The Trick to Getting a Baby to Sleep Through the Night – The DockATot

The DockATot may have saved me. You see, like so many sleep deprived parents, I was desperate for a full night’s sleep. I wanted to sleep and stay asleep for any amount of time longer than 3 hours. Jackson just did not like to sleep. Nurse? He liked that. He would have nights where he was waking up every two hours, like a newborn, at 15 months old. To say I was tired…. well, that felt like an understatement. I was exhausted.

Enter in the DockATot. If you’re unfamiliar with the DockATot- it’s a breathable, multi-functional pillow for babies and toddlers. It comes in two sizes: The Deluxe is for babies 0-9 months and Grand is for babies and toddlers over 9 months old. It was designed to mimic the womb and offer a snuggly safe place for babies to sleep. While most families use it while traveling or for safe co-sleeping, it can also be used when transitioning a child into their own bed. The air-permeable sides offer security for both parents and child as they can act as a bed rail.

 

I had seen people rave over them. This huge pillow for babies and toddlers…. It was supposed to help him sleep through the night. But the cost?! Over $200 for a pregnancy look-a-like pillow for a toddler. Ugh. I needed sleep. I needed him to sleep. So I bit the bullet. I contacted DockATot and they sent me a coupon code to use to help me purchase the DockATot Grand- the DockATot for infants and toddlers over 9 months old. Guess what happened next…..

Ladies and gentleman…. Jackson sleeps. He sleeps 12 hours every night. Straight through. I won’t pretend that it happened the exact day that we got the DockATot. Unfortunately, I learned just how easy it is to clean the first night we had it thanks to some toddler vomit. But after about a month of use, Jackson started sleeping through the night in his bed. We even traveled with it and the little boy that refuses to sleep away from home, slept pretty darn good!

We have “broken” the rule and allow it in his crib. This is NOT recommended by the company as it is against “safe-sleep” practices. But my husband and I felt comfortable since Jackson has the capability to move his head or get unstuck if necessary. He’s old enough for a pillow in his crib at 17 months old anyways. The DockATot has given him a sense of comfort and security and will stay with him as we transition to a toddler bed, sometime this year.

I can not say enough good things about the DockATot. It is super easy to clean, super comfortable- of course I laid on it! I love how easily it travels and can’t wait to take it camping with us! (If you didn’t know- Jackson was not a fan of the pack n play, therefore we had to take the crib mattress with us when we went camping 4 times last summer! Crib mattresses aren’t so easy to just take with you….)

While the DockATot may not be the exact answer to getting your baby to sleep through the night, it certainly helped us. In all honesty, Jackson may not have been ready to sleep through the night. Maybe he physically did need to nurse and cuddle mama all night- even though he REFUSED to cosleep- little booger. But I’ll continue to praise the DockATot for getting me some sleep. 😉

 

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A Look @ Babyganics + a Review!

 

As a Guidance Guide Brand Ambassador- I received this amazing package from Babyganics! Inside the package included baby wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, body lotion, and body wash/shampoo. I’ve used a few Babyganics items in the past- but not all of these!

Baby Wipes

Babyganics face, hand & baby wipes are made with plant-based ingredients. These baby wipes are super thick- but not so thick that you can’t handle them easily. They also have a slight texture to them to help clean up the messiest messes on baby! They’re fragrance free, so super gentle on baby’s sensitive skin. Added bonus? They’re also free from alcohol, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and artificial dyes! I’m very particular about what baby wipes I use for diaper changes and these are my new favorite- hands down! They get the job done but without a bunch of added “stuff.”

 

Hand Sanitizer

Visitors in my house probably think I’m a germaphobe because there is hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE throughout my house. I also be sure to keep one in the diaper bag. This was a product that I already owned and love. There are seriously only 7 ingredients in the alcohol-free version. This particular hand sanitizer also foams, so it’s fun for the kids! And we all know that if the kids think it’s fun…. they’ll actually use it! 😉 My favorite part about this hand saniziter is that it doesn’t have a sticky feel after it’s all rubbed in. A little bit also goes a long way, so even the travel size lasts a long time!

 

Sunscreen

Here in Ohio, we don’t need sunscreen until May…. sometimes June! I’m really picky about the sunscreen I use, if I’m being honest. Babyganics’ Suncreen is SPF 50 and is mineral based. In their sunscreen, you will not find PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles. It’s made with plant-based and certified organic ingredients. Being tear free and non-allergenic, it seems like a pretty good sunscreen to try! Babyganics also states that it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes! I’ll definitely be trying this on the kids this summer for sure!

 

 

Body Lotion

I absolutely love this body lotion! Jackson loves his bath time, but it’s hard on his skin since he has some eczema. This lotion isn’t harsh on his sensitive skin but still smells super good! (We have the chamomile verbena scent!) It has all the good stuff- plant-based and certified organic ingredients like aloe, shea butter, olive oil, vitamin E and avocado oil. And again, you won’t find any parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, artificial fragrances or dyes in this lotion! Jackson’s skin is super smooth after we use it and it also doesn’t get that sticky feeling. I’ve even started using on super dry hands- totally helps moisturize them. It’s also not super thick, so it’s much easier to rub in than some other baby lotions we’ve tried.

 

 

Body Wash/Shampoo

The Babyganics Shampoo & Body Wash is also a foaming soap- like their hand sanitizer. So obviously, it’s a huge hit with the kids! I love it because I don’t have to lather it up. I feel like that step has already been done for me! This particular soap makes me happy because it’s also tear free- we all know babies and toddlers don’t sit still for long! I like knowing that we won’t have a complete meltdown if some gets into Jackson’s eyes. Like the rest of the products, it’s made with plant-based and certified organic ingredients and is free of all the junk. It not only cleans baby’s sensitive skin, but it also has a 100% natural NeoNourish® seed oil blend to nourish skin as well.

