Diaper Bag Essentials For Moms On The Go

 

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This page contains affiliate links for your convenience. All linked products are ones I actually use.

I don’t really know how many of you actually care what’s specifically in my diaper bag, but I do think you’ll be interested in an awesome insert created by Tote Savvy that can transform your favorite purse or tote into a {un} diaper bag. I purchased the mini version in soft grey, and am loving it; now when I’m out and about with Taylor I don’t have to bring both my diaper bag and a purse, or stuff all the contents I would have in my purse into and lug around a huge diaper bag. The larger size Tote Savvy insert allows you to fit literally everything you’d have in your larger diaper bag into your favorite tote. I would totally have opted for that had I found out about Tote Savvy before buying this diaper bag. Luckily, I have a really well-stocked baby car kit in my trunk that has spare clothes and other items I can’t quite fit into my purse, that I can always head back to the car for in case of emergency. However, I’m definitely able to pack all the essentials into my {un} diaper bag AND look like a stylin’ mama thanks to Tote Savvy!

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Tote Savvy – a must have for style conscious mamas.
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Organization meets style.
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Toting my {un} diaper bag at the park.

If you’re super uninterested in the contents of my diaper bag (understandable), make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post for a sweet discount code to purchase a Tote Savvy insert and transform your own bag! Tote Savvy inserts are one of the items I think would make a GREAT gift for a new mom (see the others on my list in this post) so stock up for baby showers and/or Christmas gifts for any mamas-to-be or new moms in your life.

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Have you checked out the new Resource page yet? Click here!

Without further ado, here is everything I need to pack in my {un} diaper bag for a day out with my baby girl – it’s my hope that you’ll find something useful to help you feel even a little bit more prepared or organized:

whats-in-my-diaper-bag

  1. Purse
  2. Wallet (I link the BEST price I’ve seen for an LV wallet!)
  3. Pacifier – I like storing extra pacis in small Tupperware containers like these or these. The only pacis Taylor will take are these.
  4. Teether – Sophie (I thought this was so overrated, but it turned out that Taylor LOVES it/her!)
  5. Snack – dried mango slabs which keep her happy & entertained for a good 20 {supervised} minutes. Make sure to buy unsweetened, organic, wide slabs so that your babe can’t fit the mango all the way into his/her mouth. We get ours at Whole Foods Market. Bonus – they can also double as {messy} teethers!
  6. Toy – these rings are easy to pack and by far Taylor’ favorite thing she owns!
  7. Bottle – Comotomo, the only bottle Taylor would take and one of the best for breastfed babes. There is an insulated pouch in the ToteSavvy insert for the bottle if you’re packin’ breast milk or pre-mixed formula.
  8. Book – miniature books like this classic are perfect for stashing in diaper bags AND for entertaining baby hands/minds.
  9. Disposable Bags – I have these Munchkin bags and dispensers in my diaper bag, daycare bag and car kit (click on the links to find out exactly what I pack in those bags!).
  10. 2-3 spare diapers
  11. Wipes – I buy this bulk box of travel packs (16 packs of 18 wipes each) that fit into the Tote Savvy as well as my diaper clutch.
  12. Solid Food – Kiinde squeeze pouch with the spoon attachment (I usually pack applesauce, but you can make tons of other homemade purees as I show in this post or buy your own to fill in the pouch when you’re on the go with your babe.)
  13. Burp cloth – I use these cloth diapers 
  14. Sunglasses – for Mom (similar, AND on sale!) and Baby (aren’t these hysterical!?)
  15. Miscellaneous stuff for mom –
    1. gum
    2. a pen
    3. hair tie/s – you don’t want to be caught unable to throw up a solid mom bun!
    4. hand lotion
    5. mini natural hand-sanitizer – I have theses stashed all over the place!
    6. chapstick
    7. lipgloss/lipstick – my favorite gloss ever is Laura Mercier, in Coral Reef or Nude Rose.
  16. Last but not least, the item that makes it all so stylishly possible…my ToteSavvy Mini which, by the way, also includes a changing pad which you can see rolled up on the right below:img_7346
  17. Not pictured – iPhone (because I was taking a picture with it, duh.)
  18. Also not pictured – a snack for mama (because I was out of my favorite protein bars which I’ve since remedied.)
  19. Pictured below – In December, 2016 Dr. Brown’s sent me these all natural pacifier and bottle wipes and nose and face wipes which I now carry in my diaper bag, which are incredibly handy when we go out to eat and she inevitably has a messy face to clean up and/or drops pacis, toys, bottles, etc. on the ground:

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20. Pictured below – The Mommy Hook which is perfect for hanging a purse, diaper bag and shopping bags:

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog post.

