Kanika Chadda Gupta

Parenting

The Ultimate Gift Guide for New Moms

There’s so much changing for a new mom after the birth of their child that many people don’t think about outside of having a new human being to look after. For one, they often suffer from a severe lack of sleep given their baby’s sleep schedule and need to feed every few hours. Secondly, new moms’ bodies have just been through labor and need time to heal. Third, babies are unpredictable. Even with two active parents taking care of the newborn, there are endless unknowns as the baby grows and many anxious new parents can use all the help they can get!

We’ve created the following list to account for items that may not be on the baby registry but sure can help new moms and new parents in general ease into parenthood.

The Essentials

New parents might not know the ropes just yet unless they have close friends who have gone through the process and they bear witness to the things that worked well for them. Some common missed items are:

Nasal aspirator: Moms swear by it. This contraption sucks boogers out of a baby’s nose with your mouth. It sounds and looks disgusting to the non trained eye, but it is a safe, gentle way of keeping their baby’s nostrils clear to breath better at night.

A dual car seat and stroller: One of the best combinations to get so new parents can easily transfer their sleeping baby from the car to the stroller without struggling to unclip them from everything. Pick up the car seat and pop it in the stroller or vice versa. It’s that easy.

Breast-Feeding Cover: Baby needs to eat every few hours. It’s really impractical for moms to find a private room to breast feed when they are out and about. Instead, with this breast feeding cover, they no longer have to! This cover has an easy viewing window to see how baby is doing while keeping mom covered. It’s easy to put on and take off.

Infant Bouncer: These rockers rock! Babies often love constant movement to feel safe and be lulled to sleep. Help a new mom out with the gift of sleep while their baby sleeps safely clipped in.

Unisex Diaper Bag Backpack: Going anywhere with baby means carrying around a dozen items for changing, feeding, and the occasional milk puke. Be prepared with an easy to carry and go ergonomic diaper backpack that won’t weigh down one shoulder and comes with insulated bottle holders among other things like a built in changing pad.

Take a look at Instagifts.co for more lists specifically catered to new moms. If you swear by a product that isn’t on here, leave a note in the comments below and share!

Guest post by: InstaGifts

How We’re Potty Training Our Twins + Baby

 

Potty training is a sh*t show (literally!) I am in the midst of training my 2.5 year old boy-girl twins and my 14-month-old son (yes, you read that right!) because my husband and I are so done with diapers at our house. If my kids know how to memorize shapes (including the obscure ones like octagons and trapezoids), know their ABCs and numbers, and are speaking in full sentences, it’s high time they learn to go the bathroom. However, I am quickly learning that kids are creatures of habit so no matter how acute their memorization skills, training them to change their routine and adopt a new one is painfully tough. According to Mayo Clinic, potty training success hinges on physical, developmental, and behavioral milestones, not age. Some kids show signs of being ready at 18 – 24 months and others are ready by 3 years old. Here’s what they recommend you ask yourself.

  • Can your child walk to and sit on a toilet?
  • Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
  • Can your child stay dry for up to two hours?
  • Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
  • Can your child communicate when he or she needs to go?
  • Does your child seem interested in using the toilet?

If you answered mostly yes, your child might be ready. If you answered mostly no, you might want to wait — especially if your child is about to face a major change, such as a move or the arrival of a new sibling.

For my baby, we prop him on the toilet when he wakes up in the morning and from his two naps, and he inevitably pees and goes number 2 at times. Amazing! We read that getting your child acclimated to the toilet at a young age may make it easier when he is walking and talking because it’s something he’s now familiar with. (Fingers crossed he trains right alongside my twins!)

To me, the process of potty training isn’t really for the kid. It’s for the parent. Are you mentally, physically, and emotionally ready for it? Because it’s your lead, and you’ll have to come up with a game plan and stick to it. As I said, we are in the midst of training our kids so I have yet to do our victory dance at the finish line, but the process takes time and I know we’ll get there. For now, I’d like to share what is working for us thus far!

