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10 MUST HAVE ITEMS ALL MOMS AND/OR DADS NEED IN THEIR DIAPER BAG

Written by: Yaffa Koff

I have new moms and dads in the studio all the time and they’re constantly asking me about baby products, baby advice, and what are the things they NEED in order to get through those early stages of parenting. So I decided, why not start writing up some blog posts to let everyone in on some helpful tips. As a mom of 4, I have a little experience in the world of parenting (wink, wink) and I’ve also asked lots of other moms for their opinions to help round out this post. I’ve also made things really easy by posting links for all items mentioned below. These items are in no way endorsed or sponsored by the companies that produce them, they’re just what I (and lots of other moms out there) really love!

So, whether you live near me in Silver Spring, Maryland, or an a city close by like Baltimore or Washington, DC, or even far, far away like New York or even California, this post is for you!

Here is the list of the top 10 MUST have items to pack in your diaper bag!

    1. Diapers:
      Now this might seem like a “DUH!” kind of item, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve been out and about and realized that I’m totally out of diapers and forgot to restock. Those are definitely NOT some of my finer “mom” moments, lol! Now, the question still remains about what kind of diapers should you pack? I am personally a HUGE Pampers snob! I find that the diapers don’t leak and that it helps minimize baby rash. That being said, they are probably one of the most expensive diapers on the market. So in the interest of giving you a cost effective choice, I’ve went with the diaper that so many moms use which is Target Brand diapers.
    2. Wipes:
      Wipes are one of the most handy things you could ever back in a diaper bag. Not only are they needed for wiping your baby’s little tush when changing diapers, they are useful for so much more! They’re amazing for wiping dirty little faces that are covered in baby food, spit-up and runny noses. They are perfect for wiping a dirty spot on your clothes when you realized your baby just spit-up, peed, or even pooped all over you(ew!). They are perfect for wiping down the shopping cart before you place your baby in the seat, or the highchair at the restaurant when you go out to eat. They even come in handy as a makeup remover when you realize that you rubbed mascara all over your face because you’re just so very tired! Now for wipes I love using Pampers Sensitive Wipes when my babies are little. These wipes are soft, gentle and super loaded with moisture! When my babies get a little older, I switch over to Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes which are found exclusively at Costco. These wipes are excellent! They have plenty of moisture, come in self closing packs and are very economical for the price. Which now leads us into the next item all moms need in their diaper bag…
    3. Wipes Holder:
      Now you might say to me, Yaffa, why in the world do I need a wipes holder when I can just throw a full package of wipes into my bag and call it a day? I’ll tell you why. By the time you fill your bag with all the things you need, you’re going to find your shoulder is killing you from all the weight! By taking a wipes holder you’re minimizing the amount of stuff in your bag and your back and shoulders will thank you for it! Here’s a wipes holder that has great reviews, but in a pinch a Ziplock freezer bag will do just as well!
    4. Pacifier:
      Oh boy! I know I’m getting myself into trouble by putting this one on my list and entering the great “pacifier debate!” Well, let me tell you from my personal experience, I’ve breastfed all 4 of my kiddos and they all started with a pacifier from day 1. They never had an issue with nipple confusion, so I honestly think the whole thing is a joke! Now, I know I might offend some people with my strong opinions, but when it’s the middle of the night and baby won’t stop crying and it’s not because she’s hungry, that pacifier sure does come in handy! I’m a  big, big fan of the Nuk pacifier. They come in all different colors and patterns, have sizes that change as your baby grows and of course are BPA free. Now I don’t joke around when  it comes to pacifiers. The second my baby is born and I find out the gender (yes, I like to keep it a surprise!) I send my husband running to the closet pharmacy to get me a new Nuk. I do not like the ones that the hospital gives out, but that again is a personal preference. It’s always smart to keep an extra  pacifier in your bag, cuz those wonderfully pesky things have a way of disappearing just when you need it most!
