Top 5 Apps for New Parents

Becoming a parent for the first time is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking and the thrill of holding your child is often replaced with worry. How will you ensure the baby is happy, fed, sleeps and most of all, that you don’t do something considered a parenting no-no? The baby books of the 90s have been replaced with apps and whether you’re about to have your first child, have had a child already or consider yourself a practiced hand in all things parental, you may still want to try out these helpful apps for new parents.

New parents

1. Editor’s Choice: Baby Connect

This app is a baby tracker, a monitor of your baby when you can’t be with him or her 24/7. Not only does it help you keep track of nappy changes, sleeping times and feeding times, but it even allows you to track moods, growth, medications and important milestones. The app is not just a clever tracker though. It also allows you to consolidate information and share it, so both parents, grandparents and the nurse all know that your bundle of joy slept through the night, ate solids for the first time, or is feeling happy.

2. My Kid’s Health

Fears over your baby’s health need worry you no more, thanks to this app that allows you to track every aspect of your baby’s health, from slight fevers to inoculations. The app will remember everything you could ever need to tell your child’s doctor, from their weight, blood type and allergies, to any illnesses they may have experienced. This is a wonderful app if you have more than one child, and ensures you don’t get mixed up.

3. Baby Pack & Go

In the 50s, staying home with baby was a general expectation, but now, women and men need to be on the move all the time. Travelling with a baby is tough though, especially when you need to remember the bottles, the diapers, the clothes, the formula and a million other things. Luckily, this smart checklist will ensure you don’t forget a thing and best of all, the task reminder will alert you to when its feeding time, medicine time, or time to go home for a nap.

4. Baby Sleep: Lullabies and Teddies

Putting a baby to sleep is not as easy as it sounds. The old adage ‘sleep like a baby’, was probably invented by someone who had no children. Thanks to this clever app though, gentle lullabies will rock your child to sleep and ensure you don’t need to worry about crooning ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ for the hundredth time. You can customize the songs, create a playlist and when baby falls asleep, simply close the app and put him or her down.

5. Sweet Baby

Want to share the pictures of your baby in a new and fun way? How about this app, that allows you to create a digital scrapbook with pictures, captions, icons and a million other elements that create an online life sharing tool for the family, grandparents and all of your friends to see.

How to Buy a Breast Pump

Expressing milk is a part of motherhood that is seldom discussed because it is one of the issues that is considered unsavory. However, if you do intend to breastfeed but can’t be around your child all the time, a breast pump is the ideal way to get food ready for your child at all times of the day and night. Breast pumps are usually either manual or battery-operated and the one you choose will influence how you feed your baby.

Breastfeed

Some of the more popular ones include:

  • The hospital-grade pump – this pump is ideal for those moms whose babies are premature or who have problems building up milk. This is a heavy-duty pump that was restricted to hospitals only for a while, but which you can now buy commercially. It has a suck-and-release motion that mimics a baby’s suckling, and will help you express your milk easily, quickly and pretty painlessly.
  • Electrical pumps – if you need to pump in the morning, lunchtime and at night, these are ideal as they require no work from you. All you need to is sit around and wait for the magic to happen. Their quick cycling times mean you won’t spend your whole lunch hour in the bathroom expressing milk, and they are ideal if you have a feeding pattern that allows you to produce milk regularly. Perhaps one of the best parts of owning this pump is that it is mobile, which means you can take it anywhere.
  • Manual pumps – the biggest difference between manual and battery-operated pumps, besides the manpower needed, or not, is the expense. Manual pumps are quite cheap and if you’re only planning on pumping once a day, you really don’t need an expensive automatic pump. Used infrequently, these pumps will ensure you have milk on those odd occasions you’re not home, but don’t use them more than once a day, or you’ll have a very sore hand and will spend hours expressing.

When you’re buying a pump, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, for example:

  •  Never share a pump – this is a big no-no as it could transfer germs or bacteria into the milk. Do not borrow a pump from a friend, don’t buy a second-hand pump (unless it is fully sterilized first) and never lend yours to someone else.
  • Choose the right size – women’s breasts, even after pregnancy, are very different in size and using a breast shield that is too large or small will hurt you.
  •  Clean the parts – if you’re not planning on using your pump again in a day, soak all of the removable parts in warm, soapy water. You wouldn’t leave milk unrefrigerated and then drink it, so ensure that the milk in the tubes, the breast plate and other parts is completely washed away to avoid germs collecting.

You may find that you need to try out a few pumps before you find the one that is right for you, so be sure to ask your friends and family who have had children, their opinions to better make your decision.

