Five Tips for Night Time Baby Feeding

*This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Playtex Baby. However, all opinions are 100% my own.

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With Amelia at the hospital right after she was born

Whether you bottle feed or breast feed, nighttime feedings can be tough so today I thought I’d share a few things that worked for our family when Lucas and Amelia were at that stage.

Mom Tip General #6

1. Try cluster feeding your baby. This is giving your baby extra feeds several times before bed so that baby has a full tummy and is able to sleep a longer stretch.

2. Dream-feed your baby. This is waking your baby up before you go to bed. We actually did this with Lucas who was bottle-fed. Mike would go to bed before me and I would stay up and feed Lucas  around 12am and then go to bed. Mike would then get up around 4-5am when Lucas would wake up and feed him. We would often flip the order too. This way, we both got pretty decent sleep and weren’t dead the next day. Even if you breastfeed, dream-feeding can be helpful because babies typically go to bed early so this can allow you to get at least a few hours of uninterrupted sleep before you need to nurse again.

3. Keep nighttime feedings focused on feeding only. Keep lights dimmed or turned off. Speak quietly and avoid playing with baby (I know this is very difficult). You want your baby to know that this is still sleep time. I can remember cherishing these moments of peace  – the whole house quiet and asleep and my warm, cuddly baby in my arms.

4. Co-sleeping can help because your baby is right there next to you in a co-sleeper so you won’t necessarily need to get out of bed and baby may stay half-asleep throughout the entire feeding. However, please make sure to research this option as there are safety precautions that should be taken.

5. If your baby needs to have a diaper change, do it before you feed him. That way your baby has time to get sleepy again while feeding. Click HERE for safety guidelines to consider via Dr. Sears.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.playtexbaby.com or www.facebook.com/PlaytexBaby.

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(VIDEO) Leak-Proof Sippy Cups for Babies & Toddlers by Playtex®

*This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Playtex Baby. However, all opinions are 100% my own.

As soon as Amelia turned 7 or 8 months, we decided that it was time to begin that transition from a bottle to sippy cup. Like Lucas, we knew we wanted her to be completely transitioned over by the time she turned 1 year old. But…ohmygoodness I didn’t know what we were in for. We must have purchased at least 5 or 6 different brands of sippy cups before finding one that did not spill. I’ll be honest, we started with the ones that were cute first. Yeah big mistake LOL!. Cute = spills it seems! Anyway, after many tries – we finally bought a Playtex Playtex® TrainingTime™ cup. Finally! A cup that fit all the requirements!

  • Passed the Amelia test – CHECK!

  • Small enough to fit in her tiny hands – CHECK! These are contoured to make it easy for small baby hands to grip and they even hanse removable handles.

  • Zero leaking – CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!

So while I was recently sent a few Playtex® cups for review – we purchased several of them before that. These are the ONLY sippy cups that we buy and use now!

Playtex® AnyTime™ Spout Cup

Playtex® AnyTime™ Spout Cup

Now, we have moved on to the Playtex® AnyTime™ cups and the Playtex® PlayTime™ cups, which are designed for older babies. We especially love the Playtex® PlayTime™ cups because they are insulated.

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All of the Playtex® cups are available with either a spout or straw depending on what your baby prefers. However, my favorite feature of ALL Playtex® cups is the Twist ‘N Click® Technology. There’s no guessing about whether the cup is secured correctly – once you hear the click – you KNOW it is closed tight. That of course equals NO LEAKS. If you happen to get one that does leak, then just take it back because all Playtex® cups are backed by a 100% Spill Proof, Break Proof, Leak Proof Guarantee. That’s pretty cool!

Playtex® sippy cups are available at Walmart, Target, Babies “R” Us, and national grocery retailers.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.playtexbaby.com or www.facebook.com/PlaytexBaby.

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10 Summer Activities for Families & Kids

Here in Georgia, the kids go back to school the first week of August, which means that there are only 2.5 weeks left of summer break for Lucas. I can’t believe it’s coming to an end so soon. So as Lucas’ summer break is soon coming to a close, we are grasping on to these last couple of weeks and trying to soak in as much sun, laughter, cuddles, and quality time together as possible. I put together a list of some of the things that we are hoping to do and thought I’d share in case it inspires you too!

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Mom Tip General #5

1. Head to the park with a blanket, yummy snacks, and a pile of books to read together. While you’re there, make sure to feed the ducks and play on the playground together!

