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Unique Baby Brands that I Love

I kept a short list of my favorite baby brands in a notes document on my phone. I decided it was time to make this into a blog post and share some of my faves with you all.

Coco Moon Hawaii

A brand with a real sense of identity, Coco Moon Hawaii is a truly Hawaiian company. I fell in love with it when I stumbled upon the softest swaddle I had ever felt while on my babymoon in Kauai. Back on the mainland, I researched and found that Coco Moon’s prints are created by Hawaiian artists and their bamboo material is buttery soft.

In addition to their swaddles, I am a big fan of their sheets and bath towels.

 

Wild Wawa

Photo by @justyolive

Neutral tones and sweet motifs like rainbows–wild wawa is a far cry from a lot of the super bright kid brands out there. There’s something really wholesome about their style that makes me want to be a kid again to wear these adorable clothes.

 

 

Oeuf

I can’t get enough Oeuf. All their products are very cute and unique–and eco friendly to boot. The clothing is made by a group of female knitters in Peru and Bolivia and all their furniture is designed in Europe (so you’ll use them for a long time!). This brand tends to be pricey so I feel like I shop here for more of a statement piece rather than the run-of-the-mill, everyday stuff. However, as you can see from things like this bunny hoodie, their products are worth it.

 

Cheeky Chickadee

This Australian company has some of the cutest animal prints around. The sizes are a bit tough (out of about 5 things, 2 didn’t fit well because of narrow cuts) but I loved the other pieces so much it was worth it.

 

Egg Baby

My favorite long sleeve zipper pajamas for Rory come from Egg and I don’t know how, but she’s been able to wear them for so long! They stretch well, are easy to get on and super adorable. Egg’s fun prints and high quality mean that I will probably be buying from here for Aurora well into her older years.

 

Monica & Andy

Aurora on the left in Monica and Andy

I’m a sucker for clever prints and I fell head over heels for all the beachy prints that they used to have (seashells, mermaids). However, the prints are only for a limited time so follow their IG to see the new ones. I have to say, the new tulips and pretzels are pretty cute too.

 

Angel Dear

Angel Dear pjs

 

WOW SOFT! Angel Dear is my go-to for Aurora’s beloved lovees (we have the monkeys). But did you know that they made clothing? And their clothing is so cute and soft? I was gifted some and now love putting her in them. I can tell she likes how soft they are!

 

Hanna Andersson

More well known but this brand is high quality. The prints aren’t for everyone and I only like some (especially the stripes) but I’ll keep this brand in the mix because of their comfy fits and great sweatsuits.

 

Zara Baby

A bit more mainstream, Zara actually has amazing clothes for kids. Very stylish, good price point and easy fits make this a good every day staple. Like they do with their adult lines, they are very much about the ‘trend of the minute’ but a much more affordable way to get your little one in that cute animal print but not break the bank on it.

 

Spearmint Love

From Spearmint Love Instagram: @victoriamcfall

This store carries a lot of my favorites brands and has been a great way for me to discover new ones. Plus the site is designed really well. With Easter coming up, I am all about their Easter shop.

 

Maisonette

Like Spearmint Love, this is another one stop shop that has a well curated bevy of clothing and gear brands for kids. I love their Toys section as it is a great list.

 

Pacapod

I carry my diaper bag every day and now usually don’t even have an extra bag for my things. These beautiful bags from the British Pacapod are so functional yet stylish. I love how they don’t scream “mom” when you wear them out. The idea behind the included “pods” is too keep everything organized, which is so helpful when this bag carries everything from socks to sunscreen, diapers to snacks. Mine is the Fortuna, one of the Luxury bags, complete with the map pods that I am OBSESSED with–link to it here.

 

Do you have any other favorite brands that I didn’t mention? Please share! 

Some featured brands are sponsors, however I strongly stand behind all my recommendations!

Baby Solids: Baby Led Weaning vs Purées

This is a follow up to my previous post where I share what we did for solids from 4-6 months.

 

At 6 months, I really noticed a change in Aurora and a much greater interest in food. Now it was much harder to eat in front of her as she was very interested in what was on my plate. At around 6 months, Aurora also started to crawl, and her being more mobile made it even harder to keep food away from her! I really welcomed her interest in food though, as I know that could only help her become a better eater.

There are two schools of thought: Baby Led Weaning and Purées only. I saw the merits in each and decided to do a modified form that included both styles.

