Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on August 26, 2011

I just got back from our (quite large and well-stocked) local hardware store where they were completely sold out of batteries and flashlights. I guess Hurricane Irene hysteria is fully upon us here in the DC metro area. Aside from picking up a little extra non-perishable food, I haven't really done a whole lot to prepare. Am I being dumb? We will likely lose power for a while, but aside from fretting about what the heck I will do to entertain my kids, I am not completely freaking out. I just kinda feel like we'll weather this storm as we have others, no pun intended.

I recently received an article that made me consider that if I were breastfeeding right now, I would probably need to plan a bit more in the wake of this impending weather crisis. In it, Gina Ciagne, CLC and Senior Director of Breastfeeding Relations at Lansinoh Laboratories, offers a checklist for breastfeeding moms to consider when faced with a possible power outage. Some of Gina's advice includes:

  • Keep a cooler of dry ice on hand just in case your electricity goes out and you have frozen milk stored in your freezer.
  • Have extra batteries on hand in case your electricity goes out and you need to use your pump.
  • Familiarize yourself with hand expression in case you don't have batteries and need to pump. Remember that the baby is the best way to remove your milk, so even if you are predominantly a pumper and breastfeed sporadically in an emergency situation, you should focus on feeding the baby on demand. You can also use a manual pump.

You can view Gina's full list on in the event that you need to be prepared for whatever Irene blows our way!

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Posted by Chelsea on January 11, 2010

So, after the piece we ran on picking a good name for your baby, we got tons of requests for baby name book recommendations. Here are our favorites:

The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby, by Laura Wattenberg

This book, our absolute favorite for baby name ideas, offers narrative and humorous commentary on each name, with the name’s popularity history, potential nicknames, variants and correlative sister’s and brother’s names. Check out the groovy computerized baby name popularity tracker inspired by the book at

100,000+ Baby Names, by Bruce Lansky

Out of ideas? With Lansky’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink name compilation, including monikers from nearly every ethnic background, including Hawaiian, African, Latvian, Spanish and Chinese, you’re sure to find at least one you like.

Cool Names: for Babies by Pamela Redmond Satran, Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Satran

If you’re looking for name meanings and ethnic origins, this isn’t your book, but if you’re seeking a guide to unique, au courant names—plus a little entertainment—you’ll adore it. The only caveat: Trends come and go quickly, so check the copyright date before you consider the timeliness of the trends.

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Posted by Chelsea on January 06, 2010

Choosing your baby’s name is quite a responsibility; not only will your selection be judged by nearly everyone who hears it, but you’re also making a choice that will literally define your child. Between the pressures of pleasing family, honoring relatives and finding a name on which you and your spouse agree, picking baby’s name is often the stuff arguments between moms and dads are made of. If the name game has you stressed, consider these helpful tips I put together a while back for a piece I did for The Family Groove —they may point you in the right direction, not to mention help your marriage.

1. Beware of the quirky name
You may be tempted to pull a Gwyneth and choose an original name for your baby, but such a move is worth reconsidering. Some names are simply too hard to live with, especially for kids who may not yet have the independent spirit you do or have grown to develop. Plus, “It’s faintly ridiculous being called India, Atlanta or Summer and holding down a steady job as an accountant in Bognor Regis,” says Laura Wattenberg, the author of The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby.

2. Size Matters
If the baby’s last name is long and multi-syllabic, consider a short first name with one or two syllables. Tom Cinnamonson or Matthew Cinnamonson rolls off the tongue much better than Jonathan Cinnamonson. At the same time, long multi-syllabic baby names will often strike a balance with a short last name. If you have a two-syllable last name, you’re in luck—they sound good with virtually any length first name.

3. Consider tease-worthy nicknames or embarrassing rhymes
When choosing a name for your child, remember that all of its connotations—lewd or otherwise—will be unearthed by his or her friends on the playground. Rhea may sound beautiful to you, but be prepared to console a crying little girl who was called “Diar-Rhea” at school. Also pay attention to the first and last name combination. For example, if your last name is Johnson, naming your son Harry, while a perfectly adorable name, isn’t the wisest choice.

4. Consider how it all ends
If your baby’s last name begins with a hard consonant, you may want to choose a baby name that ends with a vowel sound. For example, the name Melissa Karp is much more pleasant than Meg Karp.

5. Don’t be a celeb name-stalker
You may love Oprah, but resist naming your daughter after her. By awarding your offspring with a celebrity’s name, it will not only date the child later on, but you’ll come off looking like a bit of a fanatic. This rule also goes for naming your baby after a celebrity’s offspring, says Wattenberg: “If you name your offspring Rocco, at best it will look like you’re severely lacking in imagination, at worst you will come across like a quasi-stalker.”

