A Reflection on Baby’s First Year and Pampers Swaddlers Review

This weekend marked a special milestone for baby: he turned 1 on Saturday, January 26th.  Not that he’ll ever remember the effort or time I spent on planning, but our family was long overdue for a day of celebration.  Good times with  family and friends, laughs, and fun we endured for Josh’s party will keep us smiling for days to come.

As the baby days transition to toddler days, there’s so much to reflect upon.  I have to admit however, I feel as though so much of the baby’s first year was abbreviated because of so many hurdles.

At just 5 days old, with a VCUG to test for complications for kidney reflux, Josh’s tango with acronyms and specialized medical tests began. In between sleepy nuzzles, baby giggles and baby kisses, our boy has endured more blood tests, spinal taps, MRIs, EEGs, medicine applications than one infant should ever know.  To see his pain; to grasp that he doesn’t know any other way, is nothing short of emotional paralysis as a mother.

His initial stay in the hospital over the summer when he endured the series of seizures was, byfar, the worst. I can still hear the synchronized beeps of machines that kept him stabilized.  There was a juxtaposition of fear, anger and confusion when watching Josh’s oxygen drop to dangerous levels during a seizure, and knowing that I couldn’t do a thing to help my infant.

Beyond the heartache and hardship we’ve endured during baby’s first year, I am thankful for so much.  I’m so thankful for modern medicine, access to (somewhat) affordable healthcare, and of course, the team of doctors, nurses and specialists who cared and continue to care for my baby. Baby is stable and our family is learning to grasp the complexity of pediatric epilepsy, much thanks to these wonderful things.

Caffeine and Diapers
And even though much of my real life has been put on hold this past year, including the frequency of my blogging endeavors here, it’s the little conveniences that have made our life a little less chaotic.  From Trader Joe’s frozen meals, to Dunkin Donuts drive thru to scheduling appointments on my iphone to diapers, these are just a few things that have kept me afloat.  Caffeine and diapers.  Yup. Sounds about right.

Having started Josh out as a full time cloth diapered babe, as a fairly crunchy mama, I never envisioned that one day we’d be holed up in a hospital multiple times in the same year.  Slaying piles of laundry for a family is a herculean effort on a normal day, nevermind when medical emergencies are thrown into the mix.

Even though Josh barely wore disposable diapers leading up to his hospitalization, again, I can’t imagine life without such conveniences.  I remember watching him in his glass encased hospital crib wearing Pampers, a brand that I honestly never bought. Since Big Bro had adverse affects from disposables, we opted to cloth diaper our second babe.  It worked well, until life got in the way.  While in the hospital, naturally, as a kid product blogger, I studied brands and names of mundane items they used in the pediatric wing.  From the toys in the Starlight playroom down to the baby’s diapers.

I couldn’t help but think: if these brands are good enough for the hospital to use, they must be ok for my babe too.


Pampers Swaddlers Review

According to sales data, Pampers Swaddlers are the number one choice for diapers used in hospitals.  And come to think of it, having spent so much time in the hospital, during our stay, I don’t think I saw any other brand being used beyond Pampers, at our hospital anyway.

Now that we’re getting back on track with “normal” life, I enjoyed having the opportunity to review the Pampers Swaddlers, which are now available in size 4 & 5 and new at Target.  Swaddlers remind me so much of the newborn days and that brand new baby feel.  Or perhaps that’s the exhaustion? 
Either way, I like the soft, quilted feel to the Swaddlers and absorbency.  I can’t speak of any blowouts while we were reviewing the size 4s over the past few weeks; and I have to say, the relief from my laundry pile has been nice.  The stretchy tabs and elasticity around the legs works well for my fast-moving tot, which in itself is a lifesaver.  Above all, I love the lightweight feel, efficiency and convenience of Pamper Swaddlers, all attributes that any parent can appreciate.  Ah, the marvel of modern diapers, behold.

And if you know me, you must know I love a great deal, almost as much as I love Target.  Target has a phenomenal deal  on Pampers right now: with the purchase of 2 Pampers Swaddlers, Cruisers or Baby Dry Economy Packs, get a free $20 Target GiftCard.  This offer is valid in stores 1/27-2/2.


And because we’re staging our “comeback” to our new normal and embracing how life never goes as planned, what better way than to celebrate with a giveaway?

One fabulous winner will receive:

Two packs of diapers (your choice of size) and a $20 Target gift card

To enter, please comment below and tell me your favorite memory (so far) with your baby!

