City Premier Travel System by Baby Jogger Review

If you’re looking for a comprehensive stroller system, I have to tell you about the City Premier Travel System by Baby Jogger. We’ve owned this system for twelve months, and we’re still excited about it. It’s that good.

Just so you know, the City Premier Travel System is far more than a stroller. It’s a complete ensemble including car seat, stroller, deluxe pram, and a set of adapters. You can add accessories like a glider board for older children.

What’s a Travel System?

In a nutshell, this system is everything your baby will need for transportation from birth to two years old.

To start, the car seat. The Baby Jogger City Go is a great seat that will serve your little one from birth (we took our youngest from the hospital with when she was born) to well over a year old. It includes a base that stays in the car, along with adapters so it can fit onto the stroller. Being able to stroll your baby from home, place them in the car, and then take them out, all without waking her up is a huge boon.

The bassinet itself is a dream, and our little one spent much of her first few months in it. While traveling it served as her full-time bed, and while at home it was her favorite nap spot.

The stroller itself is also great. You can easily maneuver it with one hand, and even when riding over bumpy gravel driveways, it doesn’t jostle baby around. It’s got a great sunshade canopy. There’s also a huge, ultra-convenient storage basket that’s easily accessible from all sides (we have even used it for our carry-on luggage while traveling).

What I Love Most About the City Premier Travel System

  1. The adjustable handlebar is excellent for switching between my (short) self and my (tall) husband.
  2. The lock is easy to use and well-placed on the side of the stroller, making it one easy click to secure the stroller.
  3. For our family, the reversible riding option for the stroller chair is great. My mother-in-law prefers it one way, I prefer it another, and our little one gets to enjoy both directions. Everyone wins.
  4. The UV Canopy is great for coverage on sunny days.
  5. The magnetic peek-a-boo windows are perfect for me to check on my baby without disturbing her enjoyment.

Pros of City Premier Travel System

  • The large wheels are excellent for maneuvering up and down urban sidewalks and stairs. Although I have an elevator in my apartment building, there are three stairs before I get to the elevator. The smoothness of this stroller allows me to easily navigate these steps—even if the stroller storage area is filled with groceries.
  • The seats are spacious, snug and comfortable. Our little one was really comfortable in each seating option – the bassinet, stroller, and the car seat.
  • Lots of options that will serve you from birth to walking.
  • One hand folding. This is really nice compared to some other strollers in the market.
  • Reversible riding option, again, so handy for my mother-in-law’s preferences when she has our daughter.
  • Road steering/handling is smooth and sure.

Cons of City Premier Travel System

To be fair, there are both pros and cons to this travel system. While we definitely believe the pros outweighed the cons, here are some things that bothered us.

  • Not convenient when attaching the car seat. See below.
  • Canopy doesn’t stay in place. It keeps slowly folding, and we needed to push it back in place every couple of minutes.
  • All the attachments must fit the City Premier brand, and many of them are quite pricey. We bought the complete system, but for families who already have a car seat they like, this could pose a problem.

My biggest frustration with the City Premier stroller set is when I have to switch the bassinet/stroller seat to the car seat, which we do quite often. The car seat is a great fit once it is securely on the stroller, but it takes a few tries to get it on. There are no good indicators of where to fit the car seat onto the adapters, so each time feels like a guessing game.

All in all, the City Premier Travel System offered us exactly what we wanted for our daughter: a quality, convenient, comfortable ride that we could use for the long haul. We hope this review helps you as you’re deciding what to use for your little traveler.

The Complete Guide to Travel Cribs

“Just when we got her naps figured out, it’s vacation!”

“She’ll be fine. Won’t she?”

“I sure hope so. I don’t want her going back to getting up all hours.”

“If only we could bring her room with us.”

Have Baby; Will Travel

Introducing a monkey wrench like travel into your baby’s sleep cycle can threaten every bit of nap time progress you’ve made, especially for a child up to a year old. A road trip that once amounted to a spur-of-the-moment inspiration now takes weeks of planning so your diligent efforts to teach your baby to sleep aren’t wasted.

If you’ve spent serious time teaching your baby to sleep, you understand the importance of routine and consistency. While you’re on the road, your schedule won’t be consistent. That doesn’t mean your baby can’t enjoy familiar surroundings.

How? Enter travel cribs.

What Is a Travel Crib?

You’re probably familiar with portable playpens. They’ve been around since we were tiny. Like a padded cage, these moveable cribs are great for providing a safe play place when your little one becomes mobile.

The difference between these portable playpens and a travel crib is size. While most playpens are quite bulky, some travel cribs such as the Lotus travel crib by Guava Family are compact enough to pass as hand luggage on flights.

Travel cribs are the perfect solution for those of us who are on the road constantly, for grandparents, or for parents who lack the strength to wrangle an unwieldy pack-and-play through doorways – not an easy feat, especially if you’re short on sleep and iron.

Don’t Take It Too Literally

Travel cribs can even be an excellent choice when you are not traveling.

In our house, we use a Lotus travel crib as a second crib/playpen. Its lightweight and origami-like folding structure, allows us to move it from floor to floor almost daily. This has helped us recover a lot of previously lost space in our living room when our little one isn’t using it.

A travel crib can even make for an excellent permanent crib, as we explored in 5 Reasons To Use a Travel Crib At Home.

What Types of Travel Cribs Are Available?

Although there are many more, here are three top of the line travel cribs. Each of these demonstrates why so many on-the-go parents opt for their baby’s permanent bed to be a travel crib:

1. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light

This convenient, attractive travel crib calls to mind the image of a stork delivering a feather-light sack holding a peacefully sleeping infant. The well-made sides are easy to remove for laundering or for transporting, and it’s a snap to reassemble it. If you can handle the hefty price tag, you’ll love handling this lightweight crib.

