Tech Products That Parents Will Love

I had the opportunity to attend The Big Toy Book’s BabyPalooza a couple of week’s ago where I picked up some samples and heard about the cool new products that are hitting the market for parents and baby. Some of the products that jumped out to me were the products that have incorporated a tech aspect to make parenting a little bit easier.

The First Years Try Fit IAlert Convertible Car Seat (by TOMY) is the first convertible car seat that communicates with parents (via a smartphone app). I love the potential of this car seat.

I’m already a big fan of the First Years Convertible car seats. We used one with my son from the time he was a baby through to age 4 (and we’re still going strong.) I decided on First Years after a lot of research on car seats that other moms thought were good for tall kids and also that moms thought that the kids were comfortable. Our son loves the car, never (ever) complains about the car seat, and I’d like to think it has a lot to do with how comfy he is.

The First Years Car Seat with SmartPhone App

The new generation of First Years Convertible Car seats communicates with an app with reminders for parents about whether the baby has been strapped in or if the baby remains strapped in for a certain number of minutes after the car stops moving. This is a pretty amazing tool that can help parents. It’s going to be available in June 2013. Stay tuned for more information.

V-Tech’s Innotab 2 is a new educational tablet for babies aged 12 months that can be used all the way through until 9 years old. Nine. How great is that? The tablet comes pre-loaded with content specifically for infants like Baby Sign Language, learning games, photo slideshows including a zoo, and more. Look for the full review coming soon.

V-Tech Innotab 2

Cloud B‘s Twilight Turtle with Sound is the same award-winning turtle that my baby loved, but now has sound! A free app allows parents to pick the melodies from a library of music plus create playlists. A premium app will also be available that will allow parents to access personal music libraries AND program the length of time the turtle plays via bluetooth. (ie You can leave the door shut!) More to come soon on the new Twilight Turtle.

Cloud B Twilight Turtle with Sound

There were also new products that you’ll be hearing (and seeing) more about soon from Delta Children, Madame Alexander dolls, and MegaBloks from MegaBrands.

Medela Introduces Bottle Specifically Designed for Breastfeeding Babies

Calma Bottle For Breastfeeding BabiesWhen my little guy was born, I had the lovely adventure of working with low breast milk supply. Thanks to the help of my lactation consultant, I was able to increase my milk supply but we had to supplement his feeding the whole time he breastfed. She suggested that we use a specialized bottle that would be allow his latch to be similar to actual breastfeeding. It worked like a charm for us. We never had issues going back and forth, and he breastfed for a little under a year. The only problem was that bottle was not commercially available in many places, and many moms that I’ve talked to had never heard of it.

Medela has introduced a new bottle called Calma which is specifically designed for breastfeeding babies. According to Medela, “Calma is a research-based nipple used with a BPA-free breastmilk bottle designed to help babies to maintain their natural feeding behavior and transition from bottle back to breast with ease — a revolution for breastfeeding mothers.”

Here’s how it works –

With Calma, breastmilk flows when babies create a vacuum so they can feed, pause and breathe — which mimics their feeding behavior at the breast. As a result, Calma’s unique vacuum technology allows mothers to provide pumped breastmilk to their babies, and easily transition babies back to feeding at the breast.

The vacuum technology in the Calma nipple is vastly different from a conventional bottle nipple, which may disrupt normal feeding behavior and contribute to a difficult transition from bottle to breast. Milk flows freely from a standard bottle nipple even if the baby is not actively sucking — a feature unlike that of the breast. Calma’s technology allows babies to continue their natural feeding behavior as if they were at the breast, making it easier for babies to transition back to breastfeeding.

With the support of Medela, Calma was developed through research by Dr. Donna Geddes, assistant professor, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences at the University of Western Australia. “Our research on how babies breastfeed showed that tongue movement is different than previously described and that vacuum is important for milk removal,” said Dr. Geddes. “These new research findings led Medela to incorporate unique features into a teat so that infants use vacuum and tongue action similar to breastfeeding to remove the expressed milk from a bottle.”

The bottle has been available in Canada and Europe since 2010, but has just hit the market in the United States this year. It’s awesome news for moms who might be having breastfeeding issues that require bottle feeding early on but also for moms who will be feeding baby pumped milk for a whole host of other reasons.

While breastfeeding should be well established before Calma is introduced. Although, I think this is an awesome option for moms who might be needing to feed a baby while dealing with issues *while* establishing their supply when working with a licensed lactation consultant.

You can buy the Calma Breastfeeding Set online at these sites. It’s also for sale at specialty baby stores across the US like Isis Parenting locations in the Greater Boston area.

Toy Fair 2012 Picks

There were lots of new products (and some old ones we still love) for babies and toddlers at this year’s Toy Fair in New York City. We’ll be bringing you more information about the products as the year progresses, but here’s the sneak peak of the first group of our picks.

