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Ready For Your Virtual Baby Shower? Your Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide

by Lavinia Martin-Weber
This post made possible by GooseWaddle

(Join The Leaky Boob’s virtual baby shower here.)

In the midst of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, we’re finding our whole world shifting to being online… well, more than it already was before the stay-at-home orders were issued. But just because our physical social lives come to a grinding halt doesn’t mean our way of life does. 

And people are still making and having babies. 

So what now? You’re pregnant (congrats!), during a pandemic (oh crap), and you have to stay at home (*insert big sad face here*). Never fear, oh incredible child-bearing human, you can still have your baby shower and throw a party to introduce your baby to the world!

(Download our quick and easy guide to introducing baby safely with social distancing here.)

“But how?” you may ask.

Introducing: the internet! I may know nothing about being pregnant but I know how the internet works and I love a good party. And even when all this pandemic stuff is over (it will end at some point, right?), so many of us have pocket friends that live all over the world that can’t get together in person for a party that we need to have options. So let’s celebrate you and your little one with the rest of your friends online. 

Bring on the virtual baby shower!

(If you’re short on time and need to simplify even more, WebBabyShower is a website that will do a lot of these steps for you.)

Whether you’re organizing a meet and greet for your own baby (which is absolutely, TOTALLY fine to do- girl, throw yourself a party, appreciate yourself and celebrate your baby!) or throwing a baby shower for a friend, as with any party, you have to figure out the Big Four. The Big Four (I should trademark this) being the main four questions you have to ask yourself in order to plan a party: where, when, what, and who. It can be as casual and simple as you like or it can be a big involved shin-dig. Whatever works for you and your budget.

(Download our Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide and Checklist here.)

 

Before we get to the boring technical stuff (like what platforms are available), let’s get to the fun part of party planning. The What, if you will, of the Big Four™ (if you want to skip to what video call platforms you can use, then scroll down to the bottom of this article). Themes! If a specific theme for a party isn’t your thing, more power to you, but I personally really enjoy having something to base my party around. My two personal favorite birthday parties were Renaissance knight themed, and Harry Potter Hogwarts feast themed, respectively. 

“But why do themes if it’s going to be virtual?” 

Good question and I’m glad you asked. When there’s nobody coming over to your house to celebrate, what’s the point in picking a theme for them to partake in and appreciate? I get it, and maybe it’s too much of a hassle, but I think it would be fun to decorate the background of your limited screen square or use a border or background theme related to the party theme. It can add variety and once it’s set up, it feels nice to be within the party space. I’d compare it to the same feeling as getting out of pajamas for a video chat or getting dressed up just because. It feels good! It sets the mood. It makes it feel special. It is FUN! It can uplift your spirits, something that definitely comes in handy if you’re trying to celebrate. If you’re blanking on what themes to incorporate into your baby shower, don’t worry, I did a lot of brainstorming. And if these theme ideas don’t work for you hopefully they inspire you to come up with one that does! 

  • Disney and/or Pixar: I love how general and specific with this one you could be. You could choose just Disney in general and theme your party like it’s the Disney parks themselves with an assortment of iconic Disney/Pixar characters. Or you could get super specific! A Toy Story theme, Disney Princess theme, Star Wars, the Marvel universe, Mickey and Friends themed, or any of your favorite Disney/Pixar stories! Dress up inspired by your favorite Disney character, wear Mickey ears, play iconic Disney tunes in the background, the Disney world is open to you! 
  • Studio Ghibli: Man oh man do I love me some Studio Ghibli. It’s another one of those theme ideas where you can do a general theme or hone in on a specific movie. You can pay homage to the general aesthetic of the Studio Ghibli movies (which I LOVE), or if you have a favorite movie you want to represent (like “My Neighbor Totoro”), you can just keep it to that. 
  • Doctor Who: For all you Doctor Who fans! I never actually got into the show (I know, my loss), but it’s still All The Rage™ (and I do love that the new “Doctor” is a woman). Dress up as your favorite doctor and turn your pen into that screwdriver thing one of them holds (I’m sorry, I mean no disrespect to the Doctors please don’t come for me Whovians).
  • Harry Potter: I had a Harry Potter party for my 18th birthday and it was awesome! Hung battery charged candles from my ceiling with fishing wire, dressed up in my Hogwarts House colors (I’m a Slytherin hehehe), and ate food inspired by the Hogwarts feast (which is a lot of boiled food as it turns out). Take a sorting test! Take bets as to which house your friends might be in! Drink firewhiskey and pumpkin juice! Hogwarts spirit!
  • Anime: Another one where you can be general and specific. Anime is a HUGE category. You could celebrate the classics (Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Naruto, Pokémon, etc) or pick a favorite to base your theme around! Cosplay your favorite character and geek out. And in case anyone was wondering, my favorite anime is Soul Eater, and yes I have cosplayed as the Thomson Sisters thank-you-very-much (Soul Eater is not appropriate for children as it has mature themes). 

