Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

It is true that we can have it all, especially as breastfeeding moms. If taking a child out to see the world by RV, plane or any other mode of transportation has always been on the bucket list, there are plenty of ways that we can breastfeed and travel at the same time.

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Sure, everyone who is breastfeeding and traveling with their child will need to plan and prepare in advance, but it is completely doable with a few extra steps and some creative thinking. The world has become vastly more accepting of breastfeeding moms, which means that there will be more spaces available and fewer disapproving stares from strangers.

Anyone who is ready to hit the road with their brand new bundle of joy can do so! Just follow these handy tips for a fool-proof plan to see all that the planet has to offer with the bouncing baby in tow.

Set Up Boundaries

Anyone who is traveling to see friends or family for the holidays might encounter those who have trouble taking no for an answer when it comes to the little ones.

These well-meaning relatives and friends might not understand that the baby is on a strict feeding schedule, and will insist upon holding him or her even when the new mom tries to intervene. Save everyone some stress, including the baby, by putting a foot down. It’s important to remember that the baby’s health and happiness come before relatives’ hurt feelings. Most people will understand and apologize.

Keep The Pumped Milk Cold

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Nobody ever knows when they will be able to feed their child, or when they will have to resort to the bottled stuff. This is where pumping and dumping come in handy. Keeping a few extra bottles of pumped milk on hand is a great idea.

The other reason why new moms should do this is that they never know how travel will affect their bodies. Some types of travel are just not conducive to milk production! Having enough supply of pumped milk means that the baby can eat all of the time, but you need to keep it cold.

Don’t let the milk go sour or get too warm. Instead, pack some bags of ice or even medical cooling pads to wrap around the bottles. Keep them in a small cooler to ensure that the temperature stays right where it is supposed to be. Always pack more ice than seems reasonably necessary, as most people underestimate how warm certain types of transportation can be.

Simply planning and packing ahead can save moms tons of time and anguish when it comes to feeding their little ones. All anyone needs is just a little bit of ice!

Stick With A Strict Feeding Schedule

When one is a breastfeeding mom, it pays to travel by land instead of air because they can stick with a strict feeding schedule! RVs are an ideal way to travel for new parents. There’s plenty of space, one can pull over at any time, and there’s no need to try to find a private place to pump or feed.

The American Southwest is a fabulous destination where one can find their perfect RV rental in Las Vegas and see the majority of the country from the comfort of a classic and reliable RV.

Land traveling by an RV is really the best option for many breastfeeding moms out there who want to see the whole world while maintaining the strict pumping and feeding schedule that their little ones require. Cross-country travel is also a great option for those who want to travel at their pace and see the country on their terms.

tips for breastfeeding and traveling

New Positions Could Come In Handy

When we are in the comfort of our own home it’s easy to snuggle up in the favorite chair and feed away, but public transportation is a whole different story. Airplanes are notoriously cramped, and unfortunately, they don’t give new mothers the benefit of a little extra legroom.

As such, the little bundle of joy might be squished or uncomfortable, to say nothing of mom! It makes sense to save ourselves some grief by trying out new positions before getting onto the plane or train. This way, new moms know what works for them and their babies, and positions can be tried out in the comfort of the home. It’s truly a smart strategy for anyone who is planning to hit the road.

Dress For Success

For logistical reasons, it makes sense to dress in clothes that will provide the baby with easy access to his or her food source. When traveling, wear flowy clothes and nursing bras that allow for some semblance of privacy along with ease of access. Some good options include larger shirts and sweaters with deep v-necks and button-down cardigans. It is also a good idea to bring along a scarf or nursing blanket for a little bit of privacy, in case one needs to stop at a rest place or public area to nurse.

Many people realize that nursing a baby is a natural act and would never dream of judging a mother for simply exercising her biological connection with a child, but some are still surprisingly judgemental. There are also plenty of moms out there who prefer to have a little bit more privacy while they are breastfeeding. Nobody knows what mood they will be in at any given time, so it is best to bring along a shawl, blanket or nursing cover just in case.

There is no reason why new mothers can’t see the world with their young children if they’d like to. Today, the planet is friendlier than ever towards nursing moms, and there are plenty of wonderful options out there for road trips, plane adventures, and boat trips.

As long as one plans ahead, there is absolutely no reason why breastfeeding or pumping on the road needs to be a chore, or why new moms and their babies need to be home bound.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

We all have our go-to medications stocked in our medicine cabinets for the adult members of the family.  Maybe yours include Motrin, Tylenol, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, and/or allergy medications.  Most of us have a pretty good idea how to use these safely and can follow the directions on the bottle.  However, the game changes when we are talking about babies and toddlers.  They get the same ailments such as pain, fever, and allergies, but the directions on the packaging often don’t cover our littlest family members. Here is everything you need to know about giving medicine to a baby or toddler.

As a pharmacist, I wanted to provide answers to the most common questions parents ask. However, this information should not be taken as medical advice because I don’t know all the details of your child’s illness. 

Each situation is different, so it’s important that you use this information only as a guide and speak to your pharmacist and/or doctor about your child’s specific symptoms, and other characteristics.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

As a general rule of thumb, things are more severe the younger your baby is.  If you have a newborn, it’s a good idea to contact the nurse helpline or doctor whenever your baby is sick.  However, once your baby is a little older, you can treat low-grade fevers and minor colds at home as long as he’s generally healthy otherwise. 

