Boston Moms – Best Deal in Town

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So as many of you know I have a favorite kids store…Tadpole. It’s not a secret that I love to shop local and I love to support small businesses. So I am so pleased to announce that the annual swap is back!! If you stop by Tadpole today (June 5th) or tomorrow (June 6th) with your gently used clothing, toys & books to Tadpole you can trade your lightly used toys, books & clothing (no stains please!) for other people’s castoffs. Find new (to you!) items without spending a dime. Bring as much as you’d like, take a piece for every one you bring. Leftovers will be donated to Room To Grow. Everyone  who participates will get a discount coupon off a new Tadpole treasure!

Happy Swapping!

http://www.shoptadpole.com/pages/events

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urban pacifier – a giveaway for expecting and new moms from Tadpole

Ok friends, I am not making any money from this but as many of you know Tadpole is by far my most favorite children’s store for many reasons. Yesterday they announced a giveaway that I love, the only thing is that I don’t need any of the stuff, but many of you do – it’s full of my favorite things! So if you are expecting, have a newborn or have a friend that could use this you should check out the link!

Tadpole Munchkin Giveaway

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urban pacifier – sound machine to the rescue

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If you are like I was you would do anything for your child to sleep longer. When my son was born we were told to use white noise to help him fall asleep – so through friends recommendations we bought a sound machine, the Cloud b Sleep Sheep to be exact. The ‘sheep’ is cute, easy to transport and we thought it was working until we realized that our son’s naps were ending when the sheep turned itself off after 23 or 45 minutes, depending on the setting we chose. Turns out this was happening to other moms, lot’s of other moms – the sheep had to go.

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I scoured the internet for sound machines that would be better. One that was louder, and would stay on until I turned it off. Being cautious I ordered the Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System, because for $25 if it didn’t work I wouldn’t feel as bad as I would if I bought the $90 Aden and Anais Serenity Star sound machine and it failed.

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Good news parents – for $25 we gained more than an hour of sleep, we don’t have to change batteries because it plugs into the wall and the volume control can go so loud that when we are in new or noisy places our son sleeps soundly through the night without any issues…not to mention the projector is a bonus, our son loves watching the rotating slides as we calm down before bedtime. For once the less expensive option is the better option! Sweet dreams!

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urban pacifier – weaning

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Weaning

Recently multiple women have approached me with questions about weaning, so I thought it was time for a new post…

In my opinion, there is not a specific time that you should wean your child, its really what is best for you and your baby. I know many doctors say 12 months is best and that it is a more natural time to wean for both mother and baby, but breast-feeding is hard. We have jobs and lives and outer environmental factors that make many of us stop nursing before 12 months. Personally, a combination of health issues and my return to work was the impetus for me to wean my son.

The honest truth…weaning when my son was six months old hurt. It was both a physical and emotional struggle for me. I stopped nursing because my son has a milk protein intolerance and was sick even though I had adopted a vegan diet – it just wasn’t enough. I was back at work and pumping all the time – doing my best to give my son a combination of breast milk and formula, and then my pediatrician told me I needed to stop nursing so we could control my sons diet better with a special formula, Similac Alimentum, the Dom Perignon of formula, ugh.

With over 300 ounces of breast milk in my freezer, aka liquid gold, I had hoped to provide my son with breast milk at least once a day for up to a year, but that didn’t happen. Looking to use my freezer for food again, and to find closure in the weaning process I found Mothers Milk bank of New England – and after a blood test and some paperwork I was approved to donate my stored milk to babies in the NICU, I felt good about donating the milk and the sad emotions from weaning were replaced with a sense of satisfaction, that I could help premature and/or sick babies get the nutrition they need and in the absence my breast milk in his diet, my son’s symptoms disappeared.

How I weaned. On the advice of a friend I picked the most inconvenient pumping time and skipped it. For the first 3 days my breasts were so sore it made sleeping uncomfortable…but in time my body stopped producing milk at this time and the discomfort was gone. I repeated this process, one feed/pump at time over the period of about a month. (It is important to note that during this time showers needed to be lukewarm and I had to avoid warm water on my chest because it would stimulate milk production.)

As I was nearing the end my son was exclusively on formula and I was tired of pumping so to get rid of the last feed, which was the most painful, I took Sudafed for a couple of days and it dried me right up. Had I thought of this earlier and I wasn’t donating my milk, I may have done this sooner – although I know this is not condoned, nor am I giving medical advice, I am just telling you what I did and what worked for me. There is a reason why they say nursing mothers should not take Sudafed; it dries you up, and fast.

It should be noted that if you child is older 8+months and has a more substantial intake of solids and has dropped feeds that the weaning process will be easier for you and should be less painful because your milk production will be lower.

I hope this helps if any of you are struggling with this process, it gets easier, I promise!

