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The conversation is changing

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about motherhood in general. I mean, besides my constant complaints…

Lots of cool stuff going on today–actually all of this week. As I’ve mentioned and tweeted about frequently, as a blogger and writer, I’m often asked to attend cool events. Today’s event is a rather cool one, and one that I’ve spoken about candidly, but have treaded lightly for reasons I’ll explain below.

I have such fond memories of my whole nursing experience. Ok, so maybe I might have wanted to punish a certain snoring someone because I was exhausted from all the on-demand nursing at 3 and 4am. But overall, nursing was just one of those things that worked out for me.

And if you know me or read this blog enough to know, nothing ever quite works out the way it should…

except my whole breastfeeding experience.

Ok, I vehemently take that back.

I might have pumped in a storage closet/defunct kitchenette for almost a year.

photo credit:  Roboto_san

photo credit: Roboto_san

Yeah…everything went smoothly for me except that.

As a full time work outside of the home mama, where I pumped twice a day was a small detail, right?

WRONG.

Oh so wrong.

Until now, I’ve never felt that I was one to preach to the masses about breastfeeding. Quite honestly, I know it may even make some of you, my readers, my family, my friends uncomfortable. I know this.

But that’s about to change.

Today, I was invited to attend the Bravado Breastfeeding Launch Event, which is geared to be an intimate event in NYC celebrating the launch of BBIC, the information arm of Bravado Designs. The event is described as being a roundtable filled with data and commentary where the BBIC will share their research and findings based on 17 years of expertise and as told by 80,000 moms.

As a  first time mom who read books, upon books about motherhood and how to be a “great” mom, I truly didn’t know nearly enough about breastfeeding. I have often referred to Kellymom, but obviously there’s so much more to know about the topic, which is why I’m so honored to have been invited to such a groundbreaking event.

From this event, I hope to share some new-found knowledge about breastfeeding on this blog, and perhaps, in print somewhere.

Mamas, no one should ever have to pump in a supply closet, dirty restroom or anywhere else that’s unsanitary. EVAH.

Stay tuned to find out what I leared at the BBIC launch event or better yet, follow me on Twitter or along on the webcast!

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Remember the time…

I’m feeling very much like my mom tonight. No, not like that…more like in the sense that she over-consumes TV news whenever a major event happens. The crash in the Hudson, the Blackout, 9/11, cranes collapsing, huge storms—any major event anywhere, really—she’s watching CNN and MSNBC all day, all night. Then she’ll call me all worried. And for good reason…because you just never know.

But tonight, that’s so me with watching the non-stop coverage, streaming Tweets and now, watching old school Michael Jackson videos at almost 2am.

After a full, yet fun day, I caught the news this afternoon about Farrah Fawcett’s passing. It was expected, but still, how sad. I’m so glad to know that she’s no longer suffering. She put up such a courageous fight until the end, and will no doubt always be remembered for her vibrance.

But it’s Michael Jackson’s passing that has me at a complete loss. I’ll always remember collecting those teeny bopper magazines—y’know, the ones with the hawt teen hearthrobs—and rip out all of my favorite hotties. Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and MJ always had a spot on my wall. I remember anticipating the Thriller video. Pouting because I couldn’t have my own red leather jacket. or glittery glove. Feeling so cool when my jr. high band played Man in the Mirror for halftime. And just like I posted on Facebook earlier tonight, I remember playing my Thriller record as a kid, but jamming out in the car to Thriller on the iPod with Jack, is my most recent, and perhaps, one of my fondest MJ memories. Full-on dancing where neighboring cars do a double-take to look at both of us.

The later years in his life may have been plagued with controversy and legal battles, but above all that, MJ left such an indelible impression on so many lives. These were all such lovely memories for me, and the ones that prove MJ’s influence will live on for a very long time. RIP, MJ.

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Quarantine, hand soap and hysteria

We’re knee deep in tissues, Boogie Wipes, hand soap and nasal aspirators over here.

Nope, not the pig flu. But, Jack is under the weather and it sucks as usual.  Lots of tears, clingyness and still no sleep. We’re quaranting ourselves since we obviously don’t want to scare people who are already freaked out and running around in surgical masks.  If things don’t get better, or if his temps continue to soar, we’ll play it safe and squeeze in a doctor’s visit.