Doctor’s offices will usually have a nurse helpline that you can contact with questions and they can help you determine if your baby needs to be seen.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call this number.  It’s free and the worse that happens is you sit on hold for a bit waiting for your call to be answered.

Reading Medication Labels

Over-the-counter medications or OTCs are medications that you can purchase without a prescription.  These are medications that the FDA has determined can be used safely based on the directions on the label. 

Drug Facts

The Drug Facts section on the label is where all the information you need to use the medication safely is located.  This is what the FDA has determined is necessary for you to know to use the medication without a doctor or pharmacist being involved.  It includes 7 sections which I will go over below.

Active Ingredient

The section states what ingredients are included in the medication with the intent of providing the intended action.  The drug is listed by its generic name and the amount and purpose of the medication are stated.  This section is how you can tell the difference between products with similar packaging and names. 

If you see ‘HPUS’ included in this section, it means that the medication is a homeopathic remedy.    Homeopathic remedies are beyond the scope of this article.  However, the basic principle is that illness is cured by giving tiny amounts of a substance that would be toxic in larger amounts.  Homeopathic remedy strength is indicated by HPUS and the less of a substance that the product contains the stronger it is.


This section lists the different symptoms the medication is likely to work for when dosed based on the information on the box.


The warnings section is often the longest, but it’s a very important section.  Here you will find warnings about allergies, when to stop using and when to talk to a doctor or pharmacist prior to using the medication.


The directions are often what people jump to first, but the above sections are also important to read.  The directions state how much of the medication to take and how often to take it.  This is often divided into sections based on age.  However, you will find that many medications don’t providing dosing for children under 6 months or under 2 years.  This is because the FDA doesn’t think the medication can be safely used in this population without oversight from a doctor.

Other Information

This is other information that may be helpful such as how to store the medication.

Inactive Ingredients

These are the ingredients that aren’t expected to have beneficial effects.  These products are added to help form the tablet or liquid or to add color or flavor.  Medications all contain inactive ingredients in addition to the active one.  You would want to look at this section if your child has allergies as there may be an inactive ingredient that they are allergic to.  However, if you aren’t concerned about allergies, you can generally ignore this section.

Questions or Comments?

The final section is a phone number to contact the drug company if you have any questions or comments about the medication.

Giving Medications to a Baby

Medications for babies are in liquid form.  You will need a method to measure the dose and a method to administer it.  For measuring, you could use a syringe or measuring container.  Generally, medications will come with a plastic cup or syringe for measuring.  These are marked with milliliter or mL.  The directions on the packaging will tell you how many mL to give.  If the medication doesn’t have a measuring device or it gets lost, you can purchase one at most drug stores.

The measuring devices can also work to administer the medication. However, depending on the age of your child, a small cup may not work for giving the medication, but a syringe often works well for giving medication to a baby.  There are many handy devices available if you prefer.  These include pacifiers and tiny bottles that are designed for you to put the medication into them and then baby gets the medication while sucking.

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Giving medication can get challenging though, so parents have come up with some hacks for making the process easier.  For babies, a pacifier with an open back (like the hospital gives you) is about the right size for fitting a syringe into.  Cut a hole in the tip and while your baby is sucking on the pacifier, slowly squirt the medication out of the syringe.

For toddlers that have mastered drinking from a straw, cut the back out of an empty juice box.  Then put the medication in a small cup into the juice box for the toddler to drink from a straw.

What you don’t want to do is mix the medication into a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk or another liquid.  The reason is that often a child won’t drink the entire amount and then you don’t know how much medication was actually consumed.  Also, letting the medication sit in liquid for an extended period waiting for your child to drink it, can make the medication less effective.  If you do mix a medication into a drink, make sure that the entire drink is consumed in one sitting.

Antibiotic-Specific Tips

For antibiotics, you will need to make sure you shake the medication well before measuring out a dose.  Antibiotics come as suspensions which means that when they sit for an extended period, the medication will sink to the bottom of the bottle.  By shaking it, you make sure that the medication is evenly mixed before you measure a dose. 

Many liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated and they are also only good for 10 to 14 days.  The pharmacist will tell you if it needs to be in the fridge and how long it’s good for.  It’s important that you keep antibiotics in the fridge if they require it.  This can also make it taste better which is a win. 

It’s important that your child take the entire course of antibiotics.  If the doctor prescribes it for 10 days, then you need to give it for 10 days.  Your child should start to feel better well before 10 days is up, but if you stop the medication too early, the infection can come back.  At the end of the prescribed treatment, you want to discard any leftover medication.  Antibiotics aren’t good for very long once they are mixed, so the medication won’t keep for future use.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Baby Medicines

Baby Medicine for Fever

A fever is the body’s natural defense mechanism and indicates that there is some type of infection the body needs to fight.  Therefore, it isn’t completely bad.  If your baby has a mild fever and doesn’t appear to be too affected by it, then it may not need treated.  However, if a fever gets too high it can lead to seizures.  If your baby or toddler has a fever, it doesn’t hurt to contact the nurse hotline.  They may tell you it’s okay, but it never hurts to check since a fever does mean there is something else going on. 