    5. Nursing cover:
      Ok, now I just found out about this genius cover that triples as a nursing cover, receiving blanket and a swaddle! I’m super excited about this product and think that any product that has multiple uses is just fantastic! Baby Noomie is run by 3 moms, who just like us wanted their babies to have the best quality items that were out there. Now when you’re out and about you can feed your baby with a little privacy and then swaddle them up for a nap when you’re all done! How cool is that?!?
    6. Change of Clothing:
      Time for a reality check, if you think you’re gonna make it through an entire day without having to change your baby’s outfit, think again! Whether it’s from pee, poop, spit-up or drool, babies tend to go through several outfits in a day. Make sure to pack at least one if not two outfit changes. (It’s happened where I’ve been out and about and had to run into a local store to buy an outfit for my baby since I forgot to pack a backup! oy!) If you want to be really smart, you might even think to pack a backup top for yourself (like one of those compact, wrinkle free t-shirts) cuz’ you just never know what the baby will do to you! lol! Also make sure you pack extra nursing pads, cuz those tend to get gross really fast!
    7. Water bottles:
      I wrote “bottles” as a plural for a reason. As a new mom or dad who is exhausted ALL THE TIME it’s important to stay hydrated. So if you have a pack of disposable water bottles in your house make sure to grab one as you head out the door to pop in your bag. If you are the more eco friendly type, and want a reusable water bottle, this is a great option. I’ve also linked a separate blog post for those looking to compare different types of water bottles.  Now the second water bottle you need to pack is a baby bottle filled with sterilized water for your baby. It’s important for both bottle feeding and non-bottle feeding moms to pack this, especially in the Summer months when babies need extra hydration.
    8. Formula:
      For all moms who bottle feed this is a necessity! There are these wonderful formula holders that hold pre-measured amounts of formula and you just pour it into your pre-filled baby bottle and your good to go! You can find the link here. Now I know, this is another touchy subject, but let’s withhold judgement for all moms to decide for themselves. Though I breastfeed my babies I’m not above using formula in a pinch. Picture this, you’re in a store with all your kiddos, they’re jumping around like monkeys and the baby starts screaming and nothing will help because she’s hungry. Now you have 2 options at this point a) gather all your kids into the Target dressing room and hope and pray they don’t destroy everything in site, or… b) pop some emergency formula into that handy water filled baby bottle and suddenly peace will reign!
    9. Snack:
      Now we all know that tired parents need food to fuel them throughout the long days as well as water. So grab an energy bar or two and throw them in your bag and then thank me later! My favorite are the Kind Bars and the best part is that they come in all different flavors. If your baby is up to the stages of baby food or real food you’re going to want to make sure that you have plenty of extra snacks for them as well! My favorite thing to pack are Unsweetened Applesauce Pouches, since they work for children of all ages and are loved by all!
    10. Mini First Aid Pouch:
      Now I make my own little kit (aka a ziplock bag) with all the basic essentials, but it’s also a good idea to keep a larger premade kit in places like your car. For your diaper bag make sure you have essentials like bandaids, anti-septic wipes, baby Tylenol, baby Benadryl, and of course Tylenol or Advil for yourself (you never know when that exhaustion headache might hit!) It’s important to note that all medication be kept in a secure place that baby can’t get into and always remember to call Poison Control (800) 222-1222 if, God forbid, a situation ever does arise.

Now I’d love to hear from you, what are your diaper bag essentials? Let me know, by commenting below if you have something that must go on this list!

Yaffa Koff is a Certified APNPI Newborn through the first year Photographer located in Silver Spring, Maryland. She loves spending time with her husband and 4 kiddos as well as snuggling all the cute little babies that come into her studio! Yaffa’s goal is to help new parents capture their babies precious first moments with beautiful portraits to help them remember this precious first stage for a lifetime.

