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24 posts tagged Advice

the newbie: Car Seats

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


We don’t drive often because we live in a city, but when we do take road trips— to the “big” grocery store, upstate for the weekend, over to Grandma’s house—I would love for it to be a good experience for 17-month-old June.

So far, that’s not happening. We’ve had her seat facing backwards, as recommended, since her first drive. Lately, though, she’s bored and restricted just facing the car seat and a mirror—she wants more action. Because she’s now at the weight where we can face her forward, we did that last weekend for a two- hour drive to see friends.

At first, June loved it! She watched everything go by, asking her favorite question (“What’s that?!”) with glee and wonder. Then she fell asleep for an hour. Bliss. But the last half hour of the drive was… well, bad. She woke up, looked around for five minutes, and proceeded to vomit four times in 60 seconds.

We found a rest stop, used approximately 100 paper towels to clean her up and get her changed, and then kept the windows down and a bag at the ready while finishing our drive.

So… carsickness and the facing-forward change. Has anyone else dealt with this one? Any tips or tricks to offer?

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the newbie: TV Time

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


I’ve read a lot about how kids under two years old shouldn’t have “screen time,” which I guess means TVs and iPads, etc.

June is almost a year and a half, and she gravitates toward our devices. The phones and the iPad are pretty much game consoles for her, and she loves to watch videos of various performers singing “Old MacDonald.”

The truth is, I feel slightly guilty when she tunes into of a quick video, but I also get tired of singing “E-I-E-I-O” after the 40th time each day.

Still, I’m thinking about introducing one short show a few times a week. I could definitely use a distraction for her sometimes, if only to have a chance to unload the dishwasher without June trying to climb inside it!

Surely “Sesame Street” does no harm, right? What I wonder is: Does this “no screens before age two” wisdom hold for you other parents, or do you let a few TV/video moments sneak in here and there?

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the newbie: Screams from the Stroller

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


This week, we’re experiencing tons of shrieks on the part of Miss June. Whether delighted, angry, frustrated or excited, she’s reacting at top volume. Her babysitter told me they’d been asked to leave Barnes & Noble because of these cries, and that made me laugh. I try to react mainly with smiles and a calming voice, but I’m hoping this stage ends soon.

A lot of angst seems to be tied to the stroller—she wants to get out of it, even though she’s still not walking; she’s still crawling like mad and trying to stand. Still, being in the stroller seems to be a huge inconvenience for her. I feel like I’m punishing her when I strap her in—she sometimes kicks and screams like a wild bull—but we have to get from place to place!

I wonder if anyone else has dealt with this type of stroller revolt. Is it best to try to talk her down? Soothe her in some way? Ignore her cries? Taking her out of the stroller really isn’t an option most of the time.

Any advice?

the newbie: Ditching the Bottle

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


At the 12-month visit our doctor advised us to move to full-time sippy cup usage and get rid of bottles. I was excited to stop washing out bottles and dealing with all the various parts involved—big step! As for the transition, I thought, “No problem!” June’s been drinking water from a sippy for months now, so I figured she’d be comfortable with it.

Boy, was I wrong.

When it comes to milk, this girl wants bottle, bottle, bottle. She throws the sippy cup with milk in it, refusing to drink. I’ve started giving her a big smoothie so she gets enough milk, but having her drink milk on its own is a real struggle without the “baba.”

I think she got dependant on the bottle as a comfort object, and I know we should break her of that, but it’s proving hard. I wonder if it’s just a matter of making bottles disappear altogether, or a gradual process…

Has anyone else handled this transition in a way that worked well?

the newbie: Scheduling Time at Grandma’s

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


June just spent her first night away from home, at 13 months, at her grandparents’ place. There’s a crib (same one we have), lots of toys, and of course we brought her blankie-animal and her pajamas, anything to smell like home. She did pretty well—I know she had a lot of fun and play time with the little dogs—but her grandma reported that she went to bed late and woke up early, losing almost an hour and a half of her normal nightly sleeping time. (This gave me anxiety.)

Not being there, I can never be sure exactly what happened. I wonder, though if anyone has any advice on how to navigate the first nights away from home. It won’t be a very regular thing, but Grandma has asked that she come at least every other month or so, just so they can have quality time.

I wonder if I should just let things go and try not to worry, knowing that she’s safe and cared for. And if she misses a little sleep in exchange for spending the day with Grandma, it’s okay?

Or should I strictly outline routines and rules? I’ve tried to communicate these, but I’m not sure how specific to be. I guess I’m afraid of being overbearing about her schedule.

Any advice?

the newbie: First Weekend Away!

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


My husband and I are attending a wedding later this month, and it’ll be the first time both of us are away from baby June for the weekend. She’s almost 13 months old now, and I know she’ll be fine… but there’s some nervous energy around this decision. That’s normal, right?

June’s nana, my own mom, is coming up to stay with her in our apartment, so she’ll not only be well cared for but she’ll also be in a familiar environment, her own bed, with her own chair and toys and sounds.