If you need to treat the fever, the medications that could be used are Infant’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Infant Motrin (ibuprofen).  These medications are both available over the counter.  Make sure to read the directions on the product you are using because there can be slight differences. If you need help figuring out how much to give, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. 

When your baby has a fever, dehydration is more likely.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to have Pedialyte on hand to help encourage fluid intake.

Baby Medicine for Colds

There are a variety of readily available medications for adults with a cold.  However, these are not recommended for use in babies or toddlers.  If you see a product advertised as cold medicine for a baby or toddler, it’s likely a homeopathic remedy. 

Having a nose suctioning device like this or this is helpful to decrease congestion.  For a full list of what you can do to help your baby feel better, check out this post.

Baby Medicine for Allergies

This is another condition where the adult medications are usually not appropriate.  If your baby appears to have seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor about recommendations.  If you are concerned about food allergies, bring your concern up to your doctor prior to introducing solid foods.  Your doctor can recommend something to have on hand in case an allergic reaction occurs.  Benadryl is a common recommendation, but the dosing on the package only goes down to 2 years old.  Therefore, your doctor needs to tell you what dose to give.  It is worth noting that children can react to Benadryl differently than adults.  Adults will usually get sleepy from the medication, but children can actually become excited.  Therefore, this medication should never be used to help your child sleep.

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Baby Medicine Cabinet Essentials

When preparing for a baby, it’s a good idea to have certain medicine cabinet essentials on hand.  The following are the items I recommend having about home before you actually need them.

There are the tips straight from the pharmacist’s mouth.  As you can see, there are a lot of times when you will need to contact the doctor with regards to your sick baby.  You will eventually get a feel for what requires a call and what doesn’t.  I also strongly recommend asking your pharmacist for advice.  These tips are general information, but your local pharmacist can provide more specific information for your situation.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

How to Get Through Baby’s First Cold

How to Get Through Baby’s First Cold
How to Get Through Baby's First Cold

Last week, I went to a 1-year-old’s birthday party.  It was a great party, there were lots of children running – and crawling – around, adults chatting about adult things, and of course there was a cake smash!  It was nice to get out of the house for a while and be around adults.  As the weather gets colder, I spend less and less time outside, and the only company I have at home during the day is a 5-month-old baby.  It was a well needed outing, even if it was the beginning of a terrible week.

A day and a half after that 1-year-old’s birthday party, I got a head cold.  It felt like I had a rock sitting in my sinuses and it was NOT budging.  Being that I am the only adult home with the baby during the day, I can’t just avoid the baby all day!  I have to feed her, change her diaper, carry her from one place to another, hand her toys -that will inevitably end up in her mouth – it is simply unavoidable.

Avoiding Baby Without Actually Avoiding her

Knowing that I was sick and probably contagious, I was very careful with what and when I held the baby and her things.  I washed my hands before every interaction, after I touched my face, before I made her food, before AND after I changed her bum.  It felt like I was constantly standing at the sink, washing my hands.  I covered my nose and mouth when I coughed or sneezed; I did everything I could to prevent my baby girl from getting this awful cold; she didn’t have Mommy kisses for almost a week!

Alas, everything I could do wasn’t enough.  One afternoon, I went to the nursery to get the baby after her nap as she had been crying at the top of her lungs – much more than the usual wake up cry.  I picked her up to console her – didn’t calm her down.  Gave her a bottle – she didn’t want it.  I changed her dirty diaper – there was barely anything in it.  Then, as I was lightly bouncing up and down trying to console her and figure out what was wrong, she stopped crying and I noticed her breathing sounded stuffy – we all know the sound of someone trying to breathe through a stuffed nose, they are the ones that we want to yell at to BLOW YOUR NOSE!

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I’m Not Terrible, I’m Actually Quite a Good Mother!

She caught the cold from me.  I felt awful – I’m a terrible mother for not washing my hands more, or not staying away from her more, or not disinfecting all the surfaces more, or… or nothing.  I am not a terrible mother for getting my 5-month-old baby sick.  These things happen and being there for her to take care of her and suck the snot out of her nose when it gets to be too much – that is what makes me a good mother.  Here are some ways you can take care of your baby and make it through that first cold.

Let Baby Sleep

I know, it seems like she is just coming out of the “eat, sleep, poop, repeat” phase, but let her take an extra half hour for her nap, or an extra nap all together.  Allow her to go to bed early if she is showing signs of sleepiness.  Rest will only help your sick baby recover, plus it gives you a little extra time to yourself! Enjoy it!  Much like you and I, baby needs sleep to get over her cold.  My baby normally has a 45 minute to hour long nap.  While she was sick, she had 2-2 1/2  hour naps.  Although, if baby is lethargic, you may want to see a doctor.

Keep Baby Hydrated

Again, just like you, Baby needs certain things to get over her cold.  Sleep and Hydration being the two main categories.  If she is cranky, give her a bottle or breastfeed her and see if it helps.  When we are sick, it drains us of energy and makes us dehydrated.  Having a baby who is both sick and dehydrated can cause added on health issues, and nobody wants that for their sick baby.  If Baby’s soft spot on the top of her head is extremely sunken, she may be dehydrated, and you should consult a Doctor.