Here I am with Earth Baby (top) and Lollie (bottom) when we cosplayed as the Thompson Sisters and Death the Kid at our city’s Comic Con in 2016.

  • Hello Kitty: Oh boy is the Hello Kitty fandom still HUGE. Another franchise I’m not that well-versed in, but I see it EVERYWHERE with its cute kitties, bunnies(?), and colors. Dig out all of your Hello Kitty merchandise and share your love for the cool cat with your friends and family. 
  • Toki Doki: I love Toki Doki. The characters are so adorable and creative! You can order the cute plushies or mystery mini characters for you and your friends to unwrap together. 
  • Astrology: This is less franchise/fandom-ish, but I personally really dig astrology and looking at zodiacs and natal charts. Although I’m not an adamant believer in horoscopes, I still think it’s fun to draw parallels in zodiac personality charts. Look up and read your and your friend’s natal charts, dress up as your zodiac animal and colors, make fun of stereotypes! (I am a flaming hot double Aries cheeto with Libra as my rising). I’m just talking about the zodiacs based off of Babylonian and Hellenistic astronomy because those are what I’m into, but don’t forget Chinese zodiacs and others! 
  • Nintendo: Can be a general theme to show love to all of the classic Nintendo games, or once again you can get specific. Dress up as your favorite Mario Brother character, or if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan like me, Zelda character. Play Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart online together, reminisce about the good ol’ days when Mario was a 2D scroller game. Oh, and you can play some of the iconic video game soundtracks in the background because let’s be honest, Nintendo games have KILLER original soundtracks. 
  • Classic Hollywood: Have all of your guests show up dressed inspired by their favorite classic hollywood movie. Like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singin’ in the Rain, Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, and more! Another one of those themes where you can play all those nostalgic soundtracks in the background, and maybe try to guess what movies they are from!
  • You can Theme by Era! Dress up as your favorite 20th century fashion era. Whether it be the Roaring 20s’, the Rockin’ 60s’, or the Alternative 90s’ have fun (and maybe pull from your own wardrobe)! Encourage your guests to costume up too. Play the iconic tunes of each era and play 90s’ kid trivia! 
  • Forest/space/beach, etc. Whether you go with a fantasy version or the real thing, transport your virtual gathering to anywhere in the world with a little decorating online and in real life.
  • And lastly, you can base your theme around DND or other RPG’s (Roleplayer Games). I’ve played DND once and honestly? I need a party to join because that one-shot session was all I needed to get HOOKED. Dress up as your character, take on their cannon accent, and play a session of DND with your friends. Don’t know how? Don’t worry, there’s tons of information on the internet on how to campaign (basically how to start a group and build a story). All the information online and HUGE fanbase may look daunting, but you’re likely to find a helpful fan who’ll be more than willing to assist you in your DND endeavors. It might even be someone you know! I had no clue my dad played DND when he was a child until about a year ago. 

 

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Food. Drinks. Gifts. Games. BAM let’s go. 

If I were to list all of the food, gifts, and games specific to each theme that you can easily (and affordably) send to your guests then this would be more of an overwhelming ride down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest and not a helpful article. So instead I’ll fire off some new trendy and standard classic party ideas that can be applied to some, if not all of the themes listed. Otherwise, I’ll leave the Pinterest digging to you. 

FOOD – food is the only real reason I used to go to parties. Well that and I’m an extrovert. If I could get away with it, my guests wouldn’t be allowed at my parties without bringing something to munch on (that was when I could actually throw in-person parties). Humans love food, so how can we incorporate it into our virtual party? May I introduce to you: food delivery services. You may not be able to lay a spread in your party venue but you can have party treats delivered to your guests. It doesn’t have to be a lot but there are a range of options way beyond edible arrangements. Sure, there is DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates but those are EXPENSIVE. I’m talking companies who are ready to send you a big box of popcorn lollipops (sounds weird, but trust me, they are AH-MAHZING), a box of candy assortments, fruit bouquets, pretzel boxes, a DIY cookie decoration kit, or customized cookies (maybe with your baby’s name on them in the party theme? Just an idea.). I’m just going to list off some of my favorite cookie delivery companies I’ve discovered, because who doesn’t like cookies? (I’m very sorry if you don’t like cookies). 

I find the cookie decorating kits to be especially fun, even more so if you have a little one you want to keep still while you talk to your more mature friends. It’s also a nice set activity you can schedule into your party. If you haven’t noticed already, all of these were found in a quick and easy search on Etsy! I strongly suggest looking on Etsy for your foodie needs to support small businesses. And hopefully you can count on your product to not taste like a factory. 