See more of Yaffa Koff at http://www.yaffakoffphotography.com

Three Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Newborn Photographer

Finding the right Newborn Photographer for you can be an overwhelming and time consuming task, but well worth the effort invested once you find the right match.  Because working with newborns is such an art, requiring lengthy skill development and an intimate knowledge of specialized safety aspects, it’s important to know what to look for when shopping around.

At APNPI, we’re passionate about helping parents find the right photographer who is skilled in their art and places safety above all.  We hope you’ll enjoy the video below, where one of our lovely Ambassadors Lizzy McMillan of Momento Studios, discusses 3 of the most important questions to ask before you hire a Newborn Photographer.

 

About Lizzy:  Lizzy McMillan is an APNPI Qualified Newborn Photographer, PPA Certified Professional Photographer, and APNPI Ambassador with a boutique maternity and newborn studio in Downtown Mesa, Arizona. She has specialized in newborn portraiture for nearly a decade and has photographed over 1200 newborns. Her extensive work with newborn twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets has set her apart in the photography industry, garnered international acclaim and has earned her the apt moniker “The Multiples Whisperer™”. Lizzy is passionate about documenting family history and preserving the important moments in her clients’ lives. When she’s not snuggling newborns or teaching other photographers the art of photographing multiples, she and her husband are usually busy wrangling their three children or watching The Office on Netflix.

For more about Lizzy McMillan and her work, visit www.momentostudios.com

Documenting Motherhood – My 2018 Challenge For You

Written by: Lizzy McMillan

Photo: Lizzy McMillan, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com

 

Every January is met with a host of New Year’s resolutions, goals, good intentions and promises to ourselves that we will “do better this year.” Many of those well-intended resolutions have already been put on the backburner. We fall back in to the familiarity of daily routines and succumb to the organized chaos of raising young children. I often joke that our family is a circus, and I’m attempting to be the ringleader most days, perhaps you can relate!

 

Photo credit: Shannon Lee, QNP, www.ShannonLeePhotography.com

 

This often means that you revert to putting your children’s needs before your own, as mothers often do. You spend late nights rocking babies, evenings shuttling kids between activities and weekends juggling play dates and birthday parties. There are only so many hours in the day, so it can be difficult to carve out time just for you.

 

Photo: Lizzy McMillan, QNP, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com

 

There is no doubt about it- this season of life is hard. Tiring. Often lonely. As moms, we are inundated with so much information, opinions, and decisions about parenting, it is akin to drinking from a fire hose. It is easy to allow self-doubt to creep in to our daily thoughts, and fears of “not being the perfect mom” to fester and grow. I can guarantee you, the way you see yourself as a mom is very different than the way your children see you. While you may focus on your imperfections, your children see you as their hero.

 

Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com

 

This is where my 2018 challenge for you comes in.

Can you believe this year is almost a quarter of the way over? I can almost guarantee that your phone (or even your “big girl camera”) is filled with snapshots of your children. No doubt, you have captured photos from the fun adventures and silly moments from the first few months of this year. But mom, I have a question for you: how many of those snapshots are YOU IN?

 

You are a main character in your children’s family story. Your children NEED to see YOU in their pictures.

 

 

Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com

 

As a professional photographer, I often hear the laundry list of excuses from moms about why they can’t or don’t want to be in portraits. I want to share some of the most common excuses, and provide some insight that will hopefully inspire you to make a change this year.

“I have 15 pounds of ‘baby weight’ I need to lose first.”

Growing and birthing a baby is no easy feat. Your body is transformed before your eyes, and your once taught-skin is now soft and scarred. You are frustrated that your favorite jeans are still too tight, and your face is round.

Your child does not see the baby weight that you are struggling with. When he looks at you, he sees home. He sees your warm, cozy lap to crawl into. He sees a soft bosom to rest his head, and listen to your heartbeat. He needs to see you in his pictures.

 

Photo: Lizzy McMillan, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com

 

“I haven’t had my hair done in months. I need to get a color and cut first.”

