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.

5 MUST HAVE PRODUCTS FOR NYC MOMS

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.

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

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.

 

 

Pregnancy Take 2! Mo babies, mo problems.

2nd pregnancy woesThe countdown is on, and in these last few weeks (and for the last few months for that matter) I have been increasingly aware of my limitations. As mentioned this previous posts this pregnancy is SO much different (and more difficult) than my first.

With Aria all was a breeze, and I barely even felt pregnant until late in the game. I did yoga until the end, walked our 6 floor walk up with no issue and, aside from a couple late night charley horses, I barely even felt any side effects until days before she came (and she was a week late!)

So, it was a bit of a rude awakening this go around. I was thinking, “Pregnancy? No problem! I’m a pro. I’m made for this!” Well, perhaps I was a bit too cocky, and the powers that be decided to bestow upon me the realities of pregnancy that most women deal with, because this go-around is FAR from easy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, thank God I had no serious complications or problems, but I have felt this pregnancy for the last 9 months. From waves of nausea early on to ongoing side effects like shortness of breath, heaviness and pressure (also low lying placenta which fortunately receded up), to some serious debilitating leg and foot cramps (ouch) and, oh, and let’s not forget that ever increasing back pain, this baby has made me well aware that pregnancy is no walk in the park!

I also got much bigger, much faster (although thank you to all who say I look “so cute” or “amazing”, and yes, my standard response is still, “I wish I felt that way!”) I probably surpassed how big I was with Aria at about month 8, and sleeping and doing ANY sort of real activity has become trying (at best).

I’m also definitely more crabby (when I suffer, we all suffer!), and more emotional. When Aria cried going off to school the other morning, I cried with her (oh, silly mommy). I had to remind myself that she’s 4, and I’m pregnant, so it’s all OK.

From talking to various second time moms-to-be, I’ve realized I’m not alone in this pregnancy struggle. We’re older, often chasing after a little one and our bodies are just not a s tight or supportive as they used to be (seeing they’ve already been stretched out the first go around.)

I’m also not sure if it’s a boy vs girl thing, but I’m hoping that since Aria was so easy in-utero and then a tougher baby early on (colic, gas, etc), that means this one is going to be saintly when he comes out. I’m kinda counting on it.

First day of school… no tears here. (well, almost)

So, Miss. Aria started pre-k last week at one of the city’s public schools. We were extremely lucky to get a lottery spot at our school of choice, and her first days were a huge success. When I applied for Universal Pre-K last winter, the thought of her going to school full time was a bit daunting. Was my little one really ready for school 5 days a week all day long???

I now am so thankful that I went ahead with the process, and that she is in school full time. She is beyond ready (amazing how much 3 year olds can change and grow in a short 6 months), and I know school is the perfect place for her to grow her curious mind. She’s always looking for a challenge and so incredibly bright, and I’m sure this will only foster her incredible love of learning, and strengthen her foundation for future success.

Not to mention, I now realize the timing of it was all perfect (thank you Universe), as our next little one is expected at the end of October. Fully pregnant, I now have a little breathing room to prepare, and am also freed up to invest just as much time and energy into him when he arrives (Mommyhood take 2!).  Although, perhaps if I planned it better, I would have waited a few more months to get pregnant, as I’m totally reveling in the leisure of having some freedom again.

first day of school

Aria couldn’t have been more excited or ready on her first day of school. Her dad and I walked her over, while she skipped ahead most of the time, all smiles and fully excited for the experience. We had prepped her, encouraging her in the weeks leading up, chatting about the new adventure and how much fun she was going to have.

Indeed she absorbed all our encouragement, seemingly having no issue entering a new place, practically waving us off before we even entered the classroom that first day. She humored me on the way to school, allowing me to take multiple pics of her in her cute little leopard print dress and red jelly shoes, but once we arrived it was quite clear she was indeed Little Miss Independent.

While other kids walked in with hesitation, she greeted the new space enthusiastically, taking hold of her name tag necklace, practically pushing us out the door (but not before I insisted on a hug and snapped one more pic.)  I was so very grateful that she embraced the separation and experience so well, albeit I was also somewhat surprise that it was SO easy for her to wave us off (whaa!)

get out of here mom and dad pre k teacher nyc

It wasn’t until her third day in (which was really her first full day), that she even shared the slightest bit of dismay in her day. While recounting the school day on our drive up to our weekend house, she informed me of all the things she had done and accomplished. She was particularly proud of her picture of the panda she had drawn, and the new songs she had learned.  It was only after I asked about “rest time” (wondering if she indeed did rest), that she shared it had been the only tough part of her day.I wasn’t super surprised since naps are usually off the table these days (and often bedtime is not embraced by my girl).

