Overwhelmed First Time Parent to Be? Products to Get You Started!

Becoming first time parents can be overwhelming, especially when you make your first trip to the store for your registry.  With products and brands galore, from strollers to breast pumps, how could one possibly know what they need and which ones to choose?  That is how we felt on our first trip to the store, but after a bit of time and lots of research and first hand experience, I have hand picked a few staples to help get you started.   I will be writing a few articles as I discover new helpful products.

Stroller: The UPPAbaby brand baby strollers are all the rage on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  On one block, one may see five different colors of the UPPAbaby VISTA or the UPPAbaby CRUZ.  For city living, I can understand why this is such a beneficial stroller.  The wheels are sturdy and suspension excellent.  It also has a big basket underneath the seat for lots of grocery shopping and errands with your little one.  The vista has a variety of configurations and maneuvers like a single stroller with the ability to adapt as a family grows.  It comes with a bassinet and a toddler seat with multiple positions.  They are both interchangeable and requires no fabric swapping.  The canopy adjusts as your child grows and has an extendable 50+ sunshade.

If you plan on having another baby in the next few years, the seat selections and configurations can comfortably hold two Mesa infant car seats with a direct configuration and no attachments, two bassinets, and two toddler seats.  if you add the PiggyBack Ride Along Board, three can comfortably ride. 

The UPPAbaby CRUZ is also compatible with the Mesa and is streamlined and compact without compromising on function. It has an easy one step fold with or without the seat attached. 

The UPPAbaby G-LUXE is the lightest full size reclining stroller in its class.  It has a one-wheel lock brake, easy access, large basket, an extendable SPF 50+ sunshade, one-handed recline and adjustable footrest. The fabric is removable and washable. 

The UPPAbaby G-LITE stroller is one of the lightest full-size umbrella strollers available weighing 11 pounds.  

The UPPAbaby G-LINK stroller is perfect for someone with twins.  The side by side reclining seats and adjustable footrests have an independent one-handed adjustable recline with four positions.

Carseat:  The UPPAbaby MESA infant car seat is suitable for babies from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height.  It is the only car seat on the market that uses the smart secure system. It has self-retracting mini latch connectors and a red to green tightness indicator that allows for a quick, accurate and easy installation.  It has advanced side impact protection, exceeding the proposed NHTSA safety standards for SIP.  The integrated headrest design keeps an infant’s head stationary during a side impact collision.  The car seat comes in a variety of colors.  If choosing the Henry (blue marl), it is constructed of merino wool, which is fire resistant.  It is a soft breathable fabric that is comfortable in both warm and cool temperatures.

Nursing Bras:  They are not kidding when they say your breasts increase in size when pregnant.  I think I needed a new bra every few weeks through the first half of my pregnancy.  Then in the second half, the belly keeps expanding that your bra needs also seem to expand.  Some say to stop wearing underwires so it doesn’t inhibit your milk production.  Regardless, I think if one can find a supportive bra without an underwire, it’s good for your breast health.  However, as a woman who has always needed an underwire for support, I find it hard to find a good bra that still gives me a somewhat decent shape.  

That was until I discovered Bravado! Design Nursing Bras.  Their silk seamless bras and camis that are so soft and comfortable while also offering great support for women of all sizes.   I have tried the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra, the Yoga Nursing Bra and the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Cami.  Two brand new limited-edition colors are the sea glass for the nursing bra and Dove Heather for the yoga bra.  The cami comes in black and white.  I love the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Cami because it can be worn underneath a shirt or sweater and because the Body Silk Seamless Bra is knitted inside, there is no need to wear a bra too.  The four-way stretch fabric hugs your changing shape and has convertible criss-cross straps.  

The nursing bra also has the four way stretch fabric and it includes a conversion kit that converts the bra to a regular bra once you are done nursing, so you don’t have to worry about spending money on a bra you’ll only wear for a short time.  For maximum skin-to-skin contact, the bra cups drop away fully. 

