21 clever uses for a swaddle

It breaks our hearts to part with a supersoft swaddle (or 8), so we’ve found 21 alternate uses for our Aden + Anais – from crumb catcher to superhero cape!

1

Tie it around child’s neck for an instant bib

2

A lovey (soft + breathable + washable = score)

3

Fabric for a boudoir pillow case for the crib

4

A head scarf or turban

5

A changing pad in a pinch

6

A giant, effective burp cloth

7

A portable crib sheet if you forget one – it’s big enough to cover and fold under the mattress.

8

A spring/summer scarf for you (though not if you opted for the monkey print, please)

9

A toy and food-catcher on the plane (tuck one end in the seat pocket, the other under the car seat)

10

A swim towel for littles, especially since it dries quickly

11

A travel sunshade for the car (tuck it in as you’re rolling up the window)

12

A hammock or a swaddle for a baby doll

13

Tie it around your neck and — voila! — impromptu nursing cover

14

A cover for the dirty airplane seat

15

A sunshade or a lightweight blanket in the stroller

16

A booger/snot wiper

17

A cape for superhero play

18

A pareo for you at the beach

19

Restaurant high chair cover — also filthy!

20

Canopy for building forts

21

Shopping cart cover – those things are dirty and cold

chriselle_lim

There are a million-and-one clever, cute ways to announce a pregnancy, but Chriselle Lim went the opposite route: Her video announcement was deeply honest and profound (truly, you’ll get chills).

After relaying the happy news, the LA-based stylist/blogger behind The Chriselle Factor opened up about her subsequent miscarriage and the secret shame she felt around it. As a result, she created a highly visible yet safe space for her readers to talk openly about a very tough subject.

It’s hardly what you would have expected from Chriselle, who’s made a business out of things looking perfect – or at least close to it. Her blog, YouTube channel (going strong with over 35 million views), and Instagram showcase her hyper-dewy skin and highly-coveted outfits.

But pregnancy – and now motherhood to adorable Chloe (6 months) – has brought a heavy dose of #realtalk to Chriselle’s site, and we couldn’t be more impressed with how she’s using her reach to get so honest and open. “I don’t want people to see me as this perfect person with no flaws,” she told us. “I want them to see I’m just like them, dealing with the same issues.”

We chatted with Chriselle about the perception of perfection, fighting the urge to overcommit, and her body image journey (complete with her stealable postpartum dressing advice). Meet the completely lovely, brave, and can’t-be-pegged Chriselle.

On Getting Real On Her Blog

The response has been really amazing. In the beginning, people were a bit shocked because I was one of those women who kind of portrayed a perfect glamorous life on social media. Now I think I’ve been able to open the door on their perspective of me – who I am and what I stand for. It’s really important that women, especially new moms, understand that Instagram is just a platform to go to for inspiration – things are highly curated and edited and not necessarily “real”.

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On Postpartum Dressing

A week after Chloe was born, I was going to her first doctor’s appointment: I tried to fit into my skinny jeans, and I was so disappointed. Obviously I had an unrealistic idea of what my body was going to do after giving birth. And I still dread wearing skinny jeans! I’m finally back to my pre-pregnancy weight on the scale, but my body is totally different. So now I’m wearing a lot of high-waisted skirts, pants – anything that covers my midsection and elongates my body. I also like shift dresses, pieces that skim over the body and aren’t tight anywhere so your body can move and breathe comfortably.

On Moving Past The Hard Stuff

When I filmed our pregnancy announcement, I wasn’t going to talk about my miscarriage at all… but as soon as the camera turned on, I got the sudden urge to bring it up. I felt like I needed to tell my story. I started opening up, and we literally got the whole video in one take because I was speaking from my heart. I was really nervous to post it, but when I did the number of women who came out with similar stories was absolutely insane. Women who had never talked about it were finally opening up about their experience. Women who hadn’t thought about it in 10 years, women who just went through a similar situation and had no one to talk to… thousands of women. It was such a shock to me. There is a secret society of women who go through this and never acknowledge it. I made this short film dedicated to those women who haven’t had a chance to talk to anyone about it, to know they are not alone and that so many of us go through it.

Work It Out

Even though I know working out should be a priority and I try to make it a priority, after you have a baby… they have their own schedule. It’s definitely a luxury now! I love spin, I did it once since Chloe was born, and it was amazing, but I haven’t found the time to go back. In the first 3 or 4 months, I was really horrible on myself – it’s like I want to go back to the gym! I’m on camera, so I want to look a certain way. But at the end of month 4, I got realistic with myself… and that’s actually when my body started losing the weight on its own.

