Mom Finds: The latest and greatest in baby gear!

So, what’s a girl to do when one of her best friends (and fellow media chicks) is having a baby and about to go on maternity leave? Throw her an on-air baby segment, of course!

I’ve been at this mommyhood thing for almost 5 years now, and know just how daunting the world of baby gear can be. I can still remember walking in to register at Buy Buy Baby, and saying to myself, “oh gosh, can someone just do this for me?!”

I’ve come to discover what really is essential in the baby gear game, and what products are sure winners. I also have discovered new products (or innovations to my old favs), that are definitely worthy of sharing.

Here’s to you and baby-to-be, Elisa DiStefano!

Fisher Price Rock n Play : This thing is a lifesaver! Sleeper, rocker, seat, and all around baby whisper. Both my babies spent the majority of their first 3 months of life in one of these things, even sleeping in it next to the bed (it’s the perfect height) at night. There’s just something about the way it holds baby, that calms and comforts them, and totally saves mom! Fisher Price just came out with the Smart Connect Auto Rock n Play version, where you can actually control the rocker from your smart phone (yay!), but even the most basic version is a dream for mom & baby. A must have indeed!

aden+anais: You’ve likely seen these muslin blankets around town or in pictures of your favorite baby. They are a staple in the baby world, adorable and super functional. They’re pricier than the average blanket, but so worth it (every new mom must own at least one pack!) They now come in a variety of fabrics & sweet prints, and the breathability and large size are perfect for swaddling, covering strollers on a hot summer day, using as a nursing cover, or simply using as something comfy to lay baby on. Travel friendly, soft & cozy, functional and oh-so-adorable. Check out their amazing sleep sacks as well!

Quick Zip: Speaking of bedtime, these innovative crib sheets are a must-have! Until you’re a new mom or dad, you don’t know the struggle of the standard crib sheet (those bumpers are barriers!!) Luckily, quick zip makes it super easy to change baby’s bedding (no matter what time of day or night!) It’s a patented two-piece fitted sheet with a base and a zip-on sheet, so when the top sheet gets soiled, it’s a simple zip and change (no struggling with getting it around the mattress.) Genius.


Mixie: Another innovation that I wasn’t aware of until recently. When I started supplementing formula for Bray, I realized what a pain it was to have to carry a bottle with water and the formula separately. I thought that there had to be a better way, and even thought about creating an all-in-one myself. First step, seeing if it had been done already… and it had! Enter Mixie– this amazing innovative bottle system stores the formula and water separately, but in the same bottle. All you need to do is press the bottom when ready (pop!), mix it up and you have a bottle ready in seconds. Plus all the pieces come apart for easy cleaning.  There goes my million dollar idea. Great minds think alike.

Skip Hop: This company makes great baby products! A must have is their stroller organizer, that easily leaves a spot for mom to store her cell phone, keys and that (ever needed) coffee while strolling with baby.  Also, my favorite diaper bag ever is the Skip Hop Versa Bag. It seems they have a diaper bag for everyone, and their newest version The Highline combines high style (that’s Elisa!) with function.

We also featured some Baby Ganics essentials, and the stylish JJ Cole Freeman Bag in this segment!

Britax Advocate car seat:  I’m all about keeping it simple, and Britax has made life easier with their new Advocate Click Tight Convertible Car Seat. Super duper easy to install (did you know that up to 75% of car seats are not installed properly?) Simply pull the seat belt through the seat, press to click tight, and voila! Plus it has three layers of side impact protection for baby so it’s super safe, easily adjusts with the press of a button, has amazing comforts, and the ability to use it forward or backward facing! And, check out how stylish!!

Baby Zen Yoyo Stroller : OMG, where was this when I was buying a stroller? Compact, sexy and super functional, this top of the line stroller is so travel friendly it’s beyond amazing! Portability partners with luxury in this smart stroller that includes padded seats, a 5 point harness, a great canopy, storage underneath, and more, AND it is still compact enough to fit into a tote and go. Ah-mazing. Truly.





Summer Days (& a power packed homemade baby food recipe.)

Summer is upon us in full force, and I can’t believe how quickly the time is going. July is almost gone, and the steamy days, and lush full beauty of summer are fully at our doorstep. (I almost just wrote lazy days of summer, but c’mon, who am I joking. I have a 4 year old and 8 month old!)

20160719_184500Our summer days are full and fun, whether spending hours on the playground and exploring all the city has to offer, or lounging at the lake, enjoying long days, cool swims and canopies of green leaves. Life is good, and I feel incredibly lucky to have so much time with these little people.

This morning I started my day off with a webinar, which was quickly interrupted with  requests for pancakes (check out the super healthy homemade pancakes here.) I figured while I was at it, I’d whip up some baby food for Bray. Now 8 months old, he’s been on the baby food for a bit, but I’ve been selective in what I was feeding him since at the start of his switch over he was dealing with a bit of baby constipation (although nothing like what Aria has as a baby).

