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Gearing Up for Baby: My 10 Must Haves!

Having a baby can turn anyone into a one-woman search engine– there are so many things you want to know! On the top of this list is finding the right baby gear, because you’ll be getting pretty well acquainted with it when your baby is here and you need to use them! As a blog dedicated to all things baby, I wanted to share some of my favorite baby gear with all of you!

1. Bouncer Chair
We have two, actually, because with both my boys this was about the only place they would sleep as infants– at that crucial time where you feel like if they don’t sleep on somewhere other than you for at least an hour, you might cry (just me?).Trust me on this one, when you have somewhere you can put your baby down without them crying, its worth it. I had two babies that hated sleep, therefore, I loved the vibrating bouncer chair.

2. Angelcare Movement and Sounds Monitor
I’m not an enormous fan of the video monitors, but this Movement and Sound monitor was on my must-have list. Monitoring baby’s temperature and heartbeat, and with amazing sound quality, I am so happy with this monitor– especially after going through 3 different monitors with my first that all had poor sound quality or lost signal or just broke!
3. Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat
Currently on loan to my sister who has an 18 month old, this seat is super portable, easy to clean, comfortable, and convenient. I really dislike putting my kids in public highchairs, and what’s worse is going out and there being NO child seats available. We took this seat on visits to family across the country, and to almost every restaurant we went to from the time our first could fit into it, until he was able to sit in a normal seat at the table. If you plan on eating anywhere other than at home, I highly recommend this seat!
4. Eddie Bauer Trail Hiker 3 Wheel Travel System
After fighting with a four wheel stroller with my first, I knew we needed a 3 wheeler for this baby– and I absolutely love this stroller. My biggest complaint with four wheel strollers was the front tires constantly crossing, making it impossible to push! This three wheel stroller is perfect for walking and even light jogging with baby, and can easily be used with the infant car seat or seat a toddler. One note, we have an SUV and the car seat barely fits behind the passenger seat, so be sure it is suitable for your vehicle!

5. NUK products
I have been fortunate to be able to exclusively nurse both my babies so far, but they have pumped bottles for each of them if I have an appointment or need a nap– and I will likely never use another bottle after using NUK bottles and pacifiers. This is personal preference, but both of my babies preferred the nipple of these bottles and pacifiers to other brands, which I think has to do with its unique shape.

6. Evenflo Single Electric Pump
As I mentioned above, I do occasionally pump a bottle; and when my kids start cereal I add milk to their cereals instead of buying the brands with formula added. That being said, this pump is perfect for our needs. It’s perfect for busy moms– I can use it on one side while feeding on the other, so pumping doesn’t mean sitting around for longer than I have to! It isn’t used every day, but I use it regularly enough that a manual pump wastes too much time (had a manual with my first and it was torturous!). This pump is effective, comfortable, easy to clean, and fairly inexpensive when compared to other pumps– just some of the reasons I love this product!

7. Nursing Covers
While not all nursing covers are created equal– many of them do the same job in a similar way. I used my nursing cover a lot more with my first than with my second, and as you and your baby become more comfortable nursing, you may not need it. While your both learning, though, a nursing cover can be an essential part of nursing-in-public success, since you aren’t worrying about holding up a blanket and latching and holding baby (how many hands do we have, anyway!?!). To choose a good cover, make sure the material is breathable so baby and you are both comfortable, and it should have a secure, adjustable strap so it fits right, stays in place, and can be adjusted when needed!

8. A comfortable baby-wearing device
Again, not all brands are created equal, but many do the job right and it will depend on how it fits you personally. Be sure that whatever wrap you choose fits securely and is comfortable. Some of my favorites are: Moby wrap, the ErgoBaby Carrier, and the Infantino Wrap & Tie.

9. Live Clean Baby Products
With a complete line of baby products (we especially love the lotion, body wash, and non-petroleum jelly), the Live Clean Baby line is eco-friendly and free of harsh chemicals, leaving baby comfortable and clean. Plus the smell absolutely amazing!

