Just A Mom

 

New York Mom Motherhood
photo credit: gil vaknin photography

When I showed Lily these pictures she loved them. “Mom, this is you dancing. These are so cool. can I show my friends? You should dance again”.

When I showed Thomas these pictures he said: “THIS is you? YOU can do THAT? This is my MOM?”

He couldn’t believe it was his mom jumping in the air in double attitude, 9 months pregnant… 38 weeks pregnant to be exact.

New York Mom Pregnancy

Lily remembers me as a dancer. She used to come on tour with me, she would come on set when we did shows, she would hang out at rehearsals and backstage and watch from the wings.

Thomas doesn’t know me as a dancer. He knows that I used to dance and I have led a few toddler dance classes for him and his friends but he hasn’t seen the full dancer mom that I used to be.

New York Mom motherhood
photo credit: gil vaknin photography
New York Mom motherhood
photo credit: gil vaknin photography

I took these photos for me. Not for anyone else but for me. For me to remember what a bad ass I used to be and STILL am! Something happened when I became a parent with Lily all those years ago and it just kept getting worse when we had Thomas. Don’t get me wrong, I love these little dragons more than anything and my life is immensely richer because of them but I also lost who I was in the process.

New York Mom motherhood
photo credit: gil vaknin photography

I lost my entire dance career is one big blow and I grieved this for years. I think just last year maybe… just maybe I finally was able to actually talk about it and say … I used to be a professional dancer and choreographer. It just hurt too much to identify as Just A Mom. I know, I said the taboo… Just. A. Mom. because as mom’s we are SOOOOO much more than that. Thus these photos!! We ARE much more than just mom’s… but do we remember that? I didn’t. For years I had lost touch with that part of who I am. The artist, the creative force, the person who I identify with. The MOM would take over and consume every single part of my being. From the moment I woke until the moment my tired exhausted body would give in and fold into the bed late into the night, I was a MOM. I just didn’t know my identity. Yes, I was functioning and working on creative projects but it was always under the MOM umbrella. I was always the MOM first and then the creative force second. And these two identities fought constantly.

New York Mom motherhood
photo credit: gil vaknin photography

We are about to have a baby any day. I am 39 weeks official today. And I know I am going to slip back into the fog of motherhood for some time. But right now, right now, I have clarity and I just want to remind myself that I am strong and I have this whole other person inside who is just waiting to bloom and adds richness and color to this sweet life we have created. And I want to remind any of you who need it too… you are still in there and the feeling of drowning and feeling lost in motherhood is seasonal and the fog will lift and you too will find your identity once again.

There is no shortage of articles being published every day about the strength of mothers and the sacrifices. But I rarely see this play itself out in real life. I don’t get daily assurances from my kids, I don’t have a sign every day that says… you are a supermom and awesome. It’s lonely and dark sometimes and the daily routine can eat your brain and your creative energy. I have to do this for myself. I never took any dance pictures when I was pregnant with Thomas so I figured why not now. Let me just go for it and have these images as a strong reminder that THIS IS ME. I’m not Just. A. Mom.

New York Mom Pregnancy
photo credit: Gil Vankin http://www.gilvaknin.com/

These photos are untouched and celebrate how my body has moved and changed through the years. I celebrate me today. And I hope you can celebrate you as well. I know I’m going to slip back into the doldrums of motherhood and the loss of identity is going to hit me hard… but right now and today… I feel good about who is still in here. I am happy to know that she comes out sometimes to make some great dance and art and bring creativity to this thing called motherhood.

New York Mom Pregnancy
photo credit: Gil Vankin http://www.gilvaknin.com/

My dear friend Gil Vankin took these photos. His work is beautiful and he is a very calm, collaborative, and creative to work with. I was very nervous taking these pics and he was able to capture moments I would never have discovered were within. thanks, Gil! Please swing by GIL VANKIN PHOTOGRAPHY to check out his work. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pregnancy: 38 Weeks

So here we are… the home stretch! 38 weeks you guys!!! I feel great, and still, have a lot of energy. This baby girl is not coming out anytime soon! Here we are Pregnancy: 38 Weeks!!

