Exersaucers: Jam Session

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

Ok, I have to preface this review with the following:

{I am not a huge fan of exersaucers/stationary jumpers/jumperoos (whatever else they are called). The crazy bright lights, the annoying repetitive sounds, the upright position when they should be crawling around on their belly – it’s essentially a placeholder for the baby while you go get some stuff done. However, babies LOVE them, and they give mamas a minute or two to get stuff done. }

Note: I couldn’t stop taking pictures of Lexi in it, since it’s so cute, so you get a lot of essentially identical photos :) lol

So when I was talking about reviewing one, I was skeptical. We had a Fisher Price one we borrowed from a friend of mine. A conventional standard Fisher Price that you see in every other house. Alexis really enjoyed jumping in it and playing with toys. But the annoying sounds and music would get us EVERY time. We’d have to turn it off, but then I felt like I was robbing her of full experience in it.

And then she started taking EVERYTHING in her mouth. This spelled the end of the Fisher Price. I don’t particular trust Fisher Price, or any big big corporation for that matter, to not make toys out of some toxic plastic ( nothing to back it up, just a big company and a few lead related recalls, as well as their previous stance on toxic plastics,which I know they have correct ).

Note: If you happened to have inquired with their customer service about the type of plastic this jumperoo is made of, feel free to share, I am sure a ton of parents would love to know.

Anyways…. so we get the Evenflo Exersaucer Jam Session and get it out of the box and I don’t know what I expected, but it’s plastic (duh!)…. Before I get Lexi in it, I email the customer service ( even though I am dying to try it out), inquiring what plastic it is made of and whether it contains PVC, Pthalates, lead or cadmium, which I should have done ahead of everything, but I spaced out. The answer comes back fairly quickly: “[...]polypropylene and does not contain PVC, Phthalates, lead or cadmium.”   Whew!

In the meantime, I wash the seat fabric and the chew toys.

It was fairly easy to assemble, though I have to admit, hubby was doing all of the assembly with me just playing with Lexi and watching.

A few minutes later, Lexi was put into it to play. At first, I thought  it was just like any other jumperoo/exersaucer type deal. She jumped around in it, all wide eyed, excited at this new shiny toys she’s been presented with.

But unlike most products that you start finding flaws with as your baby uses, this one kept getting better and better.

So the concept of the Jam Session is the following:

There are 4 interactive “smart” toys that represent an “instrument” each: percussion, piano, guitar/sax/trumpet and a conductor’s score. Each instrument plays a specific genre of music depending on what has been selected on the conductor’s score. So if the conductor’s score is set on jazz, the rest of the instruments play jazz melodies when triggered. Same happens when she selects rock or classical music There are 67 activities for your baby to play with in this version of the exersaucer.

The piano toy can be set to play notes or melodies. The conductor’s score plays longer songs when triggered. The hanging guitar/sax/trumpet play shorter songs when pulled down on and the overhead lights light up. The drum plays a short little melody, as well and there’s a spin wheel with plastic balls in it. On one of there corners there is a fake microphone with little plastic pellets for noise making. Each side has a detachable teether in different shape and one mirror.

The bottom of the exersaucer has a blue balance base that supposedly helps to “build core strength and coordination”

Like I previously mentioned, at first I was a bit disappointed. Being so used to jumping centers that were filled with multitude of toys, lights, noise and color, my first impression was that Lexi won’t like it because there are not as many toys to play with.

Over the last 2 months, I have been learning why my initial impression was completely wrong.

-The lack of overly stimulating toys means that she has to turn and reach and pull and push to get the results she wants. {It’s kind of like the advice of not surrounding your baby with too many toys, but leaving one or two for her to play with so that she would be prompted to move to reach them}. I almost feel like it IS truly beneficial to her and her development which is a far cry from how I felt about activity centers before.

 

Given that with Lexi who is semi-mobile ( she doesn’t crawl, but easily gets from sitting position into a crawling position, but not always safely or gracefully), we often have to put her in the Jam Session for a minute or two while we get what whatever we need.

Well, I couldn’t believe it, but both me and Andrew would dance and sing every time Alexis would trigger a song. Why? That’s because finally the music in a kid’s toy is one that parents can relate to, as well.  To this day, I dance every time she plays Rocking Robin and she watches me and jumps around (or sometimes shakes her leg in a fun way attempting to dance too).

