Having a young child sure is a challenge! Simple tasks that you used to be able to get accomplished without a second thought sometimes manage to become quite stressful. Now, you not only have yourself to worry about, but you have another living, breathing human being in the mix that has needs! And just when you've gotten used to this addition to your family, established a smooth routine with your child and are even pretty talented at juggling everything that comes along with being a new parent, you've got another on the way! Or maybe you just had your third and you also have a toddler and a pre-schooler as well.
Some days it's just easier to sit back and relax and let the kids run a muck on their own. Don't worry! It's called "free play" and that is totally an acceptable thing to let your kids do! Then there are some days when the kids won't stop tugging at your pant leg, asking you to get down and play WITH them. With an infant also demanding your undivided attention, this can get tricky! But you're a parent, and parents always seem to make it work.
But what if we could help make playtime a little easier? We've put together a list of great products to help keep the baby happy and occupied, keep yourself comfortable and supported, and provide something your toddler or preschooler will actually find entertaining for longer than 5 minutes!The first product we recommend, and which you could win is by Catbird Baby. Catbird Baby is a company started by Beth Warrell Leistensnider, a Mom who was inspired by an upcoming trip with her infant daughter to make a carrier to free up both hands and of course keep her infant close. During and after the trip, Beth noticed her homemade carrier was attracting quite a lot of attention and soon, orders started coming in from friends, and eventually strangers. Along with another Mom-friend the two perfected a couple of designs and in 2007, Catbird Baby was born. In addition to being a "mompreneur," Beth is a wife, writer, educator and founding member of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance as well as a certified babywearing instructor.
If you haven't tried "wearing" your little one, you should! Many cultures around the world do this out of necessity and practicality. It is such a wonderful and helpful concept dating back thousands of years - what parent wouldn't want to free up both hands while keeping their baby comfortable and close? Babywearing allows the parent to accomplish a multitude of tasks while the infant is jiggled, bounced and kept warm and against the chest - where they naturally love to be. You'd be amazed at some of the things parents from around the world can do while their child is strapped to them. Check out this link for some great examples! HABAUSA loves babywearing because in addition to the intense emotional and physical connection that it provides, it also allows the parent or caregiver to hold their infant and play with their toddler or preschooler simultaneously. Some even find that doing light household chores like vacuuming or laundry generates "white noise" that may even help their infant fall asleep. But who are we kidding? Playing is much more fun than doing chores, so let's stick to that idea!
The Metropolitann Pikkolo, recommended to us by Beth herself is Catbird Baby's best-selling carrier. It is a unique cross of soft structured baby carrier and traditional Chinese mei tai wrap-and-tie carrier. It offers ergonomic comfort without bulk, 5 positions and is usable from birth without an infant insert. Comfortable memory foam shoulder straps, adjustable buckles and forward facing option allows carrier to be used comfortably for children up to 40 lbs - meaning your child won't grow out of it any time soon and even Dad can wear it!
Now that we've freed up both of your hands with the carrier, you're ready to help set up your new ball track set from HABAUSA! The My First Ball Track Set - Large Basic Pack is a great introduction to the wonderful world of HABA marble run construction sets. This high-quality German designed and manufactured set will help encourage your child's creative imagination while keeping them engaged and entertained. Set includes 4 ramps, 8 curves, 12 colored connecting blocks, 3 dominos, and 3 special effect balls and can be combined with all other HABA blocks and marble run sets. Set up the track, carefully arrange the dominoes, then drop the ball down the ramp and watch it go! Toddlers thrive on repetition and with a little bit of help from you, very quickly they will able to do it themselves from start to finish, learning so much along the way!
What about the baby, you ask? Don't worry, we didn't forget about them! When they're not asleep in the carrier, we bet they'd love to hold on to this Playbook Farm Plush Toy from Lilliputiens. Lilliputiens was started by a team of five young and trend-conscious moms from Belgium who take great care in the products they develop. This plush book features friendly, engaging farm animals made from soft materials, while the many shapes, colors and noises will continuously challenge a child’s inquisitive spirit.
Now, what about you, Mom? You've got your infant strapped to your chest and your toddler is tugging at you, beckoning you to squat down on the floor to help them set up that brand new ball track set. Wouldn't it be a lot more comfortable if you were in a pair of comfy leggings? Our next recommendation for making playtime easier has the COOLEST name! They're called Mother Tucker Leggings by a company called Belly Bandit and boy are they true to their name! Dubbed "The Ultimate Compression Leggings" these are a wardrobe essential that shapes and supports you from the waist down! Post-partum moms will love their tummy-ﬂattening center and the fact that they are comfortable, fashionable, seamless, breathable and will hold their shape wash after wash!
Like Beth of Catbird Baby, Belly Bandit was also started by a "Mompreneur" who saw a need and sought to fulfill it. Lori Caden developed Belly Bandit's signature product of the same name after she had her son in 2005. Anxious to get her body back to what it was before her pregnancy, Lori with the help of an OB/GYM launched a line of comfy shape-wear for new moms to wear post-partum. Since their launch, Belly Bandit has expanded to offer a complete selection of clothing and accessories for before, during and after pregnancy, (B.D.A. Collection) for all shapes and sizes including tanks, pants and leggings. Even celebrities such as Christina Applegate (from Up All Night), Kourtney Kardashian (from Keeping Up with the Kardashians) and Julie Bowen (from Modern Family) have endorsed their products, touting them as must-haves for Mom!
Last but certainly least, is an eco-chic Urban Bag from Lassig's Green Label line. We know being organized is something most parents yearn for - there's just something nice about having things where they should be. However, in this crazy-beautiful life, it isn't always possible to be perfectly organized all the time, but this bag will make sure you look good trying! The roomy interior includes: deep pockets and compartments, water-repellent, padded changing mat, insulated, removable bottle holder with clip, removable zipper pouch ideal for make-up, coins or other small items, removable compartment for baby food jars and water-repellent wet pocket for soiled clothing. When not using it day-to-day for baby, it is the perfect size for travel. And just when you thought this bag couldn't get any better, we'd like to point out that it's made from polyester sourced from recycled plastic water bottles. Yup! By wearing this bag you are helping to keep garbage out of landfills! Exclusively distributed in the US by HABAUSA, and proudly hailing from Germany, Lassig is dedicated to creating consciously-crafted diaper bags, kids' bags, bibs, dishware and other high-quality accessories for the modern family. In addition to being sustainable, Lassig ensures that their products are durable and made to last.So there you have it. Five products to help you juggle and entertain the kids, stay organized and help the environment, all while looking good!