So, when we’re confined at home like this all day and not getting out with the rest of society, things get so tough.  I know you know what I mean.  The clingyness gets to me as I’m sure my pecking away on the computer gets to my sick little buddy.

I feel so helpless knowing that I can’t fix my kid and his nose, but what’s worse is hearing and reading about the swine flu madness.  Every website. Every Tweet.  Every single tv show…even Martha Stewart was interupted by a swine flu briefing.  Meanwhile, as many people have pointed out, there were 83 deaths in 2008 from the “regular” flu.  It sort of puts things into perspective.

Wash your hands people.  Have tissues onhand.  As stores are selling out of hand sanitizer (just ask Jeff about this!), don’t forget, soap and water does the trick.

Stay healthy everyone and if you’re sick, stay home for crying out loud.  Even if it drives you nuts!

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Today’s Moms Book Bash and Diapers Drive

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but these days, it takes an entire community.

The authorsLast Friday, I had the chance to take part in the Today’s Moms Book Bash and Diaper Drive.  The event promoted Today Show producers, Maryanne Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo’s book, Today’s Mom: The Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year, and it also brought awareness to a wonderful organization, Baby Buggy.  The room, filled with other mom bloggers and social media influencers,  brought together many voices to get the word out about a great new book, but also a great charity that helps moms in need.

Founded by Jessica Seinfeld in 2001, Baby Buggy is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce the financial burden on low-income families by collecting and delivering gently used baby items.  The moms in attendance were asked to donate a pack of Pampers with Baby Buggy’sToday's Moms initiatives in mind.  With about 100 or so moms in attendance, Baby Buggy collected quite a few Pampers to help families in need, but more importantly got us moms talking about the importance of helping NYC who really need it.  If you have gently used items that you no longer need or items that you never had the chance to use (like us,) please consider donating to Baby Buggy.  In fact, I will be donating several bags of unused items later this week.

At the breakfast and book bash, several of Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo’s familiar friends stopped by—fellow Hoboken mom, Natalie Morales and another Today Show mama, Amy Robach were on hand.  The surprise guest was perhaps the best treat:  none other than Fergie ( the “real” one), Sarah Ferguson, made an appearance and spoke candidly about being modern moms and how it’s so important for us to continue helping and reaching out to one another.  It was so nice that she could take time out of her schedule to reach out to us “real” moms, but also to learn the extent of her authenticity and humor!

There were so many fun giveaway gifts—none of which I won—but I’m sure I’ll be talking about them over on The Next Kid Thing. Even though I went solo, I met so many super sweet moms, some local and one from as far as Boston, including  Mary Ann and Alicia@todaysmoms ,@melysas, @primetimeparent, @MommyNiri, @BabyCenterMom and @ChildsPlayComm.

Be sure to check out Today’s Moms book! Thanks for such a fun morning, @todaysmoms!!

Surviving that first year is a piece of cake, especially when you’ve got a community of moms who have your back!

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Next stop, 30 Rock

Exciting news!  Tomorrow, I’ll be at 30 Rock!  The address, not the show.

Why, you ask?  Well, that’s because I was tapped to be a part of the Today’s Moms Book Bash Breakfast and Diaper Drive.  When I say tapped, I mean I signed up and they selected the attendees for the event.  The event is being held by the authors of Today’s Moms.  Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo, producers at NBC’s TODAY Show, have been promoting their book, Today’s Moms: Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year.

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This breakfast is another one of the book’s publicity events, but this time, it involves “real” moms and mom bloggers.  I might have survived the first year, but just barely!  I guess I met the requirements!  But still, I’m so excited to be a part of it!  Jeff volunteered to play Mr. Mom for the morning, so the childcare situation is all set!  However, I had the chance to bring a guest, only to realize that I don’t have any mom friends.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I do.  But the people that I wanted to bring have work or live so far away.  I have local mom friends, but not good friends, just acquaintances from playgroup, church and such. (I’m such the antithesis from the groups of moms that hang out and socialize with each other in the  park.)  And my other friends, the DINKs?  Yeah, I highly doubt you guys would even want to go to such an event.  (If my assumption is wrong, let me know if you want to go!)  So besides being friendless, I’m super-excited for tomorrow!

