How a Diaper Bank Works

How a Diaper Bank Works

I’m trying to teach my girls to be three things: strong, smart and kind. I want them to be good global citizens and take action when they see people in need. This means we read about current events and we support those in need. For our family, supporting diaper banks and family-focused charities is a part of our DNA. We know we are blessed and we feel the responsibility to give back. That’s why my girls know how a diaper bank works and why I’m passionate about sharing Huggies partnership with the National Diaper Bank Network.

Several times a year my family and my company head to diaper banks to sort and distribute donations. When disaster strikes, like it did in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico we also give quite intentionally to the National Diaper Bank Network – knowing that disaster relief isn’t just about shelter and fresh water, it’s also about getting families back to normal.

Sometimes it takes a disaster to recognize need, but for those who work on the front lines of social services, they know diaper need doesn’t just coincide with a hurricane. For many parents, diaper need is a daily struggle.

How a Diaper Bank Works

Momtrends Visits Hopeline

This month I took a behind the scenes look at a NYC Diaper Bank. I took the 5 train from Brooklyn to the Bronx to visit the Hopeline.

Hopeline is a small organization making a big impact in the lives of many New Yorkers. I met the staff that works tirelessly to make a difference in the community and I saw the happy babies and grateful parents that use the services they offer.

Diaper need is an issue across the U.S. When a family is on assistance, every diaper counts. Can you imagine having to ration your diapers because you can’t afford fresh ones?

According to the new study, Diaper Need and Its Impact on U.S. Families, by the National Diaper Bank Network and founding sponsor, Huggies, 1 in 3 U.S. families report suffering from diaper need. On average, diapers cost $18 a week; babies need 6-10 diapers per day. Through the No Baby Unhugged program, diaper donations give clean diapers to babies in need. Since the program’s beginning, Huggies has donated over 200 million diapers and wipes, and countless lives have been touched.

One of the programs Huggies supports through the National Diaper Bank Network is the Hopeline. The Hopeline team has set up a system to provide diapers and formula for hundreds of Bronx families. A new mom or dad can walk in and set up an appointment. After a brief interview, the benefits are set up based on individual need.

Each family is assigned a ticket with the correct size. Diaper Bank in BronxThen the families are supplied enough diapers and wipes to get through the month. We watched a volunteer lovingly prepare diaper and wipe bundles to be picked up. And we met Dorothy, the part-time bookkeeper and full-time volunteer. When product donations run short, Dorothy clips coupons and drives to BJ’s to pick up the supplies they need.

Hopeline Diaper Bank

The Greatest Needs of Diaper Banks

When I asked Maria Cintron, Hopeline’s Director, about her greatest need, she said she wished more schools and churches would run diaper drives. Unbeknownst to me, one of our local Brooklyn churches, Grace Church holds an annual drive. It would be easy for more schools and churches and apartment buildings in NYC to do the same.

After drives, Maria needs money to cover her operating expenses. With an annual budget of $400,000 she’s able to provide assistance to more than 300 families each month – and that’s just through the diaper program. In addition, Hopeline was able to secure over $100,000 in benefits for NYC families in 2016. Hopeline also runs a food pantry and educational classes. Right now Maria relies on a handful of part-time employees and volunteers to help run the center. It truly is running on love.

How You Can Get Involved and Help

Don’t think your need to be a millionaire or run a non-profit to give back. Every bit helps. At Momtrends, we matched donations to the Texas Diaper Bank when Hurricane Harvey hit. When natural disasters occur, aid rarely comes in the form of diapers. Diaper banks are connected to the community and can quickly and efficiently distribute aid. Thanks to donations from employees and friends plus the company match, we were able to donate more than $1000 to help needy families.

Give time, give money, give points. Just give.

  • Locate your local diaper bank and drop off donations. You can find the diaper bank nearest to you by visiting nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org.
  • Organize a Diaper Drive in your community
  • Donate money or time to help run a diaper bank.
  • Skip the baby shower and have gifts donated to a diaper bank instead (take my word for it, you really don’t need all those onesies!)
  • Donate your Huggies Reward Points

Perhaps the easiest of these is donating your Huggies Reward Points. We can all chip in to help fight diaper need. The Huggies No Baby Unhugged program helps ensure all babies get the hugs they need to thrive by working with the National Diaper Bank Network to donate diapers across the country. Learn how you can help at Huggies.com/NoBabyUnhugged

Please share other ideas on how we can support our communities!

This is a sponsored post. As a member of the Huggies Parents Council my job is to share stories and information that I think you’ll find inspiring and informative. All opinions are my own.

Huggies, the fastest growing diaper brand in U.S. hospitals, believes deeply in the Power of Hugs, which is why every diaper and wipe is inspired by a parent’s embrace. The Huggies No Baby Unhugged program helps ensure all babies get the hugs they need to thrive by supporting hugging programs in hospitals and donating diapers across the country. Learn how you can help at Huggies.com/NoBabyUnhugged. #HuggiesCouncil #ad

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A Mom’s Gratitude for NICU Nurses

A Mom's Gratitude for NICU Nurses

Every mom has a birth story. Often they are funny or silly – each of my girls certainly love to hear the tale of the day she was born. But for many moms, the birth story involves being scared and in pain and disoriented. When your baby is born early and taken to the NICU, there’s nothing to laugh about. These moms need a lifeline, and they get it from the amazing nurses that work in the NICU.