 

 

All in all, I’m really happy with the Babyganics products! Last summer, I found their Insect Repellent and fell in love with it right away! But after trying all these products- it really makes me want to take a trip to Target and grab a few other of their products to try! So tell me this- do you use any Babyganics products in your home? What’s your favorite??? 🙂

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Don’t Let Stress Come Between You and Your Family

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There’s no denying that, from time to time, life can get pretty stressful. In fact, for a lot of people, dealing with high-stress levels is pretty much standard for a great deal of the time. Whether it’s parenting, work, or trying to juggle both of those things along with all of the other responsibilities that come along with adult life, it’s pretty much impossible for anyone to avoid letting the pressure get to them every so often. Even people who seem as though they’re always completely relaxed will have moments where they can’t deal with those kinds of things. This is totally natural and there’s really nothing wrong with it. It only really becomes a problem when you find that it ends up coming between you and your family. Not only can a busy life make it difficult to spend time together, but carrying the tension of daily life around with you can prevent you from really enjoying each other’s company when you do. With that in mind, here are a few ways that you can make sure that even the busiest life doesn’t come between you and the people you love.

 

Learn to do nothing

Far too often people assume that the time they spend with their family has to productive in some way. They imagine that it needs to be filled with activities; otherwise, it’s going to end up being wasted. But it’s important to remember that it’s less important what you’re doing than the fact that you’re actually spending time together. It’s alright to spend time just doing nothing like a family. Whether you want to sit around just talking or maybe turning on ShowBox and enjoying your favorite movies together, there’s nothing wrong with just spending time relaxing with the most important people in your life. If you’re constantly putting pressure on yourselves to do as much as possible, you’re just going to get even more stressed.

 

Get away from it all

Sometimes you really just need a totally clean break from the stress of life. Why not take a few days to just get away from it all? Go camping or take a little vacation to somewhere that no one knows any of you. That way there’s nothing standing between you and quality time with your family. This will also give you the chance to turn off your phones for a while. Nothing is better at making you feel stressed out than the constant buzzing of your devices when you’re trying to relax.

 

Communicate

One of the biggest problems that a lot of families have is that they don’t talk to each other enough about the kinds of problems that they’re having. Talk to your partner about your fears that you’re not spending enough time together, let your kids know that you’re there if they want to talk about problems at school. Communication is such a simple thing to do but it really is the most important part of any healthy relationships.

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MommyCon Q&A

 

How much money should I bring with me?

This greatly varies from person to person. Some people will walk in and not spend a penny. Others, could spend $500+. Make yourself a budget- do you cloth diaper? Will you want to buy a baby carrier? Will you want to buy a new diaper bag? Put a little wiggle room in your budget for new items that maybe you’ve never seen before. A lot of vendors also have MommyCon exclusive items so keep that in mind. You may find something you love that you can ONLY get at MommyCon!

 

How many diapers should I bring?

MommyCon has teamed up with Babyganics to have diapers and wipes available in the changing areas. Diapers are available in various sizes. Many parents bring a handful of their own diapers and then use the Babyganics diapers throughout the day as well. Last year, I mostly used the Babyganics diapers with a Flip cover on top, just in case since we cloth diaper 95% of the time. However, keep in mind that this is supposed to be a secondary option- not all you should use for diapering your baby during the event!

 

Are tickets sold at the door?

No. Most of the time, the event sells out. Don’t plan on being able to purchase a ticket the day of the event. Plan ahead and get your ticket weeks in advance so you don’t miss out! (Use the code FLUFFBUM17 for $5 off your general admission ticket. Combine it with the social share option at checkout for a total of $7 off your ticket purchase!)

 

What should I bring?

Bring your bump, your baby, your toddler, or your child. Don’t forget the things they’ll need throughout the day- but try to keep it light! It gets crowded, especially in the exhibitor hall. And you’ll have enough to carry between the goodie bag and the items you also purchase. Plan ahead and maybe bring a reusable tote to carry your purchases in as well! I also recommend bringing along a phone charger or one of those portable chargers. I use my phone so much during an event between taking pictures, looking up companies’ social media sites, and checking in the MommyCon hashtags to see what everyone else is doing!

I’m done with the baby phase- is MommyCon for me?

Check your event’s schedule to really decide. While there are products there for toddlers and older children, MommyCon focuses more on newborn to age 5. The sessions and exhibitors vary from event to event. Some sessions that are scheduled for MommyCon Chicago that I think any mother would enjoy include everything from Vagina Village, Angel Laketa Moore’s “Fall in Love with You,” “Redefining Motherhood” with Amy Appleton and Ilana Grostern, and the “Loss Mama Sanctuary” with Ambyr Amen-Ra- if that applies to you.

Does my child need a ticket?

Children under 16 years of age do not need a ticket when attending with an adult! Bring along your newborn, infant, toddler, school age kid, teenager or leave them at home and enjoy mom’s day out!

 

What time should I show up?

Come about 15-30 minutes before the event’s start time. There will be a line for registration! Be prepared with a print-out of your ticket or will it pulled up on your smartphone! This will help the line move a little faster. Be aware that the exhibitor hall will not open until the event’s start time so you may have a few minutes of waiting.

Can I bring items to donate?