2. Lotus Travel Crib

This traveler’s dream crib offers a zip-open side letting your little one crawl in and out of it at will. It also includes a backpack carry bag allowing you to take it on planes as carry-on, making this the perfect travel crib for the jetsetter family.

3. Phil & Ted’s Portable Travel Crib

This super-convenient travel crib breaks down into a compact seven-pound package that’s simple to stow away in an airplane overhead compartment. Its attractive mesh sides give you and your baby full view of one another. It also includes a comfortable mattress that’s suitable inside or outdoors.

What Should I Look for in a Travel Crib?

According to your budget, here are some things you should look for when shopping for your travel crib:

  • Quality products. Since a travel crib will get handled heavily, you’ll want to purchase one that doesn’t skimp on the materials used.
  • Simplicity. Look for a travel crib that doesn’t frustrate you to put it together or take it down. Also look for a crib that’s easy to transport.
  • Age. Depending on the age and mobility of your baby, you might be better served by a portable, heavier crib that includes a bassinette attachment for a newborn or a toddler travel bed for your climbing anklebiter.
  • Breathability. Not all travel cribs allow for the same amount of airflow, so look for one that was designed with baby’s comfort in mind.
  • Safety. Consider these important crib safety facts always, whether at home or abroad.

All of the travel cribs listed above pass all of these tests with flying colors.

Whether you’re looking for a travel crib to stow in the trunk for a spur of the moment road trip or a permanent sleeping arrangement for your baby’s cramped quarters, we think travel cribs answer a host of needs for modern parents. Sleep well knowing your baby’s sleeping well!

At what age should a child use a booster car seat?

I pulled out of the driveway straight into a roadblock at the intersection in front of the house. State troopers on each direction stopped motorists in every passing vehicle.

Smiling timidly, I handed over my license and registration. The unsmiling officer glanced into the backseat and lowered his eyebrows.

“That child looks too young for that booster seat.”

I twisted around to look. Sure enough, my oblivious three year old swung her legs cheerfully from her big sister’s booster seat. Behind her, my older daughter looked at me with a mixture of innocent confusion and knowing guilt, squished in her little sister’s car seat.

“How old is she?”

“Almost four.”

“So three?”

Gulp. “Yes, sir.”

“Ma’am, three year olds are not old enough for booster seats.”

“Her sister switched seats with her. I didn’t realize…”

He mumbled something and retreated to his squad car. When he returned, he handed me a colored paper. “I’m giving you a ticket for inappropriate child restraint. You will appear at court at the abovementioned day in September. Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest.”

Shaking, I pulled away. I dutifully reported to court on the appointed September day, when I was fined over $200 for my mistake.

Take It from Me: Know the Rules

If you’re a new parent, take my advice: learn exactly what child restraint system is required. It varies from state to state, so in case you’re unsure, here are some guidelines.

  1. In a recent policy statement the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines and are now advising parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit of the car seat.
    Your child should stay in a rear-facing car seat for as long as they will fit. Once their knees are pushing against the seat and making them uncomfortable, or if they have exceeded the height or weight limit printed on the back of the car seat, it is time to turn them around.
  2. A child should be in a five-point harness car seat up to the age of four. I got the ticket to prove it—and just weeks before her fourth birthday, too!
  3. The laws say children should remain in a booster seat until they are tall enough for the lap belt to fit snugly over their thighs, not their stomachs. That can be as old as 12.
  4. Children should remain in the backseat until the age of twelve.
  5. Learn more in our complete guide to booster seats.

Even though child safety requirements can seem invasive, they’re there to protect, not to perturb. Remembering that helps me keep it all in perspective – that, and the squad car parked on the side of the road!

Our favorite booster seats:

How Often Should I Replace Baby Bottle Nipples?

Dear Gran,

I’m bottle feeding my baby. My mom’s been driving me crazy, telling me bottles have to be sterilized after every use. She wants me to treat the nipples like they’re disposable, saying I should replace them every week. I keep telling her the experts say baby bottles can be washed in the dishwasher, but she acts horrified. I’m all for cleanliness, but isn’t the constant sterilization overkill? I’m determined to do what’s best for my baby, but I’m at my wits end from lack of sleep as it is. I’d love to tell my mother what you have to say.

Frazzled,
Fran

Dear Frazzled Fran,

Congrats on the new little love! I understand the excitement and anxiety surrounding this precious life you’re now responsible for.

Assuming your dishwasher works and reaches the recommended high temperature, I’d have to say I agree with you – to a point. Baby bottles do require occasional sterilization, though, especially if your baby’s immune system is compromised from a doctor’s visit. You’ll want to give them a good soak in some boiling water anytime you buy new bottles, too.

Those experts who say baby bottle nipples should be replaced even every three months usually stand to make a profit from that advice, whether by sales or by advertising. What really matters is that your baby bottle gear is clean and in good repair. As long as baby is able to drink from the nipple without excess leakage or without undue strain, the nipple should be fine to keep using.

Of course, the type of nipple will determine its longevity. Clear nipples hold up longer and work more efficiently than those rubbery brown ones, even though they can sometimes tear when used as a teether by sore-gummed babies. I’ve never had good outcomes with the brown nipples, but my grandchildren have been using Dr. Brown’s bottles with clear nipples and those have lasted for over a year, especially if the baby hasn’t started teething.

When you squeeze the bottle nipple, if you see any tiny cracks, it’s time to replace the nipple. If you turn the securely closed bottle upside down and milk drips out, it’s also time to replace. If neither of these are true and everything’s been kept clean, you should be fine continuing to use the nipple.

While you’ll want to sterilize the bottles and nipples, you’re right to use the dishwasher for regular cleaning. Scrubbing with a rag or brush is a sure way to ruin a nipple. The dishwasher, if available, is much gentler.

