5 Lessons I Learned While My Husband Was Away

This past week, my husband was out of town. During our short time apart, I grew an immense appreciation for all of the moms out there who do the solo parenting thing. If there is such a thing as superheroes, you are it.

Those of you that have known my husband and I for some time know that we are two peas in a pod. From grocery shopping, Target runs, and to working out, we do nearly everything together. Sure we have had the occasional weekend solo parenting while one of us was away, but when the news came that my husband would be off on a work trip for a full week, I was a little nervous.  How would I handle the bedtime routine? Would I have enough energy to make it through the day? Was the house going to fall into shambles? I am a serial over planner and over thinker, clearly.

5 Lessons I Learned While My Husband Was Away

Much to my surprise, the week turned out incredibly well. Brody and I had a picnic in the driveway, hung out with friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and learned that I am more capable than I thought I was. With the week now behind us, here are a few lessons I learned along the way.

Help is more essential than ever.

As a go-getter, asking for help is not one of my strong suits. It sits down near “putting away the laundry” on the list of things I am not very good at. But this week, I knew I was going to need a few breathers. Since we are blessed to have family nearby, they came to my rescue. An afternoon at grandma’s house, an evening with his aunt, and a morning with the babysitter—these little breaks made all of the difference. Ask your friends and family for help. Wander around the grocery store solo for an hour. Go treat yourself to a massage (I totally did). If you are not taking care of yourself, it is really difficult to take care of others.

5 Lessons I Learned While My Husband Was Away

Some nights, cooking dinner is too much work.

By the end of the day, just thinking about cooking dinner wore me out. On these evenings, takeout was our lifeline. One of my favorite nights with Brody was the night we went to ZoësKitchen in Chandler to grab dinner and brought it home to have a picnic together in our driveway. I love that their menu is made-from-scratch and healthy--it is better than what I cook most nights. Their Facebook Page always has my mouth watering. The new Zoës Kitchen kids meals are also a fun way to introduce your little ones to new flavor palates. Ever since our trip to Italy, Brody has been a big fan of shrimp. The shrimp skewer was an easy choice. We tossed down a blanket, set down the table top from Brody’s 1st birthday party, and had a dinner date—just the two of us. I hope Brody still has date nights with mom like this when he is 18. And a little confession: I may or may not have also ordered one of their giant zesty lemon cookies to indulge on post baby bedtime.

5 Lessons I Learned While My Husband Was Away

Adventures make everything better.

To make sure the days went by quickly, I filled our calendar with activities that would take us out of the house. From a morning at the pumpkin patch to a movie date on a cloudy afternoon—Brody and I had a lot of fun together. It was a great reminder that even during our normal weeks at home, getting out of the house makes for sweet memories (and extra long naps).

Facetime is a lifesaver.

Technology has come a long way since my years of long distance dating back in college. Our nightly Facetime chats with dad were always the highlight of our day. Brody would be his silly self and would blow dad a kiss every night. When Brody was younger, seeing one of us on Facetime when we were out of town would oftenmake him cry, but as he has gotten older, he has become obsessed with talking to people on Facetime.

5 Lessons I Learned While My Husband Was Away

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Having our family spread apart for a week reminded me of how grateful I am for I am for my husband, a happy & healthy toddler, and our family nearby. I find myself getting stuck in the routines and day-to-day life of motherhood so often that sometimes it takes stepping away from the norm to realize the blessings in front of me. And to the mommas who have partners off fighting for our country and for the mommas who are solo parenting—I am amazed by your strength!

PS: Want to win Zoës Kitchen $50 Gift Card? They're giving away 15 through October 18th! You can enter below by following me on Instagram and following Zoës Kitchen. Winners will be notified October 24th. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Quick Tips For Feeding Picky Eaters

If you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, you may resort to the same foods over and over again. Pancakes, milk, and fruit – sound familiar?

The problem with picky eating is that it can interfere with nutrition, which sorta kinda is a big deal for growing littles. Things like brain, bones, and even mood are impacted by food. If you need to – get your kiddo on a good multivitamin (more on that later). But if you think it might make a difference, try out these tips below.

Tips for Picky Eaters | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

1. Monster bites, fairy bites, and baby bites

A good rule of thumb is to keep things light. While you want to avoid using food as either a punishment or a reward, there’s nothing wrong with creating play around food.

Based on what commands your little’s attention – big and loud fire engines, for example – use these things as tools to make eating fun. Maybe allow a small toy at the dinner table – especially if one nibble from a toy car is returned with a monster bite from your picky two-year-old.

Other ways to make food fun:

  • Use cookie cutters for cheese, eggs, fruit, and veggies
  • Offer something to dip food into, like a mild guacamole made with avocado and lime juice
  • Allow your little to help prepare food using a wavy chopper
Tips for Picky Eaters | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

2. Eat together

Confession – I can’t tell you how many times I have given my kid food in the car while running errands. Sometimes this is even a quick breakfast or lunchtime snack.

