Help Your Child Learn to Swim!

Lifestyle

Summer is officially in full swing, which means it’s time for pool parties, beach visits, and water play! If you have a little one in your house, you’re probably concerned about whether your child is water safe… Good for you, mama and dada! It’s so important to get our children comfortable around water at a young age! After all, the CDC reports that drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4, and no parent wants to experience the nightmare of an accidental drowning.

At the beginning of this summer, I made a concerted effort to get my kids swimming on their own. We recently remodeled our backyard with a new pool, and it was very important to my husband and me that our children would be safe in and around the water. I’m so proud to say that at 3.5 years old and 19 months old, both kiddos are swimming! Currently, the oldest one can swim to the bottom of the shallow end and pick up diving toys. He also can take a breath on his own while swimming across the pool and he’s working on developing his freestyle stroke. The youngest one can swim about 14 feet across the pool. She hasn’t mastered taking a breath while swimming yet, but I think she might before summer ends! Both children know how to find the edge of the pool when in trouble, which is a relief to mama. But, my favorite part about their swimming is that they LOVE it! They love feeling their weightless body in the water and exploring new ways to play in the pool. It’s so rewarding for me as a mama to see my kids safely love and play in the water!

Playing in the pool with my youngest child

I’ve been so happy with my kids’ progress this summer that I’ve been sharing videos of them swimming on my Instagram and TikTok. Every time I post a video, I get so many DM’s from parents asking for tips on how to get their children to swim, too. As a former swim instructor, I wish I could take all the credit, but my kids aren’t always fond of following my swim guidance – haha! But, because there’s been so much interest from other parents, I wanted to share a post about what’s worked for our family to get our kids swimming! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to check out some of my favorite kid-friendly pool products, too!

Watch our 19-month-old swim!

6 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Swim

  1. Exposure, Exposure, Exposure!

This is listed as the first tip because it’s the most important! The more your child is in the water, the more comfortable they will get with how their body feels in the water and more likely they are to easily learn to swim. Please don’t consider swim lessons the same as practice for another sport or activity. Unlike going to their once-a-week dance class or twice-a-week basketball practice, little kids need to be in the water almost daily to learn to swim. When I was a lifeguard and swim instructor (almost 15 years ago – yikes!), I’d teach morning swim lessons on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. There were some kids whose parents only brought them to the swim lessons and I never saw them at the pool any other time. Then, there were the parents who let their kids stay after swim lessons to play. Even better, there were a couple parents who brought their child every day to the pool to play. Guess who learned to swim that summer? The kids who came to the pool every day were little fish by time the summer was over! The ones who only showed up to the lessons knew the basics but ultimately weren’t very comfortable in the water. I know this can be a challenge for families who don’t have regular access to a pool. If you take lessons at a public pool, ask the instructor if it’s okay for your child to play on the steps for 10 minutes when the lessons are over. Even a baby pool or smaller inflatable pool at home is a great way to get your child exposed to water play. Let them play longer in the bathtub, too! Scroll to the bottom of this post to see some of my favorite baby pool products!

Playing in a baby pool to help with exposure to water

2. Take Swim Lessons

As a former swim instructor, I honestly never thought I’d need to sign my children up for swim lessons. I thought that water exposure and my own instruction would be good enough. Well, just like almost every parent-child relationship that’s come before us, my firstborn child was not interested in my instruction. As he was getting older and still not swimming on his own, I decided it was time to bring in assistance. We did an 8-day intensive private swim lesson that was 30 minutes a day for our oldest and 15 minutes a day for our youngest. The oldest was in a class with two other kids his age. My youngest did her class alone. I was thrilled with the results of our lessons! After 8 days, both kids were swimming to the wall on their own! Lessons with an instructor other than myself forced my children to learn the skills they needed to get comfortable in the water. The lessons helped my kids develop a respect and love for the water, because they were doing it on their own. They felt proud that they could swim without mommy! It also was fun my for my oldest to swim with other kids his age. While the 8-day private swim lessons are a phenomenal way to get your kid swimming, I believe that any swim instruction is beneficial. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see recommended swim lessons in Pasadena, Calif. and surrounding areas!

Our son Landon, age 3, at semi-private swim practice

3. Allow for Free Play

It’s just as important to give your child the opportunity for free play in the water as it is to give them swim lessons! This way, your child associates the pool with fun rather than only strict instruction. If getting in the pool is fun, they’re more likely to swim! This is especially great for the kids that are scared of water or nervous about lessons with a new teacher. To incorporate more free play, I recommend getting to your swim lessons 15 minutes early and sitting on the steps with your kids with a water safe toy of their choice — maybe a plastic car, boat, or doll from home, for example. You can also bring water toys or diving toys, but if they’ve never played with a diving stick before, it may add to the uncomfortable nature of the pool. Bringing something they’re familiar with makes it safe. Allow your child to go at their pace to get in the pool and get used to the water. After swim lessons, ask the instructor if you can stick around for a few minutes to play more. If the facility has a baby pool, that’s a fun place to let your child free play, too. As I mentioned before, the more exposure they have to water – no matter where it is – the better. Encourage other children from swim lessons to join in. If you have easy access to a pool, schedule pool play dates so your kids learn how much fun it is to swim with friends! Even playing with kids in mini plastic or blow-up pools at home is helpful. I included a few options for baby pools at the bottom of this page, along with some toys that are great for free play.

Our daughter enjoying unstructured free play in the water

4. Play With Them

Let your kids see how much fun swimming can be by playing with them in the water! Not only do little kids love the opportunity to play with their parents, but they’re also the best mimickers at this young age. I promise that if your child sees you enjoying the water, they’ll have more interest in playing in the water, too! Imagine being forced to do swim lessons in a big scary pool with a stranger while your parents sit off to the side and watch. That’s not always a fun situation for a little one, especially if their personality is more on the sensitive side. But, if you got in the water to play with your kids in between lessons, I’m certain they’d start feeling more comfortable with a little bit of time. When I get in the water with my kids, I try to show them what fun things they can learn by blowing bubbles, floating on my back, swimming to the bottom of the pool, doing handstands and front flips, etc. They love watching mommy be playful! Be sure to make it pressure-free playtime. Ask if they want to try to blow bubbles with you, and if they say no, respect it. Eventually, they come around and want to play, too!

My husband playing in the pool with our toddlers

5. Bring Positive, Patient Energy

Your children match your attitude towards the water. If you act fearful of the pool, so will they. If you love the water, your children will, too. Be really conscious of your reactions when they’re around the water. Don’t panic or overreact when they get splashed or accidentally go under water. That will immediately teach them that the pool is not a safe place. If they accidentally go under water, calmly pick them up, look at them in the eyes, and say something caring but relaxed like, “Whoa! You went under! Was that fun?” It also helps to give them a positive pep talk before swimming so they enter the situation confidently. For example, when we’re driving to swim lessons, I like to positively narrate to my children what they can expect from the day. I’ll usually say something like this: “We’re on our way to swim lessons. It’s going to be fun so fun! Coach Tim (or enter the name of your swim instructor here) is so nice and wants to help you be a great swimmer. There will be other kids there to play with, too! It’s a big pool, but you’ll only swim in a small area. Mommy is so excited to watch you swim with everyone. We’ll all be watching you and close by, so you’ll be very safe. You should be so proud of yourself for trying something new today!” Setting up positive expectations for your child helps reduce the fear around learning to swim! Lastly, please be patient with your little one. I know it can get frustrating to see your child sitting on the edge of the pool while the other kids happily play in the water, but allowing your child to go at their own pace will help them develop trust with the water and you. As long as you keep exposing your child to the fun of the pool, I promise they’ll eventually learn to swim!

Don’t be concerned if your child is like mine — desperately holding on to the side instead of playing with the other kids. This is the same child that is swimming freestyle in the video I shared earlier in my post! This picture and that video were taken one week apart! All kids come around with time!

6. Don’t Introduce Floaties

Okay, this is a tough one. I know those baby and toddler floaties can be so tempting to put on your children to ensure they’re safe in the water. But, if you really want your kid to start swimming at a young age, don’t even bother. The floaties are a signal to children that they’re not safe in the water without them. Floaties quickly become a crutch and a very tough item to transition away from. Because I used to be a lifeguard and swim instructor, I swore to myself that I wouldn’t introduce floaties to my kids. While I was working at the pool everyday, I saw firsthand how the kids who became attached to their floaties took longer to swim on their own. Flash forward to a decade later when we were at a pool party with our 2 year old and 7 month old, and to be honest, my husband and I were TIRED of holding and entertaining our children in the water. As exhausted new parents, we craved a moment to chill by the pool and talk to adults while our kids played safely in the water. We saw this swim vest on another child and liked it because it didn’t have big tubes around the arms like other traditional swim floaties. I thought it could be a good floaty that would still encourage our children to learn to use their arms in the water. We got one for our oldest child, and while it did give mom and dad a few breaks by the pool, he got addicted to the swim vest. He knew he was safe in it because mom and dad acted more relaxed when he was wearing it. Before we knew it, he wouldn’t take off the swim vest even if we offered to hold him in the water. He finally broke the swim vest habit once we put him in the 8-day intensive private swim lessons, but looking back, I really wish I would have kept him out of it from the beginning. With that said, if you are a parent that just never wants to get in the water or can’t keep a close eye on your child, buy the floaties. It’s better to be safe above everything else. But, if you want your child to be a confident swimmer at a young age, don’t do floaties. Our youngest, who is 20 months old, has never worn floaties and she can swim about 14 feet across the pool by herself. She can swim out, turn around, and swim back to the edge. It’s amazing to me!

Those are my six tips to help encourage your child to learn to swim! I’d love to hear your tips on how you taught your child learned to swim, too! Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on my Instagram and TikTok!

My happy swimmers!

