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  • Our Favorite Diaper Bag Picks

    When you’re traveling with an infant in tow, choosing the right diaper bag can make your trips go from chaos to calm. Though you might be tempted to grab any old bag and call it a diaper bag, choosing a bag with intention can make a big difference in the long run. You want to be organized. You want everything you might possibly need for your baby just a pocket away, but without bulk. Your diaper bag travels with you, so it needs to look good, and play hard. We scoured through dozens of diaper bags to find the best ones, based on criteria like size, style, practicality, compactness, and ability to keep clean. These are the bags that made us swoon. Happy packing!

    Hatch Bag

    Dubbed the “Anti-diaper bag”, the Hatch bag looks like a tote, but is equipped with every convenience of a standard diaper bag and will carry more than you can imagine. 

    Size: The bag is 15 inches high, 15.5 inches wide, and 5 inches deep.

    Style: The tote bag style of Hatch is versatile and simple, but it also boasts stylish accents like hot pink stitching, gold zippers, and an additional monogrammable tassel that adds a lot of flair.

    Practicality: This diaper bag has an enormous amount of space so you can bring all the essentials, and more. It comes with a changing mat and three matching clutches for organizing within. You could also take any of the clutches out and use separately when you have fewer essentials to bring with baby.

    Ease to maintain: The bag’s interior and exterior are made of easy-to-clean nylon: just wipe down with a damp cloth when needed and air dry.

    Price: $298.00

    Kate Spade Watson Lane Betheny Baby Bag

    The Betheny Baby Bag blends the best of diaper bag options: sleek and chic, but also fun and whimsical, and doesn’t skimp on practical details.

    Size: The Betheny measures 11.7 inches high, 14 inches wide, 7.2 inches deep and has a 10 inch drop from its handle.

    Style: The Baby Bag is as sleek as any Kate Spade product, and while we love all the prints, the rose and black design is gorgeous, fun, and unexpected.

    Practicality: Interior zip pockets and bottle pockets make organizing this bag easy, and there’s plenty of room inside to pack everything on your baby’s list. The bag also has ingenious stroller straps, so you can snap it onto your stroller instead of it weighing down your shoulders.

    Ease to maintain: Made of woven nylon, this bag is durable and easy to clean.

    Price: $348.00

    Burberry Horseferry Check Tote

    This diaper bag is luxurious and well-crafted, but also includes the necessary trappings of a regular daily-use bag for baby.

    Size: The bag measures at 12.5 inches high, 10.5 inches wide, and 6.3 inches deep.

    Style: Made in Italy and with the quintessential Burberry print, it looks more like an everyday tote bag than a diaper bag.

    Practicality: The bag includes a removable and adjustable shoulder strap, for ease of use, and flat-top handles. For organization, there is a single large open compartment and three slip pockets and a removable changing pad. The bag has slightly fewer pockets than other bags, but if you get by with a smaller amount of baby items, there will be plenty of room to place things accordingly.

    Ease to maintain: The interior nylon is simple to wipe down when needed.

    Price: $1,295.00

    MZ Wallace Kate Diaper Bag

    This chic over-the-shoulder bag could be mistaken for your everyday purse and is perfect for parents who want a diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag.

    Size: On the smaller size for diaper bags, it measures at 9 inches wide, 8 inches high and 4.5 inches deep. This can be a pro or a con: you won’t be able to pack everything and the kitchen sink, but the design is compact.

    Style: With an uber-chic design, this bag hides its “diaper bag” status well.

    Practicality: What this bag lacks in space, it makes up for in its practical layout. There are several zip pockets on the interior and exterior, which will make organization a breeze.

    Ease to maintain: Made of nylon, this bag is simple to spot clean if any spills, or worse, occur.

    Price: $395.00

    Storksak Elizabeth 

    This well-made bag is for parents who want a diaper bag that’s both casual enough for everyday outings, but not lacking in style.

    Size: On the larger side, this bag measures 11 inches high, 17.5 inches wide, and 5.5 inches deep.

    Style: The soft quilted-leather exterior is gorgeous for daily use.

    Practicality: This bag comes with an insulated bottle holder, a padded changing mat, and a key ring holder. It also has several interior compartments for you to organize basic baby sundries.

    Ease to maintain: The interior can be wiped down, but the exterior leather is subject to the material’s usual cleaning restrictions.

    Price: $475.00

    Rebecca Minkoff Studded Diaper Bag 

    The Studded Diaper Bag is roomy enough to carry everything you need for your baby, but fits in a compact package.

    Size: The top handles have a 8 inch drop and the bag measures at 13 inches high, 16.5 inches wide, and 7.5 inches deep.

    Style: The studded design makes this a chic pick with fresh details. The cotton twill exterior is a nice contrast to the silver studs. It could easily transition between day and night use, and is durable for frequent trips.

