ShrinkxHips Ultra Review- Shrink Your Hips After Pregnancy

ShrinkxHipsWho knew there could be a product that actually helps women get back to their pre-pregnancy size without dieting or exercising? ShrinkxHips Ultra by UpSpring, Ltd. is a compression belt that is designed to help women narrow their hips back to their pre-pregnancy size, if not smaller, by taking advantage of the eight-week window following childbirth. I’ve received my own ShrinkxHips Ultra belt to try for the purpose of this review and I am glad to share my results so far.

I ended up starting my trial of ShrinkxHips Ultra a little later than intended since I had a C-section at the birth of our daughter. I didn’t want to irritate the incision or cause problems with it healing, so I waited until about five weeks post-partum to try it out. The ShrinkxHips belt is very cleverly designed and easy to use, in my opinion. It has different sets of Velcro to allow you to first properly position and fasten the belt across your hips and then adjust the tightness and compression to your desired strength with two separate Velcro straps for tightening.

The idea behind ShrinkxHips is that the hormone Relaxin stays in your system for eight weeks following delivery. This is the hormone that causes your joints to become looser and more flexible, and also your hips to become wider during pregnancy. By taking advantage of the eight-week window of opportunity using this product, women have been able to shrink their hips back to their pre-pregnancy size, and sometimes even smaller, getting back into their normal jeans and non-maternity clothing much sooner than expected.

ShrinkxHipsThe ShrinkxHips belt provides constant and even pressure to the hips so you don’t really feel it all at once. In fact, I think this belt offers a nice level of support for my hips, making them feel snug and comfortable for the most part. I will admit, it is not easy to breastfeed while wearing these, but it can be done. Whenever running to the bathroom, the belt also must come off. It is easy enough to put it back on, though, and I believe it is worth doing since I’ve already seen some positive results.

I’ve measured my hips only last week when I started using this product, so I am not actually sure where they were before that. I don’t know how wide they were after our daughter was born and I’m not sure what my measurements were last year before I got pregnant. I am willing to bet I am between one and three inches from my ideal hip size – and that is one inch less than I would have been without this product! I have indeed lost an inch around my hips in the one week I’ve used this product. This was my first pregnancy so I have nothing to compare it to, so I can’t say how much my hips would have shrank back on their own by normal course of nature. I also don’t know exactly how much father I have to go, but I will be thrilled if I can get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans sometime this summer. My only worry is that I couldn’t take advantage of the full eight weeks.

The recommended wear time is up to 12 hours with the Ultra belt, but I usually try to wear mine 6 to 8 hours. I even wore it overnight once, but couldn’t get super comfortable so I may not try that again – we’ll see. So, I would say even in the short time using ShrinkxHips Ultra, not even the full recommended amount, I have shrunk my hips at least one inch from where they were a week ago!

The ShrinkxHips Ultra kit also contains a Hip-Check measuring tape and Success Chart so you can keep track of your progress. I definitely appreciate this, as I do like to see results and keep myself motivated no matter what my workouts and measurements entail.

I did a little research and a lot of people on Amazon were complaining about the edges of the ShrinkxHips belt rolling up. This actually doesn’t bother me as I prefer that over having it dig into me. I don’t really see it being an issue. One thing I will say is I do sort of have a hard time finding the perfect place to put the belt across my hips. Sometimes I fear I have it too low while others I think it may be too high. At times I do feel it squishes my still-shrinking belly, but if only I had a shrinking belt for that too! All in all, I really have no complaints. In fact, I am thrilled that my hips are an inch smaller in only one week of use, not even using for a full 8 – 12 hours per day. If this post-partum hip shrinking device works as advertised, even with a shortened time span, I will be so thrilled to have my pre-pregnancy frame back!

ShrinkxHips Ultra retails for $54.99 and ShrinkxHips Basic sells for $29.99. You can get your own ShrinkxHips belt at Amazon.com, Babies R Us, Target, a pea in the pod, Destination Maternity, and Diapers.com. For more information about ShrinkxHips, check out http://www.shrinkxhips.com.

 

Great Baby Grooming Items by Japonesque Baby

Japonesque BabyWhen it comes to baby grooming gear, few things are cuter than a set of kangaroo manicure nail scissors and a matching file, at least if you ask me. I instantly fell in love with the little orange kangaroo scissor sheath with matching tethered joey baby nail file. I received this adorable baby grooming item (Safety Nail Scissors & File) along with an almost-as-cute hippopotamus Gentle Grooming Baby Brush and dolphin Safety Nail Clipper & File set. It really is hard to decide which is the cutest, but I think the kangaroo takes the cake for me.