It’s been 2 months and I have not once thought “Oh, this music is annoying”. In addition to that, rather than have music every time she jumps, it has to be triggered by her specific action, whether it’s pulling on the hanging instruments, turning the page of the score, or pressing the piano keys or drums.

Teethers are a perfect shape and height for her. They bend, they twist, they turn, they can be manipulated in any way possible. It’s often that you see her with her mouth on the teether while jumping around

- The piano keys are really easy to press and she is at the point where she uses the switch to go from melodies to notes ( not on purpose, of course).

- I also was not sure that I’d like the base rather than the floor like most other activity centers have, but I like it  lot, because it adds more bounce to her jumps and keeps her trying to balance her body which is always a good activity for infants.

Evenflo has 3 exersaucers in their new line, but I just really really like this Jam Session. It’s fun, it’s low key and it fosters love for music that is not an annoying repetitive childish tune.

-Another pleasant surprise for me was that the Jam Session is not overly colorful. The toys are bright and happy but the posts and the seat base are white with black accents, so if you’re the type of person who is not a fan of ridiculously bright and colorful baby things in your house, this will probably be the most inconspicuous one of them all. I actually enjoy looking at this bright spot in our living room.  It looks very neat from the distance.

There are very few baby items that I get very excited to review and this is one of them. It turned out to be a great one from both parents’ and baby’s standpoint contrary to my expectations of what a jumping activity center would be.

Note: When we first received the Jam Session, Lexi couldn’t easily turn in the seat. I emailed the customer service and after a few emails back and forth, they sent me a new seat that turns perfectly. I just wanted to mention that in case someone else has that problem. Evenflo customer service is great,so don’t hesistate to contact it.

Note 2: I don’t have a giveaway for you, guys, at this time, since Evenflo didn’t have giveaway units available, but I am hoping in the future I’ll be able to offer a giveaway as well.

Let me know if you have any questions about it, I’d be happy to answer.

*This product was sent to me for review by Evenflo. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Boating with Alexis

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FUN TIMES, PHOTO

A month ago we took Alexis on her very first cruise around the Bay and into the Gulf. Again, with the heat and the sun, it’s very difficult to do anything outdoors with a small baby, but we decided that if we make it an early outing, it should be fine.

I had no clue as to how Alexis would react to the heat or the boat or the speed. It was a total shot in the dark.

We used out favorite Lavanila Baby Block and wore a UPF50+ swimsuit that my friend Elena bought as a present for Lexi.

We went slowly at first, wading through the bay to get to the open Gulf. She was fine as long as she was in the shade and then when we turned to face the morning sun, Andrew opened our super convenient Mutsy parasol that we brought along. She was starting to fuss and then we picked up some speed and Yeehaaawww! Lexi LOVED it! As soon as we were moving and the wind was blowing, she was a happy girl. She wasn’t crazy for having to hear a lifevest, and because of the size of the boat, she technically didn’t have to. But we felt more comfortable if she did, at least while we were moving fast.

We spent the rest of the time alternating between cruising and going really fast. She even had her first taste of beer. Just kidding, of course, but she definitely tried to, pretty forcefully. I had to get her attention with one of the boat gadgets, before she stuck her finger into the opening of the bottle.


The picture below on the left is her face when we sped up a little bit – she was loving it and making cute happy noises :)

So the picture below:

If you remember, the first time Lexi met J, she freaked out and cried for 30 minutes after he attempted to take her into his arms. We figured it was the beard. So this time, he purposefully let her touch his beard to show her that it was all cool. And while there were no tears, you can judge her reaction by the two photos at the bottom. haha!

Oh and here’s some EYE CANDY for car lovers, which I once was, until I got pregnant and decided that my life is now too important to race around in fast vehicles. I still love beautiful cars, but just looking at them is enough nowadays :)

4th of July

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FUN TIMES, New Mom Experience, PHOTO

{It’s amazing to see how Alexis has changed in just 1 month}

{I initially wanted to wear this awesome red headband from Ruffles&Fringe , but after clipping my bangs up, I realized it wouldn’t work and had to take it off.}

Our first 4th of July as a family.