BUT, there’s something about eating meals together as a family that encourages adventurous eating. Researchers have even found that leading by example and exposing your little to a particular food many times is more effective than a reward of cartoon stickers.

For us, family meals most often happen during the evening hours. This is when we are all together in once place at the same time. Like most kids, our son is drawn to the foods that my husband and I eat. It’s worked out since I like to experiment in the kitchen and on those days when it feels like there’s no time – we stick to a few veggies and meat.

Even if it’s one meal a day – see if you can make a point of eating together. The benefits are profound.

3. Food flying through the air?

Throwing food, playing with food, and wandering away from the table are signs that your little is either done eating or wants more attention during mealtimes.

It’s okay – and even worthwhile – to set boundaries during mealtime rather than requirements to eat. For example, once your child begins tinkering around with food rather than eating it – check in. Even if this happens after a few bites. Let them know, “Oh, looks like your all done!” And watch for a renewed interest in food. If this doesn’t happen, end mealtime rather than coaxing or bargaining for one more bite.    

Usually – when you’re fully engaged, you’ll notice the signs of waning interest before there’s the need to wipe large quantities of food from the floor.

Tips for Picky Eaters | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

4. Try probiotics and fermented foods

Okay – this one is a little deep: Taste is driven by microbes. Or, as someone else put it – your gut bacteria want you to eat a cupcake.

Microbes – what you get when you take a probiotic or dive into a cup of yogurt – do important things for your little’s digestion, immune system, and mood. Mood can include taste preferences and aversions!

If you notice a preference for ONLY bready foods or sweets – or if there are many objections to smells and texture – you may want to start adding coconut water kefir (you can pick it up at Whole Foods or make your own) to a favorite juice.

Coconut water kefir is fermented, so you’re getting some good microbes into the mix. It’s sour, so you’re making things a little more dynamic than salty or sweet (you guys, we have a serious problem with this. And down the road, it can really make a difference in your kid’s food preferences.

If you need it, a multivitamin.

If you’re worried that you kiddo isn’t getting the nutrients he or she needs to thrive, there’s nothing wrong with a multivitamin or supplements. Here are some supplements that are worth looking into:


I like the fiber-filled version of SmartyPants Kids Complete because it’s full of pre-biotic, gut building fiber and a spectrum of nutrients that kids need. It’s also a gummy, which most kids will love.

Only thing: It’s missing the mineral iron – so be sure to get these nutrients elsewhere – especially if your little one has an aversion to meat.

Garden of Life Organic Kids Plus

This probiotic is a sweet chewable that comes equipped with vitamin D3 – a nutrient that most babies, kids, and adults run low in. It’s also filled with probiotic strains that have been found to support young gut health, like Bifidobacteria.

Corganic Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil

Did you take cod liver oil as a kid? My grandmother gave it to me in capsules and it’s one of those things that has stood the test of time.

Cod liver oil is high in important long-chain omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and vitamin A – nutrients that are hard to come by if your little isn’t eating wild salmon several times a week.

Tip: Make things easier for everyone and mix a teaspoon of cod liver oil in orange juice or blend it into a smoothie.

Related: A Printable Checklist for Baby's First Foods

This article was put together by Megan Garcia—writer, reader, and baby wellness expert. Megan shares tips and information about pregnancy, health, and wellness on her website: www.megangarcia.com and through Instagram: @megan___garcia

45 Baby Products I would Not Have Survived Without

It is no secret that babies come with quite a bit of gear. If you take a peek at pictures of our home from two years ago, it looks vastly different than it does today. Medicine cabinets are full of handy gadgets, our garage is dotted with strollers, and our kitchen cabinets have been filled with colorful plastic pieces. Brody is now a year and a half old and over the past few months, I've been taking notes on the gear that we have truly used and loved. The list looks quite a bit different than the list I made of baby gear before I actually had a baby.

If you are expecting or have just become a new momma, I hope these tips give you clarity on what you may or may not need in the months to come. You have an exciting adventure ahead!

45 Baby Products I Would Not Have Survived Without | Must-Have Baby Gear | Best Baby Gear | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms
45 Baby Products I Would Not Have Survived Without | Best Baby Gear | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

1. Infant Car Seat | Maxi-Cosi Mico Max-30 Choosing a carseat is one of the biggest decisions in the world of baby gear.  Should you have one in each vehicle? Which seat is the safest? Which seat is easiest to install? The questions go on and on. We knew we wanted the Maxi Cosi Pria Convertible Car Seat (#37 on this list) from the beginning and went back and fourth on whether we should purchase an infant car seat as well. Ultimately, we did and it was a great decision. Babies like to sleep during car rides. When you are out and about running errands, it is so much easier to grab the infant car seat and set it in the back of the Target cart rather than waking up your little one. And let's face it, most of your outings in the first few months will probably involve Target. We used this carseat until 6 months when we transitioned to the convertible car seat. We loved this infant seat. It washed up well after several poop explosions and I always felt safe buckling Brody in.