Kangaroo Safety Nail ScissorsJaponesque Baby makes a lot of adorable baby items beyond these grooming goodies. In fact, the baby collection is just a very small subset of this online beauty retailer. Since we’re on the topic of baby grooming, you can find monkey and giraffe safety scissors, a ducky nail clipper, an alligator comb, and even a penguin nail clipper. In case you were wondering, I am still sold on my kangaroo nail scissors, thanks.

The nail scissors and file are specially designed for your baby’s delicate nails. The handles are plastic and easy to use while the stainless steel blades offer great precision and safety thanks to the rounded tips. The little nail file with the baby kangaroo (joey) is great to smooth and shape your little one’s nails, and especially for use on newborns before you should be using scissors anyway. The kangaroo case really makes this set a must-have in my opinion – I just can’t get over how cute it is!

Hippo Grooming BrushWho doesn’t want a hippo hair brush? This pink hippo Gentle Grooming Baby Brush has a clever design that lets you twist the product to hide or reveal the brush’s soft bristles. These bristles are so soft, ensuring your little one’s scalp is safe and sound while you can gently groom your baby without any pain or pulling. This item really has a clever design and for that I highly recommend it for diaper bags or just as an everyday use baby grooming item. As your little one grows, she is sure to love this cute pink hippo hair brush.

Dolphin Safety Nail ClipperLast but certainly not least, the Japonesque Safety Nail Clipper and File in blue dolphin style has a very clever and utilitarian fin – that is how you clip baby’s nails! The file is cleverly tucked on the dolphin’s belly, making this an all-in-one grooming godsend. To use this baby nail clipper, simply pull down on the dolphin’s nose to remove the covering and reveal the nail clipper. This clipper is constructed with safety and precision in mind, leaving your little one’s nails nicely trimmed and tear-free. The nail file on the dolphin’s belly makes it easy to smooth out your baby’s nails from any rough edges.

These grooming items are truly adorable and I would highly recommend them for any baby shower gift basket or wishing well. I received each of these items for the purpose of review and look forward to using them with our little girl.

For more information on Japonesque baby products including those reviewed in this article, please check out http://japonesque.com. You can order these products online at Amazon.com or Drugstore.com.

 

Overland Equipment Sierra Bag- A Diaper Bag That Grows With Your Family

Overland Diaper BagAs a new mom, I am still getting the hang of all this kid and baby stuff – products, tricks of the trade, and the best way to do things, so many things… Packing and organizing a diaper bag is something I thought would come naturally, but truth be told, it hasn’t. I received an Overland Equipment Sierra Bag in a pretty wheat (beige-tan) color for the purpose of review. This bag has a lot of functional spaces and pockets, making it a cinch to pack for your baby, toddler, or older child as you go somewhere out of the house.

First of all, the bag is a great size – you can fit all of your baby essentials as well as a snack for yourself, water bottle, and some other small items you want to take with you. The bag has two adjustable straps in a pretty chocolate brown color and enough pockets to make you smile as you dream up where you’re going to put everything. The interior of the bag is spacious and has one thin, zippered mesh pocket, also in chocolate brown. You will find plenty of room for baby or kid blankets, diapers, wipes, toys, a few changes of clothes, wet bag, and so much more. The main compartment zips securely to prevent anything from falling out and getting lost, a huge win.

Overland Diaper BagOne side of the bag’s exterior has a flap style pocket with Velcro closure, tucking away a wealth of other wonderful pockets. This flap pocket is home to a soft, fleece-lined pocket (great for your phone), another slightly smaller pocket, a rounded pocket, a pen pocket, and a zippered mesh pocket, as well as a larger slot style pocket behind the other pockets. This flap pocket also has a tethered clip that would be great for attaching you’re a pacifier, your keys, a baby toy, a change purse, or a dozen other items. This flap pocket with other hidden pockets is a great place to organize your baby items or your personal items once your little ones outgrow needing a diaper bag.

The other side of the Sierra bag has a wide and deep slot style pocket that will fit lots of different items, such as your baby’s snacks for easy access or bibs, hats, and socks, or other items you need to quickly be able to reach. You can also keep a checkbook, a note tablet, and other personal items here for fast accessibility.

