About Amanda

Amanda Musielak, a senior merchandise planner for Walmart.com, is a mom of one boy whose big hugs she revels in after work. Versed in all things baby—from breastfeeding and crib necessities to dealing with a kiddo who just can’t seem to stay healthy—Amanda has a collection of helpful tips, tricks and stories you won’t want to miss.

Tips for personalizing your baby’s nursery

Tips-for-personalizing-your-baby-nursery

While I was pregnant, one of my favorite activities was preparing the nursery. Before I even found out whether I was having a girl or a boy, I had started imagining a warm, loving environment to bring my baby home to.

When I was little, my favorite movie was The Lion King, and I loved the idea of going with a theme that connected something from my childhood to my son. But, I was a bit concerned that his room wouldn’t feel personal enough if I focused solely on this theme. So, I decided on a general jungle theme for my baby boy nursery. This allowed me to buy the things that I loved from the Lion King collection—like this Lion King bedding set—but still personalize the baby room with my own finishing touches.

These are my top tips for personalizing your nursery:

Consider including something in your baby’s nursery that was special to you as a child. It will be fun to tell your kid about it as they grow up.

Browse deal websites for art prints and decor that you love. Framing prints yourself will also save you a bundle, and give your baby’s room a personal touch.

Get family and friends involved! Personal notes anticipating baby’s arrival will be special to read later, when your child is more grown up. Signature frames are perfect for this.

Leave room for some ongoing projects. I bought a frame that holds monthly pictures of my baby. Each month, we took a picture of my son with the same teddy bear and a month sticker to track his growth. At the end of the year, I had a great collage of photos that showcased how quickly he had grown.

Don’t be afraid to break away from your theme. My husband loves baseball, so naturally, we put a few baseball pieces in the baby’s nursery.

Leave room for gifts from friends. Looking back, the one thing I regret is over-planning. It didn’t leave room for gifts. When my sister bought my son his first share of Disney stock, which came with an adorably framed and personalized certificate, I had to rethink and shuffle some things around, so the room wouldn’t look cluttered.

Remember to get a comfy nursery rocker or nursery glider. You’ll be grateful to have a comfortable spot to rock or nurse your baby in the wee hours of the morning when you are somewhere between awake and asleep.

Ultimately, it only matters if you like your nursery, so ignore the latest trends and pick out what is special to you!

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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.