Hmmm. I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen this year. Up until recently we couldn’t even take Alexis anywhere since she wouldn’t fall asleep in the car, let alone a PARTY with lots of music, noise and people, 50 minutes away, that starts at 7 pm. This really spelled disaster, but encouraged by a few recent outings that were actually successful, coupled with our own desire to do something adult-like, we decided to go for it.

The plan was to keep her napping as much as she would all day and be sure that EVERYTHING was in the car and ready by the time she wakes up from her last nap. At which point we would whisk her away into the car and drive to the party to be there right at the start.

{the photo above was taken by the photographer at the party}

Oh those well laid plans of “a type of rodents and a few representatives of human species”. First of all, who were we kidding? We are NOTORIOUSLY late to everything. We always were before Alexis and we’re late now. It was all going well until the last nap. We gave Lexi a bath, I rocked her to sleep and went to get stuff done. Twenty or thirty minutes later she was up and as usual I swooped her in and started rocking again. She wouldn’t have it. Kept looking around and arching her back. Finally after some boob and more rocking she was asleep, I laid her in bed and went to a different bathroom to do my hair. Hubby stayed back to make sure she was good and asleep. 5 minutes later he comes out with Lexi in his arms. She was up, about 40 minutes before we had to leave, before we COULD leave.

I continued doing my hair while Andrew strapped her into our Nordic carrier and attempted to get the last few things done. I had all her toys packed, her cloth books, her bedtime books, her blankets, her lovey, a Sunny stroll arch, a diaper bag, her outfit ironed and ready, my camera ready. He was supposed to take it all to the car while I finished my hair. Then I quickly got dressed and that’s where it started breaking down. I find out Andrew has to shave (what?), he didn’t catch that the stuff downstairs needed to be put in the car as well (what?). I put Alexis into her adorable outfit and as we walked to show daddy how pretty his girls were , she sneak-spits up ALL OVER her dress. (Lexi has this tendency to spit up without us noticing)

{BTW, I’d like to thank everyone who weighed in on the 4th of July outfit ideas for Alexis on my Facebook page. I loved all the suggestions and had actually ordered the Jack and Janie dress for Alexis but it had just fit her which meant that it would probably be uncomfotably small for her in 2 weeks which is when the party was supposed to happen. So I had to return it and ended up ordering a cute RL dress.}

Agh! Disaster! {ok, maybe not so much} I clean up her dress and fortunately it all comes right off. Whew! Bullet dodged! {ha! Naive first time mom!}

Eventually we get out the door and then I remember the first rule of successful event photography: take a picture before getting in the car because it might be the only chance you get to do it all dressed up and pretty. I still hadn’t put make up on (I was going to do that in the car), but I figured it’s no biggie. We take a few family pictures, on most of which Alexis is squinting from the bright light or trying to chew on her daddy’s shirt.

Then we are off to the party. Planned time: 6:20pm Actual Time: 7:16pm

To my surprise Alexis did pretty well in the car going back and forth from playing with my nursing necklace I hung up above her, to chewing and screaming at her Sophie. A few times she strained and I figured we’d change her once we get there. Half way down ( at that point it’s been 1.5 hrs since she slept) she started getting really upset. I figured it was time to eat and we pulled over to feed her. I laid her across my lap preparing “the meal” and that’s when I FELT IT. My dear girl had had a MASSIVE POOP EXPLOSION that leaked all over her Ralph Lauren dress. AGH!

{the photo above on the left was taken by the photographer at the party}

Well, so much for a cute outfit. We had to change her into a spare onesie we brought which just happened to have red white and blue colors ( I sort of subconsciously packed it), and while it was one of my favorite onesies, it wasn’t the special 4th of July dress mommy agonized over, asked opinions, ironed and hoped to see on more than one picture. Oh well, that’s babyhood for you.

Once we got to the beachside area, the traffic was INSANE because everyone goes to the beach to see the fireworks around here, so we probably arrived at the party at 8:30pm (nice huh?) It’d been 2 hours since Alexis slept and this was the point where I usually put her down. She was getting really fussy being stuck in a seat.

We finally arrived, valet’ed our car and went in. There were about 100 people at the party, I overheard the valets say in awe. One of the reasons I was really looking forward to this particular event, besides the fabulous food, entertainment, host and his house and awesome people, was my friend Elena who I hadn’t hung out with since Alexis was born. She hadn’t met Alexis yet and we were both just really looking forward to seeing each other.


