A Successful “Clean up” – Pookie Moment of the Week

If you’ve ever been to a children’s sing-along, you know that the singer usually will pass out various fun props throughout the class. It usually starts with musical instruments like shakers, maracas and bells, and then we put those away, sing the “clean up” song and make way for the puppets, then the dreaded sticks and finally the colorful scarves. This is all great unless you have a child who very quickly becomes attached to each item and absolutely does not want to give them up. I have always watched other children give the items back like it’s nothing when it’s time to “clean up” while I’m stressing out and struggling to get Pookie to let go of the items.

Well, this week, Pookie made me so incredibly proud. During our weekly sing-along with Miss Annie, it was time to “clean up” the musical instruments (these are the most difficult to give back!), and I simply told him, “Go put those shakers into the box,” and I saw the gears in his head turning as he put one shaker into the box, looked at me, and then put the other shaker in the box. OMG! I couldn’t believe it! It was that easy! Because it wasn’t about “giving up” a toy that he was enjoying, but about following an instruction and helping out, he was happy to do it.

This was without a doubt Pookie’s Moment of the Week. I unfortunately don’t have a picture of the moment, but here’s a pic of him with the cow puppet on his hand and a video of him walking a toy puppy and crying whenever the puppy fell over on its side.

Thanks for reading!

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“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 4 (Feeding)

Now that you can get around town with your adorably dressed baby, and she’s sleeping through the night (yeah right!) and perfectly clean and diapered, you probably should feed her too! Here’s everything you need to get that baby fed!

I should start off by saying that whether or not you plan to breastfeed, you should have a breast pump. But don’t put one in your registry. Order one for free through your insurance company. I recommend the Medela In Style Advanced. I had no issues with mine (although, for the first few months, when I had to wake up and pump in the middle of the night to boost my supply, I wanted to smash it against the wall).

Bottles, Formula, etc.

Also, whether or not you will breastfeed, you will eventually need bottles, and you should have formula just in case you have issues with breastfeeding.

I recommend the Comotomo bottles. I recommend having 4 of the 5 oz bottles and 4 of the 8 oz bottles, so two of these starter sets work perfectly.

You should also have some newborn baby formula on hand just in case. We used two different German brands (Lebenswert and Holle) because they really are the best, but they are super expensive in the US. If you end up wanting to use one of the German formulas, either get someone to bring it to you from Europe or buy it in bulk from Biolgisch24. The only US formula that we ever gave to Pookie was Baby’s Only, but it stinks (literally!), and its ingredient list isn’t perfect. I do however believe it’s your best bet when it comes to American brands though.

You should have a bottle warmer, which you’ll be thankful for in the middle of the night! I recommend something simple like this one by Munchkin.

Definitely get some burp cloths. I recommend some no-nonsense ones like these by Gerber.

 

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Here’s Pookie having no complaints with his Comotomo bottle. Take note of the Boppy nursing pillow in the background. That was before we had discovered the My Brest Friend. There’s a reason the Boppy is on the floor, and we’re just using a regular old pillow. Stay away from the Boppy!

Getting comfy

As far as nursing pillows go, seriously, just get the My Brest Friend. Nothing can be better than that one.

You absolutely need a comfy glider to sit in and breast feed, bottle-feed, rock, etc your baby. In my opinion, you should get something that looks nice and that you can continue to use afterwards. We really love our Dutailier glider and ottoman that we got from Amazon. The glider swivels, and both glider and ottoman glide. It’s fabulous, and it looks great. It’s a bit pricy, but worth it because I spent so many comfy hours in it while Pookie was tiny, and we’ll continue to enjoy it for a long time to come.

Making your own baby food

Your munchkin should start eating some solids by around 4 or 5 months or whenever she’s ready (Pookie started at around 5 months), so you should be prepared! If you’d like to make your own baby food, get a baby food maker that will make it pretty easy! I recommend the Béaba Babycook. It’s pricy, but super easy to use and efficient because it steams and purées all in the same container. A more affordable, but also great option is the Babymoov Nutribaby, which does everything that the Babycook does, but also sterilizes and warms bottles, so that’s three machines in one!