Saline Drops 

To help loosen the mucus in baby’s sinuses, you can buy (at any pharmacy, or even grocery store in some cases) an over-the-counter saline drop.  You can put a drop or two up baby’s nose while she is upright or slightly reclined, and wait a few seconds before using a nasal aspirator to suck out any excess saline and mucus.  

You can get a bulb nasal aspirator, or one of the ones where Mom/Dad sucks it out through a long tube (your mouth doesn’t touch any snot, I promise!) 

This is NOT the easiest task – as you can imagine – with a squirmy baby who turns her head at any sight of something – that isn’t a bottle – coming toward her face.  I recommend having someone else there to assist you.

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Put Moisture into the Air

Putting moisture into the air can also help with loosening mucus in the sinus cavity.  You can do this in multiple ways:

Run the Shower

You can turn the shower on hot and sit in the bathroom with baby.  DO NOT allow the baby to touch the hot water, it will burn.  Leave the bathroom fan off for a greater effect.  Stay in the bathroom with baby for about 15 minutes as the air gets steamy and moist.  Once the 15 minutes is up, use the nasal aspirator to remove any mucus.  I found this to be extremely effective when the baby first woke up in the morning.  I would give her a bottle as soon as we were finished.  The warm air and moisture made it easier for her to drink the bottle.

Use a Humidifier or Diffuser

Any run of the mill humidifier can help clear baby’s sinuses.  Run it all night long, or for a few hours at a time.  You can also use a diffuser with essential oils such as lemon or lavender.  Some essential oils are safe for adults to take orally, however this is NOT SAFE for babies.  Ensure all essential oils are through a diffuser.


Sometimes all you need is a hug.  Baby may seem very needy and clingy while she is sick, and you should give her ALL the cuddles she wants.  It isn’t fun being sick as an adult, I imagine it is much worse when you are an infant and can’t blow your nose or wipe your eyes, much less have any idea of what is going on or why you feel this way.  Comfort her.  Let her know she will be okay.

Do NOT Give Your Baby Over-the-Counter Cold Medicines

Although I’m pretty sure most of the baby cold medicines have been removed from shelves, if you happen to find one, DO NOT USE IT.  Consult a Doctor if you think your baby needs more than what is mentioned above.

More information about medications is available here.

When to Take Your Baby to the Doctor

If your baby is less than 3 months old, call your doctor within the first couple of days if not the first day.  Newborns can develop more serious illnesses very quickly.  

If your baby is older than 3 months old, call your doctor in the event of:

  • A fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
  • Your baby stops eating
  • Has trouble breathing – Not the stuffy nose kind, but from the lungs.

Click here for 10 other instances of when to take baby to a Doctor.

Always Remember

You are a good Mother.  Just because the baby got the cold from you, doesn’t make you a bad Mom.  These things happen to the best of us!

Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

Who knew that someone so tiny can come with so much stuff – certainly not my husband and me!  When we moved into our 4 bed, 3 bath house we thought we had space to spare, especially with an entire room dedicated to a future tiny human.  However, by the time we had everything we thought we needed and everyone told us we needed, we had filled that room and then some.  Some of the stuff people gave us/said we needed ended up being wonderful and other things aren’t so necessary.  Below is my review on what common nursery items are really necessary.  To see what toys are really necessary, check out this post.

Rating Scale:

–       Green: Definitely recommend purchasing

–       Yellow: Might be good to have

–       Red: Don’t bother

Baby Furniture That Grows with Baby: Rating Green

            There are many cute baby cribs and changing tables, but those only last a couple of years and then they get put in storage and don’t have any more use unless you have another baby.  However, various companies now make cribs that convert to toddler beds and then full-size beds and changing table toppers that attach to the top of dressers.  These sets also have dressers and end tables that go together.  This allows you to create a classy nursery with a good quality crib and safe changing place without ending up needing all new furniture in a couple of years.  We went with a medium grey set and purchased the low dresser with changing table topper, the crib, and toddler and full-size bed conversion sets.  We won’t need the conversion sets for a couple of years but wanted to make sure we had them in case the style was discontinued.  This ended up being a good idea since it was a Babies ‘R’ Us brand and now that’s no more. The set also has end tables, but everything is built very sturdy and we didn’t want too much clunky furniture filling up the room.  Walmart end tables that you put together ended up being a $10 solution that fits nicely into the room.  Other than a full-sized mattress and a desk, Paxton is set on bedroom furniture until he moves out.

Grey dresser with floating shelves
Nursery with grey crib and glider and image images on wall

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Glider/Rocker: Rating Green

 Some people said we needed this and others said it wasn’t necessary.  After 5 months I decided I’m glad we have this.  It was great for nursing when we first brought Paxton home because the armrests really helped me position him.  I did eventually start nursing on the couch or in other areas instead of always holing up in his room.  I would still recommend having some type of comfy chair that rocks and has armrests to have in the nursery.  There isn’t any reason why I can’t feed Paxton on the couch now, but I like being able to go into his room before his nap or bedtime and turn the lights off and feed him there to settle him down and get him into sleep mode.  This chair is also a lifesaver when he is cranky because we can go in there and snuggle and rock, and he calms right down.  Having a chair with the area beneath the armrests open allows for your baby’s legs to stretch out as he gets bigger, but I just put Paxton’s legs on top of the armrest and don’t have any problems. This is the one that I have and would highly recommend.