Baby Led Weaning

Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is giving your child whole pieces of food, cut into manageable yet larger pieces/chunks so that they can grasp and feed themselves.

Pros

  • Baby practices dexterity, pincer grasp and handling food
  • Baby chooses what they want to eat
  • Baby practices “chewing” by gnawing on the foods
  • This approach is more exploratory
  • Parent doesn’t have to give every spoonful (though watching and helping is necessary)
  • Parent saves time if making purées
    • However, I still spent time preparing the BLW foods

Cons

  • Choking!
  • Baby might not get a lot of food successfully from fingers to mouth
  • Baby might get frustrated that they can’t get food into mouth

Purées

Pros

  • More success in actually getting nutrition into your baby’s mouth
  • Parent can direct more of the exposure to tastes
  • Pouches are useful on the go

Cons

  • Time consuming to prepare (if making own)
  • Can be expensive if buying jars/pouches
  • Can be taxing to figure out good combinations & vary meals
  • Baby can get bored or not use hands as much

Our Conclusion

  • I found that a combination of BLW and Purées was the best approach for Aurora.
  • I wanted to make sure that she had good exposure to tastes and I wanted to get nutrition and calories into her little body, so purées were a staple of every meal.
  • I enjoy making food for her, so when I had time, I liked to prepare purees with my Béaba, and experiment with new combinations.
  • Aurora was very into BLW as she loves to feed herself. She got very good at the pincer grasp and at handling food quickly–she realized that there was a reward to learning how to do it well!
  • I found that combination for each meal worked well as while she was picking something up, I’d get a spoon loaded and waiting. After she swallowed the bite that she fed herself, I’d offer the spoon.
  • I felt good knowing that I guaranteed that she good nutrition with purees but she had the fun, exploratory aspect of feeding herself with the BLW foods.
  • I also watched many Youtube videos on Infant CPR and walked through it with my babygroup leader. I do suggest doing an Infant CPR course. I used to be a lifeguard so feel pretty confident but have signed up for one just in case as I feel it is valuable to know.

Starting Baby Solids: A Feeding Guide for 4-6 Months

After working so hard to master breastfeeding, introducing solids was a little intimidating. There are so many options, methods and conflicting advice out there that I was overwhelmed. My babygroup leader and my pediatrician never seemed to say the same thing! I however polled a lot of other moms and did some of my own research to come up with what I felt was a suitable time to start for Aurora.

I also heard that Feeding Littles, an online tutorial, is very useful in helpings parents to navigate the best solid food choices for their little ones. I haven’t tried it yet but so many friends rave about it!

We first tried solids at exactly 4 months. She was holding her head up well but could not sit up unassisted. We sat her in a baby Bumbo seat and started with only purées. The first attempt was pretty good! She seemed interested and surprised and would open up her mouth for more.

So far the only food she very much hasn’t liked is plain greek yogurt! But if I mix in a fruit, she loves  it!

 

Allergens

We started with one ingredient foods and continued the food one to two times per day for 3 days to make sure that she didn’t have an allergy. The 3 day rule is because sometimes they don’t show an allergy right away.

Eating Eggies!

We were told to introduce allergens (Dairy, Egg and Nuts) early, so we made sure to expose Aurora to each of these at least once per week and have continued that to now. There is conflicting advice on this but we decided this was the best route for us, after researching and talking it over with our pediatrician.

There is also an option to add these allergens to the baby’s bottles in a powder form, called Ready, Set, Food. I didn’t go this route as she doesn’t have bottles consistently but I have heard very good things.

 

Baby Solids at 4 Months

We decided to start with only purées. I was not making homemade food at this point since she only was just starting to eat and eating very little. I decided to wait till she was eating more in quantity before I went the homemade route as that’s a lot of time and energy to be wasting most of it. The brands that I used were HappyBaby, Earthganics, Peter Rabbit and Plum Baby.

However now, I wish I had known about YUMI and Once Upon a Farm, both are fresh and require refrigeration and in my opinion, better than the shelf brands (which need preservatives to stay fresh).