Best Products for Early Swimmers:

Mini Pools for Home:

If you don’t have a pool in your backyard and rarely have access to a big pool, it’s great to keep up exposure in a mini pool at home! Even if you do have a big pool in your backyard, our kids still love playing with their toys in a baby pool!

Mellow Yellow Kiddie Pool – A more aesthetically pleasing pool that adults may like to wade in, too.

Tropical Palm Splash Pool – Another more “adult” looking pool that you wouldn’t mind having in your backyard for a party.

Venezia Luxe Inflatable Pool – A luxury mini pool for your bougie baby.

Play Day Round Kiddie Pool – A cheapy but a goodie

Inflatable Ocean Scene Sun Shade Kids Swimming Pool – The canopy makes this a perfect first pool for your tiniest swimmers.

Swim Toys and Tools:

Chuchik Diving Toys: All the diving toys you need in a convenient mesh carrying bag.

Junior Kick Board – Our son fell in love with kick boards after a swim lesson and its been fun for him to practice his kicks.

Splash Swim Goggles – These goggles won’t get tangled in your child’s hair!

Kids Speedo Goggles – Trusted brand Speedo makes great kids goggles.

Swim Lessons Recommendations in Pasadena, Calif. and Surrounding Areas:

  • Rose Bowl Aquatics Center: The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center has long been recognized for its great swim lessons with experienced instructors. They have options for group, private, and semi-private lessons. If your child is under 3 years old, one parent has to be with the child in the water during lessons. The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center’s pool is outdoors, so I know it’s been a popular option for families in the summer or for people who don’t love indoor pools. I personally love that the Aquatics Center is right next to Brookside Park and Kidspace Children’s Museum. You can make a fun family day out of swim lessons by visiting Kidspace or hitting up the playground before or after the Aquatic Center. Learn more at https://www.rosebowlaquatics.org/.
  • Waterworks Aquatics Pasadena: Waterworks is dedicated to teaching children and adults the lifelong skills they need to feel comfortable and confident in the water. The pool is indoors and heated year-round, so its always comfortable for lessons. Waterworks has private lessons, semi-private lessons, and parent-and-me lessons. For kids 5 and older, Waterworks offers stroke clinics for kids to develop their technique. Learn more at https://www.waterworksswim.com/locations/pasadena
  • YMCA of the Foothills: You don’t have to be a member of the YMCA to take advantage of their phenomenal swim programs. The YMCA of the Foothills has three campuses, and two of them have indoor pools available for swim lessons: CCY (Crescenta-Canada) and VHY (Verdugo Hills). The YMCA offers parent-child lessons, group preschool lessons, youth lessons (ages 6-12), adult lessons, and private lessons. The group preschool lessons are especially attractive for parents who aren’t interested in getting in the water with their child. Learn more at https://www.ymcafoothills.org/aquatics.

What products have you loved for your little swimmer? Do you have any great recommendations on where to take swim lessons in the Pasadena or LA area? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on my Instagram and TikTok!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Kid-Friendly West Hollywood: The Best Dining, Hotels and Activities for Families in WeHo!

Lifestyle, Travel

I had so much fun speaking with Tracy Paaso and Felicia Terwilliger, hosts of the “We Know WeHo” podcast, about all things family related in West Hollywood! One of my biggest hopes in using this platform is to be a helpful resource to parents with young children. As a mommy with two little ones, I know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to make the transition from being young, fun and childless to a responsible new parent. I was one of the first of my friends to have kids and had no idea what to expect from parenthood, in addition to having no clue where to take my children in L.A.! Now, after a few years of experience, I’m here to help you find the best for families in Los Angeles – and, in this case, West Hollywood! Read on to learn more about my history with West Hollywood, and I’ll also recap all the kid-friendly restaurants, shops, hotels and activities that I mentioned in my interview on the “We Know WeHo” podcast! Read more about this podcast episode on Wehoville.com!

My West Hollywood Story

I absolutely love West Hollywood. During my 13+ years in Los Angeles (over 10 years living here and 3 years visiting), I have spent lots of time in West Hollywood. When I was single, it was a hotspot for nightlife, dining, and parties. My girlfriends and I used to love going to Skybar at Mondrian Hotel, The Belmont, Rock & Reilly’s, Pink Taco and the now closed Hyde Lounge, Pearl’s Rooftop, Bagatelle, and The Hudson. Once I started dating my now husband, we loved date nights at Laurel Hardware, Eveleigh, Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Ysabel, and STK Steakhouse (which has now relocated to STK Westwood). Even after kids, date nights and group dinners with friends are always memorable in WeHo, especially at Catch, Cecconi’s, Gracias Madre, Toca Madera, and E.P. & L.P.

Before Kids! My 30th Birthday in West Hollywood at Toca Madera

West Hollywood is a fun destination for live entertainment. The music scene is legendary on the iconic Sunset Strip, and my husband I have spent lots of time there before and after kids watching live music and even playing live music — my husband used to play bass guitar in a local band! I’ve watched my husband play at The Viper Room and The Roxy, and we’ve seen some phenomenal shows at The Troubadour and Whisky A Go-Go. Our favorite date nights involve a comedy show, and there’s always top talent at Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store!

West Hollywood is a fabulous destination for working professionals, too, with its multiple co-working spaces and walking accessibility to so many great restaurants and shops! In 2017, I started my own PR business and bought-in at a co-working space called The Wing, which is the perfect place for working moms. The Wing is dedicated to inclusivity and lifting up women in the workforce, and the West Hollywood location was a great place for me to network with other working mommies and attend inspirational events hosted by top women in their respective industries. I once attended a screening and Q&A with Maggie Gyllenhaal that discussed her show “The Deuce” and focused on women in film and media’s portrayal of women. It was really cool! The Wing also has beautiful pump rooms for breastfeeding moms, and I’ve often seen strollers and children wandering around the space while moms work. I gave up my membership during the pandemic to create my own work-from-home space, but prior to the pandemic, The Wing offered “The Little Wing” which was a playroom and babysitting service. I’m not sure if they still have that now, but it was such an outstanding perk for moms – and kids!

Kid-Friendly West Hollywood

When most people think of West Hollywood, they imagine the very adult version of the city with its sexy dining, nightlife and music scenes, but I’m here to tell you that West Hollywood can be a very fun destination for kids, too! Below are the best restaurants, hotels, parks and activities that I mentioned in my “We Know WeHo” podcast interview with Tracy Paaso and Felicia Terwilliger. For all the juicy details on each business, you’ll have to take a listen to the podcast! Since Felicia is currently pregnant, we also discussed some of the best places for moms for prenatal and postpartum self-care! Check out the best WeHo businesses for families listed below, and take a listen to the podcast here! The podcast is also on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts. My interview starts around the 35-minute mark.  

Enjoying the patio at Hugo’s while we wait for our food

Restaurants:

  • Hugo’s – Expansive menu for adults and great menu for kids! They provide crayons for coloring while you wait for your food! My kids like the macaroni and cheese and sitting on the patio!
  • Mel’s Drive-In – Fun classic diner! Kids food comes in car boxes!
  • Bottega Louie – Kids love the pastries!
  • Justin Quesos – Not necessarily designed for kids, but Tex-Mex is my favorite and kids live the queso and quesadillas! Go early for a more family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Shake Shack – Kids love the fries and frozen custard! Mommy and daddy love the burgers!
  • Carney’s – Iconic LA restaurant in a train car – so fun for kids!
  • Urth Caffe – We enjoy sitting on the patio. Or, you could get the food to go and make the 10 minute walk to Hollywood Park for a picnic!

Shops:

  • Eggy – Not technically in WeHo city limits, but serves many WeHo families with fashionable kids clothes and accessories.
  • Sunset Kids – High-end kids hop – great for gifts and novelty items!

Hotels:

  • Le Parc Suite Hotel – Recently renovated with colorful, artistic decor. All guest rooms are expansive suites with kitchenettes, fireplaces and sleeper sofas, so it is easy for families to make the hotel feel like home. Rooftop pool and rooftop tennis court are nice places for fun and recreation! While most WeHo hotels aren’t necessarily geared toward younger children, Le Parc Suite Hotel and it’s sister properties, Chamberlain and Montrose, are great for kids with their large suites, rooftop pools, access to house bikes and walkability to some of the best restaurants and shops in the U.S.!
  • Ziggy – Not exactly kid-friendly, but an awesome newly renovated property on the Sunset Strip to have a couples staycation without the kids! 

Classes:

  • BOUNCE LA –  An outdoor soft play gym and obstacle course led by fun coaches! Classes are not currently held at any WeHo parks, but they cater to a lot of West Hollywood families at their Coldwater Canyon location. The amazing coaches also host kids birthday parties in local families’ backyards and offer programs for schools!
  • PLAY Music & Art – A great selection of classes for your little artist or musician. This is another business that’s located on the edge of WeHo but serves many WeHo families. They also offer online classes, so you can utilize their classes anywhere!
  • West Hollywood Library Smarty Pants Class – Wonderful music and storytime class that helps prepare little ones for preschool and kindergarten.

Parks:

  • West Hollywood Park – Undergoing a massive renovation that includes a brand-new playground and aquatics center. This will be a fabulous place to take kids once its complete later this year!
  • Kings Road – Quiet, shaded park with a small play structure. Best suited for toddlers.
  • Plummer Park – Nice, small park for a picnic or to play tennis.
Playtime at Kings Road Park

Estheticians for Prenatal and Postpartum Self-Care:

  • SkinLab – Owner Joshua Ross saved my skin from pregnancy’s hormonal acne! He used to be based in WeHo when I was pregnant, but he’s now is located in West LA and South Bay.
  • Dermalogica – This flagship location recently opened in WeHo and has been a great place for postpartum skincare.