You’ll also want to get some freezer trays for freezing individual servings of your homemade baby food.

Plates, utensils, bibs, sippy cups, etc.

When your little one starts to feed himself, you’ll want to have this ingenious Happy Bowl/ placemat by EZPZ. I would actually also get the Happy Mat since it has compartments! These things are great! It’s a silicone bowl and placemat in one that really sticks to the table so that your munchkin doesn’t tip it over or throw it on the floor. We actually bring it with us when we go out to eat.

You’ll need some suction bowls, some spoons and some food catcher bibs, so this is a great set that includes all of that and more.

I also highly recommend getting some bibs with sleeves like these by OhBabyKa. You can also get them from Ikea for $5. We call it Pookie’s hazmat suit, and I’m sure you can imagine why.

Also, grab some of these fresh fruit feeders. It’s a mesh pouch in which you can put fresh fruit for them to suck on. It sounded gross to me at first, but Pookie absolutely loved them!

Get a snack container like this one from Ubbi for when they can feed themselves cheerios or puffs or whatever snack they love.

You’ll also want some cute drool/ teething bibs like these cuties, some Bumkin starter bibs for when they first start solids and some Bumkins SuperBibs for when they start feeding themselves.

Get some sippy cups for when they first start solids and need that extra hydration! We like the Philips Avent sippy cups. And also grab a straw cup for when they graduate from the sippy. We like this one by Contigo.

High chair

You’ll of course need a high chair. Some people spend hundreds of dollars on fancy, stylish high chairs, but we absolutely love Ikea’s Antilop high chair with tray for jus $20! We love it because it doesn’t take up much space, and, without any nooks and crannies or removable parts, it’s super easy to clean. Because it doesn’t recline, you may want something different for when they first start solids but can’t sit up well. For Pookie, we first fed him in a little rocker like this one from Fisher Price.

Now you’re definitely ready to get that baby fed! I think so, at least. If I’ve forgotten anything, let me know in the comments!

Stay tuned for Part 5 of my baby registry series, in which I will talk about TOYS!

“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 3 (Diapering and Bathing)

After reading Part 1 and Part 2 of my baby registry series, you have everything you need for strolling, sleeping (in babyland, this IS a transitive verb!) and clothing your munchkin. Read on to find out what you need for changing those poopy diapers (yay!) and for bathing your bundle of joy.

Diapering

So, here’s the not so fun part! … Although with the right diapers, it won’t be too too bad. After trying just about every diaper out there (Pampers Swaddlers, Pampers Baby Dry, Honest, Huggies, CVS brand, Babyganics, Earth’s Best), I’ve decided my favorite diaper is Target’s Up and Up brand. I like everything about them. They not only are soft and (usually) don’t leak, but they are also pleasing to the eye and the wallet. I wish I had discovered them sooner. We used Pampers Swaddlers until recently, and they are definitely my runner up, but Up & Up diapers are almost half the price, so look no further. Put 2 giant packs of sizes 1-3 in your registry, and once you’re done with those, subscribe to have them delivered to your door so you’ll never run out.

Tip: Whatever you do, never try Pampers Baby Dry. They’re so horrible, I’m not sure why they even exist.

As far as butt cream goes, I’m very sorry to say this, but Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, you suck! We use a German brand called Penaten, and we like it the best. We like it because it works, and it’s the right consistency – not nasty and pasty like so many others (Boudreaux’s). It’s expensive ($20 on Amazon right now) unless you have friends and family bringing them to you from Deutschland. 🙂 If this is not an option, opt for Aquaphor Baby Diaper Rash Cream.

We’ve also tried many a butt wipe (Babyganics, Pampers, Huggies), and I’m not sure how any wipe could be better than Water Wipes. They’re super wet, they don’t smell like anything, and they’re 99.9% water.

We honestly use any hand sanitizer, but we’re switching to Babyganics alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizer since it seems to be safer to put on baby’s hands, which I occasionally do when Pookie’s hands go wandering during diaper changes! Oy! Put some of the on-the-go ones into your registry.