Nursery with grey crib, glider and window shutters

Humidifier: Rating Yellow

This was something that registry lists said I should include, and other mothers told me it was a must-have.  However, in 5 months I haven’t felt like I had to have it.  I do run it on a low setting pretty continuously and it may have helped when Paxton was pretty stuffy the first few weeks after he was born.  We have one that is a cute elephant shape, so it looks nice in the nursery. You can see it here. I guess when you need it, you want to make sure you have it, but I haven’t really had a major need.

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Mobile: Rating Yellow

We registered for a cute safari mobile that would look great in the nursery.  However, all the cute ones are crank style.  This meant that it was pretty to look at but served almost no purpose.  Therefore, we ordered a more toy-like style off Amazon. This is the one we got that we really like.  This one plays for 40 minutes with just the push of a button and has an optional night light.  We still don’t use it a ton because Paxton prefers to fall asleep without it.  However, when he wakes up and I’m not quite ready for work, it usually buys me an extra 15 minutes to finish getting ready.

Noise Machine: Rating Green

We have a cute owl-shaped one for the nursery that shines stars on the ceiling and a little travel sized one for when we are away from home. You can see the owl noise machine here.  This is the travel noise machine we have. I would rate a noise machine as a must have.  I used the lights initially as a night light but after a couple of months, Paxton preferred sleeping in a totally dark room.  The noise machine has been on since the day we brought him home, and I definitely think it has helped him sleep as well as block out some of the noise we make while he’s sleeping.  He also is used to sleeping someplace that isn’t totally quite which helps when we need him to sleep on the go.

Do you agree with my assessments?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

For more help deciding what baby items you really need, check out these posts.

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Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Must-Have Classic Picture Books

Must-Have Classic Picture Books

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Must-Have Classic Picture Books

We all know that it’s good to read to kids starting at birth.  Generally kids aren’t too picky about the book at first; however, you will get tired of reading the same book over and over.  Make sure to start early with introducing your kids to the classic picture books you know and love from when you were a kid.  They have stood the test of time for a reason after all!  If you are a grandparent, then stock up on these books (or dig them out of storage) for a trip down memory lane to when you were a new parent reading these books to your kids.  These books make perfect gifts for kids and parents alike!

Picture book Stellaluna


This book is about a bat who gets lost and endsup growing up with baby birds.  Theybecome friends and when Stellaluna finds her way back to the bats, the friendsrealize how different they are but that they are also similar.  The final lesson is that they are friendsdespite any differences they may have.  Thisbook is on the longer side but has vibrant pictures throughout.

Picture book Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh The Places You’ll Go

This book starts off encouraging about how you will be successful, but then it takes a turn by addressing the fact that sometimes things will go wrong.  It then shows the character getting his groove back and being on top once again.  This book is a great example of how things may go wrong, but you can work through them. The pictures are bright with a lot of details to take in.  The book is on the long end.

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picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This is a cute book with brilliantly colored pictures that take your kiddo through a variety of foods the caterpillar eats before becoming a butterfly.  There is opportunity to practice counting and identifying common foods.  This book is short in length.

picture book Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

This book takes you on a trip into a little boy’s imagination.  On the trip, the boy becomes king of the wild things but decides he would rather go home and eat his dinner.  The pictures are somewhat dark but contain a lot of details.  The book is short in length.

picture book Officer Buckle and Gloria

Officer Buckle and Gloria

This book is the story of a police officer and his dog Gloria.  They go to schools and give safety tip presentations.  However, the students only listen because Gloria is an entertaining partner.  This book is a moderate length.

picture book Curious George

Curious George

This series is about a little monkey that is very curious which results in him getting into all kinds of trouble.  A wide variety of stories are available to entertain any child’s specific interests. These books are moderate in length and have colored pictures.  However, the pictures may not be as bright and engaging as some of the other books on this list.

picture book Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

This classic book is about a character that has no desire to try green eggs and ham. He’s convinced that he doesn’t like it. However, through rhyming nagging, he tries it and decides it’s pretty good.  This is a great way to address trying new foods with kids.  The book is moderate in length.

picture book The Poky Little Puppy

The Poky Little Puppy

This book is about 5 puppies who keep getting into trouble for digging a hole under the fence.  The poky puppy is the last one home and lucks out a few times, but the last time he gets caught too.  This book is moderate in length and has bright pictures.

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picture book Harry the Dirty Dog

Harry the Dirty Dog

Harry doesn’t like getting baths, so he hides the scrub brush and goes on an adventure. He gets really dirty to the point his family doesn’t recognize him.  He ends up begging for a bath to prove he’s Harry.  This book is moderate in length.  The pictures are colored, but not very bright.

picture book Clifford Goes to Dog School

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Clifford is a giant red dog.  These books are about him, his owner Emily Elizabeth and their friends.  There are a variety of stories, but they all focus on a big idea that Clifford has.  These books are moderate in length and have colored pictures to keep young kids entertained.

picture book Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?