    Practicality: Several exterior and interior pockets will make organizing a breeze. This bag has a place for everything, so you can keep everything in its place. It also comes with a removable changing pad.

    Ease to maintain: The nylon interior is easy to clean when messes happen: wipe down with a wet cloth or sanitized wipe.

    Price: $345.00

    JuJuBe Be Right Back Bag

    This backpack-style diaper bag is offbeat, but perfect for mothers who want an easy-to-grab bag in a wide variety of charming patterns.

    Size: As a backpack, this bag has slightly less interior room than some larger tote-like bags: it measures 16 inches high, 12 inches wide, and 5 inches deep.

    Style: If sporty backpacks fit into your style wheelhouse, then this is the perfect bag. It’s well-crafted and comes in your choice of funky, bold, or classic patterns.

    Practicality: The Be Right Back bag has padded ergonomic straps for easy traveling. The number of pockets, and their accessibility, is what makes this a diaper bag, and not just a backpack: there are two exterior insulated pockets for bottles, a cell phone pocket, and top storage pockets.

    Ease to maintain: Unlike most bags, this one is machine washable, when the worst baby accidents happen. It’s also no sweat to wipe down when needed.

    Price: $140.00

    Moncler Mommy Bag

    The Moncler has a more traditional diaper bag look, along with a vast array of pockets and compartments to store all of your baby’s must-haves.

    Size: The Moncler measures at 11 inches high, 15 inches wide, and 7 inches deep.

    Style: The quilted exterior design is more evocative of the diaper bag look than some other choices on the list, but will be familiar to those who already know the Moncler name. The polished silver hardware and leather accents add dashes of style to the bag, too.

    Practicality: Several exterior and interior pockets make this bag a practical choice for keeping a well-organized bag. A large front zip pocket gives easy access to the most essential baby items. The bag comes with a padded changing mat.

    Ease to maintain: Lined with nylon, this bag is simple to spot clean when needed, and for regular maintenance wipe-downs.

    Price: $510.00

    Marc Jacobs Biker Baby Bag

    This is the urban baby bag that lets the world know your fashion game is still on point, but also meets the needs of any other standard diaper bag.

    Size: This bag is roomier than it looks, which is a good thing. It has a compact feel, but measures at 13.5 inches high, 17 inches wide, and 7.5 inches deep.

    Style: We like the chunky silver zipper and hardware paired with classic black. The bag has drop down handles and an optional strap for messenger bag-style travel.

    Practicality: A large front pocket, dual exterior bottle pockets, and several interior pockets mean that you can organize all of your baby gear inside and out, for easy access. The bag also comes with a removable changing pad.

    Ease to maintain: Made of nylon, this functional bag is easy to wipe down and spot clean.

    Price: $295.00

    Tote Savvy Diaper Bag Insert

    You won’t be seen around town without your prized handbag, despite the new need for a super-organized baby bag. If that’s you, then the Tote Savvy Diaper Bag Insert is exactly what you need to transform your favorite bag into a functional diaper bag.

    Size: The insert measures at 10 inches high, 14 inches long, and 5 inches deep. The insert is also available in a “mini” size.

    Style: The insert replicated the inner lining of a standard diaper bag, so it stays inside your bag. You can go as chic as you please, while turning your usual tote into a de-facto diaper bag.

    Practicality: The insert contains several stacked pockets for your basic baby gear, like diapers, wipes, bottles, and toys. Its layout makes it a little more difficult to grab what you need, but depending on the bag you already have, you may be able to organize the items for quick access. There are accessories you can add on, like the deluxe diaper changing kit and the bottle bag.

    Ease to maintain: Though not machine washable, you can wipe down the insert with a wet cloth or sanitized wipe when needed.

    Price: $72.00

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  • The Best High Chairs for Baby

    Babies spend a lot of time sitting, playing, and eating in their high chairs. You want to make sure you’re investing in a high chair that is comfortable and accessible for your baby, but also easy to clean and maintain. Above all else, of course, is the safety of the high chair for little ones.  

    Most babies won’t sit in a high chair until they’re at least six months old, when they start solid foods. But many parents choose to shop for high chairs long before the six month date, since having a newborn doesn’t go well with long shopping excursions. High chairs can be used for months or years, well until a baby has graduated into toddler-hood, so finding a quality high chair is investing in a piece of equipment you can use for a long time.

    Thinking about comfort, safety, and ease to maintain, we’ve tracked down some of the best baby high chairs out there.

    The Peg-Perego Siesta high chair keeps your baby mobile, while still contained. One neat feature of this high chair are the casters wheels (with locking functions for safety) that let you move the chair from room to room, so you and your baby aren’t bound to the dining room. The upholstery fabric is comfortable for your little one, but makes this chair slightly more difficult to clean if there’s a major mess explosion. Still, it’s made with quality materials and is built to last, with a price tag of $300.

