Sunday, December 15, 2019

Travel: Baby Beach Essentials

What to Pack for Baby on a Beach Vacation

Now that we have had the opportunity to take a few trips with our little one, I thought I'd share my top picks for what to take on a trip to a beach destination.

In my experience, planning for a trip with a little one requires a little more thinking and strategizing. It's definitely fun but I found there was more I needed to prepare and take along, compared to travelling alone or as a couple. I figure it's time to do a series of posts on what to take along with you when you're packing for a baby.

My Baby Beach Essentials were items that were so helpful to me on our last beach vacation and they are definitely things I'll be taking along the next time we hit the beach.

Baby Wrap or Carrier
It's tough to push a stroller on sand and we found it was helpful to have our baby wrap with us. I loved the Beluga Baby wrap- it packed up super small, was stretchy and comfortable for the baby and the sand just brushed off.

Milk Snob Nursing cover
With the wind on the beach, using any other cover while nursing would not have worked. I love the Milk Snob because it's stretchy, secure and gives you great coverage while nursing. Also it packs up very small and is super light.

Large Beach Towel
Having something to lay the baby on while at the beach was great. I made sure to have an extra towel for my chair so that she could lie on it comfortably while snoozing.

Long-Sleeved Bathing Suits
I had no idea how quickly a baby's skin can burn! Thankfully, we had packed long sleeved bathing suits for her. These were great to help block the sun and keep her comfortable while in the water.

After 6 months of age, baby's can wear sunscreen. Our sunscreen of choice is ThinkBaby, as it was highly recommended for being a clean product.

Tip: if you are going on a beach vacation before your baby is 6 months old, the best times we found to be out at the beach were from 7am-9:30 am and then again in the evening around 6pm-7pm. We spent more time in out hotel room than we would have if we were travelling as a couple - so I'd recommend booking a room with a swim up pool or a balcony so you can enjoy the weather while the baby takes a nap for instance.

Sun hat and Sunglasses
Sun protection is always key when you're headed down south. A wide brim hat and UVA/B protected glasses for the baby (if they keep them on) are helpful to block the sun's rays.

Stroller Fan
I always talk about my stroller fan but honestly I can't say enough good things about it. It is so helpful in hot climates and during the summer. I recommend this particular one by O'Polar because I learned through trial and error that you need multiple speed settings and a rechargeable battery.

Small cooler for snacks

A cooler for the baby's milk, drinks and snacks is so helpful when travelling. I'd suggest packing some ziplock bags or a small container to take food and snacks on the go. It's so helpful to have a bag to keep things cool. I love this one by Skip Hop which you can attach to your stroller or diaper bag.

A few small toys 

If your baby is in a toy phase, a few water and sand proof toys or books would be a great item to pack a long. Small and light weight options would be my pick.

Hope this list of Baby Beach Essentials helps if you are travelling somewhere warm this winter. Let me know what your baby beach must-haves are too! Send me a message on Instagram @angeliesood I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

An Exciting Update!

I'm excited to announce that I am the new food writer for Flourish Magazine, a Canadian magazine that boasts "real reads by real moms".  I'm definitely excited to be sharing recipes, kitchen tips and tricks with their online and print audience.

Here's my first article, a recipe for Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.
I love making this dish when I have some leftover grains - you can use quinoa or brown rice too. It's healthy, delicious and such a comfort food!

Hope you try it at home!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Motherhood: The One Thing Anyone Can Do For A New Mom

Becoming a mother is no doubt a time of transition. It is beautiful, it is sacred, it is special and it is challenging. You are filled with so many emotions - happiness, excitement, worry and anxiety. You hope you are doing all you can to give your child a wonderful upbringing and to be the best you can be for him or her.

Your mind is going a million miles a minute, thinking about someone else- putting another person's needs before your own, but then also trying to maintain your sense of self. Learning a new type of balance in a very unbalanced time in your life. Learning to take slivers of me time when you can, because it is oh so important. Trying your best to remember to feed yourself before 3pm or to take a long shower.

On any given day, a new mom is singing, comforting, loving, entertaining, feeding, bathing, cleaning, wiping and teaching her little one around the clock. She loves every part of her new job and new life but- it is new and it is different.

There are no doubt so many ways a woman's community gathers around her at this time - offering wisdom, advice, friendship, laughter, company and sometimes if she's lucky - home-cooked meals.

But here's one thing we can all do for the new moms in our lives - whether they are close friends, a family member or a stranger you meet on the bus...and that is this:

Say hello to her first.

Granted the baby is cute, the baby is cuddly - but she has been around much longer than the baby and wouldn't it be nice to let her know she matters just as much now as she did before? That she matters independently of the sweet baby in her arms?

I remember a few interactions I had in the early days that left me questioning whether I had become invisible. So I can say with some authority that it likely won't make a difference to the child whether you smile and play a few minutes before or afterwards, but to the mom - it will count.

In the first 3 months after giving birth, I feel like this is so important. This the time in her life where everything has changed drastically and so this simple gesture that seems small on the outside, can make all the difference. Especially to a woman who has given of herself, her heart and her body to birth another life.