Most important is that you don’t let a small thing like baby bottles build a wall between you and your mum. She cares for you just as you care for your child, and the more appreciation you give her, the more likely she’ll be to listen when your wishes differ from her instinct. I learned the hard way: listening to my mother doesn’t always mean agreeing, but it doesn’t have to end in a battle. Sometimes it’s best to nod, smile, and thank her concern than to alienate your mum when you need her support most.

I hope this helps! Enjoy that baby!

Regards,
Gran Landers

What Color Should the Nursery Be, and Why Does It Matter?

As if it’s the pregame before a lifetime of monumental choices, the pregnancy months constantly bombard expectant parents with a host of questions. Do you plan to nurse or bottlefeed? What kind of diapers will you use? What’ll the baby’s name be? Have you picked out the colors of his nursery? Where’s he going to college?

Since most of those questions are beyond the scope of this blog, let’s look at the easy question. What color should you paint your baby’s nursery?

Thanks to decades of design research and centuries of color theory, today’s parents can avail themselves of the many advantages of color combinations to bless their baby with a nursery that’s perfect for their home, their family, and their budding personalities.

Wait, what? Personality?

Yes, personality. Babies’ personalities are evident even in the womb. You probably already know if your baby’s a wild child. If your unborn baby loves doing chin-ups on your collarbone, you can expect him to be a baby who’s a bundle of energy. Likewise, if you constantly worry whether your baby’s okay, only to have your OB or midwife reassure you everything’s fine, chances are you have a quiet dreamer. Both are wonderful, but knowing those personalities can guide your nursery choices.

How so?

Color affects everyone. Since babies’ brains are blank canvases, color can be even more powerful. The subtle influence of a light periwinkle or a gentle yellow can set the stage for your child’s entire outlook on life, especially if this is a color scheme you won’t be changing until they move out.

Not only does color affect your baby, but it also affects you, the parents. It might not seem like a big deal now, but you’d be surprised what a toll sleepless nights can inflict. When your head’s tingling from exhaustion and your back hurts, the flaming scarlet wall that looked so artsy two months ago suddenly amps your nerves, and poor baby suddenly has a scary looking parent glaring at him.

What you need to know about color

Red

Red is the power color. It’s the color of passion, of roses, of kisses, and of blood. It’s a bit much for a newborn when splashed generously, but a little can go a long way. Just as a bright red wall would be overkill, tasteful use of some red accents can balance out those blah colors like white, gray, and hospital blue to transform a dead room into a cheerful, tasteful space.

Red nursery colors

Orange

Orange is the color of fast food. That’s because it’s proven that combinations of red and yellow make you hungry. If you anticipate a sleepy, sluggish baby that might have trouble gaining weight, orange could be a stimulating color to help you when he won’t wake to eat. On the other hand, if you have the chin-up baby, flee from orange. Stay away.

Orange nursery colors

Yellow

Yellow is the happy color. Just make sure not to overdo it. Just like sunshine is necessary for life and happiness but our eyes can’t tolerate large doses, so is yellow best in small quantities. Located in the center of the spectrum, it’s the balancing color, so make sure the nursery has a yellow focal point somewhere.

Green

As the most prominent color in nature, it makes sense that green is the easiest on our eyes. It combines the cheerfulness of yellow with the mellowness of blue. Green is hard to beat.

Blue

There is blue, and there is blue. My parents once painted their dining room the most depressing blue you could imagine. It lasted less than twenty-four hours. If you choose blue, look for one with a hint of green and as little gray as possible. You don’t want a brilliant royal blue unless you have plenty of white to counter it. Also, a good way to brighten an ugly grayish blue is to add cheerful accents of yellow, orange, or red.

Blue nursery colors

Purple

Purple’s an unnatural color, which is rarely found in nature. This is why it has traditionally been associated with royalty. Tasteful use of purple can be beautiful, especially when paired with rich, silky fabrics. It carries the same emotions as red and blue depending on which is more prominent in that particular shade.

White

White in a nursery screams “Behold the domain of the perfect mother.” Since perfect mothers have been proven fictitious, white says you’re insecure and hiding something—like that spit-up stain under the glider. If you must choose white, be nice about it and don’t flaunt your perfection to visiting mommy friends. They’ll not visit as often.

Brown

Brown’s a great color for a cowboy or farmer themed room. Even a rustic girly look works well with brown. Just make sure you keep things natural and not too sleek or perfect looking.

A few thoughts

My first baby’s nursery was light periwinkle blue with sheer white curtains. It was delightful. It felt cool in the hot summer, and just walking in was relaxing. My baby did turn out to be a calm, cool individual. Did it have anything to do with my color choices? I don’t know. I do know I would have treasured every moment with him no matter what color the walls were. Remember that, and enjoy the journey!

How to Choose the Right Stroller (Hint: It’s all about age)

You grasp the registry scanner as if it can magically deliver all the baby gear your heart could desire. You point it at onesies, blankies, jammies, and pull the trigger with glee.

You round the corner and skid to a halt. There, spread before you like a wall of confusion, is every stroller known to man. More intimidating than the bike aisle, you advance with caution, lest you accidentally pull the trigger toward the wrong one.

You start looking, immediately bypassing the fifteen-buck cheap-looking umbrella strollers. After all, this is going on the registry!

You scrutinize jogging strollers complete with phone hookups and speakers. Double strollers that look like a full-blown locomotive for parents of multiples. Brand-name designer strollers that, despite their exorbitant price tag, look suspiciously similar to those fifteen-buck strollers.

Thirty minutes later and more confused than ever, you flee the stroller section looking for refuge. You take sanctuary in the diaper aisle and your scanner resumes its cheerful chirping.

A stroller for every age

If you’re a new parent who hasn’t spent a lot of time around babies, you may think like I did, “Surely a stroller’s a stroller!”

