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Thursday, April 7, 2016 0 comments

Nicki's News! The new place to get your blog on!

Do you love being in the know on what's hip, new, and on sale at Nicki's Diapers?

Answer: YES!

Do you love hearing about the Nicki's Diapers exclusive prints and upcoming events?

Answer: YES!

Do you love hearing from other moms about their parenting experiences? From cloth diapers, to breastfeeding, to toddler tantrums?

Answer: YES!

Nicki's News is now the place for all of this! Visit Nicki's News at to read blogs on product reviews, upcoming sales, and all of the greatest gear for parents!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 27 comments

A Candy Free Easter Basket!

Our Candy Free Easter Basket- Think Spring!

I have wonderful childhood memories of the Easter bunny, searching for eggs and Easter baskets, and fighting with my brothers over the items they received that I really wanted for myself. (My parents might not have such great fond memories of that part.) Although we always received some chocolates and jelly beans, we also always had some great practical items in our baskets. Items that lasted much longer than the sugar binge we went on.

This is my first Easter with our toddler. Last year I was barely clinging to my sanity with a newborn, I don't remember Easter even occurring. Whether you celebrate Easter in the traditional sense or just want to bring in the spring with a happy celebration, I've come up with a candy free set of items I'm excited to include for our little chick.

1) Green Toys

Have you tried out the Green Toys before? Baby Z received the Green Toys Ferry Boat for a birthday gift and it has immediately become a bath tub favorite. I plan on moving it outside into her water table when things warm up a bit. Green Toys are made from 100% recycled plastic and are so sturdy. I'm excited to snag the construction trucks, dump truck, and tractor to add to her Easter basket so that she can move dirt around the yard soon.

2) Planet Wise Lunch/Snack Bags

Spring time means more time outdoors and more time enjoying picnics at the park. The Planet Wise Sandwich Wraps are going to make an Easter basket appearance this year because they are perfect for the park. Wrap your sandwich in the wrap to keep it fresh and sand free while you play, and then lay the wrap out flat to use it as a place mat while you eat.
The Reusable Zipper Bags are also perfect for small snacks for little hands. We have several bags in cute prints and let Baby Z pick out her bag and her snack for the day. Putting that small amount of choice in her hands has made a big difference and I'm excited to include a few more in her Easter basket this year.

3) Baby Leggings

These are loved by both mom and baby in our house! For mom, they make diaper changes so simple. You don't have to remove them to change the diaper and they keep her warm when there's a cool spring breeze outside. Baby Z loves to pick out a cute pair to match her diapers and prefers them to pants (let's be honest, who really wants to wear pants!). We've also found they are awesome to use under pants if  it's a chilly morning and you take a trip outside. When we wear Baby Z in a carrier her pants ride up, but the leggings underneath keep her lower legs and ankles warm.

4) Nicki's Doll Diapers

With Baby #2 on the way, we spend a lot of time talking about babies and baby care in our house. Baby Z has started dragging her baby doll around by the leg, so it seems like we're off to a good start. The new Nicki's Doll Diapers are the perfect way to continue the baby conversation and help her learn to care for a baby. They match her adorable Nicki's Diapers prints and she loves to look just like her baby.

5) My Swim Baby Swimwear

I'm so excited to get outside more as the weather warms up and Easter just makes me think of spring time and sunshine. Baby Z loves water and instead of just playing in the dog's water bowl, we plan on letting her enjoy her water table, sprinkler, and baby pool this summer. While a naked baby running around the backyard will probably happen on occasion, a My Swim Baby swim diaper is a more neighbor friendly option. Pair the swim diaper with a matching sun hat and rash guard top and Baby Z will be protected from the sun while she runs in the sprinkler. We used a reversible sun hat for every walk last summer as well, both to keep her face protected and keep the sun out of her eyes.

**Giveaway!!** Want to win your own My Swim Baby swimwear for your little one's Easter basket? Leave a comment on what non-candy item you're excited to include in your baby's Easter basket this year or just your favorite item that makes you think spring and you'll be entered to win a My Swim Baby swimwear set. Comment by 3/15/16 to be entered to win.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 1 comments

Best Bottom Bamboo Inserts- Is it Love?

Many people fall into one camp or another when it comes to Best Bottoms. Either they are devoted to their natural fibers or they love the stay dry microfiber inserts for their baby. I have to admit, we are more on the stay-dry side in our house. I love how they quickly wick the moisture away so Baby Z doesn't feel the wetness. My husband has even told me multiple times that she wasn't really wet because he only felt the top of the insert and didn't realize how much wetness had been absorbed.