YES! Cotton Babies’ cloth diaper bank, Share the Love, will have a box for cloth diaper donations and The Carrying On Project will have a place for baby carrier donations! Share the Love provides cloth diapers to families who could not otherwise afford them, and the Carrying On Project provides baby carriers to military families. They both accept new and used items.

 

How do we sign up for sessions?

All the awesome sessions you see in the schedule is included in your general admission ticket! No need to sign up unless it’s a special event that requires RSVP. Just show up to the room at the time of the session and find a seat!

 

 

Have any additional questions? Check out the other posts on the MommyCon 101 page or ask them in the comments below! Enjoy MommyCon!!!!! 🙂

 

 

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4 Simple Reasons We Eat Dinner Together 


You could say we’re “old fashioned” when it comes to dinnertime. A majority of our dinners are homemade and we eat together at the dining room table every night. (Sure, there’s an occasional “eat wherever you want” but it’s few and far between.) Here are 4 reasons we eat dinner together as a family:


Healthier Meals.

I’m sure this isn’t the biggest reason why we eat dinner as a family- but as a family of 5 on a budget, it helps. Homemade meals are much healthier than buying take-out regularly. Sure, there are nights that we buy take-out AND eat together but it’s still few and far between. Plus: Healthier foods equal healthier kids.

 

Communication.

Now that the older two kids are in school, sometimes our dinnertime is the only time we can really sit down and talk about our day. I love listening about what’s going on at school and what they’re learning. They always have the best stories to tell us and we usually end up laughing more than eating! 
 

Unplug for 20 minutes.

My husband and I have a rule- no phones at the table. If someone calls us, texts, or emails us… they just have to wait until we’re done. This time is 100% for us as a family. We want zero interruptions in our time together. 
 

Teach manners.

Table manners are important to us too. We started teaching them to the girls pretty early. Some family members think we’re just mean- but I’m pretty proud to be raising little ladies that have good table manners. How can you teach good table manners when your kids aren’t eating at the table? 
Do you make it a point to have a meal with your family at the table regularly? What’s your biggest reason? Comment below and let’s talk about it! 🙂  

 

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How To Raise Responsible Children

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It’s every parent’s nightmare. To raise a child that turns out to be irresponsible. Running amok without any consideration as to how their actions have consequences is not how we want our children to be.

But is it possible to instil a sense of responsibility into a child at a young age, whilst still nurturing their innocent, child free nature?

Apparently so.

The word responsibility merely means to have a duty or to be accountable for. In order to introduce the concept of accountability to our child, we need to communicate to them what it is that’s happening, and explain how we expect things to unfold.

Just like you wouldn’t know what to expect or how to behave in a brand new situation, children need things to be spelled out to them very clearly. The simple skill of communicating with our children is something we very easily forget or are too busy to do.

By pointing out “If you do this, this will happen” and “If you do otherwise then this will make *this* happen” we are informing our children that their actions are to be accounted for. They might not grasp it right away but that’s okay. Giving children time to understand rules and boundaries is vital to their social development.

By being consistent and fair when dishing out discipline we are actually teaching about cause and effect.

But responsibility isn’t all about rules and punishments. We want our children to feel part of the family and to take pride in participating in chores, family events and to have jobs to do.

Toddlers can even take part; tidying up at the end of play time, throwing their toys into a box or even carrying a (very light!) shopping bag from the car into the house.

When you’re preparing a meal you can get all the kids around you with different tasks, peeling and chopping (if they’re old enough) or the simple things such as laying the table or taking the salt and pepper pots into the dining room.

And on an additional note if you’re wary of spending too much time in the kitchen and the kids are getting antsy, why not consider batch cooking or look at how you can save time by meal planning in advance and being a savvy cook. This leaves you with more time to be with your children, which is all they actually all they really want.

And of course, one of the more obvious ways you can teach responsibility is to have a pet.

Taking care of another being is the highest form of responsibility there is. While the duties can be many; from grooming to walking and feeding; the rewards are great. Just remember to read up on the proper care for the animal beforehand, nobody wants an unruly animal and an excitable child! Dog training 101 would be an option for a wannabe canine lover.

From gardening to grocery shopping, there are ample ways that you can get your children to participate in family life and enjoy a sense of responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Four Fun Ways To Celebrate Your Family Bond

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Celebrating the bond between your family can be a great way to show your love for the people you spend most of your time with, and strengthen the bond further. After all, your family members are your partners in crime, the reason you get out of bed in the morning, and the people you laugh, cry, and shout with. Making special memories, investing in a cool depiction of you all, and researching your family history are all great ways to celebrate your clan – if you want to find out more, keep reading.

 

  1. Find your famous ancestors

Researching your heritage together can be a great way to celebrate your identity as a family, and you might even find some cool ancestors from way back when! Get the kids involved by encouraging to speak to their aunts, uncles, and grandparents about their family history – not only does it get them engaging with their ancestry, but it’s a great history lesson too. Once you have a fairly substantial family tree, why not get the kids to illustrate it, and then hang it on your wall? It’s a project for the family, about the family, and great for everyone to join in on.

  1. Get a cool portrait

We all love family pictures to hang on our wall, so we can look back in years to come and reminisce about the days the kids were still tiny and cute. As well as photographs, why not go for something a bit more original too? Why not commission a family caricature to hang, making the most out of each person’s personality and interests? It’s almost more personal than a regular portrait! Family custom bobbleheads are also a really fun idea, with each person being represented by a comical lifelike figure of themselves, they’re a funny addition to any mantelpiece.

  1. Make a family tradition

If you always eat pancakes on a Saturday morning, or Tuesday evening is always taco night, you’re always going to get excited for those days – who doesn’t love tacos and pancakes? As the kids grow older, little family traditions tie them to their homes and reinforce family bonds. The family traditions can be as big or small, regular or infrequent as you like, they just have to be something everyone loves doing.