Thomas has been sick all week. Thankfully it’s just him and the rest of us have steered clear of whatever yucky he has going on. I haven’t left the house since Sunday… except to head to the grocery store for a really quick stop and the Doctor. So I too am totally stir crazy!

I’ve really been meaning to update the blog lately, but this life doesn’t stop. I don’t know how people juggle so much. I am, more often than not, left with a feeling of not accomplishing enough in my day. The dishes are always dirty, the laundry has always piled up, the dog hair is everywhere, and the toys are multiplying every second!

Some symptoms of 38 weeks: I’ve been having serious heartburn. Heartburn that has been keeping me up all night and just making the daily grind uncomfortable. After talking to my facebook nation of mamas and taking their advice, I’ve been feeling much better. So how to help ease pregnancy heartburn? Tums, water, bland food and more water. Stay away from seltzer water ( which is all i’ve been drinking) and no spicy foods… also what I have been craving.  Did you have heartburn during pregnancy?

The kids have been really great lately. Everyone has been pitching in to get the house ready for our new addition. Lily has been especially helpful with helping me sort through hand me down baby clothes and helping sort through all the baby gear we have been getting for reviews from my fave brands.

On that note: look for lots of video reviews on some of my fave products! I have soooo much to share about baby gear since I’ve been an expert in the baby gear industry for about 5 YRS now. side side note: I should make this baby gear expert thing… a thing. Like really do more with getting my info out to the masses. OK, Gameplan! You have to hold me accountable!

My body feels good in this 38 week of pregnancy. I wake up with tons of energy… if I’ve slept. But around 3 pm… forget it. I’m down for the count. 3 pm is also when the kids come home from school so the timing isn’t always ideal. I usually give the kids a snack and then pop in a movie so we can all just rest for an hour. This usually does the trick. Thomas has nicknamed the baby gurlgurl... and it’s sticking!

I’m not eating much these days either. There just doesn’t seem to be any room in the belly. I’ve been noshing on small tiny snacky meals. Fruit, plantain chips, broccoli cravings, and yogurt… all day!

My BabyCenter email for 38 weeks came out this week and they suggested I get massages, take care of myself, have some me time. This is great and all but who is doing this exactly. I have no time to even process and filter my own thoughts most days. It’s a nice idea I guess. Did you make time for pampering during pregnancy? I didn’t really do anything pamperingish with Thomas either. hmmm… missing out.

So baby watch 2018 is officially underway. We’re just sitting around and waiting for this little gurlgurl to come out and say hi!

 

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5 New Must Have Baby Products

Oh Baby! We are gearing up for … baby gear! While I’m planning on overdoing it with gear this time around… this is our third after all… I still love looking at baby gear and testing it and seeing what’s going on in the space. Baby gear is continuously evolving and I wanted to share 5 New Must-Have Baby Products.

Just in the short 4 years since Thomas was a baby, there have been big differences and changes in the baby gear world. From tech led products to high design, baby gear is reflecting the needs and wants of savvy fashion-forward parents. While there are so many new things coming up on the market every month, I wanted to share a few of my faves that have come across my desk recently.

I’ve seen and tested probably every baby product on the market and it definitely takes a bit to get me excited about something new! These products are not only practical but design worthy to fit your cool digs! So here we go… a few of my favorites I’m obsessing over right now. Here is my list of 5 New Must-Have Baby Products

The POP Doodle & Co Pacifiers. These are amazing 100% silicone pacifiers where the nipple pops back into itself bubble. I love these candy-colored pacifiers, the super soft silicone and of course the practical clean detail!

5 Brand New Must-Have Baby Products

GB Pockit Stroller. YOU GUYS!!! This stroller can fit in your bag!! YES! This is not a new product, I actually saw it about 2 years ago and it was amazing then. I just want to put this on your radar because it’s the PERFECT stroller for when you travel. Did I mention it fits in your bag! 5 Brand New Must-Have Baby Products

Huggs Contour Baby Carrier. This is a new design for baby carriers which is pretty spot on. This carrier comes with a booster seat attached so baby can feel totally supported and there is some weight taken off the parents back. 5 Brand New Must-Have Baby Products