The other ends of the bag each have a bottle pocket that is perfect for your baby’s bottles, sippy cups, or a water bottle for yourself.  These pockets are relatively deep and certainly wide enough to house just about any kind of bottle, thermos, or container.

The fabric of this bag is sturdy and durable, made with 840D junior ballistic nylon and 1680D ballistic nylon for the exterior and 210D ripstop nylon inside. I haven’t had any spills yet, but the bag itself feels as though it would easily withstand rain, snow, and even spilt milk.

The bag has a leather patch that says OverLand Equipment Since 1981, ironically the year I was born. I can see why this company is still in business producing quality products for individuals and families of all ages and sizes. I see this Sierra bag as a multi-purpose diaper bag, allowing you to use it for your baby or young child, but not being tied to that. You can easily pack this bag up for a picnic in the park, a trip to the gym or yoga class, or even as your go-to tote bag for anytime you’re on the go.

The Sierra bag by Overland Equipment is available in wheat, blackberry, or denim and retails for $85. It measures 11.75″ x 19.75″ x 5.5″. You can get your own at OverlandEquipment.com, Amazon.com, and a number of other retailers. For more information about Overland Equipment or the Sierra bag, check out www.overlandequipment.com.

 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Hair Edition

Information courtesy of Gocha Hawkins, www.GochaSalon.com.

Pregnant Women by StabPregnancy is one of the happiest experiences of a woman’s life. Positively glowing from the inside out, pregnant women emanate warmth that can only be described as radiance. However, they don’t always feel that way. Along with pregnancy come a myriad of changes to the body, and hair is no exception. Here, Gocha Hawkins, celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist and owner of Gocha Salon, shares common hair issues from her clientele as well as flattering hairstyles for any mom-to-be.

Texture Test

When pregnant, many women find that their hair takes on a different texture. With estrogen levels at a high, shinier, glossy hair is a beneficial side effect. However, once women give birth, their hair retains its normal texture and can thin out considerably. As Gocha explains, “I’ve had clients who had curly hair their entire lives, and while pregnant, their hair straightened out. I’ve also seen the same in reverse. The goal is to get a cut that flatters all textures and face shapes, so that as hair changes, the style still works.” Similarly, many women experience different levels of hair moisture; if your hair shifts from oily to dry or vice versa, switch your shampoo and conditioner routine appropriately

Smiling pregnant brunette with flowers by StabThe Long & Short of It

When pregnant, weight gain is virtually unavoidable, and bloating is common. As your face shape will most likely be altered during the duration of your pregnancy, it’s smart to stick to a look that will look great regardless of any bodily changes. “When hair is particularly long or short, face shape is more prominent. Many of my clients come in asking me for styles that are slimming, and I always advise them to go with a medium length cut. A short bob that ends at the chin or slightly longer shoulder-length style are most universally attractive,” says Gocha.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Though everyone has their own preference, there are certainly some cuts that are more flexible and allow more variety during pregnancy. For example, if you’re a girl that loves her bangs, just make sure to keep them tailored and long during pregnancy, suggests Gocha. “A long bang with soft lines and a side part are the best ways to hide any additional weight.” Additionally, Gocha recommends stocking up on volumizing products that can add height to your style and focus the eye away from a rounder face, like Kourtney Kardashian.

Sleek but Simple

Find styles that are easy to do while you’re experiencing discomfort, but are also chic. For example, Beyonce and Natalie Portman opted for a side ponytail often throughout their pregnancies. Gocha explains, “Messy up-dos and side ponytails are very on trend. Create volume at your crown to make your face appear slimmer, and don’t worry about a little messiness; face framing tendrils will only thin out your features. Loose waves, mirroring Halle Berry’s and Kate Hudson’s go-to looks while pregnant, are also a great option as they capture the eye and are easy to handle.” Slick-backed looks tend to highlight facial shape changes and are considerably less flattering. “If opting for an up-do, take a cue from Jessica Alba and Alicia Keys and add some height.”

Color Conflict

“Even though there are a myriad of concerns regarding hair during pregnancy, the most common question that I get from clients, by far, is in regards to hair coloring. And my response is always the same: what does your doctor say? I find it’s very important for women to be honest with their physicians about what they are planning; sometimes, temporary options are the answer,” says Gocha. “Additionally, make sure that your stylist knows you’re pregnant so that he or she can limit how much of a chemical is allowed to make contact with your scalp during the process.”