Pregnancy and Nursing Pillows:  Friends kept telling me how much they loved their full body pillow they used during pregnancy. I thought I was doing just fine with my two memory foam pillows – one for under my head and one for between my knees.  That was before I was introduced to the Boppy Multi-Use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow.  If you’re pregnant, you’re probably waking up one to three or more times a night to either go to the bathroom or from restlessness.   I can’t guarantee you won’t need to still go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but I have found I am far less restless when cuddled up to my pillow.  It provides complete head-to-tow support including comfort to your neck, belly, back and hips.  The slipcover is made from 100% cotton, wipeable and machine washable.  According to recent studies, poor sleep can lead to longer labor, preterm birth and gestational weight gain.  Therefore, don’t take a good night’s rest lightly!

If you’re afraid your partner may get jealous of this new addition taking over your bed, the Boppy Pregnancy Support Pillow is a smaller-sized body pillow that provides just the right support for the hips, legs and bump.  

The Boppy Back and Bump Support Pillow is perfect for helping with the recommended side sleeping during pregnancy.  It supports both the belly and back in a compact design.  While I always intend to sleep on my side, inevitably I still end up on my back.  This pillow helps keep me in place and supports the back muscles and ligaments which are getting loser as the pregnancy progresses. 

If you just want a wedge to place at any point on your body, the Boppy Pregnancy Wedge  is a firm, versatile pregnancy cushion you can use on your back, bump or between your knees.  It also makes for a great lumbar support while sitting.  

After baby is born, the Boppy Nursing and Feeding Pillow provides great support while breast or bottle feeding. 

In my next article, I will give helpful product tips for bassinets, carriers, and more!  Keep smiling – your new addition will be here soon and while you will always worry about your child, hopefully you’re a little less worried about about which products are best for getting started!

Fun and Helpful Prenatal Products

Becoming pregnant for the first time can be exciting, but at the same time, it can be overwhelming. A new mom to be wants to make sure she does everything she can to provide her baby with the best chance of being born healthy and happy. It’s not always a walk in the park. That glow everyone talks about most likely will be harder to find when you are nauseous in the first trimester, exhausted and not able to make it past 6pm, getting bigger and bigger with a stomach that has a mind of its own. However, it’s comforting to know there are products that can help ease the symptoms of pregnancy and make it more enjoyable, while also protecting your unborn baby. Below are some of the few I have discovered so far in my third trimester.

Aden and Anais Nursing Pillow: As you get bigger and the pregnancy progresses, some practicioners stress the importance of laying on your left side. The Aden and Anais  Nursing Pillow not only makes for a great pillow for the baby while nursing after birth, but also helps with staying on one’s left side.  It is very comfortable and plump and can be positioned behind or in front of you for nighttime support.  Its removable, machine-washable white cover is made from soft, breathable 100% cotton muslin.  Colorful cotton muslin covers are also available in a variety of  signature prints. For wrapping your bundle of joy after birth, the Aden and Anais swaddles come in many cute colors and sizes.

 

 

 

Belly Armor Belly Blanket Luxe by Radiashield: You work on your laptop and keep your cell phone close to you. But you also worry the radiation can be harmful to your developing baby. Belly Armor is a soft, cuddly blanket that also functions as a shield between your electronic devices at the baby in your womb.  It is a very simple way of protecting your little one in utero.  The Luxe is made up of luxurious cotton micro-fleece and satin.

Belly Bandit’s Upsie Belly:  The Upsie Belly for me is a life saver!  Towards the end of the pregnancy, it becomes more and more difficult to walk due to the pressure of the baby’s head in my pelvis, but I also know walking is recommended and I didn’t want to give that up.  In fact, it wasn’t really an option, considering I live in NYC and still need to get from point A to point B.  That’s where this simple, yet very effective wrap which comes with a heating/ice pack for your back works so well.  It is made of soft viscose from bamboo which makes it very comfortable. It comes in a variety of sizes and has 12 inches of adjustability, so it can be used as your belly grows.   You can choose to slip the pack into the integrated pouch for your lower back for increased pain relief or wear it without it.  It gives  your growing belly the extra support it needs and takes the pressure off of your bladder and pelvis, making it easier to walk.