Snoo Smart Sleeper. I WANT this! The SNOO is the future of baby gear. It’s all techy and motion censored and basically sleep trains your baby without all the fuss and crying! A few details that I love about this baby bed are that there is a swaddle built into this bed so baby is securely placed on her back and stays there, swings or jiggles to soothe baby because it’s motion sensored so knows when baby is restless. and it even plays the right sound – white noise, rain…etc – to rock baby back to sleep. on top of all these features, this is a work of furniture design art. I love this simple design, classic bassinet look. Coveting this over here! 5 Brand New Must-Have Baby Products

Summer Infant My Bath Seat. This is brilliant! SUction cups attach this to the walls of your bathtub so your baby is secure in this high back seat for bath time. This is great for splashing around in the bath and it gives parents enough space to give a baby a good wash. Have you tried to bath a baby… suuuper slippery, this helps. This is NOT to be used with infants. I would recommend this for babies who can sit up unassisted and up. 5 Brand New Must-Have Baby Products

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links*

 

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Narwhal Themed Nursery for Baby

Narhwal Themed Nursery for Baby
Narhwal Themed Nursery for Baby

And the big nursery theme is… NARWHALS! Well technically the baby doesn’t have a full room as a nursery just yet, she will be sharing our room but her corner space nursery will be Narwhal themed! I’m sharing some of my favorite picks for a Narwhal Themed Nursery for Baby.

Each of our kids just naturally found their way into their spirit animals and they have all been pretty spot on. Lily is a dragonfly/butterfly, Thomas is an elephant and this sweet new babe will be a narwhal. The Unicorn of the sea!

We’re trying to get everything ready for baby and just picking up a few minimalist decor pieces to help decorate her space. Some of our faves are listed and you can find them all on my Amazon Influencer Shop!

Novogratz Collection wool rug I am in love with anything and everything Novogratz! This husband and wife team not only creates amazing living spaces but their line of home goods reflects such fun and life and whimsy!

White Faux Taxidermy gold wall art Must – have! perfect for hanging little baby bows or bonnets!

Babyletto Modo 3-in-1 Convertible Crib I love this modern sleek look. It’s clean and the grey is the perfect neutral.

Sea Urchin Studio ABC Wall Art for Kids I love the graphics and the colors on this print! Perfect for setting the theme for our Narwhal nursery.

 Vintage Style Narwhal Silhouette Baby Bodysuits Long-Sleeve Seriously love this vintage style onesie for baby. I love that it’s gender neutral. I secretly want a tee in my size!

Narwhal ship jigsaw puzzle Another fab find. This wooden puzzle is perfect to have as something to put together on snow and rainy days or display!

Spike Purple Narwhal A little soft toy friend for baby. This sweet Narwhal plush is perfect!

Cotton Swaddle Narwhal They even make Narwhal themed swaddles you guys! How very cute.

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links* 

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Pregnancy – Tips for Surviving Your Second Trimester

Pregnancy - Surviving Your Second Trimester

So here we are the second trimester! The Second Trimester of Pregnancy is defined as week 14 – week 27. Like I mentioned in my previous post – Pregnancy – Surviving the First Trimester, Your body is like the North …. it remembers. ( always geeking out on Game of Thrones ) You might have already popped out more than you did with your first pregnancy. And these symptoms you are having are different the second and third time around. I’m sharing some of my tips for Pregnancy – Tips for Surviving Your Second Trimester

Pregnancy - Surviving Your Second Trimester

I’ve been extremely exhausted and have to take an afternoon nap or my bedtime gets pushed to 8:30 pm which basically is the kid’s bedtime and I get no time to myself or any work done. My legs have been cramping throughout my pregnancy and have only been getting worse as the weeks roll on. I’ve also been pretty emotional and if you are feeling this way, speak to your doctor or lean on your friends if you are not getting your emotional needs met by your family.

Pregnancy - Surviving Your Second Trimester

Here are a few tips to help you Survive your Second Trimester of Pregnancy.

