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Infant Toys To Register For

The first few years of your child’s life are crucial to long-term cognitive development. Trillions of weak connections are created in the brain and those connections are at risk of withering away if not exercised through stimulation. Countless studies have proven that a variety of actions and interactions stimulate the infant brain most importantly, basic human interaction like playing, feeding, changing, hugs and kisses but there are toys that can aid in this cognitive development also.

 

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Whoosit by Manhattan Toy

                Seen attached to countless strollers and car seats, the Whoosit is a staple in the baby world. This adorable character is safe for newborn and will provide your baby hours of entertainment while helping build his or her brain. This toy is engineered towards two ages; newborn and 3-4 months and up but will most likely be with you much longer. The Whoosit features one black and white side to catch the newborn’s attention and one with colors, shapes, a squeaker, and mirror for a few months later.

 

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Shangrila Activity Mat by Kushies

                A play mat is an essential item to stimulate your baby’s growth. Play mats create an area for “tummy time” a time in which baby can lie on his or her stomach and practice lifting the head and the most basic of motor skills while reaching for and playing with toys. Some play mats are designed to look whimsical but every inch of the Shangrila is specifically made to stimulate baby’s brain. The mat is also designed to grow with your little one as one side is black and white and the other is color. The funky, random patterns aren’t for looks but rather for function and the mat features fun pops of play sure to engage your little one’s brain while they just think it’s just play time.

 

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Maple Blocks by Hape Toys

                Good, old-fashioned blocks are still an invaluable tool in the quest for early success with your infant. Playing with blocks early on has even been related to better math scores in high school (Wolfgang et al 2001). Any set of blocks that feature a non-toxic finish will do, but Hape Toy’s Maple Blocks are safe, adorable and the bright colors will help catch and keep your little one’s attention. Blocks come in a variety of shapes and sizes suitable for all ages so look for a few sets for each stage of development.

 

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Skwish Classic by Manhattan Toy

                Committed to “Providing quality toys that enrich young lives and develop minds” Manhattan Toy is notorious for producing toys that stimulate cognitive development while using non-toxic materials. Starting at 3 months, the Skwish is one of the first toys your baby can easily learn to grip. The crisscross design of the strings makes it almost impossible for your baby to not grip this toy when they shove their pudgy little hand inside of this bright contraption. The contraction and expansion of the toy along with the moving of the wooden beads can help your new baby understand cause and effect as they control the toy.

 

                Your baby’s growing brain needs stimulation in order to foster growth of connections that may be lost forever as they grow older. Although there is no substitution for human interaction, these toys can aid in your baby’s development all while they just play. Babies can see at birth, just not as well as older children so stark images in colors combinations of black, white, and red can stimulate the baby white pastel colors tend to blend all together and do little to nothing to stimulate the optic nerve or the brain. Pick up or register for a few of these highly-rated toys to add some color and stimulation to your little love’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

Wolfgang, Charles H.; Stannard, Laura L.; & Jones, Ithel. (2001). Block play performance among preschoolers as a predictor of later school achievement in mathematics. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 15(2), 173-180

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Maternity Concierge

Hello readers,

More baby info to come, I promise. I wanted to take a moment and explain my whereabouts. I have been asked to write for another blog that is local and I have been super busy with demand for my maternity concierge services! I absolutely love it, I have been spending the majority of my time with clients building their registries built on what they actually need according to lifestyle so I wanted to let you all know that I haven’t forgotten about you. Please contact me if you need help with your registry or have a specific topic you would like me to cover. Again, thanks for reading!

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Up to 30% off The Honest Company

Check out Zulily today for a fantastic sale on tons of merchandise from The Honest Company. If you aren’t familiar with The Honest Company, this is the perfect time to test it out. Started by Jessica Alba after she had a hard time finding amazing, clean products for her newborn, The Honest Company offers a variety of healthy products for your baby. Just included in this sale are diapers, wipes, dishwasher detergent, sunscreen, and tons more like this adorable swim diaper for only $9.99! honestco

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Picking The Right Stroller for You (Part One)

Strollers are a tricky subject. It’s a big ticket item that you will need, but how much? How much should you invest? How often will you use it? And how much should you pay? Most people don’t read that much into it and decide on something cheap and easy up front. Resist the urge! When I began in the baby business, I was told that “the average family purchases 5 strollers over a lifetime”. I want to make sure that you don’t become that family.

 

Picking the right stroller for you depends on your lifestyle. If you imagine your days with your baby involving a walk in the park and maybe a stroll around the mall, you will need a completely different stroller than someone who will be trekking around in a big city or taking a hike.

 

The first piece of information we need to cover when we are talking about strollers is the need to get a “travel system”. Graco, Chicco, Britax and even UppaBaby now loves to bank on the fact that you don’t understand your options. They love to reel you in and show you how easy these systems work. Let’s break it down. A “travel system” is a fancy way of saying that a car seat clicks into the stroller. This is really nothing special, the majority of strollers that are safe for newborn will hold a car seat, it’s just sold separately and I promise it’s not difficult find, install or understand. My advice has always been to pick your stroller first. Then you can choose the best car seat from those that your stroller is compatible with.

 

For example, the City Mini from Baby Jogger can hold a car seat from Graco, Chicco, Maxi Cosi and more. Pick the stroller, then pick the car seat.

 

So now that you have put some thought into what you might be doing with your future stroller I will go over the 3 basic categories of strollers. In a future post I will go into specific brands and strollers but for now let’s keep it basic.