You look in the mirror and see roots that need a touch up. You see scraggly, split ends that desperately need a trim and blow out. You see the gray hairs sneaking their way in to your once perfectly maintained mane.

Your daughter sees your soft brown curls that match her own. She loves the way you snuggle and give her tickles with the ends of your ponytail as she giggles and asks for more. But mostly, she loves twirling your hair between her fingers as she gazes up at you while nursing. She needs to see you in her pictures.

 

Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com

 

“I look so tired”

“The baby hasn’t slept through the night yet. I have huge bags under my eyes. I’ll wait a few months until we’re both sleeping better so I don’t look so tired.”

When your son falls and scans the playground for you, he doesn’t see the “tired” on your face. His eyes lock with yours, and he sees your soft, reassuring smile telling him he’s OK. He dusts himself off, and is back on his way. He does not see the worry or the bags under your eyes. He looks at you and sees eyes that sparkle with your love, and are the same shade of hazel-green as his own. He needs to see you in his pictures.

 

Photo credit: Shannon Lee, QNP, www.ShannonLeePhotography.com

 

“Money is tight right now. We will take pictures next month/fall/spring etc. ”

Finances and budget vary for every family. I am not suggesting you put yourself or your family in a financial strain. My goal of this challenge is to encourage you to be in your family’s visual story- not just a cheerleader from the sidelines. That may mean tossing the camera at your partner, or setting your camera on a timer. I also want to encourage you to schedule a professional portrait session, or to find a way to include it in your family budget this year.

 

Photo credit: Mary Kriss, QNP, www.MaryKrissPhotography.com

 

The professional portraits and daily snapshots are your children’s visual history. They need to see you in their childhood portraits. Twenty years from now, your son will look at the portraits and see the love you gave unselfishly that shaped him into a man. Your daughter will treasure the images of your journey through motherhood as she begins her own.

 

Photo credit: Mary Kriss, QNP, www.MaryKrissPhotography.com

 

Your family history is happening right now.

My challenge to you for 2018 is to get IN your photos. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so ditch the excuses. Do it for your son. Do it for your daughter. Most importantly, do it for yourself, because YOU are the glue that holds that family-circus together. One day those pictures will be all your children have left of you.

 

Lizzy McMillan is an APNPI Qualified Newborn Photographer, PPA Certified Professional Photographer, and APNPI Ambassador with a boutique maternity and newborn studio in Downtown Mesa, Arizona. She has specialized in newborn portraiture for nearly a decade and has photographed over 1200 newborns. Her extensive work with newborn twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets has set her apart in the photography industry, garnered international acclaim and has earned her the apt moniker “The Multiples Whisperer™”. Lizzy is passionate about documenting family history and preserving the important moments in her clients’ lives. When she’s not snuggling newborns or teaching other photographers the art of photographing multiples, she and her husband are usually busy wrangling their three children or watching The Office on Netflix.

For more about Lizzy McMillan and her work, visit www.momentostudios.com

Valentine Themed Photos

Written by: Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to chocolate, hearts… and kisses. Valentine’s day is just around the corner and we wanted to share a few ways to mark the occasion.

These ideas are simple, quick and inexpensive. (Who has time to build a complicated set? We’d rather spend our time snuggling up with our loved ones!) Grab a few simple items from around the house and off you go!

1. Paper hearts

A couple of sheets of colored paper and a clear section of floor is all you need to make this simple scene. Bonus points: let your kids do the cutting – it will keep them busy and it’s great practice for those fine motor skills!

 

2. Hugs and Kisses

Cutest thing ever? Qute possibly. Put siblings together for a snuggle, or plant a big, wet juicy one on your little kid. We’ve seen this taken to extremes with babies entirely covered with red lipstick marks. And yeah, it’s actually really adorable.

 

 

3. Candy Hearts

Don’t know about you, but for us, seeing a picture of these little candy hearts triggers a sweet taste in our memories. So simple. So iconic. So fun. Available everywhere. Cheap. And you can eat them after they have been photographed!