The Upsie Belly also eases sciatic, back and leg pain and adds hip, back and abdominal support.  It also helps to increase circulation and blood flow, decrease varicose veins, hernias and hemorroids.  Belly Bandit also makes a number of products for after you give birth to help you get back your pre-pregnancy shape.

BellyBuds by Wavhello: A baby’s hearing develops in utero at about 20 weeks, and studies have shown memories begin at 30 weeks.   I think it’s so neat that your baby has a way of hearing the music you love or your voice right near them.  You can let baby listen to the same music you’re listening to while working out or just relaxing around the house.  BellyBuds offer a fun way for parents to talk to their baby or share music and messages through WavHello’s free VoiceShare app.   Some new moms to be feel it’s a great way to bond with their baby in utero.

 

 

Blooming Wellness’ Zenbands and ZTones: Relaxation is very important in pregnancy. As a first time mom, there are a lot of unexpected changes going on in your body. Listening to calming meditations are helpful for both you and your baby. Zen bands make it easy to listen to your meditations and music through their soft boho-styled headband that acts as a headband, headphones and eye mask all in one with removable small speakers. This prevents headphones from falling out of your ears while putting very little pressure on them. Made out of lightweight cotton, they come in a variety of colors to promote the benefits of color therapy. According to their website, people have used them for traveling, running, walking, meditating, sleeping, napping, while at the spa, the pool, the gym, in a train, in a plane, for acupuncture, for hospital stays, in hotels, for hypnobirthing, for meditating and mindfulness, and just for general stress management.

Books: There are a ton of books on the market for the expectant mom.  The one everyone has heard of, ” What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is useful when learning the basics of pregnancy from what tests to expect to the types of delivery.  However, some lesser known titles which can be extremely helpful for the anxious mom to be are “Finding Calm for the Expectant Mom” by Alice D. Domar PH.D and Sheila Curry Oakes and “The Confident Parent” by Jane Scott MD and Stephanie Land.  As someone who thought she was the only one who wasn’t in love with being pregnant at the beginning, “Finding Calm For the Expectant Mom” talks about what many women really go through and helps to ease fears and stress of pregnancy and becoming a new parent.

Carex Bed Buddy Neck Pillow:  After a couple of minutes in the microwave, this soothing aromatic pillow will sooth aways aches, pains and stress, or arthritis in the neck and shoulders.  Using deep, moist relaxing lavender and chamomile aromatherapy, it helps ease stress and tension.  This is the perfect remedy for that tired body or a great way to find calm during your pregnancy.

Janes Wellness Gowns: a very comfortable, attractive alternative to the typical hospital gown, this is a great robe to wear during every part of your pregnancy. With its warm, lightweight knit fabric and wrap closure, they provide total comfort and minimize exposure, allowing you to relax and focus on everything from the ultrasounds to nursing your baby. They are also perfect for lounging around the house or for the day you meet your new baby.

Mama Mio: Your belly and boobs will expand to sizes you never imagined possible.  With that could come stretch marks that don’t go away when your stomach does.  That’s where Mama Mio comes to the rescue.  They offer products to help prevent and minimize the marks.  They also offer creams to help sooth the soreness from breastfeeding. Below are a few of my favorites:

Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Oil – Helps protect growing tummies against the appearance of stretch marks using a blend of omega-packed organic oils.
Mama Mio Pregnancy Boob Tube Bust Cream – Rich in omega oils to protect, cool and soothe both pregnant and new mamma boobs.
 Mama Mio Goodbye Stretch Marks Stretch Mark Minimiser – This is a powerful blend of peptides, fruit and algae extracts and nourishing oils helps to minimise the appearance of both new and old stretch marks caused by pregnancy. With the stretch marks minimiser the newer the stretch mark the better the result.

Mama Mio Lucky Legs Cooling Leg Gel – Help ease weary heavy legs in a flash. Packed with oils and refreshing spearmint to help revive tired legs and swollen feet. A must for any mama-to-be.

 

 

 

Make travel easier with these products

Most of us travel a fair amount in our lives whether for business or pleasure. Regardless the reason, certain things never get easier no matter how many frequent flier miles we rack up. Packing is a pain, trying to combat the plane’s germs can lead to a disappointing loss before you even get to your destination. The head bob from unsuccessful sleep on an overnight flight leaves you exhausted and frustrated. For these and many more reasons, I seek out the best travel products for making a journey a lot easier, healthier and more pleasurable where possible. I cast the net wide for this article and wanted to share a few really cool products that do just that.