  1. Learn a skill together

You can take family traditions one step further, and start a whole new hobby or learn a skill together. It could be that you all take up classical guitar at the same time (and obviously start your own band), learn a language with the intention of vacationing to the country further down the line. You could even start playing a sport together and get fit in the process. These all give a common interest, a fun way to spend time in each others’ company, and goals further down the line, so everyone benefits.

 

As they say, look after your family, this is the only one you’ve got! Celebrate the bond you have, look for fun ways to spend time together, and you’ll get through anything.

 

 

 

 

 

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Safety Starts At Home: A Simple Guide To Creating A Child-Friendly House

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As a parent of young children, you never stop worrying about their safety. Fact.

Those fears can be amplified when they aren’t by your side. Teaching them from an early age is a crucial part of their upbringing, and can prevent injuries at school and other places. However, the harsh reality is that they are far more likely to suffer an accident at home. With this in mind, building a home that keeps them safe on a 24/7 basis is essential.

You won’t prevent every bump and bruise. But the tips below can help you avoid any major threats to their safety. Now that has to be music to any parent’s ears.

 

Eradicate Outside Threats

It might be a relatively unlikely possibility, but the threat of break-ins should not be ignored. Taking the right precautions in this area is non-negotiable.

Your first job is to ensure that all windows and doors are securely locked. Not only does this stop unwanted guests getting in, but it also stops curious children getting out. Meanwhile, home surveillance like the Samsung security system can discourage thieves too. After all, the emotional scars of a burglary can last a lifetime, even if you wasn’t at home at that time.

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In truth, it’s probably more for your benefit than anyone else. But that should only serve as another incentive to make those upgrades.

 

Childproofing Household Items

No parent can keep their eyes peeled at all times. Kids will play and explore. More crucially, they will be inquisitive. Therefore, it’s important that your home is designed to prevent any potential harm.

Covering table edges and other sharp objects with foam padding can prevent nasty cuts and bumps. Meanwhile, opting for carpets can cushion various trips and falls. Most importantly, it’s imperative that electrical outlets are covered from toddlers too. After all, that’s a danger where even one incident could be fatal.

Likewise, keeping medicines and other harmful consumables out of reach is key. The same can be said for knives and sharp objects. Store them high and out of sight. Or if you feel a stair gate to the kitchen is required, then go for it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

Encourage Outdoor Play

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Safety isn’t the only key element of parenting. You also want to see your child grow to be happy, active, and healthy. One of the best ways to combine all of those elements is with outside play.

Whether it’s a trampoline or a badminton set doesn’t matter. Kids are less likely to encounter major injuries, even if they do suffer a few more small falls. Besides, it’s a lot easier for you to keep an eye on them in one open space rather than when they’re running through different rooms. This is especially true if they have friends over.

Of course, you need to take precautions if you have water features. Similarly, you may need to cover them in sun lotion and other items. Nevertheless, added garden time can increase safety and fun while reducing tidy up time too.

 

 

 

 

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MommyCon- Is it worth it?!

Mama- it’s worth it.

I have already gone over the MommyCon Basics & FAQS, MommyCon on a Budget, 10 Tips for MommyCon, and the latest post- MommyCon VIP. But in case you still need some convincing on just how awesome MommyCon is….

 

My goodie bag from Columbus 2015

The Goodie Bag

In case I didn’t write enough about it, did you know that every attendee will leave the MommyCon event with a super awesome goodie bag filled with stuff?! The sponsors have been pretty generous in the past. While this shouldn’t be your #1 reason to attend MommyCon- I can tell you that in my experience, the goodie bag is worth more than your general admission ticket price. It’s filled with samples, coupons, and full sized products.

 

The Sessions

The sessions and seminars you’ll attend at MommyCon will probably leave you with some awesome new knowledge. And in my experience as a parent- knowledge really is power. Whether you’re taking away facts from Cloth Diapering 101 or from Kim Rosas’ Reusable Menstraul Products- that’s up to you! I highly recommend attending as many sessions that you can squeeze in!

 

Jackson wearing Cotton Babies’ Exclusive MommyCon Flip Diaper for 2016

Exclusive Products

Did you know that many vendors go to MommyCon with “MommyCon Exclusives?” Cloth diaper companies like Cotton Babies and Smart Bottoms have had exclusive diapers. Pink Lemonade Shop had an exclusive pad print. Eylas had an exclusive water bottle last year. Tekhni typically has an exclusive wrap for each MommyCon event. Basically- lots of things you’ll find ONLY at MommyCon! 😉

The Giveaways

Now, I know I didn’t talk much about this. Did you know that at the end of event day- MommyCon does a HUGE giveaway?! I mean like $10,000 worth of products huge. It’s really easy to enter- go to MommyCon! When you check-in at the beginning of the day, you’ll be given a badge with a number. That number is your “ticket number” so to speak. If you hear/see your number called- YOU WON! You’ll get additional entries for any VIP tickets you purchase. My first year, a few moms couldn’t stay for the giveaway. They handed me their badges since they wouldn’t get to use them. I won a set of RePlay, even though it was with my own badge number. But I was super excited!!!! You can not win a giveaway if you are not present. So if you can stay the whole day- I suggest you hang around. (There have been car seats and strollers given away! 😉 So yeah- be there.)