This morning I did a simple Avocado-Spinach-Pear puree, as we’ve ventured into mixing, but are still staying away from the binding foods (think bananas and rice, and trying to include a P fruit to keep things moving. A few simple ingredients and a blender, Vitamix, Nutribullet or some other mixing machine, and you’re all set.

homemade baby foodSimple Avocado-Spinach Pear Babyfood 

1 Avocado
1 Pear  (I used Andou)
1 handful fresh baby Spinach


Boil water in a small saucepan, and add spinach for 1-2 minutes until softened.

Cut pear into quarters or even eights (lengthwise), de-core, and peel if so desired. If pear is super ripe (and soft) you can place straight into blender. If pear is hard, place pieces into boiling water with spinach for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly soft.

Cut avocado in half, de-pit and remove from skin.

Place avocado, soft pear and spinach (drain from water) into the blender, and blend for 20-30 seconds on low-medium until pureed. Let cool and serve!

For a chunkier baby food (which I made today), only use half the avocado in the first puree of avo-spinach-pear, and then add the second half to that smooth pureed mix and beat on low for 5 seconds or so (or until desired consistency). You can also blend in with a fork.


baby tips

**please excuse any typos. I had about 5000 interruptions, and an 8 month old reaching for the keyboard!!!




Stone Barns, snow days and one super healthy (delish) cookie recipe.

We’re waiting on spring here in NYC, or getting confused by the weather gods. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next snowing.

Here are a few sweet pics from last weekend that pretty much sum up the crazy weather.

princess picking flowers stone barn

Friday, we headed to our weekend house, making a pit stop at a favorite of ours, Stone Barns. It was a warm beautiful day, and Aria (ever the princess) decided to pick a few flowers…

until we realized they weren’t wild…(oops!)

spring flowers for oma

…but not before gating a sweet bouquet for Oma.

Fast forward to the very next day, where we woke up to SNOW covering the cars and deck…


…and an anxious 4 year old ready to get out and enjoy it.

snow day kids

Ah…the parental joys of kids and snow gear.

The romp in the snow was short lived, so we moved on to a warmer activity.   I found this Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe online (always up for a healthy treat), and Aria and I baked them up. I’d cut the cinnamon down to 1/2 the amount called for, but really they were pretty stellar (and healthy!)

chocolate chip healthy oats cookies yum

So, here’s to making the most of any weather, and hoping spring finally arrives… for good.

Throwback Thursday: Welcome To Mommyhood: MONTH 1

It’s Thursday and I’m throwing it back to a video I did when Aria was one month old. It was my first go at mommyhood, and I decided after a full 30 days of it, I was ready to dispense advice (ha!) Actually, it’s mainly my experience as a new mom, and now having done it a second time around, now I’m including a few tips below. Take a look at how little my sweet Aria was (and see how much she and Bray look alike as babies!)

Some of my top advice:

1) Be prepared to be sleep deprived. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but necessary. This was by far the toughest part for me, but know it won’t last forever. Sleep training typically starts around 4 months old,  although some pediatricians like Tribeca Pediatrics will start some babies as early as 2 months.

2) Get support – whether baby’s daddy or grandma or a good friend, have someone take care of baby so you can get some rest.

NYC LIVING: Check out MUST HAVE product picks for baby HERE!

3) Take it Easy – Don’t overdue it as a new mom. Remember your body is still healing and you don’t want to do too much physically. Most doctors won’t clear you for exercise until week 6, but even then listen to your body!

4) Remember it will get easier- the first few weeks are tough, but, trust me, it will get easier.

5) Take Care of YOURSELF too. I remember a nurse in the hospital telling me if I needed to let Aria cry for 5 minutes so I could take a quick shower, that’s OK.  Part of being a good parent is making sure we are mentally and physically healthy. Don’t feel guilty if you need to prioritize yourself once in a while.

Good Luck! See you in month 2!





Mood Boost: What Kim Kardashian & I are popping to beat the baby blues.

kim-kardashian-freeze-dried-placentaThere aren’t too many things Kim K and I have in common, but I just learned that the new mom and I are both popping a pretty odd pill to avoid the baby blues.

I didn’t realize I was “on trend” when I decided to save and encapsulate my placenta this go around. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, but Kimmy K and I are actually eating our placentas. At first, I was a bit taken a back by the idea, but after a bunch of research, I realized there were some pretty intense benefits to it, including shortening healing time, restoring balance back to the body and warding off postpartum depression .

While I didn’t necessarily get depressed the first go-around, I definitely got a few “baby blues” for a couple weeks (and a whole lot of “what the heck have we done!” thoughts the first sleep deprived month). I’m pretty open minded , when it comes to alternative remedies, and thought anything that might help me get back to my best was worth a shot.

placenta pillsSo, how are they working? These days, I’m handling the sleep deprivation much better (relatively), and reveling my days with Brayden. There may be a variety of reasons for this, but perhaps the placenta pills are playing a part. However, unike Kourtney Kardashian, who raved about her placenta pills and lamented when they were finished, I can’t say I feel a huge difference– at least not one that I can directly contribute to the placenta. However, I am a bit more energized, and definitely enjoying this go around more, so whatever the reason, I’ll take it.

