Category Archives: Baby

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

We have three children ages 1, 4, and 8. So, I’ve kept my eyes open for the best new toys and gifts for a range of ages. I attended a number of toy events, including the Toy Insider HoliDay of Play and Blogger Bash Sweet Suite, where I learned about new toys from product representatives and even tested many of the coolest toys you’re going to see in the stores this holiday season. Here’s a list of my favorites – a list that I should just forward straight to Santa!

For Our 1-Year-Old Girl

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We are big fans of Learning Resources toys. Each one is designed to build children’s education-related skills. The Ocean Wonders: Build & Spin is a set of interchangeable gears and colorful play pieces.
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Our 1-year-old already enjoys moving the pieces around and turning the gears by herself.

I know my 1-year-old will love playing with the Go Go Smart Friends castle, and I’m sure my 4-year-old will be happy to join her. Collectible Go Go Smart Friends interact with the castle and ride-on unicorn when placed on MagicPoint locations triggering phrases, music, lights, and motion.

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The Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe is an interactive desk that comes with five colorful pages for exploring letters, numbers, music, and colors.

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Expansion Packs for the Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe

A 1-year-old really only needs a cardboard box to have fun on Christmas morning, so decor is a great gift idea for little ones. I ordered these beautiful prints from Zazzle. A click on the image will bring you to my review of Zazzle.

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For Our 4-Year-Old Girl

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Judging by the number of Elena of Avalor costumes this Halloween, she is a big favorite for 2016. This Elena doll sings “My Time” from the Disney Junior TV series.
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I’m so glad to see some STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) toys for younger kids this year. The Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set is for kids ages 5 and up. Kids can build a maze, then program the mouse according to the principles of coding to find the cheese.
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We tried out another early STEM toy from Learning Resources, the STEM Sink or Float Activity Set. My almost 5-year-old started grasping physics concepts like buoyancy and density using activity cards, weights, and a raft.
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The DigiArt Creative Easel teaches kids how to write with a magic pen and interactive board. It also allows can be used as a traditional easel with its dry-erase board, chalkboard, and paper-hanging drawing board.
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All the Shimmer and Shine merchandise! The Nick Jr. show is a favorite in our house, so I know the girls would be thrilled to play with these new toys.
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Shopkins now have a home for your little ones to decorate called, Happy Places.
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Each Gemlin has a name and personality and can be threaded with other Gemlins to make a charm bracelet.
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Magic Mee Mees come from different lands, such as, Seetsland and Berryland. They respond when fed special “food” and interact with other Mee Mees.
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We’re super-excited about this! Shopkins Kinstructions are buildable sets that are compatible with Legos. The Shopkins that come in these sets can be taken apart and mixed/matched.

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PJ Masks merchandise is out, and it’s everything the kids have been asking for. Collectible figures, Headquarters playset, costumes, and of course, masks!

For Our 8-Year-Old Boy

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My son’s number one Christmas list wish! We watched the popular ABC TV series, and now he wants the Hexbug Battlebots Arena to watch robots battle in real life.
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The Thames and Kosmos Magic sets teach kids how to perform magic tricks and help develop presentation skills, confidence, hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and reading skills.
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A new line from the makers of Shopkins, the Grossery Gang, is even luring the boys into the market. They’re gross and squishy, and my son loves them!
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Crayola Art with Edge coloring books, pencils and markers elevate coloring to a level that is fun and exciting for pre-teens, teens, and adults.
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The Bosebuild Speaker Cube allows people ages 8 and up to build and customize a durable, high-performance bluetooth speaker. It is an exciting STEM gift that my son would love, but it’s a big out of Santa’s budget at $149.
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The Meccano Mecasaur is a super STEM toy that kids can build and program. Then the Mecasaur interacts with you, responding to petting, answering yes/ no questions, stomping around, and roaring. Click on the picture to see our review of the Mecasaur’s predecessor, the Meccanoid.
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Our son is going to psyched about the Skypaper Paper Plane Launcher. He’s into origami and paper planes already, so super charging his creations and shooting them in the air takes it to another level.
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Remember hearing about 3D printers that were only used by scientists and the super-rich, because of the crazy price tag? The 3D Doodler Essentials Pen Set is made for kids ages 8+ and it costs $49.99!
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My son is a big fan of the Harry Potter book series, so he was thrilled to receive this cool Hogwarts t-shirt. I chose the shirt from tons of Harry Potter gift items on the Zazzle website. Click on the picture for more info.