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urban pacifier – honesty from another mom

Before I forget – a great article every expecting and new mother needs to read  –  it may just make you feel better…

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urban pacifier – not just for babies: Boston Free Fun Fridays – 60 museums and cultural centers open for free this summer

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Free Fun Fridays – Boston

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urban pacifier – best baby carriers

Like many people when I was pregnant and registering for baby gifts, without hesitation I registered for a Baby Bjorn. To me it was the benchmark in baby carriers because I really didn’t know any better and I had never heard about any other brands as much as I did about the Baby Bjorn, it was a household name.

When my son was a newborn I loved my Bjorn, it was easy to put on and take off, and I looked forward to the day I could face my son forward so he could look out on walks and start to experience his surroundings on our walks…that was a pipe dream. Sadly for me, and many of my mom friends the Baby Bjorn does not take the caregivers back into account (we even purchased the model with extra back support – and it doesn’t help). Once your baby is over 15 pounds, more than 30 minutes in the Bjorn is brutal, and literally backbreaking.

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(This is the model I have – image is from the Bjorn Website)

While I still use the Bjorn from time to time for short walks  – I have since purchased another baby carrier that takes my back and my sons hip position into account, I purchased the ErgoBaby, it was life altering – we can walk for miles (my furthest so far is 8 miles) without any back pain, and the pocket and hood are an added bonus that I didn’t even know I wanted/needed.  While the Ergo is right for me, I have since explored the front strap-on baby carrier selection for a friend and thought it is worth sharing.

This is what I learned…there are three major types of soft baby carriers: front strap-on models, hip carriers, and slings or wraps. Most soft baby carriers specify a minimum and maximum weight limit. You’ll probably find that your baby will be too heavy to carry comfortably before he reaches the upper limit. I am going to focus on front strap-on models with the hip carry option.

Strap-on and hip carriers

Strap-on carriers are designed for babies weighing from 7 or 8 pounds up to 25 to 32 pounds, depending on the brand.

Hip carriers, unless they have a headrest, are generally designed for babies who can hold their head up unassisted, weigh at least 15 pounds, or are at least 4 to 5 months old. The upper weight limit tends to be higher than front strap-on carriers’ (35 to 40 pounds) depending on the brand.

Carriers range in price, it is important to think about how much you’ll use it before you buy one. That will help you determine what to spend. A low-priced version may be fine if you plan to use the front or hip carrier or sling only occasionally. If you foresee long jaunts with your baby or expect to be using your carrier a lot around the house, consider a higher-end model, which may give you more support and be more comfortable.

Here are my top picks for baby carriers that are good for both the parents’ backs and your babies’ backs and hips.

Best Overall carriers (it’s a tie between the Ergo and Beco)

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Beco Gemini –This carrier has the proper ergonomics to prevent stress on your back due to the way it distributes the weight of your baby. I would have considered this for myself because of the 5 positions it offers, including front facing out, if I didn’t already own the Bjorn that has a facing out option.

 Specs: (From the manufacturers website)

  • 4 in 1 baby carrier
  • Newborn to toddler (7-35 lbs./3.5 – 16 kg)
  • Front carry (facing in and facing out), back carry, and hip carry
  • Great for nursing
  • Direct contact intuitive baby carrier
  • High quality tested materials
  • Machine washable
  • Instruction manual included
  • Designed in California. Responsibly made in China.
  • Body 13″ wide x 18.5″ tall with head rest up, 14″ tall with headrest folded
  • Shoulder straps 23″ (can be adjusted up to 22″ LONGER for a total of 45″)
  • Waist belt 28″(size 0) can be adjusted up to 57″
  • Weight capacity of the carrier: 7-35 lbs. (3.5-16kg)
  • Weight of the carrier: 1.5 lbs.

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ErgoBaby Performance collection

I use this carrier all of the time and have been extremely happy with it. My husband, who is in school to be a physical therapist, agrees with me that this is so much better for your back than then Bjorn. We have used the carrier in all 3 positions and have found it easy and comfortable to wear. Any of the Ergo carriers are great, I am featuring the Performance carrier because it is the one I have (and the breathable material is my favorite option…babies are little heaters)

(From the Ergo website): For the active parent looking to take their baby along for the fun, the Ergobaby Performance Collection Carrier features moisture-wicking mesh lining for ultimate breathability so both baby and parent stay cooler. The durable synthetic exterior makes for easy washing and quick drying.  As with all Ergobaby Carriers, it holds your baby in an ergonomic, natural sitting position.  The padded waist belt ensures baby’s weight is evenly distributed between your hips and shoulders, and the tapered, cushy padded shoulder straps provide ultimate comfort on longer treks, whether to the mall or on the trail.