The Experience

I have only given you some tools to make your MommyCon experience great. Now- it’s completely up to you to make it great. Take pictures. Meet new mom friends. Meet some of the small businesses that are exhibiting there. Buy yourself something. Buy something for your kiddos. Learn some new information. Take the day to be “free” if you go without kids. Take the day to bond with your significant other, if they go with you. The experience will vary from person to person since no two people will visit the exact same sessions, meet the same people, or buy the same things. The “ideal” MommyCon experience is unique to everyone and really- your overall experience is up to you!

 

Still need to buy your general admission ticket? Use the code FLUFFBUM17 for $5 off, combine this with the social sharing discount at checkout for a total of $7 off!

 

 


 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts in my MommyCon Series! And be on the lookout for a GIVEAWAY of MommyCon tickets! EEEEK!

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The Ins & Outs To Preparing To Have Your First Child

So you’ve just found that you’re pregnant with your first child, that’s incredible news – congratulations are in order! The chances are that you’re not only feeling excited about the prospect of becoming a momma, but also incredibly anxious. Being pregnant for the first time is scary, there’s no doubt about it – the worst part is not knowing what to expect. However, as long as you take the time to prepare properly for having a child, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

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What it’s important to realize is that all moms-to-be are nervous about having their first baby. After all, it’s a big step – having a baby isn’t something to take lightly – so it’s normal to feel anxious about the changes that will come with it. However, there’s plenty of help and support out there to help make preparing for your new addition easier, so there’s no need to stress.

As a momma to three kids myself, I have plenty of wisdom to share when it comes to preparing for your new addition. So below I have put together a list of the ins and outs of getting ready to welcome your first child into the world.

Read up on what to expect from pregnancy

One of the most daunting parts about being pregnant for the first time is that you have no clue about what to expect. You might have heard rumors about what you can expect, but that doesn’t really give you a good understanding of what being pregnant is like. However, if you take the time to read up on pregnancy, birth and motherhood, and what’s involved in each, you should feel a little less anxious as you will know what to expect.

If you’re not sure what resources to do, there are plenty of fantastic pregnancy and motherhood books to choose from. One of the most popular ones is, of course, ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting.’ If this isn’t for you, don’t worry, as there are plenty of other options to choose from. As well as reading books about pregnancy, parenting blogs can also be great resources, as you can get a more personal look at what pregnancy and motherhood is like.

Save as much money as you can

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A lot of newly expectant mothers worry about money more than anything else, because they are concerned that they won’t be able to cope. Yes, babies can be expensive, there’s no doubt about that. They need toys, clothes, food, and lots of other things, meaning that they don’t come cheap. However, if you make an effort to budget effectively throughout your pregnancy and get into the habit of doing so, you shouldn’t struggle when it comes to coping financially with motherhood.

Especially when you take into account any benefits you are entitled to, such as maternity pay, for instance, you can make life easier for yourself. When it comes to understanding maternity leave, it can seem a little confusing, but it’s actually fairly straightforward. You get a set amount of time off of work that is paid; this can be leading up to the birth of your child or afterward, it’s up to you. Most moms take a month or so off before their baby is born then use the rest of their maternity leave afterward.

Write a list of all the essentials your new addition will need

When it comes to preparing for the arrival of your new addition, it’s important to ensure that you have everything that you will need to take care of them. Take the time to write a list of all the items that your little one will need, from clothing to a pram, and then set a budget for each item. That way you can ensure that you don’t end up overspending.

It’s easy to go a little crazy when it comes to what your new addition needs and spend too much money buying this and that. However, it’s a good idea to stick to just the essentials, to ensure that you don’t end up wasting money on items that you don’t need or won’t get plenty of use. If you’re unsure of what the essentials are, it’s a good idea to spend some time doing your research to make sure that you only get what you need.

Create a birth plan

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If you’re yet to start thinking about the birth of your baby, now is the perfect time to get planning. While it’s important to create a birth plan detailing what you would like the birth of your baby to be like, it’s important to realize that it may not go exactly to plan. The priority is always to get the baby out safely, so sometimes birth plans can change, and it’s important to understand that. Even so, it’s still important to put together a birth plan.

Your birth plan should detail where you would like to give birth – you may have various options. Who you would like to be your birthing partner, and whether you plan on having a natural birth or whether you would like to have drugs to make things a little easier. Obviously, you’re entitled to change your mind once labor starts, so there’s no need to worry if you’re not sure about what type of birth you want, you just need to give the medical team an idea, that’s all. If you don’t know what you want, talk to your friends and relatives who have had babies, spend some time reading up online, and see what other people recommend. As a first-time mom, you can use all the help that you can get, so don’t be afraid to ask others what they think.

So there you have it, the ins and outs to having your first child. Being pregnant for the first time is always going to be scary, as you don’t know what to expect. Hopefully, however, the above tips and advice have made things a little less worrying and given you a better idea of how to prepare and what to expect.

 

 

 

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Ensure Your Kid Avoids Common Injuries With These Essential Pieces Of Advice

It’s so easy for your kid to come home from school with an injury. Or they might come in from playing outside to tell you they have hurt themselves. And it can leave moms end up having to take their kids to a pediatric centre. But while you can’t stop all accidents occurring, there are some things you can do to prevent them. Therefore, here are some essential pieces of advice every moms needs to ensure their kid avoids common injuries.

 

Make sure they have the right clothing

For one thing, you need to ensure that your little one is wearing protective clothing before they are going out. After all, your child might end up with an injury as they weren’t wearing a coat when playing outside. And if your child hasn’t got protective gear when they are heading to play sports, you are more than likely to find your little one comes home with a sprain. Therefore, ensure they have all the clothing they need to keep them safe when they are out and about. That way, you can prevent an accident occurring which will see your child have a bad injury!