Family-Friendly Day Trips From WeHo:

  • Kidspace Museum – An amazing place for children to play and explore in Pasadena!
  • Exposition Park – The California Science Center is a great place for kids to explore and learn!
  • Griffith Park’s Travel Town – If your children love trains, they’ll get a huge kick out of this museum with several old locomotives to explore! There’s also a mini train ride!

Not Mentioned in the Podcast:

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Just outside WeHo city limits, LACMA’s Boone Children’s Gallery hosts drop-in painting classes where their friendly staff provides tips on brush techniques. They even provide high chairs for our littlest artists! They also offer teen classes and camps that you can sign up for on the website. Kids under 17 can join their youth membership called NexGenLA where they can visit the museum anytime for free with a guest for free admission. Even babies can join!
  • The Grove – One of LA’s most beautiful outdoor shopping destinations, The Grove caters to many West Hollywood families (and all families across the LA!). It’s such a fun place for little ones with its trolley and fountains. My favorite restaurants at The Grove with kids are Blue Ribbon Sushi, Umami Burger and The Cheesecake Factory. Everyone loves a special treat from Sprinkles Cupcakes! The Grove has one of my most favorite children’s stores, Janie & Jack, along with a Nordstrom and Gap that offer clothing for kids of all ages.
  • Yardbird Restaurant – Located on the edge of WeHo at The Beverly Center, this is a tasty restaurant with a great kids menu! They serve elevated American classics like fried chicken, shrimp & grits, St. Louis style ribs and grilled blackened salmon. I love their brunch here!

What did I miss? Tell me your favorite family-friendly West Hollywood spots in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

Award-Winning Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for New Moms

Holidays, Mom & Baby

The very first Mother’s Day as a new mama may be one of the most important and memorable. There are so many special milestones in the first year with baby, like first words, first steps, and each month’s birthday, but the first Mother’s Day is a unique milestone because it’s all about celebrating MOM!

If you’re stumped about what to get an expecting or new mom for Mother’s Day, look no further! I’ve teamed up with L.A. Parent magazine to share top gift ideas from the National Parenting Product Awards, which features the best family products tested and rated by real mothers! The NAPPA Awards work closely with L.A. Parent magazine to provide their readers with unique and quality gift ideas, and we think these are the very best for new mamas!! The NAPPA Awards has been celebrating the best in family products for 32 years, and L.A. Parent has been a part of the Los Angeles community for 42 years, so you can trust their tips and guidance as you navigate your parenting journey!

L.A. Parent magazine works closely with NAAPA Awards to feature the best products for parents! Here, I’m wearing the award-winning Cloud Robe by Bumpsuit, which we think is a top Mother’s Day gift idea!

Below, I’ve outlined our top Mother’s Day gift ideas that have been recognized by NAAPA as best products for parents! You also can watch me demonstrate these products live on TV on KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 9:45 a.m.!! If you don’t live in Los Angeles, the show is streaming online at ktla.com!

6 Award-Winning Mother’s Day Gift Ideas For New Moms:

  1. The Cloud Robe by Bumpsuit

This buttery soft robe does just as its name suggests –- mamas feel like they are lounging on a cloud! Designed and sold by Bumpsuit, the new maternity fashion brand beloved by celebrities, the Cloud Robe’s super soft brushed jersey material gently stretches with the body to maintain max fit and support throughout women’s different stages of pregnancy and beyond. The design is elegant yet simple and comes in a timeless beautiful ivory shade. The fabric holds its shape and quality even after washing! What I love most about this robe is that all mama’s will love it no matter where they are in their prenatal or postpartum journey. Help mama lounge while still feeling chic and comfy in this gorgeous robe!

2.     Milkmakers Bath Tea + Foot Soak by Munchkin

Treat mama-to-be to an at-home spa day with these luxurious, all-natural, pregnancy-safe bath soak sachets to help relax tired muscles and moisturize dry skin. Think of it like taking an elevated Epsom salt bath, with bonus itchy belly relief! Use 1 sachet to soak swollen feet or 1-2 sachets for full body bath. Deeply calming botanicals like French lavender and chamomile mingle with rolled oats and pure Epsom salt for the ultimate self-care treat. Pair this soak with the Cloud Robe above for a wonderful pampering gift!

3. Mbrio Pregnancy Earbud Adapters by Mbrio Tech 

Now mamas can easily and safely share their music with their babies with Mbrio – the only patented innovation that uses mom’s own earbuds to share music with baby in the womb! They’re so easy to use – just pop your earbuds into the adapters, clip them to your waistband and feel baby move! Made from medical-grade silicone and independently tested, Mbrio’s adapters are safe for baby’s ears, skin-safe, comfortable and ultra-lightweight. Prenatal music is important, because it soothes baby, helps with bonding, stimulates movement and stimulates baby’s brain and memory! This may be the coolest gift on this list! I wish I would have had these when I was pregnant!

4.     On-The-Go Backpack by TWELVElittle 

Every mom needs a great diaper bag, and this backpack is the perfect stylish bag that can be carried for any occasion — family outings, work functions and travels! For families that travel, the bag’s backside has a zipper pocket with an opening on the top and bottom, to be used as a sleeve to fit through luggage handles. The spacious main compartment has five pockets for maximum organization, and a separate opening for a fully padded laptop sleeve. The D-rings at the back of the backpack allows the bag to be attached to a stroller using the TWELVElittle Stroller Clip Set (sold separately). Made with functional water-resistant materials and vegan leather trim, this bag will hold up throughout all your children’s diaper years and beyond.

5. Sleep Bag by Kyte Baby

Kyte Baby has long been a favorite clothing brand of mine for my babies because of its super soft, comfy materials and variety of colors. This super cozy Sleep Bag from Kyte Baby is the perfect gift to help both mama and baby get sleep — because when baby sleeps, mama sleeps!! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies do not sleep with blankets, so this Sleep Bag is like a wearable blanket to keep your baby cozy and comfortable all night long! The 97% bamboo rayon fabric is breathable and buttery soft to the touch. This Sleep Bag also features a J-shaped double zipper, which makes it easy for mom to take on and off and during middle-of-the-night diaper changes. Kyte Baby’s sleep bag also comes in three different fabric warmth levels, so you can ensure baby’s temperature is comfortable all night. Kyte Baby uses the TOG rating system for measuring fabric warmth for parents to simply select which sleep bag their baby needs based on the typical temperature in their nursery. If you’re confused on what TOG to choose, don’t worry, Kyte Baby’s website helps guide you through it!

5. Crib Mattress by SleepOvation Baby

A crib mattress is probably one of the most useful products a mom can have for baby, and the SleepOvation Baby mattress is probably the safest and most comfortably designed baby mattress on the market! SleepOvation’s mattress is designed to combat plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) with its patented design that reduces pressure on the head while keeping the spine correctly aligned. It comes with a removable and washable cover, and the interior mattress core has built-in air channels to increase breathability, while also providing temperature regulation. What’s amazing about this mattress is that it’s a 2-stage design providing use for both newborn and toddler phases! After your baby’s first birthday, simply turn the mattress over for a softer mattress that insures proper spine alignment. The toddler side also features a waterproof backing that helps keep those leaky diapers contained. One of the things I love most for mom is how lightweight this mattress is! Most crib mattresses are big and bulky, which makes it complicated to change crib sheets. This mattress is much easier for mom to maneuver, which is a big relief when doing laundry!

More Great Gift Ideas:

These aren’t the only great gift ideas for mom! The NAPPA Awards features so many great Mother’s Day gift ideas, and they’re constantly updating their site with new winners, so check back often! Take a look at the NAPPA Awards website and let me know your favorite products! https://www.nappaawards.com/

And, be sure to check out L.A. Parent magazine for additional parenting resources, like family-friendly activities, events and travel destinations, along with community news and parenting advice! https://www.laparent.com/

Mamas! Let me know which of these 6 products you’d like to receive for Mother’s Day in the comments below!

  1. The Cloud Robe by Bumpsuit
  2. Milkmakers Bath Tea + Foot Soak by Munchkin
  3. Mbrio Pregnancy Earbud Adapters by Mbrio Tech
  4. On-The-Go Backpack by TWELVElittle
  5. Sleep Bag by Kyte Baby
  6. Crib Mattress by SleepOvation Baby

Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more family-friendly ideas and content!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

 

10 Self-Care Tips for New Moms

Health & Wellness, Mom & Baby

Finding self-care as a new mom is REALLY hard!

The day after my firstborn joined our family, I remember thinking to myself, “I’ll never be alone again!” Suddenly, finding time for myself felt almost impossible, and if I did find a moment alone, I felt guilty. As an anxious new mom, my thoughts revolved around the baby while also trying to maintain my pre-baby relationship with my husband. Self-care swiftly moved to the bottom of my priority list, and it became even more challenging to find “me” time once I started working again. So much of my life changed so quickly that I felt like I lost myself overnight! I was three months into life with a new baby, and I broke down… I realized this was my new life, and the excitement of it being new had worn off. I was exhausted and desperately craved some self-care time!

If any of this sounds familiar, I hope it’s brought you some assurance that you’re not alone! I also hope it inspires you not to let yourself get to a breaking point like I did!

Soon after my breakdown, I realized that I had to make a plan to take care of myself or else I’d end up angry and depressed. I loved our newborn and I loved my husband, and I didn’t want to start resenting them. It was up to me to make the changes in my new life to ensure I got the self-care that I needed to be a happy mommy.

Below are my best tips for finding self-care as a new mama. I’m so happy I put these tips into practice a couple months after having my first baby. They became routine habits for me with baby #1 and then made the adjustment to baby #2 (when time is even more limited!) so much easier! With that said, these tips aren’t just for NEW moms… All busy mamas can utilize these tips!

Sometimes, we need some retail inspiration to motivate a new self-care journey! To shop some of my favorite self-care items on Amazon click here!