Hemp has its place in our house as well though. Overnight we use the dream team combo of a hemp overnight on bottom with a stay dry insert on top. Stay dry quickly wicks the moisture away and hemp absorbs an impressive amount, so we have no leaks in the morning. We have our daytime favorites and our overnight dream team, so why would we make any changes? Change is hard, especially when something is working well.

But then Best Bottoms went ahead and released new bamboo inserts. How could we not try them? Maybe they could have their place in our perfect rotation too. Our daughter is generally an average wetter. At around 20 pounds we use large inserts, have her on the middle rise on her Best Bottom covers, and change her around every 2 hours. Except nap time. Nap time has become a fun trial and error game lately. We recently dropped from two naps a day to one and that one nap lasts somewhere between 2-3 magical hours. To be clear, that's 2-3 magical hours in which I'm positive she just continually pees the entire time. She chugs her milk at snack time, settles in for her slumber, and then pees and pees. We've adjusted to using doublers during nap, just to be sure her sheets stay dry. I wondered if the new bamboo Best Bottom inserts could help fill this nap time gap for us.

We snagged a few of the large bamboo inserts when they were released and went about prepping them to try them out. The first thing you'll notice about the bamboo inserts is that they are so buttery soft that our daughter likes to snuggle them out of the dryer. Many washes and uses later and the softness hasn't changed a bit. In addition to being snuggly soft, they are so extremely trim. It's hard to get much trimmer on Best Bottoms, but the bamboo is so trim it made me second guess whether they could really hold that much during nap time. We pulled out her skinny jeans that we never use, slipped them over her Best Bottom cover with a bamboo insert, and smiled at her adorable fluff butt.

Like hemp, bamboo is a natural fiber, which means they need to be prepped by washing them 4-5 times before use in order to reach maximum absorbency. This means 4-5 times through the full wash cycle (with detergent) and dried, but the good news is that you can wash them with anything, not just diapers. I was impatient, so after 4 laundry loads of diapers and clothes on wash day, I called it good and ready to try.

Here's a comparison between the three insert types. Stay-dry on the left, hemp in the middle, and bamboo on the right. Hemp naturally shrinks some during the prepping process, while stay-dry and bamboo do not.

Along with being soft and trim, the bamboo inserts are extremely moldable. They sink snugly into place in the cover, and fit perfectly, even though we use the middle row of rise snaps. The first few uses we tried them out during her normal change schedule and changed her every 2-3 hours. She's a crazy wild child and basically runs after the dog for two hours straight and we had no issues with bunching or leaking, and they absorbed wonderfully.

Once we'd used them a few times during everyday use, we got real crazy and decided to try them during nap time. We wanted to know their true potential, so we didn't even use a doubler, just one large bamboo insert for her pee filled nap. As usual, she chugged six ounces of milk during her snack, we changed her right before we put her down, and then crossed our fingers and settled in for the test. Two hours and fifteen minutes later Baby Z was well rested and ready to chase the dog some more, and jumping on her DRY SHEETS! Dry I say! No doubler, no wool, just a single buttery soft bamboo insert that was so impressively full of liquid that it was heavy. My skeptical husband was sure it was a one off fluke, but we've tried this option for a full week now and had success every time. (Minus the one day grandma had a chunk of the insert sticking out the top of the cover, but you can't blame the bamboo for that!)

The only drawback we've been able to find compared to our stay-dry inserts is that, like hemp, the bamboo inserts take two full dryer cycles to completely dry, rather than the one for stay-dry. Let's be fair, with how much they absorb, that's probably reasonable. However, the extra dry time is worth the soft absorbency that has been added to our Best Bottom dream team of inserts.

Have you tried the new Best Bottom bamboo inserts yet? Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 0 comments

Babywearing Basics

Babywearing- Where to Start?

Have you been considering wearing your baby, but aren't sure where to start? What carrier is the best, how do they work, what's the benefit? Let's try to break down the basics for you so that you have a starting point in picking out your new lifesaver.

We started wearing Baby Z when she was a tiny newborn. Being close to mom or dad kept her calm, the movement soothed her, and we were still able to get things done because our hands were free. Over a year later and we haven't stopped wearing her! Now with Baby #2 on the way, keeping our hands free will be even more important so that we can help meet the needs of both children.

Science has proven that babies thrive with lots of touch, and babywearing is one way to accomplish that. Some studies have even shown that worn babies cry less. Combine that with the comfort and convenience the caregiver gets from babywearing and its definitely worth a try.