Now, where should you change your baby’s diapers? We went with a nice white dresser from Pottery Barn Kids, and I can’t say it has been perfect. I now wish we had gone with the Stuva Changing Table from Ikea. It’s great because you can change your baby from the front without having to move over to the side of the table. I love that there’s plenty of space on the surface for the changing pad and your diaper caddy and plenty of storage with open shelves and drawers down below. Even better, the changing table converts into a desk for when they get older. AND it looks cute. I think it’s perfect.

We got the Keekaroo peanut changing pad, but I don’t see why people love it so much. It’s not soft and cozy for baby, and ours actually stained our dresser somehow! If I could go back, I’d just get a regular changing pad like this one by Colgate.

You will also unfortunately need to change diapers when you’re on the go, so register for a travel changing pad. We’ve had no complaints with ours from Skip Hop. You’ll of course also need a diaper bag. I’d say definitely go with a backpack style so you can more easily hold it AND your squirmy baby. We went with the Skip Hop Forma, which is fine, but I’d go with the Swish Baby if I could go back.

As far as diaper pails go, you may or not feel you need one. We were so lucky to be gifted the Ubbi diaper pail off of our registry, but we did eventually stop using it. Our apartment is so small that we found it was easier to just put the diaper into our regular garbage can. Of course, if you do this, you’ll want to take your garbage out very regularly. 😉 If you do decide to get a diaper pail, the Ubbi is the cream of the crop!

Bathing

We went with a basic baby tub with infant sling, but found it pretty cumbersome. Today, I would get this adorable Blooming Baby flower thing for bathing babies 0-6 months in the sink and the cute and compact Schnuggle Baby Bathtub for when baby gets bigger. We also discovered this hard to find (Read: not on Amazon) bath seat by Keter while we were in Germany and highly recommend using it until you’re comfortable putting your munchkin directly into the big tub.

Don’t forget to add some super soft hooded towels to your registry and some nice lightweight washcloths like these by Spasilk. You’ll need some soap/ shampoo, so go with this nice gift set by Burt’s Bees that also includes lotion, diaper rash ointment, buttermilk soap and keepsake box. Also, grab some rubber duckies, any of these awesome looking bath toys, a faucet cover and a bath tub toy caddy.

We obsessively measured the bath temperature in the beginning, and I’m thinking you’ll want to as well, so put one of these bath thermometers in your registry.

Now that you have everything you need for bathing your munchkin and for those middle of the night poop-splosions, check out Part 4 all about feeding that hungry little munchkin!

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“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 2 (Clothing)

After reading Part 1 of this series on compiling the perfect baby registry, you feel confident that you have everything you need for you (ha!) and baby to get a great night’s sleep as well as the right gear for getting around town with your little one. Now let’s discuss everything you need for dressing your munchkin.

Sleep Sacks and Blankets

I’ve put sleep sacks first in this post because they are SOOOO important. I’m sure you’ve heard all about swaddling babies for safe and comfortable sleeping, and if you’re like me, you’re terrified that you won’t be able to do it correctly. My advice to you is… don’t do it! Why swaddle with swaddling blankets, when the Miracle Blanket and the Halo Sleepsack exist? I highly recommend getting two miracle blankets and using them for as long as your little monkey still fits in them (probably for the first 3-4 months) and then using Halo Sleepsacks. You might as well get at least one Halo in each size (Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large). You’ll be so sad when munchkin no longer wears a sleepsack. I mean, look at Pookie as a burrito baby in the Miracle Blanket and then as a flying squirrel in his Halo Sleepsack.

While you may not use them as swaddles, you should definitely get several multi-purpose muslin swaddle blankets. I like the Aden and Anais blankets and recommend getting no fewer than 3 of them.

Pajamas

Pookie lived in footie pajamas his first few months. My mom was always saying, “When are you gonna put clothes on that baby?!” I was thinking, “Aren’t pajamas clothes?” Anyway, he was very cozy in his pajamas, and I highly recommend getting at least five in the 0-3 month size and a few in the 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 month sizes. The Babysoy pajamas were by far our favorite. We also liked the Carters Sleep N Play pajamas that snap or zip down the middle. But once I realized that most brands don’t make footie pajamas beyond the 9-12 month size, I panicked and, after much searching, found Leveret pajamas. Now, this is all we buy, and since they make footie pajamas all the way through toddler size 5, these are all you’ll ever need.

