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Cozy Cheekz Keeps Baby Warm And Happy During Diaper Changes

Cozy Cheekz Keeps Baby Warm And Happy During Diaper Changes

Cozy CheekzChanging your baby’s diaper just got a whole lot easier with Cozy Cheekz! The heated changing pad is the first of its kind on the market and helps babies regulate their body temperature during diaper changes, which means a more pleasant time for baby and mommy.

Cozy Cheekz will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 

We spoke with Vanessa Peterson, owner and inventor of Cozy Cheekz to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with Cozy Cheekz, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Our mission is to provide products for new moms that are unique and that truly strive to make life more convenient with a new baby. I invented our Heated Changing Pad and our Cozy Cradle is not available anywhere else.  The Heated Changing Pad stays warm for 12 hours at a time and then shuts off for safety reasons.  It can be turned right back on for another 12 hours, which is perfect because we never know when our baby is going to need changing.  The Cozy Cradle is a multifunctional travel pad for baby to lay comfortably anywhere mom needs to go, and can be used as a nursing aid and even as a travel changing pad.  It rolls up to easily fit into a diaper bag so that only one pad needs to be carried.   Both pads come with removable covers, which can be washed.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

I have a friend that mentioned to me when we were on the phone that her grandson always cried during diaper changes because he was cold.  While we were talking, I was surprised to hear that she could not find a heated changing pad.  I did some checking and she was right, there wasn’t one so I decided to try to find out if there was a reason for that.  After doing some research, I could not find any reason why there wasn’t one and, in fact, many reasons why there should be one.  Babies have difficulty, especially as newborns, regulating their body temperature so even when something feels temperate to us, it feels cold to them.  About two years ago I began the process of inventing a heated changing pad.  I made a prototype and then worked to get it manufactured to my specifications.  As a part of the manufacturing process, I came across our Cozy Cradle, which was being sold in Europe and felt it was the perfect fit for my brand. I started shipping my products December 2016.

What are the most popular and/or newest products from Cozy Cheekz?

Both products have been very popular, and we have had some wonderful reviews of each.

What sets Cozy Cheekz apart from other companies in the baby marketplace?

Our products are unavailable anywhere else and are of the highest quality materials.

What can parents expect from Cozy Cheekz at the Chicago Baby Show?

We will have both products there to sell and, of course, to see and touch.  We will also be offering special show discounts for those who attend.

To learn more about Cozy Cheekz, check out cozycheekz.com.

Family Photos 101

Family Photos 101

We asked our friends at Canon for great tips on photographing babies and toddlers. Enjoy!

PREGNANCY TO BIRTH GettyImages-450432727_TOP IMAGE LORES

1) Baby bump photo series: Learn how to document your pregnancy with a fun portrait series.

• Find a neutral, even-toned background like a white or beige wall.
• Frame the shot and keep Mom’s belly as the hero.
• Shoot at the same time of day to keep lighting consistent.

2) First baby picture: They’re only born once. Be prepared to capture this life-changing moment with the quality it deserves.

• Set white balance to Tungsten to keep your image from looking yellow.
• Turn off the flash and use natural light.
• Set ISO to 400 for greater brightness.

BIRTH TO 3 YEARS

1) Baby on the move: From crawling to walking to full-on sprinting, use these tips to get great photos of your budding stock-photo-purple-baby-103744407_BOTTOM IMAGE LOWR ESexplorer.

• Use Continuous Shooting Mode to keep your baby in focus no matter how fast they’re moving.
• Shoot in Shutter Priority (Tv) mode and make sure you use a high shutter speed to avoid any unwanted blurring.
• Get low at ground level and simply touch the LCD screen to keep your on-the-move baby in focus.

2) Baby birthdays: Before they blow out the candles, prepare to blow them away. Check out these tips for great candid photos and videos for any birthday party.

• Capture a close-up video of your child with an f/2.8 or faster portrait lens for better low light images.
• Get up close to your child so you can capture the fun of the moment.
• Increase the ISO in low light situations to avoid dark images.

To learn more from Canon USA, visit shop.usa.canon.com/Family!

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The JPMA’s Essential Safety Tips For Young Children Around The Home

The JPMA’s Essential Safety Tips For Young Children Around The Home

Editor’s Note: The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), is a valuable resource both for the product manufacturers it represents, as well as for expectant and new parents when it comes to matters of home safety for children. Their safety blog, babysafetyzone.org, serves as an educational, interactive hub and community for parents and caregivers—and is the source of the home safety tips below. JPMA also offers a certification program for juvenile products.