{the photo above was taken by the photographer at the party}

Alexis was getting so much attention and after some time she was really loving it.

There were 3 bands at the party. THREE! All pretty awesome, but this charismatic guy was the bomb!

At that point it had been 4 hours since she slept and while she was NOT fussing at all with all the sights and music and people, I could see how very tired she was getting.

So I took her into the house and walked upstairs into a nursery ( J has a few sons with small kids who sometimes visit) to try to nurse her to sleep. I was very fortunate to have a rocker there since Alexis doesn’t do well without one. But no matter what I did: fed her, rocked her, sang to her- she just wouldn’t go to sleep. I laid her on the bed thinking maybe that nursing position would be more conducive to sleep but instead she wiggled her body and pumped her legs, ready to play.

The photo above just cracks me up. Elena feeding me while I am feeding Alexis :)

After a while we decided it was really time to go. So after changing Lexi, we went out and were waiting for the valet to get our car (Yeah, this house party had valet parking, crazy huh?). I was nursing Alexis while rocking her as we stood there talking to our friends. When our car arrived, I noticed that Alexis was starting to fall asleep at the breast, so I held off a little longer. Then, while very drowsy, we put her in the car, and after a bit of fussing on her part, she fell asleep as soon as the car started moving. We both let out a sigh of relief and drove home.

{At 11 pm, all happy and ready to play}

It was our first big success in getting out with a baby, especially that late and we expected it to not go so well, so it felt really great to have had a good time and include Alexis in it, as well.

I wrote a post about the few things I learned from this late night outing that worked for Alexis, so feel free to check it out here.

Father’s Day

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FUN TIMES, PHOTO

AT 5.5 MONTHS

My BFF Leeka drove to visit us on Father’s Day, which was largely responsible for the amount of pictures taken that day. Because when Leeka visits, all bets are off.

{Sidenote: If you’re in Cincinnati area and you need an amazing photog, check her out}

We didn’t have any plans to celebrate Father’s Day this year, just like we didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day. I guess both of us didn’t feel like the holidays belonged to us yet. We didn’t feel like we were something to celebrate yet. I still see Mother’s Day as a day for my mom, not me.

So it worked out perfectly with Leeka visiting, so that we weren’t the “lame-o-s” that we are and actually got out of the house that day. It was Leeka’s first time seeing Lexi and it was amazing. Even though we were in the stanger anxiety stage, she knew exactly what to do for Lexi to call her one of “our own”. She even chewed on her fingers. lol

So if you know anything about us two, we take EXORBITANT AMOUNT OF PICTURES when we are together. These two posts are just the tip of an iceberg: here and here

And while Andrew isn’t exactly a fan of picture taking (though he IS used to it by now), he does love having fun with us.

So we all basically spent the day lounging at the pool, splashing, talking, eating- the usual.

Leeka was kind enough to take a few pictures of the three of us, even though we weren’t exactly picture ready, wet and with runny make up.

There are a lot of words that I could say about Andrew as a dad and as a husband and as a person. It would probably be a very long post if I started it, but all I want to say publicly is that the 11 years that we’ve spent together (both dating and married) have been the best years of my life. I cannot imagine being with a person for so long, unless that person is Shmimkin. I look back and it seems like I’ve known him forever and yet I cannot believe it’s been 11 years. He is truly my best friend and the best father to Alexis. I hope that we continue adjusting our roles as Alexis grows and mold them into something even more perfect.

{He requested that I do not waste my time writing a sappy Father’s Day post , and instead say it directly to him and spend that time having fun together. So that’s all the sappiness you will get :P}

 {Photos in this post were taken by me, Andrew and Leeka}

First swing ride {photo dump}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, FUN TIMES, LIFE, PHOTO


I am doing a good job catching up with the photo posts and soon you’ll see more current ones and more meaningful posts.I have Father’s day, 4th of July, Lexi’s first boat trip and an overnight trip to Orlando left to blog about and then I’ll be all up to date and hopefully start posting more current photos, as well as more parenting related stuff. It’s much easier to edit photos, put them into a collage and post them, than write about more serious things, so I am trying to get the backlog of photography out of the way.