So much luggage, so little space! Solution: Biaggi Luggage

Most people don’t just have one piece of luggage. I live in a studio apartment in NYC and have five suitcases and a duffle bag. I’m set for any trip, but unless I want to live on the road, this leaves me no room in my apartment! That’s where my savior the Tank” with Laurie Greiner. A New Yorker himself, he understands the needs of all of us in small apartments. He also understands that even if you live in a huge home, you don’t want your luggage to take up an entire room. The solution? Biaggi Luggage.

Biaggi luggage features two lines: The contempo line and the zipsak line of bags. Both fold up and can be stored under your bed when not in use. The zipsak folds into a little carrying case while the contempo line, which is more like your traditional hard shell luggage, folds up to 50% of its size. They both feature a four-wheel spinner system and the materials are extremely lightweight and scratch resistant. Check out the entire line here: http://www.biaggi.com.

Just when you thought you packed everything, you forgot something!
Solution: Genius Pack Luggage

No matter how much time I spend laying everything out on my bed before a trip and making lists, I inevitably forget some of the most basic items like contact lense solution. I am also the one who is constantly digging in my backpack. I open every single section and look in each pocket in my backpack and still don’t usually find that pen or phone charger for which I’m looking. That is where the Genius Pack line of luggage steps in! All of the suitcases come with built in organizational systems, which also help maximize the space inside for packing.

The carry-on features patent pending laundry compression technology that allows you to separate your dirty laundry from the rest of your clothes and roll them up into an airtight ball to leave plenty of room for souvenirs or other items you pick up along the way. Other features include an umbrella pop out, a portable mobile charger that allows you to recharge your smartphone directly from your bag, and even a mini speaker so you can listen to music while you pack. An engineered organizational panel includes category labeled compartments and an integrated packing list ensures you never forget your essentials.

If you’re in the market for crush-proof lightweight luggage, Genius Pack can help you. They are the first company to release hardside luggage with an interior organizational panel. Their 25-inch model weighs in at 8.2 pounds and rolls 360 degrees with 8-silent gliding spinner wheels. Additional features include an integrated combination lock, a permanent packing checklist, and secluded laundry compartment to keep unclean clothes separate from the rest. Check out all of their products here: http://www.geniuspack.com

You’re exploring a new city and don’t want to carry around a big purse. Solution: Pursecase

You’re in a new place and know you need to be extra careful with your purse. Maybe you’re going out dancing and don’t want to bring a bag, but you need your phone and a few essentials like money, credit cards, etc. Even if you have a pocket, you don’t want to put them in there, as they can easily be lifted right out if in a busy club. The solution? The chic new pursecase! Kelley Weaver is the founder and CEO of pursecase and is also an alumnus of the hit show, Shark Tank and partners with Lori Greiner.

The protective smartphone case is not only functional, but also fashionable. It has a pocket to carry cash, ID and credit cards, and a sleek chain handle that doubles as a bracelet, as well as a compact mirror designed for those fashion emergencies! A stylish cross body chain can be attached as well. They are sold on pursecase.com for $40 each.

Don’t get sick before you even get there! Solution: 8G (8 Greens)

Whoever travels with me soon sees that I spare nothing in trying not to get sick while on the road. I take airborne, elderberry extract, sniff saline solution before a flight and disinfect the armrests and tray tables. On my most recent trip, I brought with me a container of my wheatgrass powder. I was debating whether or not to bring it because it could get messy, but I was glad I did because someone on my trip was very sick and I was glad I had it!