  1. Drink lots of water. Yes, I said this for the first trimester but you have to keep it going for the second and third. The water really helps with muscle cramps and comfort.  I have had a hard time drinking regular water so I’ve been making lime water – cut up a lime and squeeze into a water glass.
  2. Purchase a belly band to support your growing belly. Some days I feel like my belly is going to fall out from under me and a belly band really comes in handy.
  3. Up your calcium intake. I can’t stand the taste or smell of milk but I love yogurt. I’ve been having Trader Joes Vanilla Greek Yogurt with a Gluten-free Vanilla, Blueberry, and almond granola. It’s my go to all the time.
  4. Eat small meals throughout the day. I feel like there is just no space in my belly for food, but I’m hungry all the time. My go-to meal has been – Tomatoes, red onions, and anchovies with a little bit of oil and salt. I don’t get any fresh breath awards but all my cravings and hunger needs have been met.
  5. Get a massage.  I have YET to do this. A prenatal massage or even reflexology can make a huge difference in the way you feel, your mood, and your overall comfort level.
  6. Start creating your maternity wardrobe. I’ve been having a hard time finding maternity clothes that fit my style and fit my frame, so with the exception of a couple maternity pieces, i’ve been costing on regular clothing and it’s saved me some money for sure!  LEggings and sweaters and long sweaters have been my go to this season. Don’t go overboard with spending too much on a full wardrobe, just grab a couple key pieces and take it easy!
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Pregnancy – Surviving Your First Trimester

Tips to survive your first trimester of pregnancyPregnancy – Surviving Your First Trimester. It’s not always a smooth ride during pregnancy and surviving the first trimester. My first pregnancy was pretty easy. I was so lucky. I was still dancing for various projects all over New York City and was always moving. This really helped my body stay in shape and strong and my core was supported by these dance muscles which in turn made me have a lot more energy and feel great.This time around, it’s quite different. I haven’t moved with that professional dancer intensity, since having Thomas and my body has …softened a bit.

The second pregnancy, your body remembers… like the “north” … the body remembers. and even before we realized we were pregnant.. this amazing body of mine was already settling into the 9 months of growth. My belly popped around 18ish weeks and there were a lot more symptoms that tagged along this time around.

My first trimester was a bit rough. Not Princess Kate rough… but pretty rough. I couldn’t sleep, I started having pregnancy migraines, restless legs, and nausea. This summer while in Florida with our family, there were many nights that I just couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning all night from discomfort.

While most of these symptoms cannot be avoided, you can do small things to help ease the discomfort.

Tips to survive your first trimester of pregnancy

To survive the first trimester of pregnancy you can try to:

  1. Drink tons of water. I would cut up limes and lemons and add to my water. It’s easier to drink with a little flavor but the sour flavors of the limes and lemons really helped soothe my nausea.
  2. Get a maternity pillow or any pillow and place it between your legs. This is crucial. I sleep with a million pillows all around.
  3. Try sleeping at an angle. Laying flat was a bit of a challenge for me just because of nausea and discomfort so again, I piled up pillows all around me to stay slightly at an angle when sleeping.
  4. Ginger biscuits! I could not stand the smell fo ginger tea but ginger biscuits were my saving grace! The crunchy kids because I also didn’t want to eat too much. So small bites of these biscuits always helped.
  5. Find your support system. I am so fortunate to have an amazing husband who is always making sure I’m comfortable and fed and feeling ok. The kids have been brushing my hair or putting lotion on my belly or legs which is also so soothing. My friends have been really wonderful by checking in, offering advice and lending an ear. You need a support system throughout your pregnancy. You need people around you who will just listen to your woes about your body aches and be sympathetic. This is so important. It’s always nice to have people who are willing to listen to what you are going through but so much more while pregnant. Those emotional pregnancy hormones don’t mess around!

The New York Mom

That’s all I have! Yaa! for this sweet preggy babe! Please share your preggy tips with me!

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10 Pregnancy Must Haves

10 Pregnancy Must Haves
You are pregnant! Now what? I’m sharing my top 10 Pregnancy Must-Haves to help with a comfortable 9 months!
Your body is about to go through some pretty amazing changes and some of those changes are not so comfortable. I’m in my 19 week right now and things are slightly meh. My pregnant belly popped last week and since then I’ve been having a tough time fitting into some clothes, mostly pants, and I’ve started having these crazy migraines.
Did you have pregnancy migraines? I have never had migraines and started having them at about week 12.Between these migraines that can last for hours, nausea, the discomfort, the ‘nothing fits me blues’ and getting some sleep… it’s tough to navigate everyday life with kids and your changing body.
Here are a few of my absolute must-haves that have been really helping me get through the days comfortably.
Now, while I do act like a know it all… I probably don’t know it all and I am certainly not a doctor. So please talk to your OB if you have any concerns or questions about your body. I’m not an expert, I only play one online!  
10 Pregnancy Must Haves