First Year Field Guide Toy Fair 2012 Picks

1. 3-In-1 Rocker Napper by Tiny Love – This awesome piece of gear is great for napping, rocking, and feeding and can be adjusted between functions with one hand. It should be in stores by May.

2. There’s not much we don’t love from 3 sprouts. There’s lot of new goodies coming from this stylish Canadian company including this Warthog Hooded Towel.

3. These Jungle Pocket Pouch from Tegu are the perfect little block set for the Diaper Bag. Although these are meant for kids a little older, this is a great little set for older babies to explore under direct parental supervision.

4. The edushape Mommy and Baby Elephant is a great little toy for sensory play. The elephant shakes, squeaks, rattles, and includes a mirror all of which address specific developmental skills including fine & gross motor skills, sensory tactile feedback, hand-eye coordination, and auditory sensory development.

5. Sleepy mommies rejoice! Blue Box Toys is launching a nifty baby sleep product this Fall called Watch Over Me. It has a 5 phase sleeping stage and uses motion, body heat and voice to recognize when the baby stirs overnight so that it can adjust to the appropriate sleep phase. Watch Over Me is scheduled to be in stores this Fall.

6. Janod is a French company that has been specializing in making wooden toys for 40 years. We love this Crazy Rocky Pullalong Dog.

7. eebbee toys has introduced this awesome eebee Adventure Play Mat & Activity Play House that will literally grow with your baby. At just a few months, baby enjoys the sensory stimulation of tummy time and as they turn into toddlers the mat can literally be turned into a little playhouse. Awesome!

8. We love Green Toys for their line of awesome cars, trucks, and even tea sets made of child friendly material. Their new line of Green Toys™ Mini Vehicles are going to make a lot of little ones happy.

9. Janod brings us this adorable ABC Walker that has an abacas in front and 36 alphabet and number blocks that fit inside the walker. Great first birthday gift!

10. We love the eebbee character, and this “if the SHAPE FITS eebee” plush is an adorable learning toy that comes with the 12″ plus and 4 wearable soft shapes.

Stay tuned for more of our picks for baby from Toy Fair 2012!

Review of Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon

Radio Flyer is an American company that has been putting smiles on children’s faces with well-made, durable bikes, ride ons, wagons, and scooters for 95 years. Radio Flyer wagons are painted fire engine red, with the unmistakable named branded in white on their sides – making them both ubiquitous and beloved.

Radio Flyer’s sturdy and cute Pathfinder wagon is a great addition to any family with children. It really is two wagons in one, with seats that can fold down to create a flat wagon surface, or fold up to reveal two seat-belted seats. This wagon is great for beach walks (on the wetter sand), downtown walks, or just playing in the back yard. It’s also a favorite for trick or treating with smaller children, and provides abundant room for lots of treats. There are also cup holders for 4 cups or juice boxes, and rugged wheels, which can carry your precious cargo over multiple terrains.

Easy to clean, this is an excellent choice for an alternate ride for your child, and one that will bring lots of good memories through the years.

Review of Cloud B Twilight Turtle Constellation Night Light

This night light is a real gem: adorably shaped like a turtle with a soothing colored shell that projects eight major constellations on your child’s ceiling at night My family so loves the comforting and sweet turtle, that we playfully named him “Nocturtle,” since he makes going to sleep easier for us all.

The Twilight Turtle projects three beautiful colors: amber, green, and blue, which sooth the youngest of children into a comforting and peaceful sleep. The different colors seem to create their own magical mood: green is the brightest, blue is softer, and amber is calming, and a good choice for those night feedings/wake ups. He automatically turns off after 45 minutes of projections – saving batteries, and allowing your baby ample time to settle in.
The Twilight Turtle is the winner of several awards, including the Editor’s Choice blue ribbon from Baby Talk. As children grow, parents can sit with their children and identify and describe the features of constellations, including the Big Dipper and the Big Bear, with the help of the included Star Guide. The turtle is also a cute and accessible toy whose color change buttons are a fun diversion once your baby gets a little older.

There are several colors and styles that the turtle comes in: pink, ladybug, blue sea turtle, or the classic green. All have lovingly hand-painted shells that make each one unique. They come with an adorable adoption certificate, as well as the beautifully drawn constellation guide. They are also easy to travel with (though I advise removing the batteries if you pack them). Lastly, they are a sure thing, and cost in the $30 range, making them an affordable new baby gift or first birthday gift.

H&R Block Offers Online Tax Preparation Discount to New Parents in 2011

H&R Block LiveH&R Block is launching a new tax preparation solution called “Block Live,” and they are kicking off the launch with a $100 discount to families with children born in 2011.

