A new partnership for BabyLove!

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The banner hanging up in the BabyLove office has the tagline, “Exceptional Independent Education for All.” That’s always been the end goal of BabyLove; to provide independent classes that are more affordable options and to work on increasing access to families who might not otherwise have other independent options within their reach. I started my career teaching in county hospitals and working with a very wide variety of families going through very different situations. I was very fortunate in both places to have supportive directors who believed in evidence-based education, as well. I loved the variety and still have a passion to bring positive, informative, and empowering information to ALL families, not just a few.

To allow me to further extend the original mission of BabyLove, I am excited to announce that, in addition to being a provider for the UCare S.E.A.T.S. Program, most of the birth and baby classes offered at BabyLove are now covered by UCare for expecting mothers who have UCare coverage. Classes covered include:

  • Evening Lamaze Series
  • Weekend Lamaze Series
  • Ready for Birth™: 3 Week Childbirth Preparation
  • Ready for Birth™: Express Childbirth Class
  • Labor Skills Intensive Workshop
  • Planned Cesarean Preparation
  • Better Breastfeeding!
  • Ready for Baby™: Newborn Basics
  • Car Seat Safety

Additionally, we will be offering two classes in Spanish: The one day Ready For Birth Express Class and a Combination Breastfeeding/ Newborn Care class. This will again help even more families get quality information.

You can find more information on the English classes here and more info on the Spanish classes here. Families must call to register for classes, and this coverage is effective immediately.

If you have any questions or wish to talk about this more, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

UPDATED: Four (now 6) Convertible Car Seats to Consider

What Convertible Car Seats Buy now

Update 7/10/14: New car seats are always coming out, so I wanted to make sure to take a look at some of the new options out there. Diono has added three more seats to their lineup. You can see a handy comparison chart here I’ve added the Ranier to the list below. Additionally, after doing a couple of checks on Graco MySize 65s, I’m adding it to the list below. I’m still irked with Graco, but this is a good seat.

I got an email from a mom asking about the kinds of convertible car seats I recommend.  So, I’m going to finally write a post about it.  This is the number one question I get asked when it comes to car seats, so I guess it’s time I addressed it.

First, though, some caveats and disclaimers: 

There is no right right car seat for everyone.  You need to pick a car seat that works for your budget, that will fit your child and, especially in the case of convertible car seats, will fit in your car.  Additionally, I do not make any money on the sale of any brands that I will list below.  This is just my opinion based off of 4 years of experience. These are not listed in any specific order, either.

#1- The Recaro ProRide 

I like the ProRide for a few reasons. It’s got some of the highest limits both forward and rear facing. This means it’s going to do a good job of keeping your child rear facing for a long time and allowing your child to stay forward-facing in a 5 point harness for as long as possible.

  • Cost: $220-$260
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-40lbs and 49″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-65lbs and 22.5″ when seated
  • Dimensions: 27-29″H x 19″W x11″D
  • Weight: 20lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Adjustable head support, Recline level indicator, no-rethread harness adjustment

#2- Diono RadianRXT

Things I love about this car seat include it’s steel frame, that you can use the LATCH to anchor it to up to 80 pounds, that it’s also a booster, that it’s narrow frame means you can fit three into the back seat of many cars, and that you can tether it rear-facing. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but it’s the only car seat you really need to ever buy (in theory).

  • Cost: $250-320
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-45lbs and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-80lbs and 57″
  • Dimensions (HxWxD):28.5″H x 17″W x 16″D
  • Weight: 26.15lbs
  • Expiration: 8 years from date of manufacture in harness mode, 9 years in booster mode
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Adjustable head support, Expandable sides, Adjustable cup holder

#3- Combi Coccoro

While the two seats I listed above are FABULOUS at being able to be used for the long-term, if you have a smaller car or 2 kids in the back seat of your 4 door car (or, in a 2 door car), then you might need a seat that’s more compact so it’ll actually fit in your backseat rear-facing. This is also a really nice, lightweight seat.