After eight children, I’ve come to learn that all strollers are not created equally.

I’ve used the high-end Cadillacs of strollers and the cheap strollers. I’ve used the locomotive double strollers and the side-by-side double strollers for my twins. I’ve even used a jogging stroller. And guess what? Each of them was perfect for the season I found myself. It all depends on how old your child is.

Here’s what you need to know about buying strollers by age:

A newborn’s number one stroller need is support.

As you’ll soon discover, a consuming job for every new parent is to support baby’s head, whether they’re balancing a paper plate while holding a sleeping baby or warning the new cousin to “keep her head up!”

That’s why simple, bare-bones umbrella type strollers that seem perfect, both for the budget and for the back, aren’t suitable for newborns.

A newborn stroller needs to allow baby to recline with his head supported from falling to the side. Of course, some high-end umbrella strollers offer these features. More often, though, a parent of a newborn will prefer a stroller that allows for the car-seat to simply snap into position, eliminating the need for elaborate buckling rituals with a newborn who’s figuring out sleep and wake cycles.

Another thing for the first-time parent to consider is that, with a newborn, you may not realize how much your life is about to change. You may think you’ll immediately be carting your baby off to the mall and the park, but realistically, you might be surprised how much you’ll want to stay close to home those first sleep-deprived weeks. Unless you know for sure you’re going to be using a stroller with your newborn regularly, you might want to wait until your baby has a little more upper body control before shelling out beaucoups of bucks for a conveyance that won’t be often used.

A 3 to 12 month old baby’s primary stroller need is safety.

Once your baby can hold his head up enough to actually enjoy a stroller ride, chances are your trips out will have gotten more frequent. Once this occurs, your primary focus should be on safety. Obviously, safety will always be a concern, but at this tender age group, it’s especially vital.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if a stroller offers that safety you’ll need:

  1. Does this stroller have a brake that’s easy to use for when I’m digging in my purse at the top of a hill at the park?
  2. Does this stroller allow me to see my baby when I’m walking, or is there an obstruction?
  3. Does this stroller provide shade if we’re at the amusement park or my nephew’s Little League game?
  4. Will this stroller require me to leave my child unattended in the car for long stretches while I try to remember how to fold it up and stow it in the trunk?

Every parent’s situation is different, so depending on which of the above questions applies to you, you should be able to determine where you need to focus your priorities in choosing a stroller.

A 1-year-old baby’s primary stroller need is security.

While all the above questions still apply for one-year-olds, by the time your baby becomes mobile a new factor enters into the equation: will my baby stay put in the stroller?

By this age range, you’ll want to make sure your baby is securely buckled in, especially if you have a wild child who loves to practice his escape act. While home is a great place to practice going out and about and teach your child so that embarrassing store scenes don’t happen to you, when you are out and about you’ll appreciate a tough five-point harness that keeps Buddy occupied while you’re shopping.

A toddler’s primary stroller need is convenience.

By the time your child is old enough to alternate between riding and walking, you’ll appreciate a stroller portable enough to not require you to require your child to ride.

This is when umbrella strollers are worth their weight in gold. Small enough to hang on a hook in the closet, light enough to carry while you hold your child’s hand, these strollers are perfect both for the park and the plane ride.

Every Situation Is Different

As you stare at the wall of strollers, remember that every situation is different. We all have different budgets, different priorities, and different needs. Once you’ve considered what you’re needing most at this point, it’s a good idea to find a friend in similar circumstances and find out what works for them.

Above all, enjoy every minute with your new love. I know you’ve heard it before, but soon you’ll be saying it too: It goes by fast.

Andaz Mayakoba Resort in Riviera Maya

Andaz, the lifestyle arm of Hyatt, recently opened (Dec 2016) its luxurious jungle chic resort on the Mayan Riviera, 45 minutes south of Cancun and 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen.

Spanning both beachfront and lagoon-side views, no matter what your room view, you can’t go wrong. Letting the surrounding nature take the spotlight, the decor is minimalist with rich splashes of color owing to the building sized murals created by a local street artist.

Far from a mega-resort, Andaz Mayakoba is located in an exclusive gated development called Mayakoba where guests are in good company amongst the neighboring five-star resorts: Rosewood, Fairmont, and Banyan Tree.

Rooms

The room was spacious and set up for us with a crib and a full set of Wee Ollie baby amenities for bath time. We used a space on the bathroom sink for changing our little one and when the attentive cleaning lady saw that we were changing our baby this way, she added extra padding and towels. Bonus points to the great room cleaner – thank you for that.

Each room has a balcony overlooking either the lagoon or the beach. The beds and linens were comfortable and the decor of the room included hyperlocal touches as well as beach basics (flip flops and beach bags).

Tip: if you have a stroller, make sure to request an accessible room. Some rooms require going up/down steps.

Activities

The eco boat tour is a must! It is a 45 minute spin around the lagoon where your boat captain will point out where the neighborhood crocodiles hang out, explain about the local bird species and where you can peek into the neighboring resorts.

Each day the resort offers a full day of activities like flavored ice tasting, and a trip to the El Pueblito and a small cenote.

Complimentary bikes are available to ride along the nature trail.

Andaz Mayakoba Pool Sunset

Kimbo Kids Club

This free kids club is chock-full of great activities. Piñata making, basketball games, and drawing contests are just a few of the days’ line up.

Kids will love to hang out here all day. And with the pool being in such close proximity, adults can easily come and check in to see how the kids are doing, and vice versa, the kids can come for a splash in the pool.

Food

The resort offers four fresh and delicious restaurants to choose from – Cocina Milagro for the excellent breakfast buffet, OllaTaco and OllaCeviche for casual bites that go perfectly alongside the pool days, and Casa Amate for sophisticated Latin fusion cuisine.