2. Go to Starbucks on a (coffee-free/decaf) “coffee date”. Lucas loves doing this with me! I order him one of the crema coffee-free Frapuccinos and a small treat and we just sit and talk. LOVE.

3. Put on your swimsuit (yes – YOU too!) and head to the local splash park.

4. Make your own ice cream and then make ice cream sandwiches or sundaes!

5. Have a backyard campfire and of course – this means roasting marshmallows and making s’mores!

6. Have an epic water balloon fight.

7. Catch fireflies in a jar and of course – let them go at the end of the night.

8. Visit the beach and go shelling.

9. Go to an outdoor movie in your community.

10. Enjoy those in between, quiet moments with lots of hugs and kisses. Connect with one another.

 

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For additional parenting tips and tricks, make sure to visit Playtex Baby Mom Trust!

Disclosure 1

Beginnings Imagined – Get Your Own Custom Illustration!

Disclosure 1

From the moment that I was pregnant with Lucas, I imagined what he would look like. What he would sound like. What his favorite food or color or toy would be. Would he love sports or art or science?

With my baby boy, Lucas

With my baby boy, Lucas

It was the same way with Amelia. Would she have mine and Lucas’ brown eyes or Mike’s blue eyes? Would she love to swim or to dance or to play sports?

With my baby girl, Amelia

With my baby girl, Amelia

I imagine it is the same with all parents. We love our babies before they even take their first breath outside of the womb. And then they are born and they begin to develop these big personalities in these tiny bodies. Lucas was always content and calm. He rarely cried and when he did – all we had to do was make him laugh and all of his tears would be forgotten. Before he could talk, he had a sense of humor. The same silly sense of humor he has today.

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Amelia is vibrant and joyful all.the.time. This sweet baby girl only sees the beauty in the world. Everywhere we go – both adults and children – fall in love with her.

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As part of the Playtex Mom Trust, I was given the opportunity to capture the essence of Amelia through a custom illustration by children’s book author and illustrator – Julie Olson. All I did was provide a picture of Amelia (the one below) and answered a few questions about her personality.

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Here is the result! It honestly made me tear up because it so beautifully represents my baby girl.

Amelia

It’s such a lovely piece that we will treasure forever!

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What’s really wonderful is that YOU have the chance to get your very own illustration!

Beginnings Imagined

Playtex is helping parents capture those hopes and dreams through the Beginnings Imagined program, an opportunity to win a bespoke illustration and story of what their little one could become and be entered to win a grand prize of a $5,000 scholarship to help them fulfill their dreams.

Moms and dads are invited to visit imagined.playtexbaby.com where they will be asked to answer a few short questions about their child and submit an image for their chance to win a custom illustration by children’s book author and illustrator, Julie Olson. All illustration winners will then be entered for a grand prize drawing of a $5,000 scholarship.

The contest will run from June 3, 2014 to July 1, 2014.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit PlaytexBaby.com or www.facebook.com/PlaytexBaby..

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NEW by Playtex! Nipple Variety Pack – Slow & Medium Flow

Disclosure 1

Amelia has just recently begun her transition from bottles to sippy cups. She still has one bedtime bottle though. Anyhow, from newborn to the present – we have had to change nipple sizes several times on her bottles. Each of those times we had to go out and find the right ones, etc! That’s why I think it’s pretty smart that Playtex recently introduced the Nipple Variety Pack, which comes with four different types of nipples – both slow and medium flow. They are perfect to purchase in the beginning and allow to grow with your child! They will work with any of the Playtex bottles – the disposable drop-ins or the traditional reusable bottles.

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Playtex® NaturaLatch® Nipple

  • Most like Mother®
  • Standard surface area to mimic average nipple sizes
  • Available in Slow, Medium and Fast Flow
  • Silicone, BPA-free
  • Compatible with all Playtex® bottles: Playtex® VentAire® and Playtex® Nurser with Drop-Ins® Liners
  • Available in: Playtex® NaturaLatch® Nipple 2-pack, Playtex® Nipple Variety Pack, Playtex® Bottle & Nipple Gift Set, Playtex® VentAire Gift Set, Playtex® Nurser with Drop-Ins® Liners Gift Set.