5 Must Haves for Travelling with a Baby

It probably has been a long time since you last went to the beach, or picnicked on a nice peaceful meadow. And now, you can’t imagine how much fun you’ll have vacationing with your baby! Even moms who aren’t first time vacationers with their babies tend to forget the useful little things that must always be brought along. It’s good to have a head start and prepare your luggage as early as a week before your trip to make sure that you don’t leave anything behind.

Mom and baby

Aside from the usual clothes, baby bottles, strollers and diapers, here are five must haves that are worth buying for your adorable but sensitive travel companion.

1. Editor’s Choice: Luvable Friends 4 Count Flannel Receiving Blanket Set

Bring not just one, or two, but several blankets for your baby. Lots of circumstances may arise in your vacation wherein a blanket can be pretty helpful. The Luvable Blanket Set comes with four soft machine washable blankets that are perfect to bring for travelling. The soft cotton flannel will surely keep your baby’s skin from irritation. These blankets can serve many purposes such as keeping your baby warm and cozy when the temperature is too cold and covering yourself up when you nurse.

2. Thinkbaby Sunscreen SPF 50+

Whether it is a picnic at a park or a relaxing stroll through shops, remember to bring and apply sunscreen to you and your baby so that you’ll both be protected from the harmful rays of the sun. The Thinkbaby Sunscreen is especially safe to use for babies over 6 months of age and pregnant women. It has a mild scent and is free from biologically harmful chemicals. Because its active ingredient is zinc oxide, Thinkbaby Sunscreen is not sticky or greasy when applied; instead it leaves the skin clear. It is also very water resistant, so you can trust it to do its job in keeping you and your baby safe from cancerous UV rays.

3. BabyGanics Alcohol Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer

Your baby has not yet learnt to clean up after himself/herself, so trust that messes will be made at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Lucky for you if you didn’t forget to pack your BabyGanics Hand Sanitizer in your hand carry. With this alcohol-free non-allergenic formula, you will always be prepared to clean up after your baby even without a restroom nearby, as well as keep him/her away from possibly harmful bacteria in the environment.

4. Summer Infant Complete Nursery Care Kit

You’ll never know what would happen on your vacation, so to be safe, always bring a baby-friendly first aid kit you. True to its name, the Summer Infant Kit contains all of the little tools that you may need for your baby, such as a medicine syringe, pacifier medicine dispenser, nasal aspirator, forehead and digital thermometer, comb, brush, and even nail clippers. All of the tools are contained in a small but durable case that you can easily stuff inside your luggage. You can choose between two colors of the nursery set: pink and white or teal and white.

Make sure that you bring lots of medicines for babies, as well as the pediatrician’s number and the local town’s hospital for when an emergency arises. You can write important numbers down on the nursery kit’s emergency information card.

5. Bright Starts Rattle and Shake Barbell Rattle

Your baby has finished his meal. His diaper’s clean, he has just woken up from his nap but suddenly he’s crying. At times like this you wish you had packed a fun rattle for him to play; that always seemed to do the trick. Road trips and long airplane travels can be pretty boring for a baby, so remember to bring a small interesting toy to keep him entertained and happy throughout your vacation.

The Bright Starts Rattle is lightweight and has a perfect grip for your baby to constantly hold without tiring his/her little fingers. Its bright colors and colourful beads on both sides will visually entertain your baby. Meanwhile the rattle sounds that it makes when shook provide a fun audio stimuli that isn’t too loud to disturb you as well.

5 Best Gifts for New Moms

Becoming a mother is definitely a very precious milestone in a woman’s life. There’s no other way to show your happiness for a friend or relative who has just recently given birth than to pay her a visit and bring her a gift. Below are some of the best gifts  for new moms that you could give to a new mom without having to burn a hole into your wallet.

New born

1. Editor’s Choice:  Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book

A new mom might be too busy caring for her baby to think about documenting in the present what will certainly be a precious memory in the future. No new mom could have the time and energy to constantly write a full-blown diary entry of her baby’s growth each and every day. As such, Mom’s One Line a Day is a wonderful journal book idea that lets the mother document each day with her baby for the next five years by writing a simple quote, thought or short passage. Daily reflection is also a healthy exercise. Brevity is indeed the soul of wit.

2. Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea

A new mom is bound to spend the next months of her life with gruelling, sleepless nights caring for her demanding, constantly wailing baby. Let your friend or family know that she can minimize her stress by replacing coffee with fragrant, relaxing tea. Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea contains lavender and chamomile, some of the best herbs to calm frazzled nerves. The mixture of these with honey, spearmint and vanilla bring about a flavorful combination that is not too sweet but still enticing to the taste buds. This all-natural, GMO free tea will surely help a new mom finish her baby duties in a better mood.

