July 16, 2018

10 Diaper Bag Must Haves For 0-12 Months

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. Read full disclosure here.

10 Diaper Bag Must Haves
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Being a first-time mom, I relied a lot on what other people recommended to put in their diaper bag, but eventually learned for myself what I needed and didn't need. This list is meant to be a guideline as I'm sure your bag will vary depending on your needs as well, which you will figure out as you go!

1) Diapers & Wipes

Obviously, you will want diapers, but how many? In the beginning, I tended to overpack, stuffing 10 of those suckers in there, eventually I got the point where I was comfortable with 5, and never once have I used them all! I highly recommend Pamper's Pure diapers.

You will just need one package until that package gets low, then you'll want to make sure you have a backup! Pamper's Pure wipes are our favorite.

2) Changing Mat

A lot of public bathrooms do have changing tables, but I still liked having my own portable changing mat to place on top as you don't know how often those are cleaned. Plus if they don't have a changing table, you can change your baby on the floor or in the car with the mat.

3) Burp Cloth

Babies spit up a lot, so having a burp cloth on hand at all times is a must! 

4) Blanket

This is more important in the winter as you can use it to cover your baby in the car seat or stroller. You may still want to do this in the summer to keep nosey people away, so make sure you get a breathable cotton muslin blanket, like these ones on Amazon

5) Diaper Rash Cream

Diaper rash happens, so it's best to always be prepared! We found that Pinxav brand to be the best! It worked the quickest. Our second choice would be Desitin. We tried Aquaphor and CeraVe as well, but they didn't seem to work as well. 

6) Bottle & Formula

Always bring an empty bottle in case you have to feed the baby while out and about. You can always fill it with water at a fountain or sink, or bring a separate water bottle with water to pour into it.

I highly recommend getting some formula sticks as they are easier to carry around than a canister. We got a lot as free samples from out Pediatrician, but you can also find them on Amazon.

7) Extra Outfits

Yes, that is plural. I found that having one spare outfit is sometimes not enough. Babies are messy and blowouts do happen. I would for sure have at least two spare onesies and pants. I found having I could get by with just one pair of spare socks as my girl didn't really kick them off until she was older, but you may need more as socks may go missing! 

8) Toys

You will want some toys to entertain your baby while out and about. I highly recommend getting the ones you can strap onto your stroller or car seat and dangle in front of your baby. You could also get links or toy safety straps too to attach toys to the stroller so you don't lose them!

9) Disinfecting Wipes & Hand Sanitizer

These are great for wiping down changing stations in bathrooms before lying your baby down on them, or for cleaning shopping carts, or high chairs at restaurants, etc. You can find the Clorox Wipe pouches in the travel section at Target or on Amazon.

The hand sanitizer is for you, not for the baby. I found using hand sanitizer to be so much faster and easier than washing my hands after diaper changes. Bath and Body Works is my favorite with all their scents and you can even get cute little keychain pouches for them now. You can also find plain travel sized bottles on Amazon as well.

10) Pacifier

You will always want a back up in case you forget to bring one!

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Pixabay.

June 25, 2018

It's Okay To Judge Bad Parenting

It's Okay To Judge Bad Parenting
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Disclosure: This is an opinion post.

"You should never judge anyone's parenting decisions." - I have been hearing and seeing this a lot now that I am a parent, and it seems almost everyone agrees with this statement, but as someone who was raised with what most would consider a bad parenting style, I have to disagree. 

  • Some parents beat their children and think that is an acceptable parenting method. 
  • Some parents cuss, yell, scream at their children and think that is an acceptable parenting method.
  • Some parents do everything for their child and never give them a chance to learn on their own and think this is an okay parenting method.
  • Some parents let their children do whatever they want and think this is an okay parenting method. 

See where I'm going with this? Most of the things I listed are what the majority would call bad parenting styles. If saying someone's method is "bad" is judging them, then yes, I judge because there are bad methods. Not all methods are good. Not all parenting is good.