The main three types of baby carriers are wraps, soft structured carriers and ring slings. While there are other types, we'll focus on those three. In our house, we actually have one of each since they meet different needs and we've changed our preference as our daughter has grown.

Wraps are long strips of fabric that are tied around the wearer's body, creating a secure pocket for baby. Wraps are especially helpful for newborns and the first few months with baby and most brands are able to be used from around 7-35+ pounds. They can be used for front, back, and hip carry and distribute the weight across two shoulders to keep you comfortable. Newborns fit well in these because they are so versatile and support their head and neck well, especially while sleeping.

Boba Baby Wrap Carrier                                           Baby K'tan Baby Carrier

The only drawback to wraps is that you have to figure out how to wrap them! This can be overwhelming the first few times and is definitely an art, however, each wrap comes with detailed directions and there are plenty of online videos to guide you. Many people prefer to practice with a doll the first few times to get the hang of it, however, once you've got the process down, its simple to repeat and you always get a great fit adjusted to you. Check out all of the different brands of wraps here.

Soft structured carriers are hard not to fall in love with. They are structured fabric with padded and adjustable shoulder and waist straps which clip, snap, or buckle in place. One of the main benefits is that are they easily adjustable and simple to put on and take off. This means that they can be adjusted to fit all sizes of parents and easily shared between caregivers. Soft structured carriers also put the baby's weight predominantly on your hips rather than your shoulders, so you can carry your tired toddler with no problem!

                                              LILLEbaby Carrier Positons

While soft structured carriers can support babies from 7-40 pounds, depending on the brand, many of them cannot be used for infants that are not able to hold their head up on their own without an additional insert. This makes them most useful for babies around 4+ months. Soft structured carriers can be used in front, back and hip carry positions and you'll find yourself changing your favorite position as your baby grows. Check out all of the great options for wearing your baby with a Lillebaby carrier here! Younger babies benefit from the support of being worn on the front face in. When your baby begins to watch the world a bit more, keeping them worn on the front, but face out, is another option. The back carry is generally recommended for children over 12 months and is often more comfortable as they get heavier. Soft structured carriers are comfortable enough for both the baby and the wearer that they can be worn for long periods of time, keeping everyone happy. Visit Nicki's Diapers to see some of our favorite soft structured carrier options!

A ring sling is a length of cloth that is wrapped from the wearer's shoulder to the opposite hip, back to shoulder, and secured with two rings. They are so easy to adjust and quickly slide a child in and out of. Ring slings may have shoulder padding and can be used for either front or hip carry. You can use a ring sling with children 7-35 pounds, adjusting the carry as they grow and gain more control of their neck. 

Tula Ring Slings                              Beco Ring Sling

While ring slings are one of the easiest carriers to use, they also put all of the weight on one shoulder and are often preferred for use during short time periods. When your toddler gets cranky and demands to be held while you attempt to make dinner, ring slings make it easy to slide them in quickly, keep your hands free, and let them take in all the action from a comfortable hip carry position. View all of our ring sling options here to pick out your favorite brand and print!

As you can see, there is no winner takes all when it comes to types of baby carriers. They are so versatile and each type has its benefits for certain stages of babywearing. To learn more about the benefits of babywearing, visit Babywearing International, a non-profit whose mission is to promote babywearing as a universally accepted practice. You may even be able to find a chapter located near you where you can try out several different types of baby carriers to see which you prefer before purchasing one. 

Any other babywearing moms out there that have good tips to add or comments on which type is your favorite? Leave a comment below to let us know about it!

Friday, February 12, 2016 0 comments

Planet Wise and Best Bottom Limited Edition "Night Flight" Taking Off Soon!

 Have you seen the new Planet Wise and Best Bottom collaboration, Night Flight?

The adorable bright colors set against a starry sky will be available in Planet Wise wet bags, snack bags, and a Best Bottom cotton diaper. This limited edition collaboration will be flying in on Tuesday, February 16th at 10 am CST to Nicki's Diapers and will also be available at many of your other favorite Planet Wise retailers. Get yours before they fly away!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 2 comments

Ways to Beat the Winter Blues with Your Toddler

For those of you that have chosen to live somewhere other than the frozen tundra, I salute you. Remind me to ask my husband later if there are any transfer options to tropical locations. While I do love my beautiful state of Wisconsin, and I find all seasons here to be magical in their own way, I may have reached my freezing cold limit.