Playtex® Breastlike Nipple

  • Slope of area around nipple mimics the breast.
  • Available in Slow, Medium and Fast Flow
  • Silicone, BPA-free
  • Compatible with all Playtex® bottles: Playtex® VentAire® and Playtex® Nurser with Drop-Ins® Liners
  • Available in: Playtex® Breastlike Nipple 2-pack, Playtex® Nipple Variety Pack

Playtex® Fullsized Nipple

  • Shape of nipple mimics large size nipples. Designed for wider mouths.
  • Available in Slow, Medium and Fast Flow
  • Silicone, BPA-free
  • Compatible with all Playtex® bottles: Playtex® VentAire® and Playtex® Nurser with Drop-Ins® Liners
  • Available in: Playtex® Fullsized Nipple 2-pack, Playtex® Nipple Variety Pack

Playtex® Angled Nipple

  • Angled design promotes semi-upright feeding
  • Available in Slow, Medium and Fast Flow
  • Silicone, BPA-free
  • Available in: Playtex® Angled Nipple 2-pack, Playtex® Nipple Variety Pack

Additional Information:

For more information, visit PlaytexBaby.com or www.facebook.com/PlaytexBaby..

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Five Jolly Mom readers will win the products featured above! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

 

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New Mom Must-Have! Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Pail

Disclosure 1

You know I think one of the things that I forgot about when I became a mom again was how many diapers babies go through on a daily basis. It’s just a fact of life. You will be dealing with lots and lots of stinky diapers. The other fact of life? Stinky diaper disposal. Here’s what I didn’t want … 1.) Keep dirty diapers in the house where they make my house stinky 2.) Constantly be running outside to throw a dirty diaper away

That’s why a diaper pail is a must in any home with a baby! We loved the Playtex Diaper Genie® when Lucas was a baby and are now using it again with Amelia. We recently received the Diaper Genie® Elite Diaper Disposal System with a new odor absorbent Carbon Filter to test out and it does a wonderful job of containing odors.

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Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Pail at a Glance:

  • The all-in-one diaper pail helps control odors, contain germs and makes diaper disposal easy
  • NEW! With safe, natural activated carbon filter to absorb strong diaper odors.
  • Double-lock pail design and multi-layer refill helps seal in odors and germs
  • Antimicrobial protection inhibits odor-causing bacteria
  • Ergonomic design with foot pedal allows for easy, hygienic ,hands-free opening
  • Elite Pail holds up to 38 newborn diapers
  • Refill holds up to 270 newborn diapers

My favorite feature is the Diaper Genie Elite Ultimate Odor Lock System, which is a double-lock design that seals away odors each time you drop in a dirty diaper. It basically provides a barrier between where the dirty diapers are stored and the top of the pail where you toss the diapers in. There are diaper pails on the market that DO NOT offer this. In fact, I was using one with Amelia because it was gifted to us and I was very unhappy with it!

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The foot pedal is also a nice feature when you are holding a baby in one arm and a dirty diaper in the other!

We also received the Playtex® Diaper Genie® refills and Nursery Fresh refills (cheaper and by another brand) so that we could compare how each performs. Immediately, you notice a difference! The off brand refills were much more difficult to insert into the Diaper Genie. Even removing them was tougher. So much so that the refill case came apart as I was trying to remove. We even noticed that the lid did not seem to close as securely with the off brand refills.  Playtex® Diaper Genie® refills definitely win! They are super easy to insert (they literally slide right in) and they have a better fit in the pail allowing the lid to close more securely. Less secure = odor leakage = stinky room! We definitely do not want that!

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Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.playtexbaby.com or www.facebook.com/PlaytexBaby.

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BUY. SNAP. GET.

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SpaFinder Promotion! Get a $25 SpafinderWellness 365 eGiftCardwith purchase of any 3 Diaper Genie® Refills

1.Buy any 3 Diaper Genie® refills in one transaction from May 1, 2014 to July 31, 2014.
2.Snap a picture of your receipt, email or text it to dg@drvsusa.comby July 31, 2014.
3.Receive a code and website to redeem for a $25 eGiftCard from SpafinderWellness 365TM.

Go to www.drvsusa.com/dgfor details

What We Learned On Our 19 Day Family Vacation – Travel Tips

*This is part of a sponsored campaign. All opinions are my own.

We just got back from a very long trip – 19 days  to be exact. We went to Miami, Key West and California. We drove to Miami, which is a 12 hour drive from Atlanta, including stops. We flew to California from Miami, which is a 5 1/2 hour flight. All with two kids. One of those kids being almost 1 year old. We are crazy, for sure!