Please enjoy using a 20% off Discount Code: FALLSTYLE to purchase your own insert from Tote Savvy at Lifeinplaycompany.com and turn your purse into an {un} Diaper Bag. Thank you, Tote Savvy!

xo, Ashley (1)

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Personal Online Shopping For Your Baby


Hey mamas!

I can hardly wait to tell you about this awesome service I was recently introduced to, Baby Bin. It’s convenient, useful and simply fun. This is the perfect service for busy mamas who value usefulness, relevance and quality yet don’t have the time to run around to a million stores – we’d rather be spending that time snuggling our babies, am I right? As a busy new, working mom, I’m all about online shopping and time saving services (hello Instacart, Door Dash, Amazon Prime, etc.) and Baby Bin fits the bill.  Baby Bin is a personalized online shopping service wherein a personal shopper (a real life, experienced mama) selects age/developmentally appropriate products for your baby that are shipped directly to your doorstep. It’s like Stitch Fix for mamas + babies. I’m absolutely LOVING this concept right now.

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How It Works:

To get started, you enter some information about your baby so that your personal shopper can select items that would be particularly useful for his or her age and stage. You will be sent an electronic preview of the items selected, and get to decide what you want sent directly to your home and what you could do without. You only pay for the items you choose to keep! If you end up deciding that you don’t want to keep anything that is sent to you, Baby Bin has a FREE shipping and return policy for 30 days.

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Babybin - Essential baby products

What I Kept:

Of the many recommended items in my online preview, I chose to have the following six shipped to us:

  1. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash – $8
  2. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment – $9
  3. Guess How Much I Love You Board book – $5
  4. Goodnight Moon Board book – $6
  5. Munchkin Arm and Hammer Disposable Changing Pads– $7
  6. Munchkin Baby Food Feeder – $6

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My favorite item and one wish for next time:

My favorite item so far has been the Munchkin baby food feeder – I had never seen this product before, and the timing was spot on as I began introducing solids to Taylor two weeks ago. I put a piece of banana into the feeder the other morning and she seemed to really enjoy gumming it. The only thing I thing negative I can say about my experience with Baby Bin was that I wish that there had been some toy/activity options presented – hopefully next time!

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I look forward to our Baby Bin personal shopper introducing us to other useful brands and products, as well as sending practical items I would need to buy anyway – all without having to give up any of my precious time with sweet T. I can’t wait for next month’s Baby Bin!

Want to give Baby Bin a try this month? Click this link to get started!

If you order a bin, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

xo, Ashley (1)

This post contains affiliate links. All views and opinions are, as alway, 100% mine.

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Toy & Gift Ideas for Baby

Developmentally Appropriate Toy & Gift Ideas for Baby (0-4 months old)

This post may contain affiliate links. You can trust that views are 100% mine.

If you are anything like me, the plethora of baby toys out there is completely overwhelming; the potential of wasted money and unused toys laying around the house seems inevitable. In this post I will share the developmentally appropriate toys that Taylor actually engaged with from 0-4 months old, and at which month I introduced them to her. Hopefully this will help you narrow down the field if you are in the market for your own babe, or a gift for someone else’s. Of course, every baby is different and will gravitate toward certain toys according to their individual interests, but I’d bet that most of these are universal baby favs!

In choosing toys for Taylor I asked three main questions:

  1. Based on research, which toys are best for development?
  2. Which toys will my baby actually engage with at what month/age?
  3. Which toy are not so completely obnoxious that I won’t be able to stand having them around?