For DRINKS, unfortunately there isn’t really a drink delivery option so let your guests decide what they’ll have. I’d encourage them to get creative and try to match the party’s theme, or send them a recipe for the drink you’ll be enjoying, or for the non-preggos put together a cocktail kit you send out ahead of time with mini-bottles. Etsy for the win again with these fabulous drinks:

Let’s talk PARTY FAVORS (personally my least favorite party thing to figure out because UGH that’s so many small things to plan and nobody wants a bunch of plastic junk). Once again, I’d recommend Etsy for a quick and easy party favor find that you can send out to your friends but there’s also Amazon and boutiques and you may be able to support a local-to–you business if they have an online store as well. If you’re doing some kind of food delivery then maybe skip the favors completely. Party favors aren’t necessary but if you really want to do something, keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be a lot. Be sure you work this stuff out at least a month in advance since all of it is counting on the mailing services in your area and where you order. You can get baby shower specific, or just search general party favor gifts. As I stated at the beginning of this article, I’ve never been pregnant and thus never have had my own child so the baby shower gifts were a little confusing to me. Scrolling through I was like… huh? But maybe it’ll make sense for you mamas and mamas to be. I did like the bath bomb, tea kits, and scrunchie party favors I found. Also don’t get shy with the DIY! Find bracelet making kits or temporary tattoo kits, those are fun and will keep you and your guests’ hands busy during the call. Still feeling uninspired about party favors? Take a dip into Pinterest. Not only will it give you something to do for an hour or two, but there’s a plethora of ideas in there!

Now GAMES. Personally, I’d count the DIY projects as a game, but if you want to get technical then I have a few other ideas for you and your virtual baby shower. If you don’t like them, that’s ok. Not everyone is as cool as me and gets what I get, Pinterest is your friend in this case. 

  • One word: T-R-I-V-I-A. I love me some good ol’ trivia. It sparks my competitive spirit and love for knowing things. You can make it specific to your theme too! If you’re having your classic baby shower theme, quiz your guests on pregnancy and birth (I’d win because do you even know my mom?), or if you have a theme like Disney, do a Disney trivia. I love how applicable trivia can be to different subjects and let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good trivia? 
  • Bingo is another game that’s pretty diverse in what theme you throw it in. You can make your own bingo, or easily find a bingo template or prepaid printable online.
  • If you’re still pregnant, take guesses on the birth date, first sign of labor, weight of baby, etc. If this is after baby has arrived, go with guesses on anything that hasn’t been shared publicly.
  • The Song Guessing Game. I don’t know if other people do this, but in my house we have this made up game where one person links up with our bluetooth speaker and plays a song (usually a soundtrack, but it can be anything!) and then we all try to guess what it’s from (in the case of a soundtrack, we try to guess the movie title). Whoever guesses it first gets to pick the next song. This game can go on for forever and it’s fairly simple and easy to pick up. You can dish out handicaps to those who seem to have an unfair advantage. Take my older sister for example, she regularly listens to soundtracks, way more than the rest of our family. So normally she has a 10-15 second handicap where she can’t guess the song to give others a chance (she’s a BEAST at this game, often guessing a track correctly by the first note/second). 

To keep your celebration flowing, CREATE AN AGENDA. A common agenda structure would be welcome/greeting, ice breaker game, game, food/gifts (guests eat while gifts are opened), game, remarks/well-wishes/new baby advice, goodbyes. 

Create a memento of the event with a digital guestbook or video with each guest pre-recording a video tribute. With screen sharing options on most platforms you can share the tribute with all the guests as part of the virtual babyshower. There are several apps available for these, I like mydigitalguestbook.com and tribute.co.

Let’s talk about BUDGET real quick (ew, I know). In these “unprecedented” times (I can’t wait for more “precedented” times again), money can be the last thing you want to think about… or spend. Which is totally reasonable. The good news is you CAN do a virtual party completely for free, which is great! You can also pull it off very low cost, or the sky is the limit. I actually think an upside to a virtual baby shower is that you’re spending less than you would for an actual party. I looked it up, and most in-person baby showers range between $300 – $1,000 having to take into account venue, decorations, catering/food, possibly having to Uber your drunk friend home, party favors, cake, drinks, and the like. When it’s all virtual, many of those things are null and void. So, if it’s feasible, allow yourself grace to buy all your friends party favors because in actuality, you’re probably spending less than you would’ve if the party was in-person. 

If you’re feeling in a particularly party throwing mood, you can create a small care package for each guest and ship them out once you have the RSVPs. Be sure to get the invitations out early enough to get responses back and have time to pack up and ship each party-in-a-box care package to your guests. With a care package style you can send homemade goodies too, printable game sheets (like the bingo cards), the fixings for a mocktail/cocktail, theme decorations, and more.