  • Cost: $175-$210
  • Rear-facing limits: 3-33 lbs. and 40″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-40lbs and 40″
  • Dimensions: 17″ L x 15.50″ W x 28.25″ H
  • Weight: 11.75 lbs.
  • Expiration: 7 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Can be tethered rear and forward facing, starts at a very low birth weight, a very good seat for preemies, buckle has a visual cue to tell you it’s buckled correctly

#4- Evenflo SureRide DLX

For families looking for a cost-effective option, this is a good seat.  It has some features of the more expensive seats above, like high height limits in the forward facing position.  It does not have some of the nicer features of the other seats, and it can’t be tethered in a rear-facing position.  Also, you’ll find it’s missing some of the “ease of use” features the other seats have. But I will say I do like Evenflo seats and was thrilled to find this seat.

  • Cost: $85-$110
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-40 lbs. and 40″
  • Forward-facing limits: 22-65lbs and 54″
  • Dimensions: 24” High x 18.5” Wide x 28” Long for rear-facing; 28” High x 18.5” Wide x 20” Long in forward-facing mode
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, made in the USA, fold-down cupholder

#5- Diono Rainier (NEW!)

As much as I love the Radians, The new Rainier has a few things up on them. First, the lifespan of use is 12 years from date of PURCHASE, whereas the Radians are good for 10 years from date of manufacture. The Rainier is also a little more padded and has higher weight limits. The one downside is that the Rainiers are wider, so you can’t get 33 in the backseat of a smaller car.

  • Cost: $290
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-50 lbs. and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-90 lbs and 57″
  • Dimensions: 16 x 17 x 28.7 inches
  • Weight: 28.4 lbs.
  • Expiration: 12 years from date of purchase
  • Other features: Also a high back booster, can be tethered rear-facing, folds for travel

#6- Graco MySize 65 (New!)

OK, I do like this seat. I like that you can adjust the harness without un-installing the seat. I like that there are 2 separate sets of lower anchor straps so you don’t have to move the lower anchor straps when you go from rear-facing to forward facing. I like the recline settings. The infant insert is nice, too. The main downside is the lower height limit for forward facing.

  • Cost: $180
  • Rear-facing limits: 4-40 lbs. and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-65 lbs and 49″
  • Dimensions: Overall Height: 26″ x Width: 22.3″ x Depth: 19.3″
  • Weight: 19.34 lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture (stamped on back)
  • Other features: integrated cup holder, ease of install, upgraded LATCH connectors

 

I was originally going to write about 5 seats, until I realized… I couldn’t find a 5th to stick up here.  That doesn’t mean that the other seats aren’t good seats.  It just means that there might be certain things, like difficult installation instructions or obnoxious quirks that leave me feeling lukewarm about them.  And remember, you DO NOT NEED an infant-only seat.  You will absolutely need to buy a convertible car seat, period, end of story.  Consider buying one really awesome convertible car seat and skip the expensive, limited-use infant seat.

So those are my thoughts, and they are only my thoughts. Do you have questions?  Throw ‘em in the comment section below!

Warmly,

Veronica (a proud Child Passenger Safety Technician)

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

How much do cloth diapers cost, 2014 edition

I went to Peapods yesterday to check out what they had for cloth diapers and to make a new video on the cost of cloth diapers.  Check it out!

If you hadn’t seen it previously, I offered up tips last month on how to save on cloth diapers.

You can find more information on the newborn diaper rental at Peapods here.

Support local businesses! Shop at Peapods and check out the classes at BabyLove!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The Graco Car Seat Recall: The Full Story

Update 7/1/2014: The AP is reporting that Graco finally gave up the fight and is now recalling a large number of their infant-only seats As before, it’s 2:41pm CDT and recalls.gov has no mention of the recall. And as before, I looked on the NHTSA website and, lo and behold, there was this:

2014 Updated Graco RecallMan, that AP reporter is good. =)

Original post:

This afternoon, around 1:15, I got home after spending the morning at the office.  I took the dogs out to go pee, threw my lunch into the microwave to reheat, and checked social media while my food warmed up.  That’s when I saw this:
Graco Car Seat FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a HUGE recall.  It covered a lot of seats, and basically meant any Graco seat of those models that hadn’t expired were being recalled.  So I clicked on the link, which was a reprint of the Associated Press story, to learn more.

Now, a time out.

There were a few different pieces of information I was looking for.  I was curious about exactly WHAT the reason for the recall was.  Was it a design flaw? Was it something that they later figured out could be an issue with normal use? I was also curious to know if it was the type of recall that would necessitate that parents stop using the seat immediately, or if it was the kind of recall where parents could keep using the seat until they had it repaired.  I was also curious HOW the recalled issue would be fixed– would parents need a new seat? Or could they just order a new part? Before I shared the news to parents, I wanted to make DARN SURE I understood all of the details of the recall so I could answer their questions.