Our Marketing Manager, and one of my best friends, Brooke Stewart, delivered seven weeks early. She went from a photo shoot with a rap artist to the NICU in a flash. Her positive experience during this time was mostly due to the TLC from her NICU nurses, especially her nurse Mela. Brooke generously shared her experience with me.

I’m thrilled to be partnering with Huggies again on spreading the word about their No Baby Unhugged program. We are excited to be doing so because in part, we want other moms with children in the NICU to know they aren’t alone (spoiler alert: Brooke’s son grew up to be strong and smart and at 12 will soon be taller than his mom!). We are also telling this story to work with Huggies to say THANK YOU and give a virtual “hug” to all the NICU nurses that work tirelessly to save babies each and every day.

No Baby Unhugged is Huggies vision to ensure all babies get the hugs they need. As part of this program, Huggies is awarding $10,000 grants to 25 eligible hospitals throughout 2017 to enable them to launch a new volunteer hugging program or expand support for an existing program.

Sending out Hugs with Huggies

Let’s shine a light on the unsung heroes of hospitals. The nurses are the ones getting the most skin to skin contact with babies. According to a recent Huggies study titled “The Power of Human Touch for Babies“ skin-to-skin hugs can do more than calm a cry or soothe stress. Hugs can help keep a baby’s heart beating at a normal rate, improve sleep and support healthy weight gain.

For decades, Huggies has believed in the power of hugs to help babies thrive. They’re inspired by the amazing benefits hugs have on babies – it’s why every diaper they make is inspired by parents’ hugs.

Let’s hear it from mom to mom, about the importance of hugs and great nurses in the NICU.

A Mom’s Gratitude for NICU Nurses

Gratitude for NICU Nurses

What was your interaction with the NICU nurses?

It was a chaotic time, but what stands out to me is everyone I came into contact with had such a calming way about them. They talked quietly, they were comforting, not just to the babies – which is obviously so important, but also to the moms and dads struggling with having a baby in the NICU. Despite all the noise of the machines, they managed to create a special, welcoming place for babies and their caregivers.

Premature babies need extra special care and attention that can only be provided by a special group of people: How did the NICU nurses help Henry?

Henry was born seven weeks early. While he weighed a good amount at birth, he presented other issues such as the inability to control his temperature (his was 93.5), severe jaundice and hydrocephalus (water on the brain). The nurses fed him (he was unable to breastfeed until much later), monitored his breathing and temperature around the clock and kept him under warm lights. But, beyond all the important medical interventions, they provided the hugs, care and love that his dad and I couldn’t in those early days.

What would you tell another parent with a baby in the NICU?

One of the strangest feelings is leaving your baby in the hospital after you deliver. Having a baby is emotional enough – but having one in the NICU adds a whole other layer that they don’t prepare you for in any book or class. The best advice I got was to take care of yourself.

You might feel that you need to be there 24/7 for your baby and do everything for them, but taking care of yourself is so important. You just gave birth and need that time to heal too. I remember coming in one day so upset. My body had shut down and I wasn’t able to produce milk. My NICU nurse told me to go home and rest. She told me my breastmilk was liquid gold and I needed to work on producing gold. I couldn’t be there for Henry if I wasn’t well myself. And she was right.

Each day after that, my milk supply increased and I was able to pump enough to provide to the nurses. I gained back strength and was able to focus on what needed to be done for Henry. Turns out our moms were right when they told us everything looks a lot better after a good night’s sleep.

Henry playing soccer

What would you like to say to the NICU nurse who spent so much time with Henry?

Henry turns 13 this December, but his birth seems like yesterday. I can still close my eyes and remember the room, but most importantly I remember Mela our NICU nurse.

Mela, you were a gift to me and my family during a really tough time. Thank you for your warm spirit that filled me in those dark days. I remember you telling me that Henry just needs time at the beach and to visualize him there – not in the incubator, but in the sun with some cocktails (i.e formula).

Thank you for going over and beyond to be there for Henry. Every time I came in, you were holding him, hugging him, singing to him. You would tell me that he was going to do amazing things and you couldn’t wait to see him again as an older boy. Mela, you were right. He is doing amazing things. Thank you for being his first caregiver when I couldn’t be. Thank you for believing in him. Thank you for showering him with love and hugs. Thank you for being there for me anytime and answering all of my crazy questions. You ARE pure gold.

Henry playing sports

How you can send hugs

We are so happy the NICU nurses and volunteers were there to help Brooke and her family. Her son Henry is now almost 13 years old. He’s bright, handsome and a star on the soccer field. He’s come an incredibly long way since being a tiny peanut in an incubator. And we want to give the gift of support to more parents by ensuring NICU nurses and volunteers have the resources they need.