2. Walker Wagon | Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon If you've been following along for a while, you probably know my feelings on toys. I'm picky. I like things that last. And I'm a firm believer in limiting the number of toys that are out at one time (hence our weekly or bi-weekly toy rotation process). This walker wagon is one of the only toys that I keep out 24/7. We gifted it to Brody for Christmas (he was 9 months at the time). At the beginning, he used it to help steady his balance as he stood. As time progressed, he used it as a walker as he learned how to walk. And now he uses it to load and unload his toys and push all over the house. We've used it both inside and outside and I have a feeling it will be in our possession for years to come.

3. Lovey | Little Giraffe Blanky After chatting with a sleep expert, we introduced a security blanket (also known as a lovey) to Brody's sleep routine. It was a game changer. We reserve his lovey for bedtime or nap time to create the correlation with the lovey meaning it is time to rest. Brody cuddles with it all night long. We rotate through 3-4 different ones, mostly because I am terrified that he will become too attached to one and we will lose it, but it always ensures we always have a clean one on hand when there are multiples. I spill the beans on all of my favorite lovey's and the ones we use on the post below. 

Related: The Best of Lovey Blankets

4. Diaper Rash Cream | Boudreaux's Butt Paste We've experimented  with different brands of diaper rash cream over the past year and Boudreaux's is our favorite. It seems to do the job quickly and is the perfect consistency. 

5. Nipple Shield | Medela Nipple Shield Breastfeeding was initially a lot tougher than I was expecting. We took classes, watched videos and assumed it would just come naturally. In reality it took a few months to find our grove. I must admit, that once we found that groove, it was the more rewarding experience. Brody had a terrible latch for weeks. The Medela Nipple Shield was the only thing that helped train his lips to latch properly and it helped me tremendously from having sore nipples. I used it religiously for the first two months and eventually we were able to transition away from using it. I know many lactation consultants have mixed views on nipple shields, but I can tell you that it made all of the difference for Brody and I. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, this can be a great tool.

6. Lunch Box | SoYoung Linen Lunch Box Storage and organization are two words so synonymous with every aspect of motherhood. This little lunch box has been our snack pack, mini diaper bag, toy storage, bottle carrier etc. I first learned about the brand at the ABC Expo last year. The waxed linen exterior is easy to wipe off and the inside has an insulated interior that is attached with velcro to easily clean and remove. Bonus points for the adorable prints on the bags. 

Related: The Momma Society ABC Kids Expo Awards

7. Organic Cotton Pajamas | Gap Striped Footies Finding the perfect pajamas for Brody involved a lot of trial and error. Our ultimate favorites have been Gap Striped Footie pajamas in organic cotton. The organic cotton is so soft and only seems to become softer with washes, which we all know happens frequently. They have new styles every season, but take my word and avoid any that involve snaps or buttons. You'll thank-me later. 

8. Nursing Pads | Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads For a little visual of my chest during my first few months of breastfeeding, check out the Fountain of Neptune Statue in Bologna, Italy. That, dear momma, was my reality. I experimented with different brands of nursing pads. Some were itchy and some were not very absorbent. The brand that worked best for me were the Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads. A little trick I learned, don't remove the self adhesive tape from the backs. Just slip the pads in your bra with the tape unexposed. This will make the pads far easier to switch out and prevent the sticky glue from building up on your bra cups.

9. Breast Pump | Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump Confession: I never pumped until Brody was 10+ months old. Breast pumps intimidated me. Looking back on it, I wish I would have started pumping sooner and created little stash to keep in the freezer. When I did start pumping, I used the Lansinoh pump. It was simple to use, easy to clean and small in size. 

10. Push Toy | Jelly Bean Racer Another one of our favorite toys has been the Jelly Bean Racer. This little plastic scooter has brought countless laughs. It's also my go-to gift for 1st birthday parties.

11. Teether | Sofie la Girafe My husband and I joked for months about how Sofie was our 2nd child. She went with us everywhere, even making an appearance in nearly every picture we took in Ireland. This rubber teether is a bit pricey, but it is worth every penny. Brody gnawed on it for months. Ps: You can check out my whole guide for teethers below.

Related: The Best of Teethers

12. Saline Drops | Little Remedies Saline Drops Did you know that most babies have an average of 7 colds in their first year of life? Yes, 7! Alleviating a stuffy nose from your little one is tough. A few drops of this saline solution and the NoseFrida (#39 on this list) work like magic. We went through 2 bottles of this during Brody's first year.

13. Crib | Babyletto Hudson It should come as no surprise that a crib is a must-have item for babies. I still love the Babyletto crib that we use. It also comes in quite a few different color options. My only wish is that we would have transitioned Brody to the crib sooner--I think we all would have gotten a little extra sleep!

14. Stroller | Stokke Xplory Our one big splurge item was our everyday stroller. The Stokke Xplory has a hefty price tag, but we have truly loved it. The height and maneuverability of this stroller can't be beat!