    The Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair will seat your baby for years. This high chair hits a home run in nearly every department: its wooden style fits in beautifully at a more grown-up table, but its ergonomic design will keep your baby sitting comfortably. Infant seat, tray, and cushion are sold separately, but even with these additions, the price is reasonable at under $350.

    The Boon Flair Pedestal high chair is designed with parents in mind. We like the Flair high chair because of its well-thought out details: it has a smooth, seamless seat that means cleanup is quick and easy. It has a heavy pedestal base with adjustable levels that consumer reports have deemed “excellent.” And at $250, the price is right for a well-modeled high chair for everyday use.

    The Baby Bjorn high chair is minimalist in style, but not in function. While some high chairs take up enormous amounts of space, the compact Baby Bjorn doesn’t waste an inch of space. It’s easy to fold and makes a great travel high chair, but it also holds up in safety, comfort, and maintenance. The ergonomic design gives your baby support in the right places and safely keeps her in place with a lap belt with two buckles and a tray with safety post. The Baby Bjorn can be found for $300.

    The Micuna Ovo high chair blends style, safety, and function. “Elegant” isn’t usually a word you think of when you consider high chairs, but the Ovo is just that. You won’t mind keeping it at your dining room table, and the beauty of this chair is that it eventually transitions into a kid-sized chair when your baby grows bigger. It’s easy to clean and keep maintained, and has a five-point harness system for safety. Market price for the Ovo is $460.

    The Phil&Teds Lobster is the hook-on chair and travel seat you need. A portable baby seat can come in handy, whether you’re traveling far, or down the street to your favorite restaurant. This hook-on chair has an easy-to-remove fabric shell and dishwasher-safe tray, so cleaning up after a meal out is simple. The “lobster claw” clamps keep the seat safely secured to the table and a 4-point harness keeps your little one in place. The Lobster is listed at $89.99.

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  • What's the Best Breast Pump?

    Breast pumps fall in the category of those baby gear items that are totally mysterious until you use them. Then you fall completely in love and wonder how you ever thought you could live without them! If it’s your first time shopping for a breast pump, the variety of options can be overwhelming. Even if you’ve used a breast pump before, there are always new, state-of-the-art models making the pumping experience more manageable.

    When you’re looking at breast pumps, you need to evaluate them on several points. Cost, portability, size, frequency of use, and noisiness are all factors to consider when shopping, and will be varyingly important based on your own unique set of pumping circumstances.

    No matter what you’re looking for, there are a handful of forerunners in the breast pump market that deserve your attention.

    Medela Symphony is a heavy duty, no-messing-around workhorse of an electric pump. With its double-pump system and 2-phase expression pumping, it makes pumping go faster and more simply than many other electric pumps you’ll find.

    Medela’s Pump in Style Advanced is a darling of working mothers because of its portability, storage space, and design for multiple uses per day.

    Lansinoh Smartpump steps up your pumping game with technology. The pump connects, via bluetooth, to the Lansinoh app so you can track milk quantities, pumping sessions, and more.

    Ameda Purely Yours Ultra is lightweight, very user-friendly, and high-powered enough to get you efficiently through your pumping sessions.

    Spectra S2 PLUS is a powerhouse and has a variety of settings for you to choose from, making it simple to customize your pumping experience based on your needs of the moment.

    Avent Comfort Double makes pumping as comfortable as possible thanks to its design: there’s no need to lean forward or bend over the device to make the pump work effectively, like with some other pumps.

    Medela Harmony Manual Pump is the best manual pump we’ve found. Many women keep a spare manual in case of emergencies and if you’re out for a date night or afternoon with friends, and electric pumping isn’t realistic. The Harmony pump is small enough to fit in a large purse, easy to manage and maneuver while pumping, and simple to keep clean.

    When shopping for breast pumps, it’s important to understand your purchasing options. Talk to your OB and your hospital, since some hospitals have programs that give breast pumps to new mothers. Health insurance also may cover the purchase of your breast pump. If it gets too confusing, there are many organizations that help new mothers navigate the resources available to them. Yummy Mummy (based in New York City), La Leche League (international), KellyMom (online) and The United States Lactation Consultant Association are all great places to contact to be sure you get the best pumping care available to you.

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  • Baby Monitors for Every Parent Style

    Which of these 8 new baby monitors is right for you?

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Believe it or not, I put off purchasing a baby monitor for almost a year. I work from home  and we co-sleep,  so my daughter was always close by. That worked great…until it didn’t. I found myself constantly tiptoeing around the house, afraid to go in the room and accidentally wake her, but concerned that she would start crying and I wouldn’t hear her right away.

    Why did I wait so long and subject myself to all this craziness? Well, baby monitors can represent a hefty investment. I wanted to make sure whatever I spent money on would be a perfect fit for our family, and there were just so many options. It seemed like there was no way to really pick the “best” one. I thought each of them kind of did the same thing, but there turned out to be a huge range of features available at every price point.