Checking in to our flight to California

Checking in to our flight to California

Surprisingly though, traveling with kids wasn’t that bad. I mean – don’t get me wrong – we definitely had some bumps along the way. For instance, on our way back from California we were waiting to board our flight when Amelia had a nuclear meltdown for several minutes. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE was staring at us. You know they had to thinking “OMG, I hope that baby is not sitting next to me on the plane!” For a brief moment, I wanted to cry, but then I just started laughing because seriously…what could I do? I couldn’t reason with a 1 year old. I tried my best to console her until she quieted down, but besides that – there wasn’t anything I could do.

For the most part though, everything went pretty smoothly and we had a great time! The key was preparation! Below are a few things that we learned along the way. Hope they help your family travel easier this spring and summer!

Amelia on the plane with daddy

Amelia on the plane with daddy

Mom Tip General - 4

  • When flying with a baby, I recommend booking her a seat even if she is young enough to be a lap child (2 and under). We didn’t do this so that we could save money and ended up regretting it. Amelia was very squirmy on the flight and it would have definitely been a better flight if she’d had her own seat (sitting on a carseat, of course).  If you can’t book your baby a seat, then make sure that you are sitting next to someone you know as a buffer from other people who your baby will inevitably want to grab at LOL.
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! Whether you are flying or traveling by car, be prepared with lots of snacks! I don’t know what it is about food, but it can buy you a few minutes of sanity almost every time.
  • Pack small toys that you can pull out throughout your flight or road trip. It’s a good idea to have a few new things that will be exciting and hold their attention for longer periods (look in clearance or dollar bins).
  • For older kids, pack a portable DVD player, movies, iPad, iPod or other electronic gaming device, books, coloring and sticker books, etc.
  • If traveling by plane, make sure to get to the airport early so that you can get checked-in, check your bags, go through security and get to your gate with plenty of time. This will lower your stress level and start your trip off on the right foot! You don’t want to be running in an airport with kids in tow.
  • If traveling by car, get on the road as early as possible. We like to leave at 4 or 5 am so that it’s still dark and the kids will sleep for the first few hours.
  • Be flexible, stay positive, and know that kids will be kids. There will likely be bumps (read: meltdowns) along the way, but it’s ok! Breathe!
Lucas opening his Disneyland goody bag on travel day

Lucas opening his Disneyland goody bag on travel day

 

 

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For additional parenting tips and tricks, make sure to visit Playtex Baby Mom Trust!

 

What are your family travel tips and tricks?

 

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Playtex Baby Products for the On-the-Go Mom

Being a mom that is always on-the-go, I am constantly looking for products that make traveling a little bit easier. Whether it is a trip to grandmas or a trip to the ball field for one of Lucas’ baseball games or a trip to the beach for summer vacation, getting out of the house and packed up with all of the baby stuff is a huge chore so having a few products to make that simpler is always a plus! One of our go-to travel products is the Playtex™ SmartCool On-The-Go Bottle Tote. It is perfect for packing up Amelia’s bottles, sippy cups, or food. What I love about it is that it will keep liquids cold for up to 14 HOURS. Pretty awesome!

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It fits three standard size bottles and it has pokers for other stuff – even a pod that can be used to store extra nipples or pacis. Plus, I can sneak in some of Lucas’ snacks and keep them cool too! It’s really not just for baby stuff. It’s a cooler tote that can be used well beyond the baby years.

Another item that is handy BOTH at home and on-the-go is the Playtex™ SmartSpace Dishwasher Basket. Because seriously? Baby bottles and sippy cups have so many small parts! They get lost in the dishwasher or even worse – damaged by the heat. This keeps everything safe and in its place! In addition, we typically rent vacation homes or condos that have dishwashers so this is a godsend when we travel as well.

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Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.playtexbaby.com or www.facebook.com/PlaytexBaby.

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Ten Jolly Mom readers will win the products featured above! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

 

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Mom Tip #3: Family Scheduling Tips

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Lucas’ chore chart

Disclosure 1

One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is juggling everything. By everything I mean the usual suspects. For us, that is sports (baseball and karate), being a team mom, hubby is the t-ball coach, school drop offs and pick ups, being a business owner, breakfast, packing lunches, cooking dinner, and so on. You know the drill. Organization is the key to keeping it all together…as much as possible, at least.