45 Baby Products I Would Not Have Survived Without | Best Baby Gear | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

15. Bath Towels | Petit Pehr Hooded Towel Finding a great baby bath towel has been a tough endeavor. From towels that were too thin, to towels that did not absorb, we finally landed on the Petite Pehr bath towels. They are the perfect thickness, super absorbent and ultra cute. Out of all of the towels we have tried, these have been our favorite by far.

16. Baby Monitor | Nest Cam The one item on our baby prep list that I nominated my husband to research was the baby monitor we would use. There were so many options out there and narrowing down all of the features and functionality of the different monitors was not something that excited me. After reading reviews, we ended up purchasing a Nest Security Camera and using it as our baby monitor. It rocks! There is not a monitor that we have to keep charged or plugged in, it is all viewed from our phone. The camera itself is small and unobtrusive in Brody's room. The night vision on it is impeccable. And the whole thing is run from an app that is connect to our cell phones and Ipad. If Brody is with the nanny and I am out and about, I can pull up the app and see if he is napping. This camera is also the reason we now have a new nanny :) I think my husband and I would both agree that this was a great purchase.

17. Sippy Cups | ZoLi Bot XL Oh, sippy cups! How I love and hate thee. Finding the perfect sippy cup is seriously as crazy of a process as trying to find the perfect wedding dress. The most common problem we have had have been leaking, which is rough when it is in your diaper bag and everything in there gets soaked. Out of the dozen plus cups we have tried, the ZoLi Bot has been one of the very few that has not leaked. It is the very first cup we used with Brody and at almost 18 months, it is still our favorite. Close seconds are the Lollaland cup (have had a little bit of leaking, but it is so cute) and the RePlay Sports Cup (no leaking, very sturdy, but we prefer straw cups).

18. Wrap | Solly Baby Whenever I am asked to pick the one baby product that I loved the most, it is hands-down the Solly Baby Wrap. Brody lived in this thing for the first 6 months. It was the only way I was ever able to accomplish any cleaning, blog post writing, or Target trips. I still miss those Solly Wrap cuddles.

19. Plates | Re-Play Plates Things I've learned as a mom: Babies like to throw plates. For this reason alone, we love the re-play plates. They are ultra sturdy (rumor has it, you can run over them with you car and they won't break), they wash up well in the dishwasher, and the separate compartments are the perfect size for toddler meals. We also recently started using the Happy Mat and it is quickly creeping up to the top of my list. 

20. Humidifier | Crane Cool Mist Humidifier A humidifier is one of the items I never thought I would need with a little one. Newborns often breathe with a rattle sound coming from their chest when they are sleeping. Colds happen. Stuffy noses are commonplace. This humidifier helped clear up Brody's sinuses and breathing when needed. It's not something we use every night, but it has been nice to have on hand.

21. Baby Movement Monitor | Snuza Hero Confession: I had major anxiety as a new mom. My postpartum experience was rough. I fought sleep. I was fearful of not being on constant watch. SIDS terrified me. The one tool that helped my sanity was the Snuza Hero.. I clipped this little sensor onto Brody's diaper every single night for the first 6 months. If the sensor didn't notice movement from Brody breathing it would set off a vibration to startle the baby to breath and also an alarm to alert the parent. It went off a few times for us over the first 6 months. Whether this was because it lost skin contact and was a false alarm or Brody truly stopped breathing, I'll never know, but I am forever grateful for the peace of mind this little device brought me each and every night. If we have another little one down the road, we may look into using the Owlet as an alternative. It's a similar concept with a bit more functionality and really impressed me when I saw it revealed at the ABC EXPO last Fall. 

22. Car Mirror | Brica Auto Mirror We went back and fourth on whether of not to use a backseat mirror for the car. We were gifted one at our baby shower, then we decided to return it after the car seat inspector advised it wasn't safe to have any attachments on the seat. A few weeks later, we went back and re-bought the mirror. It has come in handy on car rides. We can keep an eye on Brody at stoplights and he can see us in the mirror as well.

23. Nail Filer | ZoLi Buzz B. Another confession: The first time I tried to trim Brody's nails, I cut his finger. Talk about a serious dose of #momguilt. We had not even left the hospital and I had already made a rookie mistake. For the months that followed, those nail clippers were collecting dust in a drawer. I used this nail filer religiously to keep his nails buffed and trimmed. He loved the buzzing sound of it and I loved that it kept me from having to use nail clippers until I was more comfortable. 

24. Structured Carrier | LilleBaby Airflow  I am not sure what took us so long to invest in a structured baby carrier, but the LilleBaby structured carrier has skyrocketed to one of my top 5 favorite pieces of baby gear. It has six different possibilities for carrying positions, a mesh exterior to keep mom and baby cool, and is built to work for an infant or toddler with no additional inserts needed.

25. Nail Clippers | Safety 1st Clippers Nearly a year into motherhood, I finally worked up the guts to try trimming Brody's nails with clippers again. This time around, these clippers worked like a charm. Babies nails grow quickly, so we use these clippers on a weekly basis now. I love that they are the perfect size for tiny fingernails!

