Posts Tagged ‘giveaway’

Our favorite winter styles by See Kai Run and a Giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Fashion and Outfits, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

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If you ever want some eye candy, all you have to do is check out See Kai Run shoes. I am amazed every season at how they manage to come out with the cutest designs.

There is one particular type of shoe that I am most in love with. It’s a high top sneaker, and every season See Kai Run manages to do something amazing with the patterns. It’s the single most complimented shoe since day 1 (different seasons and styles). Every season it’s a different pattern, but same compliments. The most unique shoe in the history of kids footwear.

The reason I am writing this post, however, is to let you guys know three things:

Our travel comfort items and a baby monitor giveaway

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

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Hola, amigos!

Posting here from sporadically sunny Mexico to offer you an insight on our travel must-haves in conjunction with a Levana monitor giveaway.

As I was sitting on the balcony of my room in Generations Resort in Riviera Maya, working away on my computer and periodically glancing at the monitor where Lexi was quietly sleeping, I realized that I  had never traveled without taking my monitor with me. It was an interesting realization because something like packing a monitor has been on an autopilot for so long, I didn’t truly understand I was doing that. Yet here I was with my daughter who is almost four in a one room suite still using a baby monitor.

I looked around the room trying to figure out what other items I still bring with us whenever we travel and it turns out there are a few staples that have been traveling with us for years.

New Kiddy USA City’n Move: Stroller Feature + Giveaway

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

kiddy8

Continuing our stroller feature, I bring to you new-to-USA Kiddy City’n Move, a well-priced lightweight umbrella stroller with features that rival its more expensive competitors.

We have been awaiting the American release of this stroller ever since last year and finally it is here and it couldn’t be better. We got to test drive it pretty well during our trip to Disney.

Let me go over the stats and features, as well as give my personal opinion from weeks of use.

Finn & Emma Organic Activity Gym

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

FINN AND EMMA ACTIVITY GYM


When I saw this gym on one of the blogs, I knew I had to try it.  Being a huge fan of Finn&Emma (see Lexi Awards), I knew that the gym wasn’t going to disappoint from eco standpoint and design. However, I was wondering if such a simple bar with a few toys would keep Lexi’s attention for long enough, like conventional gyms do.

By the time I received the gym, Lexi was 5 months and already sitting up. That actually worked in our favor, because if she were to be in a lying position, she wouldn’t be able to get the toys into her mouth, and she’s pretty forceful when it comes to tasting everything she can lay her little hands on.

So I sat her next to the Finn &Emma gym and she went to town. She didn’t hesitate to taste every single toy on the bar. Over the next few months, the arch has been empty half the time. Do you know why? Because she was SO in love with the wool toys and the wooden teethers that we had to take them with us EVERYWHERE we went.

It didn’t make much sense to me why she preferred these toys over any others, but she clearly did. The two wool animals had feet just the perfect size for her mouth and 90% of the time she HAD them in her mouth. The wooden teethers were fun to manipulate and easy to hold for her. And the biggest bonus for me? They clip in a way no other hanging toys does. Rather than use velco which ultimately ends up “un-velcroing” under the strength of a 6 months baby, Finn and Emma used a ribbon with a clip at the end, so no amount of pulling would unclip it from the stroller, their wrist, your wrist, etc etc and  drop it on the dirty floor. Dirty floor is where most our toys end up on, except for these toys. That also made the toys mommy’s favorite.


That clip and ribbon is what she loves to chew on the most, so they are always soaking wet, but give her hours of entertainment. No joke!

You know how sometimes you buy something, you use it and then you just shake your head and wonder whether these people ever tested the product at all- it doesn’t work or works poorly. Well, I have to say that the toys of this gym, specifically, work like they have been tested by both parents and babies over and over again. Huge winner in my eyes!

Because we received the gym at the time when Alexis was no longer interested in playing while lying down, I cannot tell you how it’d do with younger babies.  I know Alexis has always been the kind of baby to take toys into her mouth rather than swat at them. I can see where that would present a problem for “pullers” like her since the wooden arch doesn’t bend.

Alexis did spend a decent amount of time just swatting at the toys but soon became frustrated when she couldn’t get them in her mouth. For a younger baby that shouldn’t be a problem since they don’t have the hand coordination to grab a toy and bring it to mouth yet.

Unlike other more traditionally styled gyms, this can be easily used once the baby is sitting up, which extends the lifespan of the toy.  That and the amazing portability of it (we’ll be taking it with us to Disney to do something in the hotel room while we are waiting out the midday heat) have made me a big fan of the gym. And once she is too old to play with it, I already have an idea of covering it with a piece of fabric and creating a puppet show within the arch.

According to Finn & Emma’s description, the gym is made out of untreated hardwood, organic cotton, hand knit , non-toxic toys with wool stuffing. Recently the whole “untreated hardwood” came in handy, since Lexi has gotten into a habit of lifting one of the gym’s leg over her head and then shoving the whole thing into her mouth. Yeah…no further comment.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FINN AND EMMA

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

BUY IT: Amazon
WIN IT: Finn & Emma would like to give this gym away to one lucky reader.  See details below.

Finn and Emma Gym

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

There are  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. FInn and Emma provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LILLEBABY

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

BUY IT: Amazon
WIN IT: SCI would like to give this carrier away to one lucky reader.  See details below.

LilleBaby Nordic Carrier

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 and Canadian 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. SCI  provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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}