10. Munchkin Baby Food Net Feeder
This little device makes giving baby the foods you’re already eating so much easier, and helps them learn to chew. Perfect for babies who are curious about food or teething, this tiny-hand-sized net gives them more options and satisfies their taste buds with real, healthy foods! My little guy ate strawberries in this thing like they were going out of style!
So there you have it! Some of the best items that we (my kids included) have absolutely loved! Hopefully you find these and any other products you buy make your life with a little one, a little easier! :)

Julianna

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7 Tips for Effective After-Baby Exercise

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Giving your body time to heal after pregnancy and delivery is a key part of achieving your postpartum fitness goals.  By starting out slowly and listening to your body, you can effectively progress into an exercise routine that gets you the results you want– starting right after delivery!

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1. Start your kegels ASAP– no really, I mean as soon as baby is out!  Working on your pelvic floor muscles is pretty easy, and its imperative to your total-body fitness!

2. Begin light walking if the doctor gives permission.

3. Wait for your postpartum visit (usually 6 weeks) before starting any challenging routine. Your body needs time to heal safely!

4. Avoid crunches until at least 8 to 10 weeks (longer if you had a C-section) & be sure to check for abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) before progressing to more challenging ad exercises.

5. Avoid over stretching! Just like during pregnancy, in the weeks following delivery the relaxin hormone may stay present for around 8 weeks postpartum, this makes you more susceptible to injury and can actually further postpone your ability to intensify your exercise routine!

6. Avoid inner thigh stretches if you had a vaginal delivery until you feel everything has healed properly ‘down there’. Choosing to wait until your postpartum exam if you experienced a severe tear or had an episiotomy might be ideal, to be sure scar tissue has minimized.

7. Work your way backwards. Start back into strength and cardio training with the level of intensity you were comfortable with towards the end of your pregnancy. After each workout you can guage how much more (or less) your body is ready for at this time. Slowly increase the intensity and duration by listening to your body.

General Postpartum Guidelines:
* Aim to workout 30 minutes most days of the week
* A short workout , even just 10 minutes is better then no workout
* Strength train 2 to 4 times per week. Yes–that includes pilates, yoga and weight training!

Here are 2 workouts to get you started!
Pregnancy & Newborn 6 week fitness series: week 1 & week 2

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After Baby: 3 Exercises to Get Your Abs Back!

hip rolls

After you’ve had a baby, I know you’re just dying to get your abs back, but before you jump back into doing 100’s of crunches and holding planks forever – be sure you read why you must AVOID crunches right after baby here.

Crunches too soon after baby could actually cause more harm then good, so here are 3 exercises that can help turn your deep core back on, plus the Hip Rolls will feel amazing on your low back! Do all 3 exercises very slow, this will help you focus on reconnection your abdominals and doing the exercises correctly. They may seem simple but if you move to quickly through them you may not feel your deep core engaging and if you progress to more advanced exercises before your middle is ready you risk creating more separation.

So what are you waiting for!? Do these 3 exercises; 3 to 5 sets everyday if you like – it’s a great way to remind your abs to fire all day long!

 ===>Now Available: After Baby Digital & DVD Workouts

hip rolls

Hip Rolls: 10 reps

1. Lye flat on your back, knees bent, and feet hip-width apart.
2. Slowly articulate, one vertebrae at a time as your roll your hips up. Pause at the top then slowly articulate rolling your back down. Think ribcage first.

Tips:
· Do a kegel
· Scoop your lower belly in and up
· Squeeze your butt and add 10 pulses at the top for some extra booty lifting!

 

 singleleg

Single Leg Drops: 10 reps then switch legs

1. Lye flat on your back, start with knees bent and one foot flat on the floor (to give your back more support if needed) then progress to table top legs as shown.
2. Inhale as you slowly lower your right leg down as low as you can maintain your abdominal connection.
3. Exhale to pull your right leg back to table top.

Tips:
· Do a kegel
· Scoop your lower belly in and up, especially as you lower your leg.
· Relax your shoulders
· Draw your ribcage down and together – this will help you activate your upper abs too!

rollbacks

Roll Backs: 10 reps

1. Sitting tall, knees bent and feet flat out in front of you.
2. Exhale as you draw your ribcage down, tuck your pelvis and scoop your belly in as you roll back slightly. Only roll as far back as you can connect your abs.
3. Inhale as you sit back up tall, stacking your spine and using your abdominals to help you get there!

Sign up for the Knocked-Up Fitness Newsletter to receive your FREE Booty Sculpting Workout!

Practicing these key abdominal movements will engage your core, help you avoid abdominal muscle complications like diastasis recti, and help you to safely tone and tighten your tummy after baby! Be sure to check out the Knocked-Up Fitness Digital Programs for more prenatal and postpartum exercises, workouts and tips!

