Baby Gear Essentials – My Must Haves

Baby Gear Essentials
DockATot, The Ollie World Swaddle, Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock, and Lillebaby tie the knot wrap are some of the baby gear essentials on my must have list.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here.If you’ve been following me on my Instagram, you’ve seen that it’s been a pretty exciting pregnancy.  We made it to 37 weeks! Something completely new as both of my boys were born at or before 37 weeks.  Now that this baby could make her appearance some time soon, I feel like I need to buckle down and grab some baby gear essentials.  I’ve been gathering some of my favorite items that I’ve been eyeing for some time.  (Please note that this post is sponsored but all opinions are my own.  This post also includes affiliate and referral links).

Some of my must have baby gear essentials
Some of my must have baby gear essentials – DockATot, Binxy Baby, LÍLLÉbaby tie the knot wrap, and The Ollie World Swaddle.

 

DockAtot

The DockATot has been something that I have had my eye on since my second pregnancy.  They have two sizes – Deluxe (the one pictured above and below) for 0-8 months and Grand 9-36 months.  I’ve heard such good things about DockATot not only from social media and blogs but from friends as well.  I’ve heard how this has helped with sleep for not only baby but for parents.  Let’s face it, the newborn phase includes A LOT of late nights and early mornings.  I honestly wish I purchased one during my second pregnancy because W was a horrible sleeper.

The DockATot is OEKO-TEX certified, all natural and 100% cotton, and has been tested for breathability.  I’m excited to use this as it is considered a multi-functional lounger – for co-sleeping and playtime.  Not to mention that this will be easy for me to take from room to room either to place either on the bed or on the floor.  I can’t wait to see little E all cozy in this!

DockATot Deluxe+
DockATot Deluxe+ Dock in Pristine White.

The Deluxe+ in Pristine White is currently sold out on their website BUT have a selection of Docks and cover sets to choose from ready for purchase.  There are also a number of accessories that you can purchase for your DockATot such as toys/toy arches and travel bags.

Want $10 off a DockATot? Click here.

Please note that the DockATot is not recommended to be placed in a crib or bassinet.  Additional safety tips are listed on the DockATot site.

 

The Ollie World Swaddle
Swaddling, especially during the newborn phase, saved me plenty of times.  My babies always felt their coziest while swaddled.  I mean, who doesn’t like a cute baby burrito?

The Ollie World Swaddle
The Ollie Swaddle – Lavender

Just the packaging itself is something to be excited for.  The color is completely beautiful and the material is soft and feels like it is light and has a lot of breathability. The velcro allows this to grow with baby which I feel is a big plus.  The swaddles I’ve previously used only last past a certain growth month and I would then have to purchase another one to fit my baby.  There is also an opening at the bottom to help with diaper changes.  It comes in three different colors to choose from.  This lavender one is perfect and I can’t wait to see E swaddled in it!

Want $10 off on an Ollie Swaddle? Click here.

 

Binxy Baby
Shopping with three young kids, just that whole cart situation with fitting the kids and items I’m shopping for, already has me a little nervous.

Binxy Baby - Shopping Cart Hammock
Binxy Baby – Shopping Cart Hammock – Full Bloom

I’ve been hearing good things about Binxy Baby.  Not only can you have baby laying it in (recommended for 6-8 month old babies for this) you can also play your car seat in the hammock for easy car to cart transition.  I honestly am still terrified of that first shopping experience with the three kids but knowing that I can use this shopping cart hammock does provide some ease for me.  I’m already in love with the print, because I feel like you can never have enough florals.  The material used feels really strong and sturdy so that provides comfort knowing that I can put our carseat on here and it will be fully supported.

Want $10 off on a Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock? Click here.

 

LÍLLÉbaby
I’ve been a fan of baby wearing since having my first child so of course I’m going to continue doing so with this baby.  Being able to baby wear has helped not only with the closeness between a mother and child for me but has also helped with getting things done.  Let’s face it, as a mom, even if you have one or three kids, you need to be able to do so many things at once.  Baby wearing helped me so much after having my second child because I was chasing a toddler at the time.  I’ll be doing the same thing this time around and chasing a pre-schooler.  A baby carrier, whether a wrap or sling, is definitely a baby essential.