Maternity Tank Top – Everything is expanding over here. Including my chest. No really your ribcage literally opens up and expands. So a comfortable tank is my go to these days. I like a little bit of spandex support without feeling too held in… if you know what I mean.
Basq Facial Cleanser – I love this super gentle cleanser for use while pregnant. This can be used anytime but I love that it’s perfect for sensitive hormonal skin like I have now! Basq offers lots of great products like body butter and belly creams that you can choose to add to your beauty routine.

Sleep Eye Patch – A sleep mask has been helping me get some rest lately. Especially when I am having pounding migraines.

 Prenatal Gummy Vitamins – Take care of your bodies mama and also that sweet baby in your belly. Prenatal gummies are a must!

Pregnancy Pillow – I’ve given my pregnancy pillow a name that’s how much I love it. You MUST get this. As your tummy gets bigger you will really appreciate the support when you lay on your side. I also get leg cramps and having this pillow between my legs while I sleep helps soo much!
Poise MicrolinersI know! Things are getting real mama. I love the super thin Poise Microliners for um… unexpected leaks. No joke. While there are many gorgeous goddess like pregnant mamas gracing our Instagram feed, the truth is all those gals are quite possibly fighting leakage too. This is super discreet and they work!

Mexican Coke – Ok, so here is a weird one… but hear me out. My doctor recommended I drink caffeine to help tackle my pregnancy migraines. While I do love drinking coffee… currently can’t stand the smell of it. So I’ve been turning to Mexican Coke for my caffeine fix while having migraines. You have to chug this down. no sipping. Let that caffeine run through your system! Mexican Coke exported to the US is made from real cane sugar as opposed to American coke which is made of High-fructose Corn Syrup. You must get the Mexican Coke sold in the US which is made with cane sugar.
Bio Oil – My favorite oil for everyday use. This is an amazing oil that helps with stretch marks, scars and helps improve aging skin and uneven skin tone. A little goes a long way and you will use this long after you have your baby.

Maternity Underwear – Yea, so get ready for your underwear not fit. Yes, that totally happens. Special maternity underwear sits right below the belly. So comfortable.

Drink bottle – Stay Hydrated! And do it with a pretty bottle. Mama’s you MUST drink water all day. I mix some fresh cut limes with my water and sip sip sip.

 This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. 

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Party of Five!

We’re having a baby! Our little family is growing and we are all over the moon.

Matt and I told the kids when we were in Florida, right before we started telling our parents and siblings. Of course Thomas and Lily are really excited and have already started dreaming up ways to ensure that THEY will be the favorite of the new addition.

Thomas is determined to name the baby – BuzzLightyear. So that’s on the table.

I’m at exactly 15 weeks today and my body is feeling like a wreck. My first trimester was pretty brutal with nausea and exhaustion and just overall BLEH! These last few weeks have been a little rough as well. I’ve been getting migraines. Something I never had with Thomas’ pregnancy and my restless legs have already begun, again something that didn’t start until the third trimester with Thomas.

The kids think it’s pretty funny that I can sit down on the couch and be asleep in five minutes. A deep exhausted sleep. not funny! Matt has been traveling and my daily mission is to stay busy and out of the house so I don;t crash and sleep every second I get! Good news is that this forces me to be in bed by 9:30pm every night. My usual bedtime is midnight or 1am. So I’ve been enjoying waking up early with the birds, and having lots of sleep…but nothing is getting done around here.

Overall we are really excited. We have so much work to do in this house and are hoping to tackle a bunch of it before this baby arrives… probably not going to happen! But we will try.

Here is how we made our big online announcement. Cuties! All of us!

Yaay!Ba-baaay!

 

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What’s the Best Brand of Diaper?

One of the most time consuming, expensive, ongoing and smelly purchases you have with your baby is … DIAPERS. Parents can spend a small fortune on diapers and with all the brands out there, it’s really hard to narrow down the choices. So what IS the best diaper for baby?