Bedroom/Nursery:

  • Changing pad: If you are using a changing pad on top of a dresser, place a piece of no-skid runner (the kind that’s usually used under area rugs) underneath the pad. This will prevent the pad from sliding around. Always use the straps!
  • Baby monitors: Baby monitors can look like toys to babies and toddlers. Keep your monitor at least 6 feet away from the crib or bassinet to avoid strangulation.
  • Crib sheet: Always use a crib sheet that fits securely on the mattress, wraps around the mattress corners, and stays securely on the mattress corners.
  • Cords: Cords can pose strangulation hazards to children, whether they are connected to blinds, home gym equipment, or baby monitors. Keep cords tied up and out of reach of children and remember to keep cribs away from cords that can be reached while inside the crib.
  • Recalled products: Know if a product you own has been recalled, including second-hand products. The best ways to ensure your products are safe are to fill out your product registration card and check for recalls at recalls.gov.
  • Loose rugs or carpet: Area rugs or carpets that are not secured to the floor can trip little ones who may already be unstable on their feet. Make sure that all corners are taped down and bumps are smoothed out. JPMA

Kitchen:

  • Heating food: Heating baby food in a microwave is convenient, but be sure to check the temperature very carefully. Use microwave-safe dishes and stir food from the center out after heating to ensure the temperature is even.
  • Portable chairs: Do not use portable hook-on chairs on glass or loose tabletops, or on a table with a single pedestal, leaf, tablecloth, or placemat.
  • Tipover: Prevent tipover—keep the highchair far enough from the table, counter, or wall so the baby can’t push off from it.
  • Pot handles on the stove: When cooking, turn pot handles inward instead of sticking out from the stove where little ones may reach up and grab the hot handle.
  • Magnets: Small magnets can be easily swallowed by children. Once inside the body, they can attract to each other and cause significant internal damage. Keep magnets out of reach. If you fear your child has swallowed magnets, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Liquid laundry packets: It is estimated that thousands of children have been exposed to and injured by laundry detergent packets. Easily mistaken by children as candy, these packets pose a risk to the eyes and, if ingested, to their lives. It is important to keep these items out of reach of children.

Living Room:

  • Infant seat: Baby’s movements can slide an infant seat, so be sure not to place the infant seat on any elevated surfaces.
  • Highchair: Move your baby away from the table or anything they can use their legs to push off of while sitting in their highchair.
  • Loose change: Change can easily wind up on tables or in couch cushions, where curious children could ingest them. Assign a tray or jar for loose change and keep it out of a child’s reach.
  • Hot mugs: A relaxing cup of coffee or tea can quickly turn into an emergency if hot mugs are left unattended or are placed near the edge of tables where little hands can grab them.
  • Button batteries: Button batteries are flat, round batteries that resemble coins or buttons found in common household items such as flashlights, remotes or flameless candles.
  • Similar to coins and magnets, they pose a serious risk if ingested.
  • Tipovers: Tipovers are a leading cause of injury to children. The best way to avoid them is to make sure all furniture items and televisions are secured to the wall.

Bathroom:

  • Unattended: Never leave a child unattended in the bathroom. Collect all bathing materials before bringing baby into the bathroom so you do not have to leave.
  • Safeguarding: Keep bathroom doors closed and toilet seats closed and locked. It is possible for babies to drown in as little as 2 inches of water.
  • Bath seat: Never use a bath seat on textured or non-skid tub surfaces unless the manufacturer’s instructions specifically state that the seat is intended for such surfaces.

Garage:

  • Stroller: Always put your stroller in the locked position when remaining stationary or placing your baby inside. Do not hang heavy items off the back of the stroller as this could cause it to tip.
  • Car seat: Follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when installing.

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The Unexpected Things That Expecting Dads Should Really Expect

The Unexpected Things That Expecting Dads Should Really Expect

iStock-599876322-350x234By Chad R. MacDonald

You’re expecting a child. You’re a mess. Your life will never be the same. But don’t worry. I have been there, and I’ll tell you the unexpected things that will happen in your future.

1. You Will Not See Many Friends For Several Years: Bad news first. You’re not going to keep all of your friends. Some will stay in your life. Some won’t. Some you’ll miss. Others you won’t.