I think a lot of people struggle with this because when someone disagrees with your parenting decision, you feel attacked and take it personally, rather than as a chance to learn and grow. Plus the parents are most likely sharing what punishment they used in order to validate that what they did to their child was okay, so when they get backlash, it just makes them feel worse. I also think those who do point out the bad parenting method, don't always do so in the nicest way, and you can't really give advice to someone who isn't looking for it. 

It also doesn't help that we often don't have the full story, but I question whether that is necessary in some cases. If you see a mom hitting her kid, do you really need to know why she is doing it to consider it bad parenting? Isn't hitting bad in general? Or you see a dad shouting cuss words at his child. Do you really need the whole story before considering that bad parenting?

I do believe all children are different and need different approaches, but shouldn't that be more of a reason to be more open to receiving advice from others, especially when we know the method we are using is on the extreme side, "a last resort" option? 

I commonly hear "I tried everything else and it didn't work." When the truth is you tried everything you knew before turning to the extreme. You didn't seek outside opinions first or look for other methods elsewhere. We often turn to the methods that were used on us, which aren't always the best. As a society with so many depressed adults, we should have already realized by now that past parenting styles weren't the greatest.

So when I see a mom screaming at her kid in the grocery store, I am going to judge. I am going to judge her actions. I get children are difficult and I understand the mom is just having a bad day. She is probably a good mom, but she made a bad parenting decision. I know nothing I say will help and I so long to give the child a hug and tell them it's okay as I was that child once. Adults have the worst tantrums if you ask me.

I get we aren't perfect. I sometimes slip up and yell at my daughter. I regret it afterward and apologize right away. That doesn't make me a bad mom, but I am not afraid to admit I made a bad decision, that I used a bad parenting method, that I could have chosen a better option. 

I think saying there is no such thing as bad parenting is harmful. It justifies a person's poor parenting decision. It makes them think, "hey this method is okay because there is no such thing as bad parenting," and unfortunately, this can potentially lead to harming your child either physically or emotionally. 

Now I'm not saying to go out there and attack others for their bad parenting decisions. You can't give someone advice unless they ask for it. However, if someone does come to you and decides to open up or "brag" about their decision, then I feel you can at least say you didn't agree and why.

With the internet, so many narcissists post about how proud they are that they punished their kid and post it to the world to see, and I will always comment on those to let them know that what they did could have potentially harmed their child. They may not be asking for advice (they are more likely seeking validation), but if it's a public post I feel it is free to post your opinion. A lot of people will be reading the comments, so I like to think I may have caught the attention of a reader and spared some children from harm.

That being said, you should never brag about punishing your child on social media. This is publicly shaming them, which is a form of bullying. It is basically talking about someone behind their back. 

I believe the majority of us are good parents, we just sometimes make bad decisions, and we need to be able to own up to our own bad parenting so we can look for gentler and better methods. If we want a world with less depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc, then we need to aim to be better than our parents. We should aim for better than "fine" for our children.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments!

Fatherly also did a post for the 7 times they believed it was okay to judge parents. While I agree with their points, I don't think you should ever judge the person. Let's focus more so on the decision. There are no bad people, just people who made bad decisions.

June 11, 2018

15 Feeding Must Haves For Babies & Toddlers

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. Read full disclosure here.

Somewhere between 4-6 months, or even later, your baby will be ready to start solids. Here is a list of items we loved and you will need when that time comes! You can find most of these products in my Amazon shop.

1 Baby Cereal or Oatmeal

Our pediatrician recommended starting with baby cereal or oatmeal as it is bland so baby is more so getting used to the texture at this time and not worrying about the taste. Our favorites were Happy Baby and Earth's Best.

Baby Oatmeal

2. Puffs

While doing the oatmeal, you can also introduce puffs as they are also pretty flavorless (despite having different flavors, we tried them ourselves, haha!) and will allow your baby to practice feeding themselves!