For every mom who’s had a premature baby or BFF who’s been there to support her, there’s an easy way to help. You can help give more hugs when you become a Huggies member. Sign up at Huggies.com/NoBabyUnhugged and Huggies will donate $5 to No Baby Unhugged grants.

A MOM’S GRATITUDE FOR NICU NURSES

Huggies, the fastest growing diaper brand in U.S. hospitals, believes deeply in the Power of Hugs, which is why every diaper and wipe is inspired by a parent’s embrace. The Huggies No Baby Unhugged program helps ensure all babies get the hugs they need to thrive by supporting hugging programs in hospitals and donating diapers across the country. Learn how you can help at Huggies.com/NoBabyUnhugged. #HuggiesCouncil #ad

This is just one story of a mom’s gratitude for NICU nurses, please share your own!

This is a sponsored post. As a member of the Huggies Parents Council my job is to share stories and information that I think you’ll find inspiring and informative. All opinions are my own.

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Potty Talk With Busy Philipps

Working moms, stay at home moms, celebrity moms… at the core, we’re all the same. We want what’s best for our kids, and we strive to raise healthy, happy, productive little people, who can–you know–go on the potty at will! Indeed, toilet training young tykes is just one rite of parenting passage that ALL moms can agree is challenging. Actress, mother of two, and Pull Ups ambassador Busy Philipps discovered that not all potty-trainees are created equal. In other words, her first daughter was a breeze, and her second–well, not so much.

As for me… My first kiddo gave me a hard time, and my second, well, she’s currently giving me an even harder one! Luckily, I’m  able to banter about my potty-training woes with other moms, swap tips, and share giggle. Busy even dropped by our house to commiserate and chat with us (and by “us” I mean me and my stubborn two year old!) about potty training and #momlife. She has teamed up with Pull Ups to share simple ways to make potty training more fun, less work… and to give moms like me a knowing smile and pat on the back.

Can you share the highs and lows of your potty-training experience?

My older daughter was so easy—she wore Pull Ups, and I don’t even think we finished a full package. She was so ready to do it, and early—she was about two and half. I felt very smug about things, and then my second came along.!

My little one Cricket was not having it. There was a lot of discussion about it. We tried all kinds of things. We even found out she doesn’t like chocolate—because she didn’t want M&Ms. So then we went to jelly beans, we did stickers, we made a chart.

I had a really pretty, streamlined not-ugly potty, and she hated it. So we took her to the toy store and she picked out the giant Elmo potty where it flushes and he cheers for you, and that worked a little bit. But she still had a hard time with pooping. And she’d wait until nighttime, put on her Pull Up, and then call me into the room.

Right when she was first potty trained around two and a half, she did her school play and actually had an accident on the stage. She was totally unfazed by it and the other kids didn’t care either. I was so mortified for her, but she didn’t care at all!

She doesn’t remember it, so, thankfully, I won’t remind her. Hopefully she doesn’t read your blog!

So you said you started the potty-training process with M&Ms—so I see you’re not above bribery (neither are we!). What’s your favorite way to bribe your kids?

I mean, shows are my favorite. I use television as a bribe. I use television for everything. Screen time is my friend. I try not to be judgmental, and if people feel really strongly about limiting screen time and not letting their kids watch things that’s fine. But, for me, I grew up watching hours and hour hours of television and, look, I work in TV now. We don’t really limit hours of screen time, but I use it as a reward, or if I need a break. Or if I need to make breakfast, a show goes on.

If you had to narrow your parenting style down to catch phrase, it would be:

Whatever works. I’m not above any of it.

Do you tell white lies to your kids? What do you fib about?

I don’t really do it so much. But I do sometimes say, “I don’t know,” when I really do know—like, “I don’t know the answer to that. We should look into that…. Later. Remind me.”

What are three mom-arsenal items you always have in your bag?

My girls are very into drawing—so I always have one of those pads that you can write on, it’s almost electronic and then you press a button and it all disappears. I always keep one of those in my purse. And then my phone has a lot of apps on it in a pinch. And a snack. My older daughter would do anything for one of those fruit leathers. She’s obsessed with them. And the baby—well, she’s not a baby, I have to stop calling her that—she’s funny, she loves Madeline cookies. She’s very refined in her taste.

What are your favorite things to do as a family in the summer?

We go to the beach. We like to vacation on the east coast. So we go to beaches in South Carolina. I love it there, it’s so beautiful. We love the food and we have local friends and we vacation with other families. I’m all about having a village. We don’t really have one during the year because we live in Hollywood and it’s very urban, so on the weekends and in the summer, we try to do our tribe of people.

Your Instagram account is chock full of tequila, rosé, and Soul Cycle. How would you rank the three.

I mean, really, it’s honestly tequila, Soul Cycle, rosé.