So you can imagine when I heard about the new 8G (8 Greens), which is the world’s first effervescent tablet containing blue green algae, organic aloe vera, barley grass, spinach, kale spirulina, chlorella and wheatgrass, I was thrilled! Each tablet has zero grams of sugar and just nine calories. Tubes of 10 cost $12.50 and can be found online or at Nordstrom. 8G is power-packed nutrition: each tablet contains as much Vitamin C as five oranges, as much Vitamin B6 as 12 cups of peas, as much zinc as 10 cups of asparagus and as much Vitamin B3 as 27 cups of broccoli. And the health benefits of greens are well known. Blue green algae boosts the immune system and can reduce inflammation. Barley grass can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, while helping to keep blood sugar stable. Kale is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, calcium and fiber. Wheatgrass boosts red blood cell production and aloe vera accelerates healing.

Dawn Russell is the founder and CEO of Tasty Greens. 8G is the result of a multi year journey undertaken after she was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in her mid-20s. Chemotherapy was not an option for her due to a bone infection, so she traveled the world in search of complementary treatments. She is now happy and healthy thanks to the healing power of greens. You can find them here: https://8greens.com

The head bob… Solution: The Travel Halo Travel Pillow and Mask

Mike Vahey, a U.S. Army veteran and world traveler invented the travel halo after countless sleepless airplane rides. We’ve all been there and having a good travel pillow can make all the difference in the world between arriving at your destination completely exhausted or refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.

Mike’s pillow is not really a pillow, but a soft head stabilizer that allows you to fall asleep sitting up in your chair. It has two rear stabilizers that put the pressure on the headrest instead of your neck. It also has an attached eye mask to keep out the light. Its minimalist design allows it to fold up into a pouch that can fit in your purse, a pocket, or glove compartment if you’re using it for a long car ride.

Also… The GoSleep Pillow and Mask

The GoSleep pillow and mask is a two-part system was developed by and also helps with head bobbing issue. It is a different concept than the Travel Halo because it is made up of an actual memory foam pillow and a mask, which wraps around your headrest. Therefore, this one gives you a little more cushion with the additional pillow that can be used behind your head or as a back support, but it also takes up more room in your carry-on. For the mask, one positions it over their eyes, and after placing the cord behind the headrest, adjusts the toggles for a comfortable fit.

Long flight? Feeling tired and gross? Solution: Good Wipes

Whenever I get off the plane, no matter how short the flight, I feel run down. On long flights, I could go a day without getting in a shower. This is where Good Wipes comes in and makes it all better! Sam Nebel and Charlie Siciak invented these after spending a long weekend without showering at a music festival and realized they needed something to help them freshen up.
Each individually wrapped wipe is biodegradable, ph-balanced, alcohol-free and 100% flushable/dispersible. They come in body wipes (9.5 x 11.5 inches) for both men and women and his and her below the belt wipes (7 x 5.3 inches). The scents are rejuvenating and ideal for getting you energized for that big meeting you have to run off to straight from the airport or when your hotel room is not quite ready yet after a long flight.

Oh no! I ran out of space on my phone to take pictures! Solution: Leef iBridge

How many times are you about to take that perfect picture when your phone tells you you’re out of storage? With the Leef iBridge, you never have to worry about using up one MB of space on your IOS device and it comes in storage amounts ranging from 16gb to 256 gb. This means you can take your entire music and movie library with you on trips and take as many pictures as you’d like without your phone telling you it ran out of storage. It has an apple lightning, a hi speed usb 2.0 connector, and sells for $59.99.

The Zika Scare…how do I protect myself? Solution: Exofficio Clothing

With Zika now in many Caribbean and Central and South American countries, when traveling, you want to take as many precautions as possible. ExOfficio BugsAway travel clothing and accessories offer an effective way for travelers to protect themselves against insects that can carry disease. ExOfficio offers styles of shirts, pants, jackets, hats, socks and accessories in the BugsAway collection, which are designed with travel-ready features and performance fabrics, providing bug protection that is comfortable and convenient.

ExOfficio BugsAway clothing is treated with invisible, odorless permethrin, using Insect Shield technology. Originally developed for the US military, Insect Shield technology bonds permethrin to apparel and gear products to provide odorless, effective and long-lasting protection. EPA-registered Insect Shield is tested and proven to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges (including those that can carry Zika virus and other illnesses such as Lyme disease, Dengue fever and malaria.) The repellency lasts through 70 launderings, the average life expectancy of a garment. ExOfficio was the first consumer apparel brand in the U.S. to utilize Insect Shield technology in 2004.