A great source to answer the first question is a blog written by a Mama/Occupational Therapist:
Mama OT. She has great toy and gift guides that list items that will support the development of little ones at various ages and stages. I definitely bought Taylor several toys based on her advice. I also work with Occupational Therapists and School Psychologists regularly in my line of work, and the gifts they gave Taylor are also included in this list – I’d say they are pretty trustworthy sources for developmentally appropriate toys as well!

Month 1

During the first month of life newborns are sleepy little blobs of cuteness that can’t do a whole lot else but eat/poop/sleep, but it’s still important to introduce sensory stimulation – auditory, tactile, and visual. They can see objects 8-10 inches away but can’t make out details or the full color spectrum just yet. They also like to look at faces, especially Mommy and Daddy’s! I bought Taylor several black, white and red high contrast items that she was really into (she was particularly taken with the beaver on the  crib bumper shown below!).

Below are the 5 items she focussed on most during her first month:

Black and white crib bumper:

Baby Faces board book:

Black and white board books like this one:

Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Mirror:

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy:

Month 2

At 2 months old, colors and high contrast items are still super important to stimulate a baby’s visual senses. They’re starting to figure out the world a bit more by this point. This is a great time to introduce a play gym – you can rotate the hanging toys every few days or change your babies position to open up a whole new visual world. Play gyms, like the one I linked below, are also perfect for tummy time as there is plenty to look at and touch on the mat itself.

Here are some of items that we used a ton during Taylor’s 2nd month:

Set of rings (we use these to dangle toys from her stroller bar or bring objects on the play gym nearer to her vision/reach. She also just liked to watch a chain of rings dangled in front of her.):

High contrast books (ones with repetition, colorful picturesbath books, or indestructible/board books for teething later on are best):

Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball (she loves this ball even more now that she can grab and not just stare at it!):

Skip Hop play gym:

Month 3

At 3 months your baby will likely begin to touch, bat at, or even grab everything within reach. I tried to find toys I could place in her hands that she could hold onto as she developed this new physical skill. Here are a few toys that Taylor enjoyed and could easily grasp at this age:

Oball and Oball rattle:

Lamaze Musical Inchworm (this was her BFF for several weeks.):

Are You My Mother cloth book (T LOVES to pull the little stuffed bird out of the nest!):

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Activity Toy:

Month 4

During month 4 you’ll probably notice your baby’s improved hand-eye coordination, closer attention to the books you’re reading him/her, and the beginnings of understanding cause and effect. Your baby might even begin teething like Taylor did! As I write this, Taylor is in the tail end of her 4th month.

Here are the toys we added into the rotation this month that she has enjoyed playing with:

Lamaze Firefly Freddie (this is seriously the toy to replace all  toys for her right now – it even has a teething piece attached! We hook this up to the center of her play mat and she goes to town !):

Sassy Rattling Ring (we dangle this from her play gym using a few of the rings for easier access. Also great for early teethers):

Sophie the Giraffe (another awesome teether, plus there are cute board books to go along with her!):

Ring stacker:

Well, there you have it – our list of developmentally appropriate, engaging toys that aren’t too tacky : )

Up next in my developmental toy “to-buy” queue are a Play Cube and Play Table. I have my eye on these:


What toys did your baby like best? Help  me get ahead of the game – what toys did your baby and toddler really like from 4 months and older? Thank you!

xo, Ashley (1)

Baby Registry Essentials

Off The Beaten Baby Registry Essentials

This page contains affiliate links for your convenience. Views are 100% mine. If you purchase through a link, thank you!

