Friday, April 27, 2012

Why You Should Consider a Parent Facing Stroller

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I decided I must have a parent facing stroller. It was an instinctive desire, how could I let my tiny little newborn face away from me? It made no sense. So I gave in, bought an inexpensive reversible seat stroller, and loved every moment despite the fact it took three hands to fold and it weighed more than me. Eventually I gave up on it because my husband and I would argue about it more than enjoy the parent facing function. Not to mention it just didn't work for travel or putting it in the car.

"Please, fold it."
"Okay, but you pick it up."
"You wanted it, you can fold it and pick it up!"

I miss it, terribly. Not the stroller, but the baby facing me. Every time I put our 5 month old son in his lightweight, super easy folding stroller I think to myself "Wish I could have him face me!" Perhaps not all babies are like this, but both of mine absolutely love people and faces. He sees my face, he is content and happy. He doesn't want to face out, he wants little to do with toys, he just wants to see me! Here is why I think all strollers should have the parent facing option, or at least a bassinet that can be used up to 6 months:

Convenience: It's just plain convenient to see what your baby is doing, and no, a peekaboo window doesn't suffice. You'll either wake the baby with the velcro or you'll drive yourself crazy trying to get a peek every.three.minutes. Personally, I like to see the baby with a simple glance in their direction!

Common sense: When you see the baby you can gently rock the stroller before they actually have time to wake up or fuss, you can respond to their needs without delay, and the baby will be less fussy with eye contact. There is a reason why orphan infants do not thrive, it is because they have limited to no contact with caring people. Of course, I'm not saying we treat them as such by putting them in a regular stroller, but imagine what positive effect your simple presence and care has on the baby.  

Learning and Communication: One of the ways the baby learns about the world is by watching your reaction to things and people. What does a baby learn when they cannot see you? They need to see you to learn. They need to hear you talking while looking at them. Learning for mom is just as important, especially the first few months, a parent facing stroller is a great way to learn your baby's cues for things such as hunger/thirst. It makes for a smoother day to know what and when your baby needs something. 

Closeness: I think having a baby in a stroller instead of a baby carrier is far away enough during the first year. Not seeing them altogether puts them even further, even if not in proximity. I need to have the baby in a stroller for walks because I need a break from babywearing, I'm certainly not as strong as the indigenous people of many cultures that practice babywearing. But I would love to actually see him without having to stop the stroller and walk up to the front. Eye contact is key to being close. 

If we ever decide on baby #3, I would love to get a reversible seat stroller. Out of all the baby gear, it would probably get the most use after a baby carrier. If you are newly pregnant and you're not sold, just wait until your baby arrives, you'll see what I mean about wanting to see and communicate with the baby in the stroller. They grow up so incredibly fast, before you know it you will wish they would just sit in front of you, smiling and cooing. Have you ever tried a reversible seat stroller?

Check out the pricey but super stylish reversible strollers at Thanks Mama:
iCandy Pear (double)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

RSVP to Thanks Mama Twitter Party!

"Love and Thanks Mama" Twitter Party

What:  Our first ever Thanks Mama Twitter Party hosted by Jill from Baby Rabies to celebrate love and thanks to the most important woman in the world - mama. Join us for a fun chat, some trivia questions,
cloth diaper tips and tricks, natural parenting topics and more.  Use hashtag #thanksmama to participate.

When: Tuesday, May 8 from 8-9 P.M. CDT

Win: We are giving away fabulous prizes to six (6) lucky winners during the party.

-       bumGenius Freetime All in One cloth diaper
-       Rumparooz One Size cloth diaper
-       Fred’s Swim Academy Swimtrainer
-       iPlay Ultimate Swim Diaper & Kushies Pool Shoes
-       Sophie the Giraffe
-       $25 gift card to

To win you must RSVP.  You must also tweet at least once during the party with the party hashtag #thanksmama. To collect your prize it is very important that you attend and tweet between 8-9pm CDT on May 8.

After you RSVP, you should go ahead and follow on Twitter Jill from Baby Rabies (@BabyRabies) Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green (@GGirlGGreen), Jen from Jen And Joey Go Green (@JNJGoGreen), since they will be helping direct all the fun during the party and of course us (@ThanksMama).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kissaluvs Super Soaker Doubler Review

Need a boost for your baby's diaper? Something without too much bulk? Super absorbent and affordable? We've found all of the above in the Kissaluvs Super Soaker Doubler. If you are in the my-baby-pees-like-a-horse boat, I know how you feel. You don't want the baby's butt to look like a mountain, but at the same time it would be nice if he doesn't just pee right through a diaper - especially when he is sitting on your hip or in a baby carrier! Somehow boys are just really good at this!