For the Family

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Protect the Pride Lands is a unique game that is perfect for getting the family together on game night. All players work together to get Kion to the top of Pride Rock.
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The Nabi Elev-8 is the best tablet for a family with young kids because it combines superior technology, quality and learning features. Click on the picture for a review and video of the Nabi Elev-8 tablet.

Ready, Set, Woof! is a super-engaging board game for kids ages 3-5. It promotes important skills like recognition, concentration, memory, sharing, and turn-taking.

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We also tried out the Brownie Match game, another great family game that’s best for kids ages 3-6. It’s great for developing skills like memory, matching, number recognition, fine motor, sharing, and turn-taking.
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We also tried out the Brownie Match game, another great family game that’s best for kids ages 3-6. It’s great for developing skills like memory, matching, number recognition, fine motor, sharing, and turn-taking.

I’m sure you already know all about Kidz Bop, the group of young singers who perform G-rated versions of all the best new pop songs. We eagerly await every new album, so we were excited to receive a copy of Kidz Bop 33 and their new Christmas album.

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We’re Finding Ways to Fight Zika at Home – GIVEAWAY

I’m sure you’re as freaked out about the Zika virus as I am, especially now that it has reached America. Zika virus has been transmitted mostly by mosquito bite and can be passed from mother to fetus, causing birth defects including microcephaly. It also can cause fever, rash; and, in people with vulnerable immune systems, it can result in serious illness.

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We are always avoiding mosquito bites in our family, because they cause us to have huge welts on our bodies that are itchy and painful. With the spread of this virus, I’m even more motivated to shield my family from mosquitos. I’m definitely not planning on becoming pregnant in the next few years, but I still worry about our family contracting the Zika virus and becoming ill.

So, here are the ways we are limiting our risk of Zika exposure.

Mosquito Repellent: I have long been opposed to chemicals, like DEET, for protection against mosquitos. My new philosophy is “use what you’ve got.” However, I still can’t bring myself to spray that stuff on my children every night in the summer! I’m definitely not spraying it on my 1-year-old! (I tried one night and could only bring myself to spray the bottom of her stroller.)

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So, I rely on natural wearable mosquito repellent. I used a particular brand, Para’Kito all last summer, and I’m using it again this summer. I received a Para’Kito Refillable Band free for the purpose of review. Enter below for your chance to win one of your own!

We often wear the Para'Kito band on our ankles because it's a mosquito's favorite spot.
We often wear the Para’Kito band on our ankles because it’s a mosquito’s favorite spot.

Para’Kito’s wearable products contain a refill pellet in a snug mesh pocket. Each pellet remains effective for 15 days and they are even waterproof. The pellet’s natural oils (citronella, rosemary, geranium, mint, clove, and peppermint) fill the air around the body, masking bodily scents that attract mosquitos. My favorite thing about Para’Kito products are DEET-free, buzz-free, and smell so good.

Where's my Para'Kito?!
Where’s my Para’Kito?!

Travel: Not to worry! We don’t have any imminent travel plans. We spend most of our travel money on a beach club in the summer, so I don’t have to worry about our exposure in any exotic locales.

Air conditioning: Check! I have no problem shutting the windows and turning on the A/C at the first sign of warm humidity. And my A/C-hating husband can’t complain because…we are protecting ourselves from sneaky mosquitos.

Clothing: This took some conscious actions on my part. Putting the kids in pants, socks, and shoes when they are about to play outside in warm, humid weather feels counterintuitive, but we’re making it work. After a couple of arguments about wearing Crocs and shorts at dusk, they’re starting to anticipate my new dress code.

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WaterWipes: Chemical-Free Baby Wipes

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

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My kids all have sensitive skin from head-to-toe. As newborns, I tried hard to use wet cloths or soft paper towels with every diaper change. You can imagine how impractical that was, but it didn’t irritate their bottoms. I had to use conventional “sensitive” wipes for convenience sometimes, and they all quickly developed diaper rash. Even as they grew and developed tougher skin, they still couldn’t handle regular use of conventional wipes.