The event will broadcast live on their website.  So, tune in to check us out!  Because it’s a publicity event, they’re encouraging us to blog and tweet. I’ll have my MacBook w/ hot pink case–the one like in Shopaholic, but I got mine as a gift before the movie came out ;)   You can’t miss me!  Cool case, yet still friendless.

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In Memory of Madeline Spohr

A few days ago, as I was blog hopping, I stumbled onto Heather’s site.  I just couldn’t forget her gorgeous daughter’s big blue eyes.  She’s so sweet, I thought.

Yesterday, I noticed a tweet about Heather’s daughter, Maddie, and something mentioning marching in her “memory.”  I knew Heather was active in the March of Dimes and that Maddie was born several weeks premature.   I clicked on links to check out stories from said tweets.  But, I got nowhere because apparently, almost all of the Twitterverse and Blogosphere were doing the same exact thing.

Tonight, I read more about Maddie and was finally able to get back to Heather’s blog.  On April 7, Sweet Maddie unexpectedly passed away after having breathing problems.  She was only 17 months old.

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My heart aches knowing that Maddie left so soon.  Her sunny smile will never be forgotten.

I’ve been in my own bubble this week since I’ve been in website-tweaking mode.  But now, I’m all tears and can’t sleep.  As a mom with a child in the same age range, I just can’t even begin to fathom what they’re going through right now.

In my last post, the underlying message was that we, moms, are not alone, especially during adversities like this.  I don’t personally know Heather or Mike Spohr, and I’m guessing that neither do several thousands of the other people who have shared their support and love over the past two days.  The power of social media and the mom blogging community is a strong force that has no boundaries at times like this.  Everyone is loved just that much.

Please say a prayer for the Sphor family and keep Madeline in your thoughts.  If you’d like to donate to help this family, I’ve listed the information that their friends have provided below:

A PayPal Account has been set up to assist Heather and Mike with any upcoming expenses. You can donate by sending money, via PayPal to formaddie@hotmomreviews.com. All money received will go directly to them to be used at their discretion.

If you want to show Mike and Heather your love and support in person, further details on services for Maddie will be available as they are arranged. The service will be early next week in Burbank, and they’re asking that everyone wear purple. If you are in the Los Angeles area, or want to be in the area for the event, the March for Babies Team Maddie walk is Saturday, April 25th. Click the March of Dimes link above for more information or email undomesticdiva@gmail.com.

Be sure to hug your babies, big kids and loved ones even tighter today.

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Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower and my new baby

Big City MomsEarlier this week, I had the chance to attend the Biggest Baby Shower, another really awesome event hosted by Big City Moms.  You’re probably wondering, baby shower?  Why a baby shower?  Well, that’s because I have a new baby.   First things first:  nope, it’s not that kind of baby.

In between picking Cheerios out of my hair and cushioning my daredevil toddler’s head dives from the couch, I’ve been working laboriously on my new website for the past few months.  I’ve been researching trends, finding and making contacts, figuring out website layouts, understanding demographics and really, everything else to make sense of this project.  I’m clearly no where near finished, but I am, however, ready to release the Beta version to share with all of you, my friends and family that have kept up with my adventures through this blog.

My new website is a product of many things, but most importantly, it’s driven by the things that I’m passionate about.  Many of you already “know” my story and how none of this particular career trajectory was not really planned.  In case you don’t remember, here’s a quick reminder:  as former magazine editor turned freelance writer, I sought, more than anything, a work-life balance. In October 2008, after countless interviews amidst the failing economy and troubled field of print journalism, I decided to end THAT chase and start a new one, on my own terms.

As I wrote my goodbyes to various colleagues, one simple reply changed everything. “Wishing you all the best on the Next Big Thing.” From that moment, I knew exactly what my next big thing was; it was this, the Next Kid Thing. With my professional background, coupled with my interests as a new mom, I strive for my new website, the Next Kid Thing to be a blog that follows the latest kid trends with a magazine-type flair. From babies to big kids, from books to apps, from features to reviews, the Next Kid Thing is your go-to source for all things kids and the modern-minded grownups that love them.

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Which brings me to the baby shower…as a mom with a journalistic background, I have a sincere interest in finding and understanding the unique stories that relate to the kid business.  At events like the Biggest Baby Shower, I have the unique opportunity to learn about the “Next Kid Things,”  such as the latest new stroller, toddler tables and bottle designs and more.  As I continue to build this site and meet more contacts with the help of social media, it’s my hope to include fun interviews, reveal neat finds and of course, share the good stuff.