“Pregnancy is a time of true joy and wonder, and nothing should hinder that! Taking advantage of your natural beauty and style are what is most attractive during this time, and if you follow the advice above, your hair will be sure to wow throughout your entire nine months,” says Gocha.

For more tips and tricks from Gocha Hawkins, follow @GochaSalon on Twitter, “Like” Gocha Salon on Facebook, and visit the salon’s website at GochaSalon.com.

Images used with permission from StockFreeImages.com.

 

The Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver Makes a Great Father’s Day Gift

If you are in the midst of making a few new beauty resolutions, why not also resolve to give the man in your life a better chance at good skincare? With the gift of a Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver, you can show your man how much you care while making it possible for him to enjoy smooth facial skin.

Offering a close, smooth shave, the Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver delivers a quality shave that doesn’t irritate or damage facial skin. Not only does the man receive a great shaving experience, but you receive a smoother cheek to nuzzle on those cold nights ahead this winter.

The Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver features an ergonomic design, a 3-position pop-up trimmer, and a fuel gauge for the battery so you know how much shaving time you have left. Its pivoting neck and three titanium coated foils deliver a smooth, comfortable shave with fewer passes than less technologically advanced shavers can produce.

With its rechargeable capability, this shaver offers 20 days of shaving (approximately 60 minutes of shaving time) before your man needs to recharge it. Although the battery needs two hours to complete a full recharging session, it is possible to get a quick charge in only five minutes so that you can get in a single shave right away. One of the nicest features about this shaver is that it can be used with or without the cord.

Whether you are looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift for your dad, grandfather, husband, or father-in-law, the Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver is a great option. I received one for the purposes of this review and my husband couldn’t wait to try it out!

 

Boppy Pillow and Gia Breastfeeding Pillow Comparative Review

Boppy PillowMy husband and I recently welcomed our baby daughter into the world and we’ve been working hard to get into the swing of things as new parents. Breastfeeding is by no stretch easy, but it is very beneficial to baby and mom so I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly. In my experiences so far, I’ve used the Boppy Pillow, Simplisse Gia Breastfeeding Pillow, and also just sat and cradled the baby in my arms for feeding. Here’s a rundown of my personal opinion on each approach and on both breastfeeding pillows.

I received the Boppy Pillow and a replacement slipcover as a baby shower gift before our daughter was born. We brought the Boppy to the hospital with us, but I didn’t use it a whole lot there. As I was learning the ropes of breastfeeding, I tried out the side-by-side position lying in bed, the football style, and cross cradle. In the hospital, the side-by-side lying position seemed easiest, but I haven’t really done that since I’ve come home.

Upon coming home, I do use the Boppy when I am nursing upstairs in our room. The Boppy is shaped like the letter ‘U’ and gives your arms a break as you are nursing your little one. There are many different colors and styles of slipcovers to enjoy for the Boppy. (I have a purple one and a multicolored one with pink and purple flowers and nature accents.) The Boppy fits snugly but comfortably around my midsection and gives equal support no matter what side you are nursing from, with a rather lightweight stuffing that makes it easy to remove or tote around. I actually keep mine upstairs since I also have the Gia Pillow. You can get the Boppy online at Amazon.com or at any of your favorite baby stores, including Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and even in Target’s baby section. The Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow retails for about $30.

Gia PillowI received the Simplisse Gia Angled Breastfeeding Pillow and a cute green monkey themed slipcover for the purpose of this review. This nursing pillow has its own unique shape, much like a comma or apostrophe – thinner on the one side and thicker on the other. This allows you to find the most comfortable fit for your newborn or growing infant. This breastfeeding pillow is denser than the Boppy, offering more support and cushioning. I like how I can position the Gia pillow directly across my tummy or off to the side if I’m going to do the football hold. The only thing I struggle with is putting the cover back on after I’ve washed it, but my husband thinks it is a piece of cake.

The Simplisse Gia Pillow is made from 100% cotton and it is designed to be comfortable for both mom and baby. The angle of the pillow aids with digestion for baby and takes some of the pressure off of mom as she nurses. The Simplisse Gia Angled Breastfeeding Pillow retails for $40. For more information, check it out on the Simplisse website.

 

Cute Baby Photo Albums – Baby’s First Photos

Pink Baby Photo Board BookOur family is a bit scattered across the States, and some of us are within driving distance but don’t always see each other even once a month. A baby photo album seems to be a great way to help a little one learn all the immediate family members – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Of course, you wouldn’t want those precious baby books and matching albums to get destroyed by curious little fingers… thankfully the Take Your Pix® photo album is designed especially with these destructive adorable little hands in mind.