Getting my hair done with a baby on my lap… Just an example of how finding “self-care” with a new baby can be challenging!

10 Self-Care Tips for New Moms:

  1. Take Advantage of Early Mornings

If you’ve never been a morning person, having children will change that. If your kids are anything like mine, you’ll never sleep past 7 a.m. again! My tip: Wake up before your children! While getting up even earlier than your kids may sound miserable to an exhausted new parent, hear me out… Those early morning hours can be PRECIOUS “ME” TIME. If you can take 10-15 minutes to yourself in the morning before your day with the baby starts, I promise you’ll already feel more in control of your life. The days where my children dictate when I start my mornings are always harder than the days I choose when to get up. I personally prefer to wake up 30 minutes to 1 hour before my children to drink coffee, write in my journal, and read the newspaper (yes, I read the good old fashioned newspaper!). But, even if you only woke up 10 minutes before the baby, that’s 10 golden peaceful minutes to be with your own adult thoughts before the chaotic day with kids begins. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it so much that you’ll become a morning workout person! You could also meditate, read a book, do yoga… make those mornings for YOU!

2. Find Joy in Micro Moments

When there’s a new baby in the house, it may seem impossible to take an hour-long bubble bath whenever you wish. Instead of seeking those big self-care moments, try to find joy in micro moments throughout your day. When I started feeling trapped by my babies, I made a promise to myself that I’d do one small thing every single day that was just for me — for ONLY ME and nobody else! Every morning when I’d make my to-do list, at the very top I’d write one small feasible thing I could do that would bring me joy – a walk in nature, a phone call to my mom, 10 minutes alone to write in my journal, etc. At the end of a day revolved around needy little people, I always felt relief that I was able to do at least one thing for ME. And, as my babies grew and got more self-sufficient, these small things became bigger and longer: an hour-long hike by myself, a day at the spa, brunch out with girlfriends, etc. I believe this practice also taught me to find joy in the simple, which has been such a blessing.

3. Sneak in Exercise

So many moms complain that they can’t exercise because they don’t have TIME. I get it… adjusting to life with a new baby is hard! If you’re used to going to a pilates studio every day after work, but now have to come home to relieve the nanny, it can certainly feel like your exercise routine is a forever goner. This is my tip: JUST MOVE! Movement is exercise! Sneak in all the movement where ever and whenever you can! Take the baby on a stroller walk as soon as you get home from work, run up and down your stairs while the baby is napping, do a yoga video first thing in the morning before the kids wake up… And, don’t forget to plan a time that you can go back to your old pilates class, too! Because feeling like yourself and enjoying your favorite workouts is important, too! You may not be able to do everything like you did before baby, but you shouldn’t have to give it up completely. Personally, I found that I enjoyed working out so much at home that I never rejoined our expensive fancy gym after having a baby. Here on the blog, I’ve shared all my fave home gym equipment from Amazon, as well as my best tips for how to work out when you have young kids!

I go on a run while pushing the babies at least once a week, but I also make it a priority to do a solo run sometimes to feel like myself pre-baby

4. Prioritize Your Health

We mamas get so wrapped up in taking care of our family’s health that we often end up completely neglecting our own! This is your sign to drop everything you’re doing and take inventory of your health! When was the last time you went to your primary care physician? Have you been to the dentist in the last year? Is it time for a dermatologist visit? Put aside 15 minutes, call all your health providers and make those appointments! Your kids cannot be healthy without a healthy mommy!

5. Go to Sleep Early

If you’re not getting adequate sleep, you’ll never feel (or look!) your best — enough said! The best way for me to get enough sleep to is go to bed shortly after I put the children to sleep. I’m often in bed at 8:30 p.m.! I know it’s tempting to stay up late to find more “me” time, but I’ve discovered that limiting my nighttime sleep ultimately makes me feel like crap the next day. Recently, I’ve optimized my nighttime sleep with the help of Juna Nightcap Sleep Drops and Juna Nightcap Sleep Roller, which assist in getting me into a deeper sleep date — and it’s way healthier and more effective than melatonin or any other sleep aid! I’ve explained how Juna works for me in more detail in this blog post.

6. Make a Date with Friends

There’s almost nothing better than a good laugh with girlfriends. But, I know firsthand that friendships can easily take a backseat when you have a new baby in the house. Sometimes, around months 2 to 4 with a new baby, your friends may stop calling or checking in on you. Don’t take this personally, especially if none of your friends have had babies yet. Most likely, they’re assuming your new life with baby is consuming all your time, so they’re giving you space. It’s up to YOU to reach out to friends to fill your social cup. One of my favorite sayings is, “To have a friend, you have to BE a friend!” Make the effort to schedule a time to meet up with friends, and I’m certain they’d love to see you — with or without baby in tow! If you’re struggling getting out of the house, invite them over. Be vulnerable. Tell them you’re covered in breastmilk, haven’t made your bed in weeks, but really just need a gal pal to vent to. A REAL friend loves nothing more than being there for you. I recommend scheduling something with girlfriends at least once a month. If you can, try allowing your partner or caregiver to look after the baby when you meet with friends to really connect without distractions. Quality time with girlfriends is so good for the soul!

7. Join a Mommy-and-Me Class

Joining a mommy-and-me baby class was probably the very best thing I did after my first baby was born! Because we recently moved to the area and knew no one our age, in addition to being one of the very first of my friends to have a baby, joining the mommy-and-me class was the best way for me to connect with other local moms going through exactly what I was currently experiencing! I developed several good friendships from that first class, and now its fun watching our kids go to preschool together! Those ladies were the best sounding board, too, for when we were going through sleep regressions or I needed to vent about anything!! Our teacher was absolutely fabulous and taught me so much about conscious parenting and establishing solid family values, too. I liked the class so much that I signed up for a mommy-and-me class for toddlers! If you want more info about the local class I took, please feel free to contact me!

8. Communicate to Your Partner What You Need

Based on conversations with my other mom friends, I’d guess that maintaining a cordial relationship with our partners is probably one of the most stressful parts of having a newborn in the house. As mamas, we’re going through so much emotionally and physically during this time, and it can be infuriating watching our husbands continue about their lives as if nothing has changed… Must be nice to have adult conversations at work every day… Wow, you can play golf for 5 hours without having leaky breasts?… Why didn’t you know we needed more diapers?… How can you sleep?!… But, here’s the deal… Our spouses cannot read our minds! It would be amazing if they could, but men weren’t granted that superpower, unfortunately. I’m no marriage counselor, but my best advice is to effectively COMMUNICATE to your partner what you need. Tell them when you’re calm and there’s no other distractions. Clearly explain why you need 15 minutes every morning alone or why you want them to start helping with bath time or whatever it is you need! And in turn, ask them what they need! While it may not seem like it on the outside, it’s very likely they’re going through some hard changes, too… They now worry more about providing for the family, they fear they don’t know how to take care of the baby as well as you, they’re embarrassed to admit that they don’t know how to help, so sometimes they do nothing! Empathize with your partner and create a game plan to help each other through this life transition.

9. Start a Gratitude Practice

I believe it’s almost impossible to be depressed when you’re grateful. Instead of wasting energy wishing you could get your old pre-baby life back or grumbling to your partner that they don’t help enough, make a list of things you are grateful for and you’ll instantly feel better. I like to start my day with writing down three things I’m grateful for in my journal, because it sets the tone for a positive day. When times are hard, sometimes I’m simply grateful for a cup of coffee and not much else! But, since I begin my day in gratitude, I find myself adding things to the list in my mind as I go about my day! Look around… What are you grateful for that’s right in front of you?

10. Reconnect With Yourself Doing Something You Loved

If you haven’t experienced it yet, there will probably be a moment when you see an old picture of yourself from pre-baby days and think, “I miss you…” LOL! I promise your old self is still there! Make it a priority to reconnect with what makes you, YOU! Even if you haven’t taken dance since high school, join an adults’ hip hop class or take a virtual class on YouTube! Did you love traveling? Here’s your sign to go ahead and plan your first international trip with baby! Maybe you always loved and appreciated handwritten notes… Try taking up calligraphy! Love yourself by doing something you love!

My self-care time: Writing down what I’m grateful for while enjoying the sunshine. OH! And you can copy my cheapy sunglasses here!

If you need some additional inspiration, below is a list of 20 simple self-care activities! Copy and save this list in the notes section of your phone so you can always reference it when you need some T.L.C.!

  1. Take a walk outside
  2. Read a book or magazine
  3. Take a nap
  4. Meditate
  5. Pray
  6. Call a good friend or relative
  7. Start a gratitude list
  8. Write a bucket list
  9. Watch funny videos
  10. Stretch or do yoga
  11. Pour a special coffee, tea or beverage and drink it slowly
  12. Light a candle
  13. Listen to music
  14. Exercise
  15. Paint, draw or color
  16. Write down 5 things you like about yourself
  17. Give yourself a massage
  18. Paint your nails
  19. Take a bath
  20. Do a breathing exercise, like this one

Do you have any tips for finding self-care that I missed? I’d love to hear what you do to take care of yourself as a mama! Comment below or connect with me on Instagram or TikTok!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kids!

Holidays, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby

Hey Busy Moms! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I want to share two absolutely FABULOUS online marketplaces that are making it so easy to celebrate LOVE with your family – Maisonette and Goldbelly!

If you don’t yet know about Maisonette, you need to log on their website to check out all their adorable clothes, accessories, toys and gear for kids and families. There’s even some fun things for mom, too, plus home decor! The company was founded by two moms in 2017 with the goal of helping modern families navigate the adventure of raising the next generation. The have the most high quality kids products, partnering with the best brands to curate a shopping destination that all moms love! Maisonette is my go-to site when looking for unique specialty gifts for baby, kids and mama!