This book follows the journey of a baby bird that fell from his nest.  He doesn’t remember what his mother looks like, so he keeps asking various animals and things if they are his mother.  In the end, he gets put back in the nest and his mother finds him there.  This book is a short read, but the pictures aren’t as engaging as some of the others on this list.

picture book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

This book is a story about a town where all the food comes from the sky.  However, the town eventually meets its demise when severe “food weather” strikes day after day and the citizens run for their lives.  This book has lots of pictures, and it is longer than many of the others.

picture book The Cat in the Hat

The Cat In The Hat

The Cat comes to visit on a rainy day when the mother is out.  He then unleashes all kinds of chaos on the house despite the pet fish protesting.  In the end, everything is cleaned up before mother comes home.  This book is longer than the others and the pictures are somewhat enticing. 

picture book Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

This book starts with a description of a room and then says goodnight to everything in the room.  This book has bright pictures and is very short and basic.  It’s a great book for a child just learning to read.

picture book Madeline


This is the story of a little girl in Paris.  She comes down with appendicitis and has to have surgery.  When the other little girls go to visit her, they see how much fun she is having in the hospital and they want to have appendicitis too.  This book is moderate in length and has colored pictures, but they aren’t all that bright.

Final Thoughts

I am a firm believe that all kids should get a few books for Christmas.  These ones are classics that have stood the test of time.  Since these books are ones today’s parents likely remember from their childhood, they are perfect to share with their children!

For more gift ideas, check out these baby clothes tips.

What were your favorite childhood books?  Let me know in the comments.

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Must-Have Classic Picture Books

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Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Who knew that someone so tiny can come with so much stuff –certainly not my husband and me!  When we moved into our 4 bed, 3 bath house we thought we had space to spare, especially with an entire room dedicated to a future tiny human.  However, by the time we had everything we thought we needed and everyone told us we needed, we had filled that room and then some.  Some of the stuff people gave us/said we needed ended up being wonderful and other things aren’t so necessary.  Below is my review on what common baby toys are really necessary. Make sure to also read my review on nursery items here. You can also see what is worth registering for and what isn’t here.

Rating Scale

–       Green: Definitely recommend purchasing

–       Yellow: Might be good to have

–      Red: Don’t bother

Bumbo Chair: Rating Red

I didn’t have one of these initially.  However, when my son was about 3 months old, he wanted to be sitting upright and had pretty good head control.  However, we had to hold him in that upright position.  I decided a Bumbo chair would be perfect for allowing him to sit on his own some.  In reality, the baby has to be pretty close to sitting up unassisted to use the Bumbo chair, and the legs are tight enough that my son’s legs barely fit by that point. It took up space in our living room and got used a handful of times.  I think my cat used it more than the kid.  Totally not worth getting.  My husband renamed it the ‘Dumbo chair’ because he wasn’t impressed. If you want to see what you are missing, you can view it here.

Infant Play Mat: Rating Green

I didn’t think we needed this before our son was born.  However, when he was about 3 weeks old, we were tired of holding toys over his head for him to look at.  We got a play mat that has toys overhead and is designed for baby to lay on.  They make ones with things for baby to kick to make lights and music.  However, the one we got was basic and quiet.  It worked great, and we used it all the time until Paxton started rolling over. This is the one we had.

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Teething Toys: Rating Yellow

Every baby is going to teeth at some point.  During this time chewing on things will be a favorite activity.  Teething toys come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures to provide relief to sore gums.  My son will chew on the teething toys if I give them to him.  However, he is just as happy chewing on a wooden block, a spoon or anything else he gets his hands on (cell phones are a favorite teething toy).  As long as he has something he can stick in his mouth, he couldn’t care less if it’s designed for chewing.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Foam Mats: Rating Green  

These are perfect to have until baby starts crawling.  You can buy mats in bright colors and patterns designed for kids, but they can be pricey.  Instead, we bought a package of foam mats from Costco for $12.  These were a plain black and could be wiped off easily.  We set them up on our white living room carpet and made that Paxton’s main play area.  They provided an extra layer of cushion for a baby just learning to sit unassisted and made for easy cleanup for spit-up and milk.  We didn’t get these until our son was about 5 months old. However, they would have been great to have from the beginning. 

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition
My son playing on his foam mats.  

Activity Table(s): Rating Green

You don’t need these until your baby is a little older, but they are great for 6+ months.  I really like the designs where the legs are detachable. We had one that we used for a few months without the legs once my son could sit up, then when he started standing, we added the legs.  Now at almost a year, he loves crawling over and pulling up on it to play.  The music and lights are favorites.  We got one that sings/talks in both English and Spanish. When I get tired of listening to the ABC’s in English I switch to Spanish.  We have this one.

Walker: Rating Red

The walkers where you put your baby into them and they have wheels are not recommended by the AAP because they can be dangerous by allowing really little babies to get into things and fall down stairs.  There hasn’t been shown to be any benefit from using these.  Therefore, these walkers should be avoided.  This is the type of walker that isn’t recommended.

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Push Toy: Rating Yellow

If you really wanted your baby to have a walker, for older babies, compromise and get a push toy. These are designed to be used as baby is learning to walk.  They can still pose dangers, but by the time baby is using them, they are already crawling and pulling up on things.  I have a wooden one by Melissa and Doug (you can see my video on it here).  There are also options that have activity things on the front to play with while sitting like this one.  I rated this as yellow because I think it’s good for my son to practice walking and to experience the cause/effect concept of pushing it. However, he wouldn’t care if he didn’t have it.  Here is the toy we have.