I had the luxury of inheriting a killer registry list from my BFF which has been passed down and refined, pregnancy by pregnancy, by she and her teaching colleagues. It took out so much of the research and guess work I would have had to do otherwise! However, since Taylor’s birth, there are some non-traditional items that I’ve discovered by recommendation or figuring out by trial and error that I would definitely recommend adding to a registry [I used Amazon for mine] or purchasing ahead of time to have on hand. I hope you find some of these recommendations useful : )

SLEEP STUFF

  1. DockATot Deluxe

At first it may seem a little pricey, but a DockATot is well worth the investment when your baby is sleeping in it like a champ! I hadn’t heard about the brand before a girlfriend of mine recommended it to help Taylor and I with her sleep. Coupled with her bedtime routine [more on that here] and swaddling, I truly believe the DockATot was integral in getting her to sleep through the night in her own crib at only 6 weeks old! Docks can also be used in lieu of a more cumbersome Pack & Play when traveling – which is nice because your peanut will have something familiar in an unfamiliar sleep environment. DockATots also work great for “tummy time”sessions, and fit inside of most bassinets allowing you to use it to help transition baby from bassinet to crib. There are so many cute patterns like this one, this one and this one:

 

2. Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper bassinest

Speaking of bassinets….this one is the best! AJ’s barber recommended the Halo to him and I’m so thankful she did. Even though we transitioned her pretty quickly into her crib, I am still glad we used the Bassinest for the first weeks we had her home.  It pulls up right onto the edge of your bed [hello space saver!], and swivels out of the way when you need to get out of bed. When your baby wakes up at night you just push down the front panel to pull them out to feed, and if you hear any funny little noises [in case you didn’t know – newborns make the weirdest noises at night] you can look through the mesh and see what’s going on. I loved having Taylor so close to me while we slept, but also safe in her own little space.

3. Fisher-Price Moonlight Meadow Cradle ‘n Swing
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One of my besties recommended this swing for Taylor after hearing my complaints about her crap naps [20-30 minutes at a time], and I’m so glad we ended up getting it. The first time I tried swaddling her and placing her in it for a nap, she slept 1.5+ hours! Infants love being in motion.  This swing is literally the only place she has ever fallen asleep on her own thus far. She can nap peacefully in it up to 25 lbs, so we’ll continue to make good use of this item for months to come.

4. Halo Swaddle Sleep Sackshalo sleep sack

I am lazy and terrible at swaddling with blankets, so these sleep sacks have been lifesavers. I bought two of the newborn size and now two of the size smalls, so that if one gets dirty it’s not an emergency laundry situation before nap or bedtime. I also recently purchased one for her daycare bag as well. Update: now that Taylor is out of a swaddle, she still uses a Halo Sleep Sack – this winter weight sack keeps her warm and cozy:

5. Sound Machinesleep machine

If your baby is anything like my baby – white noise will quickly become your best friend. Taylor is pretty conditioned to fall asleep with the sound of “rain”. Originally not a believer, I started using white noise with her out of No Sleepville desperation via an app on my iPhone, and it eventually worked like a charm. Nowadays, if we’re on a walk and she starts to struggle-fuss because she is sleepy, I whip out my phone, place it next to her and she instantly settles down. Who cares if I sound like a walking thunderstorm?! For nighttime sleep I didn’t have anything with continuous play and I didn’t want to leave my phone running all night in her room, so I purchased a sound machine with that option.

NURSERY

6. Disposable Changing Padschange pads

For some reason, babies like to pee as soon as you take their diapers off – at least mine does. You don’t want to have to wash your cute changing pad cover every day [like I did for the first couple weeks before Amazon Priming these bad boys], so having a disposable pad on top saves you that step. Plus, they are great to stash in your diaper bag/car kit/portable changing clutch for diaper changes out and about.

water7. Water Wipes

Newborns are not supposed to have wipes with any chemicals on them, and at the hospital they may recommend just wetting dry wipes. I found these Water Wipes that are 99% water, and 1% monk fruit – totally all natural and you won’t have to take the step of wetting dry wipes which seemed totally annoying to have to do. I order them through Amazon.com, but they do also sell them at Target.

8. Drawer OrganizersIMG_1918

The IKEA Skubb collection is super great for organizing all the little clothing and accessories that babies require. I have these in all of her nursery drawers, and they really help to keep everything organized and neat – my OCD thanks IKEA. I bought 4 of the sets of six, and 2 of the ones with lots of little compartments. 