Block Live allows taxpayers to have their tax return prepared by an actual H&R Block tax professional in real time via online video conference or chat.

Block Live offers both the convenience of tax preparation virtually anytime and the expertise of a real skilled tax professional from H&R Block. All from your house! Perfect for new parents!

To celebrate the birth of this innovative solution, H&R Block is offering a $100 discount to those who will need its convenience the most – busy parents with newborns. To help parents who will be claiming their newest little dependent for the first time this tax season, families with a child born in the year 2011 are eligible for the discount. The offer is open to the first 1,000 parents to email BlockLive@hrblock.com and request a special coupon code.*

“The introduction of Block Live provides an innovative new way for clients to access the industry’s best trained tax professionals when, where, and how they want to be served,” said Phil Mazzini, president of assisted tax preparation services at H&R Block. “We are bringing the expertise of our network of tax professionals directly to the taxpayer. Block Live literally takes the ‘trip’ out of the trip to the tax office.”

Block Live is an online tool with a video interface that allows face-to-face conversations between the taxpayer and the tax professional. Taxpayers with a computer, a camera and microphone can interact in real time via video with their tax professional. Taxpayers also have the option of using the phone and real time chat. The taxpayer also shares documents back and forth securely through the program with a tax professional to complete the return.

The cost of preparing your tax return using Block Live varies based on what kind of tax preparation is needed. A basic 1040 Form with dependents plus a corresponding state return would cost about $170. (Less than $70 with the $100 coupon!)

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a tax professional through Block Live, visit www.hrblock.com/live

*Eligibility is limited to the first 1,000 individuals who respond informing us of a child born during the 2011 calendar year. Offer limited to one coupon code per family. Taxpayers must confirm eligibility at the time of tax preparation by completing a 2011 tax return with the name and birth date of a qualifying child. Taxpayers who do not confirm eligibility will not be allowed to redeem the coupon. Do not send birth certificates or other evidence of childbirth or adoption. Void where prohibited. Offer expires 4/30/2012. Offer valid for Block Live only.

WebMD Launches Baby and Journal App

webmd-baby-sleep-diaper-feeding-journal-app-ipodWebMD just released a new Baby App for iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s geared for new parents but would be an excellent app for expectant parents to have on their devices as they prepare for the birth of the baby. It combines the trusted developmental information from WebMd delivered to you one a week to week basis and useful tools for raising baby in the first year and beyond. And it’s all right there in your phone or iPod touch. [Note: Although the app is not specifically developed for iPad, I did download and test it on an iPad 2 with good luck.]

The diaper, sleep, growth and feeding records in particular make this app not only informative but an extremely useful tool for new parents. [Trust us, expectant parents, download this and have it on your phone at the hospital. You can thank us later!]

Here’s a summary of all of the features:

The WebMD Baby App provides parents with easy access to pediatrician-developed content, including key features such as:


  • Personalized and pediatrician-approved health and wellness information for baby and toddler to keep new parents one step ahead of their baby’s growth and development, anywhere and anytime and enables more informed pediatrician visits. For babies 0-1, a new health and wellness tip is sent to the app every day, as well as more in-depth content every week. For babies and toddlers ages 1-2, information relevant to their age is sent to the app monthly. WebMD’s tips and information on the app can be easily shared through email, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Streamlined search capabilities that help parents find immediate, trusted answers to their baby health and wellness questions with physician-reviewed answers. Information is organized by easy-to -understand topics (feeding and nutrition, growth and development, vaccines) and by the baby’s age, simplifying a parent’s search for trusted answers to immediate baby health and wellness questions.
  • Baby routine and record keeper that gives parents and caregivers a snapshot of baby’s health and wellness by allowing them to easily record and share baby’s routine (feeds, diaper changes, sleep). A personal growth chart for baby/toddler is also integrated into the app allowing information to be easily added right from the pediatrician’s office.
  • Baby book feature that allows parents to capture baby’s memorable moments including baby’s “firsts” with videos or photos taken on the spot or pulled from their iPhone library. Baby book memories can be shared with family and friends through email or Facebook as they happen.

The app for the iPhone and iPod Touch is available from the Apple app store for free and also at itunes.

Watch this cute video about the app, and let us know what you think of the app after you’ve used it!

Disney Launches DisneyBaby.com

disneybaby.comDisney has launched a brand news site, DisneyBaby.com, for parents who want to add a little pixie dust to their new baby’s life.

“Disneybaby.com continues Disney’s longstanding tradition of helping families create magical moments together,” said Jessi Dunne, executive vice president, Disney Moms and Babies for Disney Consumer Products. “Our new destination emphasizes the joys of parenthood by offering tools, products and everyday solutions in a fun but meaningful way that resonate with mom’s and dad’s desire to bond with their baby.”