Ready to start the potty-training process with your littles? Do it with Busy! Donate your unused diapers to get started potty training and share on your social channels using #Time2Potty.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

 

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Potty Training Tips for When You Travel

Now that December is here we’re gearing up for the holiday travel season. For you that could mean heading to Grandma’s for a long weekend or even taking a more extended holiday vacation. If you’ve been thinking about potty training your little one, the thought of planning a trip right now could be quite stressful…but it doesn’t have to be! Thankfully, we had the opportunity to connect with licensed child psychologist, Dr. Heather Wittenberg, author of Let’s Get this Potty Started! She shared some of her potty training tips for when you travel as well as answered a few of our burning potty training questions…

As a child psychologist who specializes in development, I speak with a lot of parents who worry that their vacation and travel plans will derail their toddler’s potty training progress. Throw in the excitement of the holidays, and they’re sure potty training will have to wait for a few months. But there’s no need to delay! Whether the holidays mean embarking on a road trip to grandma’s or a full day of air travel, I’m here to make sure potty training isn’t added to your list of holiday stressors.

huggies-bag

1. Make a list – and check it twice. Get your toddler excited for your upcoming trip by packing a bag together, including their favorite potty training items. I’d suggest Pull-Ups Training Pants, a spare pair of pants and socks, a travel pack of Pull-Ups Flushable Wipes, a re-sealable zip-top plastic bag that’s big enough for wet clothing, and any “must-have” potty props, such as a special potty book or sticker chart.

*Fun characters make for great inspiration too! Just take a look at these darling new Huggies deisgns. I daresay they would delight any little Disney fan! They even come with a buitl in activity. The inside of the boxes can be colored and decorated with stickers!

2. Be flexible. Even if your little one has reached potty training success and is wearing real underwear, it’s okay to use Pull-Ups while traveling. They can really come in handy during lengthy car rides, plane trips or any situation that calls for a little extra security and convenience. Yes, consistency is important during potty training, but so is your sanity – especially during the holidays. Aim to return to the regular program once you return from a trip.

3. Dress your travelin’ toddler in easily removable clothing. We know grandma loves to see her grandson in those adorable overalls, and your daughter loves her special holiday tights, but limit these clothes while you’re on the road. You’ll thank me when you’re in a roadside bathroom and can rush to the potty quickly and easily to make it back on the road in no time. There’s a reason Santa wears big loose pants!

4. Schedule frequent breaks for potty visits and checks on their Pull-Ups. This actually has double the benefits since yes, your toddler will need a potty break — but they’ll also need some fresh air and an opportunity to stretch those little legs. Plan these stops ahead of time if you can, and you can go on a “potty-seek-and-find” adventure at every stop. Let them know you’re sticking to the normal routine, and just adding in some exciting new steps. Give yourself plenty of time so you’re not dashing through the snow, or worried about travel delays.

5. Continue your reward system. Whether your child is a sticker chart fanatic or can’t get enough jelly beans, your trip doesn’t need to impact the incentives that work for them. You could even consider introducing a special travel-only reward for added fun. Small candy canes or chocolate gelt work perfectly this time of year.  huggies-pullups

MT: How far into the potty training process is it feasible to take a trip?

Dr. Heather: While there’s no need to cancel a planned trip or completely avoid travel altogether during potty training, I’d recommend taking a few quick day trips away from home to help you and your little one prepare for longer trips. This will help your child get more potty-savvy away from home before you leave for a longer period of time.

MT: If you just started or you’re almost done, is it advisable to travel?

Dr. Heather: You sure can! Just make sure you have realistic expectations – asking toddlers to use a different potty in an unfamiliar setting is a whole new level of potty training, so prepare as much as you can but expect some bumps along the way.

MT: What are some ways you can make your child feel comfortable at his/her home away from home on vacation?

Dr. Heather: My number one recommendation is to be flexible. If your potty trainee has been using underpants, and you want to instead use Pull-Ups while traveling, it’s fine to do that. Pull-Ups can really come in handy during lengthy car rides, plane trips or any other situation that calls for a little extra security and convenience that undies provide.

MT: How long can you stay out during the day when you’re on vacation during potty training?

Dr. Heather: There’s no need to cut your day short because of your potty training toddler. What’s most important during these long days is to have everyone use the potty before leaving home and upon arrival to your destination. I’d also recommend scheduling frequent breaks for potty visits and checks on their Pull-Ups. Scope out the restrooms once you get to a new location so then you’re ready to whisk your kiddo instantly to the loo if she starts saying, “I need to go potty!” For more tips and tricks on potty training away from home, visit Pull-Ups.com.

Don’t let potty training and travel anxiety turn you into a Grinch this season. Visit Pull-Ups.com for tips, tools and advice to help you and your child partner together throughout the potty training journey.

This particular post is not a sponsored post. We are a compensated Huggies ambassador.

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#NoBabyUnhugged Spreading Love

#NoBabyUnhugged

I really needed a hug this week. Between a divisive election and travel for work, I feel a little stressed. I’ve been thinking a lot about hugs recently. As a member of the Huggies Parent Council, it’s been a focus of my work.

Do you really know the power of hugs?

Sure, they can make grown up’s feel better, but for baby they are essential. Huggies has done the research to support this–they know just how important contact and connection are. That’s why they started the #NoBabyUnhugged program and I’m so very proud to be a part of it.