9. “My Brest Friend” – nursing pillowScreen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.46.01 PM

The “My Brest Friend” pillow has a solid sturdy surface, wraps around your waist providing a backrest, and is adjustable to your size. The attached pocket is super useful to store things you’ll need every time you feed your babe [I always keep protein bars, spit-up cloths, baby nail clippers, nipple cream and hand lotion for me stocked.]. Seriously, this pillow has been a MUST for us! I also have a Boppy nursing pillow, but personally it didn’t work for me – way too swishy!

10. Babyganics Foaming Hand SoapScreen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.25.28 AM

You can’t always get to the bathroom to wash your hands immediately, so it’s nice to have one of these easily accessible on your changing table. I also have one next to the chair where I usually nurse Taylor. The Babyganics brand is Pediatrician and Dermatologist tested- safe to use around your baby. I also have the mini version stashed in my diaper bag, stroller organizer, etc.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

11. Stroller Organizer ethan

Essential for holding your water bottle, coffee, keys, phone, baby socks/beanies/etc. for all those walks you’ll be taking on maternity leave and beyond! I linked the Ethan and Emma organizer I have and love.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.10.21 PM12. Baby Wondersuits by Bonds

I have 3-4 of these for Taylor in every size from 0-3 months up through 12-18 months, and they are pretty much all she sleeps in. Honestly, I have kept her in these most days for her morning play time as well. They have both short and long sleeve versions so your babes can sleep in them year round.
Stock up on fun prints and patterns with 2 for $39 Zip Wondersuits online. Shop now!
I can’t say enough about how much I love these things – super quality/comfy material, adorable patterns, zip from the top and bottom [who wants to bother with a bunch of buttons and snaps at 3AM?!] and fold over flaps for both feet and hands so that they stay warm and don’t scratch their little faces with flailing arms while they sleep. Bonds give free shipping to the US for orders over $100  AU dollars. Fortunately the conversion rate is such that you only end up spending about 75 US dollars – deal!!

13. Infant Tub by 4 MomsTUB

I originally had the PRIMO Eurobath tub that Taylor could grow into, and still plan to use later, but it was just too big and slippery for her infant self [and for me to feel comfortable bathing her as a new mama!]. This tub is made specifically for infants: it has a temperature gauge to ensure the water temperature is not too hot or too cold, there is a slip-proof pad on the bottom, and the water stays fresh and clean throughout the entire bath. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.24.38 AM14. Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier Grey –

We’ve used out Ergobaby carrier to bring Taylor with us everywhere – wine tasting, hikes, the grocery store, walks downtown, etc. It makes maneuvering around a lot easier than using her stroller, and she typically falls right to sleep in it. Another thing I didn’t realize – make sure to purchase the Infant Insert if you have a newborn [I believe they need the insert until about 15 lbs]. Amazon carries a combination carrier + insert HERE.

15. Inglesina High Chair – this is an absolute must-have for us to go out to eat with Taylor. I wish I had come across this idea sooner!

POSTPARTUM CARE

16. Sitz Bathseatz

This is not a glamorous recommendation by any means, but I have to keep it real with you…I had no idea how sore and uncomfortable I would be after giving birth. It got so bad that I ended up calling Kaiser, and the wonderful Advice Nurse recommended I get one a sitz bath, and use it a couple times per day for 10 to 15 minutes to promote healing, in addition to walks. I can’t tell you how much doing that helped, and I only wish I had had this from postpartum day ONE! It’s a new mama’s best friend ; )

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Make them. Trust me!

17. Padsicles

Last, but DEFINITELY not least…A friend recommended I make about two dozen “Padsicles” before delivering, and I’m infinitely glad I did. Trust me, if you are expecting you’ll want to go ahead and have these ready to rock for your first week postpartum. Your hubby might be a little weirded out by all the pads in the freezer at first, but it’s SO worth it. There are lots of “recipes” online, but I linked the one I used.

The ingredients you’ll need are: alcohol free witch hazel, extra thick maxi pads, lavender oil and 100% aloe vera.

What other “off the beaten registry” items have you discovered that I’m still missing out on? I’d love to follow up with a Part 2 using what you’ve found to be essentials!

xo, Ashley (1)