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Much to the chagrin of my husband I am sure, I realized after the birth of my second child that I really did need two diaper bags (or 3 or 4, but don’t tell him that).  And I also realized it is worth it to me to have duplicates of a lot of the contents of the diaper bags so that both bags are always almost packed.

Now, if you have been a mom for more than about five minutes, you’ve no doubt figured out what you need in your bag, but I love to have a list anyway.  So with my often-scattered new-mom brain, I can scan the list and make sure I don’t leave a key item out.  Also, my list helps jog my memory if something needs to be restocked.

The Contents of My Diaper Bag

  • Diapers: 3-4 for my infant daughter who needs more frequent diaper changes. We are currently potty training my son (post about this fun task to come)
  • Wipes-Travel size pack
  • Changing Pad– I like to carry a disposable one, so if it ends up disgusting, it doesn’t have to come home. Plus, it takes up less room in the bag than a padded one most bags come with.

(I keep the above 3 items in their own mesh bag, so I can grab it and head into the bathroom or better yet, hand the mesh bag and poopy kid to my husband!)

  • Empty plastic bags– These not only can contain dirty diapers if you aren’t near a trash can, but can also hold soiled clothes, trash from your picnic, or your toddler’s rock collection that he insists on bringing home with him.
  • Hats– Warm and Sun protection for the baby, Baseball hat for my son
  • Change of clothes: I usually keep a pair of light weight pjs for the baby in my bag.  If she has a blow out, pjs are a fine replacement outfit, and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of a top, pants and socks in my bag. And, because we are potty training the older one, I now have to carry a few extra pairs of Buzz Lightyear underwear and pants
  • Sunscreen– I just leave it in my bag all the time, especially in Northern California, you never know when the sun will come out, or when you’ll decide to stop at the park while out running errands.
  • Small Blanket:  I rolled a small flannel (carters, I think) blanket really tightly and put it in the very bottom of my bag.  This is the emergency blanket if you forget one, or the one you brought falls out of the stroller into a puddle and you run it over (done this!).  I am surprised how often I use my back up blanket.
  • Nursing Pads: I am forever leaving my nursing pad the last place I fed my daughter.  Have a few extra in your bag.  And while we’re at it, if you still need them, make sure you have a few pads or panty liners in your diaper bag too.
  • Nursing Cover: If you use one. I find them to be a bit cumbersome and usually fall into the “fine with nursing in public” camp.  If I feel the need to cover up, I use the blanket, one less thing to carry.
  • Bottle/Formula: I love the shelf stable on-the-go formula bottles.  I can just stick on in my bag and not worry about pouring, mixing, getting water etc.
  • Mom’s Supplies: A mesh bag with hair ties, emery board, hand lotion, chapstick, gum, advil, tums, colgate wisp disposable toothbrush (for those new-mom mornings when you just aren’t sure when you last brushed your teeth) and what ever else you might need to help you feel human.
  • Essential Make up: If your infant is screaming and you need to get the car nap started or if you preschooler constantly interrupts your morning routine, a few key make up pieces in your bag (mine is a powder compact, lip gloss and mascara) can help you feel a little more pulled together when you reach your destination.
  • A Luna Bar: Or meal replacement snack of choice.  Much like make up, I often run out the door to get everyone where they need to be with out eating (or eating enough).  Having a bar already stashed can be a lifesaver.
  •  A Few Bribes: Need to run to the bank or the post office after preschool pick up?  A bag of Annie’s Gummy Bunnies, and a Thomas the Train can be just enough to get in and out with out a melt down.
  • Hand Sanitizer gel or wipes: Put this is an outside pocket so you can grab it easily.  I like the wipes because they can sanitize hands as well as shopping cart handles and they are less likely to leak in your bag than the gel.
  • Pacifier:  Even if you don’t normally use one, you’d be surprised what you (and your baby) will try when the screaming just won’t stop.
  • Pack of Tissues: another mother staple, someone ALWAYS has a runny nose

Diaper Bag #2 : The All Day Family Affair

When I have both kids with me and we are going somewhere for most of the day, like the zoo or train town, we just need more stuff.  I have a larger diaper bag (actually a roxy tote bag I bought at a surf shop in Hawaii on our “babymoon”) that I keep packed with duplicates of every thing above.  Now, you absolutely can move everything from one bag to another, but really one quick trip to target and you’ll be one step closer to getting out the door in time to see the penguin feeding at 10:15.