6. Classic vs. common
Traditional names that stand the test of time are popular for a reason: they’re timeless, sound good with practically any last name, and are virtually stigma-free (and that’s why there’s so popular). However, classic baby names have their pitfalls, too. If you go with naming your son the proverbially-popular, unquestionably adorable Jake, it’s almost certain that there will be at least one more Jake in his class, which means he may be known as Jake P. for quite some time.

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Posted by Chelsea on June 30, 2009

When it comes to most things, I am not brand-loyal. I dip my fries in Heinz ketchup as well as the brand from my beloved Trader Joe’s, alternate between Chanel, Prescriptives and Lancome mascaras and wrap my kids in both Pampers and Huggies. For a select few items, however, I will use one brand and one brand only. Car seats are one example of such a product; when I buy a car seat, it’s Britax and Britax only.

The reason why I love Britax car seats are simple: they’re super sturdy, easy to install, comfortable (at least my kids never complain about them) and, most importantly, consistently receive the highest safety ratings from Consumer Reports. Though they’re not the least expensive car seats available, I have no problem justifying spending a little extra on something so important. The rest of The Momtourage, it seems, agrees. Nearly all of our kids ride around in Britax Marathons, Decathlons or Boulevards:

The cutest Britax around: the Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat in “Cowmooflage” $249.99, It comes in other (read: more traditional/sedate) colors, but isn’t this one fun?

Britax’s most recent addition to its fleet is the Frontier Combination Harness-2-Booster, a seat for when your child is ready to make the transition from convertible car seat to a booster. It can be used two ways: if your child is at least two years old and weighs between 25 and 80 pounds, you can use it strapped in as you would a traditional forward-facing car seat. If your child is between 40 and 100 pounds, the combination seat can be used as a vehicle seat belt-positioning booster. All in all, it provides eight harness positions and three buckle strap positions, and includes the Versa-Tether, HUGS and premium LATCH connectors. In terms of what the seat itself offers, it’s got rotating, soft armrests, adjustable head support that also serves as sleep support for the child and retractable cup and snack holders.

Britax Frontier Booster Seat, $249.99,

I’ve seen the product, and it’s fantastic - just like all of Britax’s other products. When it comes time to get a booster, you know which one’s going in my car…...

Want to win a Frontier or a Boulevard of your own? In order to be eligible to win, you must be a member of The Momtourage’s Mailing list, so click on the green “Join Our Mailing List” box at the top, left-hand side of this page for a chance to win. Winners will be chosen on July 15 and notified by email. Good luck!

Tags car seats


Posted by Chelsea on May 28, 2009

Beginning May 27 and running through June 10, pediped Footwear will host their third annual Purchases with Purpose fundraiser to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  During this period, select styles of both their oh-so-adorable Originals (for babies) and Flex (for toddlers and preschoolers) shoes will be marked down do super-cheap prices (some are only $19!).  Fifty percent of sales from this fundraiser will be donated to the charity to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

These are only $19, folks! Navy/Pink Abigail shoes,

I recommend moving on this because not only is this a fundraiser supporting a fantastic cause, but pediped very rarely marks down the price of their shoes. Last year, the company raised more than $111,000 to help grant 15 wishes and has aspirations of surpassing that figure in 2009.  Help them do so by visiting and outfitting your kids’ feet in their super-cute shoes.

If you purchase a pair of shoes in this promotion, shoot me an email at with the style(s) you picked! The first five readers who send me an email with the shoes they purchased will win a pair of pedipeds of their choice!

Tags pediped, shoes


Posted by Chelsea on December 10, 2008

Need a good new baby gift or wee one holiday gift? If buying something adorable and doing good is your bag, you must get yourself over to From Dec. 17-31, the makers of that gorgeous children’s footwear are reducing the price of select shoe styles and then donating 50 percent of the sales from said shoes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So far, pediped has raised more than $87,000, enough to grant the wishes of 12 children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For more information, visit

Tags pediped


Posted by Chelsea on June 25, 2008

Currently, I am working on a personalized stationery story for The Family Groove’s October issue, and having a blast coming up with recommendations for the best, coolest and most adorable paper goods and websites that sell them. Personalized stationery, it just so happens, is one of my all-time favorite things. Perhaps it is the southern gal in me, but I just adore a nice little monogrammed thank-you note card.

I’ve discovered some great new sites and products that you’ll be able to check out in September, but I have to give you a sneak preview of one of my favorites, Sara and Abraham, a retailer I discovered courtesy of Atlanta (my hometown) Momtourage member Sloane, who sent me a set of their cards when baby #2 was born. Designed by owner Sara Tams, Sara and Abraham notecards and products are breathtakingly sweet and beautiful, not to mention exceptionally well-priced. Most of her designs feature silhouettes, which you can customize to best represent your kids by choosing from a large selection of “children”. Additionally, with most products you can select from a variety of color options:

Here’s a sampling of some of the products I find especially gorgeous:

Personalized Folded Notecards, $18 for a set of 10. Seriously, how sweet are these for a little girl? Of course, you can choose this style an make it all cute and boyish in red or blue as well.