To help dive deeper into what #NoBabyUnhugged means, Huggies organized a 2016 Huggies Parents Council meeting in Chicago. We gathered to learn the important work Huggies is doing as a brand to help the most vulnerable.

No Baby Unhugged is Huggies vision to ensure all babies get the hugs they need by helping parents understand and embrace the “Power of Hugs” through the brand’s diapers and wipes, new Hugging Programs in hospitals and continued product donations across the country (read more about diaper need and how to help here).

views-from-lurie-hospital

To kick off the event, we learned just how special a NICU diaper needs to be. We made an assembly line to inspect and fold diapers–just like they do at Huggies. The workers don gowns, hats and gloves and keep strict cleanliness standards to ensure that each diaper is impeccably clean before being hand folded and assembled. These diapers are truly made with love.

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Each diaper is made knowing that premature babies need exceptional care. Their skin is incredibly tender and they are much more susceptible to infection. Huggies NICU diapers and wipes are made with so much love.

parents-council

Once we knew HOW the diapers were made we wanted to see how they were helping. Huggies organized a trip for us to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago–where the tiniest babies go for a chance at life. We met with the nurses in charge of loving these premies. I was so touched by the compassion they bring to work.

premie-baby

At Lurie they are in the business of care. And it was so apparent that this gorgeous hospital puts families first. From the light-flooded atrium, to the museum quality exhibits to the hotel-like rooms for parents with children in dire need of care–every little thing is tended to so parents can just focus on their children. Nurses and volunteers take special efforts to help babies thrive and help parents celebrate milestones. I thought these footprint mother’s day cards were especially sweet with the tiny little print.

kid-artwork

Parents have been instinctively hugging their babies since the beginning of time, but research shows that this natural act can do more than calm a cry or soothe some stress.

Hugs can help keep a baby’s heart beating at a normal and constant rate, improve sleep, support healthy weight gain and lead to an improved parent-baby relationship, according to a recent Huggies study titled The Power of Human Touch for Babies.

The need is great for the 380,000 pre-term infants born in the U.S. each year. Most parents are able to bring baby home soon after he or she is born. But for those parents whose baby needs to stay in the NICU for an extended period of time, they are not always able to be there every minute due to work or other commitments so hospitals regularly develop volunteer hugging or cuddling programs.

Huggies will help give these babies the hugs they need, even when moms and dads can’t be there, by funding hugging programs in U.S. hospitals and partnerships with healthcare professionals. The hospital we visited on the trip, Lurie Children’s, is the recipient of the first No Baby Unhugged grant. Babies as small as 500 grams (about 500 paperclips) have a chance at survival thanks to grants from brands like Huggies.

Check out Huggies Facebook and YouTube to see videos that bring the tiniest hugs and miracle of hugs to life.

How can you give a hug?

1. Hug More. Well of course, start at home. Hug it out my friends. Let your babies and big people know you love them. From there, you can think bigger. It doesn’t have to be expensive to support this program.

2. Buy Huggies. You can do things you already do–like buy Huggies wipes and diapers.

3. Sign Up. For every person who signs up to become a Huggies Member, Huggies will donate $5 to support volunteer hugging program grants for hospitals. If you’re interested, go to Huggies.com and click on “Sign in or join Huggies” to get started.

huggies-at-the-hospital

Huggies® believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. The simple, loving act is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological well-being. Huggies® diapers and wipes are inspired by a parent’s hug, – to nurture baby with care, cradle baby in comfort and surround baby in protection. Learn more at Huggies.com, #HuggiesCouncil

This is a sponsored post.

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Family Community Service

This is a sponsored post by Huggies.

Family Community Service

We’re trying to raise mindful children and family community service has been on my mind a lot. We have been blessed with education, health and prosperity. It’s up to us to show our kids the way towards charity and generosity. That’s why I am supporting Diaper Awareness Week.

We want our girls to care about community and think beyond themselves. I recently read a book called The Opposite of Spoiled. It really resonated with me. It was about giving kids the tools to learn to manage money and a big part of the book was dedicated to giving back. The girls are putting allowance away in three jars–spend, save, and give. From the “GIVE” jar they’ll be donating to charities that they’ve researched. It’s one thoughtful step towards raising generous kids.

Another way to lead them is to support our church’s food pantry and pick up extra items at the grocery store. Add the items to your shopping list (for a FREE printable list with ideas on what to get for the food pantry, click here foodpantryshoppinglist) and have your kids bring them to the panty shelves.

Family Community Service

This week I’m thinking about a particular community need, diapers. I’m honored to be working with Huggies to talk about giving back and serving your community.

We often think about food and shelter when it comes to those in need, one thing you may not remember is that clean diapers are vital to a baby’s health.

This week (September 26th thru October 2nd), I’m inviting you to join me in educating yourself about the need. Huggies® commissioned a study that found 1 in 3 U.S. moms cannot provide clean diapers for their children. What does that mean? Without diapers, families can’t send babies to childcare, which means parents can’t work. Babies need 6-10 diapers a day, which will cost about $70-$80 a month. For a family with limited funds, this is a big amount.