2. You’ll Move To A Bigger Place: We know you love that one-bedroom, but you’ll need more space. Period. Say hello to a town that’s more affordable.

3. You Will Not Sleep: You can’t soft pedal this. Babies sleep for 3-4 hours and then you have to change and feed them. You will be “The Walking Dead.”

4. Never-Ending Laundry: Yes, you just did laundry yesterday. Yes, the baby goes through clothes that fast. No, you don’t have a choice.

5. No Amount Of Cheerios Equals Too Many Cheerios*: You might think there are too many Cheerios in your life when you find you’re sleeping on the ones you didn’t know were in your bed. You’d be wrong. Cheerios can save your sanity. *Also applies to Goldfish crackers.

6. You Will Hate Kids’ Music: Once you start listening to kids music, you will never again know peace. It gets into your head and stays there. Forever. And ever. This includes theme songs for children’s shows.

7. Family And Friends Will Mean Much More: Family and friends who stay in your life deserve your love, loyalty, and respect. Friends who come into your life while you are a dad are valuable. Meeting new friends as a dad can be tough, but check out organizations like City Dads Group (citydadsgroup.com).

8. Messes: I didn’t believe such a small person could make such a big mess either. Brace yourself.

9. Your Parents Were Right About Everything: And this is even more mind-blowing once you realize they had no instructions for parenting. Which leads us to…

10. There Are No Instructions For Parenting: You can buy books and take advice and whatever else, but what works for one kid won’t for all. Everyone will give you advice and it will be conflicting. You will have to sort out what works best for you and ignore the rest.

11. Nothing Grosses You Out Anymore: Disgusting messes are in your future. Take heart in the knowledge that within a couple weeks, you’ll be able to handle absolutely anything.

12. Your Home Now Really Feels Like “Home”: Even something as mundane as drinking water becomes a special event when you are teaching your child how to do it.

13. Your World Will Seem Brand New Again: Fireworks! Parades! Festivals! Beaches! The Ocean! Seeing everything for the first time again through your child’s eyes will leave you breathless.

14. More Messes: Messes are going to happen all the time. All the time. So expect there will be many messes. All the time.

15. Commercials Make You Cry: Becoming a parent puts you deeply in touch with an empathy you may not have realized you had before. Everything now affects you. Deeply.

16. You Appreciate Gifts So Much More: You’re now used to putting the needs and desires of others ahead of yourself, so when you get a gift or card, they mean much more.

17. Alcohol Tolerance? What Alcohol Tolerance?: By the time you go out drinking again, your tolerance will be way down. As in completely gone. No, it won’t matter how much you partied in your previous life. This will lead to the…

18. Worst. Hangovers. EVER: Everything hurts and you feel sick and you want to die. And the baby is crying. And you only drank one beer.

19. Naps Are Wonderful: Okay, seriously though. Why was I fighting it all these years?

20. Fashion Loses Some Importance: As the great philosopher Jennifer Lawrence once said: “If I don’t have to do anything all day, I might not even put my pants on.” This will apply to new dads, even while dealing with a full day of responsibilities. But please do put something on before you go outside.

21. Expect Even More Messes: Have we mentioned this yet?

22. The News Makes You Cringe: War. Natural disaster. President Trump. It’s all bad. But it’s the local stories that will really horrify you, especially if it involves child endangerment. Expect human interest stories that will stab you through the heart.

23. You’re Going To Be Sick. A Lot: Think of your kid as a petri dish. They’re going to catch every bug out there, especially once they start going to daycare or pre-school. Don’t worry, they’ll shake it off after a day or two, but you’re going to get your ass kicked. Badly. Take some preventative measures to lower your risk. And for God’s sake, get your kids vaccinated!

24. Your Courage Will Grow: You may think you are non-confrontational. Not anymore. If your child even seems to be in the slightest bit of danger you will face down and beat the combined armies of the world. Your protective instincts will not only serve your child, they’ll boost you as well.

25. …Almost As Big As Your Heart Will: What unexpected things will happen while you’re expecting? The most valuable experience of your life. While you were single, you may have only grown as a person by inches every year. Once your child arrives, you will grow by miles as a person every day. What can you expect when you’re expecting? Love. Yes, expect your life will change. Because you’re no longer at the center of it. Your life is no longer just your own. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Chad R. MacDonald once stopped a crime in a superhero suit, but he’ll only tell that story in person. His other stories can be found on SpoiledNYC.com, QuietMike.org, BleedingYankeeBlue.com, and many other awesome sites.