Need a jacket for cold weather, but it takes up so much room: Solution: Eddie Bauer Microtherm jacket

The latest fad over these past few years have centered on down jackets that fold up into a pouch. The Eddie Bauer Microtherm jacket is not only ultralight, but also built for alpine climbing in cool and cold weather. Since it is built for climbers, you can be confident it will offer the same weather protection for exploring in all the elements. The lightweight jacket is warm, windproof and water-repellent. Each cluster of the super high-loft 800 fill StormDown is also treated with a DWR finish so the down retains its loft and continues to provide insulation in wet conditions. The zip hand pockets ensures you don’t lose your essentials and the zip chest pocket with media port allows you to have music with you wherever your travels take you. And best of all, it folds up into a tiny ball and will fit into any small space you have left in your suitcase.

A Terrific Travel Pillow!

As you know, I travel a lot, and some trips have long flight times.  I always have my checklist of things to bring with me on the plane…airborne, nasal saline, elderberry extract, earplugs, eye mask, etc. However, the most important part of my trip that is  going to entail I get to the destination well rested or exhausted is my travel pillow.  It is my most important accessory.  A lot of times I arrive to my destination at 7am and have to hit the ground running, so if I don’t sleep on that flight, I will be miserable.  I’ve tested lots of travel pillows over the years like the ones that go around your neck, but the problem with those is that my neck always falls forward and wakes me up or I wake up with a stiff neck and headache.  I’ve realized that I need a pillow that I can lay against the window or on the tray table in front of me and lean forward.  I’ve tried different ones  and what is going to work for one position is not necessarily going to work for another because it doesn’t expand or contract for different angles.  Well, I have finally found a pillow that solves that problem.  It’s the Zami Pillow.

Shawn Montazami is the inventor and he stands by the fact that hundreds of hours went into the making of this product, yielding an extremely durable and versatile pillow that can expand and contract to any size.   It is a multi-cell inflatable pillow that can be used not only on the plane, but for boating, camping, taking a bath, the beach, pool or in the car, so once you reach your destination, you can use it on your vacation as well.  Check out their website at http://www.thezami.com/index.php to get your own zami.  No matter how many you order, he charges the same 4.95 for shipping, so get one for the whole family!

A Better Back Takes Balance

As you know from some of my previous posts, I have been having issues with my lower back for quite some time.  Having gone to several therapists, chiropractors and doctors, my most recent doctor, Dr. Clifford Stark, medical director at Sports Medicine at Chelsea, has been the first and only one to uncover the real problem.  He has found that my ligaments are very loose, which creates instability in my lower back.  This becomes a vicious cycle because, as he states, the most important factor in controlling this problem is to maintain strong muscles, especially my core.   The injections he did to stabilize my ligaments, called PRP and prolotherapy, were only part of the equation.  Physical therapy has been a long frustrating haul until he recently introduced me to a new product that has done wonders for my stability, the Indo Board, developed by Hunter Joslin.

Most people get the Indo Original Training Package which consists of a board to place on top of a cylindrical roller or an inflatable disc.    The idea that whatever the exercise, even just standing, is extremely difficult because it creates an unstable surface, which forces me to activate muscles to keep from loosing my balance.  I’ve tried many other balancing products at the gym and at physical therapy, but none have activated  as many muscles as this has.  I can feel the  muscles firing in my glutes, abductors, adductors,  lower back, pelvis, abs, quads, hamstrings and other  core stabilizers. 

Although the product was originally designed to  prepare  for board sports, it’s also very helpful with many other sports and activities because balance is the foundation for every sport.   If you are a surfer or always wanted to be, this is the perfect product for you to have in your home!  The Indo Board was featured on “The Doctor’s” program and you can see the video here to get a good idea of how it works.

Click here and here for some other video links to see what else can be done with the indo board.  And here’s a quick tip I’ll leave you with:  While you will gain great strength and stability from this workout, start slow because the roller in will take you for a ride if you’re not careful!  I am looking forward to mastering some cool tricks on the board one of these days, but I’ll take it one step at a time!