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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Everything you need to know about baby clothes

baby clothes essentials - everything you need to know about baby clothing

Who doesn’t love a pudgy little baby in skinny jeans? I will confess that I once spent 15 precious minutes trying to get baby’s skinny jeans over her pleasantly pudgy thighs, only to find I was faced with the same struggle after the next diaper change. That’s all it took for me to quickly ditch all of the delicately decorated baby outfits and uncomfortable clothing. Here are some tips about the baby clothes you really need—and how to get them for less.

Must-have baby clothing

To get straight to the point, the basic and functional onesie (long and short sleeve) and footed sleepers are essential! Our favorite outfits soon had a common theme: They were all comfortable for baby and easy to put on and take off.

While zippers are easy to use, I actually preferred snap buttons so that I could change baby in the middle of the night without undressing her completely. Also, the Halo Sleepsacks have been with us since day one and are the only way we can ensure our baby is both warm at night and sleeping safely.

Babies grow really fast!

The one thing to remember is that your little one will grow so fast in the first year. It is painful to spend a lot on a cute baby outfit only to see it worn once or twice. So I would recommend stocking up on the aforementioned everyday essentials, as these are what will get you and your baby through day after day.

Best-kept secret

It’s equally important to take care of all this baby clothing, so that it lasts and can be used by multiple children! I find myself doing laundry so often due to spit-ups and blowouts and was initially very frustrated when the stains wouldn’t come out. But then a close, trusted friend and mom let me in on the secret of OxiClean Baby Stain Soaker. This stuff will literally take out any stain. I am amazed every time I use it, as it has saved countless of poopy outfits from winding up in the trash can.

Recycled clothing

Hand-me-downs are one of the best things that have happened to parents (aside from their kids, of course!). Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they also help you save so much money. You can almost always get cute baby clothes handed down to you from friends and family as well as like-new pieces from rummage sales and consignment and second-hand shops with kids’ clothes.

Share photos of your adorable little one dressed in her favorite outfit. Post pics to Twitter or Instragram with #WalmartBaby.

3 essential tips for traveling with kids

Family-vacation-travel-tips-baby

Traveling with children can be a scary thought. But trust me when I say this: It can be done, and your family will benefit from it. My family has traveled all over the world, and the six of us are headed to Costa Rica this summer. Traveling opens up your children’s eyes to new cultures, new foods and different languages. It gives them a sense of adventure while building curiosity. Your family will bond even more as you navigate through new places, deal with the unexpected and have some fun without the comforts of home.

Here are three tips to help you prepare and pack for traveling with kids.

1. Stay at a place with laundry machines or services. Washing machines are a huge help for two reasons. First, you can pack fewer clothes. (Five outfits per kid/per week is a good rule of thumb.) Second, you can do a load before you leave, so you return home with clean clothes, and don’t have to face that ugly chore after your wonderful vacation.

2. Bring only what you need. I have a tendency to bring EVERYTHING I could possibly need…and more! If you are traveling with a baby, most places sell formula, diapers and wipes. Unless you have a baby with specific needs when it comes to these, bring just enough for the first couple of days, and buy the rest of your supplies when you get there. You can find sunscreen, bug spray, shampoo and other toiletries just about anywhere!

3. Pack an awesome travel first aid kit. I have a mesh zip pouch that is stocked with everything I might need should a small emergency arise. It is the envy of my mommy friends, and they’ve even asked me if I could make them one for the next time they travel with children. Here is a list of what’s in my first aid kit for kids:

This first aid kit for kids goes with me everywhere and has saved the day on multiple occasions.

A little bit of preparation will go a long way in a successful family vacation. And don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure when traveling with kids — it’ll come in handy when things don’t go exactly as planned. Happy travels!

Share your family vacation travel photos with baby! Post pics of your little one on the road or in the air on Twitter or Instagram with hashtag #WalmartBaby.

Toilet tales: The ups and downs of potty training

Potty training tips for toddlers

Our little family recently started one of the most challenging phases of toddler-hood: potty training. We had given it a try before, with mixed results. Our son, who is now just over 3, only seemed interested in using the potty if he was in a particularly good mood or if we managed to bribe him with stickers or other treats. We weren’t consistent, and he was still perfectly comfortable running around in a soggy diaper. So, the potty training experiment stalled for a bit.

Once our son became comfortable at his school (and his teachers started urging us to start training again), we felt good about getting back into the ring. We let him choose the underwear he wanted and bought a few “potty” books to help encourage him. His teachers assured us they would be consistent at school as long as we were at home. Then, the week before, we continued to remind him that in a few days, he was going to start wearing underpants and using the potty. He let us know just how UNexcited he was about the idea of trading in his diapers for using a potty. It took some negotiating, showing him how he would be wearing underwear like daddy and even showing him how daddy uses the bathroom. We also promised him stickers.

There were accidents. Many, many accidents. For that first week, we did a load of laundry every single day, filled mostly with his wet clothes. His school sent him home each day with individual plastic baggies of soggy pants. Slowly but surely, he started getting used to it. Each trip to the bathroom meant patient encouragement while reading the story of a character heroically using the potty, followed by a choice of a new sticker to decorate his shirt.

Now, just a month or so in, he is confidently using the bathroom by himself. There is still the occasional accident, and we are still working on using big toilets away from home. We put him in a diaper at night, because he just doesn’t yet have the control to make it through the night. But the biggest challenge we still face is learning how to poop in the toilet—he still prefers to do that in his diaper.

If you are in a similar situation and are struggling to help your little guy or girl leave the diaper behind, here are some things that are working for our family:

  • Be patient.
  • Be encouraging with every small victory and supportive after every accident.
  • Load up on stickers, books and little treats to help celebrate each successful bathroom trip. Bribery works.
  • Be patient.
  • Let them choose things like their new potty or training seat, underwear and step stool. Giving them a choice will help them feel important and that they are participating in the process.
  • Take baby steps. It is not all going to magically happen at once.
  • Let them tell you when they are ready. If you try to force it, it might backfire.

Oh, and did I mention be patient?

Share your potty training moments with us! Tag pics of your potty-training toddler on Twitter or Instagram with #WalmartBaby.