In the world of cloth diaper doublers, the Kissaluvs soaker is not just average. For starters, the tapered shape makes it trimmer and gives you less bulk between the legs. It packs a punch when it comes to absorbency, even surpassing other inserts I have that are much wider and bigger. I dare even say that it is comparable to hemp, coming pretty close. Though we use a hemp insert for night time along with a microfiber one, we still need a boost for daytime - I find myself reaching for this Kissaluvs doubler most of the time. At only $3.49 each, you get a lot of absorbency for the money. 

These soakers are 12.5" long and 5" wide at the widest point. On our 5 months old they fit great inside one-size diapers on the medium setting, but it would fit comfortable on the smallest setting as well. Most importantly, we haven't had any leaks with these doublers, they hold the moisture well and absorb quick. After many washes it stays incredibly soft, showing absolutely no signs of wear, still looking like new. I love the combination of unbleached knit terry (similar to the Kissaluvs terry wipes, one of our favorites) and the colored cotton fleece. Both are soft, and the cotton fleece side could even be used inside a diaper cover against the skin, though we haven't tried. Like many other Kissaluvs products we've tried, it is apparently very well made and great quality. 

Buy a Kissaluvs Super Soaker Doubler at Thanks Mama

Explore other Kissaluvs products:
Kissaluvs Milk Pads
Kissaluvs Organic Wipes
Kissaluvs Antibacterial Wet Bag
Kissa's Pocket Training Pants
Kissaluvs Marvels One Size AIO
Kissaluvs Organic Cotton/Hemp Fitted

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Mama & Me" Photo Contest!

Do you have that super adorable photo of you and baby? Want to share it with us and win $100 to spend at Thanks Mama? Go to our Facebook page and enter with your "Mama and Me" photo! This above is my own favorite "Mama and Me" moment captured by my mother of me and my toddler at the beach last September, 7 months pregnant with our baby boy. Love those moments! Share yours!

You'll need to write a caption that describes your favorite thing about being a mama. Photos will be judged on quality, incorporation of Thanks Mama products or brand, caption, and the number of votes.

Hurry, contest ends April 30th! View entries and vote!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

6 Reasons I Love Babywearing

Honestly, I'm not sure how I would survive early motherhood without baby carriers. To me it has become such an essential part of my day, it is even more necessary than a stroller. It has proved especially indispensable with the arrival of a second baby. My own mother looks at me and exclaims how fortunate it is for me to be a mother now, when so many conveniences have been invented to make parenting easier. She never had a baby carrier, and in the culture where she lived it never even occurred to her that she could tie the baby onto herself. One thing I know, a baby carrier is the first thing (or one of) I will recommend to moms-to-be! Here is why I love it so much:

1. It gives me balance. I can have a happy baby and dinner made at the same time. I can have a happy baby and a clean house at the same time. Yes, I do put the baby down to play on his own or with his sister. Yes, he does nap in bed alone at this point (like right as I am typing this!). But if you're a mom, you know how long those moments last. To actually complete household tasks, baby wearing rocks!

2. It gives me a third hand. Don't all mother wish they just had one more hand, or two? I always do. My baby carrier is just that. There are things I simply wouldn't be able to do without it at moments when I have an unhappy infant and things need to get done. It is my third [and fourth] hand for packing lunch for my husband, for getting toddler ready for bed, and for tidying up the house at the end of the day when the baby is on his last lap of borderline contentment.

3. It gives me time with my toddler. Life with one baby was tough, but so much more simple than with two honestly. Now I had to figure out how to wipe my toddler's bottom with a baby in my arms. How to do our evening routine with a must-sleep-now-cranky infant on my hands. Babywearing has alleviated these concerns and I can take care of my toddler and keep my infant happy.

4. It relieves stress. Do you know what kind of stress I am talking about? The kind where you put baby down to sleep and he proceeds to wake up every.two.point.three.minutes. Not fun if you're cooking and expecting company. When out and about it relieves the stress of having to find a place to nurse or having everyone stare at you while you try to calm your baby who just wants you to hold him or her.

5. It is convenient. Obviously, there are times when it just makes sense. Like who wants to be stuck with a crying infant in a car seat when you are half-way done with food shopping? Not me. When I go to a store I don't leave the house without a baby carrier. Same with going to the library or any other errands. Not to mention that our car seat with the baby in it weighs about fifty three pounds, well, at least it feels like it - especially when I am carrying it.