  1. Reading Material. Most of my friends read Oh Crap! Potty Training – Everything Modern Parents Need To Know To Do It Once and Do It Right by Jamie Glowacki. She has a 6-step plan and encourages parents to spend a long weekend at home (with kids sans diapers) so that they get used to the sensation of going in a toilet. Kids actually grow comfortable with sitting in their own urine/feces (so gross, I know!) because they don’t know any different. For your kids, you can buy them Toilet Time books. All three of my kids love pressing the button and hearing the flushing sound, and though it’s silly, I think it reinforces what using the potty entails – start to finish. 
  2. Get Equipped. We have both toilet seat covers and small toilets at home. The kids seem to prefer the Jool Baby toilet seat covers because they’re comfortable and they actually like stowing them away on the handy-dandy command hook on the wall. I love them since I’m a minimalist and hate clunky baby gear. You’ll need a step stool like the Acko foldable step stool (another stow away item in the bathroom. Score!), which helps them get onto the toilet and is necessary when they’re washing their hands. We use this Prince Lionheart faucet extender too, which makes it easy for my toddlers to be self sufficient. We have two Oxo Tot Potty Chairs which are easy to clean and do the job as well (especially when the kids need to sit a while). I just discovered this Mindful Moby Baby Potty that has an ergonomic design, doubles as a step stool, and donates a portion of its proceeds to save whales which is a lovely initiative. 
  3. Schedule Time. Not going anywhere for a while? Grab a snickers (and some pet training pads to line the floor and bathroom cleaner) because doing the full-on potty training is a 3-day-long affair, in 1 hour increments. You can let your kids run around with no underpants or if you want, put on their underwear and if an accident happens, at least they know what it feels like.
  4. Buy the Necessary Apparel. My son wears Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs and my daughter wears Hanes hipster panties. On school days we send them in Seventh Generation pull-up diapers because I’m not quite ready to have an accident in their car seats. I find these to be the most hypoallegenic on the market. At night, they wear The Honest Company Overnight Diapers, which are free of harmful chemicals and are super absorbent for 8+ hours. There are PeeJamas (cute, huh!) that help with weaning off overnight diapers because they have absorbent material for accidents, and can be worn as regular PJs post training. 
  5. Use a timer. Whether you have an Echo Dot with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or smart watch, set a timer for every hour or every 45 minutes and put your kids on the toilet. It’ll turn into a game each time the alarm goes off. If that’s too difficult, be sure to put them on at least 45 minutes after each meal or after they chug down their milk or water.
  6. Potty Chart, etc. You can make your own potty chart and put up stickers each time they use the bathroom which leads to a prize at the end like a new toy or a trip to their favorite indoor gym. I also started incentivizing with Auntie Annie fruit snacks – 1 for pee, 2 for poop. I know some schools of thought are staunchly against rewards because kids need not be rewarded for something they must learn to do, but if it’s working for you with younger kids, I don’t see the harm in it. Eventually it will become habitual and they’ll forget about the chart and rewards on their own. 

As with any parenting strategy, to each their own. Get prepared, try a few different tactics, and remember to be calm and patient. Don’t shame your little one when they make a mistake because potty training can backfire and they may regress even more. Lastly, ensure that you and your village (grandparents, preschool teachers, nanny/babysitter) are on the same page. You’ve got this!

Mom Haul: Baby Products I Love

Doesn’t it seem like there’s some new gadget for your toddler on the market every day? Though some products are useful, many are just plain frivolous or unnecessary. I am a minimalist (like most New Yorkers), so I only buy things I believe serve a utility and are valuable. Here is a short list of toddler products I have come to swear by. 

Lumehra FlexBag

Is it a hamper? It is a duffle bag? Wait for it. It’s both! The FlexBag was designed to make ‘mom life’ simpler as it doubles as a bag to use at home and while traveling. Consider it a hamper on steroids since it has numerous mesh compartments. I use them for my kids’ socks, undershirts, and as a way to separate my baby’s clothes from my twin toddlers’ clothes, which cuts folding/putting away time in half. The bag is made of durable, stain/mold resistant, waterproof fabric, so it’s ideal to take on the road. If you have older kids, you can leave it in the back of your minivan (your supermom-mobile as I so fondly call it!) and throw in dirty soccer clothes, shoes, etc. to toss in the laundry when you get home. Can we say mom win? You can purchase the FlexBag here

 

Nose Frida

My toddler twins are in daycare and I still can’t believe how many viruses the’ve been exposed to in a matter of months. Just as they’re recovering from a cold, they seem to get better for a week, only to have a runny nose again. Enter – the Nose Frida. I don’t know what I would do without it. It’s an ingenious product made by a mom who knew the tried-and-tested bulb syringe for mucus extraction is actually a cesspool for mold and bacteria. It makes me wonder why they’re still used in hospitals. The Nose Frida is a mucus removal device comprised of an aspirator tube and a mouthpiece valve that allows you to literally suction your little one’s boogies. To clean, you can take it apart and put it in the dishwasher or sterilize it. Just brilliant. You can purchase the NoseFrida here.