She probably sees herself as part of a mom and baby package right now. She probably doesn't always recognize her own needs. She probably could use a tiny gesture to let her know she's still the individual that she was before the baby arrived.

So if you only do one thing for a new mom you know, please do this:
Just make her feel like you see her too. Just look at her, smile and say hi to her first.  I bet it will matter.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Motherhood: 3 BEST Newborn Products and 3 Purchase Regrets

3 BEST Newborn Products and 3 I Could've Passed On

There are so many surprises when you begin your journey as a mom. The first thing that surprised me was how much you can love someone you literally just met! How you can instantly feel like you've known them forever. It's an incredible feeling.

After that I was surprised by how much laundry there is.

No really- what the heck is with the laundry? Not just her clothes but MY clothes too. I had no idea how many times I'd be changing my own clothing every day- especially during the first few months.

Another surprising thing, was just what it takes to get out of the house. With or without the baby. I remember our doctor telling us to start getting ready to leave the house an hour before we normally would in order to get somewhere on time. She wasn't kidding.

Luckily - I managed to streamline the process and bit and shared about it in a post on my blog. If you're in that early phase and are finding it difficult to get out of the house you can read my tips to make it a little easier over here: Tips for Getting Out of the House with a Baby

I'm surprised that I still find it challenging to take alone time for myself - especially for things that are just for fun like getting my nails done or going shopping (for myself not for baby- shopping for baby is way too easy- this was surprising too.)

Another surprise- how there are very few pictures of me actually with my baby (even though we are together all day, every day) - we are working on changing this!

There's tons of little surprises, I tell you!

Some of our favourite newborn products were also a surprise to me - as were some of the biggest regret purchases.

I guess that makes sense- because you wouldn't purchase or inherit something if you didn't think it would be helpful.

Below, I'm sharing the best three surprise products that were so useful and amazing that I'm still using them. I also share three things I could have lived without!

Top Three Products

These products were by far the MVPs of our entire baby experience so far. In fact, these are all products that I didn't even realize the value of until I was using them day in and day out. Some of them I wouldn't have even purchased if it had not come recommended to me.

The most amazing thing about all three of these products is that we are still using them today at 6.5 months!

Milk Snob

I had no idea how much I would love the Milk Snob nursing cover. It's stretchy and stays securely around your body so you don't have to worry about your cover flying off. It has made nursing in public so much more comfortable for me and stretches enough to give baby space while she's feeding.

It's also been amazing as a cover for her stroller and has helped me put her to sleep while on the go and has offered an extra layer of protection from wind and germs during colder seasons.

I've LOVED the Milk Snob and it is one of my favourite things for the baby. I love it so much I bought two so one can always be available even if the other is in the wash. We never leave home without it.

Snuggle Me Organic

The Snuggle Me Organic was a hand-me-down from a friend and another product I really didn't realize would be so useful to me. I realize in Canada they are not considered "sleep safe" however, this was amazing during the first few months when babies spend so much of the day sleeping. We used it for her to nap/lounge while we were awake and watching. Later, as she got older, we also used it in our bed to give her her own space.

The Snuggle Me was perfect for making her feel safe and cozy when she still had the startle reflex. We still use it on occasion now, and in it our daughter is able to sleep in the family room, even while we are moving around right beside her.

Beluga Baby

Our Beluga Baby carrier was another item I just couldn't have functioned without! It's so soft and stretchy and has been amazing for keeping the baby with me while I've taken walks, done things around the house and prepared meals too. Around the 6 week mark, our baby went through a phase where she did not want to be put down.

The carrier was amazing because its not too big or bulky and it hugs the baby close to your body. The sense of security and calm that our baby got while being in this carrier was truly amazing. Some days, it even helped to put her to sleep when she was extremely fussy. It's also great to take on the go or for travel because it folds up nice and tight to pack away.

An honourable mention goes to the Uppa Baby Bassinet which has been amazing to take with us on the go to people's houses, or for walks. It has a pull down canopy and UV shade which

has been amazing to create a dark space for napping. Our baby has loved napping on the go in this sleep safe bassinet and I really don't know what I'm going to do now that she has out grown it.

I should also mention that this is a product that I didn't realize would be so useful to me initially so if you're shopping for a stroller, I'd recommend the Uppa Baby brand as the bassinet comes with some models.


With all the things I was gifted, someone passed on to me and that I bought myself, there were bound to be a couple of things we could have managed without. These items aren't "bad" per say, but they just didn't get a lot of use in our home - or definitely not as much as I expected.

Dr Brown's Sanitizer

I was lucky to be able to breastfeed and so we didn't have a need for many bottles and as a result we didn't use the sanitizer much. I felt the need to wait for a bunch of things to sanitize all at once so I didn't really end up sanitizing with it very often. I felt it was much easier to just boil some water or use a microwave sterilizing bag vs keeping a large sanitizer on our counter. In case you do end up bottle feeding however, this product would be a game changer! One of those things, you won't know till you know whether you will need it or not.


The Bumbo seat was a hand me down and while it was nice to have (especially with a tray!) I think the amount of time a child would fit in this chair will vary. I'd definitely recommend a sit-me-up chair but I'd probably go with Summer Infant or Fisher Price for this.