3. Aurorae Classic Yoga Mat

A new mom may be too busy to go out of her house and move around now that she has an infant to take care of. So what to do when the doctor advises that she should start doing simple stretches and workouts to help her postpartum body recover and bring herself back into shape? A non-slip good quality yoga mat like the Aurorae Classic can help her accomplish these light workouts in between looking after the baby at the comfort of her own home. With its specially designed thickness that will protect a new mom’s still sensitive body, exercising will be as comfortable and safe as it can get. Aurorae Classic Yoga Mat which comes in a wide variety of colors also boasts of its durability and odor-free material.

4. Smart Symphonies: Classical Music to Help Stimulate Your Baby’s Brain Development

Between buying a baby’s toys and clothes to feeding and changing diapers, it’s most likely that a new mom overlooks the other small things that her infant may need. Give her a good classical music CD that she could play in the baby’s room.

Multiple studies have shown that exposing a child to classical music in his/her early years can stimulate the brain and promote mental development. The Smart Symphonies CD features 16 tracks of classical music composed by various world-renowned classical musicians like Mozart, Beethoven and Vivaldi. Classical music can also make good lullabies to finally put a new mom and her child to sleep.

5. Tiny Love Super Deluxe Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym

A baby can never have too many toys. If you want to be remembered years later as the best uncle or aunt who gives the coolest toys, then you might want to start now. The Tiny Love Activity Gym is a wonderful place for a baby’s first playtime and learning. The machine-washable mat has cute colourful animal drawings and can be folded flat for travel.

The Activity Gym with its padded two padded arches has an assortment of adorable stuff toys, music box of tunes, a mirror and even playthings that light up. It is a barrage of sensory stimuli for the newborn baby, a fun way for them to start getting to know the world. They may not exactly be for the mommy, but isn’t a child’s joy a mother’s ultimate happiness?

5 Diaper Bag Essentials

Having a baby means taking preparedness to all new heights that even the boy scouts would probably be impressed by. Most new parents start out at least a little confused and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of baby related products they can possibly buy. To remove some of the mystery from the process, here’s a list of five diaper bag essentials you’ll never want to leave home without.

Baby

1. Huggies Diapers

This diaper company is one of the best known and their range covers all sizes from newborn to toddlers. For days on the beach or at the pool you can rely on the Little Swimmers line and the super absorbent and virtually leak-proof Overnights are excellent for sleepover excursions. Always make sure the diaper bag contains enough of these for the length of the trip being planned.

2. Honest Wipes

Made by the Honest Company, these wipes were formulated to not just be gentle but all natural with botanical extracts rather than harsh chemicals. This is even more important since a 2014 study has shown that nearly 50% of baby wipes contain methylisothiazolinone, a chemical linked to allergic reactions including dermatitis in many children.

3. Desitin Creamy Diaper Rash Cream

This product is a lifesaver if ever your little one happens to get diaper rash but you can also use it as a preventative by applying it whenever you diaper change. Its hypoallergenic formula has been well tested and contains zinc oxide which has been trusted for generations to give rapid relief .

4. Munchkin Arm and Hammer Disposable Changing Pads

Your little one’s diaper can give out just about anywhere and with this product you can rest easy knowing that you always have a clean surface to change him on. The pads are highly absorbent, light, easy to carry and use baking soda to significantly reduce diaper smells. Their large size allows your baby enough room to squirm around without coming into contact with whatever they’re covering.

5. BabyGanics “The Germinator” Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer

With this gentle unscented product you can safely clean tiny baby hands and dropped toys on the go. It’s free from triclosan and other harsh chemicals and moisturizes unlike drying alcohol-based alternatives. At a handy 1.69oz size it can easily be tucked away with your other essentials.

Feel free to add more items as your little one grows and tailor the contents of your bag to your specific needs. With these five essentials secured, your only restraint is the size of your diaper bag.

Top 5 High Chairs for Baby’s First Bites

By the time your baby first shows signs of being ready to sit up and eat you should already have decided on the right high chair. Keep all the factors related to your family, baby and home in mind in making your selection. To get you started, here are the top 5 high chairs for your baby’s first bites.

High chair

1. The Siesta

Built by the Italian family company, Peg Perego, this chair can be adjusted to several different heights. It reclines fully and its tray can be removed and safely cleaned in a dishwasher. While this chair is on wheels for easy relocation, they lock automatically so you never have to worry about unwanted movement. It is easily collapsed for storage and weighs just over 20lbs.