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Actual Clothes

When I did my in-store consultation at Buy Buy Baby, my consultant insisted I needed a billion white onesies of the short-sleeve, long-sleeve and sleeveless varieties. But, why??????? I did get them, but I barely used them because why ever go with plain white, when you can always go with something adorable? So, my advice here is… chill out on the white onesies. I suppose a pack like this in each size is a good idea for layering, but no need to go overboard.

And then go overboard on different colored and patterned onesies and pants. Don’t get too much clothing in the newborn or 0-3 sizes because your nugget really will be in pajamas all the time in the beginning. For each of the 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 month sizes, get around 5-7 short sleeve and long sleeve onesies, 5 pairs of pants and a few sweaters/ hoodies/ cardigans. I personally didn’t find the side snap/ kimono onesies necessary since our munchkin lived in pajamas while he still had his umbilical stump, but if you think you’ll need them, Aden and Anais makes these and they look so nice! If you’re having a girl, of course go nuts on dresses and tutus (I try to ignore that adorable stuff since I probably shouldn’t put them on Pookie).

I recommend Gap and Old Navy for clothes. They have cute stuff and amazing sales. Amazon and Target have an amazing clothing selection as well. People also love Zara and H&M. Remember that you can easily put clothing items from Gap, Old Navy, Zara, etc. into your Amazon Universal Registry if you install the Amazon Assistant button on your browser.

You can also try subscribing to Target’s Cat & Jack™ Baby Outfit Box, which is basically like Stitch Fix for babies. I haven’t tested it out, but it seems like a lot of fun! When you sign up, you receive 7 surprise clothing items in your baby’s current size. You keep what you want and return what you don’t want, and then you automatically receive a new box for the next season and size. I think it’s a great idea. If you’ve tried it, let me know about it in the comments below.

Hats, Socks, Mittens, Shoes, Jackets, Snowsuits

We love Pookie’s super warm 7am Enfant hat. The mittens haven’t been so helpful since he absolutely refuses to keep them on, but maybe you’ll have better luck! You also can’t go wrong with one of these cut knit hats with EARS (!!) from Gap.

Get these awesome scratch mittens by Goumikids that actually stay on.

It’s amazing the amount of time I’ve spent looking for socks for Pookie. But I always end up coming back to Old Navy’s great 8-packs of socks, so I’d say get some of those!

It took me forever to find shoes that fit Pookie’s extra fat feet, but you can’t go wrong with shoes by Old Soles and Stride Rite.

Depending on where you live, you may need a baby jacket (I like North Face) or even a snowsuit. Carter’s has this nice solution that combines both.

Now go have a blast filling your registry with these Pookie-approved things and whatever other fun clothing items you find!

Next up: Part 3 (Diapering and Bathing)

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I think he looks like an astronaut ready for lift off here in his 7am Enfant hat.

“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 1 (Mobility and Bedding)

When you’re expecting your first little one, it’s exciting to create your baby registry, but it’s also frustrating. You’ve never done it before, so how would you know which stroller will fit your lifestyle best or which nursing pillow makes life easiest? I will go over the best of the best in each category and tell you what you can leave off your list as well! I hope this helps you create your perfect baby registry!

First comes first: where to register? I registered at BuyBuyBaby and Amazon, which was fine, but looking back, I think the winning combination is… drum roll… Amazon and Target. I had no issues with BuyBuyBaby, but I definitely got a bit jelly when I checked out a couple of my friends’ Target registries. A good barometer is the fact that these two stores continue to provide me with everything I need for Pookie, so it makes sense that they would’ve been a great place to start! Start your registry at Amazon and Target today!

In-store consultation- useful or a waste of time?

I had an in-store consultation at BuyBuyBaby, which I found a bit fun, but also annoying. I definitely felt pressured into registering for things I didn’t need and ended up indeed not needing. So, if you do go for this kind of thing, do it just for fun, and don’t let them pressure you into registering for silly crap!

Let’s get started!

Part 1: Mobility and Bedding

This sounds like a strange combo, right? Well, you’ll see why it makes sense!