The next online marketplace that you must know about is Goldbelly! This online marketplace is where you go to find the best regional and artisanal foods crafted by top local food purveyors throughout the United States, like celebrity chefs, restaurants, bakeries, delis, etc. Have you ever wanted to try one of Duff Goldman’s famous cakes but don’t live near one of his cake studios in Baltimore or LA? Well, now you can with Goldbelly, which ships to all 50 states! Goldbelly is great if you need impressive food for a special occasion or want to gift someone an extraordinary treat. For example, through Goldbelly you can recreate Wolfgang Puck’s legendary smoked salmon pizza at home, or gift your friend, boss, mom, client (anyone!) the famous macarons from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Calif. There are so many outstanding culinary experiences for purchase in one place!

I turn to both of these sites when I’m looking for something special for holidays and Valentine’s is no different! Below are some great products from Maisonette and Goldbelly to help you celebrate with your kids this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Mommy-and-Me Matching Pajamas and Sweaters

I’m a sucker for matching with my mini, so I love that Maisonette is offering a variety of mommy-and-me styles for Valentine’s Day!

Fun products and treats to celebrate Valentine's Day with your littlest loves!
Maison Me Valentine’s Pajamas for Women and Pajamas for Baby and Toddler

Wake up in comfy yet chic mommy-and-me matching pajamas by Maison Me featuring a mini heart print and shades of pink for Valentine’s Day. These special holiday pajamas, featured in the Ditsy Heart print, come in adult women’s sizes, as well as footies for babies sized 0-24 months and kids sized 2 years to 12 years. Their lightweight 100% cotton rib is super comfortable for sleep or play and cute enough to lounge in all day!

When it’s time to change out of your PJs, the Love Sweater by GiGi Knitwear is the perfect top for Valentine’s Day and chilly February days! Rendered in a sift and breathable light weight knit, the Love Sweater is perfect for layering and playtime. GiGi Knitwear’s one-of-a-kind sweaters are handmade by a family-owned factory in Bulgaria with super soft fine merino wool to keep you and your mini extra cozy. Find the women’s sweater here and the little girls’ sweater here.

Love Sweater Mini

2. Valentine’s Day Mini Fashion Accessories

Maisonette features some of the chicest kids’ accessories from independent brands, including adorable Valentine’s Day themed jewelry, sunglasses and purses, for your little one to wear throughout the whole month of love!

Children will feel sophisticated and special with the Risa’s Pieces Noa Valentine’s Day Monogram Bracelet Set, which you can personalize with your child’s name. It comes as a fashionable stacking set of three red, white, and pink bracelets.

Perfect for sunny SoCal, GlamBaby Priscilla Heart Shaped Sunglasses are made of durable acetate and offer 100% UVA/UVB protection. They come in the option of red or white for your littlest fashionista.

Complete your sweetheart’s outfit with a Ce Ce Co. Velvet Purse with Heart Patches! The upscale Ce Ce Co. also has this Tweed Purse with Furry Heart for your sophisticated bebe. Is it me or is there nothing cuter than a little girl adorned in mini versions of grown-up accessories!

3. Valentine’s Plant Based Playdough

Get creative with your little one on the Day of Love with The Dough Project’s ultimate box of Valentine’s Day goodies! The Dough Project Much Love Bundle comes complete with three jars of fresh, plant-based playdough, a box of “Make Your Own Playdough” mix and a mini rolling pin for unlimited play! The dough comes in red and pink Valentine’s colors for the celebration! The DIY playdough mix is an especially fun sensory project for kids. It’s a dry mix that you simply blend with water and oil to make your own dough – sort of like making pancakes or cookies! The Dough Project is a product parents can feel good about while being made from all natural, food-grade ingredients and colored from plants.

The Dough Project Much Love Bundle

4. Valentine’s Day Tea Set for Dolls by Sophia’s by Teamson

Make imaginary play fun for Valentine’s Day with the Sophia’s by Teamson Kids Valentine’s Day themed tea set. This Warm Your Heart Hot Cocoa & Sweets Set features all the desserts your little one’s doll could want with cake pops, sugar cookies and chocolate covered strawberries! Mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream, plates and spoons complete this detailed set. Kids will have lots of fun celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special pretend tea party! The doll is sold separately, but you can use this tea set for any 18’ doll or with your stuffed animals!

Warm Your Heart Hot Cocoa & Sweets Set

5.    Heart Lunch Box by Dabbawalla Bags and Surprise Lunch Notes by Cheree Berry Paper

Be her Valentine all year long with this adorable pink and white heart lunch bag from Dabbawalla Bags. These quality bags are not only great for tots and teens, but moms and teachers would love to receive these sweet bags as a gift for Valentine’s Day, too! There’s also an option to personalize the lunch tote with an embroidered name! The insulating, eco-friendly material is machine washable and flexible enough to hold a wide range of lunch containers. All Dabbawalla Bags are crafted with TPE, a sustainable foam that is degradable, recyclable, and friendly to the environment. The production of these bags supports fair labor practices and is certified free of toxic chemicals.  

Surprise your little sweetie with a thoughtful love note in their lunch box with this set of 40 notes from Cheree Berry Paper that are playful, yet polished. Cheree Berry Paper is a custom graphic design and stationery company known for creating interactive and conceptual designs full of unexpected details and clever copywriting.  Your little one will love the surprise note that lets them know you’re thinking of them while at school on Valentine’s Day.

Cheree Berry Paper Surprise Lunch Box Notes

6.    Goldbelly Valentine’s Treats from Chefs Cat Cora and Duff Goldman

Goldbelly is known for offering the most unique and delicious food products from the nation’s top chefs, small businesses, and food purveyors, and the company is offering dozens of options of specialty Valentine’s treats to share with your kiddos, friends and family this year!

Drop one of popular Iron Chef Cat Cora’s bite-sized Heart Shaped Rainbow Cookies in your kiddos lunch box for a Valentine’s Day surprise at school or pass out to friends at a Valentine’s Day party! These classic Italian rainbow cookies will brighten anyone’s Valentine’s Day made with three layers of marzipan, apricot jam and a thin coating of chocolate topped with chocolate sprinkles. They come in a set of 18, so they’re perfect for sharing with your children and their friends!

If you’ve spent any time watching Food Network over the past decade, then you know Duff Goldman and his legendary cakes. This Red Velvet Heart Cake is a delicious four-layer red velvet cake with vanilla cream cheese filling, frosted with pink-tinted buttercream frosting and decorated with red fondant hearts – the perfect way to show your love with your little ones! The cake serves 8-10 people – great for a party! It also arrives in a decorative box, so it could make for a fun gift!

Duff Goldman’s Red Velvet Heart Cake

I hope you’ll take some time to check out Maisonette and Goldbelly for your Valentine’s Day celebration needs, in addition to other holidays! I plan to shop their sites in a couple months for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter!

I’d love to hear how you’re planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kiddos! Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

7 Ways to Workout When You Have Babies and Toddlers

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
A typical setup of me trying to workout surrounded by toys

Hey mama, I hear you… Finding time to workout when you have a baby and/or toddler in the house is HARD! I think it can be especially challenging for new mamas who are so exhausted from newborn middle-of-the-night wakings or simply trying to adjust to their new normal of never being alone! Believe me, I’ve been there!

One morning when I was home with my 3-month-old firstborn (who was colicky and a horrible sleeper), I got fed up with my life feeling controlled by a tiny human. I missed my workouts and I missed feeling like myself. So, I decided right then and there that my new motto moving forward would be, “Something is better than nothing.” What started as a few minutes of movement during his first nap every day turned into me really getting into the swing of finding time to commit to my workouts with kids in the house. Here’s my tips on how to do it!

1. Allow them to join you

This isn’t always easy, but I promise that the more you do it, the easier it gets! Your children may not like it at first, but soon it becomes a routine and they come to expect (and respect!) mama’s workout time. At our home gym, our son likes to pretend to workout with us, and our daughter likes to play with her toys around us. Yes, we have to stop and start our workout a few times to attend to their needs, but it’s much better than not working out at all. And, we get the opportunity to model for our children what taking care of our body and minds looks like and help instill healthy habits for them early! If you want tips on how to build a good home gym, I linked all our Amazon home gym products here.

2. Provide kids rewards for being patient during your workouts

I know it can be a challenge for babies and toddlers to entertain themselves long enough for you to get a good workout in. Before I workout, I’ll tell my children what fun we’re going to have after the workout so that they behave and have something to look forward to. I try not to make it revolve around food because then that’s a weird habit to start with so early (We’re going to workout so we can have cookies later?? NO!!). The rewards are usually that we get to go to the playground, library or even Target! Or, we’ll play a game that they love or watch a movie together as a family.

3. Try shorter but more frequent workouts

If your kids simply can’t give you a solid 30 minutes to get a workout in, try breaking up your workouts into two 15-20-minute workouts throughout the day. For example, I’ll do a 20 minute walk in the morning and then a quick 15 minute HIIT in the afternoon.

4. Workout during their nap

This can be tough in the early infant stages when you’re so exhausted from night feedings and the adjustment to life with a newborn! Even though you’re tired, I recommend working out during the baby’s very first nap of the day. It’s usually their most routine and longest nap of the day (so you could potentially workout AND nap!), so it will give you a guaranteed workout time every day. I know all you want to do is nap when they nap, but if you move a little bit first thing in the morning during that first nap around 9am, I promise it will make you feel better and give you more energy for the rest of your day! Even if it’s only a quick 20-minute workout!

5. Take turns with your partner

My husband is great about this! On the weekends, one of us stays with the kids while the other gets to have their own solo workout time. It’s typically when we do our most intense workouts of the week, because we’re able to focus without child distractions. We take turns. Afterward, we usually do something active as a family, and it’s a really rewarding day!

6. Add more movement throughout your day

If you’re really struggling to find time to workout while caring for your children, try to find all the small opportunities to move more. Take the stairs, play “tag” with your kids, have a dance party with your kids, park far away so you have to walk further to get to the store or work, stand when you’d normally sit… anything!