I received a gorgeous My First Photos Take Your Pix Photo Album for the purpose of this review. It is a very lovely shade of pink, perfect for our new baby girl. The book has a slot for a nice sized photo on the cover and it has a pretty, fuzzy font on the front that says “My First Photos.” The entire book is a board-style photo album, making it just perfect for little ones who haven’t quite learned “careful” yet. The board book pages are smooth with a protective clear sleeve to ensure each photo is safely tucked away from little hands. The pages have small curved cutouts that scale down the length of the book so each page is very easy for even a young baby to turn one at a time.

Take Your Pix Photo Albums are a product of Board Book Albums, LLC, created by Laura Miranti, a mom of four (with #5 on the way) who designed these creative albums to help with her daughter’s speech development. Miranti’s daughter Lucia served as the inspiration for the books. Lucia’s speech therapist of four years suggested that her mom make a photo album of important people, toys, body parts, and other items that could easily be named upon recognition. The first album Miranti created didn’t last long in Lucia’s hands, so she created a more durable, kid-friendly product that rivals the board style books that her daughter loved so much.

These board books offer a safe and sturdy photo album option for young children and babies, but they also work great for craft projects the kids can do with mom or grandma.

Take Your Pix Photo Albums have received numerous awards, including: Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Product Award 2011, Kidlutions Preferred Product Award 2011, and two Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards: the Best Book Gold Award 2009 and the Special Needs Adaptable Product(SNAP) 2009 Award.

Albums from Board Book Albums, LLC are available on Amazon.com, Sears.com, Diapers.com, TheBump.com and Overstock.com. A portion of proceeds goes to a variety of special needs organizations and events. Take Your Pix books retail for between $19.95 and $24.95. For more information or to buy an album, check out BoardBookAlbums.com.

Of course, I did also pick up a few pink baby photos books of my own, by Carter’s (it has an adorable pink bunny on the front cover), and you can bet these won’t be going into our little one’s hands any time soon. While precious for sure, they wouldn’t stand a chance against tiny fingers or tiny hands!

 

Gifts for a New Dad at the Birth of a Son or Daughter

Gift ideas for new dads or first father's dayThere’s a longstanding tradition of husbands picking out “push presents” for their wives as they prepare to give birth to a new son or daughter. But what about those brave new dads? If you are interested in getting your husband a sweet gift to mark this special occasion, the arrival of your first son or daughter, or a new baby in general, consider these sweet and creative gifts for a new dad.

Not all couples exchange gifts and not all moms-to-be select presents for the new dad. If it’s in the budget or even if it’s that important to you that you want to make it work out, do your best to plan a little bit in advance. This can save you from having to pay expedited shipping or other costly charges. You can also shop around for the best price and the most memorable and appropriate gift.

Here are some gift ideas for a new dad at the birth of his son or daughter. (You can also consider these gifts for a dad who is celebrating another birth in the family – a second child, third child, etc., or as a special first Father’s Day gift or a gift for any Father’s Day.)

Gift ideas for new dads or first father's day•    Cigar Gifts
•    Cufflinks
•    New Camera
•    Handheld Video Camera
•    Handwritten Letter or Sentimental Greeting Card
•    Keepsake Box / Men’s Valet Box
•    Personalized Keychain
•    Photo Album
•    Preplanned Date Night for the near future
•    T-Shirt and Onesie Combo
•    Watch or Timepiece

Daddy Scrubs can be a great, sentimental gift for the Dad-to-be. These classy scrubs give a new dad something to wear into the delivery room rather than getting stuck in a pair of hospital scrubs. Daddy Scrubs are available in a wide array of colors and sizes with different fonts available to proudly show off “Daddy” on the pocket and “I’m the Daddy” on the back. The scrub pants also display “daddyscrubs(R)” neatly down the leg. I received a complimentary set for review and for my husband to wear when our first child was born. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for him to change into them when our experience kicked into high gear. Hopefully we will be better prepared with the next child!

If you opt for cufflinks or some type of jewelry, consider getting your child’s birthstone as the focal point or a small accent. You can also find a wide variety of cufflinks at Amazon.com and at Etsy.com, where you can browse through literally hundreds of handmade, unique items designed by independent crafters. I actually opted for a lovely set of cufflinks for my husband – they are designed like word definitions, one says “Husband” and the other says “Dad,” symbolic to me of the merging of our marriage with the start of our family. My husband means the world to me, but now he is a daddy, too, so I wanted to recognize both aspects of our lives together as a family.