Some mothers face having to clean out and reuse soiled diapers, or have to choose between diapers and other basic needs like food. Get more diaper need awareness facts here.

There are a few ways to help. First, you can shop for diapers, like Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers and donate them directly to a diaper bank. In addition, you can donate your Huggies rewards points to the National Diaper Bank Network. Huggies is the founding sponsor of the network and in the past six years has provided more than 200 million hugs in the form of diapers and wipes donations.

This week you can help give hugs, too. Every time you tweet using #NoBabyUnhugged Huggies will donate more diapers to Baby2Baby, part of the National Diaper Bank Network. Together, we can help babies get the diapers they need.

We want our girls to act with purpose and mindfulness. Teaching them to look within means slowing down and seeing where help is needed.

Huggies® believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. The simple, loving act is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological well-being. Huggies® diapers and wipes are inspired by a parent’s hug, – to nurture baby with care, cradle baby in comfort and surround baby in protection. Learn more at Huggies.com. #HuggiesCouncil

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Hug a Little Longer, Play a Little Longer, Frolic Together a Little Longer

This post is sponsored by Huggies.

playground-mommy-and-me-swing

Baby P was a late crawler and a late walker. Fortunately, this gross-motor delay had nothing to do with her development and everything to do with me, her adoring helicopter Mama. You see, I held her and strolled her and wore her—a lot. Like, all-the-time a lot. And, so, she was spoiled, and I was spoiled, and we were both happily content being physically close and entirely codependent. (Sounds healthy, no?)

Alas at her 12-month wellness visit, her pediatrician recommended physical therapy—and some much-needed (though I refused to admit it at the time!) separation. My little girl had to be given the space to grow and thrive—and that had to start with me admitting that she was no longer an itty-bitty helpless infant. (Sniff-sniff.) She had to gain confidence in her capable body, and I had to snip the veritable umbilical cord that was enabling her to rely exclusively on Mommy. It was my job to empower her—“let go of my hand and trust your own two feet, my love. But I will be right here if and when you need me!”

We started PT sessions with some early trial, error, triumphs, and failures, and I, reluctantly, but decisively, put the stroller in the garage and the baby carrier in the closet, insisting that we practice our shaky steps at home, at school pick-up, and even in the aisles of the grocery store. It wasn’t easy at first, one day, P woke up and it was like a light bulb went off in her head. She just decided, “Imma do this.” And, so, she did.

A few months later, and I can barely remember a time when P couldn’t walk. Now, she is off for the races all day every day, and I can barely keep up. Still, despite her tremendous progress, she remains slightly behind and continues to need daily practice. And that’s why I take her for frequent trips to the playground—so she can exert energy, be active, and gain confidence and independence in a fun, safe, and controlled environment.

huggies-snug-and-dry

Every morning, I get Big Brother ready for school and Baby Sister ready for our solo time together. I put her in a trusty Huggies Snug & Dry Diaper and we’re all set to go! I relish our mommy-and-me play dates, exploring new parks and embarking on new adventures—feeding the ducks by the pond, seeking out new slides, interacting on the swings, and monkeying around by the monkey bars. Occasionally we even invite Daddy! I’ll try to scoop her up for a kiss, but she fights to be out of my arms and on the ground—she just wants to show off all her new skills.

Sometimes I’ll pack a picnic lunch for us to enjoy together. (P definitely works up an appetite with all that moving!) A few bites into her meal, and she’s fueled up and ready for more. I love that we can stay longer and play longer thanks to Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers. I don’t worry about stopping to change her—because I know she’s well protected. (And, BTW, now that she’s no longer immobile, diaper changes have become something of a hilarious wrestling match—of which she usually wins.)

ducks

With long-lasting, 12-hour protection, these diapers surround my baby—so we can walk and run and play and climb and swing and frolic and hug a little longer—if only she’d slow down long enough to let me hold her!

family-at-the-playground

Huggies® believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. The simple, loving act is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological well-being. Huggies® diapers and wipes are inspired by a parent’s hug, – to nurture baby with care, cradle baby in comfort and surround baby in protection. Huggies® Snug & Dry Diapers absorb quickly to help stop leaks and offer up to 12 hours of long-lasting leakage protection to help keep baby dry throughout all his daily adventures. Learn more at Huggies.com #HuggiesCouncil.

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Preparing for the First Hug

My family has always been big on hugs. I have two younger brothers, and since one of them is ten years younger than me, he saw me as a mini-mommy. My daughters know that I have always called him my first baby. I protected him, snuggled with him, put him to sleep, sang to him, fed him bottles, changed his diapers and most definitely hugged him a LOT.  I will never forget sitting at our kitchen table in 1987 with our babysitter and getting a call from my dad that Major had been born. My brother John and I visited the hospital the next day and while John was busy figuring out how to control my mom’s hospital bed up and down, I held Major in a hug that I remember like it was yesterday. Not only did I hug Major constantly, but as a ten year old, I was incredibly proud to learn how to change his diapers. Since he was a boy, I learned how to “hug” his little body in diapers very quickly so that I didn’t get squirted in the face.