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What To Expect From A Lactation Consultant

What To Expect From A Lactation Consultant

By Tamara Hawkins

Breastfeeding can be a wondrous and easy experience for many families, while others need expert support to get it quite right. The early days after a mother gives birth are a critical time in establishing a comfortable breastfeeding experience for both parent and baby. That’s where IBCLCs come in. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a clinical lactation specialist often playing detective to solve cases of low milk supply, painful breastfeeding, and low weight gain in infants.

There is an alphabet soup of initials of those who offer breastfeeding help. There are La Leche League Leaders (LLL), Peer Breastfeeding Counselors, breastfeeding educators (CBE), and lactation counselors (CLC). All of these professions are dedicated to support breastfeeding families; however, they have far less training than an IBCLC.

IBCLCs are clinical lactation professionals who, among other standards, have completed 90 hours of lactation-specific education, college level health science courses, 300-1,000 supervised clinical practice hours, and passed a certification exam administered by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

Should you need to hire an IBCLC, here is what you can expect during a consultation:

1. An IBCLC’s first role is to listen to you. He or she will ask a bunch of questions related to your medical, pregnancy, and birth history. They will observe a full breastfeeding session and piece together clues helping you solve breastfeeding issues to reach your short and long term goals.

2. During the visit, the lactation consultant will perform a thorough exam of your breasts, the baby’s mouth, the baby’s behavior while breastfeeding, body strength, and structure.

3. When necessary, the IBCLC will reach out to your medical team to collaborate on a plan to improve your breastfeeding and be your advocate.

4. Your IBCLC should give you a care plan that meets your needs at the moment. The priority is to get adequate milk to the baby, building your milk supply, and then ensure that the baby is feeding perfectly at the breast. It’s important to understand that it can take several visits before a breastfeeding concern is completely resolved. Follow-up is essential to your success.

5. Don’t be upset if your IBCLC does not accept insurance and you have to pay out of pocket. Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) states that lactation support is to be covered, most insurance companies are not inviting IBCLCs to become in-network providers and are assuming the pediatrician, obstetrician, or midwife will provide separate lactation care. Some insurance companies will offer a special out of network coverage contract good for 1-3 visits. This care plan may be referred as an “infer out.”

6. If you are not able to get your insurance company to pay your IBCLC directly, expect the IBCLC to give you a “superbill.” This a medical receipt that has the diagnosis and procedure codes for your visit. The insurance company will use this to consider reimbursement to you for your payment. You cannot request reimbursement without this form. Confirm this document will be given to you at the time of your appointment.

7. The National Women’s Law Center has an excellent handout titled “Understanding Your Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act” to help you understand your breastfeeding benefits. Use this when you need help negotiating reimbursement or direct payment with your insurance company.

There are also a few steps to consider before the baby is born to be well prepared for the realities of breastfeeding:

8. Take a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy. Most classes discuss latching the baby to your breast, making enough milk, and care for your breasts.

9. Order your breast pump from your insurance company during your third trimester so you have it before the birth of the baby. Breast pumps are covered by the ACA. Should your baby need extra milk in addition to breastfeeding because of a medical concern, you can feed your baby expressed breastmilk instead of formula.

10. Find a breastfeeding support group near you and attend at least one meeting during your pregnancy. This allows you to meet the host and other mothers in the group, and to see normal breastfeeding.

If you still struggle once your baby arrives, the early intervention of an IBCLC insures that most breastfeeding issues are solved within a few days!

Tamara Hawkins is the founder of Stork & Cradle (storkandcradle.com), a local prenatal education group specializing in childbirth classes and lactation consultation, and is currently the president of the New York Lactation Consultant Association (NYLCA), which has directory of local breastfeeding consultants and support classes. Learn more at nylca.org.

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Lucie’s List Puts Parents In-The-Know

Lucie’s List Puts Parents In-The-Know

LuciesList-wordstamp-289x300Lucie’s List is a popular online publication that rates and reviews kids’ products and offers advice relating to parenting topics. The company features “Crib Notes” weekly emails relating to pregnancy and postpartum concerns.