Specs: (From the manufacturers website)

  • Comfortable for Parents: Baby’s weight is evenly distributed between the hips and shoulders
  • Ergonomic for Baby: Baby is cradled in a natural sitting position
  • 3 Carry Positions: Front, Back and Hip
  • Baby Weight Range: 7*-45 lb./3.2* – 20 kg (*Newborn with Infant Insert)
  • Stitching: Reinforced at all fabric intersections for extra durability
  • Shoulder Strap Length Range: 24”-44” (61cm-112cm)
  • Waistbelt Circumference Range: 29”-55” (74cm-140cm)
  • Shoulder Strap Padding: 4mm EVA with 15mm High Density PU Foam
  • Large Zippered Storage Pocket
  • Hood
  • Machine washable

Designed in the USA

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Best Lightweight carrier (for travel): BobaAir

This carrier is ultra lightweight and easy to use. This is not an everyday carrier, but for the parent on the go because it folds up into a small lightweight pouch.

In addition it has the ergonomic qualities of some of the well-known brands, distributing the weight on the carriers hips not their back.

Specs: (From the manufacturers website)

BobaAir is a Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) that is intended for children between 15-45lbs.

Compact and self-storing: The BobaAir only weighs 0.7lbs and folds up into itself for easy storage. You can put it in any small bag or purse and it won’t weigh you down!

Front or Back Carry: This lightweight carrier is made with durable material so that it can be used children 15-45lbs. The BobaAir may be used on the front or back.

Nylon: The BobaAir is 100% Nylon and therefore easy to clean and extremely durable. The nylon fabric also allows you to simply stuff the carrier back into the pocket – no careful folding necessary!

Sleeping Hood and Pocket: The BobaAir includes a sleeping hood and a large pocket to store your hood in when not in use. The hood can be used to protect your little one from sun or rain, or to provide a cover when they are taking a nap.

The BobaAir design is made to fit parents of all shapes and sizes without purchasing an extension belt or accessory. All straps are fully adjustable, and elastic bands are provided so you can comfortably tuck the straps away once you have the carrier adjusted for you and your child.  

Best on a budget for an occasional user

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Lillebaby – Nordic Carrier

This no frills carrier is a good choice for a parent on a budget but lacks the features that I find I use every time. (The hood and pocket) If you want these features you can purchase and add-on (this is how they keep the cost down). In my opinion it is worth paying the extra money for the Beco or Ergo carriers – with baby carriers I believe you get what you pay for.

Specs:

  • 6 positions
    • Newborn to toddler (7-42 lbs.)
    • Adjustable shoulder straps and hip belt.
    • 100% cotton.
    • Adjustable seat design facilitates correct sitting positions.
    • Fixed, ergonomically formed shoulder straps with deluxe padding.
    • Generously 1/2″ hip belt padding.
    • Built-in neck support.
    • Removable safety harness.
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urban pacifier – bringing home baby: honest advice and checklists for the end of your pregnancy

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With at least 6 friends expecting their first little on in the next month I thought I would post the pregnancy checklists/advice that I wrote for a family member a few months back. I wrote these lists just after giving birth to my son, so the memories were fresh  – here is a combination of what I learned and what wish I had known along with the best advice I was given before I had my son. Good luck, I hope this helps at least one of you as you embark on this new chapter…you are in for the best adventure of your life!

Before the baby arrives

Going to the hospital

At the hospital

The first weeks home

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urban pacifier – avocados

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Avocados are easily one of nature’s perfect foods because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive – This is one of the best and easiest foods to feed your baby because it has “good fat” for baby’s brain and physical development.

Ripe avocados do not require any cooking, just cut one in half and mash it with a fork and it is instant baby food and if you are on the go it is the one food that comes with it’s own bowl!

Avocado may be offered as early as 4 – 6 months old. Babies need carbohydrates, and fats as well as proteins for their growth during the crucial first year and even into the second year.

As you begin to introduce a wide variety of foods, you will find that mashing an avocado and mixing with applesauce, peaches or pears, bananas and even yogurt make a wonderful meal or snack. Banana and Avocado is my son’s personal favorite.

Organic or Not Organic?

Good news…. According to the EWG, avocados are one of the 15 foods least contaminated with pesticides so purchasing organic is your choice.

When selecting an Avocado, you want a dark green color with bumpy texture. The fruit should be firm yet yielding when gently pushed.

When an avocado is sliced in half, the flesh color should be a green that gently transforms into a buttery yellow around the pit.

Storing an Avocado

If you are like me you only use half of an avocado at a time when feeding my son, you will need to store the other half. This was difficult for me at first because you are not supposed to give a baby citrus before 1 year of age so I found another way to keep the avocado from turning brown… all you need to do is leave the pit in the side of the avocado that you are not using. Press a small piece of saran wrap against the surface of the avocado to create a skin to prevent air from reaching the surface and then place the avocado with saran in an airtight container in the refrigerator – it will still be green and ready to eat the next day, no citrus needed!