Feeding Baby Brother

Twenty-three years after the birth of Major, I had a child of my own. A little girl named Eva made me a mother. I was so strongly flooded with memories of hugging Major that for the first couple of weeks I sometimes called her Major! As I swaddled and unswaddled Eva to change her diapers and wrapped her in Huggies, I was again reminded of my days of changing diapers as a big sister. The power of hugging in my family has always been really special and to be able to experience it with a daughter of my own was truly a dream come true.

Kissing and hugging Baby

When my second daughter Lily was born two years later, I was excited to know that these two girls would have the special sibling bond that I share with my two brothers to this day. To us, the power of a hug represents not only our love for one another, but shows our support and strength for each other, in good times and bad. We all live in different parts of the country, but manage to visit each other quite often. Each time we are reunited, a strong hug is certainly our first order of business.

Big sister hugging pregnant belly

Now that Eva and Lily are six and four, our whole family is ecstatic that we will have a new baby in our family. We are preparing in the only ways we know how. The girls sing to him constantly, kiss him through my belly and hug him every single morning and before bed at night. There is daily excitement as we count down the days until we “get a new baby.”

Sister hugging Huggies

Since there is a four year gap between now and when I last had a baby, I am spending an incredible amount of time educating myself on all the new developments in the world of baby products. But it is a lifesaver to know that I can still use Huggies, the brand I trust so much, on our new little guy this fall. Huggies are inspired by something that is so important in our family – the power of a hug.

Big sister hugging Huggies 2

Lily asked me the other day if our new baby will be born naked or will he already have a diaper to protect him. After I stopped laughing (to myself!) I thought how lucky I was to use Huggies with both of my girls. Huggies are incredibly effective at keeping skin snug, dry and protected. I can’t wait to use Huggies again because they provide my baby with the best skincare.

Huggies® believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. The simple, loving act is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological well-being. Huggies® diapers and wipes are inspired by a parent’s hug, – to nurture baby with care, cradle baby in comfort and surround baby in protection. Make sure you embrace baby’s bottom with Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers to deliver our best skin care to help keep baby’s skin clean and healthy. Learn more at Huggies.com. #HuggiesCouncil

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

 

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The First Hug

newborn diapers

“Hello, muppet.”

That was the first thing I said to my baby girl when she was born—when they put her naked little body on my bare chest at 6:48 P.M. November 29, 2014. A silly little greeting meant only for her ears.

I remember the comforting weight of her mere 6 pounds—the way I wrapped that starchy hospital blanket around her tiny limbs and cradled her in my arms. “Hello, muppet.”

first hug

I kissed her soft cheek and nuzzled her button nose, and relished the rush of relief and flood of affection. I had done it. Nine months of pain and anxiety and discomfort and doctor appointments and ultrasounds culminating in this singular moment. It was all worth it. Because, here I was, hugging my second baby for the first time ever.

I remember those first five minutes with distinct detail and unfiltered clarity, despite the surrounding 24 hours being a total blur—despite there being so much going on around us, doctors and nurses coming and going and my excited husband snapping an endless stream of intimate iPhone photos. She was all that mattered. Everything else faded into the background—white noise to this magical mommy moment.

And to think I woke up earlier that morning insisting my body was playing a trick on me—that those regular contractions were nothing more than false labor. Still, I called my doctor and she recommended I get checked out since I lived a good distance from the hospital. I convinced my husband to go to work, asked my mom, to accompany me, and kissed my son goodbye. “Stay with Grampy. Mommy will be back in just a bit.” I was sure of it.

Fast forward, six hours and I was enveloping that tiny princess in an embrace, a newly minted mom of two. Surprise! “Hello, muppet.”

That first night, there was a lot of cuddling and our first hug phased into our second hug and then our third, fourth, and fifth. Eventually, Penelope was brought to the nursery for a bath and rest. I opted to keep her there overnight, with the nurses bringing her into me for frequent feedings and snuggle sessions.

newborn hug

Even bleary eyed at 2 AM and 4 AM and 6 AM, I loved unwrapping Penelope from her expertly executed swaddle—a present just for me and changing those itty-bitty newborn diapers. She’d let out the tiniest cry every time her bottom was bare, so I worked swiftly to get her comfortable, cozy, dry, and protected again, tightening her Huggies Little Snugglers Diaper with care and efficiency, the special umbilical cord cut out working around her sensitive belly button. Once she was snugly re-diapered, she’d instantly stop fussing and return to her peaceful, sweet self—as if her little bottom just needed the reassuring “hug” of a diaper to keep her calm. I’d give her another squeeze before handing her off to the nurse for some much-needed rest—for both of us.

Those hospital days went by in a flash and a flurry of pokes and prods and kisses and cuddles and hugs and Huggies. There was nuzzling and napping and kissing and tickling and lots of precious, intimate bonding. I relished the one-on-one time, but I couldn’t wait to bring her home to her big brother. He was eagerly waiting for his turn to give her a first hug. And that was another moment, I’ll never forget. “Hello, muppet. We’re home.”