My 5-month-old is eating solid food now, so we have big messes to clean up during mealtime, too. Her face is just as sensitive as her bottom, and frequent use of conventional wipes is way too harsh. Her skin becomes red immediately, and with repeated use, it becomes dry and irritated.

I still use wipes for my big kids when they have messy faces. They become less sensitive as they grow up, but I still find that the fewer the ingredients, the kinder they are to their skin.

I always bought “sensitive” wipes for my kids, but still noticed the super-long ingredient list, even from natural brand wipes. I remember wondering, “Why can’t they just make wipes that are wet, without all that other stuff.”  That’s why I’m so excited that someone finally did it with WaterWipes.

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We’ve been using WaterWipes for a few weeks and they are super-gentle, but strong and durable. I’m so glad to have the convenience of wet wipes that I can use over and over on my baby without irritating her skin. Plus, I have peace of mind knowing that I’m not exposing my family to harmful chemicals every day.

Now, I keep packages of WaterWipes on the changing table, in the kitchen, and in my diaper bag. Each package has a resealable opening making them good for travel as well as for use around the house.

WaterWipes is a chemical free baby wipe that contains only two ingredients, 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. Due to the lack of chemical preservatives in Waterwipes,  the package will keep for up to 15 months before it is opened. Once you open your WaterWipes package, it’s recommended that you use the pack within 1 month.

IMG_9527Unlike some other wipe brands, WaterWipes are not interfolded. This allows for the sterile environment within the package to be maintained. For the same reason, it’s recommended that you don’t relocate the wipes in an alternate container.

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I found my WaterWipes at Stop and Shop near the other baby wipes in the baby aisle. I’m so glad I can grab them at Stop and Shop because it’s the place I go for all my everyday groceries and baby needs.  Find out where to buy Waterwipes near you.

Baby Mantra: Natural Baby Skincare Review and Giveaway

I received this product for the purpose of this review, however, I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. These are my own opinions and they have not been influenced in any way by Baby Mantra.

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Enter to win all these Baby Mantra products below!

When it comes to anything that comes in contact with my kids’ bodies, I always look for natural products made by companies with environmentally responsible practices. Not only do I want to minimize my kids’ exposure to chemicals and other harmful ingredients, but my family all have sensitive skin and need allergy-tested products. That’s why I’ve been loving my new collection of Baby Mantra products.

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Happy baby after bath!

My kids share my dry, fair, and sensitive skin. Even many products marketed for babies and sensitive skin either dry out our skin or make us break out in a painful or itchy rash. The Baby Mantra products were friendly to our skin and left it soft and smelling heavenly.

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We both have super-sensitive skin.

About Baby Mantra

Baby Mantra’s earth-friendly range of extremely gentle personal care products for children (newborn to 8 years old) are made with all-natural skincare ingredients. Baby Mantra products have been certified by the Natural Products Association (NPA), are gluten-free, allergy-tested and cruelty-free.

You can find Baby Mantra products across the country at stores like Albertsons, Jewel Osco, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Babies ‘R Us, and Meijer. We recommend using the store locator on the company’s website to find a store nearest you. In addition, Baby Mantra can be found online on websites such as Amazon.com, Babiesrus.com,, Drugstore.com, Walgreens.com, and Diapers.com.

Be sure to follow and like Baby Mantra on Facebook for coupons and other offers.

Visit Baby Mantra for a $2.50 coupon!

ENTER TO WIN!

1.  3-in-1 Bubble Bath, Shampoo & Wash

2. Calming Lotion

3. Newborn Shampoo & Wash

4. Diaper Rash Ointment

5. Calming Massage Oil

6. Detangling Conditioner

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5 Reasons To Attend Blogger Bash Next Year

Last year I scored a ticket to Sweet Suite at Blogger Bash NYC 2014 and vowed to attend the whole shebang in 2015. So, this was my first time attending the two-day event, and I’m so glad I did.  Here’s why…

1. THE VENUE

 

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This year, BBNYC was at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers. It’s a gorgeous space with views of the water and every amenity. The food was delicious, modern, and plentiful. Elegant meals, hosted by Care Bears, Disney Infinity, and The Peanuts Movie, were the perfect place to meet friends and hear the sponsors’ messages.