Saying Yes To Less

When you become a mom, you have to figure out a number of things… one of them is coming up with a schedule that works for you and the baby. Before Chloe, I was the type of person who overcommitted myself and would say yes to everything. I can’t do that anymore – I have to be realistic and do less. I’m also more efficient with my time and better at asking friends and family for favors. Right now, my amazing aunt is my nanny – she comes three times a week, and I schedule all my meetings around those times. I give 100% on those days, and when I’m home with Chloe, I give 100% there as well.

Inspired By Teen Spirit

I started my YouTube channel about 5 years ago and there was really a lack of women in their mid-20’s/early-30’s – it was all teenagers! So I saw an opportunity. Obviously glossy magazines are very aspirational, but I wanted to do something more personal and relatable – our channel is a good hybrid of aspirational and attainable. There’s something really important about showing outfits women can actually wear – things that aren’t just beautiful, but also work in everyday life.

The Name Game

I have a niece named Chloe, and I kind of helped raise her, so I’ve always loved the name. Victoria is after Allen’s father, Victor, whom I’ve never met – he passed away from stomach cancer 15 years ago.

Bonding Through Babies

One of the many joys of motherhood is the instant bond you develop with other mothers. Eva Chen and I definitely weren’t best friends before, but through motherhood we have become a lot closer. I traveled to New York with Chloe for the first time a few weeks ago, and she offered to send me a stroller so I didnt have to travel with one. It was one of the most thoughtful things. She was also there for me during my pregnancy because she had Ren maybe a month and a half earlier, and she pretty much reported everything she was going through and sent me all these lists to help prepare. Plus so many other women I don’t even know would send me articles, encouragement, and tops on raising Chloe on social.. it’s so thoughtful and amazing.

educational apps

Travel makes even the most screentime-averse parents hop off their soapbox faster than you can say Welcome aboard ladies and gentlemen. Maybe it’s the delays, your little’s sudden decision that her car seat HUUUURTTS MAMA!, or just the evil eye of the guy across the aisle. (Chill, dude. Haven’t you ever met a child? Or heard of noise-canceling headphones?)

It’s cool: Vacation was made for relaxing your limits, but there’s no need to ditch your standards. We tapped Alexandria Abramian, content director at Forcefield and an educational app guru who’s seen them all, for her top picks for each age group.

Then prep your tablet by signing up for Forcefield’s (free!) beta version: It lets you schedule, filter, and tailor your device so you don’t turn around to find your tot posting an up-nostril shot to Instagram.

1-2 Year Olds

petting_zoo

Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann

Wonderfully quirky and imaginative, this interactive animal app includes a collection of 21 animated creatures that respond to up, down, and side-to-side swipes with fabulously unexpected results. Make a dog breakdance; tie the tentacles of an octopus; or watch a dog pretzel into shapes as it responds to your every swipe. All of it is accompanied by soothing music that won’t put you over the edge.

forest

Peek-A-Boo Forest

A soothing, Charley Harper-illustrated app lets toddlers explore an interactive forest while learning animal names and sounds. Kids can play peekaboo, learn about the seasons, and record their own voice saying the names of the animals.

shapes

Busy Shapes

This one starts with dragging and matching shapes and grows as they do to hone thinking and reasoning skills, such as uncovering hidden objects and uniting matching objects around an obstacle. Beautiful graphics and great sound effects are an added bonus.

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trucks

More Trucks

Kids can operate fire trucks, monster trucks, tow trucks and more. Most satisfying: a crane activity, which lets kids move, lower, and pick up boxes, then stack them in an arrangement of their own design… then a wrecking ball feature lets them knock all those boxes down. More Trucks lets kids explore and discover as they go along, while teaching sequencing, sorting and problem solving.