Lucie’s List is a Parenting, Programming & Media Partner of the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, taking place on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

To learn more about Lucie’s List, we spoke with Meg Collins, the company’s founder.

For someone unfamiliar with Lucie’s List, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Lucie’s List is a Consumer Reports for juvenile products and a survival guide for new parents. We cover gear, offer advice and write about topics that matter to new parents. Our website gets roughly 400k UVMs and our newsletter has 350k active, engaged subscribers.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

We started in 2010 just covering basic newborn essentials. Since then, we’ve grown to include gear guides for infancy, toddlerhood and beyond.

What are the most popular and/or newest services from Lucie’s List?

The weekly pregnancy and postpartum emails “Crib Notes” is our most popular offering, with frank and practical tell-it-like-it-is advice and discussion. Our newest service is our multiples-specific newsletter, “Crib Notes – Multiples,” which is the first of its kind in the industry.

What sets Lucie’s List apart from other maternity and baby websites?

We don’t advertise, do sponsorships or accept any compensation for favorable reviews. Our readers have grown to trust our honest, straightforward and unbiased reviews.

 

To learn more about Lucie’s List, check out lucieslist.com.

The Bump Empowers Moms And Dads With Trusted Parenting Information Via Mobile App

The Bump Empowers Moms And Dads With Trusted Parenting Information Via Mobile App

TB_Home-1-147x300Parents want fast information they can trust online. Yet in the sea of countless websites that serve up false claims and assumptions, you must make sure that the website you get your information from is trustworthy and reliable. The Bump has been providing valuable, fact-based information, parenting tools and a vibrant online community for close to ten years. In addition, their mobile app is widely popular among millennial moms.

The Bump is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Chicago Baby Show. On August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families will come to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

We spoke with Julia Wang, Head of Digital Content at The Bump to learn more.

For someone unfamiliar with The Bump, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

The Bump is the fastest-growing pregnancy and parenting resource for millennial moms. We empower the millennial mom to make informed decisions, affirm her maternal instincts and help her be her best self for her family. We provide a mobile-first experience, real-time expert advice, diverse lifestyle content and time-saving tools.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

The Bump was launched in 2008 as a resource to navigate pregnancy and parenting for women wherever they are in their journey. As we approach our 10-year anniversary, we remain committed to empowering moms (and dads) with relevant and trusted information, tools and a welcoming space to connect with one another—always in a voice that’s real, engaging, smart and judgment-free.

Today we’re doing that in a way that truly meets our busy, mobile-first users. Through The Bump mobile app, we’re on her smartphone right at her fingertips, serving just the right content timed to her parenting journey.

What are the most popular and/or newest programs from The Bump?

• We are the OG of the cute How Big Is Baby fruit, providing weekly delight for expectant parents.
• Our users can’t get enough of Inside the Bump, an exclusive 3D interactive visualization tool of baby’s growth week-by-week that let’s her learn about baby and the changes inside her body.
• Planner+ is a new feature we launched in March that empowers every expecting mom with important information about her upcoming prenatal doctor’s visits, as well as provide suggested questions to ask her doctor, so women can get the most out of each visit.
Real Answers is our Q&A platform that lets parents ask questions and get quick answers from The Bump team of vetted experts, other moms and The Bump editors.

What sets The Bump apart from other parenting/baby websites?

We tailor our advice, content and tools to meet our users, delivering timely content personalized to their pregnancy or parenting journey. And we always do it with the mission to empower her so she can ultimately make decisions she feels good about and to give her the space to celebrate this incredible life-changing moment.

To learn more about The Bump, check out thebump.com.

Pregnancy & Newborn Helps Parents Through First Full Year

Pregnancy & Newborn Helps Parents Through First Full Year

April-Cover--219x300Much of parenting might be considered trial by fire, and at no other time will you learn more about pregnancy and babies than in the first two years. Pregnancy & Newborn recognizes this dire need for information, which is why they dedicate their magazine to a very core group. They deliver baby news and knowledge for moms and dads from conception up until baby turns one-year-old.

Pregnancy & Newborn will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

We spoke with a member of the Pregnancy & Newborn team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with Pregnancy & Newborn, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Pregnancy & Newborn has everything a mom-to-be needs to know from the time of her positive pregnancy test to the pinnacle of her last labor pain—but we don’t stop there! New parents can count on us for tried-and-true tips and expert advice on parenting topics that range from surviving the first six weeks to celebrating the first steps.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine was introduced in August 2006 in response to market demand for a magazine that comprehensively covered the life-changing experiences that take place in the 21 months from conception to baby’s first birthday. In addition to our monthly issues, we put out a Registry Guide each spring and Buyer’s Guide every fall.