Then, I add the following;

  • More Diapers
  • Extra clothing layers for each kid and mom
  • Lunch or more extensive snacks, including better adult snacks
  • Hat or visor for mom
  • Large water bottle with ice that we can refill all day
  • Camera

Diaper Bag #3: Formerly know as your purse

I keep the following things in a small purse all the time ready to go (small, because if you have to hoist around a piece of luggage most days, small is refreshing!).  If I have the chance to run to the grocery store by myself (ah, the luxury) or my preschooler and I are going to go get donuts one morning, I don’t have to bring my whole diaper bag and I don’t have to scramble around to put a purse together.  I just have to add my wallet and my phone and I’m out the door!

  • Travel Wipes: Because a mom always needs these
  • Diaper: One for each kid, just in case
  • A small notebook and a Pen: You may actually be able to jot down the next big idea if you are away from your constantly talking kids long enough to hear yourself think!
  • Duplicates of the “Moms Essentials and Make-up Essentials” above:
  • Your Wallet: Nothing like getting to the checkout line at the grocery store and realizing your wallet is in your diaper bag at home
  • Emergency $20: Because at some point you will leave your wallet in your diaper bag, and at least you can go buy yourself a latte and an Us Weekly.

    Brady on a donut date with mom

If I’ve learned one thing in the few month I’ve been a mom of two, its that the more prepared I am, the more smoothly things go, the faster we get out of the house, AND the fewer melt downs for everyone (mostly mom).

As a personal trainer who specializes in pre and postnatal fitness and as a mom who has now been “postnatal” twice, here is my advice for getting back into shape after the birth of your baby. 

  1. Be Fair to Yourself:  Ease back into exercise and don’t be hard on your self.  You were pregnant for nine months, give yourself at least that long to get back into shape.
  2. Be Cautious: In the first few weeks and sometimes months after delivery,  your body is still recovering from and many of the hormones present during pregnancy remain in your system 6-18 months postpartum.  Your joints are still lose and prone to injury.  Avoid oblique exercises, especially early postpartum as they can exacerbate abdominal separation that may have occurred during pregnancy.
  3. Be Selfish:  It’s ok to do things for yourself.  You’ll better meet the demands of motherhood if you are fit and healthy and will be setting a good example for your children.
  4. Take A Class:  Research out of St. Louis University shows that women who participate in a structured exercise or diet program after the birth of their baby lose more weight and retain that weight loss better than those women who go at it alone.  Plus, a class is a great place to meet other new moms and their babies and form new friendships for you and your children!
  5. Drink Water:  Nursing, exercise and weight loss all increase your need for adequate water intake.  Keep a bottle with you and sip off it all day.  Start your day with a tall glass of water. Drink at least 8-12oz every time you feed your baby and 8-12oz during and after exercise.
  6. Get Variety in Your Exercise Routine: A well-rounded fitness routine should include cardiovascular work, strength training and flexibility work.  Find activities you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with them if they are fun.
  7. Be Consistent:  A little bit of exercise everyday adds up to bigger results than 1 monster session a week.  Try walks with the baby, push-ups during nap time, yoga poses in the morning and trips to the gym when you can.
  8. Practice Good Nutrition:  Breastfeeding requires and extra 500 calories a day, but be sure those extra calories are coming from healthy, well-balanced sources.  Be careful, we tend to snack more when we are sleep deprived!
  9. Be Mindful:  The demands of motherhood are mental as well as physical.  Along with your exercise program, be sure you have emotional support to adjust to this change in your life.  Whether through talking with close friends, an organized mother’s group or seeking the advice of a professional, don’t discount your feelings.
  10. Be Kind:  Motherhood is a challenge, you may not get into shape as quickly or exercise as often as you want, but do the best you can and be sure to enjoy this special time with your child.

Watch this blog in the coming weeks for video clips of workouts you can do at home with your baby.  And contact me for personal consultations or training (in person and via skype)

I don’t really mean steal, these are things you are completely allowed to take home.  And, I’m sorry, did you see the itemized bill from the hospital?!?!  Take a package of pampers!  And if you brought your nurses bagels (see my previous post), they just might bring you a few extra packs of diapers and wipes!  On top of that, most of the products are samples from the companies anyway.  Baby companies want your business and what better way to get it than to get you used to their products while you are in the hospital.  Companies supply hospitals with formula, diapers, bottles, even diaper bags to give out to their patients in hopes you will become a loyal customer to their brand.  So don’t feel bad about taking their products.  If you feel unsure or uncomfortable about what to take, just ask your nurse!  Here are my suggestions for what to make sure goes home with you.