7. Stay up late or get up early

I’m only mentioning this because I know so many have had success with working out before their kids wake up or going to the gym after kids’ bedtimes. This isn’t for me now, but I hope it will be in the future. I used to always workout at 6am but that changed when I had kids, because I have early rising babies. My husband has a very demanding job, so I remain the kiddos #1 caretaker while he gets ready and leaves for work super early. I go to bed at 8:30 so the idea of squeezing in a sweaty workout at 8 p.m. sounds dreadful – LOL!

I hope these tips are helpful! You can do it mama! If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your health and wellness as a parent, check out my post on small changes that make a big difference here.

Let me know what you do for your workouts in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

Must-Have Items for Safe and Fun Family Beach Days!

Lifestyle, Mom & Baby, Travel

School’s out and everyone’s ready for fun in the sun! After being in lockdown last summer, I know many families are eager to visit their local beach or travel to a beach destination for vacation!

Living in Southern California, my family goes to the beach all the time. We absolutely love it. My husband surfs, I paddle board, our kiddos dig in the sand and dip their toes in the water. Needless to say, we consider ourselves professional beach goers.

My baby Lucy and me on a recent family beach day

The best part about a family beach day? All the sweet memories playing in the sand and jumping over waves with your little ones!

The worse part? All the STUFF you have to haul to the beach to have a safe, cool and fun beach day. Seriously — why do kids need SO MUCH STUFF?!?! Before kids, my husband and I showed up to the beach on our bikes with two towels and a water bottle. That was it. Man… those were the days!! Nowadays, with two kids under 3 years old, we arrive to the beach with our SUV trunk full!

Let me back up a bit… When my husband and I were kidless, we’d lay in the sand watching all these families struggle hauling all their stuff to the beach, and we swore to each other we would NOT be those people! We’d cringe as we watched dads dragging wagons full of gear back and forth across the sand from their car to their spot on the beach. Moms had their arms full of babies and shoulders weighed down with packed bags. Big kids would drag bags and toys behind them. Watching them go back and forth multiple times in the hot sun looked painful. I always thought, Can’t you just make one trip? The sight itself served as birth control for a few years. We did not want to give up our simple beach days that we loved so much!

Fast forward to today… After a few disastrous beach days with kids (and painfully going back and forth to the car to drag all our stuff to the beach), we finally got it right. We are now SMART about our beach days and have all the best portable gear to keep us cool, safe and, most importantly, have FUN!

While our beach days today aren’t as simple as our lives pre-kiddos, we still love them. And, I want you to love your beach days with your family, too!! Here are my must-have product recommendations to have a great, easy beach day with your family!

SHADE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

CoolCabanas Large CoolCabana 5

First and foremost, shade is a top priority for your family beach days – especially if you have little babies like us! You need a space that is cool and comfortable so your kids can get a break from the sun. I love CoolCabanas because they’re lightweight and easy to setup – even for one person! Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your style. Our family has the medium size in navy stripes and the large size in lemon scarletta – both feel super chic and summery! Use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order at http://www.coolcabanas.com!

Here’s the shade mistakes we made before getting CoolCabanas:

  1. Regular beach cabana – The metal frame of a regular beach cabana is SO HEAVY!! And, it takes more than one person to set up. If it’s really windy out, just forget it!
  2. Beach umbrella – Not enough shade for the whole family, especially if you have active kiddos! My 8-month-old is exploring and crawling, and I can’t keep her under a tiny umbrella!
  3. Three-sided beach tent – If it’s really sunny out with little wind, these tents can trap the air inside and get so hot! We were trying to protect ourselves from the sun but ended up sweating nonstop in the shade of this tent!

Do yourself a favor and make family cabana setup easier by getting a CoolCabana! Check out all of CoolCabanas options at http://www.coolcabanas.com, and be sure to use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order!

STAY HYDRATED AND KEEP COOL!

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

Everyone knows YETI makes the most legit durable, high-tech equipment that can withstand all sorts of crazy outdoor adventures worthy of praise from people who live the wildest life. That being said, YETI is our go-to brand for everything we do outdoors because we know we can trust it to last a long time and, most importantly, WORK!

After a few trips to the beach with a couple soft coolers that leaked and didn’t keep our food and drinks cold enough for all day in the sun, we turned to YETI and discovered the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler… It’s a backpack, y’all! GENIUS! Like, why didn’t I think of this?! Instead of lugging our former coolers on our shoulders (with all our other shoulder bags that we take to the beach), we’re now hands-free with an ergonomically designed backpack that promises superior cold-holding, a 100% leakproof zipper, a tough shell and can hold up to 20 cans of soda or beer! Get with the program and get this cooler!!

YETI Rambler and Rambler Jr. Water Bottles

Keep your water cold all day long with YETI’s amazing Rambler Water Bottles. My favorite is the 26 oz. size with chug cap for easy drinking. I love that YETI has a Rambler Jr. for kids, too! And, as a well-deserved convenience to parents, its straw cap is leak resistant when closed and both the bottle and cap are dishwasher safe. I’m so grateful for one less kid/baby item to hand wash!!

PROTECT YOUR SKIN!

Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen + Supergoop! Sunnyscreen

The face sunscreen made popular by celebrities and influencers now has a sunscreen for the whole family! I started using Supergoop! CC Screen years ago and fell in love with the brand for its clean ingredients, non-greasy feel and effectiveness, so I was thrilled when I found out they have a sunscreen for face and body, called PLAY, that our whole family can use. The SPF 50 formula can be used on face and body, it’s water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes and made with reef-safe, clean, cruelty-free ingredients. It also smells amazing! It comes in a spray, a lotion and a large 18 fl. oz. pump bottle for the whole family to share.

We like to take Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen in the spray bottle to the beach for the whole family to use!

I’m also so happy that Supergoop! has developed a sunscreen safe for little babies called Sunnyscreen. It’s 100% non-nano mineral formula checks all the boxes, meaning it’s pediatrician tested, hypoallergenic, & fragrance & silicone free. Sunnyscreen comes in a spot-on sunscreen spray, stick and lotion. I personally prefer the spray for our family, because its the simplest to use on my little 8-month-old.

KEEP KIDS SAFE IN THE WATER!

Splash About’s Go Splash Swim Vest

Our toddler was gifted this Go Splash Swim Vest for his 2nd birthday, and it has been one of the best items of our summer! It has a built-in float system that helps kids learn to swim as they’re splashing around in the pool or ocean. As a former swim instructor, I love that this swim vest encourages kids to use their arms compared to other floaties that keep arms lifted. I need to note that this is NOT a lifesaving device, and you should still always monitor your child when wearing this swim vest in and around water.

My son Landon in his Go Splash Swim Vest

One of the best things about this swim vest is that its lightweight and lays flat, so it’s packable! We brought it with us on vacation to Hawaii recently, and our toddler wore it every day! I was so thankful we packed it with us in our suitcase!

DON’T BRING THE BEACH HOME WITH YOU!

Tesalate Sand-Free Beach Towel

When you go to the beach, sand gets everywhere – especially when you have kids! Luckily, Tesalate has made the ULTIMATE beach towel! Made with AbsorbLite Microfiber, Tesalate’s beach towel is engineered for sand to slip off easily. It’s also ultra-absorbent, retaining up to a liter of water, and it dries in half the time as regular beach towels. I love that its compact and light, so easy to pack – no more bulky towels! Our family has two XL sized towels, which are great to lay next to each other for our whole family to spread out. The towels come in individual and XL size and a variety of beautiful designs. The regular size are $59 and XL are $99 and available at http://www.tesalate.com.

PROTECT EYES, EARS AND FACE WITH AFFORDABLE, PACKABLE SUN HATS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I was younger, I often purposely left my beach hat at home simply because I didn’t have a place to pack it in my suitcase or didn’t want to have to carry it around all day. Now that I know better about the importance of protecting my skin, I refuse to step out of the house for a day in the sun without a hat. Luckily, there are so many great packable hat options out there nowadays, and tons of options can easily be found on Amazon for an affordable price!

Lucy and me rocking our packable sun hats on vacation in Hawaii!

When shopping for sun hats for your family, it’s important to find one that has a wide brim to cover your face, ears and neck. Here’s a few great packable sun hat option for the family:

For Women: FURTALK Rollup Packable Visor

I love this visor because, not only is it packable, it’s super cute! It’s especially great for really hot days when I want to wear my hair up off my neck or if I want to swim around without getting my hair wet. It’s rolls up, so it’s compact and easy to stash in your beach bag or suitcase. It comes with an adjustable velcro closure, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing the correct size!

For Men: Quicksilver Bushmaster Bucket Hat

Okay, I know bucket hats are coming back around in style, but I have to admit that its been hard for me to jump back on the trend I used to wear in the ’90s. One great thing about bucket hats, though? They’re soft, so they’re easy to pack! I like this Quicksilver option for men, because it’s wide brim will protect the back of guys’ necks – something the usual ball cap or trucker hat does not do!

For Babies: SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat

Both of my babies wore this SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat, which offers UPF 50+ UV ray sun protection! I love that it comes in a variety of colors to match their little swimsuits or outfits. My favorite is the white eyelet for little girls!

WIPE OFF SAND AND KEEP LITTLE HANDS CLEAN!

Yipes! Wipes

How is it that little kids always find the yuckiest things to get their hands into?! With all the digging in the sand at the beach, kiddos hands can get particularly yucky! And that sand sticks! To clean little hands, I’m really excited about this new brand of wipes called Yipes! because they were developed to help foster a culture of hygiene while making it fun and approachable with their mascot, Yolanda the Yipes! Yak. They even created a kids’ board book about hygiene featuring Yolanda! And, it’s a product that parents can feel good about while being 94% biodegradable and made with 99% plant-derived ingredients. Yipes! are available in large canisters, as well as in individual, easy-to-use pocket-sized sachets (sold in pouches of 12), which are ideal for on-the-go—perfect for lunch boxes and beach trips! Find them at http://www.YipesWipes.com.