What We Loved:

  • Spacious Rooms
  • Kimbo Kids Club
  • Activities for Everyone
  • Beautiful setting
  • Great Restaurants and Artisanal Mini-Bar Snacks

What May Be Tough For Families:

  • Travelling between the two areas of the resort (lagoon and beach) requires a medium walk, a bike ride, or a complimentary golf cart ride

Bonus Points:

  • Full gym with a lush view of the surrounding jungle
  • 2 Pools with oversized fun floaties

The Vitals

Hyatt Ziva Cancun

If you are in search of a relaxing vacation where the food and drinks are unlimited, detailed planning is not required, your days are filled with spectacular beach views, and five-star service is available for your every need, then the Hyatt Ziva Cancun may be your next getaway.

Located just 25 minutes from the Cancun airport, you can leave home in the morning and be on the beach with your Miami Vice cocktail by late afternoon.

All-Inclusive

With picky kids or varied types of eaters in your family, the wide variety and unlimited options mean you are bound to eat abundantly.

The breakfast buffets boast huge selections of fresh fruit, continental options, and local Mexican flavor. Most of the luxury resorts in the area are adults-only, so perhaps what is lacking at the Hyatt Ziva in gourmet quality is made up for in quantity and options.

Throughout the day, and into the night, enjoy Asian (Hibachi makes a great show for the kids), Mexican, Italian and French options, or our favorite – the American diner. The pools offer poolside snacks, as does the Club Lounge. If you want to test out your own artisan beer, have a go at the in-house brewery.

All that said, the most wholesome fun stop was at the Starbucks-style coffee shop where adults can get their energy lift on frappes, almond milk lattes, or coffee free smoothies, and the next door candy shop where kids can get their lollipop fix.

Poolside drinks include basic liqueurs, soft drinks and frozen cocktails perfect for when the kids are the KidZ Club.

KidZ Club

Set off in a supervised area with its own tree house and slide pool, the Kidz Club offers kids ages 4-12 a full day of water play (in a separate pool), arts and crafts, video and arcade games, and daily treats.

Well-designed and staffed, it is worth giving your kids and yourself a break for a few hours in the mid-day heat.

Views

In any direction, you will find a pool with a million dollar view.

We stayed close to the club pool which was quite windy but the breeze was nice for the hot days. We took our little one for some quick swims, but it was definitely not the best pool choice for small kids. For that, try any of the other pools which seemed like a great choice for kids playing pool games while their parents enjoyed Miami Vices on repeat. The main pool has loud music playing throughout the day, which is either a benefit or a minus, depending on your preference.

BEACH – one of the main pluses of Hyatt Ziva is the white sand and calm beach water that you can easily walk out in and kids can play in without major waves or currents. Seaweed is present but cleaned all the time, and from what we hear about other area resorts the amount is really minimal in comparison.

Fitness Bonus

Finding the time to fit some fitness in between baby changings and organizing the kids’ pool bags is not easy.

The spacious and well-equipped gym is smack in the middle of the resort, so quick access is not an excuse. Even better, double down while getting some sun and join an aqua cycle (twice a day) or one of the pool fitness classes going on at the main pool throughout the day.

What We Would Change

The concierge at the club building was unprepared for providing baby-basics. During checked-in, the crib we requested in advance was nowhere to be found (though this was quickly remedied), and rather than receiving a tea kettle in the room (key for hot water for bottle cleaning and warming), we had to call room service each time we wanted hot water and they would send up tea pots. Definitely not ideal.

Also, the showers did not have tubs. We were given a baby tub, so it wasn’t a problem, but may be something to consider.

Why We Loved It:

  • All-Inclusive (including the Coffee Shop and Candy Shop!)
  • KidZ Club
  • The Views

What Was Lacking

  • Baby Amenities
  • In-Room Tea Kettle

The Vitals

Do Babies Need Sunscreen?

The short answer is “yes.” In fact, according to experts, it is best for babies to avoid prolonged sun exposure altogether, if possible.

When exposed to direct sunlight, you should use sunscreen on all exposed areas, paying particular attention to vulnerable areas such as the head, neck, and shoulders.

Sunscreens must be reapplied periodically for maximum effectiveness. How often they must be re-applied varies by product, so be sure to read the package directions and follow them carefully. Keep in mind that when children are playing in the water, sunscreen may need to be reapplied more frequently.

What kind of baby sunscreen should you choose?

Babies have sensitive skin that can’t handle the same chemical compounds that the skin of adults and older children can. For this reason, it is advised to use a mineral-based sunscreen for infants, particularly those under the age of six months. Mineral-based sunscreens will contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide which stay on top of the screen rather than be absorbed by it.

Look for a mineral-based broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreens that work best are waterproof and have a UVA rating of at least four stars.

Many products that are suitable for infants are organic and contain no artificial colors or fragrances. Some contain natural moisturizers such as sunflower oil, olive oil, beeswax, and aloe vera. For newborns, products with artificial fragrances may be unsuitable. Pay attention to any age recommendations that may be on the packaging. Look for products that are specifically labeled as being for sensitive skin when choosing a sunscreen for newborns.

Sunscreen Tips

  • Be careful when applying sunscreen on a child’s face, especially around the eyes.
  • Wipe your child’s hands with a damp cloth to prevent them from getting it in their eyes when they rub them.
  • Don’t forget to protect your child’s eyes from the harmful sun. Be sure to read about protecting children’s eyes with sunglasses.

Our favorite sun care products:

Withings Home – An Innovative Baby Monitor Reviewed

Even as a security camera, Home by Withings is a pretty innovative device; however, when used as a baby monitor, it’s got some features that are downright ingenious.

Taking full advantage of the “there’s an app for that” age, Home completely eschews any sort of buttons or clunky remotes and receivers. Simply download the app to your Apple or Android device and never be without access or control. I love the way that the app control allows Home to have a very sleek design while boasting a whole suite of interesting features.