 

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Now we gotta invite people to this special baby shower you’re planning, here comes the Who and the When. We’re combining two of the Big Four™. Obviously, it’s going to be people you actually want there to celebrate this new baby, but how are you going to invite them? Thankfully, you don’t have to burn your hand trying to handwrite cute invitations (did people even do that before the pandemic?) because now it’s all ✨~virtual~✨. Here are three virtual invitation options that I found! 

  • The Evite we all know and love. I’m the most familiar with this one, and it makes things fairly easy and simple! Very user friendly. Also, it’s completely free (aside from upgrades, but meh, they still have a vast array of good options).
  • Paperless Post isn’t free, but its options are adorable. They do things based on coins, which is kinda like a store credit system. When you first sign up, you get 25 coins free. Clicking on the first baby shower invite option, it was 2 coins to use. From then on there are various upgrades to choose from (using coins) that can spruce up your invitation. 
  • Smilebox is free with a basic plan. The basic plan includes unlimited cards to choose from and you can share your invite on Twitter. With Smilebox premium ($2.99 a month) you’re granted the option to share on FaceBook as well as Twitter, sharing by email, adding your own music, unlimited storage and backup for drafts, and removing the watermark. From what I’ve seen, they also have a wide display of cards to choose from. 

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR INVITATION

  1. Details on the date and time of your live event
  2. A link to join the group or meeting
  3. A link to your registry with a ship-to address

Don’t forget to send event reminders closer to the date! 

Let there be PRESENTS!

(Get the softest blankets ever like the one in our images here, sweet plushies, beautiful wood teethers, bibs, and more at goosewaddle.com.)

You can always make your celebration a gift-less party or invite guests to make a donation to your favorite non-profit organization in your honor. But babies need stuff and people LOVE to give baby gifts, so be sure to create a registry or if you’re hosting for someone else, have them create a registry and include that information in the invitations (along with an out so people don’t feel like they HAVE to get you a gift to join the party). Go virtual shopping and build your wishlist of items you want and/or need to prepare for this new baby. Here are a few websites so you can do it all from your couch in your pajamas. 

  • Babylist: from what I’ve briefly explored, this website is super user friendly and pretty much the luxury registry experience! It has easy ready-for-you buttons to different websites to get started on your list including Target, Amazon, Pottery Barn Kids, Walmart, and others. I know my mom has used it and loves it because you can add items from multiple different shops including small businesses, Etsy, and register for things like a doula, prenatal massage, and having meals delivered. 
  • Target: if you look up “Target registry” it’ll pull up a page ready to help you build your wishlist. Also seems super user friendly but you’re limited to, well, Target.
  • BuyBuyBaby: They have a 20% off deal on their product when you register! On top of having their own website of product, you can create your wishlist on their site and add other brands in it to share with your friends and family. 

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Now time for the Where. Obviously, in terms of an actual physical location for your virtual baby shower this may be the best part: HOME! You don’t even have to put on pants if you don’t want to (just be sure to remember that if you’re going to stand up on camera because that could make your party awkward REAL FAST). But what about the where on the internet? We have a plethora of options (and it’s not just Zoom, who else here is tired of Zoom and can’t think of it as a fun thing anymore?). 

Cisco Webex

Personally, Cisco Webex is my favorite platform for a multi-person facetime. For the host, you have to create an account, download a plugin for Cisco Webex, start a meeting with the BIG green button, and invite your friends via email! For the guests, it’s even more simple: click the big green button they get via the host’s email invitation and BOOM, they’re ready to party. No installing any plugins on their end, and it works across any mobile device or video system. With the FREE Webex plan, yes free, you can have meetings with up to 100 participants, HD video, screen sharing, and a personal room, and there’s no point in time where the free plan stops for you. 

Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is another video meeting platform (duh) known for its exceptional security (way more than Zoom’s). Fully secure, very easy, and once again: your friends don’t need to register to get into the room! Just send them the link and they are IN, baby! Jitsi Meet also has an audio feature where you can recognize who’s talking and blow up their feed so they are featured in the meeting/party. There is a session recording option as well if you really want to keep the meeting for later reminiscing. After the meeting is over, the recording will be downloaded into Dropbox just for you. Jitsi Meet can integrate with Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365 (I have no clue what Slack or Office 365 are, but if you’re more tech savvy than I am, which is 100% possible, this may mean something to you). With up to 75 possible guests (though 35 is the recommended amount for quality), the host can kick out anyone who’s annoying them or they accidentally invited because they forgot they were ghosting that one guest. Only downside that I can tell is that you CAN’T set up the room beforehand, unlike Zoom where you can schedule a room to be up at a specific time. With Jitsi Meet, the host has to make the room live themselves at their preferred time and then invite their guests. And oh, did I mention it’s free?