What are the most popular and newest products/services from Pregnancy & Newborn

Whether paging through the latest issue in the waiting room before a prenatal appointment or enjoying their monthly subscription at home during naptime, our readers love having a tangible indulgence filled with both eye-catching gear and trustworthy articles. Of course, they love chiming in with their own anecdotes and advice as well, whether by sharing their birth stories or nursery tours or joining our ever-growing Instagram and Facebook communities.

What sets Pregnancy & Newborn apart in the magazine world?

It’s the only monthly magazine that guides readers from conception through baby’s first year.

What can parents expect from Pregnancy & Newborn at the Chicago Baby Show?

We will be distributing issues for free in gift bags to attendees (while supplies last)!

To learn more about Pregnancy & Newborn, check out pnmag.com.

City Dads Group Supports Dads On Their Fatherhood Journey

City Dads Group Supports Dads On Their Fatherhood Journey

RESIZE-CITY-DAD-FullSizeRender-1-copy-300x238Like moms, dads need support too! That’s where City Dads Group comes in. City Dads Group, founded by two at-home dads, is a resource for expectant fathers. More than just an online community, City Dads Group organizes meetups from fun, family outings to dad’s night out events, and a New Dad Boot Camp to prepare dads-to-be and new dads for fatherhood. Redefining what it means to be a modern dad, City Dads Group is a great resource for dads living in a “mom world of parenting.”

City Dads Group will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

We spoke with one of the co-founders of City Dads Group, Matt Schneider, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with City Dads Group, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

City Dads Group is a dynamic and diverse community of fathers dedicated to being active in their children’s lives and, by example, redefining what it means to be a dad in the 21st century. City Dads Group has more than 8,000 members across 26 chapters in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. The largest and most active chapter, with more than 1,600 members, is its flagship organization in New York City. We also run a group blog and host a bi-weekly podcast, The Modern Dads Podcast.

Tell us about City Dads Group. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

Lance Somerfeld and I, friends and former teaching colleagues at a New York City public school, each became at-home dads in 2008 out of a desire to play an active role in the raising of our kids and out of practicality—financial, logistical, and otherwise. However, we often found ourselves as the only fathers at children’s events and playgrounds.

To correct this, in November 2008, we founded the NYC Dads Group.

Initially, composed of a handful of fathers wanting to arrange play dates and outings with their children, it grew to more than 900 dads who bonded over their children and a desire to change the face of modern fatherhood through word, deed, and example. Buoyed by this success, we decided in 2013 to expand the concept throughout the United States by helping start similar groups in other major metropolitan areas under the umbrella name City Dads Group.

What are the most popular and newest services from City Dads Group?

Meetups: City Dads Group brings together a diverse community of fathers, with and without their children, for social interaction and support. Our group frequently schedules: group playdates (in public or private settings); outings to museums, parks, and playgrounds; Dads’ Nights Out (movies, sporting events, bars); educational workshops; and special events (family picnics, trips to ball games, sponsored events).

New Dad Boot Camps: New Dad Boot Camps offer expectant and new dads a frank discussion along with practical advice and hands-on training in essential parenting duties. These include: holding, feeding, changing, bathing, swaddling, and comforting your baby. These NYC-area workshops are facilitated by a nationally certified trainer, a City Dads Group member, who helps connect experienced dads and their babies with new fathers / fathers-to-be to talk about the opportunities and rewards of caring for their children.

What sets City Dads Group apart from similar groups?

City Dads Group is a community of parents who defy the “doofus dad” stereotype. We don’t believe in “woman’s work” or “dad duties” – only “parenting.” We are highly inclusive with dads of all races, ethnicities, religions, and so on.

Unlike many online parenting communities, we are not just virtual. We have a hands-on membership that regularly takes part in group activities—true “boots on the ground”—in most major U.S. metropolitan areas.

What can parents expect from City Dads Group at the Chicago Baby Show?

We will host the Dads Lounge, a place for new and expecting parents to meet “veteran” dads from our group. There will be changing tables and comfy chairs for parents to feed their babies or just to relax. We will also host abbreviated versions of our New Dad Boot Camps on Saturday and Sunday.