While I continue to tweak the website, I welcome any constructive criticism, ideas, suggestions and whatever else you have to say.  In the beginning, you may see some familiar stories that I originally posted here on Babyrific. In the future, I hope to keep the two websites separate, with minimal duplication.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to round up my ideas and new posts, specifically on the great products and companies I learned about at the Biggest Baby Shower.  And finally, As with any website’s success, your comments, frequent visits and spreading the word will help in more ways that you know!

And while you’re there, check out the latest review and great giveaway.  Thanks for checking out the new site :)   Official launch date and more giveaways will be announced soon!

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The new baby boom

Apparently, there’s a new baby boom and Jack, along with other 2007 babes are a part of it! According to a story in the NYT,  More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than in any other year in American history, according to preliminary data reported Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics.

But in contrast with the culturally transforming postwar boom, when a smaller population of women bore an average of three or four children, the recent increase mainly reflects a larger population of women of childbearing age, the report said.

Another statement that I found interesting:  In yet another record high, the share of deliveries by Caesarean section reached 32 percent in 2007, up 2 percent from 2006. Experts have repeatedly said some C-sections are not medically necessary and impose excess costs, but the rate has steadily climbed, from 21 percent in 1996.

But we all know how my “convenient” procedure came about.

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Rub a dub dub: ‘No More Toxic Tub’ study sheds light on bath products

There’s a new report out that reveals some daunting information that will make you want to think twice about your babe’s bath products. Oh no, what now, right?

whats-going-onThe Campaign for Safe Cosmetics published a report that says several children’s bath products are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.  This isn’t the first time you’ve probably heard similar information; a study came out in 2008 that focused on organic personal products. However, this new study called, “No More Toxic Tub,” is the first to document the widespread presence of both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in bath products for children, including baby shampoos, bubble baths and baby lotions. The group says Formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are known carcinogens; formaldehyde can also trigger skin rashes in some children. The report said that unlike many other countries, the U.S. government does not limit formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, or most other hazardous substances in personal care products.

Just a few of the products tested are:

  • CVS Baby Shampoo (CVS/Pharmacy)
  • Suave Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo – Wild Watermelon (Unilever)
  • American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works)
  • Equate Tearless Baby Wash (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)
  • Grins & Giggles Milk & Honey Baby Wash (Gerber Products Company)
  • Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash (Kimberly-Clark)
  • Sesame Street Bubble Bath – Orange Mango Tango (The Village Company)

To see all of the products tested and results go here. Per usual, there’s no need to be alarmed, so don’t go and toss out all of your bath products.  The big picture here is, it’s all about being smarter consumers and to be aware of what you’re buying and using. I mean, who doesn’t want the best for their kid?

Once again, I’ll take the opportunity to tout the awesomeness of natural products. With this latest report, I thought I’d share some alternatives to the more questionable products that were included in this latest study.

These are my top picks:

star-pink-32x32Dr. Bronner’s Baby Liquid Soap
olba16USA Today said that products bearing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic seal, such as items by Dr. Bronner’s, were free of 1,4-dioxane. Dr. Bronner’s is one of these products that is truly organic. Their extensive line includes liquid soap and baby wash that both Jeff and I love. We use the Peppermint and sometimes Lavender Castile soap throughout the house, as well as Sal’s Suds for household cleaning. Like Jeff often says, after using Dr. Bronner’s soaps, you smell good and you actually feel clean. With many of those perfumy soaps, there’s so many irritants and moisturizers now, the whole objective of getting clean gets lost in the mix. In addition to the organic composition, the fact that its fair trade and has so many uses, Dr. Bronner’s product line is a longtime staple in our home. In my opinion, it’s one of, if not the greenest, line of soaps out there. For 60 years, Dr. Bronner’s has been at the forefront of the green movement.  So, it’s no surprise that Dr. Bronner’s Baby Liquid Soap is one of my top picks.  The baby soap is mild, contains no fragrance and great for sensitive skin.