Skype 

Another option is Skype, but even compared to Zoom it wouldn’t be my go-to choice. Recently, in light of the coronavirus lockdown, Skype has released a new feature called Meet Now that allows hosts to set up and share free meetings without having the Skype app downloaded for all parties involved. The host just has to go through the Skype website to set it up. Similar to a few other platforms we’ve been looking at, Skype also has an option to record and download sessions after they are ended. It’s totally free to host video conferences (or if you’re a gamer like me: parties), more secure than Zoom, and you can have up to 50 people in a party. Which depending on your social circle, can seem small or just enough. My favorite feature of Skype? I like it’s “incoming call” jingle. Not sure why, but it can keep me groovin’ for a while. 

Zoom

And lastly, we have Zoom. I know, I know, I was trying to give you other options in substitution of Zoom, but hear me out. It’s boring, and bland, and everyone’s sick of it BUT it does have a wait room, a feature I actually really appreciate. There were calls of concern about Zoom’s security after hackers figured out how to get into activated parties and drop less-than-savory videos into the feed, but Zoom has since then made their platform more secure. Complete with passwords to get in and wait rooms. Before someone can join a Zoom call, the host has to approve of them dropping in. While they are waiting for approval, the guest is put in a virtual wait room where they can test their microphone, speaker, and video feed. This is another video conference app that allows the host to record and download the session for the archives if they want to. If the session is being recorded, any guest who hops into the meeting will hear a small announcement that the session is being recorded, just to give them a heads up. Zoom has a basic free plan where you can have up to 100 guests in a meeting with the basic features we all know and love. But with a few paid upgrades, you can have a party with up to 1,000 participants (why you’d want that, I don’t know. Sounds absolutely chaotic). Honestly, I actually like Zoom. I use it weekly for my telehealth therapy session, which is something that I personally need during this pandemic (I could write a whole other article about why I advocate for therapy as a 19 year old). 

If you’re going with Zoom, check out these virtual baby shower bundles from Babylist that includes digital invite event header, custom Zoom backgrounds, themed printable games, and thank you cards. They even have 10 free fun virtual backgrounds with a step-by-step guide to install and use them.

That’s all I have for you today! It’s been a pleasure and honor to start you on your path to your virtual baby shower. I hope I’ve inspired you to make the most of your virtual baby shower. Once again, CONGRATS to the new little human! I hope you and your child are healthy and the birthing process goes smoothly. I may not be a mother, but I know new life is beautiful and I love babies. The possibilities are endless for you and your virtual baby shower and I wish you all the best. 

 

Yours truly, 

Lavinia (AKA Storyteller, AKA the second oldest, AKA Jessica The Leaky Boob’s daughter)

Making The Mothering Season Matter: Summer Edition

by Carrie Saum

This summer, I made a few promises to myself. Kind of like a reboot of my New Year’s resolution except better, because SUMMER.

  • I will eat all the vegetables I grow in my garden. (I’m winning that one.)
  • I will take my toddler for an outdoor adventure everyday. (This has happened every day except when we have had record breaking heat.)
  • I will take a shower every single day because I stink when I don’t. (Hahahaha! Yeah. NOPE.)
  • I will eat a real breakfast and no longer count a handful of trail mix and a cup of coffee as a complete meal. (I have replaced trail mix with scraps of my toddler’s rejected breakfast. I’ll call this a wash.)
  • I will pack up the car once a week and take an adventure with my son during the day. (I’m killing it!)

The last two summers have absolutely sucked. I mean that literally and figuratively. I pumped exclusively for my baby for 21 months, spanning the length of two summers. Lugging around the breast pump and a newborn and then a toddler made it tricky to do activities on my own with my son. I still did it, but we stuck closer to home and the mental/emotional/physical/logistical effort was just TOO MUCH.

But this summer? This summer has been redemption.

My BFF and I have been dreaming of having babies and doing fun things together with them. We chose an easy spot close to home for our first excursion. We loaded up all of our stuff and our babies and our courage and struck out for a nearby river. ALL BY OURSELVES.

Echo Adventure Travel

Our sons were less sure than we were about this.

Sweet, child-riddled-but-still-doing-it-anyway Freedom.

We were wild mamas, spreading out blankets and packages of seaweed snacks and mango and splashing in the frigid river with our babies who seemed completely immune to shockingly cold water. We doled out food and milk and took turns corralling our sons who only wanted to eat the sand and make big splashes in the water.

We upped the ante for our next adventure. The coast is about 90 minutes from our front door, so we gathered our courage, planned for the entire day, and set out for the Pacific Ocean like mommy pioneers. In fact, I’m certain we had enough gear to fill a covered wagon.