  1. Bulb syringe-The snot sucker from the hospital seems to work better than anything you can buy.
  2. Swaddle Blankets– These blankets seem to be the perfect size for effective swaddling.  Plus, I find they are really good multi purpose blankets for later on.  They are flannel and can double as a changing pad cover or even a towel in a pinch.  I keep a few in my car!
  3. Diapers and Wipes- Diapers are expensive, so I say, take all the help you can get.  One free pack of diapers will fund your new-mom coffee habit for those first few sleep deprived days.   Also, both of my kids started out in preemie diapers.  The pack I got from the hospital got me through until they were big enough for the newborn diapers I already had at home.
  4. Mesh panties, pads and ice packs- Lets face it, your nether region goes through some trauma bringing your baby into the world.  The hospital will provide you with all the supplies you need to help you feel better and more comfortable.  Take them with you and ask for extras so you don’t have to run out to the drugstore once you’re home.
  5. Squirt bottle /Peri bottle- Along the same lines as above, wiping is a bit uncomfortable at first and it is recommended you use a squirt bottle to rinse yourself off in the beginning.  And later your toddler will love to play with the squirt bottle in the bathtub!
  6. Baby t-shirts- These little half shirts are perfect for the first few days of constant diaper changes and waiting for the umbilical cord to heal.  Plus, hang on to one for the keepsake box, in a few months you’ll never believe your baby was so small!
  7. Pacifiers- Like the bulb syringe, there is something magical about the binkies in the hospital.  Even if you don’t think you want to use a pacifier with your baby, throw that sucker (pun intended) in your going home bag, ‘cuz you never know.
  8. Breast Pump Parts- If you use the hospital grade pump during your stay, you will be provided your own set of tubes and flanges.  Bring those home, because they will most likely be compatible with your breast pump at home and it is nice to have an extra set.  Even if you don’t use the pump in the hospital, check your ‘supply drawer’ the extra set may be in there.
  9. First Aid supplies for you and baby– If you have had a c-section or your little boy was circumcised, there will be some post hospital wound care required.  My nurse sent me home with enough gauze and Vaseline to take care of my little guy until he was healed, one less thing to buy.
  10. Samples of formula, bottles, diaper bags etc- If the nurse didn’t automatically offer you some free samples.  You can just ask “is there a brand of formula/bottles/whatever that your recommend?”  Chance are, she’ll say “here, let me get you some samples.”  You can do this at your pediatrician’s office too!  We had a hard time getting our daughter to take a bottle and the nurse at the pediatrician’s office gave us some sample bottle nipples to try.

School has been out now for a few weeks, the Forth of July is over, the kid next door is on vacation and parents start to hear those famous summertime words… “I’m Bored.”  And sometimes it is not always the kids that are bored, parents get to a point that if they have to watch the same Dora the Explorer cartoon for the eleventeenth time or play one more round of Fire trucks and Ambulances….they will go crazy.  Some times you need some quick ideas to mix up your summer time routine.  Try out some of these easy to do Summer Boredom Busters!