 

  • HappyBaby Oatmeal mixed with Breastmilk
    • Very thin consistency
  • Avocado
    • Smashed and mixed with breastmilk
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash
  • Peas
  • Carrots

Baby Solids at 5 Months:

  • Egg Yolk
    • Scrambled and mixed with breastmilk
  • Broccoli
    • Smashed with a fork
  • Peanut butter
    • mixed with breastmilk
  • Prunes
  • Pears
  • Banana
    • Jarred & smashed
  • Full Fat Greek Yogurt

Breakfast at the Woodstock Inn in Vermont

Baby Solids at 6 Months:

  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Blueberry
  • Blackberry
  • Whole Eggs
    • Scrambled with whites
  • Steak
    • Filet mignon pieces
  • Salmon
    • Flaked pieces
  • Cheese
    • Mozzarella, Cheddar and other mild cheeses
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Pineapple

 

Solids While Traveling

Aurora was 6 months old when we traveled for 3 weeks for Christmas and it was during this time that we started using more puree pouches as it was much easier on the go than trying to spoon feed. Aurora loves to suck right out of the pouches!

We found the fewest ingredient pouches and stuck with those (ie. Sweet Potatoes, Prunes, Applesauce) but we did graduate to some combinations as she approached 7 months.

I tried to be mindful of each pouch’s ingredients to make sure she was only being exposed to ONE new ingredient each time. For instance, if the pouch was apple, squash and blueberry, I made sure that she had already tried apple and squash so I would know if she had an allergy to blueberry.

 

Foods to Avoid

  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Added Salt
  • Added Sugars
  • Juice
  • Too Much Water
    • 2 oz per day is recommended as a maximum
    • The worry is that they will fill up on water over breastmilk

 

Conclusions

Since we do a mix of baby led weaning and purées, I can tell that Aurora prefers to feed herself. She loves chunks of food and holding the spoon, though it can get messy in both cases!

However you decide to do it, is great! Just be sure to remember that breastmilk or formula should still be pretty much the only source of nutrition as this stage.

Tips for Flying Across Country with a 2 Month Old Baby

We popped Aurora on a flight when she was just 9 weeks old. It was a bit daunting at first but we really wanted her to meet all her grandparents, so we decided to brave the West to East Coast flight over Labor Day Weekend.

Choose your Destination Wisely

Since grandparents’ beach house was the destination, we were lucky in that there was a lot of baby items already there. A pack n play, stroller and car seat were already there, so we didn’t have to bring any of that. However, we still needed to bring a lot for the plane journey. Read below are some of our must-haves.

Avoid Traveling on Holidays

Though we had to take advantage of the day off for LDW, we made sure to fly out on the Thursday of Labor Day Weekend, versus the Friday or Saturday. Going one day earlier made it a little easier as there was less traffic going to the airport and the airport itself was less busy. However, we didn’t have any luck with extra seats on the flight as it was jam packed.

 

Book a Window and Aisle Seat

My husband and I have been doing this for years now–never booking a middle and always booking a window and aisle, in the hopes that no one sits between us. If someone does, you can kindly ask if they’d prefer a window or aisle, so you can sit next to your travel partner. I doubt any person would prefer the middle. Or you can just choose to have a little separation from your travel partner and each of you can enjoy the modicum of more comfort with your respective aisle/window seats.

Let me just moderate your expectations: this rarely works. Especially now with flights being over-booked and standby, just about every available seat will be taken. However, once in a while it HAS worked and then we have a whole row to ourselves! It is the broke man’s first class! (I would even dare say better in some ways). This has not worked so far on our flights with Aurora, but it is worth a shot. An extra seat with a baby is ideal!

Bulkhead Rows

Our return was in a bulkhead on Alaska Airlines. If you can book that, do it. It is even worth the extra upcharge. I cannot tell you how much nicer it was to have that extra space. We were able to pass Aurora back and forth easier, even stand up to bounce her and we could step over the aisle passenger without disturbing them. The bulkhead also meant we got off quicker and were closer to a bathroom. It was too bad that we had to store our carryon for takeoff and landing, but it is a price that we were willing to pay.

 

Must Haves for Plane Travel with a 2-3 month old:

Dockatot

Though it is light, the Dockatot is a larger piece of luggage. However, we found it to be so worth it. We layed it across our legs and Aurora was able to nap in it, her only nap on the flight. She was still being swaddled at that time so something like a Dockatot gave her room, was familiar to her and allowed my husband and I to have our hands free. No, we couldn’t get up, but at least she was sleeping!