She recounted how a little girl kept “squeaking” during the quiet time, and she “just couldn’t rest!”  I wasn’t completely surprised in her annoyance as she too often tells us to “be quiet” before going to bed (sigh), but upon further probing she then chose to mention that she also “cried a little bit.”  When I asked her why she said, “because I wanted you there,” quickly adding “but, nobody saw me because I pulled my blanket over my head.”

And there it was. Her first teary moment, which, of course, lead to my first teary moment. Choked up and eyes brimming as I drove up the West Side Highway, I realized that my girl wasn’t all independent after all. My heart ached a little bit, thinking about her alone and teary eyed under her soft orange blanket. I then replied how that was OK to feel sad, reminding her how new things can be hard and how sometimes we all need a little cry.

Then without missing a beat, she replied happily, “but then rest time ended and I got to play on the playground!” And that was the end of that.  After all, in the end, I guess the playground trumps all.

mommy and me

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Mommyhood Take….2! Pregnancy the second time around.

Yes, so we’re six months in on pregnancy number 2, and, if you haven’t heard already, Aria is expecting a little brother come October.

pregnancy 6 months

He’s already suffering second child syndrome (yes, even in-utero), not nearly getting the attention that Aria did while I was pregnant. I can’t believe it, but I’m already 6 months. Time flies when you’re not really paying attention!

With Aria every week was relished — from tracking her size with baby.com updates to journaling and recording every little pregnancy milestone. This go-around I’ve barely even stopped to think about being pregnant. Perhaps it’s because I’m running after a toddler, or because it’s just old hat now (one kid, I’m a pro right?), but this time I already feel like I’m neglecting my second child.

He must sense this too because he has definitely tried to make his presence known. While Aria was a super easy pregnancy, this go around I got a little taste of what some women go through in pregnancy (albeit still just minor infractions). From waves of nausea the first trimester to feeling bigger and more limited physically now, I’ve been forced to reckon with this pregnancy.

With Aria I barely even looked pregnant at 7 months, did yoga until almost the end and amazingly, aside from a few minor infractions like the occasional charlie horse at night, didn’t have any real side effects. Only when I was overdue (she was a week late) did I feel heavy and limited and like she was bearing down.

But this time, it’s as my body recognized pregnancy and kicked right into it right away. Granted I still have it pretty easy compared to some, but I’m definitely well aware of my limitations, especially when teaching yoga or trying to lift my solid three year old. Lower back pain and carpal tunnel have already reared their head, and I feel much heavier and limited (despite having only gained 10lbs to date). I’m also much more aware of his very active movements, although I’d just like to think that I have a star athlete in the making.

Perhaps it’s my unborn boy already crying out for attention (“hey, I’ll show you mom!”), but I find it so interesting how we treat second pregnancies and, for that matter, second babies (imagine the thirds or fourths!) No more pregnancy journal, or lovely pregnancy photo shoot, but really, well, just moving right along.

And even as I write that, I get a tinge of mom guilt, and think I should commit to savoring these moments a bit more. I mean, to his credit, he has given me a little pregnancy glow this go-around (the old wives tale about girls stealing your beauty and boys giving you more apparently holds some merit.) So today, I’ll give him a little more love and attention and try to not let him get lost in the shuffle (already). I guess a dedicated blog post is a start… hang in there kid.

Aria’s Big Announcement (Mommyhood Take…2!)

Hey everyone. Aria here– taking over my mom’s blog for a minute since she keeps delaying telling you all the biggest news of MY life!! While she’s writing about yoga and all that healthy stuff (C’mon this is a mom blog, right??), I’ve been telling everyone on the street and everyone I meet, that…..  unnamed

Yes, my lifelong wish has finally come true! Thank God I finally learned to type (toddler apps are amazing these days, huh?) so you all can be in the know too. I’ve been asking for this day after day for the last year, and finally my parents decided to cooperate (persistence does pay off!).

So, yes, I’ve got a little brother coming. This first pic is a few months old, but isn’t he cute? I’m working on a dog next. Oh, and a baby sister. Stay tuned!