I don’t have much to say for this post. It’s a simple photo dump from our first playground trip. Alexis loved the swing and would probably do it until she passed out. Unfortunately, with the current Florida weather we can’t be going to the playground too often. It gets too hot by about 8 am. But starting October, when she’s 8 months old and the weather is cool, I suspect we’ll have daily trips there. I am already seeing how bored she gets at home, even though I try to provide a stimulating environment. But she’s the happiest when we go places. So i predict a lot of walks and fun trips outside of home as soon as the weather gets cooler. Right now we’re trying to plan at least one outing somewhere fun once a week: the beach, the playground, children’s museum, the mall, the pool, Disney, etc.

{swing cover by Infantino}




A day of many firsts…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, FUN TIMES, New Mom Experience, PHOTO

Just a few pictures from a semi-recent outing about a month back. This was the first time Alexis successfully spent 4 hours outside and fell asleep on the way home. It was nice to feel almost normal, going out to grab a smoothie and a sandwich. It’s also amazing to see how much she’s changed in just one month and a half.

 

Playing with her Lifefactory  teether while we wait for hubby to come out of Publix. It was too cold inside so we had to leave.

Waiting for food! And Alexis’ first time in a high chair! It was truly a day of firsts. I don’t know why but I was so proud of seeing her sit in a high chair ( High chair cover by Infantino). I guess because it was impossible to take her anywhere prior to 5 months, these first outings were really special to me. I finally felt normal, being out and about with a baby. I also can’t wait till we can share our meals with Lexi soon, after she becomes comfortable eating and handling foods.

I am not exactly sure why but I absolutely love breastfeeding outside of home. I think a lot of things go into that feeling: being able to provide food for Alexis without much hassle at her first request, the convenience of it, just the act of breastfeeding which I always found so wonderful, and a big part of me really wants to do my part in making breastfeeding in public a normal thing, one that isn’t frowned upon, or that is almost never seen. I want public breastfeeding (with or without a cover) to become a thing people don’t blink an eye at. And the more we all can throw our own inhibitions aside and proudly ( or shyly at first) feed our babies without caring about what other people think, the more those “other people” will accept it. How can one be ok with breastfeeding, if one has never seen it done and if breasts have always been a part of one’s sexuality and nothing more.

{off my soapbox for now}

I keep attempting family self-portraits once in a while but I haven’t really been good at them. Instead of relaxing and just taking my time setting it up, I am always worried that Alexis is tired and I am wasting time taking photos. I need to chill out a bit and do what I did before Lexi was here. I am going to resume taking themed selfies with Alexis soon. As soon as I feel like I can take the time to set the photo up properly, I’ll start participating in photo memes with Alexis. And I need to remind myself  to do a family photoshoot one of these weekends.

Sorry for the lame photos today, I am trying to queue up as many posts as possible, because I will be busy these coming up months with friends visiting,a trip to Disney and a few other things on the horizon.

Morning Walks

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, PHOTO

{this post is a part of the effort to catch up on photo posts since Alexis’ birth}

From early one we tried to make it a habit to go for morning and evening walks every day. A part of it was because fresh air is less polluted than indoor air and it’s good for babies, a part is because we just NEEDED to get out of the house and with Alexis not falling asleep in the carseat, it just wasn’t possible to go anywhere but just outside our home. So finally at about 2.5 months, I was able to put Alexis into a carrier ( Ergo back then) without too much complaining and we went off on a walk.

The poor girl was, of course, too hot in that down-comforter of a infant insert and after some crying and quick bouncy walking on my part, she fell asleep (whew!). Mind you that was the first and ONLY time she’s ever fallen asleep in a carrier. lol

My favorite part about these walks are the morning and evening sun that create this magical light for photography. I really stopped taking a camera with us when we go for walks, because there’s only so much you can photograph in one place, but I always wish I could share beautiful moments and landscapes on the blog more.

Around 3 months, Alexis started tolerating a stroller for short periods of time and it became even more fun walking with her because she loved looking around. Whenever we’d pass under a tree, she’d start kicking and smiling, it was really adorable to watch her brain developing and seeing something new.

{don’t mind the goofy oversized hat. That was the only one we had at the time}

We still continued using the carrier, and were getting good at it. I learned to breastfeed in it and it made walks easier, where we didn’t have to rush home knowing she’ll need to eat soon.