Hush Hat

I feel like the overhead announcements are just getting louder and more piercing, but maybe that is because now we are more sensitive to them with a baby. I tested out the Hush Hat, since it looked more comfortable than baby noise cancelling headphones. With built in sound absorbing padding, this cute hat worked very well and Aurora had no problem with it! It doesn’t eliminate sounds but definitely helps mute them.

Finding Dory for baby. Wine for mom and dad.

TV (as a tool only)

Some people might disagree, but I only use a screen when I desperately need it. On a plane with an upset baby counts as one of those times. She was crying and overtired and the only thing that calmed her down, and thus calmed us down, was watching some Finding Dory. Sometimes, a screen can be very useful for everyone–including our fellow passengers.

Baby Bjorn Carrier

No matter what carrier you prefer, it is so nice to be able to be hands free and wear the baby in the airport. I’ve done both stroller and carrier now, and it is far easier in my opinion to wear the baby. Our daughter is extremely interested in the world around her so when I wear her, she is delighted to look around and smile at everyone.

I personally have liked the Baby Bjorn when she was smaller, around 2 months, because it was easy to put on and felt comfortable. Now that she is a bit older, I have added in different carriers that are more secure for a forward facing baby (see my post on traveling with a 4 month old).

 

Toys

Obviously toys are key for the long plane ride. Definitely get a pacifier clip and clip any toys there if you can. The smaller, lightweight toys that don’t make too much noise are best. As you are on the go, they will be dropped so make sure to have several back ups, clip any that you can and also bring the toy sanitizing wipes.

Munchkin Arm & Hammer Pacifier Wipes

These are food grade safe, so you can use them to clean off the toys, teethers and pacifier that inevitably drop while traveling.

 

Portable Diaper Kit

I use the Skiphop set as it is easy to keep everything together and get in and out of those awful plane bathrooms quickly.

 

Nursing Cover

I used this one as it has an opening at the top so I can see her (and she likes to see my face), while nursing. This was key when we were nursing during take off and landing.

 

Footed Pajamas

Planes get cold and I like to make sure that she is fully covered (no missing socks!) so the full, one piece footed pajamas are my go too. I like the Magnetic Me for travel as they are lightweight but warm and the magnetic closures make them very easy for diaper changes.

 

Overall, no amount of “stuff” will make air travel easy, but it surely can help limit some of the stress. At the end of the day, the baby really just needs you, food, diapers and hugs. You can do it! The more you travel with them now, the easier it will get too.

xoxo

Kelley

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What else do you bring on the plane for little ones? Tell me below!

Survival Guide for SLEEP in First 3 Months: The Products That Help

Taking care of a baby is the hardest thing I have ever done. I thought the delivery was the hard part, and trust me, that was no walk in the park. But actually taking care of a baby, all day and all night, every single day is so much more than I could have ever imagined. You are worried that you aren’t doing everything right. You are worried that the baby needs something more. You are worried in general because the baby is so new to the world. You read conflicting advice on the internet. You hear completely different advice from friends and family. Basically, it’s a full on, all consuming, life altering task that there is no avoiding or delaying. And you and maybe your significant other, are going at it blind.

What you are going to worry most about during those first three months is sleep and eating. For us, eating was a bit easier but sleep was our big challenge.

Sleeping baby wubbanub

I did a lot of research during my 10 months of pregnancy (yes, it was just about 10 months!) and I have to say that some of the ways that I prepared truly saved me in those early weeks.I had absolutely no time to do research when she was born, so I’m very glad that I planned ahead!  I’ve included links on where to find all of these on my Amazon page.

Here is what absolutely helped our family, including Aurora, get some good rest. 

 

  1. DockATot

Who knew that this cute little baby bed/lounger with fun printed patterns would be an absolute life saver. Aurora didn’t know day from night, as most babies don’t right away, so she was sleeping and waking at all odd hours. The DockATot gave me a safe place to let her rest, let her play or just to put her down when I had to run to the bathroom. It is lightweight and very easy to move from the bedroom or the couch (where we slept a lot!). The covers come in a variety of patterns and can be removed and washed. I suggest buying an extra cover and the toy arch for when your baby gets a little older and needs more stimulation!