6. It's cozy! Yes, babywearing gives me the fuzzies. What can be better than snuggling next to my baby? I'll be marveling about how fast he grew up just a short three years from now! Realizing my first tiny baby will be four years old soon, I am savoring the precious baby moments with my second even more. Now that I have this baby thing down, I can enjoy it more and stop wondering about what I am doing wrong or right. I know babywearing makes it all good, comfy, and cozy! Uhm, unless it is ninety degrees outside. 

By the time I finished writing this, Baby E managed to wake up her little brother, so I put him in an Ergo and he continued his sleep in the baby carrier while I made Sunday brunch pancakes and typed up why I love carrying my babies. Multitasking at its best!

Do you wear your baby? What do you like about it? When do you find a carrier most useful to you?

Check out the variety of baby carriers available at Thanks Mama!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BabyKicks Doubler Review

After some trial and error we discovered that hemp is perfect for our heavy wetter boy. For night time we simply cannot do without it! During the day any two inserts will suffice when I change him every three hours or so. At night I need to sleep, not change diapers! So a hemp doubler is a must and we love the BabyKicks Doubler, it never fails. The blend of organic cotton and hemp is super absorbent and soft. It is also an eco-friendly material that requires no pesticides to grow, a win win for everyone and better for your child's skin I would suppose.

One of my favorite things about this diaper insert is not just the absorbency, but how soft it is wash after wash - even when I line dry all the diapers. Other hemp and hemp blend inserts have become really stiff after line drying, this one remains really soft and pliable. Maybe because it isn't 100% hemp, I'm not sure, but it only makes it better in our experience. It is also very well made and after many washes there is no sign of fraying edges.

The diaper insert is 5 by 13 inches, it fits well into all pocket diapers we have and that's about 10 different brands. I've had the experience of some doublers being too wide to fit, making the diaper look really bulky, this one is not like that. It is trim and perfectly sized, even for small diapers or one-size diapers on the smallest setting. We have used it inside Rumparooz, Fuzzi Bunz, Bumkins, and Thirsties with great success (paired with a microfiber insert on top).

This insert is a great value for a hemp product, it is $4.90 each, a price well worth it for a good night's sleep. It is one of the more affordable BabyKicks hemp inserts. The other options from this brand are the Hemparoo Joey Bunz Inserts for $5.35 each and the Hemparoo Joey Bunz Premium for $6.25. We also love that they are made in the U.S.! You can't say that for every hemp doubler on the market.

Buy the BabyKicks Doubler at Thanks Mama

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Plan Toys Floppy-Eared Dog Rattle Review

I love when infants first start reaching for toys and showing interest in things other than striped shirts and copious amounts of sleep. I still remember that moment with my first baby when she first grabbed a toy and pulled it into her mouth to nibble on! Seems like that was just yesterday, but in reality three year ago. Baby T is now four months old and he is interested in objects, especially those he can hold himself. This adorable wooden rattle from Plan Toys is something he really likes. I think the cute face and the contrasting colors are what draws him to it, for a taste test of course!

I love wooden toys in general, I prefer them over others no doubt - even more so when it comes to infant toys. Maybe because it is nostalgic, maybe because it looks better, maybe just because they are generally safer (when dyed with non-toxic paints and inks). This dog rattle is really adorable when it comes to visual appeal, just look at that little face. Infants also like things that make noise, in that sense this rattle is a bit lacking. It would have to be shaken really hard, back and forth, to make substantial noise. So this rattle is more visually and sensory stimulating. It you are looking for something that really 'rattles' and makes noise you may want to check out something like the Kushies Cha Cha rattle, though it isn't wooden. Looking for something that squeaks? Check out our review of the Vulli Sophie Giraffe Gnome made of natural rubber. 

The handle on this little rattle is rather thick, I think a slightly thinner handle would have made it easier to grasp - especially for chubby fingers like my munchkin. I think when his motor skills are a little more developed, it will be easier for him. As of now it is hard for him to get it near his mouth to chew on, as you can imagine that can frustrate a little infant, everything must be tasted! Though the rattle is recommended for ages 0+, realistically your infant will not hold it until three months, and will hold it more comfortably around five months - so consider that when making a purchase. This rattle costs $10.99, which may be more than you plan to spend on a rattle. I think it is a good price for a quality wooden toy such as this, considering we have had nothing but success with the Plan Toys brand. What's your infant's favorite toy?

Buy a Plan Toys Floppy-Eared Dog Rattle at Thanks Mama

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