Exersaucer: Rating Green

This is a must-have for your sanity.  I said you don’t want walkers; however, the beauty of this is that it’s like a walker but doesn’t move.  I highly recommend getting one that allows your baby to jump up and down in it. This is a great way to get out some energy in a baby that isn’t mobile yet.  It also works to briefly contain an older baby.  I put my son in it when I need a minute of him not getting into things. He gets bored more quickly than when he was younger, but I can usually buy myself at least 5-10 minutes. This one is similar to ours.

Stuffed Animals: Rating Green (in moderation)

These are the quintessential childhood toy.  Stuffed animals come in so many cute, cuddly styles.  Babies love them to play with.  I have a couple that my son likes to push his head into when he gets tired, and I keep one handy to entertain him while he’s on the changing table.  They can also be used to decorate your nursery.  However, the number of stuffed animals can grow quickly if you’re not careful.  If you have stuffed animals, you will also want to get an animal net like this one. 

Important Note: Make sure not to put anything, including stuffed animals, into bed with a baby less than a year old.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Miscellaneous Electronic Toys: Rating Green (in moderation)

There are a ton of choices when it comes to plastic toys that run on batteries to entertain your little one.  These often play music, talk and light up.  They can be great fun, but you will get tired of listening to them no matter how cute the music sounds in the store.  Make sure you have toys that don’t require batteries on hand for when you need a break from the same song over and over.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Miscellaneous Wooden Toys: Rating Green

These are great because you don’t need batteries, they are sturdy, they make good chew toys for teething babies, and they don’t make as much annoying noise as the electronic toys above.  My son loves playing with/chewing on wooden blocks.  An activity cube is also a hit.  I really like the Melissa and Doug toys.  There are so many cute wooden options that are built to last.  This one that involves pounding is next on our list because our son loves to pound things these days.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Rattles: Rating Green

These toys are great for younger babies to practice picking things up, gripping things, passing items back and forth and the cause/effect of shaking.  They come in a variety of designs ranging in loudness.  I suggest a few different designs.  Ones with big holes are easy for younger babies to hold and thicker ones are great for older babies who want to use it to pound on things.

Books: Rating Green

There are so many benefits to be gained from reading to baby right away.  When baby is really little, you can read whatever you want.  Baby just likes hearing your voice.  However, as baby gets older and more active with better eyesight, you will want books with bright pictures.  Board books are great because they are hard to destroy and brightly colored.  Touch and feel books and ones where you press buttons for sounds are also great options to keep baby engaged.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Dump Bucket: Rating Green

This is my take on the sensory bin concept.  I renamed it the dump bucket because my son loves finding it and dumping everything out to find the perfect item to play with.  You can read how I put this together for less than $10 here.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Ottoman Storage: Rating Green

With all these toys, you are going to want some storage.  I have a couple of these ottomans that are perfect for storing toys. They look nice with our living room décor but hold quite a bit.  They can also double as extra seating when people are over, cat beds, and my son enjoys using them to pull up on.

Final Thoughts

You likely noticed that I rated many of the above items as Green.  I’m a big fan of the variety of toys and then I switch out the readily accessible ones periodically.  I find that providing toy variety for my son sometimes is helpful for keeping him distracted so he doesn’t get into things he shouldn’t.  However, if you prefer a more minimalism concept, you can cut out many of these items in favor of letting baby play with pots and pans and other safe household items.

Do you agree with my assessments?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

For more great information on what baby items you need and don’t need, check out these posts!

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Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

Being a mom is challenging, so as a survival instinct we find the easiest, most efficient way of doing things.  I want to save you the trouble of trial and error, so I’m going to share with you all the worthwhile hacks I’ve learned since becoming a mom.  Read on to learn how to hack mom life.

The Top 20 Hacks

1. Laundry Basket in the Tub

Get a normal, rectangular laundry basket and drill about six small holes in the corners.  Place this laundry basket in your bathtub.  When you bathe your older baby/toddler, the laundry basket gives them support with slates they can grip.  It also keeps the toys contained so that they don’t keep floating out of reach.

The holes drilled in the bottom helps facilitate the water draining out once the bath is over.

2. Bib Storage

Put a large command hook on the back of the high chair.  Use this hook to store bibs.  This frees up drawer storage space and makes sure that you always have a bib handy at meal time.

Bibs attached to the back of a high chair with a command hook.

3. Activity Board

Babies love to play with household items that you may not like them playing with.  Examples include phones, doorstops, lights, and buttons.  One way to satisfy your baby’s curiosity in a parent-approved way is to create a board that incorporates these ‘forbidden’ items.  We created one with doorstops (that don’t have caps that come off), push lights, a big metal hook, a tape measure, and a door lock.  Other things we may add in the future include an old telephone or remote, a magnetic section with large magnets and a curved pipe that a ball can roll through. 

4. The Perfect Storage Containers

Those drink mix packets that you can get at any store, come in plastic containers that are perfect for storage.  These containers fit inside the bottle pockets in diaper bags and are the exact size to fit graham crackers.  You can also store other snacks in them.

Graham crackers spilling out of a drink mix container.

5. Size Up on Diapers at Night

If your baby starts flooding diapers overnight, go up a size or two.  You can do this with normal diapers or use overnight diapers that are a size or two larger for extra leak protection for good sleepers.

