DROOL BABY EXPO is in JUST two weeks!!

The Baby Mavens are so excited to join Magic Beans and more than 75 premium brands and service providers at Drool Baby Expo on May 13, 2015 at the Westin Waterfront Boston Hotel.  Drool is your chance to explore all the products and services you need for your growing family in a fun, upscale environment with plenty of pampering.  In addition to crave-worthy baby products, Drool will feature some amazing one-night-only discounts and special offers, over $10,000 worth of raffle prizes, delicious food and drinks, complimentary spa treatments, and an overflowing gift bag.  Get your tickets now at www.droolbabyexpo.com and be sure to use TheBabyMavens5 to save $5 on your tickets.
DROOL is a must-do for new and expecting parents, and it always sells out. It is only two weeks from today so get your tickets now!
The Baby Mavens will have a special offer for all DROOL attendees, so be sure to stop by our table to meet us and take advantage of our special offer just for you!  We look forward to seeing you two weeks from today!

Spring! Let’s go to the playground!

Could it be true?  Has Spring finally arrived? I think it’s safe to say that in fact, Spring is here.

You’ve all been cooped up much of the winter, and UGH that snow.  Even when it was a “nice” day – there were puddles and potholes and frost heaves, etc.  Not to mention the germs and flu that lurked in every destination.  BLECH. Better to just stay put. Let’s face it this Winter kinda sucked here in Massachusetts!

But now the weather is fairly mild and dare I say:  Pleasant even! Spring is a great time to get out and explore with your baby. Playgrounds are finally clear of snow (albeit somewhat muddy still) – try your little one on the swing, get a little exercise, bring a blanket and some bubbles, or just sit on a bench and observe the big kids running and playing.

At a loss for ideas?  Here are a few of The Baby Mavens favorite playgrounds:

Endicott Park in Danvers – barnyard animals, a nice playground with several play structures for all ages, picnic tables, walking trails through the woods (not for strollers, sadly), plenty of grassy areas to run around and, this is important – a bathroom! Free parking weekdays, $3 for non-residents on weekends ($1 for Danvers residents).

Lt. Ross Park in Peabody (also known as Cy Tenney Park!)- nice handicapped-accessible play structure with rubber ground cover as well as sandboxes and older wooden structures which offer creative ways to play. Plenty of free parking.  This park has baseball fields so it can be busy in the evenings and weekends. And, there are some of the nicest porta-potties I have ever seen. It’s adjacent to the bike path, which offers a great (stroller-friendly) opportunity to stretch your legs and take in a little scenery.  There are ponds along the path, and many types of animals may be observed such as turtles basking on logs, birds, frogs, caterpillars and even an occasional snake!

Another great spot is Ipswich River Park in North Reading!  In addition to a grassy area with walking trails, there is a small play area with a sandbox, swings, climbing structure, and a big track you can walk around, a skateboard park for your older children, plenty of picnic tables (many in the shade!) and lots of open space to run.  Also – they’ve got bathrooms there as well!

Lynch Park in Beverly is a beautiful waterfront park with a NEW play structure and a NEW splash pad! There are also plenty of picnic tables, two beaches, lots of grassy areas to roam about in, and a beautiful Rose Garden. Non-Residents of Beverly pay a parking fee of $8 on weekdays and $20 on weekends (yikes!) but this park is worth it.  The downside?  The public restrooms don’t open until Memorial Day. {You used to be able to use the restroom in the Beverly Recreation office building [first floor, to the right inside the door], but I don’t know if that is still an option!}

There’s also a great toddler playground on the North Side of Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, across from the Gingerbread Construction Company.  This small, fully fenced park has nice baby swings as well as a structure geared for younger kids. After you push your little one for a bit, you may want to tighten up your sneakers and take a lap around the lake (3.25 miles) or maybe you’re more interested in getting some muffins across the street – either way, this is a great spot to stop!

So, why not pack up your baby and head outside to enjoy the season? A good dose of Vitamin D will feel great, and the fresh air will do wonders for you and baby, too!

If you’ve got a brand-new baby at home and an active toddler, consider taking your postpartum doula with you to the park. She can help with the baby while you spend some much-needed playtime with older brother or sister.  When baby is ready to nurse, we will hand him/her over to you and keep an eye on your older child.  Yes, The Baby Mavens can help in this way, too! We can even drive your car if you’ve had a C-Section and haven’t been cleared to drive yet!