After two tantrum stops, lunch at a café where our boys behaved like tiny well-behaved adults and never threw a single bit of food or fussed once, a stop for an over-priced dark chocolate bar and lattes, a pee break, and quick conversation about which actual beach to go to, we arrived. A mere four hours later. We were so jubilant that we made it, we didn’t care how long it took us.Echo Beach River

We splashed and played and chased our tiny monsters all over the beach with abandon. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you those 2 hours were positively magical. We learned that beach sand is just as delicious to toddlers as river sand, and nothing is funnier than watching mommy run full speed into the surf to rescue a ball before it is lost to the sea forever.

There were many other adventures this summer, and sometimes involving long rides in the car, and others just a walk around the neighborhood with a low key brunch and bit of thrift store shopping.

There were tantrums and mishaps and close calls and moments when we questioned our sanity, but WE DID IT. And we will do it again.

As autumn approaches, I’m already dreaming up more adventures. It gets a little tricky because of the cold and rain, not to mention indoor play spaces are a total no-go for us because of severe food allergies. But we will keep trying, enjoying and relishing every season. Even if it’s simple.  Even if it’s hard.EchoMommyBeach

We only get to experience our children as children once. It doesn’t need to be magical, but it needs to be memorable for all of the right reasons. For both of us.

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Carrie Saum, headshotCarrie Saum brings a passion for wellness and over a decade of experience in health care to her clients. A certified Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy, she empowers individuals and families to achieve health and balance through time-honored practices and health knowledge. Carrie has extensive first-hand experience in vast array of medical and service fields.
With background in paramedic medicine, Carrie spent ten years serving in the non-profit sector managing organizations, programs, and orchestrating resources to meet health needs of people across the United States and abroad in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Zambia. As an AWC, Carrie currently coaches her clients and their families about topics including nutrition, weight loss, and stress management. In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and the voice behind OurStableTable.com. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son.

TLB Comic- Feeding Flexibility

by Jennie Bernstein

Breastfeeding humor

 

 

TLB Comic- Necklines

TLB Comic breastfeeding shirt and stretched out neckline

TLB Comic- Cry Over Spilled Milk

by Jennie Bernstein

Jennie Bernstein comic, breastfeeding, breast pump humor

We’re Moving!

by Jessica Martin-Weber and Amy West

Leakies, we’ve got something really special for you. We’re talking about #BFingPlaces (Oh!  The Places You Go!) for World Breastfeeding Month and we’ve taken it one step further. Literally.

We have every reason in the world to be physically active; heart health, longevity, reduced health problems, strength, endurance, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, joint health, mental clarity, better sleep, and decrease in depression and anxiety to name a few.  Several studies show that people who exercise more are just happier.  Which has always baffled me personally since exercise is kind of the opposite of happy for me.  Still, I know it’s good for me so I’ve tried to do it regularly and felt guilty when I didn’t.

With having children though, juggling family, home, and work (and yes, even when I didn’t have a job), getting exercise in is often an overwhelming challenge.  Between the media, “experts,” bloggers, friends, family, health care providers, and yes, even myself saying what is so important for children, there are just so many other aspects of a child’s development that require my attention.  There is every reason in the world to not be physically active; reading to our children, providing quality meals, addressing their social needs, researching all medications/foods/education, shopping to have the “best” deals on the highest quality (but the blanket MUST be organic, what about off-gassing?!), spending quality play time with our children, limiting screen time, grooming them, keeping house, bonding, learning and executing proper child passenger safety (installing that perfect car seat that took 3 weeks of research and a small loan to purchase) and being sure every minute of their every day is filled with only the best developmentally appropriate activities.  With all that’s on our plates, how do we find time to be physically active?

But really, how can we not?

We have perfectly legit reasons to not be moving and perfectly inspiring reasons to get moving.  It’s not easy sometimes but it’s definitely worth it.

I was born with a minor heart condition, something I’ve lived with all my life.  Doctors have told me that keeping my weight in a healthy range and staying physically active will go a long way in taking care of my health and sure enough, I can tell when I’ve put on a few too many pounds, have let inactivity sneak into my routine, or am lazy about my water intake.  I try to make it a priority but I’m just not crazy about most forms of exercise.  I’m not the type to become a health nut, I’m not likely become an exercise fanatic, and I don’t like exercise for exercise’s sake.  Something else has to motivate me to get off my butt and get moving.

Turns out I have 6 really talented motivators.  I want to be around for a long time to be with my children and eventually my grandchildren and I can’t afford to wait to get started.  They inspire me and not only for my own health, but for the health of my whole family.  And now they’ve inspired me to share that motivation with you!

Actually it was Amy West’s idea, she came to me about how regularly taking walks was helping her in her immediate postpartum time.  Her mood, emotional state, and energy levels went up as she walked with her two kids, Ava and Luke.  I agreed and we wanted to find a way to share it with the Leakies and their families.  And with that, #TLBmoves was born.

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

And I hope you’ll get moving with me for your own reasons.

Are you a runner? Walker? Cross-fit fan?  Couch potato looking to change? Or maybe you just want to be screen-free a little more often.