We continue walking once or twice a day or more on overcast days, sometimes on our own, sometimes with other mommies and their babies and Alexis does her happy dance whenever she sees the stroller or the carrier being pulled out.

7 activities to do with your infant {0-6 months}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in HEALTH, New Mom Experience, VIDEO

7 Activities to do with your baby to help development and add sensory input: 0-6 months


Looking back to the early months of Alexis life, one of the hardest things for me ( and my husband even more) was thinking of age-appropriate activities to do with Alexis. I wanted to make sure her awake time counted, that it helped her develop, socially, physically, emotionally, as well as bond and spend as much time interacting with us as she needed at that age. And considering that unlike most newborns, Alexis barely slept during that time, we had A LOT OF awake time to contend with. As I was reading various books on baby development, I was making note of beneficial activities I could do with Alexis that would help her develop as well as create some quality fun time with her, aside from all the typical things you do with a baby.  So I’d like to share with you 5 different non-traditional developmentally beneficial and fun things you could do with your infant.

None of these are “filler” activities, they all help your baby develop an important part of their system. And from experience, babies tend to enjoy them very much.

Please exercise caution and common sense when using these tips.  I am not a physician, or an expert of any sort. These are just the activities I read about and are/were doing with Alexis that I wanted to share. Also keep your baby’s age in mind. It has to be appropriate for your baby’s level of development. I’ll explain how to do it, what it does for a baby’s development and how Alexis liked this particular exercise, but it’s always best to read from the source, because I can’t fit all the valuable information into a short post.

Also feel free to watch the video for examples.

1. Rocking on a beach ball

HOW: Get a beach ball or an exercise ball, deflate it slightly, place your baby on the ball TUMMY DOWN. While supporting him (you can hold his sides, legs or thighs depending on how well he/she can control her body), roll him back and forth and side to side. You can sing or talk at the same time.
WHY: Strengthens the neck, is good for head control, provides muscle tone development. You can do the same but on his back, this helps his balance reflexes to develop as he will slowly tense his tummy muscles to keep himself balanced.

{Alexis: She loved this one from the get go. She’d get her head up high and look around while being rocked. I could see how her core was working trying to stay balanced and how she was figuring out how to move her body in response to the ball. I wasn’t happy about using what appears to be a vinyl ball, but in all my search for non-toxic things, I haven’t found one that isn’t made of vinyl.}

2. KICKING a BALL

HOW: Use the same beach ball to let your little one kick and roll it with her feet. As she gets older she’ll be able to pass it up to her hands and back to her feet. They love the feel of something different on their toes and what baby doesn’t like kicking.
WHY: Babies will learn about their legs and feet and how to move them at will. In addition, these exercises stimulate muscle tone, especailly knee flexibility for later bobbing , climing and walking
{Alexis: at first she didn’t really get what she was supposed to do with the ball, but after she kicked it a few times accidentally, she started getting the idea. Eventually it progressed to her moving it to her hands. It’s definitely a fun acitivity.}

3. Oil leg rub

HOW: Put some olive or vegetable oil on your baby’s inner thighs and while holding her/him by the ankles, GENTLY rub her/his inner thighs together ( back and forth).
WHY: Excerpt from the book: It is “beneficial because it provides sensory input that is familiar to the baby from his experiences in the womb and helps organize his nervous system. It will also facilitate the baby to release [...] any tight hip muscles. Since this is a sensory experience that baby had in the womb, it can be started soon after birth. The main focus of this activity is for baby to relate to skin sensations. If you make eye contact with baby or do this in a high visually stimulating environment, such as under a mobile, the baby’s nervous system may pay more attention to the visual input than the skin input. [...] This activity only lasts a minute and afterwards smiles, praise and songs would be great.”
{Alexis: You could see the “newness” of the feeling in her eyes when we first started it. I haven’t done it as much as I should, but the few times that I did do it, it was kind of fun to watch her reaction.}

4. Tub/Pool Play

One way around the whole “no swimming till 6 months” issue (see why) was to get a kiddie pool and let her splash there. But believe it or not, it took me THIS LONG to find a kiddie pool that wasn’t made out of PVC or with Phthalates (I’ll be writing about why it’s important and listing items that I found that don’t contain either). At some point I gave up the search after calling and emailing numerous companies that sell/manufacture baby pools and striking out. And then finally, I FOUND IT! A pool made out of polyester and with a pop up shade, to boot! Ta-da! So today (7/17) we’ll be filling it up and having some fun time. Alexis loves splashing and playing in the water and I am sure spending more time doing it will foster her love for water activities. You can also do the same in a bathtub, but with a baby who does doesn’t reliably sit up yet, you’d have to get into it, as well, since it can be very slippery.

