Summer Lovin’ These Products!

I have been trying out some pretty cool products lately and these make the top of my list.

Smoothin’ It Out: Smoobee Magic No Cry Brush

smoobee hair brushThis hair brush was a hit the second it arrived at our home. My daughter was SO excited to have a brush of her very own. Yes-she has just shared with me for 3 years. Actually I think I am onto something with this…she has been good about me brushing her hair but since getting her own brush she wants to brush her hair all by herself any chance she can get. It has become a fun thing for her! The brush is made of wood, which I love for the smooth feel in your hand and of course the durability. The colors are great too. Pink is the color of choice around here, but the perfect colors are taken one step further with stickers for bedazzling them! This is a great idea for getting kids excited about their brush. My daughter loved putting the rhinestone stickers on her brush and she talks about all the time (as she checks to make sure they are still on there!). The answer to the big question, though, “does it really brush through hair without snagging or catching?” is YES! It actually brushes through hair very easily, wet or dry both when I brush my daughters hair and when she does it herself. Possibly the best part is that Smoobee has a lifetime warranty and a 100% refund no questions asked policy. It’s a win for you and a win for your kid! $19.95 at www.smoobee.com.

Laughin’ It Up: Itty Wigs

itty wigsI have to admit that I was a little hesitant when I first saw this product, but when I put it on my baby I instantly “got” it. It is just silly adorable! They call it “the automatic smile maker” and I agree! I am one mom who insists on putting headbands and bows on my girls before we leave the house. I just love them looking so girlie and cute and so does everyone else! People ALWAYS comment on my girls when they have things on their heads and this creative headband just makes people giggle. It is not trying to look like real hair-it is supposed to be funny! As soon as I put the curly black pigtails on my sweet, dark-haired baby I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s just cute! Hair color options include light blonde, tooti frutti (blonde with strands of color), cinnabrown (reddish brown) and midnight black. Choose a crochet headband color and add some bows for a one-of-a-kind, darling accessory. Starting at $7.50 at www.ittywigs.com.

Layin’ It Out: Monkey Mat

monkey matThis product is a clean, portable, lightweight mat that can go everywhere. It opens up to a large 5’x5′ square but the thin water repellant material folds up easily into a 6″x6″ square. It is nothing to toss this into a diaper bag or backpack. Brilliantly the storage pouch (which also has a velcro strap to attach to strollers, etc) is attached so you won’t lose it. The weighted corners are key to setting this apart from any sheet or lightweight blanket. They keep the mat in place even in decent wind (like on the beach) but if you want to keep it even more grounded, there are loops on the corners. They have a few loops in the middle for attaching toys and of course it is machine washable. I love this thing! I even used it as a backdrop for a photo shoot of my daughter and it was pretty great for that. The weighted corners hung perfectly over the chair I draped it over and its large size spread over the area I needed it to! The Monkey Mat would be great to take to the park, beach, pool, or any outdoor adventure. $39.99 at www.monkeymat.com.

Coverin’ It Up: Undercover Mama

Nursing moms don’t always have it easy when it comes to wardrobes. For me, nursing tank tops are the base for every outfit and the search for something at least semi-cute to put over it is a challenge. When I first saw the Undercover Mama I wasn’t sure why it would be better than a nursing tank. It is a tank top without any straps and 2 ways to attach it to a nursing bra in front. Then I tried one and soon found out. It’s all about the straps and bulk! Most of my nursing tanks have pretty thick straps (compared to a bra) and they are set closer together which means if I want to put on a V-neck or any wider necked shirt over the top of it the ugly straps show. Your eye is drawn to the strap with its giant plastic clasp. Not very cute. The Undercover Mama attaches to your nursing bra so it doesn’t get in the way like a regular nursing tank. You can choose the bra that fits best with your shirt and toss the Undercover Mama under it to keep your belly hidden while nursing. So instead of your outfit revolving around your nursing tank, it revolves around the stylish one you want to wear! The material of the Undercover Mama is lightweight too, so it feels right to wear under other tops. Nursing tanks are shirts by themselves so they have more substance and bulk that isn’t always great to wear under things (especially in the summer). It has 2 attachment options which make it work with any and every nursing bra you own. They come in many colors and even have an option with lace trim! $24.99 at www.undercovermama.com.