3. Blender

A blender will be necessary if you plan on making your own baby food. We love our Ninja blender and highly recommend it!

4. Silicone Icecube Trays or Glass Jars

We used both but could have probably gotten away with just glass jars. I would personally skip the icecube trays and go for the jars as you can freeze them and heat them up in the microwave. However, if you do want to do the icecube trays, definitely go with silicone as they pop out so much easier!
Ball Mason JarsIce Cube Trays

5. Spoons

You will have to start with spoon-feeding your baby, but eventually, they will be the ones playing with the spoons and learning how to use them! We love the Munchkin spoons!

6. Sippy Cup

Sippy cups are going to be a lot like pacifiers, you may get lucky and the first one you picks works, or you may have to try many different ones until you find one your baby likes. We went through so many sippy cups and even though sites claimed the straws are harder, our daughter only likes the straw sippy cups. The Playtex ones are our favorite as they don't leak and the straw stays in place. Avoid The First Years brand, those straws pop out so easily, it's a pain, as your baby will throw it on the floor over and over again.

Sippy Cups

7. Bowls

These are more for you, in the beginning, to mix oatmeal in, as if you give it to the baby, it'll just end up on the floor. We found it was easier to serve food right on the high chair tray and let her just mess around with it with her hands and spoon. We liked these Munchkin ones as they came with a lid, so when your baby is older, you can save what they don't eat for later. 

8. Food Tray or Plate

We mostly use our daughter's high chair tray, but if you want a little less mess, you can get a food tray or plate to put food on. Just know that it may end up on the floor. We got these kiddie bite trays back when I was a brand enthusiast for the company and they were awesome! Our daughter, of course, would play with the tray, but only after she was done eating, so we got lucky. There are some toddlers who will just toss it food and all onto the floor so you may want to look for something with suction, though I've heard some toddlers are strong enough to remove those!

Kiddie Bite Tray

9. Food Pouches or Jars

Food pouches are not recommended by the pediatricians we talked to as they can inhibit a child's ability to learn to feed themselves. You can, however, still use them occasionally or simply just squeeze the food out onto a tray or bowl for your child to mess with. We use pouches when traveling or out and about and avoid them at home. 

Jar food is actually really hard to find now, so I mostly bought pouches and just squeezed them out for our daughter. Beech-Nut was the only jar brand we bought.

Food Pouches

10. Toothbrush

Your baby may not have teeth at first, but once they start solids you should try an wipe their mouth with a warm washcloth once a day, usually after dinner or their last solid feeding of the day. You can also get a finger brush, which our daughter loved during teething as it was like a nice massage on her gums. Later on, once your baby has more teeth, you can switch to the bristle brush.


11. Bibs

Babies are messy so you will need bibs and lots of them! My favorite ones are actually the ones my aunt and cousin made for us out of what appeared to be dishtowels. They are so long and cover the entire body! Here are some bigger ones I found on Amazon. There are also these full coverage apron ones that seem a bit extreme to me, but if you don't like a mess at all, then it may be for you!

12. High Chair

You will need something to feed your baby in! We have a Graco 2 in one so it can switch into a booster seat for later.

13. Washcloths or Baby Wipes

Feeding time is very messy so you will need a washcloth to wipe your baby clean or you can use baby wipes. A washcloth is more eco-friendly as it is reusable, but baby wipes are great when traveling.

14. Handheld Food Chopper

This little food chopper made cutting up veggies and fruits a breeze when our baby was ready to move on to table food! You will definitely want one if baby led weaning is your thing or once you're ready to switch to table food, as cutting everything up with a fork or knife takes so much work.

Food Chopper

15. Teething Biscuits

Our daughter loved teething biscuits. They are great for teething and is great practice for learning to feed themselves.

Teething Biscuits

Did I miss anything? Feel free to share your must haves in the comments!