 

 

 

 

Everyday: Everyday strollers are lighter weight and usually at a pretty good price point. An everyday stroller is right for you if you travel primarily by car and will be using your stroller at a destination with a smooth terrain like a park, mall or green belt. These strollers will hold a car seat, feature a good recline for use with a newborn and will be relatively easy to travel with. 

 

 

 

 

Sporty: If you plan on jogging with your baby or taking him or her on rough terrain like hiking trails or dirt roads you will need a stroller that can keep up. Sporty strollers are typically heavier, equipped with some sort of suspension and are more durable than other strollers. These strollers also start at newborn and hold a car seat.

 

 Note: Please do not jog with a newborn and check with your pediatrician before jogging with your baby.

 

Beware: Sporty strollers are a commitment, if you think you might start jogging after the baby don’t run out and buy a jogging stroller because if you end up not following through you will find the stroller too bulky and heavy for everyday and it will inevitably sit and collect dust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Active/Premium: This category of stroller is for the parent who will spend much time strolling with baby. If you walk to your local coffee shop or grocery store on a regular basis you will need something a step up from an everyday stroller.

 

These strollers are the most expensive of the three categories and have all of the bells and whistles. They are mid weight, hold a car seat, come with a bassinet and a toddler seat capable of housing a newborn, typically hold multiple children, have upgraded wheels, and have pretty decent storage. If your days will be spent traveling by stroller to places with decent terrain like parks, zoos and metropolitan cities it is worth investing in a premium stroller.

 

As exhaustive as this may feel, these three categories are just the very basics of strollers. In a later post I will go more into specifics but try to keep these categories in mind while perusing the vast variety of strollers to pick from. Happy shopping!

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Today Kids Woot has “Wiggle Car Ride-Ons” on sale for $34.99 shipped! If you aren’t familiar with these small, kid-powered cars, they are amazing. I sold a similar version called the “Plasma Car” and I could not keep them in stock at my store.

 

The best part about these cars is they require no batteries, no electricity and no pushing, it’s all kid powered. The way that it works is that the child puts his/her feel on the foot pads and wiggles the handle, slowly the car will accelerate to a pretty good pace.

 

Another fun part about these cars is that they are capable of holding an adult also so you can have a little fun too. I used to sell a ton of these for parties. They actually become quite maneuverable and if you are skilled enough you can make the car go backwards and take some pretty fun turns.

 

Happy shopping!

 

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Crib Questions

Cribs are one of the biggest and one of the most confusing purchases you will be making for your new baby.

In future posts I will go into matress types and odd shaped cribs for special living situations but for the purposes of keeping it simple, this post will refer to American standard sized cribs, the majority of the cribs sold in America.

Here are the FAQs I get daily that apply to most of the cribs you will encounter:

Does this crib come with a mattress?

No.

Does the matress go up and down?

Yes. Cribs typically have 3-4 matress positions. You start at the top position for newborn and lower it as the child grows and tries to climb out.

Does this crib become a toddler bed thing later?

Yes. All cribs convert into a toddler bed, meaning that when the child can climb out on his/her own, at the lowest mattress position, one side of the crib is removed and replaced by a smaller guardrail to prevent him/her from falling out.

Some cribs transform further and convert to a full bed. These are commonly called a 3 in 1 or a 4 in 1 crib. 3 in 1 means that the back of the crib can also be used as a headboard. 4 in 1 means that the back becomes the headboard and the front becomes the footboard of a full bed.

Do(es) the conversion kit/guardrail/siderails for the toddler bed/full bed come with it?

No.

I probably don’t need the conversion kit for a while right?

Sure. You will probably not be using the conversion kit for a few years. However, styles and colors change and the store you bought your crib from might not sell that crib a few years down the road. Buy it with your crib and store it, they are usually pretty flat.

Do I need to buy your mattress or can I shop around?

Shop around! All American standard sized mattresses will fit. Most baby stores will carry different versions of the same mattress types, normally a standard and different levels of organic. I suggest researching and deciding on the type of mattress you want early on and wait for a sale and coupon combination, it will happen if you have enough time to wait.

What do I need to dress my crib?

The only two things that are absolutely necessary are a mattress pad and a fitted crib sheet. A full dressing of the crib would also include a bed skirt and a bumper. (Note: at this time of publishing, bumpers are banned in Maryland. Talk to your pediatrician about current medical reports concerning bumpers, I just see trends!)

What is this crib made of?

This could be anything. Cribs are made of countless woods and finishes. I will go into crib composition in a later post. Just know that not all compositions are equal in terms of being healthy. So ask the question.

Does this come assembled?

No.

Is it hard to assemble?

No. If I can do it, you can do it. It’s usually one allen wrench, included with the hardware, and like 12 bolts and washers. Breathe, use 2 people, read the instructions, take some pictures, make a night of it, and remember that people have built and assembled cribs for centuries!

Will the baby sleep in the crib right away?

It’s up to you. Mostly likely no. A bassinet by the bed is one of the best luxuries to indulge in for your new baby. I suggest one that converts to something else but I will have an entire post on bassinets soon!

However, if you are adamant in keeping the baby in the crib from day one, it can be done! I suggest a bedtime routine. Find something you can realistically stick to and stick to it! Babies love routine, take advantage.

Overall, the key thing to remember is that most cribs will do the same thing so don’t get sidetracked with all of the marketing gimmicks. If it converts, fits an American standard sized crib mattress, and comes in a lot of different colors it’s on a level playing field.

If there is anything I missed that you are dying to know please don’t hesitate to reach out and I can add it to the list. If you are wondering, I can bet there are a ton of other people wondering the same thing.