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Major bonus: NYC! See the sights in the greatest city in the world. I can’t wait to see next year’s venue!

2. THE SWAG

Sponsors come to the expos with lots of goodies and giveaways for attendees…that’s what the big black bag is for!

Then, for attending Sweet Suite, bloggers receive a huge box of toys in the mail. Best parting gift ever.

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We also were treated to a free performance of the widely popular Blue Man Group. (See my post and enter to win tickets to them in a city near you!) Then we walked away with a giveaway for our blogs.

3. NETWORKING

BBNYC is the perfect set-up for bloggers and brands to meet face-to-face. I made lots of contacts with brands that matter to me and my readers. Sweet Suite gathers many of the best toy brands in one place. They always bring their newest products for demonstration and hands-on play. Babypalooza does the same for an array of baby products and foods.

Attendees were able to sit down with brands during Speed Dating to make connections with brands looking for bloggers spread their messages.

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4. LEARNING AND GROWING YOUR BLOG

On this year’s agenda were events, expos, and expert speakers. Attendees learned about the latest toys at Sweet Suite, philanthropic opportunities with Care Bears, and got a sneak peak at the new Peanuts Movie.

Expert speakers gave presentations on creating branded video and how to double traffic with simple SEO steps.

5. MEETING OLD AND NEW FRIENDS

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Perhaps, this is the best part of Blogger Bash. It seems like everyone in the industry was at Blogger Bash, and they came from all over the country. Old friends rented hotel rooms and cruised the events together. Online colleagues finally saw each other in person. New friendships and blogging connections were made everywhere we turned.

There’s no way to discuss all the awesome features of the conference in one blog post. More details on all my BBNYC experiences to come!

Will I see you at Blogger Bash 2016?

$10 off Hipseat Baby Carrier Plus Freebies #iAngel #babycarrier #promocode #hipdysplasia

iAngel is bringing its hipseat baby carrier to the US from overseas for the first time. School Psych Mom readers are getting a special promotional discount when you purchase an iAngel hipseat carrier through the website: iAngelUSA.com.

With your purchase, you will receive a set of organic teething pads, a sleeping hood, free shipping AND an additional $10 off any hipseat carrier on the website (over a $50 value!).  All you have to do is use the discount code ANGELME10 when you check out.

The iAngel hipseat baby carrier is stylish in its many colors and designs; but most importantly, it is ergonomically supportive, avoiding hip dysplasia.

What to eat when you have morning sickness

Many pregnant women experience “morning sickness,” but for many, the sickness lasts all day long.  For most of my first trimester, I experienced intense nausea during most waking moments of the day.  It usually occurs between the 6th and 12th weeks, but can last even longer.  Some remedies, like ginger tea and vitamin B6 may help the nausea sufferer, but I found that the best way to deal with it was to manage my entire diet.

I found it helpful to eat small meals frequently, so it was important to have easy options requiring little to no preparation.  A variety of options were necessary because as soon as I would find a great food that made me feel good, I quickly developed a repulsion for it.  It was just cruel.  Also, my nausea was paired with heartburn. Ideal foods for me were high in protein and fiber (to keep me full longer) and low acid.

Skip acidic foods (tomatoes/tomato sauce, pizza and citrus) and fried foods.

 

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My favorite filling meals/snacks:

  • oatmeal
  • yogurt
  • granola
  • Kind bars
  • nuts
  • salad
  • chicken
  • cheese

Fresh fruits and vegetables. But skip the citrus.

  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • mango
  • watermelon
  • cantaloupe
  • honey dew
  • carrots
  • celery

 

Blogger Lounge at the New York Baby Show

 

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My family and I were invited to attend the New York Family Baby Show and visit the Momtrends Blogger Lounge. I was just weeks from delivering our third child, so this event was just where I needed to be!