When considering placenta encapsulation, I did a bunch of research and eventually ended up going with Hudson Valley Placenta Service because of the wealth of info I found on their site, and the professionalism and good vibes I got when I talked to the owner. In follow up meetings, I also felt extra confident in my decision to go with them as Courtney (the owner) was super, answering all my questions, hand delivering my pills and even sending me pics of my placenta with her own comments (seems I had an extremely healthy/good one– take that doctors who worried it was deficient because I carried 42 weeks!)

The idea of eating our placenta may be unorthodox, but if you’re interested, I’d look into it. Placenta has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries, as well as other many other cultures, and even a plethora of other species are doing it (natural instinct speaks loudly to me!) Who knows, it just might be worth a shot (or in this case, a pill).



Newborn Colds: Natural Remedies & Advice


So, one of the challenges I faced this go around was Braydon caught a cold at only 1 week old! His dad and big sister were sniffling when he was born, and despite me being a pusher of hand sanitizer, hands off requests and back off glares with every sneeze or cough, both Brayden and I caught it.

There is nothing worse than seeing a little helpless newborn battling a cold, especially when you know first hand how miserable he must be feeling. Also, the anxiety of knowing it could be RSV, or something more serious, can really put a new mom on edge.

There is little you can do for a newborn, but after research and trial, here are some of the things that helped us get through.

Breastfeeding: Despite me worrying he might catch my cold, the pediatrician said one of the best things I could do for him was continue to breastfeed. Firstly, because there is a lot of water in breast milk and it keeps babies nice and hydrated, and secondly because all the immunities that I was building to the cold, were being passed off to him.

Saline Spray & The Snot Sucker:  To help alleviate congestion, I turned to little remedies saline drops. A few in each nostril helped loosen up some of the snot, and often caused him to sneeze it out himself.  The NoseFrida SnotSucker also ended up being useful in assisting clearing up congestion (found mine in Babies R Us). Unlike all of those nasal syringes that don’t ever seem to work for me, this little device did suck out some of the snot. While it sounds disgusting, it’s totally sanitary and great because it doesn’t actually have to go in the nostril (but rather suctions around the outside), so it’s less irritating for baby.

little-remedies-saline-spray-drops2.png.354x308_q85nose frida snot sucker coldnose frida snot sucker

Humidifier: A cool mist humidifier was also recommended to help with breathing and soothe baby (especially overnight). I used both a cool one in our city apartment where the heat is always pumping, and warm mist one at our weekend house since that is what I had there (cool is recommended for safety). Both seemed to help soothe our dried out throats, and make breathing easier. If no humidifier is had, you can also steam up the bathroom and sit in there with baby.

A Plug In Vaporizer: Little remedies also makes a plug in vaporizer that emits a little menthol/eucalyptuses scent (just the right amount for baby) to also help clear them up and soothe. Since you can’t put vicks on a baby, and don’t want to add too much menthol or eucalyptus to a humidifier, this little plug in is the perfect solution.

Elevation: Keeping baby slightly elevated also helps. I found myself laying Bray on my chest (while I sat up or reclined slightly) quite often so he could rest with a bit more comfort. I also had him sleeping in his  Rock n Play which kept him on a slight incline.

While baby has a cold, you’ll also want to keep tabs on their temperature and make sure they are still feeding (and peeing and pooping regularly). So long as they are and have no fever, it’s just a matter of the cold running it’s course. For Bray and I it lasted a little over a (miserable) week, but we got through.


newborn cold

**Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. A doctor or pediatrician should always be consulted for medical advice.

Four weeks In: Sleepily savoring every moment…

WOW! Have four weeks really passed since this little one arrived? It’s already flown by, but looking back been filled with excitement, anxiety, plenty of love and adoration, and, of course, SLEEP DEPRIVATION (definitely now set in).

Amazingly, this go around, I’m not nearly as agonized by the lack of my most favorite commodity (yes, I’m the girl who needs 8 hours a night, and struggled through years of working in morning news). Somehow with this little one, the love seems to surpass the drudgery of being tired all the time.

I recently went back and forth with a fellow blogger on Instagram, who had similar sentiment. We both marveled in how these little demanding people can have us completely exhausted, and yet still so in love (cries, cluster feeds, gassy bellies and all!)  I can only conclude that God gives us all these feel good hormones and this overwhelming love to help us deal with the trial of the first weeks of newborn life.

I must admit too, that the second time around seems SO much sweeter. I did not have this positive outlook with Aria. Perhaps it was because my body was in shock. Back then, what I was actually thinking was ,”Yikes, life as I know it is over. What the heck have we done?!”

Yet, this go around, I’m savoring every second.  It’s in part that I now know how temporary the tough time is, and also how fast the sweet parts go. That scrunched up little body laying on my chest, those funny little milk drunk faces….ahh. The fact that this baby is most likely my last also has me holding on to every little mushy, gassy, crying, funny faced, sweet, lovely newborn moment.  I also am now well aware of just how much love and happiness these little people bring, and how as they grow, that love and happiness does too.