Alexis seems to really love touching running water. I assume that the sensation of strong pressure is new for her and is something she likes to explore, so I often get into a tub and let the water run for her to grab (see video). It’s especially useful after she has had some food (we are doing BLW), because she usually needs a bath at that point. She often accidentally splashes water into her eyes, at which point I laugh and make fun sounds to show her that it’s not scary. Though she still look to me for reassurance when it happens, she’s become quite adventurous with water.

5. Leg support crawl

HOW: This one is a bit of a no-brainer if you ask me, but it was and still is a very important part of our day. From about 2 months of age ( it might have been 3 months, I don’t exactly remember), Lexi would make swimming movements whenever she’d get put on her tummy. She wanted to move and crawl. We would naturally place our palms to her feet so that she had some support to push off of and she’d be happy to move forward. It’s still something that we do on daily basis, as she whines and whines until she feels some support and can scoot forward. Once she starts crawling this will no longer be needed, but for the time being it helps her feel like she is getting somewhere. {see video}

WHY: Repetitive movement on the floor, forward or backward, stimulates the neurons in the brain to interconnect.

6. Infant massage

HOW: Some literature suggests that doing infant massage or deep pressure massage three times a day is optimal, however most recommendations are at least once a day which I think is more manageable. According to some books, if your baby seems uncomfortable during the massage, you need to do it frequently and very slowly, stopping as soon as the baby fusses. The irritability,according to Building Babies Better, comes from lack of total understanding of the sensation from the prenatal experience. Obviously, do not do deep pressure on the abdomen, and biceps and calves seem to be sensitive ( or better yet read a book about Infant massage).
I showed a few simple techniques in the video below, but it’s really about you touching the baby and showing the love. Some books recommend concentrating on the massage and not interacting with your baby, I choose to talk to her and sing to her, because to me it’s as much about bonding as it is about the massage. Doing it after a bath is usually easiest, but it’s important not to rush through it. Also, try cheek massage, Alexis loves that part. Since they use those muscles to suck milk, they need an occasional massage.

WHY:  It is well known and researched what amazing benefits infant massage produces for babies. A few proven benefits that are worth mentioning are: higher IQ, healthier digestion, improved weight gain, improved immune system (in a study of babies whose mothers gave them back massages at 10 weeks, there was a lower incidence of colds and diarrhea four months later), better sleep, enhanced muscle tone and coordination, more developed sensory awareness, better ability to handle stress, better bonding, self soothing, self-esteem, etc. Massage is very effective to do before a floor activity. It helps them use their muscles more efficiently afterwards.

For very small babies:

7. Leg Twist

HOW: You take your Little One’s legs and swing them to the side. Pause, then swing them to the other side. Take care not to twist them too much or make it too abrupt or scary. Basically, follow your baby’s cues. Of course, it’s always important to talk or sing to them while doing that.

WHY: Rocking stimulates the organs of muscle tone and balance as well as strengthens them. Poor muscle tone frequently equals poor coordination, as the body parts cannot put movements together. Helps your infant learn about different types of movements. Vestibular activities like this one are “essential for the inhibition of the primitive reflexes and the development of balance. Vestibular sensations are vital for posture, movement, and a sense of position in space , motion, depth and self.”

Alexis still loves this activity and smiles/laughs every time I do it.