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I worried that it would be physically taxing and inconvenient to attend the event because I’m huge in the front and very slow-moving these days. However, a lot of consideration for convenience clearly went into planning for convenience at the event. It was held at Pier 92, which as easily accessible by car and public transportation. The venue was expansive, but there were several locations for expecting and new parents to rest, feed, and change diapers.

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Motorola, Plum Organics, Kiddylicious

 

Many many baby product brands, including the big ones everybody knows to the smaller startups were represented at the NY Baby Show. Free samples and giveaways galore.

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Babies R Us, 4moms, fridababy, Safety 1st

 

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Aden + Anais

 

IMG_6729I also attended the Momtrends Blogger Lounge at the NY Baby Show, which was another oasis for parents. There was great food, great company, and mom-makeovers by Glam Squad.

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Will I See You at the #NYBabyShow? @Momtrends

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I will be hauling my huge baby bump to the New York Baby Show tomorrow, so check back for all the details about the show and about the MomTrends Lounge.

It’s not too late for tickets!

20+ New Giveaways + A Special Ticket Discount Code! With the New York Baby Show coming up this weekend, they’re giving away over 25 special prizes to advanced ticket buyers.  But the real value? The show itself! Hope you (and your bumps, babies, toddlers, and partners) can join us!

Evoz Smart Parenting Monitor #Evozbaby #Top50club @evozbaby

evozcameraWith Baby #3 on the way, I’m in the market for a new baby monitor.  I thought my only options when choosing a baby monitor were audio versus video, but now I want the Evoz Smart Parenting Monitor!

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As a global innovator in the development of smart monitoring devices and connected services, Evoz has redefined how families monitor their baby with the pre-launch of their highly anticipated Evoz Smart Parenting Monitor on Indiegogo, February 16th.

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This revolutionary sleek, magnetically mounted monitor allows parents to watch their child from anywhere while providing a never before available parenting toolbox that provides a host of important parenting tools.

 

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With the Evoz Smart Parenting Monitor, parents simply download the free app to turn their smartphone and tablet into a monitor to watch baby, capture precious moments through snapshots and recorded video, play soothing lullabies, control the nightlight and even talk to their baby – all with a touch of a button. What further differentiates this stylish new monitoring system is its cutting-edge parenting toolbox that provides a wide array of important tools, including a means by which parents can track a child’s sleep habits.

“With significant demand for the Evoz Smart Parenting Monitor, we wanted to provide parents who love sleek technology with an early opportunity to place an order through our initiative with Indiegogo,” says Avishai Shoham, founder and CEO of Evoz. “We also plan to use this campaign to identify our Top 50 Club, parents who will not only receive discounted products and perks but also will have critical input to Evoz management as we continue to innovate with additional products and services,” he adds.

The Evoz Smart Parenting Toolbox provides a suite of services including baby data logging and tracking, parenting content and even allows for scrapbooking.   Special “cry alerts” notify parents via push, text message or e-mail when baby is unsettled in the crib, while collecting important sleep data such as how long they have been awake and crying. This allows parents to quickly and effectively address sleep issues. Furthermore, the device automatically monitors the baby’s room temperature and alerts parents when it is outside experts’ recommended room temperature.

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Parents continually have questions about their baby’s sleep habits and Evoz Smart Parenting Monitor has addressed this by presenting to parents content and answers specific to their baby’s age and wake up patterns through a partnership with Kim West, a.k.a. ‘The Sleep Lady.’  Ms. West has been a practicing child and family therapist for twenty years, creator of the “Gentle Sleep” method and has trained sleep coaches around the world, available as a resource through Evoz Smart Monitoring toolbox.

“Monitoring sleep habits is critically important for parents as they struggle to ensure a safe and secure sleep environment,” notes Kim West. “With the data gathered in the Evoz monitor, the videos and content available and our team of professional sleep experts, parents can get personalized insight, information and support to successfully improve their baby’s sleep.”

Evoz Smart Parenting Monitor will be available in April online at www.evozbaby.com as well as at leading online retailers. Consumers can, however, get one of the first units through Indiegogo in February.

For updates, you can follow Evoz on their social media channels:

Facebook: facebook.com/evozbaby

Twitter: @evozbaby