Here are some other important tips when taking your family to the beach:

  • Go early! Don’t wait until high noon when the sun is at its strongest. Plus, the earlier you go, the the less crowded it will be, so you’ll have an easier time finding parking and a great spot in the sand. Early evening also is a nice time to go for same reasons.
  • Don’t skimp on water. We always bring more water than we think we’ll need. And, we typically end up drinking all of it!
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! There’s something about being near water that makes kids (and grown-ups!) extra hungry! Make sure you have enough to go around!
  • Be wary of the ocean, as most waves may not be manageable for little children. Our family is very familiar with SoCal beaches, so we know what to expect with our waves. I recommend watching the ocean for its wave size and take time to understand the strength of the undertow and which direction the current is going.
  • Appropriate shoes! On hot summer days, the sand can get really hot! I recommend buying water shoes so your little ones can run around without burning their feet. Sandals and flip flops are too challenging for little kids to keep on their feet in the sand.
  • Bring some fun beach toys that encourage exploration! For my kids’ ages (an almost 3 year old and 8 month old), we stick to toys that can be used to play on the sand rather than the water. We put all the toys inside one large sand bucket to make carrying them manageable. A blow up beach ball is also a great idea, because its inflatable which makes it easy to pack.
  • Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go to the beach. Little ones get too excited once they arrive to the beach to slow down and put on sunscreen. Plus, you risk giving them an accidental exfoliating massage, because they’re likely to get sand all over them immediately!
  • Remove sticky sand with baby powder. If you don’t want to take your baby into the ocean or under the public showers to rinse off sand, sprinkling baby powder on their skin and hair removes moisture and helps sand dust off easily.

Do you have any questions or additional family beach day tips? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

2021 Mother’s Day Gift Guide For Every Type of Mom

Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
Great Mother’s Day gift idea: Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister

Mother’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 9, and if you’re struggling with what to get Mom this year, this gift guide is for you!

I get it, moms can be hard to shop for!

Since women make up 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, your mom likely does a lot of shopping for herself already! Those three Amazon packages at your door? I promise that not all of them are “things for the baby!”

Plus, some moms can be so picky! Like, she loved rose gold jewelry two years ago but now only wears yellow gold… What?!?!

So, how do you choose a gift for mom that says I love you and appreciate you without resulting to the boring old vase of flowers and Hallmark card?

*Please note: Flowers and cards are still ALWAYS a welcomed thoughtful gesture!!

Below, I have put together a Mother’s Day gift guide comprised of five truly unique, one-of-a-kind gift ideas for every type of mom. Happy shopping!

My Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts in 2021:

1. FOR THE JEWEL LOVING MOM:

Ring Concierge’s Personalized Pieces

Perfect Mother’s Day gift idea: this Ring Concierge Personalized Multi Name Necklace

If you have a mama who loves jewelry, the new personalized pieces from Ring Concierge make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift because you can add your children’s names or initials. There’s nothing sweeter than wearing a reminder of your babies everywhere you go! The line offers a variety of styles, metals and fonts to customize and fit your mom’s personality… and your budget!

An especially thoughtful gift that gives back are the jewelry pieces from Ring Concierge’s engravable heart collection. Fifteen percent of gross profits are donated to Pretty Brown Girl, a non-profit promoting confidence and leadership development for girls of color. I love a gift that also makes a difference!

I’ve gotten to a point in my jewelry collecting days where I don’t necessarily want another piece of trendy costume jewelry, and that’s why I love Ring Concierge. The brand offers bespoke “elevated classics.” It’s high-end jewelry that you can personalize and buy online… How cool is that?! Fashionable celebs like Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor and former Bachelorette Joelle Fletcher are fans of Ring Concierge, so you know you’re giving mom something that will make her feel like a “cool mom” when she wears it!

Starting prices for the personalized pieces range anywhere from $90 to over $2,000. I’ve shared a few of my favorite styles below, or you can browse the collection yourself at http://www.ringconcierge.com.

2. FOR THE CHEF MOM:

Messermeister’s Adventure Chef Knife

For the mom who loves to cook or be on-the-go, I love the new folding Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister. We’ve been home long enough this past year during the pandemic, so take the kitchen on the road and cook from anywhere with this full-sized knife! It’s the same high-quality of a chef’s knife you’d use in your kitchen, but compact and portable. I know our family will love using this at the beach to prepare lunch and for future camping trips! You can even have the knife engraved with mom’s name to make it extra special and personalized!

What makes this gift even more special, in my opinion, is that Messermeister is a local mom-owned company. The brand has been around for 40 years and is based out of Ojai. The family business is led by Debra Dressler and her two daughters, Kirsten and Chelcea. Shop all of Messermeister’s knives at http://www.messermeister.com.

3. FOR THE STYLISH AND ECO-CONSCIOUS MOM:

Aurora Sage’s Silk Scarves

If you have a stylish mom, she’ll love these one-of-a-kind silk scarves from Aurora Sage, an LA-based sustainable women’s fashion brand. The scarves come in three sizes and can be worn a variety of ways, like on your head, around your neck or shoulders, or even as a top! Aurora Sage specializes in organic silk pieces, and all are hand-dyed using natural ingredients such as rose pedals, avocados and turmeric… how cool is that?! And, you’ll be supporting a local mama, as everything is manufactured in LA and dyed in-house by founder and fellow mom Stephanie Carollo. Stephanie created the company just after she had her second son and wanted to create a line that made women feel beautiful while also being safe for their bodies and the environment.

I personally love all of Aurora Sage’s clothing, and it’s fun mixing and matching the different colored pieces. Right now, I’m really into all the yellow pieces, as they feel so cheery for spring and so on-trend with Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating Yellow. And, the silk blazers look so chic over the slip dresses! Shop all of Aurora Sage’s items at http://www.aurorasage.com.

4. FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED MOM:

Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box by Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder

If your mom can’t get enough beauty products, Curateur has launched a Special Edition Beauty Box just in time for Mother’s Day! The Beauty Box is curated by celebrity moms Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder and features some of the leading and most innovative beauty products on the market. Additionally, sales from the Beauty Box benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF), a cause that’s near and dear to Rachel’s heart and mine, as both my mother, grandmother and mother in-law battled with breast cancer. Curateur will give 20% of the purchase price to the BCRF and their life-saving work. Another gift you can feel good about!

Rachel Zoe with Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

The box is valued at over $230, but is sold for only $49.99!! It’s a real steal including some amazing products like:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex: This supercharged treatment helps repair the visible impact of lack of sleep, UV, pollution, even blue light. It’s proven to reveal a bright, hydrated, visibly revived look with comprehensive benefits for the eye area.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Styling Leave-In: This UV-protective gel-creme conditions, detangles, and fights frizz creating beautiful surfer girl waves!

Origins Plantscription™️ Multi-Powered Youth Serum: Their most comprehensive serum for face, neck, and eyes that helps provide a youthful transformation with every use.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base: One of Bobbi Brown’s bestsellers—a primer plus moisturizer for smooth makeup application (it’s the best of both worlds)!

So many fabulous products at fantastic price in Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

You can purchase the box by becoming a Curateur member for $99 at http://www.curateur.com. As a member, you’ll receive a seasonal lifestyle box featuring the most coveted beauty, fashion and home brands on the market. Imagine how excited mom will be receiving her Curateur box with each new season!

5. FOR THE DOG MOM:

Paw.com’s PupProtector Blanket

All moms deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, including Dog Moms for everything they do for our furry family members! As a dog mom myself, I can’t recommend this Paw.com PupProtector Blanket enough! The blanket is designed to seamlessly blend into any home, and it looks super chic at the end of our bed and on our living room couch. Made from plush faux fur on one side and ultra-soft microsuede on the other, the blanket protects areas from pet hair, dirt, spills, pet accidents, and scratching damage. Our toddler even likes snuggling with it! The blanket comes in so many color options and matches with many of Paw.com’s dog beds. Plus, its so easy to clean – waterproof and machine washable! The blanket comes in a couple different size options and can be purchased on www.paw.com.

Naps are cozy (and chic) on our Paw.com PupProtector Blanket
We have the Polar White color available here: Paw.com PupProtector Blanket

I’m hopeful you’ll spoil mom with one of these very thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day! Tell me which gift idea is your favorite in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Diaper Bag Essentials

fashion, Mom & Baby

The baby product industry is always working to convince us that we need MORE STUFF, so I’m determined to keep our approach as minimalist as possible. With all the options out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed guessing what you truly need in your diaper bag – for baby and mom! Rather than carry half the nursery with me “just in case,” I personally prefer to stick to just the essentials.

The first step is choosing the right diaper bag. I have two: the Freshly Picked Classic Backpack in black and my new favorite Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin.

Here’s what’s important when shopping for a diaper bag:

Backpack style – Only once did I attempt to carry a large shoulder bag with me when out with the babies, and it was so challenging! Backpacks keep your hands free and the bag off the dirty ground – especially important when changing diapers in public restrooms!

Pockets! And more pockets! – Staying organized on-the-go is necessary when you’re quickly trying to clean up a mess or wipe a runny nose. Sometimes, you only have one hand to quickly grab a wipe! Pockets provide a place for everything, so you’re not digging toward the bottom of your bag for the loose hand sanitizer, sunscreen or whatever it may be.

Just big enough for a small laptop – Our family loves traveling and I’ve even brought the babies with me on work trips. In my opinion, there’s nothing more annoying than carrying additional bags through the airport when you also have kids in tow, so having a diaper bag that’s large enough for a small laptop – but no larger – is ideal.