Stroller

One of our favorite and most used registry items has to be our UPPAbaby Vista stroller, which comes with a bassinet for the first six or so months (when baby should lay flat) and a toddler seat (for when baby has more neck control). It also comes with a rain shield and bug net. As a stroller, I think it’s perfect. It’s got incredible wheels for handling whack sidewalks. You can even jog with this stroller, and you never have to inflate the wheels! It takes the cake when it comes to storage space, which is key if you live in a walkable city and plan to do a lot of shopping on foot with baby. But here’s the kicker…

It doubles as an actual bassinet! Pookie was so cozy in the bassinet that we used it as his bed. You can get the UPPAbaby bassinet stand for it, and voilà, it’s a bed! In my opinion, there is no real need to get a separate bassinet when you have this stroller, especially if you live in a shoebox!

Oh, and for those fun pee, puke or worse accidents, get an extra mattress cover for the bassinet mattress! That came in handy many times for us!

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Here is Pookie snoozing away in the UPPAbaby bassinet. Here we didn’t even bother putting it on the stand.

Co-Sleepers, if you insist

Ok, let’s face it. For the first few months of your baby’s life, your main obsession is how can we all get some sleep, so if you have the space, you might also want the following items: the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper and the DockATot. The HALO sleeper is perfect for those middle of the night feedings because baby is right next to you without being IN bed with you. You can (duh!) swivel her so that she practically is in bed with you, but not. For the HALO, you’ll also want to get a mattress pad and some fitted sheets. And then there’s the DockATot! Even if you insist that baby will never be in bed with you, chances are it’ll happen in the middle of the occasional desperate, sleepless night, and when it does, you’ll be happy to have the DockATot! I mean, wouldn’t you love to sleep in that thing? It’s basically a super cozy little docking station for your baby to sleep more safely in bed with you or to feel cozy and happy when being transitioned into the crib. My friends who have this are obsessed! (I think they’re just living vicariously through their baby! It looks that comfortable!)

Crib

Here’s an important tip. Don’t even think about getting a mini crib!! We got one, thinking… actually, I don’t know what we were thinking. It was a total waste! Pookie became too big for it in no time, and we had to get a regular crib, which we had to get either way. Take my advice, when it comes to cribs, just go for the full sized crib. If you want a sleek (small-ish footprint) crib, go for the Bloom Alma Papa Crib. We love ours!

Mattress and other bedding necessities

I had a super difficult time selecting a mattress. Of course, we wanted the best, most hypo-allergenic, non-toxic, organic mattress possible without having to spend a fortune, and, after hours of research, we went with the Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Eco Friendlier Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton Cover. What a mouthful! Don’t forget sheets (any will do, but these by Burt’s Bees look so nice, and they’re organic!) and an organic mattress protector like this.

So, I know a lot of sites say not to get a bumper, but I disagree! Pookie kept bumping his head on the bars of his crib and getting a foot or hand stuck between them. Before we got our bumper, out of desperation, we wound a towel between the bars because we didn’t want him to hurt himself, but then said “this is stupid. Let’s get a bumper.” Good decision. We got the BreathableBaby Breathable Mesh Crib Liner, which I guess is called a “crib liner” because the word “bumper” has become so taboo, but it’s essentially a lightweight bumper that baby can breathe through if indeed she buries her entire face in it, which she likely won’t do anyway. We love it, and, since we got the safari print, we have fun every morning talking to Pookie about the “mommy monkey and baby monkey,” etc.

I recommend also getting a sound machine for your munchkin’s room. We LOVE and absolutely recommend the Mybaby Soundspa Sound Machine AND Projector. We use it every night, for naps and we travel with it! We use the rain setting as his “white noise” when he sleeps, we use the songs like “twinkle twinkle” sometimes when he wants a little music before bed, and we use the projector function just for some fun. He loves it!

Car seat

As you know, you need an infant car seat in order to leave the hospital. We borrowed the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat from a friend and found it convenient. It connects to the UPPAbaby stroller without an adapter, so for quick shopping trips or if baby falls asleep in the car and you don’t want to transfer him into the stroller, just pop the car seat onto the stroller base, and you’re good to go!