star-pink-32x32California Baby
yhst-83878190403399_2045_48046543I’m a big fan of all of California Baby’s products, especially the bubble baths. They’re light, natural and smell incredible.  Calming and Overtired and Cranky are my favorite bubble baths.  Before bedtime, my sometimes overtired and cranky kid loves this bubble bath as part of his nighttime routine, just as much as I do!
I love how they divulge a host of information about their products and ingredients.  Many of the products in question do not have this information readily available. So, in that sense, I appreciate companies like CB for being generous with this information. In addition, their products are free from common allergens, contain organic & sustainably grown ingredients. The company says that many of the plants and flowers that are grown for essential oil distillation are very hardy, do not need pesticides or fertilizers and are by default organic and/or sustainably grown.

star-pink-32x32Seventh Generation Wipes
318g2rssrlThese, in my opinion, are the best wipes out there. These wipes feature Aloe Vera, Vitamin E and are alcohol-free, making them gentle, yet so effective and eco-friendly. Unfortunately, we haven’t used these wipes as frequently as we would have liked since they haven’t been stocked at our local organic store until recently. Good news, though: Seventh Gen has coupons online.
Check them out here.

star-pink-32x32Nature’s Baby Organics Tangy Tangerine Bubble Bath
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This is a brand that I recently tried and loved! Jeff brought this home and I plan to do a full blown review, but in the meantime, I love the sweet tangerine smell and the fact that it’s such a gentle bubble bath. We’ve been using this bubble bath for the past few weeks and Jack can’t get enough of the fun bubbles. This brand is out in several stores, but I’ve also noticed that you can get it at Diapers.com. More to come on this great line and product.

star-pink-32x32Trukid Silly Shampoo
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This is another brand that we recently had the chance to try as well. So far, I’m in love the soap and lotion, but this shampoo is awesome, too. It has a great smell, contains various organic ingredients and is all around a great product line. This is another brand that I plan to do more of a thorough review, so stay tuned for that!

Obviously, there are many more really great products that are worth mentioning, but I can recommend these without hesitation because either we use or have used these in our home! Like most people, we use 2-3 different products, sometimes even more, at bathtime. Not everything we use is natural since we’ve been using good ol’ J&J shampoo among a few others since we received them as gifts, but once those are up, I hope to stick to products that fall under the natural category.

This is how I see it: with healthier, more natural alternatives out there, why go the cheaper, questionable route? If you’re worried about cost, so you buy one less toy, one less electronic gadget—that, right there, would cover the few dollars of the difference in expense. Years ago, many of these brands and options weren’t even available, and if they were, I’m sure these products were only at specialty and organic stores. Good news now is, in addition to a plethora of online outlets like diapers.com, big box and baby stores carry many of these products, such as Babies R Us, Harmon, Target, Buy Buy Baby, Whole Foods.

Before you go putting your baby or kid in a bubble, here are more recommendations from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

  • Simplify: Select products with fewer ingredients and no synthetic fragrance or dyes, and use fewer products overall.
  • Choose safety: Search EWG’s cosmetic safety database, Skin Deep, to learn more about the products you use and find safer alternatives.
  • Read labels: Select products for baby and yourself that don’t contain the ingredients listed above, which are commonly contaminated with formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane.

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Not so sunny days over on Sesame Street

sesame streetAs sit here sipping my coffee while I check emails, like clockwork, between 8-9am, Jack sits next to me and watches his morning installment of Sesame Street to get his Elmo and Murray fix.  But as I read emails and headlines, this one caught my eye:  Recession forcing layoffs at Sesame Workshop.

Is nothing sacred anymore?

I guess this recession is so bad, it’s now going beyond Wall Street AND Main Street, it’s hitting fictitious streets–Sesame Street! That’s pretty bad.

Even though, like his friends and cousins, Jack’s toybox and book basket/shelves are filled with countless Big Bird/Grover/Cookie Monster AND Elmo-themed toys and books, apparently it’s still tough times for the nonprofit producer.  I imagine, in this economy, government agencies and companies that once donated to the Sesame Workshop in the past have scaled back.  On the bright side, since they’ve been filming since the 70s, I’m sure they’re not going to run out of their timeless episodes anytime soon.  Even if they do, I’m sure my 1.5 year old wouldn’t notice.

Today’s just not as sunny after hearing about layoffs over on Sesame Street.  All the news about the economic downturn tugs at my heart, but this news is especially sad!

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