Chic – As someone who considers herself a “cool mom,” there’s nothing more annoying to me than an item that screams baby. Like, I want carry a diaper bag, but I don’t want to look like I’m carrying a diaper bag. I like that the two bags I have can also function as stylish backpacks without looking like I’m carrying a pack of baby wipes with me.

Quality – This bag will go everywhere with you for a couple years, so you want it to be durable.

My diaper bags:

Freshly Picked Diaper Backpack in Black

This was the bag I had on my baby registry, and it has been such a wondeful gift! This Freshly Picked diaper bag has survived almost three years of baby and toddler craziness. I’ve brought this bag everywhere with me, and I really don’t see why a mama would need any other bag. In addition to the zipper closure, it has a flap that goes over the top, which is so handy when you only have one hand to close your bag and go! Because its black vegan leather, the bag can be dressed up and doesn’t stand out when I’ve had to take it to more formal occasions. I’ve brought this bag with me to present at work conferences! Bonus: It comes with a portable changing pad, so you don’t have to buy a separate one!

Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin Leather

Y’all, I am so obsessed with this Cleobella bag that I’ll probably continue to carry it as a chic travel backpack even when we’re out of the baby stage. I got this diaper bag after having my second baby, Lucy. I’d been carrying the Freshly Picked bag for the last 2.5 years and was ready for a change. I’ve been gravitating toward more neutrals since having a girl, and I think the moccasin color is perfect for spring and summer. The leather is so soft, and there’s so many pockets and compartments inside making it so easy to stay organized. I love that it also comes with a long shoulder strap to wear as a cross body. The braided detailing is very stylish. When my mother and husband first saw it, they did not think it was a diaper bag – WIN!

What’s in my diaper bag:

Portable Changing Pad

For diaper changes on-the-go, an easy-to-clean portable changing pad is vital. I like this portable changing pad from Amazon because its small and thin, so it doesn’t take up too much space in my diaper bag.

Muslin Swaddle Blanket

I love these aden + anais Muslin Blankets because they are multifunctional while being beautiful and long-lasting. I use these as a nursing cover, a swaddle for baby, a blanket for baby to wrap up in or lie down on, or to cover dirty surfaces baby may touch, like a grocery cart. They come in several beautiful colors and patterns that are easily washable. I like that they can cover a large surface while still being able to fold small to fit in my bag.

Burp Cloth

My favorite burp cloths are by KiddyStar, because they are thick and hold their shape. I’ve ended up with spit up all over me when using other brands’ thin, short, floppy burp cloths.

Disposable Diaper Bags

I carry these Munchkin Diaper Bag Refills in case I have to change a yucky diaper on-the-go and there’s no where to dispose the diaper. Believe me, you don’t want to have to keep an exposed yucky diaper in your beautiful new diaper bag or inside your car – ewwww!

Backup Clothes – Kyte Baby Footies

Spit-ups and blow-outs are just a part of everyday life when you have a baby, so always keep an extra change of clothes for baby in your bag. I especially like to have Kyte Baby Footies, because they’re sooooo soft and fold up really small inside your bag! They come in so many colors, so when you’re making your baby registry, register for a bunch!

Huggies Diapers and Wipes

After trying every brand of diaper out there, Huggies Diapers seem to be the best at keeping blow-outs at bay – very important when you’re out and about with baby! We also use Huggies Natural Care Wipes.

Extra Teething Toy

I always keep an extra teething toy or two in my bag to give something “new” to the baby that she’s currently not playing with in her stroller. It helps when she’s starting to get bored and fussy. I like these natural wooden teething rings because they’re non-toxic and have fashionable neutral colors.

Cuyana Wristlet

After carrying around my heavy wallet for a year with my firstborn, I finally wised up and got this cute, slim wristlet wallet from Cuyana. This wristlet has been so handy, especially when traveling. I keep my diaper bag on my back and this wallet around my wrist as I’m going through the airport and have to consistently pull out ID’s, tickets, credit card, etc. I also like this for quick errands when I don’t want to carry my diaper bag to the store. Now, I don’t need to transfer my wallet to another bag, because this wristlet does it all. It also has a pocket big enough for my iPhone 12 Pro Max. Cuyana has become one of my favorite leather goods brands. It’s such good quality at a perfect price point. And, the brand works to be as sustainable as possible.

Quay Sunglasses

I’ve owned several pairs of Quay Sunglasses, and these are my newest pair. I like that they’re fashionable, good quality, and at a good price point, so I don’t feel guilty buying a couple new trendy pairs at a time to try.

Other items that I always keep in my diaper bag include disinfecting wipes (to wipe down yucky surfaces), hand sanitizer, chapstick or lip color, and snacks for my toddler and me.

Our matching outfits:

While I have you, let’s talk about how cute these matching mommy-and-me dresses are from Cleobella. My mother and I used to wear matching dresses and jumpers back in the ’90s, so when I found out I was having a daughter, I got so excited for our future matching outfits! The main difference is that my mother actually used to sew our dresses back in the day, and since I’m no seamstress, it makes my heart so happy that Cleobella sells these adorable dresses. I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural.

I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural
Holding my Cuyana Wristlet

I hope this post was helpful for new mamas trying to plan outings with their littles or for experienced mamas looking to revamp their diaper bag! Comment in the posts below or let me know on Instagram!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Our Favorite Baby Products (4-6 months)

Mom & Baby

Wow, we’ve moved past the newborn stage already! Lucy is changing so much every week! With all the recent baby changes, we’ve also had to make some changes to the products and toys we’re regularly using. Below, I’ve listed all of our favorite products we’re currently using – everything from nap time to playtime!

(PS – If you’d like to see my ultimate baby registry list, which includes TONS of great products to use for baby the first 4 months, click here.)

Best Baby Products for 4 to 6-Month-Old Babies:

Skip Hop Activity Center

Lucy’s starting to get busier and mommy still needs to do chores around the house, which is why the Skip Hop Activity Center is perfect for both of us! We did not have this activity center for Landon when he was a baby, and I wish we had! I truly think its helping with Lucy’s development, in addition to keeping her busy! She’s been able to practice keeping her head and body steady and getting her legs strong while standing. I love seeing how her interactions with the toys changes week over week. She used to just stare at the toys while I played with them, and now she plays the piano, pushes the spinner and moves the beads along the wire. Love it!

Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Seat

This was a leftover item from when Landon was a baby, and I honestly wasn’t sure if we’d use it for Lucy. At dinnertime, Lucy started getting bored sitting in her bouncer while we were all dining at the table, so we started placing this Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Seat on the dinner table so she could sit and join us. She loves it! She feels a part of our family dinner while also having the option to play with toys in front of her.

Little Giraffe Baby Blanket

We were gifted a 14×14 Little Giraffe Baby Blanket when Landon was born and its such a soft, sweet blanket, but I didn’t think much of it than that. Starting around 8 months, Landon really grew attached to it, and now it’s his lovey, known as “B,” that he MUST have when he sleeps. I thought it was so sweet that I had to get one for Lucy. I introduced it to her as a lovey at 4 months to encourage self-soothing and help her sleep longer stretches at night. It’s a beautiful little blanket and such amazing quality. I recommend adding this to your registry or gifting it to any of your new mommy friends! If not used for lovey, it’s a nice blanket to put over baby in the stroller and car seat.

Organic Silicone and Wooden Baby Teething Ring 

Lucy has a couple silicone and wooden baby teethers that she likes to chew on, and I love that they come in muted colors and don’t look super baby-ish. We took a trip to Palm Springs this past month, and it felt good hanging out around the resort with these toys rather than something bright, loud and colorful that would distract the other guests (and me!) from an adult vacation.

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

Lucy’s transitioned out of her Love To Dream Swaddle and moved on to the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle, which seems to be much easier for her to roll around in. We also use the non-swaddle version of the Halo Sleepsack for naps. We’ll be using these sleepsacks until she’s old enough to sleep with a blanket, so its a very good investment to have a couple on hand!

Kyte Baby Footies

These Kyte Baby Footies are sooooo buttery soft and come in so many beautiful colors! These are the best rompers to have baby in all day that look fashionable without looking like PJ’s. Plus, they’re made with bamboo, so they’re organic, natural, hypoallergenic and eco friendly!! They’re a little pricey per one footie, so make sure these are on your baby registry. They also make for an awesome baby gift!

Soft Interactive Baby Book

We were gifted this Soft Interactive Baby Book when Landon was born, and it was one of his favorites for over a year. The same is now true with Lucy. She loves to grab on to the book’s different elements and feel the different fabrics. I love that it’s soft, so it’s light and easy to throw in my diaper bag to take on-the-go.

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit

Lucy’s now spending nights and naps in her crib, and I love the Babyletto Hudson Crib because it’s so aesthetically pleasing to the eye – it’s perfect for our modern home decor! It’s also Greenguard Gold Certified and made with sustainably sourced wood (who doesn’t desire more clean products, especially for baby?!). We used the same crib for Landon for 2 years and will use it for Lucy even longer, because we’ll convert it to a toddler bed when she’s ready.

Little Unicorn Waterproof Blanket

My mama friends and I agree that this Little Unicorn Waterproof Blanket is the best for outdoor adventures and playdates with your little ones. This blanket has become especially essential for our family during COVID when all of our activities were moved outside. We use this at our mommy-and-me class, at the beach and when we take big brother to the local playground. I love that it’s so easy to clean and waterproof – perfect for all the messes! It folds so easily and has a shoulder strap, which is necessary when you’re wrangling two kiddos! It also comes in a variety of sweet patters. We have the tropical leaf pattern.

These are the products that we are currently using ALL THE TIME that were not on my master baby registry list! Is there anything I missed? I’m always down to add a new baby product to our routine to make life easier! Let me know your favorite baby products by connecting with me on Instagram.

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.