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líllébaby COMPLETE Original Carrier WINNER!

>> Wednesday, March 20, 2013

And the winner is:

Ann, please email service@milanmaternity.com with your address by March 22 11:59 pm to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

Thank you ALL for participating!  For those of you that didn't win, make sure you are keeping up to date with the líllébaby facebook page, as they will be doing a giveaway a week!  


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líllébaby COMPLETE Original Carrier Review and Giveaway

>> Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Now, as most of you probably know when most people do giveaways, it's because they received a product for free, tested it out, and do the review and giveaway.  This time I bought a product, loved it so much that I contacted the company about doing a giveaway, and they agreed.  That's just how much I love all of you and they do, too!!

So it wasn't until recently that I learned how important it is to have a baby carrier that is ergonomically correct for babies hips.  I knew that I needed to find something comfortable for ME because the one I had was killing my back.  And when I started researching, that's when I learned about how important it is to have a carrier that has a wider seat to support the baby/child in a seated position to support proper hip development and prevent hip dysplasia.

After reading around online and asking for suggestions, I decided on a carrier.  It was a no-go.  I couldn't get it to fit comfortably on me, and my baby just kept grunting the whole time he was in it. I tried another carrier.  It was better, but I still wasn't 100% comfortable wearing it.  And that's when fate brought me to líllébaby, and the líllébaby COMPLETE carrier.  After doing a search online, I found them listed on consumerreports.org under their baby carriers section.  Once I looked at the líllébaby website, I was pretty convinced that this was the carrier that would finally win me over.

I needed the carrier soon, so I contacted them on their facebook page to ask if their was somewhere locally that had their carrier.  They responded the same day giving me a couple of locations that were doable.  I went and tried it on and knew that it was the one.  Just to be absolutely, positively sure I tried on yet another carrier and it only confirmed that the líllébaby COMPLETE carrier was the one for me.

Immediately after my purchase, our family went to this amazing (ie, very large) park to let our older kids play.

 For an hour and a half I followed my kids all around this park, and for an hour and a half, my back never ached!  And there my 4 month old slept comfortably!  (See, look how comfy we are!)

What I love:
--It has several different positions of wear (front carry, back carry, side carry, forward facing) that are all safe for babies hips (seat can be adjusted to fit newborns without being so wide).

--It fits newborn up to 45 lbs.  This carrier is with you and the little one for the long haul!

--I could actually get a great fit on my shoulders.  For some reason with the other carriers the shoulder straps always felt loose and like they were going to slide down and I just couldn't get them to adjust correctly.  I could get the straps to fit perfectly on the líllébaby COMPLETE.

--Not only does it have a hood for sleeping, but it also has adjustable back support for newborn babies.  And then you snap it down when they are bigger and don't need the support so they can see around better.  This was HUGE for me since the other carriers came up so high and it was hard for my little ones to see around.
--They have great color options in soft and comfy 100% cotton (organic is an option!).  They don't have super fancy designed fabrics, but that is just fine with me!  I chose the warm orange carrier, and I think it convinced me that it needs to be my new favorite color!

--When it calls itself the COMPLETE, it's the truth.  I love all of the options!  (Ok, maybe I do wish there was a zippered pouch for a few of my things, but it's awesome enough without it.)

The only downside:
I wish there were videos!  I'm such a visual learner that even the best directions and pictures aren't good enough for me.  I like to see it being done. (But the good news is I found out they are in the process of getting videos together!!)

It should be noted that if I have learned anything in my quest for the perfect carrier, it is that it takes time to learn how to use them and figure it all out.  But once you do, they are the handiest things ever!  And my  líllébaby COMPLETE Carrier will definitely be getting a lot of use!

So now, your chance to win a líllébaby COMPLETE Original Carrier of your own!
(Please use this box below for entry.  Comment entries will not be added to the drawing)
 (We're trying a little something different than the normal comment to enter that we do.  We hope it works smoothly for you, and please let us know if you'd rather us go back to the other way for future giveaways!)


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Transitioning your child into a toddler bed

>> Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Many parents are content to keep their children in a crib as long as possible.  It makes complete sense.  They are safe, confined, and protected from everything else in the room they could get into.  They can't roll out of the crib, nor can they leave their room and wander around your home at night.

