May 28, 2015

Sunburns and Summer Fun

Summer is officially here and that means it’s time to ride bikes, go camping, play baseball/softball, host BBQ’s, go swimming and enjoy any other outdoor activity that you can! It’s pretty safe to say that summertime is probably the most looked-forward to season by adults and children alike. After all, school is out, the weather is warm and America’s favorite pastime is in full swing! What’s not to love?

While we should all find ways to get out and enjoy the summer weather with our family and friends, it is also important that we remember how harmful the sun can be when we aren’t prepared for it. This is especially true for those of us with children. Children are more susceptible to the heat and the harmful rays that beat down on them from the sun.

I’m sure that most of you have experienced a sunburn at some point within your life. I know that I sure have. However, I’ve got to say that the times when I did burn wasn’t until after I had reached my teenage years and wasn’t in the presence of my mother. My mom was incredibly good about making sure that my brother and I always put on sunscreen before we went outside to play or over to a friend’s for a pool party.

I have to admit that when I was a kid, I was always irritated that mom insisted on sunscreen because it took more time to do. Now, as a mom myself, I am experiencing the same attitude from my 6 year old but, just like my mother, I am determined to get the sunscreen on him! I’m sure most of you out there feel the same way I do about this topic.

While you may be putting sunscreen on your kids regularly, there are actually a few mistakes that can be made regarding it. Below are some sunscreen tips to ensure that your little ones are fully protected this summer!
  • Apply Daily – Did you know that the majority of sun exposure comes from activities such as sitting by a window, walking the dog, driving, playing catch, etc.? Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got some type of sun protection on your children daily…even on the days when they aren’t going to a pool party or won’t be outside for long periods of time. When it comes to the sun, time is time so be prepared for it!
  • Reapply – While you definitely get points for putting on sunscreen before the kids head out the door to go swimming, you don’t get an “A” for effort unless you remember to reapply the sunscreen after swimming has commenced. I know they make “water resistant” sunscreen, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t come off in the water. Therefore, make sure you reapply the sunscreen after swimming. Also, reapply it if it has been on for several hours too.
  • Apply Liberally – Sunscreen can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp when applying it. If you don’t put enough on then the skin isn’t fully protected, and isn’t that why you bought the stuff in the first place? Also, when you skimp on the application, you may miss spots and that is definitely not what you want to do.
  • Cover All Areas – While applying sunscreen to the arms, shoulders, torso, cheeks, legs and feet all need to be covered in sunscreen, there are other areas that need to be remembered too during the application process. The nose, ears, around the mouth, back of the neck and the top of the head (for kids/adults with little hair) all need to be covered.
Again, summertime is such a fun time of year for everyone to enjoy, but a bad sunburn can put a damper on the activities planned. Therefore, make sure to apply sunscreen liberally and correctly before you and your kiddos head outside!

Bringing Home Baby: The Clothing Essentials for Newborn Babies

While I am officially done having babies, I am still very much in “baby” mode as I have two cousins and a best friend who are all expecting their FIRST baby within the next few months! Although it has been over six years since I gave birth to our first baby, I still remember the excitement that I felt as I prepared for his arrival. For first time parents, everything during that pregnancy is new and exciting, but perhaps the most exciting thing is getting to register for the baby shower.

Decades ago people didn’t go to a store and actually register for baby items, instead they welcomed the gifts that their guests brought to them and then went and purchased the items that they didn’t receive. Today, the whole process has been made very simple as guests can now look and see exactly what the expectant parents need when they look at the registry. However, it is easy to get carried away and register for items that you don’t need. If you have ever visited a baby store then you’ve seen how many baby products are out there!

One of the areas where new parents tend to overspend is on the baby clothing. I know from experience how easy it is to give into the, “this outfit is just too cute…I have to buy it,” mentality. One of the great things about newborns is that they don’t care what they’re wearing. All they care about is eating, sleeping, being held and pooping. Seriously. So, save your hard earned money and only buy the must-have articles of clothing for your newborn. There are so many other things that you will need to spend that money on (car seats, a crib, monitors, etc.). To help you out, I’ve created a list of clothing essentials for the newborn:
  • Sleepers & Mittens – Both of these are a must. There are variety of sleepers available that include zippers, buttons or are open at the bottom. The point is that the baby is warm while sleeping, but when it’s time for the 3 am feeding and diaper changing session, it’s convenient for mom and dad. Some sleepers come with built in hand mittens to keep the baby from scratching him/herself as they sleep, but if you don’t get any of these make sure you buy some of the little mittens separately in case your little one scratches as he sleeps.
  • Onesies and Stretchy Pants – I have to say, onesies were a favorite of mine for both of my boys. I loved how easy they were to put on and I didn’t have to worry about their little bellies showing every time I picked them up. Therefore, make sure you get plenty of onesies in both short and long sleeve styles. The stretchy pants are the easiest to put on, especially on newborns. The great thing about them is that they stretch, so your little one isn’t going to grow out of them as quickly as a pair of jeans…plus, they’ve gotta be more comfortable for the little one too!
  • Socks – While those little baby shoes are super cute, the truth is that there really isn’t a need for them until the little one starts walking. This is especially true now that they make adorable socks that look like shoes! If you really want to get some baby shoes, then by all means do, but just make sure that you have more baby socks on hand than you do baby shoes…you will use the socks much more.
  • Dress Up Clothing – Okay, this is where so many people over-spend on babies, especially those with baby girls. (My husband is lucky that we had two boys, because if we had a girl I’m sure that I would have over-indulged in the clothing department for her too.) Try to refrain from going overboard here because the fact is that your little one is going to be growing at a rapid rate for the next couple of years. Therefore, he/she isn’t going to be able to wear each formal outfit very many times before moving on to the next size. While you do need formal clothing for your baby, try to keep the number of outfits on hand to 10 or less. The bulk of your baby’s clothing should be for the everyday stuff that you won’t stress out over if milk, spit-up, baby food, etc. gets on it.
  • One Jacket & One Coat – Jackets and coats are also expensive items for babies that are easy to crazy on. Sure, it’s nice to have a jacket/coat to match every outfit, but is it really necessary? Again, think about how fast your little one will grow and whether it’s really worth it to buy multiple coats and jackets that will maybe last 4-6 weeks.
  • Receiving Blankets & Bibs – You will need several good receiving blankets for your newborn as most newborns like to be swaddled to sleep. They are also great for covering their heads when walking outside on a windy or rainy day. As for the bibs, make sure you have plenty of these. My favorites were the cloth and Velcro bibs as they were easy to wash. Anyways, stock up on bibs because you will be amazed at how quickly you go through them…seriously, I think I went through more bibs daily then I did change of clothes with both of my babies!

Hopefully, the list above has helped you narrow down the essential clothing that you will need for your newborn versus the “cute, but not essential” items. While shopping for newborn baby clothes is fun, it is an area that is hard to justify (at least for me) when the baby doesn’t really care one way or another about what he/she is wearing as long as he/she is comfortable. So, save your money and stick to the essentials. When the little one is old enough to appreciate his/her clothing, then buy the more expensive and non-essential stuff.