For additional entries:
Tell me about your favorite aspect of Pampers Swaddlers
Please share this giveaway on any or all of your social media outlets. (each share is one additional entry)
Tweet about this giveaway: Enter to win a @Pampers and @Target prize pack from NKT & @jenrab http://nextkidthing.com/?p=6269 #BCPampers
If not already, become a like the NKT FB page

Please comment below with all entries

This giveaway will end 2/2 at midnight.  After the winner is chosen, please allow 6-8 weeks for prize to be fulfilled.

Full disclosure: This post is part of a sponsorship on BabyCenter. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review.  As always all opinions on NKT are my own.

I know I said it a lot last year, but sorry for the long absences on the blog, but thank you for you support on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Considering our family’s ordeal and having multiple platforms to share my long-winded, rambling thoughts, I have many things for which to be grateful.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Happy Birthday to my Josh!
More first birthday stuff to come!

Baby Days: Nighttime Changing Routine

The baby days continue to consume me, both personally and work-wise. After an informative afternoon with famed pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp. I was inspired to share our nighttime changing routine, one of my favorite times of the day…for more reasons than the obvious! Find out how we incorporate Stokke, Under the Nile, Badger, CJ’s BUTTer and Fisher Price into our nighttime changing routine.

Earlier this week, I enjoyed a lovely lunch with the amazing Dr. Harvey Karp of Happiest Baby on the Block. I learned so much during the candid conversation over lunch at the book publisher’s NYC office discussing his latest book on sleep. (post to come) And now, with our baby right at 4 months, naturally, there are so many changes going on. He’s turned the corner on sleep, his eating habits are more predictable and his behavior is all around fun.

As a second time mom and mom of a preschooler and infant, I’ve found that the one of the hardest aspects of motherhood is finding balance. Yesterday, for example, finding time to balance the four year old, four month old AND write in between was complicated, to put it nicely. The four year old, like most preschoolers, demanded my attention. The baby sat so quietly for most of the day, but it was the big kid who tested my patience as I tried to make deadlines. Ultimately, something gives, and every time it’s the writing…but, such is life.

And since the baby didn’t get nearly as much attention, I’m SO grateful for our nighttime routine. It’s that one time of day when it’s just baby and me, and we’re both awake, happy and usually relaxed. So, while big bro hangs with daddy, it’s just us for 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted quality time–if we’re lucky.

There’s so many elements that contribute to how fun this can be, but here’s what we’re doing right now:

1. Badger Nighty Night Balm
I can’t get enough of Badger Balm. Truly. I was first introduced to these products via Healthy Child Healthy World. The Bug Balm was the first product we used and now, swear by. And so, when my husband brought home several sample of other balms, I immediately fell in love with even more Badger Balms that I didn’t even know existed! The organic Nighty Nighty Balm is, should I say it, the bomb. In lieu of lotion at night, I use this balm, which has a soft, but wax-like consistency, to give the baby a little post-bath massage. What a life, right? I use this time to help him exercise and stretch those chubberific legs, soothe his arms and then softly massage his chest and back. His coos and smiley face is enough to keep this in my routine. The balm moisturizes well and smells unbelievable. You think the baby smell is awesome? Just add this to the mix. There’s no synthetic fragrances, just chamomile, a little lavender and more. So sweet.

2. Changing Table: Stokke Care
This solid wood changing table from Stokke was our Christmas and Birthday present from my inlaws. While this beautiful piece of furniture deserves its own post, I’ll highlight what makes this such an integral part of our routine.
The first time around, we were city parents who were starved for space. We shrugged off the need for a dedicated changing table and opted for just a changing pad that we threw anywhere to do the job. After over two years of changing anywhere and everywhere our backs ached and that changing pad was practically crumbling for so much usage and handling.

So, this time around, when we were asked what we needed, we said nothing…EXCEPT a changing table. So, why the Care? Aside from the fact that it matches our Stokke Sleepi System, it’s multifunctional and grows with the baby like several of Stokke’s other products. After the diaper-changing days, the Care can be turned into a desk. (I know, right?)  The Care changing table boasts a lot of storage space and is compatible to various heights–perfect for taller parents. (Our backs are thanking us this time around!) The side compartments are just as convenient as the storage baskets that sit atop two shelves. As a cloth diaperer, the storage area is ample for my stash, as well as our bountiful inventory of baby toiletries and acoutrements. This is my most used baby staple, and one that I’m thrilled will truly grow with us!