Once Pookie grew out of the Mesa, we got a Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat and are very happy with it. Pookie approves too.

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This was back when the Pookster still fit in the UPPAbaby infant car seat. Look at those cheeks!

Second Stroller

Most people can’t get away with just one stroller. We wanted to get a light-weight stroller for traveling, for taking Pookie on the subway and for quick errands. We got the Maclaren Mark II, and while it is ultra light and does the job, if we could have a do-over, we’d get something else. I would go with the Babyzen 2017 Yoyo Stroller. I like it because it folds up super compact and light, but it is also sturdy and easy to push. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to the slightest bump, I’m just not sure how to get the Maclaren over it, or up stairs for that matter! It’s pricey, but it’s worth it since you’ll actually use it! We don’t use our Maclaren, and it was also expensive!

Baby Carrier

So, Pookie hated each and every baby carrier that we tried (and we tried SO many!), but I think that’s because we didn’t put him in it earlier enough. Either way, if I could do it all over again, I’d go with the LILLEBaby Six-Position All Season Carrier, and I’d put him in it as early a possible. One of my friends who has two kids and has tried many carriers swears by this one, and Mommyhood101 rates it as the #1 carrier. This is the one to get! 🙂

Extras

For the UPPAbaby Vista, you’ll want to get the snack tray! It’s great for meals or snacks on the go. And of course you need a parent organizer/ cup holder like this one.

And you of course need a mobile for your baby’s crib. We have a giraffe theme going on in our family, so we got a giraffe one, and Pookie loves it.

For frigid winters, you absolutely must get a 7am Enfant 212 Evolution Blanket with matching Warmmuffs to keep your hands toasty. These are necessities! With the blanket, which is really a bunting, you don’t have to bundle up your baby with crazy layers only to have to take them all off each time you enter a joint. And, most babies hate snowsuits! Well, at least Pookie does! And the Warmmuffs are truly the best invention since sliced bread!

Lastly, you’ll also want a bunting for your infant car seat. The JJ Cole Bundleme works great!

Let me know if I’ve left out any bedding and mobility registry must-haves and if you agree or disagree with my recommendations! Stay tuned for Part 2 of “If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry!

 

What to Do When Your Toddler Becomes Obsessed with Your Smartphone

Let’s face it. Our little ones want to be just like us, so they copy what we do and have a strong desire to explore the things we use on a daily basis, be it the pots and pans, our make-up bag, the remote control and, above all else, our smartphones. The fact that most of us are addicted to our smartphones can make our toddlers downright obsessed.

You’ve likely read about the negative effects of screen time on children, and you thus try your best to keep it to a minimum. You are right to do so, for the latest research shows that smartphone use can impair children’s development, can lead to behavior problems and can even be as addictive as a gram of cocaine in older children. What?!

Well-meaning articles tell you that if you don’t want your child staring at a screen, then you need to put down your devices as well. While this is excellent advice, we all know that it isn’t always possible. Perhaps there is an important phone call that we cannot ignore or an email that we absolutely must send out, and so on and so on. Here I will give you tips that work, but that are also reasonable in 2018.  

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I know I said that my tips would be reasonable, but I had to start by saying that the less your toddler sees your smartphone, tablet or laptop, the less opportunity they have to use it.

My best advice here is to try your best to keep your smartphone accessible to you but out of sight for your kiddo. Keep it in your pocket or your bra or inside of your purse or diaper bag, behind a pillow or under a book, etc. Get creative with your hiding spots.

When possible, try to schedule calls and check email during nap time or after bedtime. I don’t know about you, but I can focus much better when I don’t have a Pookie pointing at my phone and screaming his head off. If you must answer a phone call during waking hours, try using speakerphone, headphones or better yet, wireless headphones (RR just got me these, and I LOVE them!!) so that you can take the call without having that sexy phone attached to your ear. When emailing or texting, voice recognition software can also prove quite helpful.

Distraction

We’ve all been there. You tried my first set of tips, but I promised to be realistic, and I know that those don’t always work. So, despite your best efforts at hiding the coveted devices, your little dude or dudette has spotted the phone or tablet and may even have it in hand. What to do now.