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBmoves!  This is all about embracing an active lifestyle and making healthier choices, no matter where you’re starting from.

Us? We’re starting by walking more. Just the simple act of taking a daily stroll can do amazing things for your health–both mental and physical! Our initial goal is to log a minimum of 10 miles (about 15,000 steps) each week, or 30 very active minutes each day, but you can set virtually any goal that’s important to you and participate in any way you’d like! (Quit smoking, play with the kids more, eat more veggies, do jumping jacks at your desk, living room dance party – anything goes!)

If you’re already doing that (or more), awesome! Whatever YOUR goal is, we want to see you reach it. #TLBmoves is not a fitness campaign; yeah, we’re talking about steps and activity, but the bigger goal here is overall health and happiness. You can participate at whatever level is comfortable for you: walking, jogging, running, cross-fitting, swimming – anything. (#TLBmoves is aimed at all moms of all backgrounds and is not limited to or specifically endorsing those who breastfeed.)  And we’ll never ask what’s your excuse, we know we all have great excuses so we understand that it’s one day, one step at a time to reach your personal goals.

#TeamTLBmoves! Meet the four mamas who will be sharing their #TLBmoves journeys during the month of August:

Jessica: Founder, owner, and author of The Leaky Boob Facebook group and website; mother of six girls, ages 2, 4, 6, 11, 13, and 15.

Amy: Writer (www.amywest.co); mother of two children, a five-year-old daughter and a three-month-old son.

Kileah: Member of the TLB Reviews editorial team; mother of four children, ages 6, 4, 2 and 8 months.

Elise: Member of the TLB Reviews editorial team; mother of one two-month-old son.

Meet our partners:

#TLBmoves is a big undertaking and we are so thrilled to be working with brands we believe in to bring you this event. Our partners really want to see moms getting active and enjoying a healthy lifestyle with their families! We’ll be sharing tons of photos of #TeamTLBmoves using gear from the following brands:

Joovy

JoovyWe are all about taking small steps to a healthier lifestyle – literally! Going for a daily walk with the little ones is one of the cornerstones of what we’re doing. Joovy has partnered with us to feature four of their kick-ass strollers, which we will put to to the test over the next month. You’ll see the TooFold, Qool, Caboose VaryLight, and Zoom in action. From the big kids to the littles, Joovy is making it easy (and whine-free!) to stroll with the whole family.

tula

Tula Baby CarriersWe aren’t just pushing our little ones in the strollers – we’re going to wear them, too! Whether it’s in the uber comfortable Standard or Toddler carrier, or in one of Tula’s amazingly gorgeous woven wraps, we’ll be wearing our babies throughout the month as we get out and move! Where will the #TULAlove turn up next? Stay tuned…

thinkbaby thinksport

Thinkbaby and ThinksportIt’s August, so the weather is hot. A big part of #TLBmoves is getting active outdoors (work that natural vitamin D!). A good, safe sunscreen and water bottles are necessities. Thinkbaby and Thinksport care as much as we do when it comes to keeping our families safe from harmful chemicals. We’re staying hydrated and keeping sunburns at bay, minus the endocrine disruptors!

When?
#TLBmoves will run from August 1st-31st, 2014, but we hope you’ll keep moving long after the end of the month! (We may have something up our sleeves to that end, too!)

How?
Participation is on the honor system. Counting steps can be fun, but the point isn’t a number (on a pedometer, scale, or otherwise) – it’s making healthy choices and becoming more active in general. It’s all about feeling good! Moms can track their activity via whatever means they choose. (You can use a FitBit, another pedometer, you can time three five-minute songs for a dance party in your living room – it’s up to you!)

Where?
Anyone, anywhere can participate! We’ll be announcing some fun prizes from our brand partners, and those are limited to the United States at this time, but the world is your oyster if you want to get active with us!

JOIN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP (Please note: this is a co-ed community where you’ll find support as we get active and make healthy choices together. Judgement free! Come as you are, this group is your #TLBmoves tribe!)

JOIN OUR FITBIT FORUM (The four #TeamTLBmoves mamas will be using FitBits to track our steps! They’re totally optional, but if you want to use one, you can grab yours here: http://bit.ly/TLBfitbit.)

Who?
You, your friends, your kids, your partner, your boss, your mom, your dad… anyone!  Though The Leaky Boob is focused on encouraging families primarily through breastfeeding, we support breastfeeding moms and everyone that supports them.  Breastfeeding isn’t a requirement to participate with TLB and #TLBmoves.  (If you are breastfeeding and you’re wondering about exercise and breastfeeding, we have an article all about that here.

We’ll have more updates soon – in the meantime, please follow TLB on Instagram to keep up with #TLBmoves. Use the hashtag #TLBmoves on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your pics. We want to see what you’re doing to MOVE, mamas!