But here was the issue with the original AP story: All of that information was missing.  The story stated that the seats were being recalled because the buckles were sticking and in some cases parents had to CUT the straps to free their kids. But all of the information that I was looking for as I explained above? It was missing.

I did what any good educator/ car seat tech would do: I started digging.

I went to the Graco website. Nothing on a recall from today.

I went to the website for the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration aka NHTSA (since the AP story said they ordered the recall), but…..nothing.

I went to Recall.gov to find out if I could find anything there.  Still NOTHING.

It was now about 1:30pm.

So, I did what I thought was the most logical next step:  I called NHTSA.

I called NHTSA, waited on hold for about 10 minutes, and when I finally got a person to talk to, I asked him if he had information for a Graco car seat recall from today.  He looked in his database, didn’t find anything, but when I told him an AP story said they DID order a recall, he put me on hold. He came back a few minutes later to tell me that a recall was filed, but that it hadn’t been finalized (whatever that meant). I asked him if he had any details, and he said that until it was finalized, he didn’t.

Dead end there.  I wasn’t sure where the AP story came from AT ALL. So? I decided to call the Associated Press tip line.

I called the AP tip line and explained to the nice lady answering the phones why I was calling.  She told me I needed to talk to the business division, so she put me on hold and transferred me. I explained to the next woman why I was calling– that they were running a story and I COULD NOT for the life of me find ANY info on the recall.  She was very nice, and told me that I should call the reporter who wrote the story.  She gave me his name and–gasp–his phone number!

It was now about 2pm.

I took a deep breath and called the reporter. When he answered, I explained to him who I was and why I was calling and told him that I could not find any information on the recall outside of the AP story he wrote.  I told him I has spoken with NHTSA who couldn’t tell me anything because the recall wasn’t final.  It was then that I learned the story for how the recall got to be reported.

I was speaking with the AP reporter in the Michigan office. He told me that they check a very specific website every single day, and they look for recalls announced in the last 24 hours to make sure they catch everything.  He helped me find what he found, and it was this:

2014 Graco Car seat Recall

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post on the government website was missing information too.  All of those critical questions I outlined above? Aren’t covered by this notice.  He ended up sharing more details with me about the recall, but it’s not yet public information, so I don’t want to disclose anything prematurely.  I thanked him, and we hung up.

Right away, since it was the most complete info I had, I took the screen shot above and shared it on the BabyLove FB page.  The time was 2:17. It turns out that while I was editing the picture, Graco DID FINALLY issue information about the recall.  You can find the information here.

Bottom line?  In my professional opinion, order the replacement buckle and make the swap. Don’t hope that washing the buckle will “fix” it.  Order the new buckle.

Anyway, that was my day. How was yours? *grin*

If you have questions, post them below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Guest Post: Craft Night Saves Lives

Last night was the return of Craft Night at BabyLove.  It was wonderful. If you saw it and thought, “That would be fun,” you were right. But one mama, Mari Koeck, attended the most recent craft night and sent along these really amazing thoughts.  Enjoy!

-Veronica

Some days as a mom I feel like Mother Theresa. Other days I feel like Cinderella’s wicked stepmother. Today was not a good day. The kids were communicating solely in unintelligible alien shrieks, everything was escalating, and I was not coping well. I could feel my stress level rise, but I was not Mother Theresa. I am thankful I held it together enough to avoid creating headlines, but, barely.

A couple of years ago I watched a National Geographic documentary about stress. The gist of it was that the chemicals released for our “fight or flight” response to problems need to be burned off or they start attacking our cells, causing them to age more quickly, subtly attacking and killing part of our physical body. Thank God the documentary didn’t end there. Can you imagine the tailspin of depression and unbearable stress that would send any viewer into?

They went on to talk about how researchers studied a group of people who suffer from prolonged, chronic stress. They chose parents of children with special needs and they were surprised by what they saw. Yes, chronic stress was every bit as serious as they knew, but they observed something new. Many of the mothers in their study were part of mom groups with other moms raising children with special needs. The mothers who attended these groups had lower stress levels than those who didn’t, but researchers were shocked to discover that the physical damage to cells caused by stress wasn’t simply limited by their relational connection, it was reversed.