3. CJ’s BUTTer
Heh. I said butt. Ok, got that out… So, both of my children much like other members of my immediate family, have extremely sensitive skin. Finding a diaper rash cream or ointment that REALLY works and doesn’t use toxins or harmful chemicals can be next to impossible. Burt’s Bees is my usual go-to diaper cream; in fact, the big kid was fond of eating it when my back was turned. Unfortunately, Burt’s Bees isn’t cloth diaper friendly. Thankfully, with cloth diapering, we don’t see too much diaper rash or irritation, but it’s when we switch over to disposables when we’re on the go or on laundry days, the irritation sometimes arises. CJ’s BUTTer which I’ve always seen on cloth diapering sites as a great option for diaper ointment, was sent to me as a sample in a Bluum Box. It was love after first swipe. The ingredients are all natural, it’s made with love by a small company, it works well and can be used beyond diaper rash (for black/mixed hair to separate locks? who knew!) It moisturizes and seals the irritated areas and I love that it contains essential oils. CJ’s BUTTer is my new go-to for diaper ointment.

5. Hooded Bath Towel: Under the Nile
This thick, luscious hooded baby towel is made from organic Eygptian cotton and you can totally tell. It’s both soft and durable and surpasses the quality and texture of the thin baby towels we received from the big kid’s baby shower. We have tons of baby towels, but honestly? This Under the Nile towel is the one I grab every time.  And bonus, my photographer friend, Maegan Dougherty, who has photographed our family many times pre-baby #2, shot some pics for Under the Nile’s clothing line, which can be seen on the front page.  Nice, right?

5. Fisher Price Giggle Gang
Another stuffed toy and one that laughs? Ha! Yes…but this one is too cute to pass up. It’s just a round, vibrant plush toy that giggles when you press it’s belly and it’s contagious and chewable! I have a video review of these guys coming up, but I couldn’t not include him on here because we keep Fuzzy on our changing table to distract Mr. Squirmy baby. Laughs all around!

6. Badger Baby Oil
For our first kid’s baby shower, I received several containers of baby oil. I honestly had no idea what to use it for, so I never really used it. This time around I find myself using it as often as I can. I use it in diaper wipe solution, for dry skin patches and most often after bath on baby’s scalp to help avoid cradle cap. I use just a tiny drop and it works so well. I’ve read articles that say to AVOID using oils on the baby’s head, but alas, this is something I still do and have no issues whatsoever. With with calendula and chamomile, the Badger Baby Oil smells so lovely, I love using it at night to complement the Nighty Night balm. Bonus: I love to include it in so many of my baby shower gift baskets because it not only lasts forever, but it’s a great alternative to the more questionable products in the baby aisle.

There are so many products out there, and many more that we use, but these few just so happen to be the ones we use in our current routine. All of them are fun, sustainable and worthy of sharing!

Full disclosure: the changing table was a gift from family, but all of the other products were either items in a swag bag, samples from a company for review or samples obtained from my husband’s employer, which has no direct affiliation with NKT. As always, all opinions on NKT are mine.

New York Family: Five Questions with Yours Truly

Do you guys read New York Family?  We’re not a New York Family, but I still read it!  Because we live so close to the City, I relate to City happenings much more than I do my local neighborhood weekly.  New York Family is a fabulous print publication that also has a wonderful presence online.  Aside from the fun goings-on, New York Family does a great job profiling New York moms, including many of my blogging friends.

I had the pleasure of being included online in a quick profile, “Five Questions for Jen Rabulan-Bertram.”  Because of my second time new mom status coinciding with their newly launched newsletter focusing on babies and expectant parents, the editor profiled five of my favorite gear, gadgets and goodies for new parents. I can’t say enough good things about our high chair from Svan, our stroller/second car from UPPAbaby, Stokke Bounce N Sleep, TommeeTippee Closer to Nature Monitor and Charlie Banana reusable diapers.

I’m usually the one doing the questions-asking, so it was fun to be asked a few questions for a change.  A big thanks to New York Family for highlighting my faves!  If you’re a new mama or about to be one, be sure to subscribe to their new newsletter.

Review: 365 Everyday Value Baby Diaper from Whole Foods

Because the husband works in the health and beauty sector, and as someone who reviews children’s products, our family has been so fortunate to get our hands on the latest and greatest in consumables, among other things.  Some of these products are just eh, while others are a good fit for our family; take for example, the 365 Everyday Value Diapers.

The 365 Everyday Value Diapers, Whole Food’s store-branded diapers, recently changed their product by improving their sizing, securing a better fit and living up to their name by lowering the pricepoint.  Their diapers are made with chlorine free materials, are hypo-allergenic, latex free, and contain no perfumes or dyes, which are extremely important factors for many families.  It’s true, way too many disposable diapers end up in our landfills.  But let’s face it, not everyone can cloth diaper all the time.  And because 365 Everyday Value Diapers are chlorine, dye and latex free, they’re gentler on baby’s skin, and they are less harmful to the environment, making them a more sustainable choice for disposables.

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