Fast forward, 19 months and I still cherish every moment and every embrace—and we continue to use Huggies diapers, since we had such a positive first experience with them. Inspired by hugs, Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers are designed to nurture my little love with care, cradle her in comfort, and protectively surround her delicate bottom. A perpetual hug for my growing baby girl—what more could a mom ask for?

Huggies® believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. The simple, loving act is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological well-being. Huggies® diapers and wipes are inspired by a parent’s hug, – to nurture baby with care, cradle baby in comfort and surround baby in protection. Make sure you embrace baby’s bottom with Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers to deliver our best skin care to help keep baby’s skin clean and healthy. Learn more at Huggies.com. #HuggiesCouncil

This post is sponsored by Huggies

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How to Make the Holiday Season Extra Special With Baby

huggies diapers and wipesI had an epiphany recently—and it’s completely changed my seasonal outlook and altogether attitude…

Here it is: As a mom/blogger/human, I have been way too preoccupied with the idea of capturing the “perfect” parenting moments on camera… And it’s having negative effects on my family. Instead of stopping to enjoy the little things that actually create memories, I’m busy obsessing over having photographic evidence of our lives.

The reality hit me as we were decorating our Christmas tree a few weeks ago. I was so worked up about getting the best shot that a favorite holiday tradition suddenly became a chore—and not just for me. “Put that ornament down. Pick this one up. Pose here. Smile. No, smile normal…” My toddler picked up on the stressed-out vibe and instantly transformed into a ticking time bomb. And then, of course, his tantrum triggered Baby Sister’s meltdown; and, well, from there it was just one big cranky snowball effect… A happy memory turned sour—all in the name of an Instagram post.

And so I’ve made a few changes (early New Year’s resolutions, if you will!) to help me live in the moment with my children—especially during this hectic holiday season.

The ultimate goal is to feel less stress and more joy. I want to make the most of this fleeting time. My babies will only be babies once—so I’ve got to put down the iPhone and soak it all in. Here’s how I’m making this month extra special with and for my family.

penelope picking her noseI’m Keeping It Real
As a mom I’m always going to want lots of photographs of my children. But instead of focusing on making everything picture-perfect, I’m going to try to capture our actual reality—as messy and crazy and un-pretty as that may be. And if that means I’ll be makeup-free in every social-media post, so be it. If my toddler insists on wearing the same dirty, raggedy shirt in every photo—well, that’s just fine—at least he’ll be smiling. And if my infant is seen picking her nose in every last holiday shot—well, then I guess I’ll be compelled to remember history the way it actually happened. No more forcing a moment at the expense of our happiness.

snugfitI’m Keeping It Comfortable
Don’t get me wrong—I love a frilly baby frock as much as the next girl-mom. But my little one is not quite as enthusiastic about wearing tights and tulle and lace and bows. She’s got sensitive skin and, first and foremost, she wants to feel cozy. That’s why I’m such a fan of Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers. They keep my sweet girl feeling dry and comfortable with a GentleAbsorb liner. It offers a cushiony layer of protection with hundreds of tiny absorbent pillows to draw mess away from her delicate skin—and a unique stretchy SnugFit waistband provides a gentle, secure fit. (Doesn’t she look cuddly?) Plus, the wetness indicator has been a total game-changer. It helps me know when it’s time for a quick change. And when it is, I reach for Huggies Natural Care Wipes. They’re made with 99 percent water for a soft, gentle, and effective clean that’s perfect for my love-bug’s sensitive skin. Because, like I said, it’s ultimately about comfort—which begins with soft skin.

I’ve also mainly been dressing her in lots of cozy knits and cute Christmas pajamas this month. They might not be as fancy as a tutu and a matching headband, but her sweet smile is the only accessory I need.

grant and pen snugglingI’m Keeping (Some of) Our Traditions Alive
I know I’m not the only mom who feels like they have to pack the month of December with all sorts of special trips and parties and plans and treats and traditions. We have to make gingerbread houses and bake cookies and watch movies and do crafts and see the lights and go shopping and wait in line to visit Santa—One. Million. Times. It’s all very exciting, but between school, work, and everything else, our lives have become way too over-scheduled. It’s taking the spontaneity and joy out of the season.

Case in point: I panicked on Nov. 30 because I realized I didn’t have an advent calendar… I woke up in a cold sweat the other night when I remembered that I forgot to move the Elf on the Shelf… I had to pay extra to rush the shipping on our annual holiday cards… There’s just too much to do and so much to keep track of.

And that’s why I’m editing out some of the nonessential activities and traditions. I want to “curate” my family’s holiday experience to make it less frenzied and more festive. The Elf on the Shelf has caused me way too much stress—next year, he’s gotta go! (My kids are young enough that they won’t care or even remember.) We’ve done most of our shopping online and we’re limiting the number of play dates and parties and plans we commit to this year. I’d rather use my time and energy doing the things we really want to do together… In short: More is not always more (whether you’re talking about holiday plans or family photographs!)

To sum it all up: I’m going to make this holiday extra special for Baby (and all my loved ones, for that matter) simply by being there and being present—which I’ve finally realized are two very different things.

This post is sponsored by Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers.

 

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