I also selected a few cigar gifts for him to enjoy with his cigars we chose for him to share with friends and family as keepsakes for our daughter’s birth. I picked out a gorgeous blue onyx cigar ashtray, a carbon fiber cigar cutter, and a matching carbon fiber cigar lighter.

To finish everything up, I picked out two cards – a thank you card to let my husband know how much it means to me that we’ve started a family together, and a love card to let him know he is still and always will be the love of my life. I hand-wrote a few lines from my heart and also let him know my hope is that our daughter can one day find someone as wonderful as him.

Feel free to pick out a similar gift or card for your husband as your child’s birth approaches – mine went over very well and in fact he told me I had gone a little overboard. I think he really liked the cards, and he wore the cufflinks on his first day back to work after our little one was born. He used the cigar accessories the night after we came home from the hospital, so I am confident he liked everything I chose.

If you have any other ideas for a sweet and memorable gift for the daddy (a reverse push present if you will), please feel free to share your ideas or the gifts you’ve selected (or received) in our comments below!

 

Baby Changing Pad Cover Reviews

Pink baby changing padThe sheer volume of baby products available in stores and online can be truly overwhelming. Countless brands, styles, fabrics, colors, patterns, and options exist to suit every taste and preference. Changing pad covers are no exception. You can find fitted changing pad covers that coordinate with baby bedding sets as well as plain flannel or soft and plush minky fabric, organic cotton, and many other options when it comes to changing pad covers. Here are a few of my favorites….

I purchased a few changing pad covers and also received one for free from Kushies for the purpose of this review. I recently discovered that changing pad covers can be quite versatile, also doubling as fitted bassinet sheets (we have the Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet). This is amazing because the fitted sheets for the Co-Sleeper bassinet are very expensive compared to simple changing pad covers, and they fit about the same.

I currently own three changing pad slip covers but plan to pick up a few more to ensure something is available when I haven’t gotten to the wash yet. (Sidebar comment: I completely feel like all we do is laundry anymore!!) With the unpredictability of newborns and young infants, it’s common to have accidental spills while changing diapers. Changing pad covers can rapidly make it into the laundry pile, so it’s great to have some spares on hand. It’s also fun to change the design here and there so that you and your little one get to enjoy new colors or new animals, patterns, or designs.

I picked two of the Summer Infant Basic Comfort Ultra Plush Changing Pad Cover, one in pink and one in white. These covers are super soft and fit the changing pad and the bassinet mattress perfectly. The fabric is soft as can be (100% polyester) and is machine washable and dryable. These changing pad covers are advertised as being the softest change pad covers available and I don’t doubt it.White Changing Pad

These covers by Summer Infant fit standard changing pads of about 16” x 32” and have openings to allow most changing pad safety straps to fit their purpose. The super soft fabric is also stain resistant, a parent’s dream! I found the fitted changing pad’s edges to be stretchy and very easy to fit over the changing pad or bassinet mattress. For more information, check out www.summerinfant.com. You can also buy the Summer Infant UltraPlush Changing Pad Covers on Amazon.com in a variety of colors, including pink, blue, ecru, sage, and white.

Natural and organic products for baby offer a major selling point as well. We certainly want whatever is best for our infant’s skin and health. The Organic Change Pad Fitted Sheet by Kushies offers a soft cotton flannel option for your baby’s changing needs. I received a white change pad fitted sheet (17” x 33”) for the purpose of this review. I am impressed with the softness of the flannel and the construction of the elastic fitted edges and the openings for the changing pad safety straps.

The quality of this organic change pad cover is excellent. The fabric is soft and the fitted change pad sheet has finished edges to help it last the test of time and many diaper changes. This change pad cover is machine washable and dryable, making it easy to maintain as well.

Kushies offers just about everything for babies and toddlers, from bibs to swim diapers, toys, layette, and especially washable diapers, among many other products. For more information on this changing pad cover and the many other Kushies products (and where to buy), check out www.kushiesonline.com or visit Kushies on Facebook at facebook.com/kushiesbaby for special promotions, new product announcements, and more.

Life Love Beauty readers can take advantage of this code lifelovebeauty2012 for a 10 percent discount on any order from www.kushiesonline.com. Enjoy!