2. The Brentwood High Chair

A product of the Summer Infant Company, this chair lacks wheels but makes up for that with other features such as storage hooks, inserts for smaller babies and a stylish dark wood finish. Its tray can be adjusted and removed for washing. It can also be used primarily as a booster seat once your child outgrows the highchair function.

3. The Zaaz

This oddly named chair comes from the dutch designer, Nuna. It supports children from 6 months to much older (its weight limit is over 200lbs). Its sleek design features few movable parts which means there are fewer places for dirt and germs to hide, making cleanup a breeze. Its height is easily adjusted and this design takes up comparatively little floor space.

4. The Nano

Made by Bloom, this 12lb model folds flat for easy storage. It’s suitable for children by age six months and can stay in use until around the age of 3. It also features a foot rest for your baby’s added comfort and its design is sleek and stylish.

5. The Travel Booster Seat

This model from Munchkin easily serves as a booster seat, high chair and travel bag depending on how you set it up. It boasts considerable storage space at a low price and converting it from one form to another is both quick and easy. By combining functions it saves you both space and money.

The right high chair can give your baby a chance to join in with the rest of the family at mealtimes and get started on independent eating. Once your seat is picked, you can settle in for a slew of adventures with teaching your baby the joys of solid foods!

Top 5 Diapers for Newborns

A newborn baby is going to have very specific needs that require extra care to satisfy. They can be so tiny the diapers used on babies just a few months older will be way too big on them,  leaving you with a leaky mess. Here are the top 5 diapers made especially for newborns.

1. Huggies Little Snugglers

Huggies has been a key player in the disposable diaper industry for decades. With their reputation and your baby’s comfort in mind they created this particular diaper with sizes for preemies and larger newborns. They have cutouts to protect delicate new navels and they turn colors when wet.

2. Tiny gPants

These semi reusable newborn diapers from the gDiaper company are something of a compromise for parents who would like to be more eco-friendly but aren’t ready to go fully cloth. The reusable outer pants come in several adorable designs and are used with disposable but biodegradable absorbent inserts. They can add up to long term savings.

3. Pampers Swaddlers

Another familiar brand, Pampers Swaddlers also feature a pad that changes color to alert when it’s time for a diaper change. They are available from preemie to newborns. Not that you should leave your baby in the same diaper for a whole day, but they also boast 12 full hours of protection from leaks.

4. Honest Company’s Premium Eco Friendly Newborn Diapers

This relative newcomer is known for the exclusion of toxic chemicals and additives from its entire product range, diapers included. Its inner layers are made from sustainably harvested plant based materials without fragrances or lotions. Its odor protection comes from natural citrus based odor blockers. They may be slightly pricier than some other brands but they are also a bit less likely to cause diaper rash.

5. Kanga Care’s Lil Joey Cloth Diapers

Though reusable diapers fell out of fashion for decades, new concerns about landfill space and sustainability have caused them to make a resurgence. Kanga Care’s Lil Joey diapers for newborns have a permanent absorbent microfiber so that they approach the convenience of disposables. They fit babies as small as 4lbs and as large as 12lbs.

With the right newborn diaper your first few months with your baby will be that much more enjoyable with greater comfort for both of you and fewer accidents all around. Just don’t buy too many all at once, most babies don’t fit into this size for very long.

Top 5 Baby Monitors

When your baby first comes home you can easily spend your nights wondering if they’re okay and trying not to freak out and sneak down to watch them breathe. Luckily, baby monitors can to take some of the stress away and let you know how your baby is doing without entering the room every 2 minutes. Here are the top 5 baby monitors currently available on the market.

Baby monitor

1. The MBP36 Digital Video Baby Monitor

This monitor is manufactured by Motorola, a familiar name in mobile technology. Its crystal clear image and sound quality will allow you to always be alert to your baby’s state of well being. The controls give you the ability to almost silently zoom in, pan out or tilt the frame.

2. The Smart Baby Monitor

Made by Withings, this monitor is compatible with your smartphone. By being based off of that technology which you already know and understand, it becomes particularly easy to use (even if you’re not that tech savvy). It comes with adjustable lights, music and an intercom. It’s also durable enough to be used later on if your family expands or if you have a friend who’s expecting.

3. The Sweet Peek Video Baby Monitor

This monitor comes from the Lorex company and allows you to zoom in with the push of button to the image on the 2.4 inch display. It has night vision so that you can still clearly see your baby when the lights are off and a wide wireless range. The Sweet Peek also contains an intercom which allows you to soothe your baby with your voice but also comes with lullabies that you can play instead.