To learn more about City Dads Group, check out citydadsgroup.com.

The People Toy Company Blends Curiosity, Intellectual Development and Good Childhood Memories

The People Toy Company Blends Curiosity, Intellectual Development and Good Childhood Memories

PeopleToyCompany-1-300x200Childhood is an unforgettable time and part of the relished memories stem from the toys kids play with, and especially the people they remembering sharing those nostalgic times. The core mission of the People Toy Company is to create moments that focus on the interaction between children and parents while also providing stimulating experiences for the child. They aim to create toys to engage the child while also simplifying parenting.

What’s more, they will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 

We spoke with Rudy Valenta, President of the People Toy Company team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with People Toy Company, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

People Toy Company is different from most of the companies you see on the market today. With a long history in Japan, we focus on the interactions between parent and child. Our mission is to create toys that not only benefit your child, but simplify parenting at the same time. We believe that we have created the ideal set of development toys that not only help to achieve baby milestones, but also to have fun. We currently have 3 series from our Japanese product line called Brain Builders, Mochi, and People Blocks.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

We have a very interesting history. I like to think that we were “Leaning In” before Sheryl Sandberg penned her famous book Lean In. People Co., Ltd. began when a young gentleman started a new children’s toy division within a ball-point pen company. The pen company employed mostly men and our founder selected a few outstanding staff members to help him create what People Co., Ltd. is today. Those employees were young, career-minded women. They were highly motivated to work and wanted to get married, but at the same time, wanted to maintain their job and social status.

In 1985, People Co., Ltd. became independent of its parent company and started growing steadily. The 90s brought about the enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law in Japan and was a period when People truly embraced its independence. Their growth continued with one hit product after another. At that time, the toy industry was made up almost entirely of men, and it was normal practice for men to be designing toys. At the same time, there were a growing number of female university graduates, who were overlooked in favor of men when applying for positions within the toy industry. Women were relegated to reception duties as short-term employees at other corporations due to the fear that they would get married, have children and leave their job. People strived to be different, to be the vanguard and to create an employee-friendly workplace, even after having a child.

People did just that and hired talented women to run their company. People currently has 41 employees, 37 of which are female. There is an established cycle in which female employees become mothers and return to work. We created a welcoming environment to embrace motherhood. This in turn has created a positive cycle in which there is an increasing number of women seeking employment with People as we are known as the female-friendly workplace.

Although the company’s founder was a man, he has since been succeeded by our current female CEO and COO — a rarity in Japan and around the world.

What are the most popular and/or newest products from People Toy Company?

Our Brain Builders series! We created this series based on the accumulations of insights and data from years of research. “A baby who until yesterday was just sleeping, began today to turn its face toward a sound, tried to grasp something nearby, began to suck its thumb…” Our mommy research groups record the slightest changes they notice in their journals as welcoming signs of growth from a mother’s point of view. Using these data points, we have created successful products by combining these observations into products. Our current Brain Builders series concept originated by matching our mother’s observations to developmental milestones and creating a product that helps stimulate that growth.

Our People Blocks series is revamped with a brand-new look for 2017. We supercharged our building blocks with magnets so that your 18-month-old can begin stacking and building to get all the social and developmental benefits of block play from a young age. Not to mention, they are super easy to clean up, travel well and don’t hurt half as much if you accidentally step on them compared to other blocks.

What sets People Toy Company apart from other educational toy companies in the market?

“If the desire for growth rooted in a child’s instinct becomes curiosity and appears in play and actions, let’s discover it in daily life and connect it to ideas for toys and playthings.” This is our unique development philosophy, and is the focal point of our operation. This statement alone sets us apart from other companies. We are here to help educate parents on the importance of play and what can be learned through play every day. Being an ASTRA Certified Play Expert has also helped us improve on our design and strengthen our mission.

Another key differentiator is our business environment. We constantly have expecting and current mothers on staff. This allows us to have new insights to update our products with that you normally wouldn’t have with just research groups and educational studies.

What can parents expect to see from People Toy Company at the Chicago Baby Show?

Parents can expect nothing but the best for their baby in our products. We have thought out in extreme detail all the different cognitive and developmental skills that each of our toys address using our toy development philosophy.

To learn more about People Toy Company, check out peopletoy.co.