 

Choose correct footwear

It’s also vital that your little one has correct footwear on before they go outside. For example, if your child heads into the garden in just flip flops, they could end up putting their foot on something sharp. And if they don’t wear comfortable trainers when they are doing sports, they could end up with an ankle injury. Therefore, make sure you choose correct footwear which will keep your little one’s feet safe. In fact, you should ensure you get your child’s feet measured by a professional so that you are buying the right size shoes for them. That way, they won’t end up with an injury because of their poorly fitted shoes.

 

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Warn them about the dangers in advance

The best ways for moms to ensure their kid avoids injuries is by explaining them about the dangers around. Tell them what will happen if they do end up running around and falling over. Explaining to them that if they do end up with a sprain or a break, they will end up needing pediatric immediate care. And they might not be able to take part in sports for weeks. Telling them about what will occur should ensure they don’t make errors when they are out and about. And it will prepare them for the future so they think twice before doing something which might put them in danger.

 

Be wary about the weather conditions

It’s always a good idea to check the weather before your child goes out to play. After all, if snow is on your way, your kid might end up slipping and getting an injury. And if rain is around the corner, they might also end up hurting themselves while playing with their friends. Therefore, make sure you prepare them for all weathers and stop them from going out if it’s going to be dangerous. That way, you can ensure your little one avoids injury when the weather is dire.

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And make sure you get a first aid box for your home. That way, you can deal with minor injuries in the comfort of your home!

 

 

 

 

 

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Eight Easy Tips To Reinvent Your Toddler’s Bedroom

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It’s hard to know how exactly to decorate your toddler’s room. It’s that time where they’re starting to form their own distinct little personality, and knowing how to reflect that in their space is a tough challenge. Thankfully, there are some solutions…

 

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Pick A Colour Scheme

First of all, it’s important to choose a colour scheme. Toddlers’ rooms are crazy enough with scattered toys and possessions to have a mishmash of decorations too, so if you try to make it as clean and simple as you can to begin with, the mess will be easier to deal with. Go for a cool, calming colour like duck egg blue (yes, for girls as well!) or pale yellow. Colours like red and purple might be bright and fun but you should bear in mind that you want this room to be somewhere where you want your toddler to sleep well so it shouldn’t be too over stimulating.

Invest In A New Bed

If your toddler hasn’t moved up to his or her big boy or big girl bed yet, now is the time to make that transition. Every child is ready for their big bed at a different age – but if your toddler’s been trying to climb out of his or her crib, now is definitely the time! You might feel a little nervous about it on the first night so make sure you put some pillows on the floor next to the bed to break your toddler’s fall if he or she rolls off the bed during the night. Chances are, they’ll be absolutely fine! Look online for the best toddler beds that will suit your needs.

 

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Try Out More Storage Solutions

One of the biggest problems that we all have – and will always have – with our homes is storage. Especially if you have kids, it’s almost impossible to know what exactly you want to keep. Random objects become imbued with more sentimental attachment than they really deserve. It’s not necessarily time to throw away all of your kids’ old childhood toys – but it is time to install some decent shelving so that you can put certain things on display, Put some covered baskets or bins on the larger shelves and use them to keep toys in.

 

Change Your Windows

If your toddler’s having problems sleeping – and staying asleep – it’s probably destroying your sleeping patterns as well. Although you expect new-born babies to be up a lot in the night, it can be really difficult if your toddler continues these patterns. Purchase some blackout blinds or curtains so early morning sunrise doesn’t wake up your child. You can also get soundproof drapes that will block out any noises from the street below. Make sure that you tie up the end of the blind string so there’s no way your toddler can reach it, as this can be a huge hazard.

 

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Decide What You Want The Room To Be

When you’re decorating a room, it’s important to consider exactly what sort of space you want it to be, so it doesn’t turn into a mess of different ideas. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate playroom where your child spends most of their time, then you might want to make the bedroom into a place mostly for sleeping and napping, so you might be focusing on turning it into a relaxing space where it’ll be easy for your toddler to fall asleep and to relax. In that case, you might focus on soft, cosy furnishings, and shelves of books that you can reach for when it’s time for bedtime stories. If you want to make it a more stimulating environment that encourages creative independent play, go for more bright colours and plenty of toys within easy reach, along with a surface where your toddler can create his or her amazing works of art.

 

Give Your Toddler Some Choices

Your child is starting to reach the sort of age where he or she is forming their own personality, with distinct likes and dislikes, so it’s time to start asking them what they might want in their new room. Obviously it isn’t a good idea to decorate the whole place based on a whim – in six months, chances are your daughter won’t love Frozen quite as much as she does now, so the life size statue of Princess Elsa might turn out to be an error in judgement. Give your child choices between a couple of parent-approved options, so they feel as though they have control over their new room but you also know it’ll turn out the way you want it to.

 

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Make It Eco Friendly

In this day and age, it’s crucial to consider what changes you can make to your home to help save the planet. It’s even more crucial to ensure that you include your children in these choices so that you raise them in a household where it’s the norm to consider the rest of the world and how exactly to do the best and greenest thing to help save the world. Make sure that you paint the room using non toxic environmentally friendly paint, and if you’re disposing of any old furniture, consider freecycling it instead or donating it instead of throwing it away. With new furniture, try to use sustainable, recyclable materials like wood, glass and metal instead of plastic. Replace old light bulbs with new LED ones, which will use less energy and also have the added bonus of bringing down your energy bill!