4. The SEW-3037W Baby Monitor

Made by Samsung, a highly reputable electronics manufacturer, this model boasts a 3.5inch LCD display with night vision and color video. It delivers high quality audio and visuals and contains a night light that can be turned on remotely. You can stay in contact with your baby using the microphone on your unit which is linked to the speakers on the camera. Panning and tilting functions allow you to view different parts of the room in detail.

5. The High Definition Digital Monitor

For those who do not need a visual display, Safety First presents this audio-only model. Its sound quality is exceptional and it runs much more quietly than similar analog monitors. It also features bars that indicate the volume of the noise coming from the room to give you a quick indicator of nature of your baby’s cries. It is also significantly cheaper than video models.

Armed with your baby monitor you’ll be well prepared for the sleepless nights ahead while your new family member settles in to a regular pattern of sleep.

How to Choose a High Chair

A high chair will be used by your baby just about every day so it’s a pretty big commitment. If it turns out not to meet all your needs, you’ll end up stuck having to use it anyway unless you decide to shell it to buy a new one. But who wants that kind of hassle when you have a new born on your hands? To prevent you from making that kind of mistake, here are some factors you should keep in mind when looking for a high chair.

Baby high chair

Durability

Not all chairs are created equal and some are more likely to give out in a few months than others. This can lead you to additional expenses for repair or replacement that you probably won’t want to devote time or money to. If you also plan on using the same chair for future younger siblings, it will be well worth it to invest in one that will last

Cost

High chairs can be purchases for anything from $20 to a a few hundred dollars. But this all depends on your budget. There is no need to feel obligated to buy the most expensive if that’s not practical for you. With enough research and shopping around you can easily find a model that has all the features you need most at a reasonable price.

Size

If your home is already pretty tiny, a large high chair can occupy valuable real estate and create clutter. There are chairs that are specifically designed to take up as little space as possible.

Cleanup

Babies tend to be messy eaters and high chairs can take a lot of punishment in that department. See if the high chairs you’re interested in have dishwasher safe removable trays and no unnecessary grooves to trap food.

Safety

Check up on the manufacturer to make sure that harmful chemicals are not included in the high chair. Many highchairs are also on wheels which you’ll want to ensure have a proper locking system.

Appearance

Your baby’s high chair will be in use often enough that you might want to consider how it will look with the rest of your decor. There are also models that come without trays for eating right at the table which may be more suited to you if you would like your little one to be close to the entire family during meals.

Much like any other product that comes into contact with your baby, your highchair should be subjected to thorough research before you eventually decide what’s best for you both and make your purchase.

Five Best Breast Pumps for Moms on a Budget

Nature has provided mothers with an inbuilt, completely organic, perfectly blended source of nutrition for their little ones. For many reasons, it may not always be convenient to feed your baby straight from the source but pumps can cost you quite a bit if you don’t shop around. Her are the top five breast pumps for moms on a budget .

1. The Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump

This pump costs only $25. It features an innovative system that allows you to pump directly into bottles for a more hygienic and safe storage experience. Because it is manual you can easily adjust the speed of pumping with precision to whatever level is best for you at that point in time with no need to pump both breast at once if one happens to be producing more than the other.

2. The Harmony

A product of Medela, this manual pump features a particularly comfortable design that eliminates much of the discomfort sometimes associated with pumping milk. It simulates the natural sucking motion of an infant with its patented 2 Phase Expression system which starts fast to stimulate milk flow then moves slower to collect the milk. You can purchase it for around $40.

3. The miPump

Made by First Years, this pump comes complete with its own tote bag at just $80. It can be powered via plug or batteries and pumps both breasts at once. It was designed with comfort in mind so it allows you to pump longer. Its LED display lets you see suction levels and the timer.

4. The Evenflo Dual Electric Breast Pump

This pump features a silicone insert that can be adjusted or removed for a better fit for breasts of all sizes. Its small size and light weight make it easy to use discretely and portable enough to carry around wherever it’s needed. It comes with larger bottles so that greater quantities of milk can be collected at each pumping should the need arise. It costs $80.

5. The Affinity

Electric Pumps tend to be far more expensive than manual ones which is why this model from Lansinoh earns a spot on the list. It features different suction settings and speeds and pumps both breasts simultaneously with an ergonomic adjustable design that helps you relax when you pump. It’s available online for just under $120.

There’s nothing quite like being mom and with the right breast pump you can take steps that ensure better health for your child not just as a baby but over the course of his or her lifetime.