorable organic muslin swaddling blankets. As soft as Aden &Anais ( and they get softer with each wash), but organic and cheaper if you buy them in a set or two or more, these swaddles have really fun designs.

BEST BABY ORGANICS

Best Baby Organics is a full service online retailer of organic goods and products. Check out the under $15 category for deals. You can get a 3 pack organic onesies for boys for only $15.99

You can also find organic maternity items, as well as body care there. It’s a one stop shopping for organic needs. Below you can see the house brand Lukeeno onesie and t-shirt.

The organic onesie can be bought  for $16

The Lukeeno top is $16, as well


SPUNKY STORK

This is all about custom organic clothes. Each piece is handprinted to order. They’ve got adorable colorful onesies with sweet names: Sweatpea, Bananas, Trouble, Sweet, Cookie, as well as clever taglines like “When I grow up, I want to be a Zombie”. My personal favorite is a onesie with Muggle written on it in Harry Potter font :) Price is $27 for a onesie and $29 for a long sleeved bodysuit, like the one on the right. You can also custom order an item if you wish here.

B NATURE ORGANICS

This brand’s style scream organics. Natural colors and designs, soft fabric crafted out of a 40 yard thread count which makes it durable and breathable. You just want to wrap up your baby in the soft pastel pinks, wheat and olive colored and light brown Eva Spin Dress:andEva Spin Dress:. Even the packaging it comes in looks natural and is made of recycled paper, but cute nonetheless.
I love their little sock booties and the stitching detail adds a little bit of a flare to the simple ensembles. The sleeves of the gown have baby hand pockets to keep them from scratching themselves.

One of my favorite items on the website is their winter and summer start up kit. If you don’t want to mess around finding the right organic clothes, you can order a winter or summer  newborn start up kit for only $182.5

Gown below is $25.50

Booties are $24


FUNKOOS

Funkoos was started by a team of parents who saw a need for cheaper high quality organic baby apparel.

Their online store is very user-friendly and straight-forward. It’s divided into Newborn girl, Newborn boy, Baby boy and Baby girl sections, so the right clothes is always easy to find. Funkoos brand clothes are simple with soft colors and cute embroderies. You can actually buy organic jeans there, which is the first time I found something this mainstream in organic.

The gown on the right can be bought for $29.99

MY NATURAL BABY BOUTIQUE

This all-in-one organic baby boutique carries many different brands of organic clothes and accessories. It  has a pretty good selection of organic toys, organic baby slings, cart covers, clothing, skin care and pretty much anything you’d need for natural baby care. The photos below are of the most adorable organic set of security blanket ($22) and a hoodie towel ($36) by Swaddle Designs.  The security blanket is Shiloh’s (Pitt and Jolie’s kid) favorite item.

The boutique also has its own gift registry which is really easy to set up and use, so you can take advantage of that for your baby showers. Speaking of baby showers, there are really fun mom and baby gift sets available.

And for a limited time for our readers, use code “pbb15” to get 15% off.

So these are the main organic stores I’ve been looking through and shopping at. I have a few more brands that I adore, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an online retailer for them, except for occasional Zulily sale.

Once Alexis arrives and gets a chance to try these out, I’ll write a bit about her experiences and favorites and try to get some giveaways of organic clothes for you, guys.