26. Diaper Trash Can | Diaper Genie This will probably be surprising to most, but we only take out the dirty diapers once a week in our house. I know it sounds disgusting, but the Diaper Genie Trash Can truly keeps the stench sealed in the can. I have a sensitive nose and when the lid is closed, you cannot tell what is lurking inside. The only downside of this trash can is the cost of the replacement bags, but in my opinion, it is worth the convenience of not having to constantly take out the trash.

27. Travel Crib | BabyBjorn Travel Crib If you have been following along on Momma Society for a while now, you have probably heard me talk about my love for the BabyBjorn Travel Crib many times. This crib has travelled with us to London, Ireland, Italy, North Carolina, Grandma's house and numerous little weekend trips. It is very lightweight, comfortable for Brody to sleep in, and comes with an unobtrusive carrying case. Now that Brody is well into toddlerhood, I am a little sad that he is outgrowing the crib--it has made travel so much simpler for us.

Related: 9 Must-Haves When Traveling with A Toddler

28. Nose Wipes | Boogie Wipes Wiping a baby's nose can be an unpleasant or unfamiliar sensation for little ones. After having to hold Brody's arms down just to wipe his nose, we decided to try out Boogie Wipes. These saline wipes are soft and effective. Whenever he has a runny nose, we stock up on a package and use them instead of tissues. I love that they are damp because they help wipe up the dried boogies that linger on toddler noses.

29. Moccasins | Freshly Picked Moccasins From birth to Brody starting to walk, he has worn moccasins. Why moccasins? Because they are about the only shoe that would ever stay on his feet. The elastic band around the foot truly helps keep these little shoes in place. I love the look of moccasins on baby feet and ended buying a rainbow of colors to fit with every outfit. Freshly Picked Moccasins are awesome because they make a tiny newborn size and are made out of high quality leather. They have a cult following. I also have loved the Itzy Ritzy Moccasins. They're more affordable and have a bit more support in the footbed. 

45 Baby Products I Would Not Have Survived Without | Best Baby Gear | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

30. Jogging Stroller | J is For Jeep Adventure Jogger A jogging stroller was another item that was not on our baby registry and we did not see as a necessity until we had one. We use this stroller 4-5 times a week. If you plan on working out with your little one in tow or you go trail hiking often, a jogging stroller would probably be a great investment. We have had and tested many great strollers over the past 18 months, but when it comes to jogging or hiking, none of them can compete with maneuverability of a jogging stroller. They can be heavy and bulky, but they make working out with a baby or toddler much easier.

31. Diapers | Parasol Co. Diapers, oh diapers! This is an obvious item on my list of things I would not have survived without. We decided to go the disposable diaper route and have experimented with different brands. Our favorite newborn brand was Pampers. Our overall favorite brand is a toss up between Parasol Co. and Target's Up & Up diapers. Both brands have had little to no leaking and held up phenomenally overnight. Parasol Co. has the cutest designs (and awesome wipes), but Target is convenient to buy since I'm in the store what feels like 20 times a week. PS: You can take $20 off your first box of Parasol Co. Diapers with code: MOMMA2016 . You can check-out my thoughts of different diaper brands on the post below.

Related: The Battle of The Diapers

32. Bathtub | Primo Eurobath We were gifted two baby bath tubs at our baby shower and we experimented with both to see what jived best with our bath routine. The Primo Eurobath became a clear winner. It is a bit large and bulky, but it is so simple and practical. One end is used for infants and the other end is molded to be used for older babies and toddlers. We use this tub every single night. There are a hundreds of different baby bathtubs on the market, but we found that one of the simplest ones worked the best.

33. Toothbrush | MAM Learn To Brush Set Around 10 months or so, we started introducing Brody to the habit of brushing his teeth. When we brushed ours, we would let him hold a MAM Learn To Brush toothbrush and mimic what we were doing. These brushes are shaped perfectly for little one's mouths.  

34. Cradle | BabyBjorn Cradle For the first six months of Brody's life, he slept in our room in this cradle. SIDS was always on my mind as a new mom, so the mesh surrounding of this cradle gave me a peace of mind. I am a bit of a minimalist and truly treasure the simple design and aesthetic of this cradle. 

35. Diaper Bag | Newlie Louise Backpack Diaper Bag Finding the perfect diaper bag can be tough. There are so many options and styles out there, but your first task is determining what functions you want the bag to have. As a new mom, I used a simple white backpack as my diaper bag. It was convenient, went with any outfit, and was on the smaller end, forcing me to keep it clean and organized (which I wanted). That beloved diaper bag eventually broke and I ended up trying out the Newlie Backpack Diaper Bag. I've been using this bag for over a year now and it has held up exceptionally well. Things I love about it: the insulated interior zipper pocket to keep sippy cups from leaking over everything, the clip for my keys so they are not lost in the sea of baby gear, the wipeable exterior, and the ability to wear as a back pack or carry as a purse. It is versatile to say the least. Hopefully we will soon be nearing the stage of carrying diaper bags and when that day comes, I will be sad to retire my Newlie.

