Elements of Baby

Preparing Marielle for her Little Brother

McCarthy_Maternity_Baby_Boy-61Marielle may only be 16 months old, but she’s definitely starting to get the idea that something big is about to happen to our family. And by big I also mean that at my appointment yesterday, baby boy is already over 7 pounds…Anywaaays….

We have scattered the baby things around the house so Marielle can explore them. The bassinet is out, the MamaRoo, the infant car seat and soft baby blankets. She has really taken to her infant car seat. At first she wanted to sit in it, but now she wants to put her own baby doll in it. She lovingly places baby in the car seat, “buckles” her in, and rocks her back and forth. Baby boy was given a brown Jelly Cat bunny (just like her pink one) that she has decided is hers for right now. This is good. At her age, it’s best that she doesn’t feel like there are things that only belong to the new baby. We frequently make trips into the baby’s nursery to look at his things, and explain to her that baby will be sleeping in this room. “Baaaaby?” She says, every time we go in there. She smiles. She is constantly giving “kissies” to my belly, and lovingly points at my belly.

We read books everyday about new babies and becoming a big sister. Although she has no idea what that concept means at her age, it makes me smile when she points out all the babies on the pages of the books. We’ve had our friends over who have new babies, and she is very interested in them. She stares at them, rocks them in their car seat and gives them her bunnies. I am thrilled she has exhibited such positive behavior towards little ones. I can only hope this stays the same when her brother arrives in a couple weeks.

I read in one of my books that it is important that daddy is the one holding the new baby when Marielle first meets him. This allows her to first come see and snuggle with mom and know that I am still here for her, and know that mama’s arms still belong to Marielle as well.

I have started putting together Marielle’s Big Sister hospital bag. This is a special bag that I have put together full of things to make her feel special when she comes to meet her brother at the hospital. Here is what is inside.

Personalized Canvas Bag – Pottery Barn Kids

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 9.55.52 AMBig Sister Shirt – Oh Baby!


You’re Getting a Little Brother! – Book

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Big Sister Photo Album – This soft photo album allows her to have photos of just her and her baby brother, hopefully starting that special brother sister bond. I put photos of her and the baby still in mama’s belly inside to start.

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Doodle Pro Drawing Tablet – To keep her busy at the hospital when she most likely loses interested in the new baby after a few minutes 🙂

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V-Tech Little Apps Tablet –  Maybe she won’t want my cell phone anymore?? 🙂 Wishful thinking.

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Snacks. Lots of snacks. Pouches and special treats to make her feel special especially when mommy has to feed the new baby. I’ll make her favorite banana blueberry muffins in a few days here, and freeze them so they are ready to pop into her bag when it’s time.

I know that because she is so young, this transition may be difficult for her. She may resort back to needing her paci during the day, needing extra love and attention, reverting back to wanting a bottle over a sippy cup and potentially refusing naps and bedtimes. This will all be temporary and we will need to be extra aware of her needs and feelings. I am keeping Marielle’s schedule as consistent as possible. We will still do our mommy and me classes together on Wednesdays, we will still have organized play dates so she can see her friends (and mommy can see her friends too!)  and she will still have her special one on one times with mommy and daddy and special outings with the grandparents.  Thank goodness for family 🙂 Everyone has told me the first 3-6 months will be extremely difficult…so I’m prepared for that, but I look forward to watch the relationship between her and her brother grow over time.

Elements of Baby, Favorite Things

New Baby Must Haves

There is no arguing that there are a LOT of baby products out there, and it can be difficult to decipher which ones are actually necessary, helpful or just plain useless. Especially as a first time mama who feels the need to purchase EVERYTHING for her new baby girl. I’m pretty lucky to have an older sister with 3 kids who is a seasoned mother with lots of experience in the baby product world, as well as friends who are new mothers who have tried out some of the more “trendy” products. I spent a lot of time researching the major baby products I was interested in before actually buying. I spent tons of time on baby blogs, product review sites and my own in store research before taking the plunge on some of the more expensive items. I have created a list of my top 10 products that have made my life easier with our baby girl. From something as simple as the JJ Cole BundleMe for my January baby, to the more extravagant UppaBaby Vista stroller and Mesa car seat.

Ashley’s Must Haves

1) JJ Cole BundleMe – Baby, it’s cold outside! Especially here in Minneapolis. I was given the BundleMe by some friends of ours and it’s the best way to keep your little one warm and cozy and protected from the elements, without having to dress them in a puffy snowsuit, hat and mittens. It’s fuzzy inside and flap that covers the whole car seat make the transition from inside to outside easy, all while keeping baby safe and warm. It also works in our stroller perfectly.