Size 5 daytime and size 6 nighttime Huggies diapers.

6. Make Diaper Bag Stroller Straps that Actually Work

Sometimes diaper bags will come with stroller straps, but these seem to always be too short. I bought a hook to hang my bag on but it kept swinging all over the place. The solution that finally worked was to use a thin chain and clip to make hooks for the diaper bag.  These work so much better than the ones that came with my diaper bag.

Stroller handle with chain and clip attached.

7. Use Gallon Ziploc Bags for Everything

Gallon bags are amazing.  They are great to keep in your diaper bag for storing dirty diapers or dirty clothes.  You can also use them when packing.  We use gallon bags for each outfit complete with all accessories.

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8. Clip a Toy to Your Diaper Bag

Diaper bag space is at a premium, but it’s a good idea to always have a toy handy.  Get a toy with a clip or ring and hang it from the outside of your diaper bag. I like this one and this one. This way you always have one, but it doesn’t use up any precious space.

9. Add a Clip to Your Diaper Bag

As a mom you will learn to juggle a million things and keeping track of keys can be hard.  Put a carabinier clip on the outside of your diaper bag.  Then when you get out of the car, hook your key ring onto the clip.  That way your keys are readily accessible but secure. I use a clip with a locking mechanism so that my keys don’t accidentally fall off.

10. Warm Bottles in a Coffee Mug

When you are getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and need to warm up a bottle, you want it fast.  Keep a large coffee mug handy for this.  To warm a bottle just fill the mug 1/3 full of water, microwave for 30 seconds, and then place the bottle in the mug for a couple of minutes while you do a diaper change.  This will warm the milk without causing hot spots.

20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

11. Store Diaper Change Items in a Top Drawer

Instead of taking up space with a diaper change caddy, use the top dresser drawer to store all the items you need for a diaper change.  Plastic storage baskets are perfect for keeping this drawer organized. This is also helpful when your baby gets a little older and wants to get into everything that is accessible. If the diaper change things are stored inside a closed drawer, the temptation to get into them is removed.

Diaper changing items in baskets inside a drawer.

12. Roll Baby Clothes

Baby clothes are small, so you can fit a lot into a drawer.  However, when you start stacking them the ones on the top get worn and the bottom ones get outgrown without ever being worn.  By rolling clothes to store them, you can fill the drawer and still see everything that’s in there for ready access. Join my organization challenge where I explain exactly how I roll baby clothes to make sure I can see what’s on them.

Rolled baby clothes in a drawer.

13. Create a Dump Bucket

Babies that are just learning to sit-up don’t need fancy toys.  They can be easily entertained with some spoons or fun fabric.  Get a dollar store plastic container and fill it with dollar store kitchen items and other household items that are baby safe.  Babies love to dump the items out and play with them.  Get all the details on how I made one here.

Baby chewing on a plastic spoon surrounded by household items.

14. Use an Ottoman for Toy Storage

Ottomans are perfect for storing toys because they can also double as seating in your living room, look nice and still allow easy toy access.

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15. Roll a Spare Outfit for Your Diaper Bag

Use the rolling technique below to put together an entire spare outfit that only takes up a little space in the diaper bag. By rolling the entire outfit together, you have quick access to a full change of clothes in case of an accident while you are out.

Step by step visual on how to roll a diaper bag outfit.

16. Super Glue Bath Toys Before Use

Those bath toys that have holes to squirt water may be fun, but the inside gets moldy after only a few uses.  To prevent this, put super glue over the hole prior to the first use.  Your baby can still have fun playing with them, and you don’t have to worry about the inside filling with mold.

17. Remove a Couch Cushion to Help Baby Stand and Climb

When babies are learning to pull up to stand, they need something low but sturdy.  The couch with cushions is usually too high, but if you remove a cushion, it’s much lower.  You can then put a favorite toy or snack on the couch and encourage baby to pull up and get it. This also works to teach baby to climb onto things.

18. Decorate the Nursery with Stock Photos

You want to put together a cute nursery for your baby, but after a couple of years they will want a new theme, and this cycle will continue.  Instead of spending a lot of money on prints or painting or using decals on the walls, purchase some simple frames and get prints of stock photos.  These photos tie together a nice nursery theme but are inexpensive.  When it’s time for a new theme, just replace the photos. You can grab great stock photos at Pixabay.

Nursery with animal pictures in frames.

19. Use Expandable Legal Folders to Store Puzzles

Chunky board puzzles are great for babies and toddlers.  However, storing them can be hard.  They don’t have nice boxes like more advanced puzzles and the racks designed for storage take up prime floor space.  Instead of this, use expandable legal folders to store the puzzles.  They can then be placed upright in a decorative box.

20. Use the Baby Story App for Milestones Instead of Stickers

Everyone wants cute monthly pictures, but the stickers don’t stick well and after a couple of months, babies start pulling them off.  Instead of spending $12 on a pack of stickers, spend $6 to get full access to the Baby Story app.  You can use some of the features for free, but the full access gives you everything you could want.  This app provides a variety of monthly “sticker designs” as well as other fun designs and the ability to add text.  It’s really simple to use and lets you customize the color of everything.

There are the top 20 mom hacks that are worth your time.  Did I forget anything?  Let me know in the comments.

20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

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