36. Silicone Bib | Make My Day Bib An awesome bib makes laundry easier. My favorite bibs have been the silicone bibs with builtin crumb catchers. They are easy to wipe clean, they catch most of the spills and dribbles from new eaters, and they are nearly impossible for little ones to pull off mid-meal. My favorite brand has been the Make My Day bibs. They are cute (obviously), but the shape, fit, and quality of the silicone is superior to the handful of other silicone bibs we have tried. This bib has been around the world with us. 

37. Convertible Carseat | Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Picking the right car seat can be an overwhelming experience. Most car seats meet the same safety requirements, but some of them have extra padding and safety features built-in. Around 6 months, we transitioned from an infant carseat to a convertible carseat. This seat can be used from newborn all of the way to 70 lbs! Brody has found it to be very comfortable. As a toddler now, the built in cup holder has come in handy on a daily basis. I also love that the buckles would be nearly impossible for Brody to undo on his own. With other car seats, many of my friends have had trouble when their little ones figure out how to unbuckle their seats. 

38. Portable Placemat | Mastrad Lil Placemat Whenever we eat out, there are three things we bring with us: a sippy cup, a bib, and our Mastrad Lil Placemat. Little ones love to spread food all over the table and this placemat helps to control the mess. It also helps keep me calm if Brody decides to eat off of the table. It has a built in crumb catcher and rolls up tightly so it can easily be packed away. It's also sticky and stays stuck to the table very well. 

39. Boogie Sucker | NoseFrida If you are a first time parent, the thought of sucking boogers out of your little one's nose might just be enough to make your stomach churn. Babies catch colds easily and there is no easier way to give your little one some relief than the NoseFrida. It is rewarding to see all of the goop in their nose sitting in the tube of the NoseFrida afterwards. The first few times we used this, I designated it as a job reserved for my husband. As time went on (and the gross out factor quickly dissipated) NoseFrida and I became the best of friends. This is the one item that I buy my momma-to-be friends even when they casually leave it off of their registry. They'll thank me later.

40. High Chair | OXO Sprout The very first piece of baby gear we purchased was a high chair. I loved the look of the OXO Sprout and the versatility of it. After using it for over a year now, I can confidently say that I still love it. It's easy to wipe clean, sturdy, and comfortable for Brody. We have now removed the harness and tray, transforming it from a high chair to a toddler chair.

41. Diaper Changing Mat | Keekaroo Peanut For changing pads, we have used a Soft Gear Changer. It has been an awesome changing pad. It is soft for Brody to lay on, non-absorbent, and so easy to clean. You'll never have to wash it in a washing machine. It can just be wiped down with soap and water or a baby wipe. It looks like the manufacturer no longer makes the Soft Gear Changer, but the Keekaroo Peanut is very similar and comes in a plethora of fun colors.

42. Silicone Spoons | Oogaa Baby Weaning Spoons We have experimented with alot of spoons since introducing solids. The one spoon that we always end up grabbing for first is the Oogaa Baby Weaning Spoons. They are made of a soft silicone and the perfect shape for a baby's mouth. I also love that they are a bit longer than other spoons on the market, making them easy to use in deep baby food jars.

Related: The Best Baby Spoons

43. Rubber Ball | Exercise Ball During my final days of pregnancy and into my first months of motherhood, our exercise ball was my saving grace. One of my biggest struggles postpartum was figuring out how to calm my crying baby. After a few long nights, I tried sitting on the exercise ball and bouncing while holding Brody. He immediately settled down. For months that followed, the exercise ball became our go-to when we had a fussy baby on our hands. Many of my friends have since sworn by the magic of the exercise ball as well.

44. Magnetic Blocks | Tegu Wooden Blocks As I am sitting here typing, Brody is playing next to me with his Tegu blocks. Since he has been about 10 months old, these have been one of our go-to toys. We keep the travel size packed in my diaper bag for travel, car rides and church and the full sized set is one of his favorite items to grab at home.

45. Air Conditioning Extender | Noogle One of our best post baby purchases has been Noogle's for our cars. Living in Arizona, the only way to escape our homes in Summer is with careful planning and lots of air conditioning. The Noogle attaches to the air conditioning vents of cars and pushes the air or heat towards your little one. If you live somewhere hot in the Summer and you do not have upper air vents in your vehicle, this is a great solution.

I hope you have found this list helpful. I've also created a FREE printable checklist to use as you plan your baby registry. Just click below and I will email it right over to you.

The Big Reveal: Under The Stairs Play Closet

There have been a quite few projects in our house that have lingered on for years. Projects that I have left half complete. The ones that have been missing the finishing touches for far longer than I care to admit. One of those spaces was our under-the-stairs closet turned playroom. After over a year, we finally buckled down and have finished Brody's little play space. 