3-4 year olds:

cats

Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats

A truly bar-raising interactive kids book, this app is inspired by real-life drawings of 4-year-old Kalley, who drew a machine she hoped her dad could build. The machine was never realized, but this great app was. Highlighted text and an unbeatable variety of ingenious interactive elements make this a keeper.

bop

Bop Underwater

Stunningly designed, this puzzle-making app challenges preschoolers to assemble underwater shapes. The look and feel is both cutting-edge and cozy, as the entire environment is made out of scanned pieces of fabric, which gives it both a handmade and high-tech feel.

fiete

Fiete

With the look of hand-painted watercolors, the multi award-winning app has a whimsical, open-ended feel. Kids learn the game as they play, and along the way encounter a series of memory-style flip-the-card challenges that have a great twist: Instead of matching identical images, they unite pairs that connect. Think ice cream scoops with a cone; a ladybug with spots, etc.

storybook

The Four Seasons: A Vivaldi Storybook

This app introduces toddlers to classical music while learning about the seasons. Kids interact by waking up sleeping creatures, shaking pollen from flowers, and other activities. Important to know: No narration mode, so you’ll have to do the reading on this one.

night

Nighty Night HD

This popular and soothing app is a great way to wind them down for bedtime. A blend of storytelling, interactivity, and animation sets the scene for kids to turn off lights throughout a farm setting, putting animals to bed one by one before the entire app fades to black.

digits

Little Digits: Finger Counting

For a first math app, this one is hard to beat. Connecting finger counting with number recognition and early addition and subtraction, kids tap their fingers on the screen as they count. The concept works beautifully when it comes to very simple addition, less so when numbers go above 10.

monster

The Monster at the End of this Book

One of the best book-to-app translations available, it maintains the magic of the original while adding a level of interactivity. The irresistible story line – which urges kids not to turn pages while enticing them to do just that – features a series of hands-on activities as kids untie ropes and dismantle boarded up pages.

5-6 year olds:

cinderella

Cinderella by Nosy Crow

With beautiful illustrations and boundary-pushing interactivity that fully immerses readers in the story, the tale is set in modern day with a step-mom and sisters who are more misunderstood than malevolent and a prince who values Cinderella’s kindness over cuteness (hallelujah!). Kids can read the book themselves or hear it told to them through a mix of narration and dialogue, and almost every page has interactive elements that captivate.

sesame

Sesame Street Family Play

A truly great one loaded with 150 off-screen (yes, as in device-free) activities for kids. Select where you are (home, outside, etc), then choose the number of kids playing. The app delivers fun that are clever and unique. Many don’t require much in the way of supplies (think paper, spoons, bowls) and even more only require kids’ imagination. Keep in mind this one requires active parenting to select, assign, and oversee activities – better suited to an airline terminal than the plane itself.

writing

Writing Wizard

There is no shortage of letter/number tracing apps but Writing Wizard may be the very best. Kids learn how to trace numbers, letters, words, and shapes with this highly intuitive app that also sounds out each letter. Detailed reports give parents and teachers updates on progress, and you can also create your own word lists. Perhaps less appealing is the slot machine-“inspired” sounds that accompany the tracing function.

imake

Faces iMake

Making faces out of everyday objects gets kids thinking creatively. By dragging and dropping items like dice and balloons, kids can assemble their own one-of-a-kind creations, then share them via email (hi, grandma!).The skills expand to real life where they’ll never look at plates or buttons the same way.

toca

Toca Kitchen

Taking that concept that little ones would almost always rather play with real objects, this lets kids chop, fry, microwave, and season to their heart’s content. Beautifully animated, it features four characters and 12 different ingredients that can be prepared in 180 different ways. But will the app’s resident creature like the prepared dish? Kids can feed their creations to find out.

How To Lose The Last 5 Pounds

Every mom we know bemoans losing those last. five. pounds. You know, the ones that hang on for dear life to your tummy or your tooshie (or for some of us lucky ones, both). Awesome! Thanks, body.

We turned to our mom circle to sound off on losing the last five (or not!).

“I’ve always been a healthy eater, but I looked at my diet and realized something was fishy (literally) – I stopped snacking on my toddler’s goldfish and finishing his meals, and the weight came off. Big ole DUH.”

-Ellie

“I’m working on this now, but it’s more like the last ten pounds. I have created a KPI (key performance indicator) goals list. I have “rules / goals” for myself around exercise, diet, and weight with targets to hit by certain dates. I track my progress on an Excel spreadsheet. Oh and yes, I’m Type-A, thankyouverymuch.”

-Mel

“I’ve tried it all: cleanses, juice days, lemon water, no carbs, no dairy, no gluten… and then at some point I learned that moderation is the key. Indulge when you need to but not every day. Eat clean, real food most often. And drink lots of water. Practice restraint but have fun – there’s no point in being skinny if you can’t enjoy life.”

-Juliana

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“I just gave up and bought new boots. Those always fit.”