But, eventually, every child will need to make the switch into a more conventional bed.  Some children are transitioned because of their dangerous habit of trying to fly the coop and climb out of their crib, some children are transitioned because of younger siblings coming into the picture, and some children are transitioned because it just seems like the right time to their parents.

Whatever the reason for the switch may be, here are a few tips to help along the way:

Plan the switch when you have several days of extra time at home with your child.  Whether you plan this around a holiday schedule with less parental work requirements or on a Friday night with the weekend ahead- you'll likely need it.  Your child may be initially very nervous or scared of the change, especially if you are moving to a different room, and you may find yourself spending much more time during nap and bedtime routines.

Plan to be VERY off schedule for a few days.  As your child is getting adjusted to their new bed and/or new room, they may wake more often or become more upset when they do wake initially.  It's an adjustment period, and they'll likely bounce back quickly once they understand the situation, but increased night-wakings or earlier morning wake-times are always a possibility.  A toddler who normally takes one nap per day might need two per day initially when transitioning to a toddler bed if they haven't had very restful sleep the night before.  Keeping watch of your child's signs of fatigue is important the first few days.

Make sure your child's room is safe.  Lining the floor near the bed with pillows in case of falls, securing furniture to the walls, installing closet door locks, and hiding or securing cords and plugs out of your child's reach or ability are essential.  Some pediatricians will even recommend putting a baby gate in front of the child's door (if you choose to leave the door open) or a door handle babyproofing device on the inside of the door (if you choose to leave the door closed) so that your child is unable to leave their room and get into other non-babyproofed rooms in your home in the middle of the night.

Use transitional tools, like books.  If your child is old enough to understand, reading books about the transition to a "big boy" or "big girl" bed may be helpful.  Referring to the crib as something that babies sleep in and their new bed as something that big kids sleep in may be helpful.  Showing them pictures of the transition can be extremely helpful to those little ones who don't yet have the language to understand you explaining it to them.

How old was your child when you transitioned to a toddler bed?  What were your experiences?


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Blogging to baby? New technology is replacing the baby book.

>> Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As the younger, more tech-savvy population grows and has children, it seems that less and less of the more formal traditions regarding children are holding steady.  Sure, there are some people who still send out birth announcements or family pictures via snail mail, but you are much more likely to see parents sharing pictures through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to their family members and friends.

Just like the newspaper is slowly fading into the internet news phenomenon, it seems that the traditional act of keeping a baby book is slipping aside to email and blogging.

Parents these days are setting up email accounts for their children- where they write notes and messages, send pictures and scanned drawings/art their child has created.  Instead of keeping all of this information in a book, many parents are now opting to send it to an email account they've created for their child to later view.

Other parents have begun "Letters to ____" blogs.  If you do a web search for "Letters to" and then add in a name, you find blogs dedicated only to parents documenting and chronicling their children's lives from a young age on the internet.  Sort of their own virtual baby book, to replace the print book our parents may have used.

Initially, the thought can be somewhat nerve-wracking.  What happens if that email server goes under, and you have to transport all that data from one account to another?  What if you don't want your child's information on a public blog?  Can you make a private account?  How do you share information with your family and close friends while not with the general public?  However, you could lose a baby book in a natural disaster, and as for safety, as a parent, you use your best judgement and do what you are comfortable with, just like you would in any other situation.

Thankfully, the new wave of using technology to highlight your baby's first steps does seem to make it a bit easier on a tech-savvy parent these days.  A quick post to a blog and your video is saved in one place, sorted by month and date, and accessible by your child when they reach the proper age.  Instead of hand writing a story out seated in your office in front of your baby book, you can upload a video or picture with the quick tap of a finger on your mobile device.  It can make the process much quicker, which can help you to document more!

What are some ways you've used technology to chronicle your children's lives?


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Baby Monitors- How to make a choice

>> Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As a new parent, there are plenty of options for just about every baby device you can think of or imagine.  It is so overwhelming to look at all your options and know which one is right for you and your family.  For many people, the decision is as simple as going to your local baby store, and standing in the aisle staring at monitors until you become overwhelmed and just pick one.  However, there may be a better way to choose.

For starters, talk to your mommy friends.  Many already-been-there mothers know a thing or two about what did or did not work for them, and why.  Word of mouth suggestions on a product can be some of the best.