*Lauren

Expecting? Setting up your Registry for your baby shower? Time to buy an infant carseat?

Most new parents prefer to buy a Bucket-Style carseat.  This can be used REAR-FACING only.  Depending on which seat you buy you can probably use it easily for the first year, until it is outgrown by height or weight as listed in the product manual. It is easily removed from the car for ease in carrying a sleeping baby into the house, or can be clicked onto a stroller without disturbing the baby.  But, there are so many of them on the market, which one should you buy?  While I can’t tell you that, I can tell you my top 3 choices!  Read on…

Chicco KeyFit 30 

Cybex Aton/Aton2

Graco Snugride 35 LX

And,  HERE is a great article about carseats from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)!

After you get your new carseat, please consider having your install and usage checked professionally.  Oftentimes there are car seat events held at mall parking lots, schools, or fire stations, for example.  To find one in your area, contact http://www.Safekids.org or if you’re local

North_Shore_Ma_Map

to The Baby Mavens, call us to make a private appointment with ME.

Happy Shopping!

*Lauren

I bet you are EXHAUSTED!

When you start announcing your pregnancy, and your belly starts growing people will for sure start to comment “get some sleep now while you can!”, and “you won’t sleep again for 18 years!”. Helpful, right? None of those comments will begin to prepare you for the sleep deprived, shell shocked, zombie-like state you may be in during those first weeks and months after giving birth. As if putting your body through the trauma of giving birth, and adjusting to the hormones wasn’t bad enough. Now you are lucky to get an hour or two of sleep at a time. There is not enough coffee in the world to help you now. (Not to mention the advice that people will give you about drinking coffee if you are breastfeeding!)

Tired young couple yawning in bed

Take a deep breath new Moms and Dads! There is help, and relief out there!

The Baby Mavens offer OVERNIGHT newborn, infant, and baby help. Your Maven will come to your home at night, usually a little before you are hoping to “go to bed” for the night. She will bring your precious new baby into a guest room, or even the living room, and get this- SHE will get up with baby when he wakes to be fed. If Mom is breastfeeding, she will come to your room and gently wake you. Mom feeds her baby, gives him a kiss goodnight, and goes BACK TO BED. Your Maven will burp, change, swaddle, and get baby back to sleep. And if your darling baby is bottle fed, and you WANT to sleep, that’s what you do. Just keep sleeping. THROUGH the night. The WHOLE night.
Imagine waking up the next morning, feeling refreshed, and ready to take on the day. Haven’t you thought, just once- “If only I could get just ONE night of sleep!” Well, you can! Call The Baby Mavens today. We even offer bundles and packages so that you get a discount by booking a few nights together.
When you are having a tough day, you can say to yourself: “My Baby Maven is coming tonight! I can get through this, I get to sleep tonight!”

Just what does a Postpartum Doula do anyway?

Whenever I tell someone I am a postpartum doula, I get a variety of reactions.  Some people think I am a birth doula and say something like “Oh, I could never be in the delivery room, I am not good with blood”.  Others express their concerns about “Having someone take over” or “Telling me how to parent”.  And others say something along the lines of “*Sigh, wouldn’t that be nice? But this isn’t my first baby, so I don’t need the extra education”.

So, today, I want to tell you what a Postpartum Doula does and DOES NOT do.

First and foremost, we are not all earth-loving, baby-wearing, holistic, breastfeeding-til-schoolage, essential oil pushing, co-sleeping, delay-vaccinating, stay-at-home mothers!  If you are all of those things, we support your choices.  Likewise if you are a formula-feeding, use a crib from day one, circumcising, high-powered career mother who is going back to work in 4 weeks – we support all of those choices as well. You may even be some of the former and some of the latter… Guess what?  That’s okay too!

We are not there to push our ideals on you IN ANY WAY!  

A postpartum doula is there to support you as a new parent, to help you find what works best for you and your family!

     We can help you recognize what matters most to you, and help you achieve that.  We want you to be confident and comfortable in your new role as parents. We will never take over or tell you how things ‘should’ be. We can answer questions for you and offer evidence-based support and guidance to help you make important decisions about your personal parenting style.