 

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urban pacifier – top 5 toys for musical kids

My husband is a super talented musician. He picked up his first guitar at age nine and within months had outstripped his teacher in terms of capability. One summer in college he lived with a family in a farmhouse in the Midwest and interned with a noted harp maker. The harp he handcrafted that year still sits in the corner of our nursery today. When I met him he was working in a bagpipe store and was prolific with all the merchandise. He plays well over a dozen instruments, from whistles to drums to sitars. He is astoundingly talented.

Me, I’m a pretty good singer. Not to brag, but I am renowned as being the best singer in both my car and my shower. So, you know, there’s that.

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My 18-month old definitely takes after her dad when it comes to musicality. Ever since she could crawl, she’s insisted on clambering up on his lap and helping him pluck the strings on his guitar. She’ll toddle by the harp and drag her fingers along the strings leaving music in her wake. And the kid can keep a beat! My husband recently splurged on a 3-piece drum kit for kids and she cheerily bangs along on it way more rhythmically than I can. I credit her keen interest in music with some fantastic toys we bought her during her infancy and early toddlerdom. If you’d like to foster creativity and love of music in your little one, these are my top five toy recommendations:

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Leap Frog Learn & Groove Musical Table

My sister bought this for my daughter’s first Christmas when Eisley was just eight weeks old. I thought she was out of her everloving mind. Surely my daughter would be at least thirty before she could master something with this many bells and whistles. But it became a favorite toy remarkably quickly. My husband discovered we could take the legs out and just lay the musical tabletop right down on the ground. She spent hours of tummy time parked near this thing, flailing her little uncoordinated arms towards it. When she learned how to crawl and then sit she would navigate over to it and experiment with its 15 activities and 40+ songs and melodies. As she got taller and started learning how to walk, we put the legs back on: it helped encourage her mobility as well as her musicality, as she scooted it all over the house and used it for balance in her early walking days.

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Little Tikes Baby Tap A Tune Piano

My daughter was on the move early! She was cruising at 6 months and walking at 9 months which meant I was spending a lot of my day chasing after my busy little bee. I quickly realized I was going to need something new to engage her that would keep her in one spot every now and again, if for no other reason than I needed a break! This simple piano did the trick perfectly. It’s bright, primary colors were attention grabbing, and its four keys were just the right amount of notes to keep her interest without overwhelming her. Whether she was poking gently at the keys to pick out a discordant tune, or merrily bashing the keyboard to make a ton of joyful noise, it was definitely a great starter instrument. It’s super durable which is important, because even nine months later it’s still one of her favorite toys.

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Little Tikes Tap A Drum

I originally purchased one of these as a gift for a friend’s one-year-old, but once the package arrived my then 10-month old became completely obsessed with it. I wound up having to order another one for the birthday boy because Eisley wouldn’t let this toy out of her sight! Though she didn’t have the coordination to hit it with the accompanying sticks, she did enjoy thumping away on it like a bongo. She also discovered that the ridged sides made some pretty excellent noises when she dragged the sticks along the side to create a little hoedown washboard music feel. These days she’s more interested in her big girl drum kit, but this drum hasn’t gone by the wayside: yesterday, I caught her trying to teach her stuffed monkey how to play.

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Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube

This music box for the 21st century is very aptly named, as it allows your little one to begin to understand the fundamental elements of composition. Five faces on this six-sided cube contain an individual instrument – a harp, a French horn, a piano, a flute, and a violin. When you press each side in, the accompanying instrument plays a little piece of music. The final side features the full orchestra all playing together. The best part is your baby can play each side simultaneously in a multitude of combinations so she can start to figure out how bits and pieces of music fit together into a larger composition. The clean lines and bright, eye-catching colors of this toy will definitely draw your baby’s attention, but it will be the endless music she can make with it that will make it a beloved addition to her toy box.

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Homemade Percussive Shakers

Believe it or not, you can put together a great musical instrument with very little effort with items you already have around your house. My husband noticed my daughter had a tendency to pilfer spices off the counter while I was cooking and shake them around, swiveling her hips and laughing as she danced to the percussive sound. So he decided to construct his own interpretation of wooden egg shakers on the fly.  He scrounged in the cabinet until he found two tiny Tupperware containers used for things like salad dressing and filled them about halfway with dry white rice from our pantry. He taped the lids down securely for good measure then let her have at it. Now we can often find her by listening to the sounds of frantic rice shaking echo throughout the house, and I never have to worry about spice blends going missing again. Not the DIY type? You can always purchase a set of kid-friendly maracas to get that same sense of percussion and fun.

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