Glowin’ It Up: Serenity Star

serenity starThe serenity star is an electronic feeding and sleep system designed for both baby and caregivers. It combines an electronic feeding diary, room temperature indicator, sound machine, nightlight and clock—all in one. I had a simple alarm clock and a basic plug in night light in my baby’s room and I did not realize what I was missing until the Serenity Star was plugged in. My biggest obsession with it is the room temperature indicator. Coming into warm weather and living in a 2 story house where it’s hard to keep the air cool, I was constantly wondering if it was too hot or too cold in her room. The Serenity Star not only displays the temperature of the room, it also lights up white if the temperature is within the perfect range for baby, red if it is too hot and blue if it is too cold. It actually helped me figure out the perfect A/C setting for our whole house! When I first started using it I would peek into my baby’s room at various times while she was sleeping to see what color it was illuminating. This also helped me decide what PJ/swaddle combo to use. I love this feature and I love the glow it gives for the nightlight. Some people might think it is a little too bright, but I think it is ideal. I can see enough detail in her dark room to find/do what I need to do.  The sound machine plays a selection of 4 soothing sounds including 2 lullabies, white noise and heart beat—in 30/60 minute intervals or continuously. The feeding diary records and displays the last time feeding started. For breast fed babies, it records and displays last breast side (L or R) from which baby was fed. This product serves a lot of purposes well and the bonus is that it is way cuter than any ordinary clock you will find! I simply love it! $89.95 at www.ELMbaby.com.

Tips For Teaching Toddlers To Swim

teaching kids/babies/toddlers to swimTips For Teaching Toddlers To Swim

Swimming Educator Reveals Kids Can Survive

Rita Goldberg can’t believe some people still teach kids to swim by proverbially throwing them in the water to see if they sink or swim instinctively.

“Many parents and even some traumatic swim programs still use that ancient and ridiculous method of introducing children to swimming by throwing them into the water without any knowledge about swimming whatsoever – and all they are doing is teaching their children how to be terrified of the water,” said Goldberg, a former national swimmer in Great Britain, owner of a swimming school and author of the children’s book I Love to Swim (www.ilovetoswimthebook.com). “These advocates claim they are teaching survival, but I believe teaching survival can be – and should be – gentle and fun.”

Goldberg’s lament is that too many children drown needlessly every year, and too many parents are either resistant to teaching their toddlers to swim, or teach them the wrong way.

“No child, and I mean no child, has to ever drown in a swimming pool again if they are taught how to survive in the water the right way and at the earliest possible age,” she added. “Drowning is actually the second leading cause of accidental death in the country. It is leading in Florida and a few other states, and the real tragedy is that most every child who drowns could have been saved by simply being taught to swim correctly. Traumatizing them only teaches them to fear the water, and who among us makes the best choices, or can even process calm thought, when we are afraid? Children are no different. They need to be given the tools to survival and draw their confidence in the water from that knowledge. We want kids to respect the water, not fear it.”

Goldberg’s tips for teaching kids to swim include:

  • Start Young — New studies show that the best age to teach a child to swim is between the ages of six and twelve months. Just as parents are learning this is a good time to teach children how to read, they are beginning to understand this is a time when children are able to absorb information like sponges. Teaching them to swim at this early age is a great way to make swimming second nature to them.
  • Float to Survive – As a supplement to safeguarding your kids through extra vigilant supervision and a safety gate around the pool, focus on giving your child the best lifesaving tool you could offer them – the ability to survive in the water. The first gift I give children when I teach them is the ability to float on their backs. This is the most important survival skill of all. This enables all swimmers to rest, breathe and call for help, thus alleviating the “silent” danger of floating face down.
  • Gentle and Fun – Swimming will come more naturally to children who are taught gently, without trauma, and with a sense of fun. You cannot teach a 2-year-old not to go near the swimming pool. You cannot teach them that the pool is dangerous. Parents see the swimming pool as a potential death trap for their kids, but all kids see is a big, wet playground. You’re not going to change their opinion, so stop trying. Focus on calm, gentle fun, and your kids will take to their lessons like fish to water.

“Parents need to understand that playing in a swimming pool is the same as playing on dry land to children,” she added. “It’s all play to them. While it’s important for them to feel confident in the water, we need to help temper that confidence with a strong sense of safety and good judgment. Adhering to those rules as parents will serve to reinforce those rules, however, the best way to pull it all together is to start them young. Once both swimming and safety are second nature to them, they’ll be safer and your supervision of them in the water will be more fun for everyone.