    After extensive research on the hot new monitors on the market, here are 8 of our favorite baby monitors and what makes each of them different:

    The Work-Outside-The-Home Mama: Motorola MBP854 CONNECT
    Motorola provides all of the best features that modern-day monitors have to offer. With Wi-Fi streaming capabilities, you can view your baby from anywhere using your phone, tablet, computer or the included parent unit. Remote pan, tilt and zoom ensure that you always have the best view. $219, buy here

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  • Keep Your Baby Entertained Indoors

    In case you don’t remember, the groundhog saw his shadow in early February, declaring six more weeks of winter. Whether or not you trust a small animal for your weather predictions, it’s good to be prepared for those cold, snowy days that February and March can bring. When the weather is at its worst, staying indoors with small children can drive you stir-crazy fast. Here are some ways to keep your little ones entertained all day long, and hopefully keep you sane in the process.

    Babies love ball. Crumple up old newspaper or wrapping paper into small, easy-to-handle balls and toss them around with your infant. A toddler will love trying to catch and throw the balls, too. Clean-up is easy: when you’re all done, bring out a paper bag and toss the “toys” into a recycle bin.

    Cook your way to playtime. Playdough is a perfect standby to give to your small kiddos, but if you want to extend the playtime, consider making the playdough yourself. There are countless recipes for playdough, cloud dough, and slime that are easy to make with simple ingredients that you probably have on hand already. A big bonus to making your own playdough is that you can make it 100% non-toxic.

    Have your kiddo create her own bling. Stringing together necklaces isn’t only fun (and time-consuming for the kids!), it’s a great fine motor activity for your child. It’s best suited for ages 18-24 months. Find string or yarn and large beads or thick pasta, and watch your child entertain himself.

    Clean-up time can be playtime, too. Maybe not when you legitimately have to get something clean, but your little one can at least pretend to help you when the stakes are low. Give him a water bottle to spray with and some rags and watch him get down to work (and play!).

    Boxes are a small child’s dream toy. Did you have a large package delivered recently? Bring the box into the living room, find a pair of scissors and some crayons, and create! Toddlers will be able to help color or design the box, and smaller babies will be interested in crawling and climbing through whatever you make. Some “Boxes for Beginners” ideas to start: a train, a ship, a playhouse, a dinosaur cave, a castle.

    Never underestimate the power of a dance party. On those days when you’re stuck inside and everything feels off, a dance party can seriously help you and your baby reset. Put on music you love, or check out more adult-friendly kid bands like The Not-Its and Recess Monkey for music that you won’t mind playing on repeat.

    Make your own music. If you’re feeling inspired, you can help your little one make her own instruments, like rain shakers out of rice and paper towel rolls. Or you can hand her a few wooden spoons and a set of bowls. She’ll love making “music,” and you can give yourself permission to put on your headphones during her “concert.”

    Let your baby play with his food. As moms, we’re often teaching our babies not to make a mess of dinner. But if your baby is wiggly and needs something different to do, set her in her high chair and give her small scoops of food for her to play with. A dollop of yogurt, some cooked (sauce-free) spaghetti, or tiny cut-up orange slices are all high-sensory foods that she can mess around with.

    Enjoy extended bathtime. Set your baby or toddler up in a warm, bubbly bath, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening. Let him play as long as he wants, and try giving him different toys to experiment with for water play.

    When’s the last time you made a pillow fort? It doesn’t need to be a high-tech fort, but making a small structure with a few pillows or cushions can be a lot of fun for a baby. Find a sheet to hang up and watch her crawl through and explore the new environment.

    Reading aloud is good for you and your baby. Cuddle up together with a stack of board books and read aloud together. Babies and toddlers love all kinds of books, and they don’t mind reading the same ones over and over, which means you don’t need a huge variety. Don’t be afraid to make silly voices and sounds, either.

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  • First Birthday Party Prep

    How to get the most out of your baby’s first birthday

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Our plan for Owen’s first birthday is to keep it small and intimate, at home. It’s not just that we are working with a smaller budget. We also recognize that the first birthday is, for the most part, more for the parents and the pictures than for our little guy. That said, no matter how intimate, if you want something memorable, a little preparation can go a long way. Here are 8 tips for planning your baby’s first birthday party and how to make the most of it.

    1. Keep the planning simple.

    Life is busy. So rather than stressing myself out about organizing the party, I want to do my best to keep things simple. Why? Because if I keep things simple and organized, I’ll be more likely to actually enjoy the party too! Our little pals and gals only turn one once, after all. Finding a venue that’s both affordable and comfortable for you and your guests is key. We plan on doing Owen’s party at home, but there are many other cheap or even free options, like parks or a friend’s backyard or house.

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