Real Walmart nurseries: Trendy decor on a budget

Designing a nursery can be one of the most fun experiences for a mom-to-be. Even though I am not a mother, I have watched friends design amazing rooms for their bundles of joy, and I follow all the nurseries that our customers post on blogs and social networking sites. I am always blown away and inspired by all of the creativity!

What’s trending?
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of modern design influences, soft white nurseries, DIY paint projects as well as bold colors and prints. Many of our customers favor the Walmart.com exclusive Baby Mod collection, which has that trendy modern look without the huge price tag.

Look at the bold modern nursery that Alyssa Z. from Salt Lake City, Utah designed with our Baby Mod Modena 3-in-1 crib!

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Soft white-on-white looks are also really becoming popular, as seen in this world-traveler look that Carolyn V. from Burbank, Calif. created around our Graco Charleston 4-in-1 crib.

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These rooms each have cribs that are less than $200, but they look like a million bucks!

DIY for budget-friendly finishing touches
Our customers are style mavens, and I am always in awe of their DIY projects and how much pizzazz they add to each room’s overall look. One idea is to paint the platform base of our Baby Mod Olivia 3-in-1 crib a vibrant color to give your nursery an extra pop of personality. And don’t stop there! Keep going with your dresser and changing table. With a little paint and imagination, you can create a chevron or striped design in a snap.

Bold bedding
Bold prints are also huge right now, especially in bedding. One of my favorites is our Sumersault Colorburst 12-piece bedding set, which mixes and matches vibrant bright colors and patterns.

The best part of my job is that I am able to showcase items that help moms create the well-designed, eye-catching nurseries they want—for less. Families save money without sacrificing all the fun of decking out their new addition’s new room!

I can’t wait to see more beautiful rooms from all of you. Happy designing!

Share your nursery design style with us! Visit our nursery gallery, or post your favorite images to instagram with the #Walmartnursery hashtag.

Share your nursery style with us! Tag your nursery in progress photos on Twitter or Instagram with #WalmartBaby.

Making my own baby food: Tales from the kitchen

Mom feeding baby homemade baby food puree

Making my son’s baby food was something that I never even considered until a friend gifted me the Baby Bullet. It got me thinking and researching homemade baby food—and wow, be careful what articles you read! There are some articles and blogs out there that will downright convince you that all prepackaged baby food is evil, and I’ll admit it: I got sucked into the hype. I was determined to give my son only homemade wholesome foods, so the Baby Bullet quickly became my best friend. It is easy to operate and quick to clean. On occasion, like when I was making bigger batches of food to freeze, I wished it was a bit larger. Luckily, it was easy enough to just divide it into two portions.

The best thing about the Baby Bullet is that it makes your baby food perfectly smooth. We discovered pretty quickly when my son was small that the puree would come flying back at us if it had any lumps, and when I attempted to make food in my food processor, it was too lumpy for my son’s sensitive palate. I am weird about food textures too, so I guess he gets it from his mama!

If you are going to make and freeze your baby food for the week, I highly recommend the Annabel Karmel FreshFoods Freezer trays. They are the perfect portion for when you first introduce purees to baby, and as baby gets older, you can just warm up two cubes at a time. As a working mom, this saved me so much time during the week. You just pour your finished puree into the freezer trays (like filling a big ice cube tray), put the lid on and pop it in the freezer. The lid isn’t airtight, so I popped out the cubes as soon as they were frozen and put them in freezer bags instead.

Now that my son is 15 months and eating mostly finger foods, I still use my Baby Bullet to make his favorite breakfast for the week—a smoothie of strawberries, banana, yogurt and a bit of baby oatmeal to thicken it up. He eats it daily. I simply make it over the weekend and freeze it for the week.

Oh—I also no longer feel like all prepackaged baby food is evil! I blame it on being a nervous, first-time mom. I still make most of his food myself, so that I’m in control of how much salt and sugar he is getting, but I’ve learned that buying a baby food pouch or premade snacks is just fine as long as you check out the ingredients.

Share your homemade baby food or baby feeding photos with us! Tag your messy baby pics on Twitter or Instagram with #WalmartBaby.

4 maternity wear must-haves

New mom in maternity top

Shopping for maternity clothes is a nightmare. I don’t believe anyone has ever gone maternity shopping and gotten that giddy, excited “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how many cute things I just bought!” feeling. Your body changes so quickly, and the choices out there are extremely limited. Then there is the sticker shock. Maternity clothes are generally 30% more expensive than the non-maternity version. Add the fact that you only need them for 6–9 months, and you can blow through a clothing budget before know it.