Door Knob Protector

When my kids became tall enough to reach door knobs, I became paranoid that they would sneak out of their room in middle of the night and go tumbling down the steps. Child proof door knob covers by Jool Baby lets me sleep easy. It’s a very simple design that snaps over a round doorknob. No fancy lock or lever. Your kids will attempt to twist and twist, but will be swiveling the cover around and won’t actually have a grip on the doorknob to open the door. Is it bad that I get some sort of pleasure out of them trying to make a break for it knowing that it’s impossible?! Purchase your Jool Baby child proof door knob cover here.

 

 

Faucet Extender

My husband and I encourage our kids to be self-sufficient. From eating their food with a fork (no matter how much ends up on the floor) to climbing up the steps to belting themselves in their carseats, it’s gratifying for us (and them!) to see how they’re growing and becoming increasingly more independent. The Prince Lionheart faucet extender is a simple design that suits most bathroom sinks. With the help of their 13″ inch small stool, my one year old kids are able to brush their teeth on their own. They love it and so do I. Purchase the Prince Lionheart faucet extenders here.

How to Swaddle Your Baby

 

My OBGYN told me the first three months of a baby’s life should be considered a fourth trimester. Anything and everything that simulates the womb reminds your baby of his ‘happy place.’ Swaddling is one of the first techniques new parents learn to soothe their crying babies. I still remember learning to swaddle our twins at the hospital. My husband and I would practice on either my son or my daughter and then switch! With my third baby, it couldn’t be more easy peasy. He’s a lovely, low-maintenance kid and the fact that I actually know what I am doing probably helps too. Over the years, I’ve learned complicated swaddling techniques and easy ones and have tried various swaddle blankets and sleepers. And you know what? I personally feel that coming back to the basics is what works best for my baby. Here’s a video on swaddling made easy! I love Aden and Anais swaddles since they’re lightweight, breathable, and made of 100% organic cotton muslin. 

 

My Fave Organic Baby Products

 

It seems as though the major retailers in the baby industry are the biggest culprits when it comes to using chemicals and toxic materials in their products. After extensive research and trial and error, here are some of the all-natural baby products I swear by.

Crib Mattress
We have three Colgate Eco Classica III Organic Crib Mattress for our twins and newborn and love it. Made of 100% cotton and natural fibers, the mattress is firm yet comfortable. It fits right into our 3-in-1 crib/toddler bed which makes life so much simpler with each phase of our babies’ lives.

Baby Pillow
To prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), pediatricians advise no pillows, blankets, bumpers, or toys in the crib. It should be completely bare. We use this Organic Cotton Baby Protective Pillow when we are watching our little one as it prevents flat head. Organic Cotton Baby Protective Pillow

Moisturizer
Whether it’s for you or the baby, coconut oil is the best emollient, moisturizer, daily diaper rash barrier cream, hair oil, you name it! We use Tropical Life Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Why use lotions with ingredients you can’t pronounce when this works just as well, if not better!

Bug Repellent
My little ones often had mosquito bites crop up on their hands and feet (I guess they can’t resist that baby fat!), so I use California Baby Bug Repellent whenever we go outside in the summer. You can spray it on their skin and on the stroller to add an ‘aura’ of added protection.

Baby Toothbrushes
The design of these Sunzel Baby Toothbrushes prevent your toddler from shoving their toothbrush to the back of their mouth. These initial toothbrushes are a great way for growing toddlers to get in a routine of brushing their teeth and maintaining their oral health.

Baby Toothpaste
According to WebMD, “in children under 6 years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.” Our babies use Tom’s Toddler Floride-Free Toothpaste.

Diaper Rash Cream
Oh the painful diaper rash! Since urine and stool (especially the watery poopy blowouts. TMI, I know!) are acidic, they can easily cause rashes on your baby’s tush and they worsen because they’re in diapers all day long. The most important thing to do when your little one has a burn on their bum is to keep the area as dry as possible and use a barrier cream + vaseline. We use Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Cream as a barrier cream and good ol’ petroleum jelly to seal the wound shut.

Hand Sanitizer
I honestly love all of Honest’s products. 😉 The Honest Hand Sanitizer smells amazing and kills 99.9% of germs with a few spritzes.

Sunscreen
Kids have uber sensitive skin so just like us, they should wear sunscreen every day. My entire family uses Alba Botanica Sunscreen SPF 30 which is made for sensitive skin.

What all natural products does your little one use? Leave me a message in the comments below!