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Fabletics Your First Outfit $25 + FREE Shipping!

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Making exercise a part of your routine is what Knocked-Up Fitness is all about — and I think it is super important to have workout outfits that are cute and comfortable, to get you excited to put them on and get sweating! I’m very excited to be a part of the Fabletics Masters Program too!

 fabletics-screenshot

Fabletics offers a complete line of soft, comfortable exercise gear for a variety of activities.  You can complete their quick customer profile, where you choose what you like to wear, how you like to wear it, and the type of exercises you need your active wear to be suitable for — then choose from a variety of outfit options tailored just for you! The best part is Fabletics gear is super affordable and great quality, which is especially important for your changing pregnancy body! Plus, its great after baby when you’re working hard to return to your pre-baby body (or even better).

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Visit the Fabletics Website to take advantage of getting your first outfit for only $25 + FREE SHIPPING!!!

fabletics

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Staying Active During Pregnancy | Green Child Magazine

Staying Active During Pregnancy

My article in the Winter issue of Green Child Magazine provides tips for staying active during pregnancy!

Be sure you have your doctor’s permission to exercise during pregnancy.

Have a look:


Staying Active During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine: Lift Your Booty!

pregnancy-newborn

If you missed my article in November’s issue of Pregnancy and Newborn here it is!

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Lift Your Booty

Lift Your Booty

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Erica’s Fav Things: 10 Necessities for Newborns

baby-love

I luv baby things, don’t you?  Part of the fun of being pregnant is getting to shop for (and receive) all those adorable accessories.  There are some things you need and some things you just want to have for your newborn when they arrive.  These are my Top 10 Newborn Favs:

1. Little Giraffe Chenille Blanket - I want one too! Can you say “warm & snuggly”?

2. Swaddle your little darling with these super soft Muslin Wraps from aden+anais

3. Who doesn’t like a 2-for-1?  Luv this Burp Cloth and Bib combo!

4. Honestly, these are the cutest diapers I’ve ever seen!  And eco-friendly too.

5. Gotta keep your baby super soft.  My fav lotion is California Baby Everyday Lotion.

6. And for any skin problems, Mum+Bub Soothing Ointment is the best!  I’ve used it on my son for his little eczema spots, for baby girls cradle cap, & my lips.

7. Baby girl LOVES her WubbaNub Kitty!

8. Even BPA free bottles don’t cut it with me!  I like to use these Glass Bottles from Dr Brown’s (drinks from anything plastic always taste a little ‘off’ to me).

 

9. Glass bottle sleeves – a must have for glass bottles, especially once your little one starts to hold the bottle herself.

10. And the cutest, coziest clothes around!

I know you and baby will love these as much as I do.  If you’re using any of these favs, I’d love to hear about it!

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Erica’s Fav Things: Diaper Bag Must-Haves for Moms

diaperbag

As a Mom, you have to be prepared for anything!  You always make sure you have whatever your kids need, but don’t forget what you need too!

These are my diaper bag must-haves that I never leave home without:

First, the bag itself is super important.  It’s got to have lots of pockets to keep everything organized, and be a great quality to handle the everyday wear and tear.  My fav bag is the Storksak Emily.

I love that the outside pockets on both sides of the bag are insulated, so it can keep a bottle cold for 3-4 hours!  Everything is easily accessible, and it’s made with nylon so you can just wipe it clean.  Plus, it’s stylish and could totally double as your purse (mine does!).

If you’re like me, your wallet probably bounces around between purses a lot.  I love my HOBO wallet because it lets you keep your ID separate, so it’s easy to get to when you need it!

I never leave home without my iPhone – I love that I always have a camera & video camera with me so I never miss a moment with my active kids!

I actually have the older model, but I'm ready to upgrade!

Degree 24hr motionSENSE deodorant.  Sound strange?  Maybe…but a girl’s gotta stay fresh at all times!  Especially in my line of work, when I run out the door at 5:45am & realize later that I forgot to put deodorant on!  So I always keep one in my bag.

 

Once you go polarized, you never go back.  I love my Ray Ban polarized sunglasses!

Last thing, my fav baby wrap from Moby.  There are so many ways you can wrap it, here’s one called the “hug” hold.
 

 
These are my faves, what are yours?