  1. Dinosaur Dig:  Spruce up the sand box by burying some small toys and letting your little archeologists dig them up.  Burry toys you already have at the bottom of the toy box or pick up some new ones from the dollar bin; little cars, plastic animals, squirt toys all make great artifacts!
  2. Sprinkler Fun:  No need to pack up and head to the pool.  Remember how much fun the sprinkler was when you were a kid?? Just turn it on in the yard and maybe you can even sit back with a lemonade while the kids frolic!
  3. Instant Bird Feeder: Cut yarn or String into 10-20 inch pieces.  String O cereal onto the pieces and tie into a loop.  Hang the loops from tree branches and watch for feathered friends to flock!
  4. Make family member puppets:  Keep a stash of extra family photos (or quickly print some off the computer, they don’t have to be high quality photo paper), especially those with larger images of family members.  Glue the photos to old file folders, poster board or anything to make them a little studier.  Cut out the general shape of the photos and glue or tape each person to a popsicle stick.   Then have your little one tell stories about the time he went to the zoo with his cousins.
  5. Ball Toss:  Make your own carnival by stacking up plastic cups into a pyramid and make a ball out of crumpled newspaper and take turns trying to knock over the cups
  6. Send art to a relative:  Address and stamp a few large envelopes ahead of time to Grandma and Grandpa, far away friends or even dad’s work.  When boredom strikes, have your kids do an art project and pop it in the mail right away!
  7. Master a new language:  If you have older kids (ie reading), go to Google Translator ( and write the translations to 10 household objects on a post-it note and stick them on the corresponding object.  By the end of the summer your UN citizen will know that the dinning room chair is a “Szek” in Hungarian!
  8. Muffin Tin Sorting:  Young kids love to sort.  Keep a bag of pom poms, buttons, or even different types of beans (of course, be careful of choking hazards).  Put one of each kind or color in a different space in a muffin tin, then let your little one sort the rest.
  9. Photography Project:  Take a tip for a college photography class.  Have your child sit in one spot in the yard and take as many different digital photos as they can.  Download them on the computer, you  might be surprised what they capture.
  10. Make Popsicles:  Blend frozen fruit, yogurt and a little juice or water together and pour into popsicle molds or paper cups.  Even young kids love to press the buttons on the blender and in a few hours, they can enjoy their snack (outside!)
  11. Build a Fort: Build a tent or a fort in the back yard or the living room and eat lunch inside!
  12. Plant Seeds- Cosmos, zinnias and marigolds all are fast-germinating seeds.  Or pick up some veggie seedlings from your nursery.  Plant them in the garden or in pots on the patio so the kids can watch them grow!
  13. Hunt for Bugs– Get down on the ground, look under rocks for pill bugs, turn over the soil for worms, look on the underside of leaves for caterpillars and lady bugs.  Older kids can look up their new found friends on the internet and learn more about them.
  14. Make Home Made Play Dough– Check out my play dough recipe here.  Super easy and super fun!
  15. Watch a Movie– Some days just call for popping some popcorn and putting on a movie with your kids.  But try out something new, maybe a ‘classic’ from your childhood??
Sometimes just a quick change of pace is all you need to reset your day.

My son was born three weeks early and my labor was fast with a capital F (that’s not the only thing about my labor that had a capital F, but that’s another post!).  My husband and I were completely unprepared and the bags that we hastily threw together didn’t even make it out of the car before I gave birth.  So believe me when I say the hospital really gives you everything you need for labor, delivery and the days after.  If you are caught off guard by labor, like I was, and don’t have everything packed, don’t worry, you’ll still have everything you need.  But round two, we were more prepared and a few ‘creature comforts’ were nice to have.  Below are my suggestions on what to bring to the hospital. What are your suggestions??

  • Your own pillow -with a colored pillow case so it doesn’t get mixed up with the hospital’s pillows
  • Lollipops or hard candy for during labor- I didn’t use these, but every list swears by them, so bring them along!
  • Ipod/docking station– with your zen playlist or your heavy metal playlist, what ever is going to get you through labor!
  • A favorite throw blanket -Its nice to make the hospital a little more homey
  • Receiving blanket -the hospital will give you plenty, but if you have a special one for pictures
  • Camera and/or Video Camera–  They can be pretty graphic and PLEASE don’t post them on facebook, but those pictures of your baby all slimy and wrinkled on your chest for the first time…I’m tearing up thinking about it.
  • Large bath towel– that first shower after delivery is golden, but the hospital towels are a little scrawny, you may want to pick up an inexpensive one, as it could get stained. And bring one for your partner too.
  • Socks or slippers for mom – 2 pair – be prepared to never see them again
  • Oral B brush ups – great if you are in bed for the day after delivery!
  • Munchies for you and hubby
  • Granny underwear– like the cheap Fruit of the Loom kind for the hospital and the first few weeks home.  You can just throw them away if they get ruined.  Personally, I liked the weird mesh ones they give you, but some people hated those.
  • A robe and comfortable PJs– Most hospitals have a postpartum hospital gown that is a little more like a nightgown, but I liked having comfy pajama bottoms and a nursing tank.  Again, you may want to get an inexpensive pair incase they get stained or ruined
  • Clothes for the baby– I wasn’t sure about this before I had my first, but you don’t need to bring any clothes for the baby.  Your little bundle will spend his or her first few days in a diaper and t-shirt provided by the hospital and expertly swaddled by your nurses (or completely spastically swaddled by you).
  • Going home outfit for baby and mom -remember, you have no idea how big or small your baby will be and mom will be about the size she was at 5 months pregnant, do yourself a favor and just bring yoga pants.
  • Cash for the parking garage -most take cards, but if something happens, its not the time to be stressed about getting your car out!
  • Car seat installed – You can take your car and car seat to many highway patrol offices, police stations or the store you bought your seat at to have it installed correctly.  The statistics say 85% of car seats are installed incorrectly.
  • Thank you notes – I kept a list of each of my nurses’ names as they rotated through over the two days and wrote a quick thank you note to each of them before I left the hospital as well as to the doctor who delivered my baby.  My husband also picked up Bagels from the Noah’s down the street from the hospital and dropped them off at the nurses station the first morning we were there.  Those nurses work hard and take good care of you!