You can see the video for examples of these acitivies

{in the first 3 activities Alexis is 3 months old, the rest are recent}:

 



Sources:
Some of these activities, along with explanations and some quotes were taken from the following books: Active Baby Healthy Brain  and Building Babies Better. For a list of all the books I recommend, please visit the books section.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN OTHER POSTS, FEEL FREE TO VISIT THE FOLLOWING PAGES:

NEW BABY POSTS (SAFE TOYS, BABY CLASSES, BEST PRODUCTS, BABY LED WEANING, VACCINATIONS, ETC)

NEW MOM POSTS ( BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY, BEST APPS FOR NEW MOMS, MOMMY PHOTOGRAPHY, POSTPARTUM, PARENTING DUTY, PP BODY, CLOTH DIAPERING)

PREGNANCY POSTS (HERB SAFETY, SAFE PREGNANCY, ULTRASOUND DECODED, GENDER PREDICTION, BELLY PROTECTION, TRIMESTER RECAPS, BIRTH STORY, ETC)

Best for Babies: Nordic {Carrier Feature}

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

 

This is the second installment of the the Carrier Feature. As I said in the previous post, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a few carriers, wraps and slings and these are my thoughts on them all. I’ll be pointing out pluses, minuses and also writing my honest opinion based on our experience. {We sort of got carried away taking pictures here, sorry!}

If you read The Lexi Awards, you might have noticed that I named Nordic as the best carrier.  I don’t think any item is ever perfect or without flaws, however this has been the carrier we’ve gone back to over and over again.

And here is why:

{headband c/o of Ruffles &Fringe}

VERSATILITY:  It’s supposed to be a carrier that you can use from birth to toddlerhood. We have literally used it since Alexis was a newborn to now when she is well over 20 pounds of chubby adorableness without any accessories and I have not felt like it fits any worse at any stage. It has truly  grown with us. I am looking forward to seeing how it fares with a toddler and in the back carry position ( since I’ve only carried her in the front).

NEWBORN HEADREST: This is probably my favorite feature of the Nordic carrier. Instead of having a thick infant insert or permanent head support, it has  a cute flap that gets lifted up and clipped to the straps. It’s thin but sturdy and it gets clipped out of the way when your baby doesn’t need it anymore.


ADJUSTABLE SEAT:  The seat has two positions: narrow and wide to adjust as your baby grows.  This allows you to carry your baby with legs out, rather than in a frog leg position, in the first few months. For Alexis that meant the difference between hating the carrier and loving it. For a baby that doesn’t like being restrained, this option is a life saver. We’re still using the narrow seat, but will soon transition to the wide one.

PADDED SHOULDER STRAPS: I feel less weight on my shoulders while carrying her in the Nordic than I do in a wrap. The shoulder pads are just the right size and thickness that they are not cumbersome, yet provide comfort.

THICK SUPPORT BELT: With Alexis being at around 21 pounds at this moment, I am yet to feel any strain on my back from the support belt.

QUALITY & PRICE: While I am not one to go with the cheapest option, I have to respect a carrier that has the quality and features of expensive carriers, but is almost HALF the price of other carriers on the market. Considering that after trying an Ergo and a Nordic, I decided that Nordic was by far the superior product and returned my Ergo that cost me $140 with the infant insert, I am truly surprised this isn’t  a carrier more widely-used. I would honestly love to see the Nordic become more popular.

FRONT FACING: I realize that there is some talk out there about the detrimental nature of the front facing position in a carrier, where it doesn’t allow the proper hip development. With Alexis it  is was just not an option to have her facing in from about 2.5 months on. Even looking at these pictures above, where I carry her rear facing, she keeps arching her back and turning back and forth to see what’s up front. That’s just the fact of  life with a baby like Lexi. After reading some of the internet materials, that expressed concern about carrying babies front facing ( what’s interesting is that in 20-25 baby books that I have read, I did not see it be mentioned once, and I don’t like to only go by research done online aside from overstimulation which just isn’t an issue in our case), I went to look at how Alexis was positioned in the Nordic vs the infamous front facing Baby Bjorn. It seems to me that the Nordic hip angle is a lot wider than the BabyBjorn’s I’ve been seeing around where the legs are almost pushed together (correct me if I am wrong). I always try to position Alexis (when front facing) so that her spine and hips were aligned properly and her hips were spread wide and she was “sitting” rather than “hanging”, and I feel that Nordic definitely facilitates it.

WEIGHT LIMIT: Considering that if you buy a BabyBjorn, you have to stop using it at 25 pounds, which is where Alexis is almost at right now and Ergo doesn’t have the front facing position, Nordic seems like a much more versatile choice.

Aside from all these things I mentioned above, this carrier JUST plain works for us. If I were to recommend a carrier, this one would be it. My husband is of the same opinion and uses it often as well.

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LilleBaby Nordic Carrier

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