Add Decorative Touches

Finally, add some decorative touches just like you do in the rest of the house. If you’re a fan of taking plenty of family photos, get your Instagram pictures printed and blown up onto canvases so you can put them onto your toddler’s walls. Go for a bright, cheerful rag rug – not only are they pretty, but they also aren’t too expensive, so spillages and mess won’t matter – and as a final touch, stick some glow in the dark stars on the ceiling.

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Making MommyCon a Weekend Trip on a Budget


The closest MommyCon to me is 6 hours away in Chicago so I start my MommyCon budget a few months ahead of time. There was no way that I was going to miss the best natural parenting event in the country just because of a little travel. In fact, my sister-in-law and I decided to start making it our “Mom’s Weekend” away! We leave the big kids at home with their dads and just take the babies. (Well, I guess they’re toddlers now….) We did this last year when the boys were just 4 months and 6 months old. Every penny counts when you’re going to MommyCon because there are SO many amazing vendors. If you can pinch your pennies on the cost of getting there, staying, and attending- then you can spend more money while you’re there… Cloth diapers, baby carriers, toys, products for mom, products for baby… So many goodies!!!!

Here are my 6 tips to making your MommyCon “Mom’s Weekend” away successful on a budget!

 

Start by using the code FLUFFBUM17. When you purchase your general admission ticket, use my discount code! When you go to checkout, there’s also a “social sharing” option. Use that option to your advantage by posting it on your Facebook or Twitter. My discount code CAN be combined with this option to save you a total of $7. Want to attend a VIP session? Be sure to join the Facebook group that MommyCon has set up for your city. There- people will sell their tickets if something comes up and they can no longer attend. You may be able to score some VIP tickets a tad bit cheaper!

 

Carpool. If you’re traveling and can bring a friend- drive together! You’ll have company to keep you from getting bored, and maybe you’ll make up for the lack of adult interaction you get during the week! 😉 Carpooling is also a great idea if you’re going into a big city, like Chicago. Parking is expensive! So not only will you be splitting the cost for gas- but parking too!

 

Split the hotel room. Again, if you can travel with a friend- split the hotel room! We get one room with two beds and it’s perfect for us! This helps cut our travel expenses down big time! MommyCon will have a block of rooms at a hotel with a discount. If you can swing the cost, great. If not, you can always find a cheaper hotel within a mile or so and stay there. Check out some of the travel websites that give hotel room discounts. Also- it’s never a bad idea to get AAA before a trip and most hotels have discounts for AAA members!

 

Bring Wine. And don’t forget the corkscrew and cups! Last year, after such a long day full of driving and sitting in the car- wine was a necessity once the babies were asleep. I remembered to bring some disposable cups- but totally forgot the corkscrew! And just FYI- don’t listen to those “how to open wine without a corkscrew” posts on Google. We tried those…. didn’t work. Luckily, there was a bar in our hotel so I just ran down and asked the bartender to open it for me! Obviously this isn’t a “money saving” option. But it’ll help with your sanity from a day in the car! 😉

 

Plan out your MommyCon day ahead of time. Trust me on this one. This will be my third MommyCon so I’m no pro but I’ve been around the block. 😉 The day of MommyCon can be so hectic. There’s so many people, so many vendors, and just so much going on. You need to have a game plan. Figure out the sessions you want to attend beforehand, visit vendors in-between sessions, and just have a general idea before you go. If not, you may lose track of time and miss a session you REALLY wanted to see or you could scramble and miss out time shopping; and for some, that could make or break your MommyCon experience.

 

Take pictures!!! Even if you don’t like getting in front of the camera, looking back on MommyCon weekend is just so much fun. Take some selfies, ask a friend to take a picture with you and a speaker, just take some pictures! If you’re taking a kiddo, take some pics of them playing with the super fun toys! (You may just need to buy one later so grabbing a picture of it isn’t a bad idea!) Take pictures of the awesoe stuff you purchased from the vendors, of your awesome goodie bag, of that glass of wine after the event. Seriously- just snap some pics. And don’t forget to post them on social media with the hashtags: #MommyCon, #MommyCon17, and the hashtag of your city: #MommyConCHI, #WEARConference, #MommyConNYC, #MommyCon Memphis, #MommyConATX, #MommyConVanCity, #MommyConOC, #MommyConORL, or #MommyConATL. Again, not a money saving tip- but you’ll thank me later. 😉

 

Have fun at MommyCon!!!!! Just a reminder, here’s where MommyCon is traveling in 2017!

Chicago, IL – March 3-5

New York City, NY – March 25

Memphis, TN – April 29

Austin, TX – June 3

Vancouver, Canada – July 22

Orange County, CA – August 12

Orlando, FL – September 2

Atlanta, GA – October 28

Don’t know what MommyCon is or if it’s right for you? Visit the blog post below!

 

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MommyCon Basics & FAQs

Are you asking yourself, “What’s MommyCon?” Are you wondering what comes with a general admission ticket? Questions about VIP, Military tickets, or Scholarship tickets? Need a discount to purchase your ticket? Well- you’re in a REALLY good place! I’m a 2017 Parent Squad member for MommyCon and on their Blogger Collective for my 4th year! 🙂 So you could say…. I love MommyCon and I’ve got some good advice!

 

What’s MommyCon?

MommyCon is the largest and best natural parenting event in the country! At MommyCon, you’ll find seminar  sessions with amazing speakers, workshops, and tons of shopping! If you’re starting the adventure of parenthood, have a little one at home already, or you’re in the baby industry- MommyCon is the place for you!

 

Where is MommyCon traveling in 2017?