Your go-to first option should be distraction. Take the device away, put it out of sight and offer another tantalizing toy. Is there such a thing? Hopefully. Try a kids toy smartphone, for example. This one has worked well for us. Keep it hidden until you suddenly need it. The best case scenario: your child falls for it! But if that doesn’t work (for me, this does not always work!), try some other distractions. Tickle her, play “flying baby,” say the word “smoosh” over and over (Pookie loves this for some reason). Do that thing that always gets her to laugh. Develop your arsenal of distractions.

If none of these work, offer her something a bit more exciting. Perhaps it’s time to get outside. If possible, head to a playground or just step outside for a walk.  I hope for you and your kid’s sake that the playground trumps the iPhone. 

Replacement

It isn’t always possible to drop everything and go to a playground. Maybe it’s raining or freezing outside. When all else fails, you may find it helpful to give them extremely limited “use” of an old smartphone. I have an old iPhone 5 lying around, and I occasionally turn to it for help when I’ve tried all of my other tricks (and if I’m feeling lazy). I keep the wi-fi turned off and lower the brightness of the screen and allow him to play with it for no more than 5 minutes. This way, he gets to use that bright and shiny object but quickly realizes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be without FaceTime or videos. He most often abandons it before his 5 minutes have passed.

Tough Love

Perhaps you’re worried about research that recommends strictly forbidding screen time for children under 2, and you would rather not give her even those 5 minutes. Then it may be time to practice some good old tough love. Take the device away if she has gotten ahold of it. She may cry, but just hold her and explain to her why it is not allowed, tell her you love her and move on.

As our lives become increasingly intertwined with our smartphones, it will become even more difficult to limit screen time. Stay strong, and help your fellow parents by sharing your own tips in the comments below!

 

How (and How Not) to Fly with a 14-Month-Old

Having had good experiences flying with Pookie at 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 11 months, we still could not be sure that flying with a 14 month-old would go smoothly, but I must say, it was not bad at all.

TIMING We could not have timed it any better. Our flight left at 10am – right when Pookie would be ready for his first nap. When I say ready, I mean very ready, but of course not too ready. So, as soon as the plane took off, we put him on his nursing pillow (I still use one even though I am no longer nursing) and gave him his bottle. He went right to sleep and slept for roughly an hour. The nursing pillow (specifically the My Brest Friend) was key because it gave him a comfortable place to stretch out on and helped him get to sleep and stay asleep. It’s more comfortable for me as well. Let’s put it this way: it’s an absolute necessity.

FOOD When he woke up, we gave him his lunch of dry whole wheat elbow pasta (I almost put sauce on it, but then promptly decided against it), cut-up buffalo mozzarella, grape tomatoes and berries. The pasta worked perfectly because by giving him one noodle at a time, it took a long time for him to eat, which is a great thing when all you’re trying to do is kill time and prevent him from realizing that he is done with this whole plane business.

ENTERTAINMENT We made an incredibly stupid rookie mistake and did not bring any toys with us. When I realized that, I panicked and bought a small book at the airport. He ended up really not being interested in it, which was no problem in the end since the flight from NYC to New Orleans only takes 3 hours or less. He was entertained by things like sitting like a big boy in our seats, crawling up and down the aisle and meeting the other passengers. For a longer flight though, whatever you do, DO NOT forget to bring some favorite toys.

EAR PAIN We made another dumb mistake and forgot to bring a second bottle, which we really needed to give him during landing. I’m sure you’ve heard that if a baby breastfeeds or sucks on a bottle during take-off and landing, it helps prevent the pain of pressure in babies’ ears. Towards the end of the flight, he started becoming fussy and we weren’t sure why. Then I realized my ears were killing me, so he must also have pressure in his ears. We desperately asked the flight attendant for some milk to put in his bottle, and, um, THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY! WHAT???? We tried giving him his sippy cup with water in it, but that didn’t do the trick since he wouldn’t sip on it for long. We finally found a solution. We put his water in his bottle and he sucked on that for the remainder of the flight, and that seemed to unplug his ears. Phew! So, learn from our mistake, and always bring at least two bottles!

Overall, the flight went well, and we feel confident that the next one will go more smoothly.