JJ cole bundleme

2) 4moms MamaRoo Plush – At first I told myself I didn’t want any excess baby equipment, big swings, unnecessary bouncy chairs, etc. I already had a Baby Bjorn Bouncer and figured that would be enough…until I kept seeing this thing at every new mom’s house I went to. Marielle LOVES her MamaRoo. She takes 4 hour naps during the day, swinging away listening to Baby Einstein on the built in MP3 player. Honestly, it doesn’t take up that much space. It’s really lightweight, the cover is super soft and washable and most of all, it allows me to get things done during the day while keeping a close eye on my baby girl.

mamaroo plush

3) Aden and Anais Burpy Bib cloths – I have 12 of these. I started out with 2 and realized I couldn’t get through a day without them. There aren’t a lot of burp clothes on the market that are big enough, soft enough and absorbent enough. The shape of these fit perfectly on your shoulder while protecting both your front and back. Plus, Marielle loves to snuggle her face into the soft cloth. The more you wash them, the softer they become. Plus, they come in lots of adorable prints.

aden and anais burpy bibs

4) Halo SleepSack Swaddles – I’m all about the swaddle. Those newborn flailing arms and hands tend to keep Marielle awake, and this way she feels calm and comforted while dreaming away. I feel so much better using these because they stay secure with velcro, as opposed to a traditional swaddle blanket which can easily come unwrapped while she’s sleeping. Plus, once she’s grown out of being swaddled, these allow for the arms to be free as well while still keeping her cozy. We bought them in both microfleece and lightweight cotton. Best to have more than one on hand for those middle of the night blowouts!

sleepsack swaddle

5) Boppy Nursing Pillow – Honestly I didn’t use mine until Marielle was 2.5 months, she was such a tiny peanut she kinda fell right through the center and it wasn’t helpful for nursing at all. Now that she’s a bit bigger, I love it. It saves my arms and supports her head, and she often falls asleep for a little cat nap on it afterwards. I splurged on this adorable, super soft cover from Pottery Barn Kids…it’s amazing, I often contemplate taking my own nap on it.



6) Skip Hop Activity Gym – Also known as…The Best Way To Keep Baby Occupied So Mommy Can Shower, Eat Lunch, Throw in Laundry or Make a Phone Call 🙂 Marielle learned how to roll over on her activity mat.

skip hop activity gym

7) Carlson Vitamin D Drops – According to our Pediatrician, babies aren’t getting enough Vitamin D naturally, and therefore require a Vitamin D supplement. There are lots on the market, but most of them are filled with artificial colors and flavors. Plus, they require giving your baby a full dropper full of liquid, which most babies will not tolerate. Marielle hated those! Carlson Vitamin D drops are two natural ingredients, and only require a single drop once a day to get the full daily value. You can even put the drop on a pacifier to make it easier. Plus, a whole bottle lasts an entire year…

carlson vitamin d drops

8) Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets – Although I don’t use these for swaddling, I love them for tummy time, stroller and carseat use, as a nursing shawl if I don’t have my BeBe Au Lait handy, and throwing in the diaper bag. They are lightweight and cozy, breathable and work great for blocking sun and anywhere you need a soft, snuggle surface for baby.

aden and anais swaddle blankets

9) Baby Bjorn Active Carrier – Unfortunately they are discontinuing the Active model, not sure why…but I would recommend any Baby Bjorn carrier. They are versatile, can be used with baby facing forward or towards you and work as they get older. As cute as the fabric slings are, they are really only for when they are teeny, and I didn’t feel they offered the same back support as a full carrier, which was really important to me since I have a weak lower back. The Baby Bjorn carrier allows baby to look around and see the world. They offer additional neck support that can be folded down once baby is strong enough to hold her head up. Look how happy we look! 🙂 Plus, my husband can use it as well. It also comes in handy around the house when Marielle has her, “please hold me all day long” days 🙂


10) UppaBaby Vista Stroller and Mesa Carseat System – All I can say is that this is truly the best stroller and car seat system ever. Let’s start out with the stroller. I knew I wanted a stroller with a bassinet option, as well as a regular toddler seat and attachable car seat option. I researched all the brands that had this option, and it came down to Bugaboo vs. UppaBaby. UppaBaby won me over hands down. Not only is the stroller lightweight, portable and easy to collapse, I love the fact the matching car seat (sold separately) latches on without crazy adapters. It features an extended sunshade with SPF 50 that keeps my baby out of the sun, and has a fully reclining seat that allows Marielle to take naps while strolling the outdoors. The storage basket at the bottom is huge…it fits everything we need. When it comes to strollers, the wheels on the Vista are pretty much all terrain. Our Vista has been through snow, sand, cobblestones and puddles of water, flawlessly. Purchase the Vista travel bag, and your stroller is fully insured if anything happens to it during travel.

The car seat. There isn’t a car seat with a base that installs more effortlessly than this one. Simply buckle into two car anchors, press the base down until it clicks and you’re done. 10 seconds! It has all the latest safety features. The insert in the seat keeps Marielle cozy and protected, and worked perfectly when she was just a 6 pound 12 ounce newborn. This car seat fits a baby as small as 4 pounds up to 35 pounds. A lot of car seats aren’t made to work with smaller babies. It latches into the Vista frame and releases with a single button. We’ve been really happy with the whole UppaBaby system.

uppababy_jakemesa jake carseat