Sleep dreams

This post made possible by the generous support of Arm’s Reach Concepts.

by Jessica Martin-Weber

To sleep or not to sleep, the question babies and little children everywhere wrestle with on a regular basis and parents pray will be answered with “to sleep.”  Sleep like a baby sometimes sounds like an oxymoron when it seems like your baby won’t sleep.  But sometimes it isn’t to sleep or not to sleep but rather, where to sleep.  The Leakies joined me in sharing pictures of where and how they have found their little ones sleeping.  Two of the funniest threads we’ve had on The Leaky Boob Facebook page were the result and an image collection of baby and little kid sleeping gold.  We couldn’t fit even all of our favorites here so be sure to head over to beyondmoi.com for more totally adorable and hilarious moments of sleep with little ones.  It could be one of the few times you will find yourself laughing about sleep as a parent.

Whatever you do, don’t lay down!  The couch is there for support, I’m just resting my eyes mid bounce…

sleeping standing on couch

I was going to go run but then this happened…

sleeping waiting for mom to be ready to go

sleeping standing back against couch

sleeping standing against the couch

I’m not sleepy, my head just got heavy…

sleeping standing against couch grouch need a nap now

sleeping standing against couch

It wasn’t that I was sleepy, it’s that the entertainment was boring…

sleeping sitting with sippy on couch

sleeping sitting nude

Wait, what just happened, I was in the middle of something important…

sleeping like daddy

sleeping on the toilet

sleeping on chair with balloon

It is important to keep your best friend company…

sleeping on the dog

sleeping propped against dog and eating chips

sleeping on dog as pillow

sleeping cuddling dog

Just getting into character…

Batgirl

This wasn’t exactly my plan…

sleeping between couch and stool

sleeping on couch and stool

sleeping outside on back pourch

Don’t worry, I’m on top of things…

sleeping on top shelf in closet

sleeping on the coffee table

sleeping on table dreaming of bike

sleeping on play table

sleeping on diaper bin

And under things…

sleeping under the table

sleeping under the coffee table

sleeping under the bed up to no good

sleeping under stacked chairs at church

sleeping under dog bed mom checked to be sure she could breathe

Look closely… find the toes…

sleeping under and between the couch and chair

sleeping under a trampoline

sleeping under a book

sleeping in the entertainment stand

sleeping burrowed under blankets

And in things…

sleeping inside a box

sleeping in the swing

sleeping in the laundry basket

sleeping in the bath

sleeping in play house

sleeping in mesh laundry hamper

sleeping in LL Bean tote

sleeping in laundry hamper trio

sleeping in green laundry basket

sleeping in glass bowl

sleeping in dresser drawer

sleeping in a laundry hamper 2

sleeping in a drawer

sleeping in a diaper box

And out…

sleeping sitting in snow

sleeping bundled up outside in chair

sleeping face against table

It’s always better with someone else…

sleeping twins in tub

sleeping twins outside

And if you think I’m cute when I’m sleeping, you should see when I wake up!

good morning cosleeper

This guy was too cute on the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Instagram feed.

Simply Wonderful Sweet Stuff

Our family has a little treat to share, hope you enjoy, we sure did!

Darts?

Alright, you currently lactating moms. We’ve got a contest. This contest is based entirely on ridiculousness and honesty. You have to honestly be ridiculous.

Inspired by a post on The Leaky Boob Facebook wall by a… liker? Not loving the new Facebook set up, seriously, what are we supposed to call the people that used to be fans? Anyway, the contest.

Inspired by a post on The Leaky Boob Facebook wall, this contest is to see how far your lactating boobies can spray milk and in how many streams. Think of it as The Leaky Boob’s version of darts. Wait until you see what we come up with for pool. 😉

Here’s what you’ll need for the contest:
3 piece of paper (colored paper is probably best)
Tape
measuring tape
digital camera

Rules:
Be honest please, we have to take your word and it just won’t be fun if somebody lies. A brawl is kind of hard over the internet, so play nice.
You have to take a picture of your paper.
Measure from the wall to the arch of your foot where you were/are standing.

Directions:
Tape a piece of paper to the wall.
Measure and stand 5 feet from the wall.
Aim boobie at the paper and “give ol’ Bessie a squeeze”, trying to hit the paper.
Adjust as needed, moving closer or farther away.
You can try with both boobies.
Whatever your farthest shot comes from, measure that, take a picture of your paper.
Count your streams too, you get bonus points for individual spots from the different streams showing on the paper.
Post picture online and share the link with us in the comments as well as the details.

Points:
You get a point for each inch away from the wall you were standing.
Each stream is half a point.

Prize:
I have NO idea yet. I’ll get working on that.

This contest is open until Friday evening at 7pm Central.

Now, Ready… Aim… Fire!