The Features

Wide Angle Lens

I hate it when I lay the baby down, angle the baby monitor so that I can see them clearly, then head for the living room, but by the time I get there, my ninja baby has already rolled to the side of the crib that I can’t see! Home boasts a 135-degree field of vision with no fisheye effect which makes it easy to get the whole crib in the shot.

Pan & Zoom

As we’ve all come to expect from images on our phones, the app will allow you to pan and zoom within the image. The cherry on top is that the camera will digitally enhance the image after you do, allowing you to see crisp details.

Night Light and Lullaby

The baby monitor contains a built-in LED night light in the base. What’s better it also has a number of lullabies that you can choose from that interact with the light to soothe your baby to sleep.

Two Way Speaker and Microphone

There’s nothing more frustrating than when I hear the baby start to cry, and I can tell that they’re starting to get worked up, but I can’t get to their room fast enough to quickly get them back to sleep. With the Home’s two-way speaker and microphone, I can immediately start talking to the baby to calm them down while I’m on my way to the nursery.

Air Quality Monitor

More than just your average security camera, Home can actually monitor the air quality for harmful substances and give you parts per million measurements of what’s in the air that your baby’s breathing.

Alerts

The baby monitor can also automatically send noise, motion, and air quality alerts to your phone. Through the app, you’re able to customize the sensitivity levels to meet your needs.

Our verdict:

Clearly, Home excels as a baby monitor, but it also has enough versatility to still be a useful security camera even after the nursery has become a bedroom or study.

What We Liked

  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to use
  • Goes beyond your basic needs
  • Alerts and air quality features give you total peace of mind

What We Didn’t Like

  • Records time lapsed photos, but not video
  • Wood grain design may not fit a room with modern decor, but is quaint enough to fit almost any nursery

How to Save Money on Diapers

This is one of the questions we hear the most from parents: How do I save money on diapers?

Every time you go to the store, you are absolutely astounded at the rising prices of diapers. They are a necessity, but paying so much for them is frustrating and a drain on your budget. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your costs so you can buy quality diapers for less.

Watch for Sales

Keep an eye on local advertisements and flyers. Diapers go on sale often, and you should make an effort to buy in bulk and stock up on your favorite brands when this occurs.

Sign Up for Discounts With Your Favorite Brand

Find the website for your favorite diaper brand and sign up for promotions and discounts. You will get email alerts as to bargains and discounts that are available and will also be updated on new infant and baby trends and different types of diapers.

Buy Online

You can find some great deals online, and stock up on your favorite brand for less.

Try this Amazon Family promotion which offers a 20% discount on diapers, including free two-day shipping.

Not only will you save on diapers, but you will also save on gas and other expenses associated with making a trip to the store. Face it, every time you visit your local supermarket or discount store, you end up walking out with items that you weren’t expecting to buy. Take away that temptation, and you save even more.

Trust Your Experience Over Suggested Size Chart

Diapers packages always have a suggested weight per size. If the chart says your little one’s weight means they should wear a certain size, but they are still comfortable with a smaller size – stick with the smaller size. If you’re ok with the size, and baby is ok with it, then it is all good.

The larger the diaper size, the fewer diapers you will find in the bag. By going for a smaller size, and thus getting more diapers, you can save a lot of money.

Aden + Anais Classic Sleeping Bag Review

Being a parent of a newborn infant, you probably have some questions or concerns about how to keep your baby’s crib safe. If you read our guide to baby blankets you might have seen our suggestion to think outside the blanket – we were referring, of course, to baby sleeping bags.

With loose bedding being a potential hazardous trap for babies, you may worry about the risks that are involved with your child’s sleeping arrangements. But this leads to a conflicting dilemma because you also want to give your baby warmth and comfort during the night (and naptimes).

That is why baby sleeping bags are a great, safe solution; one which gives your child comfort and warmth, without putting them in harm’s way.

Product Features

The Classic Sleeping Bag from Aden + Anais works like a wearable cozy blanket that easily slips over baby’s pajamas or clothes. It was designed with your infant’s safety and comfort in mind, as your baby is wrapped in a soft sleeping bag that gives plenty of room for your squirming child’s legs to wiggle around, yet remaining impossible for their cute little feet to kick off.

The material is an incredibly breathable and lightweight cotton, helping regulate your infant’s temperature; giving the relief of being either warm or cool without the worry of overheating. And since it is crafted with 100% cotton muslin, it gets even softer with every wash.

What We Like

We like that the Aden + Anais Classic Sleeping Bag give’s your baby comfort and safety without having to worry about the dangers of overheating or becoming a hazard like traditional loose blankets. The feel of the fabric is pleasant to the touch since it is made with soft materials that are light and extremely breathable, just perfect for all types of weather. You won’t get bored of the same look either as there is a variety of cute designs to choose from; so you can pick the right selection that fits your tastes, and make your baby look adorable.

Finally, we found that the zipper positioned in the front made it conveniently easy to quickly change diapers during any part of the day or night.

Overall, we think this cozy sleeping bag is a must have item for anyone who has a newborn as it undoubtedly gives you a lot of value, the most important one being a good night’s worry free sleep for you and baby.

Pros

  • Made with 100% cotton muslin – a lightweight and breathable material.
  • Eliminates the threat of unsafe loose blankets in the crib.
  • Front zipper makes mid-night changes easy.
  • Only gets softer with every wash.

Cons

  • If you are swaddling your baby, the sleeping bag will only be useful for a relatively short few months (between when your baby no longer stays swaddled, and when they outgrow the sleeping bag). Still, how sorry we were once our little one outgrew her sleeping bag is a clean indication of how much we loved it.

Do Kids and Babies Need Sunglasses?