-Grace

I had an affair. Don’t judge! It took place exclusively over flirty smiles with the random dude who works at the sandwich shop by my office. The ego boost I got from someone thinking I was hot made me feel too excited to finish my food (or order what I really wanted). Whatever it takes, right?!”

-Ericka

“I employed my selective memory to up my pre-pregnancy weight by 5 pounds and now I’m right on track.”

-Jennifer

I stopped taking the elevator at work and hauled my big ol’ behind up the stairs. Did I mention I work on the 8th floor?!”

-Priya

“Don’t tell the Le Leche League, but I really lost the last bit of weight when I stopped breastfeeding.”

-Candace

I stopped using the scale as my guide and let my old clothes do the talking. As soon as they fit comfortably, I knew I had arrived. Funny thing is, when I did check the scale, the numbers were still off. Oh well!”

-Willa

“When my OB told me she was off sugar, I scoffed and told her she didn’t know how to enjoy life. But after 9 months of useless diet after more useless diet, I caved and gave myself a no-sweets-no-excuses plan…and those 5 pounds came off in a week… and I am really enjoying it.”

-Dory

“After mentally pleading Why can’t I have her body?! countless times in yoga, one of the hot-bodied ladies in my class mentioned offhand that she’d been trying for 6 years to get pregnant. HOLY MENTALITY SHIFT. I felt so grateful for my body, no matter how much it weighed.”

-Christine

“Once I saw enough fashion bloggers incorporate activewear into their non-workout outfits, I swapped my skinny jeans and flats for Lululemon leggings and sweet Nikes and realized I looked just as good. Now I never have an excuse to not go to the good market that’s a twice-as-far walk, or take the subway to meet a friend for a drink when I could bike.”

-Adrienne

“I finally got a personal trainer. Sure, it meant getting up even earlier than I already was and spending an ungodly amount of money, but it paid off in the most unexpected ways. I pushed myself physically and emotionally – and learned I was strong in ways I didn’t know.”

-Jen

Spanx. All day, every day. Those 5 pounds are still there, technically, but pushed up and in enough that no one would know.”

-Gloria

“I went to the grocery store with my most obnoxiously healthy friend and let her walk me through the aisles choosing all the sh*t needed for quick, healthy meals. Once my fridge resembled what I imagine Gwyneth’s looks like – think goat-milk yogurt, raw coconut, grapeseed oil, fresh herbs, farro, beans – I was able to better resist the siren call of Seamless every night.”

-Tamera

“I joined an accountability text group — it sounds like a snooze to receive so many texts a day saying things like quinoa for lunch followed by 14 versions of GOOD FOR YOU! rendered in emojis… and yet, it works. It makes me think twice before making unhealthy decisions and I get an endorphin kick from sending out positive reinforcement all day long.”

-Elissa

I paid a fancy pants nutritionist $650 to restrict me to 730 calories a day. Sure I “could” have done that for free, but I wasn’t giving up the carbs until it meant also giving up hard-earned, cold hard cash.”

-Abbe

“When all else fails, hit the ground running, literally. Drop $600 on a jogging stroller, and you’ll keep at it out of guilt! Now I’m obsessed, and it clears my head in a way nothing else does. Extra points for not needing a babysitter.”

-Nicole

“I gave up the gym and took my workout outside with a friend. A twice-weekly 45-minute uphill hike broke up the monotony of being on an elliptical. Plus, you can’t cheat on a mountain.”

-Elliott

“Rather than trying to get back into my pre-baby clothes, I went shopping and bought pieces I love in one size up. This is the new me, and I’m cool with that.”

-Helene

“A friend turned me onto Gretchen Rubin’s “Loophole Spotting” strategy, which basically eviscerated all of my enabling habits. It’s the weekend — I shouldn’t have to work out! If I reject that cookie, I’ll make our office manager feel terrible! I don’t always succeed at catching myself before falling into those little traps but knowing what to look out for helped me stick to the stuff I know works: Moderate diet and exercise.”

-Sally

I focused on the parts of my body I was loving post-baby. Hello, boobs! I had never had them before. Surprisingly, that mental shift made me less concerned with the parts of my body I was not so thrilled about – I have much more important things to worry about.”

-Morgan

“ I do not recommend this to anyone, but I had my babies at 30 and 31 weeks (obviously not on purpose) – so I missed the last two months of weight gain. And those stubborn last five pounds. All about silver linings, people.”

-Pam