It's cold here. Like, the dog doesn't even want to go outside anymore cold. In my younger years that would have meant cranking up the fire place and snuggling under a blanket after work. That doesn't quite work anymore since we're still working on teaching the toddler that a fire is hot. And that sitting under a blanket part, well, that would require sitting, something my toddler is not fond of.

I've taken the batteries out of Elmo since I couldn't handle him creepily giggling at me from the corner all day and Baby Z and I have made every fake recipe with her fake food in her fake kitchen that I can muster. I've had to branch out the past few weeks and find activities, both inside and outside the house, to keep everyone sane. I like to look for activities that either use supplies I already have around my house or are free/low cost winter distractions within the community. Here are a few of my favorites that we've been enjoying lately:

Indoor Obstacle Course: My toddler loves to climb and crawl under things. This includes crawling under the kitchen table and climbing the couch to hang out with the dog. One day after telling her not to do this for the hundredth time, I decided to capitalize on it instead. We made an obstacle course that covered all baby safe rooms on our first floor. It included climbing over things, crawling under them, kicking a ball, pushing obstacles, and a whole lot of giggling. The best part though, it also included bubble wrap to crawl on under one of  the tables. The building of the obstacle course itself was fun because the older kids were able to help with ideas and everyone had fun trying it out many times throughout the day. It was definitely a hit and was repeated again and again for Dad when he came home as well.

Open Swim: While I'm not ready to jump into swim lessons quite yet, the act of swimming at least reminds me that there are warmer places with water and that summer will come to Wisconsin again soon. After some internet research I found that there is a huge variety of open swim options during the day in our area. The local swim school has a warm pool with an inexpensive open swim option for little ones during the day and many of the local high schools have open swim options in the evening and on the weekends. Although this activity isn't free, its fairly low cost and really tires the littles out.

 Tot School: This one has been a true lifesaver on days we're stuck indoors. There are a huge number of websites dedicated to this concept of helping your child learn through play at home. Pinterest is a great start to find ideas and the ideas are truly endless from printables to activities like sensory bins. This week we've used one site's idea to focus on feelings and the color red in honor of Valentine's Day. I used everything I could find in the house (toddler safe of course) that was a variation of red and pink in our sensory bin This included plastic play food, hair bows, Little People, tissue paper, blocks, balls, and other random household items. While many of the activities I've found have been a little above where Baby Z is at, I can always find a way to modify them to her level. If you're lucky enough to still have a napping toddler, use nap time to quickly prepare an activity to keep you busy through the afternoon.

Edible Playdough: The problem with art time in our house is that Baby Z still thinks that most items should probably end up in her mouth at some point. This includes crayons, glue, and tissue paper which are not items I normally include in her daily nutrition. Rather than fight it, I cooked up some simple edible play dough and let her have at it. I still don't encourage eating it, but don't have to stress if she does. Making your own play dough is incredibly easy and inexpensive. A quick search will find you simple recipes like this one on Allrecipes, but there are so many fun variations including ones made with items like cream cheese or peanut butter.

Family Yoga: I'd love to belong to a beautiful workout facility with childcare, but it just isn't in the cards for us right now. However, staying fit and active is important for me to model to the kids, so we don't let the winter weather stop us. Family yoga is a perfect way to help a child learn to focus, move their body, and follow directions. Even if you have a much younger child, you can incorporate your baby into many of the yoga moves. YouTube is my favorite free site for family yoga fun. Just search for options like "toddler yoga" or "mother baby yoga" and you'll find tons of fun, free, and easy options to try with the kids.

Open Gym: Like open swim, this one gets us out of the house and is also low cost or free. Using my internet sleuthing skills again, I found that our local community center offers a free open gym during the week. There are no organized activities, but there are lots of things to play with and new kids and adults to interact with. We just stop in, burn some energy, then bundle back up in our coats to head home. Similarly, our local gymnastics club also offers an open gym time during the day. While it does cost a small amount, they have a special time just for the youngest kids, which keeps Baby Z from getting trampled and lets her climb to her heart's content in a safe environment.

While I'm the first to admit that I've let the kids play in the dog's water bowl because it was close enough to a water table or taken a trip to Target just as a reason to get out of those house, I'm determine to not let the winter cold win. We're still staying active, engaged, and learning while stuck indoors even if it means a little extra effort on my part and a messier house.

Help a mamma out, what are your other free or low cost activities that you love to do in your home or around your community to keep you busy when the outdoors aren't an option? Share in the comments to help us keep things fun in our home!