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Lucas on his way to a baseball game

Today, I want to share some of our go-to family organization tips. Hope that they help your family too!

Mom Tip General-3

1. Plan your week ahead of time. Both Mike and I sit down every Sunday and talk about the upcoming week. We figure out who will be doing drop-offs and pick-ups, appointments, sports schedules, work schedules, etc. This helps our week run smoother because we work as a team and ensures that our week runs smoother. We then take our schedule and post it on the refrigerator. Yes, we also have it in our phones, but it helps when we can reference it throughout the day and the entire family can look at it too.

2. Get help. Whether it’s sharing carpool duties with another parent at your child’s school or enlisting your teen to help mow the grass or your preschooler to help load the dishwasher. At our house, Lucas has his own chore chart that we update with responsibilities weekly. The point is – don’t try to do it alone!

3. Make a menu. Plan breakfasts, lunches, and dinners ahead of time. Write it down and place it where it will be visible and top of mind (like on the refrigerator). This makes breakfasts easy and quick to prepare because I don’t have to scan my brain for ideas. Lunches are

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easy to pack because again – it’s already thought out for me. It’s especially helpful for dinners because I know when to pull out the chicken to thaw or what can be prepped ahead of time to ensure that dinner is on the table. I can also plan easier dinners for sports nights or nights when I may have to work later than usual.

4. Do as much as you can the night before. Pack lunches, lay out clothes, prep breakfast, make sure ingredients for the next night’s dinner are thawed, pack sports bags, etc.

5. Don’t be afraid to let things go. What I mean is that oftentimes, we over schedule ourselves and our children. If you feel like your schedule is out of control then it may be time to drop or pause a few activities for a while. For example, now that Spring baseball season has started, Lucas has 3-4 baseball activities per week (including practices and games). I could see that between school, baseball, and karate (which is twice per wee), Lucas was getting burned out (as were we). As a result, we decided to pause karate until the summer when baseball is over. Now, we have freed up some time to…just breathe.

6. Schedule in some down time. Our schedules are way too hectic these days! We need to have time to unwind, relax, and bond as a family. So whether it’s planning a movie night, game night or going on a walk at the park – plan some downtime.

Goofing off at the park during some much-needed downtime after school

Goofing off at the park during some much-needed downtime after school

 

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For additional parenting tips and tricks, make sure to visit Playtex Baby Mom Trust!

What are your family scheduling tips?

Stay Organized with New Playtex Baby Products & #Giveaway

There are many days that I feel like I’m running around like a crazy woman. That’s the story of all moms, right?! There are so many things to juggle. Notice I said “juggle” and not “balance”. Parenting and life are definitely a juggling act. There are so many moving pieces – work, car pool, school, breakfast, lunches, dinners, extracurricular activities, time for yourself, time for your spouse or partner…and so on. The only thing that helps me with my daily juggling act is being organized. I have to have an organized mind, organized schedule, and an organized home. That’s why I am always looking for way to stay better organized. While it may not seem like a huge deal, even having our kitchen organized makes things run smoother. A minute saved not hunting down the correct bottle part or sippy cup lid is a minute saved. We really like the Playtex Smartstand Universal Lid Organizer and the Playtex Smartspace Drying Rack for exactly those reasons.

The Playtex Smartstand Universal Lid Organizer is perfect to keep all of those sippy cup lids organized, which can become a big mess and translates into not being able to quickly find the right lid. You can keep it on the counter or it will also fit neatly into a cabinet so that it’s out of the way.

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Features

  • Assembles in seconds with no tools required
  • Fits in most cabinets or can be placed on the counter
  • Designed to hold all Playtex™ cups and other sippy cup lids
  • Rotates so you can find the right lid

The Playtex Smartspace Drying Rack is really necessary to dry all baby bottles and bottle parts. We just transitioned Amelia to sippy cups and it works perfect for that too! I love the little caddy on the side that stores bottle brushes or baby spoons and other utensils.

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Features

  • Unique design uses vertical space to save counter space
  • Rack separates into 2 parts for versatility
  • Features an absorbent, microfiber, machine-washable drying mat
  • Convenient side caddy to store brush and utensils
  • Fits any kitchen decor
  • BPA Free

Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.playtexbaby.com or www.facebook.com/PlaytexBaby.

 

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Giveaway! Ten lucky Jolly Mom readers will win the products featured above – enter below!

 

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