*I realize I talk about a lot of things getting stained or ruined, nothing of mine actually did get ruined at the hospital, but it is better to not worry about anything happening to your favorite pjs you brought back from your honeymoon in Paris!

Stay tuned for next week post when we talk about what to bring HOME from the hospital with you!

I am always looking for activities that are actually two activities in one to keep my preschooler entertained.  Home-made play dough is a perfect example.  Sure you can open a can of play dough, it is a classic activity that can keep kids entertained for a stretch of time.  BUT home made play dough is easy, convenient and inexpensive to make and best of all, making it becomes an activity in its self!

Microwave Play dough

Cooked play dough seems to develop the best texture, but many stovetop recipes are hard for kids to help with.  This recipe is great because kids can measure, dump and mix all the ingredients together, then they just need adult help for the microwaving part.

1 Cup Flour

½ Cup Salt

2 tsp Cream of Tarter

1 Cup Water

1 Tbs Cooking Oil

Food coloring (A few drops depending on the color you want)

*You can add a drop of vanilla extract or other flavor if you want a scent

Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl.

Add the oil and the food coloring to the water and then add to the dry ingredients.  Stir well

Microwave for 1 minute, stir and scrape sides.  Continue microwaving in 1 minute increments until the liquid is absorbed and dough pulls away from the side (3-4 minutes total).

Dump onto a cookie sheet and allow to cool.  Lets kids kneed the dough until a smooth texture develops.

Then start activity number two…playing with your play dough!  Store in a airtight container when you’re done and it will last for a while.

Happy Independence Day!

For most people 4th of July involves some fun in the sun!  Have you checked out the Environmental Working Group’s website for tips on sun and sunscreen safety?  They recently published their 2011 sunscreen guide and of the hundreds of sunscreens they tested, they only recommended about 1 in 5 as safe and effective!  Thankfully, the brand I use on Brady was rated highly, but the kind my husband and I use was one of the worst, despite bearing a ‘natural’ name.

So before you head out to the parade on Monday, see if your sunscreen stacks up and read their tips below for general sun safety!

Have Fun!

The following information is taken directly from the Environmental Working Group’s website, please visit them for more information and to see how your sunblock rates in their 2011 sunscreen guide.

The original article can be found here:

1. Quick tips for a good sunscreen.

Ingredients matter – learn if your brand leaves you overexposed to damaging UVA rays, if it breaks down in the sun, or if it contains potential hormone-disrupting compounds. Avoid Oxybenzone, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) and added insect repellant.

2. But first things first – do these before applying sunscreen.

The best defenses against getting too much harmful UV radiation are protective clothes, shade and timing. Check out the checklist:


  • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
  • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
  • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
  • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
  • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

3. Now put on sunscreen – here are the essentials, beyond the quick tips.

Some sunscreens prevent sunburn but not other types of skin damage. Make sure yours provides broad-spectrum protection and follow our other tips for better protection.