 

  1. Under the Nile Swaddles (0-2 months)

We tried every swaddle out there–Halo, Miracle Blanket, Woombie–and for us, the only thing that worked was a good, old fashioned swaddle. But not just any swaddle: we needed one with a bit of stretch so we could get a very tight wrap. Aurora could bust out of everything so the Under the Nile swaddles were a lifesaver as we could wrap them so tightly and keep them snug, her little legs and arms rarely escaped. All that changed by month 3, when nothing could keep those limbs in but by that time it was when she should stop being swaddled anyway.

 

  1. Halo Sleep Sack (1-3 months)

Finally, we realized we couldn’t keep her feet bound so we started using the Halo Sleep sack. This was great to keep one or both arms secured but allow her feet to move. She did manage to get out of it most nights, but at least it helped her fall asleep. I preferred the muslin variety as it was much less hot than the cotton or velour ones, but that is only because we live in Southern California and she was born in the summer!

 

  1. Rock-N-Play

rock n play Aurora didn’t take to this right away, but we kept trying and all of sudden, it was magic. The inclined position helped her with any reflux and it was cozy on all sides so she slept very well on it. I found that the rocking motion was not always necessary but sometimes did prolong sleep. I didn’t like music though so I always muted that. She did quickly grow out of it and it is not something that I’d recommend for long, but in the interim when you just need your baby to nap or sleep a few hours at a time, it was so worth the inexpensive price.

 

  1. Hatch Rest Nightlight & Sound Machine

This small, nondescript night light has a lot going on. There is a lovely variety of colors (you can even make your own color) as well as sounds like white noise and waves and  even songs. But the biggest win of the Hatch is that it syncs to your phone. This means that in the middle of the night when you need to turn it on or change the volume, you aren’t blindly fiddling with it in the dark. You can open the app and adjust easily. This was great for turning it on and off from different rooms too!

 

  1. Smilo Pacifiers

Smilo pacifiersWe started with the Wubbanub Animal pacifiers since they were not only cute, the animal actually helped keep the pacifier in her mouth as it gave some balance when placed on her chest. We graduated to Smilo Pacifiers which were also easy to keep in her mouth and developed by orthodontists to promote a healthy palate development. We’ve so far continued with the Smilos.

 

  1. Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

Infant monitor optixWe decided not to get a monitor that linked to our phone as we know that phones run out of battery or have bad service. The Infant Optics has been great as it has a very clear image quality, especially in complete darkness. It also has a moveable head so you can move it from the display monitor and even zoom in. It also says the temperature of the room which we liked. The only negative is the display battery does die frequently so have that charger handy and it keep it plugged in often.

  1. Boppy

Like the DockATot, the Boppy is a place to let your baby relax, rest or even sleep (if you are watching). It is slightly inclined and has an indent to allow the baby to big snug and cozy. It was helpful when she was awake as she was a little more upright than lying flat and could see more. She grew out this after 2 months as she wanted to be more upright but it was very helpful for those first few months and very portable too. Get a cover so you can wash it when the inevitable blow out occurs!

I will be including an updated “Sleeping Survival Guide at 4 Months: How to Handle Sleep Regression!” soon! If you have any recommendations of your own, please share!

 

xoxo

Kelley

I HAD A BABY!

Sorry for the pause on activity here! I have a lot to share but these first 4 weeks with a newborn have kept me quite busy (and away from my computer).

Here is the quick rundown on what happened:

I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl on June 12th, 2018 at 1:05am.
She was 8lbs 10oz, 20.5 inches in length and completely perfect.

Her name is Aurora Blake Lee, in honor of the goddess of the dawn.

My labor was not perfect–I had to get induced at 42 weeks and this process too 4 days until she arrived by natural delivery. Let me tell you, it was very painful and very long. I don’t know how I endured it, but I give lots of credit to my husband, my amazing doula Karla and the team at UCLA Santa Monica. More on this later!

The past 4 weeks, we’ve been figuring out how to become parents! I’ve gotten to know my little girl, understand how to soothe her, bathe her, breastfeed her, change her and entertain her! It’s not been easy and I’ve slept VERY little, but my husband and I getting a little better at it every day.

Aurora is adorable. She loves to snuggle, is growing very fast for her age (in the 99th percentiles), is very alert, follows us with her eyes, holds her head up and makes me laugh all the time. She is getting better at napping, but so far that has been a challenge (for all of us).

We are also planning our first trip with Aurora at the end of August! Will be writing a lot more about that adventure as it approaches!

 

xoxo

Mama Kelley