Under The Stairs Closet Playroom | Momma Society-The COmmunity of Modern Moms

Ever since we moved into our house, our little storage closet had been used for storing holiday decorations and miscellaneous tubs of junk. Our home is small. When Brody came into our lives, we knew it would require finding a balance of storage space and play space. So our long, narrow under-the-stairs closet became the perfect solution.

Under The Stairs Closet Playroom | Momma Society-The COmmunity of Modern Moms

When plans started coming together, we knew we wanted to do something unorthodox with the space. Creating a miniature  ball pit in the back of the closet seemed like the perfect solution. Using a piece of acrylic, wood, and 500 plastic balls--we built one of Brody's favorite spots in our home. You can find the full step-by-step tutorial below.

Related: How To Build A Ball Pit (In A Closet)

Under the stairs play closet | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

We have had a lot of fun with the play closet and it seems like the older Brody becomes, the more time he spends in there. Thankfully, it is conveniently located right off of our kitchen. If it wasn't for the play closet, a warm dinner probably would not happen some days.

Under The Stairs Closet Playroom | Momma Society-The COmmunity of Modern Moms

Over the past few weeks, we have been adding the finishing touches--art, a table and some storage. Between the twinkly lights and the statement giraffe art, the room finally has the feel of a magical secret hideout--just what we were going for! If you are ever over and looking for Brody, check the closet. It is his favorite hideout!

Under The Stairs Closet Playroom | Momma Society-The COmmunity of Modern Moms
Under the stairs play closet | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

I've shared a few more photos of the space and tips for creating your own magical play space on Project Nursery today. 

Get the Look

Giraffe Art Print | Minted | Multiple Sizes. We ordered 18" x 24".

You Are My Sunshine Print | Minted | Multiple Sizes. We ordered 11" x 11"

Zebra Art Print | Minted | Amazing print quality!

Elephant Head Sculpture | Hobby Lobby | Check your local store.

Black & White Striped Totes | Container Store | We use these to store our bi-weekly toy rotation.

Circular Brass Wall Shelf | Target | Super easy to hang!

Plus Sign Rug | Urban Outfitters | Size 2'x8'

Wooden Stool | Ikea | Considered painting this, but then loved it as is!

LED Twinkle Lights | Ikea | We used 2 strands. Battery operated. 

Desk | Overstock | This desk folds completely flat agains the wall. We spray painted white.

Desk Lamp | Target | Comes in lots of fun colors!

9 Social Media Etiquette Tips For Pregnancy (Hint, You May Want To Share These With Your Family)

Pregnancy, oh glorious pregnancy! You have been blessed with a little bun baking in the oven—now begins the carefully treaded waters of sharing the joy. Social media has allowed us to connect and follow along as our families and friends journey through graduations, celebrations, engagements, weddings and now growing our families. It is a surreal experience to be able to have family and friends, living across the country, take a front row seat to your pregnancy and birth. It connects us in ways that were never possible before.

With social media and pregnancy, also comes a set of etiquette that may not be well known. It is a whole new world for many, especially if you are one of the first to give birth in your family in a while.

After over sharing my way through my pregnancy, birth, and motherhood with Brody, I started writing down some of the tips and frustrations I had along the way. Other tips in this post were shared by the mommas in the Private Momma Society Facebook Group (have you joined yet?). And a few came directly from one of the go-to sources for all things pregnancythe newest edition of What to Expect® When You're Expecting. This 5th edition has interwoven topics of social media throughout the book and also brings the dad's perspective on pregnancy into the picture.

9 Social Media Etiquette Tips For Pregnancy (Hint, You May Want To Share These With Your Family!) | Momma Society-The Community of modern Moms

As our friends and family become excited about the impending arrival of our little bundles of joy, it is best to set the expectations upfront on what your wishes are for sharing this special time in your life. Below are 9 things for your family and friends to consider as you celebrate this joyful phase! Hint, you may want to casually share this post with your family and friends!

9 Social Medi Etiquette Tips For Pregnancy ( Hint, You Might Want Your Family To Read This!)

The Pregnancy Announcement Should Always Come Directly From The Parents

You may have been trusted with the exciting news of a new baby on the way. The parents-to-be have given you this top-secret information and it should remain just that until the parents of the baby decide to publicly announce the pregnancy news. The timing of announcing a pregnancy is a very intimate decision. Avoid posting public comments on anything that could lead others to suspect the mom is expecting.

Tip for Mommas-To-Be: When you share the news with close friends and family, remind them that you are not going to be announcing this news publicly for a while. It may not be obvious to all and as much as we love some of those dearest to us, they may not be able to keep something this exciting under wraps.

Do Not Live Stream The Gender Reveal

Sharing the gender of the new baby is another area that is reserved solely for the parents-to-be. If they are hosting a gender reveal party, be cautious with social media. Don’t snapchat or live stream the event on your social networks. The parents-to-be will mostly likely have a plan of how they will be announcing whether a baby boy or little girl is on the way. Sharing the excitement of the gender is one of the special milestones for the parents-to-be during their pregnancy.