Pumping Bra

I quickly learned that washing all the parts of a pump multiple times a day really sucks. The harder it is to pump, the less likely you are to pump. A lot of people choose not to pump and now I understand why.  I kept up with pumping because I wanted the flexibility of being able to give the baby a bottle when we needed to. I also really liked giving one bottle at night so we knew how much the baby had to drink. It helped us understand her other cues and predict some of her sleep habits.

It was much easier for me to set up both sides of my pump in the morning and use one for an am pump session and the other for a pm session. I also learned that you get more milk from a session when you express while you pump, so the bra just seemed useless to me. Some people swear by it, but for me it made the experience a little less natural, so I preferred not to use it.

Notable Mentions

The following two items aren't super big regrets,  but I thought it would be helpful to mention a few reasons why we could have pumped the breaks on these -

Fancy Outfits for the Baby

While it is so fun to buy cute dresses and party outfits- truly they often out grown these before you can make use of them. The best gifts to buy a newborn are the every day kind of clothes- sweat pants, jeans, cotton sleepers and burp clothes/bibs are always useful.

Sleep Sacks

Buying multiple sleep sacks at once has been a bit of a regret because you really don't know what your baby will like and what TOG (heat value) will get them the best sleep. I'd recommend buying one- trying it for a few nights and then seeing if you want a second one or if you want to try another brand.

So far we have had success with the Halo brand in 0.5 TOG (very light blanket).

So there you go - my top three products and three shopping lessons learned thus far in parenthood. Hope this helps you when you're buying gifts, building a registry or "adding to cart".  If you'd like to see a full list of my Baby favourites, check out my Amazon page here

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Motherhood: Baby Favourites 0-3 Months

Baby Favourites 0-3 Months

Now that I have cleared the newborn phase of my little babe's life, I thought I would share some of the products that helped us most while our baby was in the 0-3 period. It's such a precious but crazy time and I know I appreciated all the advice and sharing that my mom friends did with me to help me through the transition.

Today I thought I'd write about some of my essentials for life with a baby that I found to be helpful to have around during the early days.

Of course, I loved having traditional items like Muslin blankets (a must), a stroller (we chose the Uppababy Vista and Mesa car seat ), burp cloths and bibs. They were so so helpful and if you want to see the items that were the best for our little family, I have linked them all in my Amazon Storefront to make it super easy to shop from.


My number one favourite book during this time was The Wonder Weeks. There is also an app you can make use of.

The theory behind the book is that all babies go through 10 fussy periods in their early years and that these phases are linked to developmental growth periods. By knowing what is going on developmentally, you can prepare yourself and support your child without getting frustrated or losing your cool!

Loved this book and highly recommend it.

Sleepers and Gowns

In the beginning, we used sleepers all day, because our babe was literally sleeping almost all day. I loved cotton one pieces with zippers and my favourites were from Burt's Bees, Carters and Baby Gap.

I really loved these Kimono style robes from Parade Organics. We still use these in the 3-6 month phase that we are in now. These robes make night-time diaper changes a breeze and also doubles as a bit of a sleep sack.


At this stage babies don't really need much to entertain them. But books are always a great thing to start collecting as they can grow with them.

For a 0-3 month old, I'd recommend books with high contrast, black and white pictures. As baby's eye-sight develops, high contrast really helps them to focus and build concentration. Small sized board books are great for baby to hold and to take with you on the go.

Colourful, soft toys with rattles, tags and mirrors are also a crowd-pleaser at this age!


Having a place to lay baby down for tummy time is very helpful. We loved our Skip Hop Play Mat. Bonus- the Farmstand theme helped expose her to fruit and vegetables way before she was even ready to eat.


For bedtime, we preferred the Halo Bassinet which was gifted to us. It was truly amazing- especially for me as I was recovering from a C-Section. The sides were made out of mesh so our baby felt comfortable as she could see us. We also loved that it was easy to get her out of bed for night feedings and changes.

We also absolutely loved the Snuggle Me Organic lounger. This was one of those products that I didn't know I needed at all. It was probably one of the best surprise gifts we received!

Our baby was super comfy and cozy lounging in this for short naps when we were watching her. This was a product I really didn't know I needed until I was in the Newborn stage and realized all she wanted was to feel close and secure.

These Sleep Sacks with the wrapped arms were so helpful too! They are made by Halo and we loved them to help transition her out of a swaddle and into a sleep sack. 


For Feeding, I was lucky to be able to breast feed my baby and used a pump so dad could help with the bedtime feed. Our favourite bottles were the Como Tomo bottles - they had the most real look and feel as well as anti-colic valves to help the baby's tummy.

My pump of choice was the Medela Free Style. After some time, I learned that washing the parts was the most tedious part so I used one side of the set up for a morning pump session and the other side of the set up for an evening session. This helped me avoid washing both sides twice a day - which mostly saved my sanity! (lol- but not really.)

Hope this list of my favourite things for the 0-3 period and helps anyone doing some shopping or planning for a baby in their future. These are just some of the items that were helpful to us. If you want to see more of the items that were best for our little family, you can check out the links in my Amazon Storefront and shop away!