LÍLLÉbaby Tie the Knot Wrap
LÍLLÉbaby – Tie the Knot Wrap in Blushing Pink

I’ve tried various wraps, carriers, and different brands and I’m excited to try the LÍLLÉbaby because again, I’ve heard such good things.  The material is incredibly soft and lightweight.  I absolutely love the color.  I bought a lot of gender neutral carriers in anticipation of someday having a girl. It’s nice to add a little bit of girly-colors into my baby gear mix for this little one.

Want $10 off a LÍLLÉbaby carrier? Click here.

Be sure to check back for individual reviews once baby girl makes her debut!  So excited to try all these products with her!

The Daunting Task: Raising the Future.

The Daunting Task of Raising the Future

You’re raising the future.

That statement alone is not only scary to read but to say as well.  with such recent events like the Orlando shooting and the Stanford rapist’s sentence it especially feels daunting.  I’ll admit that with what my family and I have recently gone through, watching and reading the news about those recent events has left me even more anxious and some what paranoid.

Getting into a car with them, I worry because I know I can drive as safe as I possibly can but I can’t be sure how other people will drive.  I worry about going to the store with my boys, worried that some one could just appear with a gun (or a number of them) and just start shooting people without a care.

Believe me, I don’t want to think this way.  I don’t want to feel so anxious that I let it overcome me and don’t take my kids out because it means driving in a car.  I don’t want to feel suspicious of people around me while I shop or go to an amusement park with my kids.  I want to cry that this is the world I’m raising my children in. A world where there are many that only see color, gender, sexual preference, or religion as means to judge people.  A world where we do not see people as humans.

I want to inspire my children to see people as humans.  As individuals with different perspectives.  Individual humans with emotions.  I want them to see that each individual human comes from a different background and upbringing.  They have had situations and experiences that have shaped them to be such individuals.  I really hope that they see that individual humans that have more to offer than their outward appearance.

I know there will be a day where I can't walk behind them or hold them close to my hip to protect them
I know there will be a day where I can’t walk behind them or hold them close to my hip to protect them.

Raising the future? More of, how do I envision my children to be like in the future?  Happy, independent, hard working, and well mannered of course.  I also want them to be decent human beings.

I know that I can only instill as much kindness, understanding, strength, and human decency as I possibly can starting the day they began growing in me. They have made me not only feeling blessed that God has given me the ability to care for them in the womb but help shape them as individuals as well.  I try my best to be mindful in not only how I react to situations as a mama but to others as well.  I see them carefully watching my facial expressions, my reactions, and my body language when I interact with people.  I want them to see that each person deserves compassion and understanding even if it may not seem like it all the time.  I hope that they reflect how they would like to be treated by others outward so it is reflected right back to them.

We’re definitely raising the future. A future that I hope is filled with more compassion, understanding, and light.

signed, dee

Keeping Mama Guilt in Check / Mighty Mamas – Week 2

Keeping Mama Guilt in Check

Mama guilt.  I think it’s fair to say that any mama has felt some type of guilt.  We’re pulled in so many directions.  However often we’re going back and forth between doing whatever we possibly can for our children to trying to have our own sense of identity besides the title of Mom/Ma/Mama.

Image from littleandmighty.com
Image from littleandmighty.com

This week the Mighty Mamas were asked: How do you deal with or keep mama guilt in check? 

 

This is something I’m still trying to figure out and learning to not hold on to. I sometimes see the mama guilt as an extension of the love I feel for my kids. I love them so much that more often than not I put them first. I remind myself that in order to be the best possible mama for my children I need to take care of myself too. Remembering that there needs to be a balance of Mama, wife, and self time is necessary.

This has been incredibly crucial for me while dealing with PPD.  I often hate taking time away from my kids to focus on therapy.  At the same time I know that this is what I need to do not only for myself but my boys too.  I only have a few years under my belt as a Mama, so I feel like I’m just beginning still trying to get my bearings on things.

Sometimes not everything gets done like the chores.  I’ve learned that it’s okay.  Sometimes I feel unhappy with how I could change how I handled something months before.  I’ve learned that motherhood is a learning process and it’s okay.  Sometimes I feel bad for wanting time to myself away from the kids.  I’ve learned, this is more than okay and is necessary.