Do Not Mention The Baby's Name Before Birth

For many mommas-to-be, the baby’s name is something they may not want to share with the world. Often times, parents like to avoid any negativity towards the name, so they wait to share it until the baby arrives. Sometimes parents may not have chosen the exact name yet and other times, they are waiting to see the baby first and make sure the name fits. The parents-to-be may prefer to share the name is only with those closest to them. Rather than asking the parents what they will be naming the child, phrase your question as “will you be sharing the name before your little one arrives?” This prevents the sometimes awkward response of “we aren’t sharing the name” when you ask what the name will be.

Do Not Show A Preference Towards A Particular Gender

Whether baby boy or baby girl, all little ones should be celebrated equally. Before the gender is announced, try to avoid comments about hoping for a certain gender. A healthy baby is truly all that parents-to-be care about. The gender of the baby is one of the few surprises we have in life. Let this be a surprise that is celebrated regardless of XY or XX chromosomes. Just because they may have a little boy or little girl already, does not mean they are wishing for the opposite on their next pregnancy.

Do Not Pester An Overdue Momma

Sharing your little one’s due date is one of the joys of many mommas-to-be. As hard as it may be for family and friends to believe, a due date is merely an estimation. Only 7% of babies actually arrive on their due date. The average birth day for a first time mom who does not have any interventions is actually 8 days past her due date. When that lovely due date approaches (and possibly passes), do not send a text that says “no baby yet?” or comment on her social media with “hurry up baby!”. Seeing the due date come and go can be emotional enough for a mother. The constant comments on the topic just make it harder.

Instead, send an encouraging comment or reminder. I still remember an email my aunt sent me around the time Brody was due. She didn’t mention anything about his due date, just a simple thinking of you note and a little prayer for mommas-to-be. It was so uplifting in the sea of “no baby yet?” comments.

Tip for Mommas-To-Be: if you haven’t announced your due date, consider being vague rather than giving out an exact date. If your due date is February 16th, you can say your baby will be arriving at the end of February.

Related: Surviving The Final Weeks Of Pregnancy

9 Social Medi Etiquette Tips For Pregnancy ( Hint, You Might Want Your Family To Read This!)

Ask Parents For Their Policy On Posting Photos

Every parent has a different policy regarding sharing photos of their children. Before you post a photo of a child other than your own on social media, be sure to ask the parents for permission. Even if this is your niece, nephew, or grandchild, the parents may prefer that the photos are not shared on your accounts. As one mom on the Momma Society Facebook Group pointed out, social media posts have a reach far greater than just those in your network. Often times, the picture may be visible to friends of the person who “liked” the photo or someone may click the share button and the parents can quickly lose control of who is viewing the post. Before the baby arrives, simply ask the parents what their policy is on posting photos of the little one. Whether you agree with their policy or not, please follow it.

Tip for Mommas-To-Be: Discuss your wishes for sharing photos of your little ones with your family and friends before the birth.

Do Not Announce The Birth

The news of labor and the baby’s arrival should be shared by no one other than the new parents or someone they have designated. Being invited by the parents to the hospital does not give you permission to post status updates on the labor or a birth announcement. Also, do not casually geotag your location at the hospital when you are posting on social media as you wait. You’ll often share mutual friends with the parents-to-be and a simple geotag is usually enough to tip off the masses that baby is on the way. 

Tip for Mommas-to-be: Make a plan for how you will share the news of your labor and birth. Will you be the one calling extended family when your little one arrives? Who needs to be contacted before you post the announcement on social media? Who are you inviting to the hospital or birth center? Would you like your visitors to wait until baby is born to arrive? Be clear on all of the details beforehand.

9 Social Medi Etiquette Tips For Pregnancy ( Hint, You Might Want Your Family To Read This!)

Avoid Talking About Bump Size

That pregnancy glow! Many mommas feel beautiful during their pregnancy as their bumps start to grow. One of the joys of recording their pregnancy is sharing photos of the process. Try to avoid any mention of their bump size. Whether commenting on how tiny they are or how big their bump is, these comments can unintentionally be worrisome or offensive to a momma-to-be. It is easy for a momma-to-be to become hyperaware of weight gain during her pregnancy. For this reason, comments like “you are glowing” or “you are rocking that bump” or “you are beautiful” are far more supportive. 

Do Not Ask A Couple When They Are Going To Start Trying For A Baby Or Have Another.

There are so many factors that go into when, how and if a couple will become pregnant or expand their family. These factors can be very private to the couple. Whether they’ve been struggling with infertility, experienced a miscarriage, or are completely satisfied with their current family structure, these are not topics that people often care to talk about--especially in a public forum, like social media. If and when the time comes and their family expands, I am certain they will be sharing the exciting news.  

Just remember, a little support, love, positivity and encouragement go along way with expectant mommas!

What pregnancy and birth etiquette tips would you add to the list? Did you have any experiences with these topics during your pregnancy and birth?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.