The New York Mom

We tried a few brands of diapers with Thomas before settling down on Target’s Up and Up brand. We loved the diapers, the simple polka dots were cute and the diaper did well for us. All the way from newborn through the pull ups.

While we are out of the diaper stages these days, I do still work in the baby and parenting industry and keeping up with the latest of everything is sorta my job.

Recently, the company I work with, TTPM.com conducted their own massive Diaper Challenge. I recruited a few of my friends with infants to help us out with this project.

So basically… this was a 30 day challenge where we put 10 of the most popular brands of diapers to the test. They went bum – to bum! We tested over 5000 diapers in a 30 day period. My sister in Law, my neighbor, my friend, a colleague.. I really pulled people from my everyday life to help with this project.

Diapers were rated on absorbency, odor,  fit/flexibility, comfort and overall performance. This was such an undertaking by TTPM but it has proven to be a great resource for new parents out there.

In the end HUGGIES  Little Snugglers won the whole thing. We do really like the Huggies Brand and it was no surprise they won.

Our personal fave is still Target’s Up and Up. They work really well, just as good as Huggies and cost less than the name brands. This post is not sponsored, I just want to share my personal brand favorite which works just as well as the name brand and is cheaper. savin you some dollar dollar bills y’all! 

You can see by the chart where some diapers stood out more than others.

TTPM DIAPER CHALLENGE

With Thomas we tried eco – friendly diapering. We did cloth diapers ONCE… i mean have you SEEN what comes out of their tiny bums! Not a good look for reusability. TTPM.com did test eco brands and Seventh Generation was the Eco brand that stood out.

What do you look for in a diaper? Is an eco brand important to you? Did you cloth diaper? I would love to know your thoughts.

Make sure you swing by TTPM.com and the TTPM DIAPER CHALLENGE for all the details including comments from the participants.

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5 New Baby Products for The Modern Parent

5 New Baby Products for the Modern Parent
Baby gear seems to be an ever revolving door with new gadgets and designs to help parents out. Even in the three short years since I’ve had Thomas, the baby gear industry has just exploded with some really amazing upgrades, fresh designs, and new brands raising the ‘cool factor” bar. From an infant car seat that magically turns into a stroller, to a Keurig style baby formula dispenser and even… now get this… a stroller that fits in your hand bag, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites baby pieces on the market today. Here are 5 New Baby Products for The Modern Parent.
CYBEX cloud Q
CYBEX – The Cybex Cloud Q is the first car seat to completely lay flat. Of course this happens only when outside the car.  This instant carry cot is great to keep baby sleeping in a flat position all while still strapped into the car seat! Baby Breeza
BABY BREZZA – The Formula Pro from Baby Brezza measures, dispenses and mixes powdered baby formula to the perfect temperature. Perfect for sleep deprived parents. It’s almost like a Keurig for baby formula! It holds about 50 ounces of water and you can choose to make 2,4,6,8, or 10 ounces for your sweet babe.

 

Baby Bjorn Bouncer Mini

Baby Bjorn has the new Bouncer Mini and I love it! This is a new modern take on the classic Baby Bjorn bouncer that still allows baby to self bounce and is an ergonomic fit for your babe. The mini however has a gorgeous new watercolor theme with light silver/grey, ice pink and darker grey covers. The structure of the bouncers comes in black or white frames. I love this clean new look from Baby Bjorn.

DoonaA car seat and stroller in one. Why yes! The Doona is a hot new product that eliminates the need for that transition stroller during the first few months of baby. This rear facing infant car seat easily transforms into a stroller without even disturbing baby for a second. We love it. It’s narrow enough to fit through airplane isles which makes it great for travel too.

GB Pockit Stroller

And the best for last. I am so excited about the GB Pockit stroller that fits right into your bag. No really, it fits in a large handbag and opens up to a full travel stroller.  It’s the world’s most compact fold stroller and even in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Happy Baby gear shopping everyone. Feel free to drop me a line with any questions you have about baby gear!

 

* disclaimer* – this is not a sponsored post or an ad. But I have tested and reviewed each one of these products and give them the thumbs up.

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