After my painfully un-Hallmark worthy day, I was at the end of my rope. It was as if I couldn’t just feel the stress physically killing my cells, but I could feel it killing the deepest part of me that makes me know I’m alive. But tonight wasn’t just any night, it was BabyLove’s Craft Night. It is a simple concept, any kind of moms can come together and…craft. While there’s something deeply satisfying about creating something with your hands, it was the relational aspect of simply chatting with other moms that was better than any medicine or therapy for me today. There wasn’t any program or attempt to make it into “something.” It just was what it was, simple, but profound. It was meeting my real need at the end of a stressful day for some mom relationships to undue the harm that stress was trying to do to me.

When I first came to BabyLove, I thought I was bringing my son to Mama Cafe to hang with other babies. The reason I kept coming was because of the way just being together with other mamas from all backgrounds nurtured the best parts of me. When I was in such a positive place, not only did I never once get a whiff of the “mommy wars,” but I felt deeply loved and I wanted to love those around me. I was renewed and energized by these meetings and I need to remember that it isn’t just in my head, but there is a physical need for this kind of relationship as well.

If you’re a bit of a worrier – like me – and are still hung up on the fact that stress is killing you, then you need to: 1) Watch this TED video “How to make stress your friend” by Kelly McGonigal (Available here) and 2) Do something about it by finding other moms to connect with whether in your neighborhood, your church, your child’s school, or BabyLove. It takes a bit of extra effort, but it is an investment in not just reducing stress and improving your health, it is ensuring more Mother Theresa moments for you and your kids, and we all need more of those.

Mari is a mother of two and head writer for Koeck Communications, LLC

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The faces of BabyLove: Meet Lora!

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Lora has been coming to BabyLove for the last couple of years and started as my bookkeeper in November. I wanted you all to meet her!

-Veronica

Tell everyone a little bit about yourself:

I am mom to William (almost 22 months). In my spare time I like to do various crafts, ride scooters and go camping and fishing with my husband, Matt. We have been living on the East Side of St. Paul for almost 8 years.

How did you find BabyLove?

I was pregnant with William and I had seen someone repost something from BabyLove on Facebook. I started coming to Mama Cafe a few months before my due date and just kept coming after.

What keeps you coming back?

I think that Veronica and my personalities really mesh well together. I also really liked the atmosphere of Mama Cafe and the friends that we met. Now that William is older I still enjoy coming to help be the voice of experience after the struggles we went through initially. Letting other mom’s know it is normal and that someone else has gone through it. Plus I think William really likes getting out of the house.

What does it mean to you to now be a part of BabyLove?

BabyLove is a much needed support system especially to the southern metro. I am very excited to be a part of this to help new moms know what is normal and what to expect and to see that they can overcome their obstacles as well.

What do you want all families to know about BabyLove?

BabyLove is a great alternative to traditional hospital birthing classes. It is more tailored to the specific families that are attending. The best part is that the support doesn’t just stop after the baby is born. From breastfeeding support to car seat support when moving to a convertible or beyond, BabyLove can give those services. It is a one-stop shop for your baby needs.

What do you think care providers should know about BabyLove?

BabyLove offers something a little more personal than what most families can find in a traditional hospital setting. Veronica does a great job of preparing families for their upcoming births and what to expect after. You can tell that she has made a difference at how frequently families come back after the babies are born for different groups, like Mama Cafe, or the new Yoga classes. BabyLove really offers a comprehensive set of classes and it is exciting to watch it continue to grow.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Car seat videos you MUST watch

Sometimes when I talk to parents and grandparents about car seats, they are skeptical about what I’m talking about because the information I’m giving them might be different from what they did or what they heard from others.  I’m always having to remind people that physics are physics, and it doesn’t matter how much you spent on a seat– if it’s not installed or used correctly, that car seat won’t do it’s job.  I’ve been going through YouTube to find the best videos to explain certain things.

1) Rear facing is THE SAFEST position, period

I’ve asked around, and physics work the same way on both sides of the Atlantic.

2) Expired car seats won’t work in the event of a crash

3) That tether is a very important part of safe installation of a forward facing seat

4)Why a 5 point harness is much safer than a booster seat

5) Not all booster seats are the same


6)That backless booster is cheap, but at what cost?

Not sure if you’re using the right car seat or using it correctly? I can help! Find out more here.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.