The short answer is yes. Because the cornea, lens, and fluids in children’s eyes are much clearer than in adult eyes, shortwave light (such as harmful ultraviolet rays) can more easily reach and damage the retina.

Add to this the fact that the younger we are the more likely we are to spend more time outside (experts estimate that between 60-80% of sun exposure in a person’s life happens before the age of 18), and the answer becomes an even more resounding yes.

But this is often easier said than done. Many babies will attempt to take off sunglasses as soon as you put them on. If they do, there is no need for you to fret over it. You can put a wide-brimmed hat on your baby. But before you do that, be sure to check out special baby sunglasses. These sunglasses have a stretchy band that goes around your baby’s head; making it harder for your baby to pull off these sunglasses.

Choosing the Right Pair of Sunglasses

When it comes to sunglasses (for kids, as well as adults), the quality of the lens really matters. Make sure glasses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements, and that the labels clearly states that they block UV absorption up to 400 nm (nanometers), or 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.

Keep in mind that it does not matter how light or dark the sunglasses are. The lenses have a chemical in it that block out the ultraviolet rays.

Finally, make sure you buy sunglasses from a reputable source. Any pair that is labeled appropriately in an established store or online should be fine, but stay away from street vendors when it comes to sunglasses.

Our Favorite Sunglasses:

Choosing the Right Baby Blanket

During the first few months of their life, your baby is going to be spending a lot of time sleeping. That’s why choosing the right baby blanket is so important – both for their comfort and security. Every family has different needs, but there are some common factors to keep in mind as you think about which blanket to buy.

Choose the Material Carefully

A baby blanket should be made out of materials that are gentle on sensitive skin and breathable to make sleep comfortable. How do you test to make sure that a blanket is breathable? It’s surprisingly simple and low-tech – just hold the blanket up next to a fan. If you can feel the breeze through the blanket, the material is breathable. A good breathable material? Cotton. Look for organic cotton and avoid synthetic materials if possible.

You also want to make sure that you are buying a blanket that is appropriate to the season. You’ll want to have a heavier blanket for winter and a lighter one for summer. When you do purchase a heavier blanket for winter, do not get a quilt or one that is soft and heavy. These can contribute to SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Keep in mind your local climate, too: you won’t need as many thick blankets if you live in a warm climate, but if you live in a colder clime, you’re going to want a thicker blanket to keep baby warm through the winter and beyond.

Safety Is a Must

Safety is absolutely essential when thinking about baby blankets. Avoid blankets that have loose tassels, fringes, or ribbons; babies can get tangled in them. This becomes slightly less of an issue as baby gets older.

We recently reviewed the Organic Dream Blanket, from Aden + Anais, and loved it (as did our little one). It is made of 4 layers of lightweight, breathable, organic cotton muslin, and is free of tassels or fringe. It is machine washable and prewashed, ready for snuggling.

Keep Size In Mind

Baby blanket size is important – you want one that is big enough to keep baby warm, but not so big that the size overwhelms them. Standard blanket size is 45″ by 45″ to 60″. A blanket this size has lots of versatility: it can be used as bedding, a floor mat, or even hung on the wall to decorate baby’s nursery.

Think Outside The Blanket

The best baby blankets are sometimes not blankets at all! A sleeping bag can be an excellent option both for very young babies (0-5 months) and infants who are a little older (5-12 months). A sleeping bag eliminates worries about loose blankets in the crib, which could choke a sleeping infant. It also ensures baby doesn’t throw off the blanket in the middle of the night – which often wakes them up crying.

The classic sleeping bag, from Aden + Anais, easily slips over baby’s pajamas and features a zipper front for those nighttime diaper changes. It’s machine washable for easy cleaning and ultra-breathable to prevent overheating. We found it to be a great option when we stopped swaddling our little one, and before she graduated to a large blanket.

Aden + Anais Organic Dream Blanket Review

If you are new to the world of parenting, you may not yet be aware of the baby blanket powerhouse that is Aden + Anais. If, however, your little one has used any of their products in the past… well then, you can guess how ridiculously soft the dream blanket will be.

The Organic Dream Blanket

You may be thinking the name is overstated, but this blanket is truly a dream. Aden + Anais specialize in muslin cotton fabrics, and this choice of premium organic materials truly makes a difference. Also, true to the brand is the unbelievable softness of their cloth. The Organic Dream Blanket takes four layers of fabric and combines them into a single plush blanket. The result is fabric that is cozy without being stifling and versatile without being cumbersome.

What We Think

Listen, we’ve tried out fair share of baby blankets, but this one is one of our all-time favorites. It genuinely is a dream. It’s soft to begin with, but the more you wash it, the softer it gets. The multiple layers of thin fabric make the Organic Dream ridiculously comfy, but without the sweat-inducing side effect of other blankets.

We also loved the great size of the blanket. It’s big enough to wrap around a toddler, but not so big that it’s awkward to pack up and bring on an outing. It may be a little over-large as a throw for a newborn, but as a swaddle on a chilly day it’s perfect.

As for their style, the blankets aren’t overloaded with the over stylized patterns found in many other blankets. They’re simple and classy while still maintaining that baby cuteness we are looking for.

Overall, the blanket is a slam dunk and our go-to blanket for everyday use.

Pros

  • Organic materials
  • Insanely soft and cozy
  • Breathable
  • Good size without being cumbersome

Cons

At What Age Can Children Use Tools?

Your son has been fascinated with your drill since the first time he watched you put a bookshelf together. Your daughter has been trying to swing a hammer since she was just two years old and you accidentally left it sitting after hanging a picture. Like many parents, you’ve probably found yourself wondering at what age your child can safely and appropriately use tools. While there will be some variation based on your child’s personality, motor skills capability, and responsibility, these basic guidelines will make it easier to determine whether or not your child is old enough to start helping with a few basic home repair tasks — or perhaps build a few things of their own.