There’s a part of me that is so, so excited to get in the car, set out for a road trip, put my feet on the dash, turn on the tunes and fly free, baby-less for 48 hours! Imagine: going out for drinks and a fancy party without a care about when we’ll return, sleeping late in a hotel room, paying no mind to naptimes or rogue cheerios on the floor or whether all the outlets are babyproofed.

And then there’s another part of me that worries: Will she feel afraid without me or her dad there? Will she sleep well? Will she wake up and wonder where we are and if we’re coming back? Will she be hard for my mom to handle (she’s squirmy and heavier than when nana saw her last)?

I’m trying to picture bonding time, big smiles and laughs, grandparent love and rejuvenating moments between me and my husband. It’s all good… right?

If anyone has pointers to share about their first weekends away, let me know. I’m sure I’ll be checking in regularly… but hopefully I’ll enjoy the free time too!

the newbie: Baby’s First Birthday

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


Miss June will be turning a year old at the end of this month. I can hardly believe it! I remember those first few days at home after she was born—how scared and in love and tired and hurt and overwhelmed and overjoyed and on-the-edge I felt.

The daunting task of giving birth is well behind me, but now I have to face… the First Birthday Party. The expectations—from grandma and other mom friends and even co-workers—seem high. Too high, maybe, for a party that the guest of honor won’t remember. I mean, have you ever been to a first birthday party where the celebrated baby didn’t burst into tears at some point? The whole thing is overwhelming. Wrapping paper! Toys! Cake! Flashbulbs! Everyone is looking at you, kid.

We’re planning a backyard gathering, something simple. I’m thinking picnic blankets and cake and bubbles for everyone to play with. But… is that not enough?

I’d love to hear what others did for a first birthday. I want it to be low-key, enjoyable, and not too overwhelming for baby June. Any ideas?

the newbie: Tips for Traveling Overseas with a Baby

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


We’re back from a 10-day trip overseas with June! It was intense, but awesome. Here are a few tricks I tested (I’ll leave out the ones that didn’t quite work!):

  1. Flight attendants are your friends. Find the nicest one and share a “What can you do?” smile when the baby cries, because she will! Our lovely attendant (the same one on both flights!) brought us airline-themed toys and games to distract June, and they worked, for at least half an hour.

  2. Let go of the first day. When you change time zones, babies get all kinds of kooky. We let June sleep at will on that first day, then got her back on wake-up and nap schedules on day two. By day three, we were all set!

  3. Be sensitive to her perceptions of this “new place.” We noticed that June was having fun, but there were times when she looked a little freaked out or worried while meeting someone new—she met LOTS of new people on this trip. Her dad and I made a point to spend at least half an hour each day where it was just the three of us hanging out as a family, to help her feel more secure.

  4. Bring familiar items. We brought her pacifier, sheets from her pack-n-play (they smell like her detergent), her white noise machine and her favorite sleep sack. Bedtime felt like home, and that made everyone happy!

We had a really fun trip, and hope for more (though I may go for a shorter flight next time).

Share your best tips for traveling with your little ones on the zulily Facebook page

the newbie: European Vacation!

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


We are about to go overseas with June for the first time. It’ll be a lovely week in France, in the country, and I’m hoping for lots of cute shots of her crawling through lavender fields. I have a dorky dream of her taking her first steps in an olive orchard or something equally idyllic.

But in addition to my excitement, I’m terrified! First, the flight: Seven hours on a plane, overnight, with my squirmy, wiggly 11-month-old in a front carrier? The task is daunting at best. I’m just hoping she’ll sleep. The strategy is milk, food, white noise and motion. It’ll work, right?

Then: The time change. We’ll land around 3am our time, but it’ll be 9am over there… whoa. Jet lag rocks my world enough—I can’t imagine what it’ll do for June. I’m thinking it’ll be pretty intense, and I wonder if we should go with the flow for the first few days, or try to stick to a schedule, or throw up our hands completely and buy earplugs.

I’m bringing her favorite stuffed animal, her sheets for the pack-n-play, and her noise machine, but I wonder if that’ll be enough to help her feel at home.

Any experienced baby-travelers out there want to offer any advice? I’m all ears!

the newbie: Feeding Time

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


Now that June is weaning herself a bit, we have fun trying out different types of meals and snacks. Scrambled eggs, strawberries and yogurt, sweet potatoes with spinach and carrots… these are all popular with the little one. We’ve even given her cod roe (a favorite of my husband) and puttanesca sauce—she slurps those down like a champ.

So while I’m happy with what she’s eating, I’m never really sure when to feed her. Usually, she gets a little bit cranky when she’s hungry, so it’s a good bet that a snack or a meal will pacify her. But I wonder if I should be keeping to more of a schedule with three bigger meals and a couple of snacks mixed in.

I haven’t read any of those newly popular French parenting books, but I’ve heard they have a lot to say about snacking and how American moms hand food over any time of day. I guess French parents do not. They sit down and dine consciously, and their children wait for mealtimes without fuss, at least on an ideal day.

I don’t want to get in the habit of shushing June with food, but I’m also not sure she’s ready for a rigorous meal schedule.

I wonder if any other moms have a routine that works? Let me know.