Check out reviews on websites like Amazon or specific store websites.  Sure, there are always going to be positive and negative responses for each product, but if the majority are negative or you see a pattern as to why, you may just have your answer to move on to another product.

Learn the market before you buy.  There are plenty of different options you may not even have known about.  Did you want a simple, audio monitor?  Or were you looking for something that you can watch a video stream from your smart phone?  Did you want to know when the baby stops moving or breathing?  Did you want to be able to watch from outside of your home and have more remote access?  Because all of those options are currently available, in a reasonable price range.

Look outside of just the baby monitor market.  Several electronic stores sell monitoring devices that actually provide more information for often a smaller price tag than traditional baby monitors.  You may also be able to buy traditional baby monitors at these stores for a lower cost.  It's always better to know your range of choices!

How did you choose your baby monitor?


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Keeping up with photographing your child

>> Tuesday, January 15, 2013

When you have one or more small children at home, it is fairly easy to get caught up in the day to day grind and fail to take pictures of your children.  Some parents are great at keeping up with photographing their children, but for others it is a struggle to remember.  If you have difficulty remembering to grab your camera and click away, here are some helpful tips:

- Use your mobile phone.  A picture is a picture, even if it's grainy.  Having some pictures that may not be the optimum quality are better than having none.

- Set aside a specific day per week where you plan on taking pictures.  This can be during an outing or just a plain Wednesday at your home.  If you make it part of your routine, you'll do a better job at keeping up.

- Keep your camera in an accessible place.  If your camera is on a different floor or up in a closet somewhere, you probably won't use it as much.  Keeping your camera in a safe place in the main area of your home where your child plays ups the possibility of you grabbing it for a cute shot!

- If all else fails, go with the pros.  Purchasing a photography session or package from a professional photographer keeps track of your child's development and is a scheduled appointment that you'll take more time to go to.  Whether you sign up for a plan where you have pictures taken every few months, or even once a year, it is still landing the responsibility on someone else, you just have to show up!

How do you do with taking your child's pictures?  Are day to day pictures and video something you remember to do?  


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Surviving a winter pregnancy

>> Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Many women who've been pregnant say that a summer while largely pregnant is troublesome and difficult at times.  However, winter pregnancies aren't always a piece of cake either.  You have, depending on your location, snow, ice, sleet, and a whole different set of problems.

Not only is winter a bit more dangerous than the summer for pregnant mamas-to-be, it can be much more inconvenient in many ways.

Here are some tips to help you through a winter pregnancy:

- Wear reasonable shoes.  No one wants to walk around in a pair of sneakers their entire pregnancy, because it's just not really all that fashionable.  However, you can be more reasonable in your shoe choices. When your balance and proportion is already off AND you're dealing with slippery, icy ground, there's no reason to ask for a fall by wearing too high of a pair of heels.  Opting for flats or at least purchase non-slip pads that adhere to the bottom of your shoes to stay on your feet.

- Invest in winter extras while pregnant.  Stock up on salt for your home, buy the more expensive de-icing windshield wiper fluid, and don't be hesitant to spend a little bit of time sitting in your car waiting for it to defrost before you go out and manually scrape.  For a few extra dollars, you can make the season a bit easier on yourself.  While this isn't something you may normally do, it is highly beneficial when you are close to your due date.

- Plan on having back up.  If you're planning on having your baby in the hospital, make sure you have a few back up options.  In case of a large storm, if possible, enlist the help of a friend with a large truck or all terrain vehicle.  The last thing you want to do is get stranded somewhere on the way to the hospital.  If you have an older child at home, be sure to call your babysitter or family member as soon as you think your laboring begins.  Even if you have a false alarm or two, it is better to be prepared then to find yourself in a situation where you are braving the elements with your older child or children because their care couldn't get to you in time.

- Stock your freezer.  Whether you can't get out before or after the baby is born due to inclement weather, keeping some freezer meals on hand is really helpful in feeding your family and yourself.  If you feel particularly inclined, there are plenty of recipes on Pinterest and around the internet for freezer meals.  If you just need to grab something quick to have as a back up, your local grocery store will likely have family size freezer meals available for purchase.

What are some ways you get through a winter pregnancy or delivery?


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