How do you try to keep the mama guilt in check?

Be sure to check out what the other Mighty Mamas have to say on the Little & Mighty blog and share your thoughts there too!

signed, dee

These Mighty Mamas.

Image from littleandmighty.com
Image from littleandmighty.com

“Welcome to Mighty Mamas, an ongoing series where mamas share their candid and raw thoughts on motherhood. Our intention is to create a supportive forum for sharing without judgment. Mamas are so mighty and we are using that strength to build a powerful group of wonderful women who believe in motherhood.”

I’m excited to be a part of this next series of Mighty Mamas!  Head on over to the Little & Mighty blog to read more about myself and the 9 other Mamas in the series.  While you’re there, check out the Little & Mighty apparel too!

signed, dee

Life Lessons I’ve learned in Mamahood (so far).

I haven’t been in a Mama for too long but having two kids fairly close in age has been a real learning experience for me.  So far it has been crazy, humbling, and empowering all at once.  I know I have a lot more to learn and many of this has been said before but they’ve been replaying in my head more often as of late:

You have no one to impress.
With my first, I always felt like my every Mama-move was being watched. It isn’t a competition over who gets to milestones first.  For me, it’s about how can I keep nurturing my child for his benefit.  It’s also about understanding that children are individuals that learn at their own pace and time.  I’ve learned to go with the flow with certain things. Not necessarily give my son full reins in this parent-child relationship but listen and watch him for cues on how to communicate and connect with him.  My focus is my children and not impressing anyone.

Taking a stand is important.
Everyone seems to have the “right way” to swaddle a baby, hold a baby, feed a baby, etc.  Not to say that some of the advice offered doesn’t work but it’s all about taking it under consideration.  It’s one thing to have advice offered and another to be told how you should parent.  I’ve learned to take a stand for what I feel is best for my child.  This has made me appreciate everyone’s motherhood/parenthood journey.  Everyone has something that works for their child.  It may not work for you but that’s okay.  Just because someone insists on a particualr technique does not mean you have to so it.  In this sense, becoming a mama has made me some what of a stronger person.  I know my babies well, and so far have had pretty darn good intuition on what works and won’t for them.

Everyone is going through their OWN mamahood journey.
I think it becomes easy to judge a Mama with the kid having a meltdown at the store.  I’ve had my fair share of meltdown moments already with my toddler at the store.  I have had a mixture of the frowning Mamas to the nod of sympathy.  Everyone’s mamahood journey is different and while it is easy to make assumptions, it’s better to lend an understanding hand.  It’s hard to say what exactly a Mama is going through that very moment a publicized meltdown occurs.  They could have had a teething baby that didn’t sleep the night before,  a partner that is deployed, dealing with PPD, or a combination of so many other things.  Honestly, who has not experienced their child have a meltdown at least once at the store or other public area?

Asking for help is more than okay.
Sometimes you can’t do it all.  As someone that was so accustomed to doing things on her own and in her own terms, this was a large humbling pill to swallow once I became a mama.  This was something I really has to accept during my last pregnancy when complications occurred.  Mamahood can be very lonely, especially when it’s your first child, being surrounded by supportive people often helps. Asking for help does not make you less of a person and there will be people more than happy to help.  It will be a testament to how many people not only love your child dearly but you as well.

Whatever is going on, it will pass.
I’ve had too many nights where for whatever reason one of the kids does not want to sleep.  Nap time seems non-existent, everything I do doesn’t seem to help stop the baby from crying, or sometimes the only way I can get my toddler to do anything is talk like a pirate (the entire freakin’ day).  It’s hard to remember, during the moments of pure exhaustion or helplessness, but it will pass.  Sure you’ll have a new set of things to worry over or become exhausted from but it usually leads to some pretty great moments.  Currently, we have a teething baby and it’s leading to some pretty exhausting days and sleepless nice.  I’m reminding myself that a smile with some cute little baby teeth will be approaching.