 

Alternative Sheets for Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet

Pink baby changing padThe Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet gives new parents a wonderful way to keep their baby close at night. The Mini Co-Sleeper can operate as a miniature crib or as an extension of your bed so that your newborn can be only an arm’s reach away. We received this bassinet as a gift for our newborn daughter and we’ve been using it for the past two weeks since her birth. We found the actual bassinet sheets for the Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet tend to be rather expensive and we’ve read you can’t put them through the dryer. I started by trial and error in the hopes of finding a suitable (and more affordable) alternative to the Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet sheets.

The mattress to the Co-Sleeper Bassinet is relatively thin and has Velcro underneath, making it a challenge to find a sheet that fits correctly. Since the reviews on the true Co-Sleeper bassinet sheets were not especially favorable, I opted to find something soft, washable and dryable, of high quality, and affordable.

We tried putting different sheets on the bassinet to see if we could get a good fit. Crib sheets were way too big so we skipped those. In a pinch we were able to fit Pack N Play sheets on the Co-Sleeper, but they were still a bit too big. When tucked in they worked okay, but they weren’t the ideal fit.Baby changing table

Finally in speaking with my sister-in-law, I learned that the best option she found for alternative bassinet sheets happened to be changing pad covers. I eagerly checked out her theory by putting a nice, fuzzy pink changing pad cover on the bassinet mattress and found it to be pretty much a perfect fit. Changing pad covers are more affordable than bassinet sheets yet they are soft and often still made of good quality fabric. (You can usually save a few dollars per sheet by purchasing changing pad covers instead of the bassinet sheets.)

I currently have three changing pad covers that I originally planned to use with the actual changing pad. I plan to buy a few more rather than ringing up higher costs on the true bassinet sheets and frustration in not being able to run them through the dryer. My favorite changing covers to use for bassinet sheet alternatives (for the Co-Sleeper) are the Summer Infant Basic Comfort Ultra Plush Changing Pad Cover (available in a variety of colors), Kids Line Velour Changing Pad Cover Mosaic Transport, Kids Line Bella Velour Changing Pad Cover, and Kushies Organic Change pad fitted sheet.

If you have concerns about using other sheets besides the branded Co-Sleeper bassinet sheets, be sure to check with your pediatrician. You can find a wide variety of changing pad covers online at Amazon and in your local Target store, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and other favorite baby stores and mass market retailers.

 

Tips for a New Baby Photo Shoot at the Hospital

new baby photo shootWhen your baby’s due date is rapidly approaching, you’ve surely got a ton of things on your mind. Is my hospital bag packed? Is the baby’s bag packed? Did I forget anything? Are the pets/other kids squared away for the time we’ll be in the hospital? What else am I forgetting? The last thing on your mind at this point is probably anything to do with what happens AFTER your son or daughter is born; for instance, the baby photo shoot they offer at the hospital. Here are some tips to help ensure you get some great photos, no matter if you plan to take them yourself or take advantage of the professional photographers at the hospital.

professional baby photosProfessional baby photos are something you should seriously consider, even if you are on a bit of a budget. Remember that you only get one shot at having your newborn’s pictures taken professionally while you are in the hospital. You can certainly set something up after the fact at your home, but there is something special about getting your baby’s pictures when they are only days old. You don’t want to look back later in life and wish you had at least gotten them taken. Usually you can have the photo shoot done with no obligation to buy and no sitting fee. Of course, if you feel strongly against having a professional new baby photo shoot, you can take your own photos that you will still cherish for a lifetime.

Here are some tips to help you either way, whether you opt for a professional baby photo shoot at the hospital or if you set up your own baby photo shoot with your personal camera.

  • Bring some of your favorite new baby items from home when you head to the hospital – a handmade blanket, cute booties, a favorite bib, toy, or other personal item.
  • Ensure the baby is fed and changed before the photo shoot. You can get much better photos with a happy, full, satisfied baby than you can with a hungry, cranky baby.
  • If you do choose to have a professional photo shoot, ask the photographer about buying a CD of all the images with rights. You can also ask that they throw the extra shots on the disk, not just the top 10 or 20. We paid $135 and got 99 photos on disk with full rights to reproduce the photos and use them however we’d like. We don’t have to buy our prints and portraits through the photo studio now, and we can share photos with friends and family – so totally worth it!
  • Try to get photos of mom and baby, dad and baby, all three together, and cute shots that focus on dad’s hands, baby’s hands, baby’s feet, etc.
  • Get a little creative with your shots – don’t feel you need to smile at the camera every time. Kiss the baby’s head, let her hold onto your finger, close your eyes and nuzzle up close. Gaze lovingly at your spouse while he or she holds the baby and looks at the baby.
  • If you opt to take your own photos, try to plan your photo session for a time when one of your visitors – a friend or family member – can spend a few moments snapping away.
  • If possible, plan your photo shoot toward the end of your hospital stay; not necessarily on discharge day, but definitely give yourselves some time to unwind and recover from the craziness of just having a baby. If your stay is too short to coordinate a later shoot, just plan it according to the schedule you’ve got.