Basic Tools

Basic tools like hammer and nails or a screwdriver are fairly easy for children to use from a young age. In fact, hammering is a common Montessori activity. While you might want to start the nail for a younger child — after all, you don’t want smashed fingers — your child can start learning how to use these basic tools from a very young age. In fact, these are excellent skills for your child to develop. You never know when they will need to repair something on their own, and offering them this vital skill early in life will make them much more comfortable with the building process as they get older. By age seven, your child should be able to swing a hammer with relative confidence.

More Complicated Tools

Using a hammer and nails is all well and good, but using a saw or a drill is a different matter. You want to keep your child safe. When you first break out a saw, make sure your child has the attention span necessary to keep their mind on-task — no looking away to deal with something else or sticking their fingers where they shouldn’t be. In general, a ten-year-old should be well-equipped for this level of responsibility.

A cordless drill is a more difficult tool. Built bigger, cordless drills are often difficult to control before your child’s hands are big enough to wrap around them. It’s important to make sure that the drill — and, indeed, all of your child’s tools — are the right size for their hands before they get started. Equally important, however, is giving your child the experience they need to successfully use a tool that’s part of so many different activities, from putting together a car for the pinewood derby to building a tree house. By the age of thirteen, your child should be responsible enough to handle a drill correctly.

When your kids begin to show an interest in building, take advantage of it! Offer them a toolbox of their own that has been filled with age-appropriate items that have been selected specifically for their size, age, and ability level. Teaching your child to use them properly is a vital skill that every parent should pass on.

At What Age Should A Child Use a Pillow

Preparing and decorating your child’s bedroom is a fun process that many new parents look forward to. While a big part of decorating is choosing colors for the crib, your baby’s bedding needs are a lot simpler than yours. In fact, your baby doesn’t even need a pillow in the earliest years of his or her life.

Do newborn babies need a pillow?

As a new parent, you are likely concerned about your baby’s comfort. However, any soft bedding material in the infant’s sleep area is a suffocation hazard. Newborns have very little head and neck control, and they will not be able to move their head to breathe if pillows or other soft bedding covers their noses and mouths.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to use a firm sleep surface, and to avoid pillows, crib bumpers, and blankets. The AAP also advises parents and caregivers that it is important to lay babies on their backs to sleep.

When can my child use a pillow?

If you are wondering at what age should a child use a pillow, the answer is at around 2 to 3 years old. When you transition your toddler to a normal bed, you can choose to introduce a toddler pillow, which is usually thin and firm. Even after the newborn stage your infant could turn face down into the pillow or less likely, put their head under it. So even though your child has slightly more mobility after passing the newborn stage, it is important to wait until they are 2-3 years old to introduce other bedding.


Will my baby be uncomfortable without a pillow?

In the first few years of your child’s life, you don’t need to be concerned that your baby is uncomfortable without a pillow. You may not like sleeping without your pillow, but they won’t feel uncomfortable without one until their shoulders are wider than their heads. In fact, a pillow still isn’t even necessary once they graduate from a crib to a bed, they just may prefer to make the sleeping arrangements in their new bed look similar to yours.

What bedding should I use until my toddler is old enough for a pillow?

When decorating your infant’s crib, all you really need is a fitted crib sheet on a firm mattress. The day will come soon enough when your child’s bed will be filled with blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. Until your child is ready for additional bedding, focus on creating a safe and clear environment for your baby to rest. Visit the crib and sleep safety guide for more info.

Our favorite pillows:

Why Is it called an Umbrella Stroller?

Umbrella strollers are lightweight, portable strollers that – you guessed it – look a bit like umbrellas when folded up. They have curved handles on top, and often their fabric is water and stain-resistant. Really, this is where the name comes from.

The umbrella stroller has a fabric seat and two curved handles, making it possible to fold down and collapse in on itself to a short, slim profile. Without the curved handles on each side of the buggy that give them that signature umbrella look, the stroller couldn’t fold in on itself vertically in addition to folding down over itself. For contrast, think about a large travel system stroller. These strollers have one long handle or bar across the top and may include a cupholder, key keeper, and smartphone hook-up. Nice to have, in general. Sturdy, maybe even able to handle the grass at the playground. But since the handle is all one solid piece, and the seats are often firm, these larger strollers can only collapse down, not across. They will always be the width of their handles. Rather than resembling umbrellas, larger travel systems strollers resemble a folding lawn chair.

Mother of Invention

In the beginning, our wiggly bundles of joy come with a TON of gear–all of it heavy. Whether you use a wrap, a carrier, or a travel system for your newborn, moving around with a baby gets frustrating almost as soon as you think of the errand you need to run. Just the thought of wrestling the stroller into your car can drain your energy. Once the errand is run and it’s time to fold that mobile nursery up, frustration can morph into lot rage! It isn’t pretty.

One grandfather witnessing such a struggle inspired the invention of the umbrella stroller.

Owen Finley Maclaren, a former test pilot, and aviation engineer watched his beloved daughter and son-in-law wrestle with their daughter’s bulky pram in 1965. They had traveled some distance to visit him, bringing his granddaughter. Watching them maneuver the bulky pram prompted him to invent something better. He drew inspiration from his aviation days, modeling what he later named the “Baby Buggy” after the collapsible landing gear he had designed for the Spitfire aircraft of WWII. He chose aluminum tubing for the frame, knowing that portability implies lightweight. Maclaren’s Baby Buggy included a one-handed folding device to free up frazzled parents’ hands. The buggy’s ability to fold lengthwise and widthwise makes it an extremely attractive option for crowded events or long-distance travel even today. Maclaren’s company still manufactures baby gear, including a wide range of modern “Baby Buggies.”