Sloane got me a set of these in red with the “Owen and Wyatt” silhouette and my sons’ names. I cannot tell you how adorable they are, and so perfect for sending thank-you notes to everyone who sent them both a gift when #2 was born. Momtourage member Alison has some with the “Abby and Izzy” silhouette to represent her twin daughters (in pink, of course). Personalized Folded Notecards, $16 for a set of 12.


How cute is that little carriage? Personalized Flat Note Cards, $12 for a set of 14.

Sara and Abraham also offers 8X0 silhouette prints, perfect for framing and putting in your kids’ rooms. You can get them in the above designs, but my favorite is the “Kids at Play” print.

Personalized 8X10 Kids at Play Silhouette Print, $18.

Aren’t they adorable? I knew you’d love ‘em. To purchase some for yourself or for a gift, click here. When you checkout, enter code MOMT4, and you’ll get four free cards with every order!

Tags stationery


Posted by Chelsea on May 02, 2008

Check out these deals from one of my favorite blogs, Jamie’s Foods and Finds:


In honor of Mother’s Day, DC-area Let’s Dish! locations are offering a FREE meal to any of you who have given birth in 2008. During Mother’s Day week, May 4 to May 11, just stop by one of the participating locations and pick up your free, ready-made dish, which serves 4-6 people. One less dinner entrée you have to worry about! And yes, moms of twins get TWO free meals. They promise no obligation of any kind – You just have to provide your email address and proof of birth or adoption when you stop by (aka birth announcement, hospital bracelet, birth certificate, or similar). Valid at the following Let’s Dish locations: Rockville, Gaithersburg, Columbia, Timonium, Alexandria, Ashburn, and Fairfax.

Britax Roundabout $150 at

The Britax Roundabout car seat retails for $220 and rarely goes on sale for less than $190. Here is one for $149.99. These are the collegiate version, so they have a college logo embroidered on the cover. There are currently 11 colleges to choose from (including Maryland and Virginia, DC Momtourage ladies). Get free shipping with the code APRILBABY even though it is May. The code may have expired at the end of April, but give it a try. Otherwise shipping is $8 for any size order.

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Posted by Chelsea on April 07, 2008

I’ve lamented many times about how I long to cease carrying a diaper bag and resume ownership of a cool purse. Alas, it’s not gonna happen anytime soon - especially now that I have two children, both of whom require totally different “stuff”.

In the abyss that is my diaper bag, I have all sorts of crap - diapering essentials, a bib, a burp cloth, toys, bottles, sippy cups, snacks, a little bag for myself (with Advil, lip balm, MAC Blot Powder, Kleenex, etc.), my cell phone, my wallet, pacifiers…see why I still have to carry one? As the snacks crumble and the cups spill, things get all schmutzy and/or wet, and often, the big stuff pushes the little stuff to the bottom, making it all hard to dig out. Annoying.

One solution I’ve found to help keep my diaper bag organized (and its contents protected) is The Handy Sack. These functional and fashionable pouches are made of commercially coated cotton (they come in all sorts of cute patterns) that is stain and water repellent, so they - and their contents - won’t get ruined by an exploding bottle or smashed pack of Saltines. The front is clear, so you can see exactly what’s inside - spoons, toys, passies - whatever - and you’ll always know when you need to restock it. They’re great for travel too - just stash all of your child’s toiletries in it and you’re good to go.

Oh, me so handy!
How great would this be for a new baby or shower gift?

To purchase your very own Handy Sack, visit They retail for $22.95 each, but if you use promotion code April15FamilyFUN, you can get 15% off! Want to win one? Send your name, address and kids’ ages to me at

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Posted by Chelsea on February 06, 2008

The baby care geniuses at Johnson’s have come out with two cool new products you’ve got to check out: Bedtime Toddler Wash and the Bedtime Easy-Grip Sudzing Bar ($3.49 each, available wherever Johnson’s products are sold).

Both are formulated with “naturalcalm”, which the company describes as “a unique blend of patent pending essences that has been tested and proven to have relaxing properties”. “Proven?,” you might ask. “How?” (and I might add, “And if they work, can I use it on my kid 5 times per day?).  Apparently, the Johnson’s folks clinically tested the products in a before-bed routine created by a leading pediatric sleep expert. The result: the routine that included these products helped babies and toddlers fall asleep easier and sleep through the night better.

Sold? Grab some for yourself at your nearest drugstore or email me at and tell me about the last time your kid needed a chill pill, including your name, address and child’s age. The 15 most frazzled moms will win a set of these two products!

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