Here’s a bit of what DisneyBaby.com promises:


To make the most of these special bonding moments with Baby, DisneyBaby.com is organized around key moments of the day: Getting Ready, In the Nursery, Dressing Baby, On-the-Go, Mealtime, Playtime, Bathtime and Baby’s Firsts. Key site features include:

  • Disney Baby Product Collections — Parents will find an extensive selection of Disney Baby products to meet Baby’s needs for every key moment of the day, including one-of-a-kind nursery products, on-the-go baby gear, delightful products for feeding and bathtime, magical toys, and Disney Baby’s softest, cuddliest clothes. Parents and gift givers can quickly browse Disney Baby product collections and filter by gender, product type, Disney character and retailer.
  • Links to retailers’ websites are provided for purchase opportunities.
  • Inspired Ideas — Chock-full of ideas that add a touch of Disney magic to everyday moments with Baby, DisneyBaby.com offers creative inspiration throughout the site, from nursery design tips to age-based playtime activities to DIY party ideas for Baby’s first birthday and more.
  • Tips from Real Moms — Real moms offer go-to tips on a wide range of topics from making bath time fun for Baby to stocking the diaper bag with must-have essentials to games sure to get Baby giggling.
  • Disney Baby Magical Moments –Disney Baby invites moms and dads to weave their own experiences with Baby into the very fabric of the site by uploading and sharing their favorite moments and photos. Parents will watch them come to life as part of a vibrant panorama of shared experiences of parenthood.

“We continue to focus on building compelling new digital platforms to serve the needs of parents at every life stage, and are very excited to introduce a new destination that shows expectant and new parents how to add a little Disney magic to their growing family’s life,” said Brooke Chaffin, senior vice president, Disney Interactive Moms and Family.

Kimberly-Clark is continuing their long partnership with Disney as the Huggies brand is the exclusive sponsor of DisneyBaby.com.

The Honest Company Debuts Chemical Free Diapers and More

Diapers and wipes by The Honest Company.

When it comes to diapers, every mom has to sort of find her own way. There are lots of different reasons to consider when you bring a brand of diapers into your house and put them on your baby. Cost, leakage (or lack thereof hopefully), your baby’s skin tolerance (rashes), and what material makes up the diaper are all things that moms can consider.

As of this week, there’s a new line of natural and non-toxic diapers in town from The Honest Company. The company was founded by Hollywood mom Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan, former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World. “I created The Honest Company to help moms and to give all children a better, safer start,” said Alba.

Here are some of the highlights of the Honest diapers:

  • Natural & non-toxic – chlorine-free, bio-based absorbent, and plant-based materials
  • Ultra absorbent – superior performance & moisture retention
  • Premium fit – cloth-like feel, contour elastics, and stretchy re-fastenable grip tabs
  • Fashionable designs – choose from a growing selection of stylized patterns for your girl or boy

The Honest Company is going to be offering up more than just diapers. In addition, there will be all natural and non-toxic wipes that the company claims will be the only wipe you ever need to clean “from cheek to cheek!” There is also a line of non-toxic bath & skin and household cleaning products.

The Honest Company Family Essentials Bundle

All in all, there are over 15 new products for moms who are trying to keep their household as chemical free as possible.

Another unique part of The Honest Company is how the products are sold. Moms can sign up for monthly bundles as a subscription service. In fact, they are offering free discovery kit trials right now to sample the new line of products. After the trial, moms can alter their bundle or even postpone a shipment all via an online ordering process.

Have you tried The Honest Company’s new diaper and/or baby product service yet? What do you think?

Lamaze Octotunes Musical Toy and Lamaze Octivity Time

Lamaze Octotunes Musical ToyOctotunes is an adorable, plush, stuffed octopus made by Lamaze. What’s nice about Octotunes is that each of his eight legs plays a different musical note. He’s great for the youngest baby to cuddle with, and the legs provide muscle toning to help little ones work on their pincer grasps while having fun.

Octotunes comes with basic sheet music, so mom or dad can play songs like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on his legs. He has no batteries, or detachable pieces, so is a safe bet for baby’s crib.

This is a wonderful stroller toy, or floor toy, and can attach to in house swings or bouncy chairs. It provides stimulation and gross motor activity, and introduces the youngest child to the concept of music. He comes in three bright colors: red, blue, and yellow.

Lamaze offers a similar product with more bells and whistles called Octovity, which has won Parent’s Magazine toy of the year. Octovity looks similar to Octotunes, and is equally plush and huggable. The main difference is that Octovity doesn’t play music, but offers 10 different developmental tools such as spinning pieces, small mirrors, and rings that baby can hold or pull.

Octivity is a fantastic way for a baby to work on some basic gross motor skills while having fun.

Both toys are adorable, soft, and easy to clean, and recommended for the smallest customers.