  • Don’t be fooled by a label that boasts of high SPF. Anything higher than “SPF 50+” can tempt you to stay in the sun too long, suppressing sunburn but not other kinds of skin damage. FDA says these numbers are misleading. Stick to SPF 15-50+, reapply often and pick a product based on your own skin, time planned outside, shade and cloud cover.
  • News about Vitamin A. Eating vitamin A-laden vegetables is good for you, but spreading vitamin A on the skin may not be. New government data show that tumors and lesions develop sooner on skin coated with vitamin A-laced creams. Vitamin A, listed as “retinyl palmitate” on the ingredient label, is in 33 percent of sunscreens. Avoid them.
  • Ingredients matter. Avoid the sunscreen chemical oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and contaminates the body. Look for active ingredients zinc, titanium, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. These substances protect skin from harmful UVA radiation and remain on the skin, with little if any penetrating into the body. Also, skip sunscreens with insect repellent – if you need bug spray, buy it separately and apply it first.
  • Pick a good sunscreen. EWG’s sunscreen database rates the safety and efficacy of about 1,700 products with SPF, including about 600 sunscreens for beach and sports. We give high ratings to brands that provide broad-spectrum, long-lasting protection with ingredients that pose fewer health concerns when the body absorbs them.
  • Cream, spray or powder – and how often? Sprays and powders cloud the air with tiny particles of sunscreen that may not be safe to breathe. Choose creams instead. Reapply them often, because sunscreen chemicals break apart in the sun, wash off and rub off on towels and clothing.
  • Message for men: Wear sunscreen. Surveys show that 34 percent of men wear sunscreen, compared to 78 percent of women. Start using it now to reduce your cumulative lifetime exposure to damaging UV radiation.
  • Got your Vitamin D? Many people don’t get enough vitamin D, which skin manufactures in the presence of sunlight. Your doctor can test your level and recommend supplements or a few minutes of sun daily on your bare skin (without sunscreen).

4. Sun Safety Tips For Kids

Kids are more vulnerable to sun damage. A few blistering sunburns in childhood can double a person’s lifetime chances of developing serious forms of skin cancer. The best sunscreen is a hat and shirt. After that, protect kids with a sunscreen that’s effective and safe. Take these special precautions with infants and children:



Infants under 6 months should be kept out of direct sun as much as possible. Their skin is not yet protected by melanin. So when you take your baby outside:

  • Cover up – Wear protective clothing, tightly woven but loose-fitting, and a sun hat.
  • Make shade – Use the stroller’s canopy or hood. If you can’t sit in a shady spot, put up an umbrella.
  • Avoid midday sun – Take walks in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Follow product warnings for sunscreen on infants under 6 months old – Most manufacturers advise against using sunscreens on infants or urge parents and caregivers to consult a doctor first. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that small amounts of sunscreen can be used on infants as a last resort when shade can’t be found.

Toddlers and Children

Sunscreen plays an essential part of any day in the sun. However, young children’s skin is especially sensitive to chemical allergens as well as the sun’s UV rays. When choosing a sunscreen, keep these tips in mind:

  • Test the sunscreen by applying a small amount on the inside of your child’s wrist the day before you plan to use it. If an irritation or rash develops, try another product. Ask your child’s doctor to suggest a product less likely to irritate a child’s skin.
  • Slop on sunscreen and reapply often, especially if your child is playing in the water or sweating a lot.
  • Choose your own sunscreen for daycare and school. Some childcare facilities provide sunscreen for the kids, but you can bring your own if you prefer a safer, more effective brand. Share EWG’s safe sunscreen tips and product suggestions with your child’s caregiver.


Sun Safety at School

Sometimes school and daycare policies interfere with children’s sun safety. Many schools treat sunscreen as a medicine and require the child have written permission to use it. Some insist that the school nurse apply it. Other schools ban hats and sunglasses on campus. Here are a few questions to ask your school:

  • What is the policy on sun safety?
  • Is there shade on the playground?
  • Are outdoor activities scheduled to avoid midday sun?

I am incredibly lucky to have a great group of girlfriends from my pre-baby life (most from my pre-husband life!) who all decided to have babies around the same time.  As each one got ready to give birth, the ones who already had babies started a running list of the products and suggestions they found to work for them and their babies.  Of course, every mom and baby is different and the best advice I ever received is not to listen to any advice!  But here is the list of some of our favorites!