Chicago, IL – March 3-5

New York City, NY – March 25

Memphis, TN – April 29

Austin, TX – June 3

Vancouver, Canada – July 22

Orange County, CA – August 12

Orlando, FL – September 2

Atlanta, GA – October 28

 

What comes with a general admission ticket?

A general admission ticket is $45.00. With this ticket, you’ll get into all the seminars, workshops (some require registration before the event), and the vendor area. Your general admission ticket also gets you automatically entered into the giveaway at the end of event day. Tickets are nonrefundable, but you can transfer the ticket into someone else’s name if you’re unable to attend. Ano

*Want a discount code for your general admission ticket? Keep reading!*

 

What’s the VIP upgrade? How do I get one?

VIP upgrades are additional tickets that can be purchased. VIP sessions are held the Friday before the event and are very limited. These options vary from event to event, so they also aren’t revealed or up for sale until about 30 days before the event. You MUST have a general admission ticket before being able to purchase a VIP upgrade. These also vary in price. VIP tickets are a “fast fingers” type stocking. So you should probably set an alarm on your phone once you get the email with the stocking information. 😉

 

What about Military tickets or scholarship tickets?

Scholarship Program: MommyCon wants everyone to be able to attend! If you’re unable to attend due to the cost of general admission, there are several giveaways to enter plus they have a scholarship program. Applications are selected randomly to receive the tickets. These tickets are non-transferable.

Military Tickets: Complimentary Military Tickets are for Active Duty Military members, Active Duty Military dependents, and Veterans (Rank E5 and below) who would like to attend MommyCon but can not financially afford a ticket. Military Discount Tickets are for Active Duty Military members, Active Duty Military dependents, and Veterans who have the financial means to attend an event, but would like to use the military discount program. For more information on how to obtain half price tickets utilizing the Military Discount, email tickets@mommycon.com.

 

Do kids need a ticket? Is the event stroller friendly?

Children 16 years and under are free with their parents. All adults must have a paid admission. Strollers are allowed, however there are many people and lots of toddlers/babies on the floor. If you must bring a stroller, be sure to really watch in front of you so no babies are run over! If it gets too crowded, you may be asked to fold the stroller up or park it on the outskirts of the room.

 

I’m on a budget- are there coupons/discounts/promo codes for tickets?

YES! Use the code FLUFFBUM17 for $5 off your general admission tickets! This code is not valid on presale or VIP upgrades. Need a little more of a discount? You can combine this with the social sharing discount at checkout! With these two discounts together- you’ll save $7 on your MommyCon General Admission ticket!!!

*Need more “MommyCon on a budget” ideas? Stay tuned for a new post this week in my new MommyCon Series!

 

If you didn’t find the answer you’re looking for- check out MommyCon’s website for more information and/or ask me in the comments below!

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ezpz Placemat Review

ezpz mats have become a “must-have” product in my book for toddlers. We currently have the Mini Mat, the Happy Mat, the Snack Mat, and the new book- Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat.

Some of you may be wondering…. “What is ezpz?” ezpz placemats are silicone placemats marketed for kids that suction to most tabletops. These mats are made of food grade silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC, latex and phthalate free.

ezpz placemats are super handy once your child has reached the age of eating food, but wants to play and throw their plate or bowl on the floor. The Happy Mat suctions nicely to tabletops, while the Mini Mat is designed to fit on most highchairs.

 

I will admit that I’m not a Pinteresty mom in any way, shape, or form. This is one reason why I love these mats. Jackson’s food can look so fun with very little effort. And let’s face it- kids seem to eat more when their food looks fun. I don’t understand the logic behind it, but we all know it’s true! These placemats are also dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and oven safe (up to 350 degrees) so cooking with them and clean-up are easy!

 

Jackson really likes to snack, but he doesn’t want to sit in his highchair during snack time. The Snack Mat has become a favorite, and was actually our first ezpz mat! I can put his snack in the bowl, suction it to our floating floor, and he can play while snacking- and I don’t have to worry about him just tipping the bowl over for fun!

 

Now this may sound silly…. But I’m a mom on a budget. These mats aren’t exactly cheap, although I wouldn’t say they’re expensive either. Because they’re made of silicone, they won’t show signs of wear. This means that they really won’t have to be replaced. The ezpz mats that I use for Jackson now, can be stored away for any future babies. It doesn’t hold onto bacteria either since it’s a nonporous material- and it also shouldn’t stain! (although, I’m sure cooking some red sauce in it may be harder to get out!)

 

We really like to take the ezpz mats with us when we leave the house. Jackson has used his mats at restaurants and family member’s homes. We put the Mini Mat into a Smart Bottoms wet bag and the Happy Mat fits perfectly in a Smart Bottoms On-the-Go wet bag. It really depends on where we’re going, what’s clean, and what we’ll be eating for me to decide which one to take. If it’s super messy food, I’ll take the Happy Mat (for example) because sometimes my Mini Mat doesn’t want to stick to all surfaces. If it’s somewhere that he’s eating chicken and fries or something just not messy, and maybe it’s a quicker meal, then I’ll probably bring along the Mini Mat.

 

You can see in the photo above that there isn’t much size difference in the actual plate portion of the mats. A Happy Mat’s portion sizes (designed with toddlers in mind) are 4oz, 4oz, and 10oz while the Mini Mat’s (designed more for infants) portion sizes are 2oz, 2oz, and 4oz.

 

All in all, I’m really happy that I decided to try these ezpz mats and I like that they do make my life a bit easier. Jackson also likes them and in reality- that’s really all that matters.

 

 

*Please note: I purchased the Mini Mat and Snack Mat myself. The Happy Mat and book were provided by my participation as a Guidance Guide Ambassador. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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