Forgiveness is needed and more than once.
Sometimes you just mess up. You forget to buy baby wipes and diapers. You didn’t wash any of the bottles. An extra change of clothes was not packed in the diaper bag.  You spilled 6 oz. of breastmilk you just pumped. Okay, maybe the last one is a little hard to forgive yourself for but things happen. It isn’t always a perfect motherhood journey. You end up googling things and scaring yourself. Doubts creep into your thoughts and can leave you questioning everything.  The thing is, your baby loves you no matter what.  That smile they give you once they see you tells you everything you need to know.  You’re doing a good job and they love you dearly.  Be gentle with yourself because honestly you are doing the best you can.

Unplug and detach.
Sometimes you don’t need to have your phone or camera ready to document things.  Not everything needs to be shared on social media. There are certain things that seem so much sweeter when in the moment.  It’s a nod to being more present and less attached to devices.  As much as I love documenting a lot of moments with photos and videos, the times I remember most and always seem to look back on are ones where my phone or camera is not in my hand.

I’m sure I’m going to add to this list sooner rather than later.  It’s a nice reminder for myself as I type this all out.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in mamahood or parenthood?

You got mail…from the President?

Little mister was able to get a presidential greeting from the POTUS and FLOTUS.
Little mister was able to get a presidential greeting from the POTUS and FLOTUS.

 

When I saw an acquaintance post a photo of a wedding greeting from the President of the United Staes and First Lady of the United States, I decided to see if they did birth greetings.  In addition to wedding greetings, you can request greetings for wedding anniversaries, retirements, birthdays, and oh yes, birth greetings.  Who wouldn’t want to get mail from the President let alone a Presidential greeting?

I remember getting so excited when O received his first piece of mail.  Mind you it was from the Social Security Administration and contained his social security card but I was excited.  I know, I know, babies are so young, they don’t know how to read, why get excited about mail?  I’m a sentimental, I love firsts, almost all kinds.  I also like saving any firsts that I can.  The first outfit for a holiday, the first pair of shoes O walked in, the first drawing O made, well you get the idea.

You can’t just request a card from the POTUS for anything.  There are specific guidelines (as stated on the site):

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Birth greetings are only available within a year of the baby’s birth date.
  • Birthday greetings are for those that are celebrating a birthday that is 80 years or greater. However for Veterans it starts at 70 years of age.
  • Retirement greetings are for service of 20 years or longer.
  • Wedding greetings should be made at least 6 weeks in advanced of the wedding date.
  • Wedding anniversary greetings are done for 50 years or greater and also must be requested 6 weeks in advance.

I only provided an overview there are other specifics that you can check out here.

I do wish they had a greeting for those adopting because I would assume that is just as much of a joyous event as a birth!  So new moms or soon-to-be parents go and request your presidential greeting.  Bear in mind it does take awhile for you to receive the card.  I requested mine in January and received it a few days ago.

I’ll be keeping W’s in his memory box.  I’m not sure if he’ll appreciate it but I still think it’s pretty darn cool to get mail from the POTUS!

 

Never Too Close for Comfort

Baby wearing

Disclaimer: The thoughts below are my own.  I was not paid or offered anything in return for writing a review.

Just like with my first, I knew that I wanted to baby wear.  I was not happy with the K’Taan that I used with my first and child number 1 definitely did not enjoy it either.  I spent months researching slings and wraps and had settled for a wrap that I found through Instagram.  As much as I am happy with the Sollybaby wrap I purchased, I wanted something that I could throw on a little quicker.  I also wanted to have a backup to throw in my bag.  The experiences of forgetting the one and only wrap I had with my first child have forever haunted me (store runs without a wrap never turned out well!).

Like the Sollybaby wrap, I stumbled upon My Wild Bird through Instagram.  The My Wild Bird slings are much more affordable than other wraps that I had found.  What essentially drew me in to purchase one was the About section.   Taylor’s explanation was straightforward, honest, and just relatable.  I always find that I am the happiest with products that are in the small shop business.  You just know that there is a lot of hard work, time, and soul put into the product.

For me, especially after going through Postpartum depression with my first, being able to read words that I can relate to is a big thing.  I guess also just knowing that you’re either not alone or crazy in your motherhood research of baby wearing or breastfeeding is completely valid helps! It’s a strange feeling to know that this little human was growing in your belly for months and now you can hold them in your arms.  Being able to wear him is giving me as much comfort as it does for him.  The ability to chase after Child number 1 with ease also helps too!