Breast/Bottle Feeding:

  • My Breast Friend nursing pillow
  • Medela Pump in Style breast pump
  • Lansinoh Lanolin breast cream
  • BPA  free bottles – be prepared to try different bottles until you find one your baby likes.  My son liked the Born Free, my daughter liked the Platex drop in liner bottles
  • Medela breast pads


  • Baby Carrier —  Bjorn, Ergo Carrier or sling — Different products work better for different moms and baby.  See if you can “test drive” one from a friend before you purchase.
  • Strollers —  Like carriers, different people like different styles.  Don’t think you can get away with just one.  Most families will end up with some type of frame for the infant seat, a main stroller (the Bob is popular with my girlfriends) and an umbrella stroller for quick trips to the store and traveling.
  • Infant car seat
  • JJ Cole Bundle Me
  • JJ Cole infant support pillow for car seat — Makes the car seat more snug, especially if your baby is a peanut!
  • Check out for very cool car seat covers.  Fun if you want to change the gender theme of your car seat for baby number 2, or if you just want something a little more special than what comes on the seat.  Plus, the covers are easy to wash. (I got mine here;


  • Aden & Anais blankets-  I love, love, love these blankets.  I love the size and I love the light-weight texture.  They are perfect for swaddling, covering the baby in the carseat, as a floor blanket, as a nursing cover, as a burp cloth…everything!
  • Miracle Blanket — A long distance friend recommended this to me and it has become my go-to baby shower gift. Makes swaddling a snap – and for bleary-eyed moms, anything that’s a snap, you want.
  • Sleep Sack– For when they outgrow swaddling .  With my second child, I also got a sleep sac that has velcro swaddling “wings” that you could wrap around the baby when they need to be swaddled, but then unvelcro to leave just a sleep sack when they grow out of the swaddle.
  • Waterproof pads for the crib — We did 3 layers of waterproof pads and crib sheets, so that in the middle of the night you just have to rip off the top wet layer and go back to bed!



  • Infant bath tub — Don’t get a collapsible one, they leak,  I got one from IKEA for $8 that rocked.
  • Paraben-free soap — Check out or for good choices.
  • LOTS of cheapy small wash clothes –I stash them everywhere, next to every chair in the house and in my purse, pocket, car.  They’re great for just wiping up drool, spit up or whatever.


  • Sophie the Giraffe- You might choke at the price, but French babies for the past 50 years can’t be wrong
  • Mirror toy- Babies love to look at themselves and a mirror toy can engage them enough get through a tummy time session
  • Mobile- My daughter LOVES her mobile so I recently bought the Tiny Love Take Along Mobile.  It clips to her car seat or the side of the pack-n-play
  • Lovey- we love the Angle Dear lovies in our house!



  • Aquaphor — Put it on any mark on the baby’s body, baby acne scratches, mild diaper rash, etc.
  • Desitin Creamy- When the diaper rash is bad.



  • Vibrating bouncy chair — They only fit in it for a few months, but it is a godsend while it works – you can put it in the bathroom and take a shower!
  • Stability Ball— That’s right!  My stability ball was the ONLY place that would make my colicky baby stop crying.  We would just sit on it and bounce for hours!
  • Swing — Many a baby in our group slept many a night in the swing.


  • My biggest piece of clothing advice is to think ahead for that first year.  Babies grow fast and outgrow their clothes faster.  Stores stop selling that season’s clothes well before the season is over.  You’ll need fleece pjs in February, but the stores will be filled with spring outfits.  By the next size (or two) up in November while you can.  


  • American Academy of Pediatrics Baby & Child Your Questions Answered
  • Organic Everything Cookbook for Baby and Toddlers
  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp (GET THE VIDEO – its 30 minutes long, but totally worth seeing!)
  • The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg

First Aid

*Another great bit of advice I got was to set up a drawer in the changing table with all the first aid supplies, as opposed to the bathroom.  This way, you know where everything is, everything is right within reach and you’ll have the baby on the changing table to administer medications, take temperatures etc.


  • Baby Tylenol — Have it on hand, cuz you’ll need it at midnight!
  • Gripe Water — We didn’t use this, but others swear by it for fussiness/gas.
  • Adult cuticle scissors — I found these are the easiest way to trim tiny nails – better than the baby clippers they sell.  Do it while baby is nursing or sleeping.
  • Bulb syringe – Steal one from the hospital — it’s better than any one you buy (and while I’m on stealing from the hospital, take some swaddle blankets too!)
  • Digital baby thermometer



  • Trumpet socks — They stay on little feet
  • Newborn soothies (pacifiers)

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Bump Life is a place to support moms and families across all aspects of our lives. A place for tips, expert advice, parenting resources and entertainment. A great place to come for information, support or just a break from our crazy lives. From fitness to finance, from diaper bags to diaper duty, for everything bump, babies and beyond, you'll find it all here at BUMP Life!