These tips should help you prepare even just a little bit to get some special photos of your newborn. You will cherish these photos for a lifetime, so be sure you snap a bunch on your camera too, even if you do plan to have the professional baby photos done. If you have any other helpful tips to share related to new baby photo shoots, please feel free to share them in our comments below.

Bestever Baby Mats – Lamb Baby Mat Review

Bestever Lamb Baby Mat ReviewI’m in love! From the first glimpse I caught of Bestever’s Lamb Baby Mat, I knew I had found a very special product that our little girl on the way is going to absolutely adore. When it arrived in the mail, I couldn’t even believe the little lamb is even cuter and even softer than I imagined. Excited to get my husband’s opinion, too, I waited till he got home from work and showed him the adorable plush lamb baby mat. He expressed that this is one of the best baby items he’s seen so far! (And trust me – he isn’t the type to get excited about baby gear!)

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Sandy, the vice president of Bestever, Inc., as I was looking for some unique baby products to share with our readers this spring. Sandy put Bestever Baby Mats on my radar and I’m so glad she did – these adorable products are just want I was hoping to find and share as one of the true baby gear must-haves! Sandy kindly sent me my very own baby mat for the purpose of this review, and has generously decided to extend a special giveaway for one lucky Life Love Beauty reader to win their very own lamb style Bestever Baby Mat!

The lamb style Bestever Baby Mat is a plush, creamy off-white, cuddly mat for your baby or young child to lounge or nap upon, crawl over, and enjoy for a long time to come. The mat is about 31” and has a circular belly as the majority of the mat portion, with an adorable lamb head, arms, and legs. The head makes a very soft pillow even an adult can enjoy. I adore the ultra soft fabric used for the entire baby mat, with the cuddliest part being the belly where your little one can lie and rest.

Every detail of the Lamb Bestever Baby Mat is meticulously designed, resulting in a product that you would be proud not only to own, but to gift as well. The lamb baby mat has adorable pink insides to its ears, and a different cuddly fabric for its face as compared to its head and ears. The face has lovely chocolate brown eyes with eyebrows and a cute pink nose and mouth. The underside of the mat has more of a canvas texture on the belly portion, giving better durability for longtime use. Baby mats are machine washable but should dry flat.

I so love this lamb style Bestever Baby Mat that I believe it may be my go-to photo prop for taking pictures of our baby girl during her “month birthdays.” I think it will be nice for context, to see how small she is at first and how she grows in size and finds new ways to enjoy lounging on her lamb as she gets older. I can already picture how much she will love resting upon the lamb even as a toddler or a young child. These clever plush animal mats are suitable for kids of all ages, so I am sure she will love it for many years to come! I know I will. And, I’m pretty sure my border collie saw me sneak this lamb mat up into our guest bedroom to await the little one’s arrival. She loves all things plush as well, and the fact that it is a lamb, well, you know border collies. Guess we will have to wait and see how hard it is to convince her that this lamb is for the baby, not for her use as a new dog bed or plaything! She’s a sweet pup and a good dog, so I’m not at all worried… (famous last words).

Bestever Baby Mats retail for $50 and come in a wide variety of animal styles that are perfect for little girls, little boys, and even when the baby’s gender is a surprise. Some of the styles include bears, puppies, a hippo, owls, a giraffe, a monkey, and a lion, to name a few. These items would make the perfect gift for a baby shower, a new baby, or a young child, and they are unique enough that you shouldn’t need to worry about multiple gifts of the same type. Even parents should enjoy these adorable baby mats – I am sure it wouldn’t be the first time an adult thought about resting their head for a quick catnap on these super plush and adorable animals.

For more information about Bestever Baby Mats, please visit http://www.shopbestever.com.

Stay tuned for your chance to win an identical Bestever Baby Mat in the lamb style!