I have four kids and bought a new maternity wardrobe with each pregnancy. How? I wore the same few things over and over again. (And I wanted to burn every piece as soon as I got back into my pre-pregnancy clothes!) So after four rounds of this, here are some absolute must-haves to make it through your nine months.

1. A ponytail holder or rubberband is the best tool you have. It’s a cheap, MacGyver-ish way to get some breathing room as you gain those first few pounds. I recall one afternoon when my pants felt so much tighter than they were that morning. I pulled off my ponytail, looped it through the buttonhole, wrapped it around the button—and voila!—I could breathe again.

2. Loose, blousy tops were a great investment, because they hid my bump in my first trimester and lasted all the way to the third.

3. Full-panel maternity leggings. You will never want to take these off. Enough said. Definitely check these comfy leggings out, and stock up.

4. A top or a dress that makes you feel pretty. Sometimes you just need to look good even when you don’t feel good. So I bought a beautiful, printed dress that showed off my bump and garnered tons of compliments. On those days where I was suffering from complete exhaustion, bad heartburn or morning sickness, that dress was a miracle worker. This sleeveless dress is one that just might do the trick for you!

Share your magical maternity photos with us! Tag your baby bump pics on Twitter or Instagram with #WalmartBaby.

How I survived breastfeeding twin, preemie boys

How I managed breastfeeding preemie twin boys

As a recent mom of identical twin boys, people often ask me what it’s like. And to be honest, my husband and I feel so lucky our boys were our firsts. We had nothing to compare it to and didn’t know any better! I’m also so thankful we made it through the first six months, what I honestly consider the hardest months of our lives.

Arriving eight weeks early, our boys were preemies. They spent their first two months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We will never forget the doctors and nurses who took care of our boys. Their dedication and hard work inspired us to be the best we can be—both at work and as parents.

I will also never forget the two months of intense breastfeeding “boot camp” in the NICU. Teaching two preemies to nurse is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. (And the feeding tubes in their noses didn’t help!)

The boys basically rejected me every day for two months. They would latch for a few sips, stop, let go and fall asleep. Preemies are so tired at this age, and it’s hard to keep them awake long enough to train them. I would spend about four hours each day training them to breastfeed and the remaining time pumping so they could get my milk supply. It was very tiring and so frustrating.

We started with a bare breast, but when the boys became frustrated with the effort of staying latched, we added a nipple shield, which (thankfully!) worked great for us! It triggered their suck reflex and gave them more to latch onto than just a bare nipple.

If you’re faced with a similar situation, my advice is to do your best, and try not to let it stress you out. These little preemies have a mind of their own! Persistence is key. Because when they finally got the hang of it, it was the most satisfying victory! A true accomplishment for the three of us.

From that point on, it was all about multitasking. How do you breastfeed one and soothe the other while they wait for you? It’s not easy—especially when it’s 3 AM and you haven’t slept in days! But my secret savior was the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper. It was my second set of hands, and fostered my strongest memory from those first months at home: Breastfeeding one of the boys while I used my foot to rock the other, soothing him as he waited to feed.

Not only did the rocker allow me to juggle both boys, but it also allowed them to sleep comfortably at night. No one tells you that many newborn babies don’t like to sleep flat. (They can get uncomfortable due to reflux.) The sleeper sits at an angle and made their colic disappear. Truly magical. To this day, I carry this secret along with me and share it whenever I can!

Share your favorite baby feeding photos with us! Tag your pics on Twitter or Instagram with #WalmartBaby.

Welcome to Walmart’s Parent and Baby blog

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Hi friends!

I want to be the first to welcome you to our new Parent and Baby Blog, a younger sibling to the Every Little Step Parent and Baby Center. We are proud to have the expert moms and dads here at Walmart.com coming together to share our parenting experiences and offering what we hope will be helpful tips on everything from the challenges of diapering a toddler, re-purposing your wardrobe as maternity wear, to feeding twin boys. (And most everything in between.)

Our mom and dad bloggers cover the full spectrum of parenting, from a mom of three to a soon-to-be first time dad. We think this is an amazing opportunity to share our stories with you, and for all of you to share with us, too.

We hope you enjoy our little blog about all things baby – check back in with us every week to hear from another mom or dad who just may have had the same questions and challenges raising little ones as you.

Thank you for stopping by.