A postpartum doula will not prevent you from bonding with  you baby!

     In fact, we are there to facilitate that bonding experience.  We will take care of some of the household chores so you can snuggle and cuddle your baby all you want.  You won’t have to worry about the laundry, or feeding the dog, or what is for dinner.  Having an extra sent of hands around so you can focus on your newborn as well as your own healing can be an invaluable experience.

Postpartum doulas are not just for first-time moms!

     Maybe you don’t need a lesson on how to give baby’s first bath, you can do a mean swaddle, and maybe you remember all the steps to installing the carseat, (*disclaimer – being a postpartum doula does not mean you are educated on carseat safely, but The Baby Mavens has a CPST on staff!) but every baby is different, and each new birth is a new experience for the family.  We can even give you some tips on how to help big brother or big sister adjust to the new baby.

Postpartum doulas are for dads, and adoptive parents too!

     Yes, a doula’s main focus is to “Mother the Mother” – to help her adjust to her role physically and emotionally.  But fathers benefit greatly from a little education, support and guidance.  He has a new place in the household also.  Not only is he a new father, but he is the husband of a new mother. Maybe he’s not sure what the signs of postpartum depression are, or maybe he just needs a few pointers on soothing the new baby – The Baby Mavens are here to help. Perhaps you’ve become a new parent in a non-traditional way, via surrogacy or adoption.  Well, you are still adjusting to becoming a parent, and we can help make that adjustment as smooth as possible.

Remember, The Baby Mavens want to help your family in whatever way makes sense for you.

Looking forward to working with your family one day,

Lauren

I am *that friend*. I admit it. Sometimes I just can’t keep my mouth shut….

When it comes to proper carseat usage anyway.  I am the one who sees your precious little peanut in a picture on Facebook and inboxes you saying, “Oh, Baby is so cute, but did you know that she can’t wear that big bulky coat in the carseat, and those straps have to be waaaay tighter than you’ve got them.  Oh, and yeah, about that chest clip…”

I don’t know when my passion for carseat safety got so intense, but it is. I was constantly buying new seats for my son as I learned of a “better” one on the market, or one that might allow me to keep him harnessed a bit longer than the one I currently had. For years, I have been “that friend” who everyone calls to ask for advice on installing their carseat.

*Is this seat installed tight enough?

*Is this where the chest clip goes? Is she secured snugly?

*Which seat is best for my baby?

*What is the best way to install this seat? LATCH or seatbelt?

*Can I use this mirror?

*No? – Why not? it says it’s “crash-tested”!

AND, my favorite: Can I turn my one-year-old baby forward facing?  He hates to be rear-facing, and his legs are so squished! No – He needs to stay rear-facing. Take a look at some of the positions your baby or toddler plays in.  He doesn’t mind crossing his legs.  He isn’t uncomfortable. There is no question that rear-facing babies are the most protected passengers in the vehicle. Keep your baby rear-facing until at least age two, but as long as possible within the height/weight limits of your seat. Extended rear-facing just may save his life one day!

Fast forward to December 17, 2014.  My first day of my CPST Class! WOW – so informative, and humbling, too.  Found out I didn’t know as much as I thought. #neverstoplearning I love being in classes/school in general (OK, fine, I am a bit of a nerd!) Being in this class was amazing!  I was a sponge soaking it all in. I learned about all types of seatbelts, and how to use them safely and properly. I learned how to install a variety of carseats (infant “bucket” seats or rear-facing only, convertible seats – converts from rear-facing to forward-facing, combination seats – forward facing with harness, changes to belt-positioning booster, high-back boosters, no-back boosters ) in a variety of cars. Sometimes it’s not easy.  Occasionally, one carseat just may not be compatible with a particular car. There is no one universal fit.

Confused yet?  I’m not!  If you would like a private lesson on your carseat, and learn how to install it properly in your vehicle, just call me to set up an appointment. It’s probably way easier than taking a 3-day course.

CPST happening now! Yahoo!

Day one of my Carseat Tech class today.  This is so great!  I am so happy that The Baby Mavens will soon be able to officially add that we have a Certified Carseat Expert on staff! I will be able to help you with choosing the right carseat for your child and the vehicle it will be installed in, teaching you how to install it properly and also ensuring that you are educated on how to use it right as well.

*Lauren