 

4. Red Balloons

Kids. Love. Balloons.

 

We hope this inspires you to mark the day in your own way. Other ideas for simple props: fresh flowers, paper flowers, heart-shaped doilies, ribbons, chocolate hearts, valentine’s cards, red crayons, glitter or sequins!

Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters are award-winning photographers. Their work has appeared in Parents Magazine, US Weekly, People, The Chicago Tribune and Professional Photographer Magazine. They created Shoot Along to give themselves structure and accountability to capture their own families and decided it would be a great concept to share with other parents.

What began as a personal project has grown into a friendly and rewarding passion, offering support and instruction to parents on six continents. The goal of Shoot Along is to give parents the tools they need to document their families through photography.

Over 3,500 parents have taken part in Shoot Along since it started in 2014.

For more exciting information about Shoot Along, visit www.ShootAlong.com

Shoot Along 2018 – Taking beautiful images of your children

Written by:  Cara Hall

My journey with my camera has been a lifelong passion, one that I come back to over and over no matter where else life takes me.  Like many other photographers, I honed my skills and opened up a business, partly because I was obsessed with photography, and partly because it seemed like a great way to fund my passions and desires to buy my dream camera equipment.  It was an unfortunate paradox then to realize that I was spending so much energy on providing beautiful images for my clients, while being negligent in getting out the camera for my own family, and had little to nothing of my own children!

When I saw another photographer mention Shoot Along in 2015, I joined right away, I was eager to have beautiful images of my own family.  My skills were mainly as a studio photographer, under controlled lighting and controlled sets.  Lifestyle imagery and natural light was wayyy out of my comfort zone!  Needless to say, with the purpose, the guidance, and a community to tap into and interact with, I took the challenges and pushed myself out of my comfort zone… the results?  Images that I CHERISH and would never have taken on my own!

So if you’re still reading, you’re likely a lot like me in that you just LOVE images of your babies and your family.  Whether you’re new to owning a camera, or have had one for a while but haven’t gotten around to learning all those functions at your finger tips, or maybe you’re just stale in your photos and looking for something more.  Shoot Along 2018 is a great program for those looking to learn and improve, and to purposefully build a collection of beautiful images of your family!

If you’re interested in more information about Shoot Along 2018, visit here:  www.shootalong.com

Below are some of my favs from my Shoot Along journey in 2015.  🙂

 

 

Hi everyone, thanks for reading my post. Since 2015, I’ve continued to follow various challenges to keep photos of my family front and centre in my life and I just get so much joy from looking at these images. I’m also a big advocate that Moms need to get in front of the camera and have their photos taken too…  but if you’re like me, too shy, too busy, etc etc, then selfies with my kids is the answer and currently the only way I’m ever photographed. For me, it’s the best way! 🙂

Cara is the owner/photographer at Cafe Bebe Photography.  She’s also a proud team member of APNPI, and proud mama of 2 amazing children.

 

 

Christmas Season 2017

With the festive season upon us, photographers everywhere are working hard providing Christmas themed photos to their clients.  It’s the most popular time of year to update family photos and to get those hard to capture sibling portraits, which means many photographers work around the clock during this very busy season!

It’s always fun to see what the latest trends are, so we thought we’d provide a peek into what our APNPI members around the world are up to this Christmas.  To see more info and imagery about the photographers behind these beautiful images, simply click on the image itself.

Grab a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy!

Session Spotlight: Golden Hour Nursing Session

This is... hands down.... the most beautiful image I have ever taken.

The Story Behind This Session

This amazing session was this beautiful mom’s idea.  I love when clients push me out of the box!!

This session was rescheduled 4 times because of weather!  What a wet summer we had.  It was totally worth the wait.  From the beautiful fresh floral crowns to the epic light, this session will always be one of my favourites and one that I feel very proud of.

I am a STRONG supporter of breastfeeding and this session filled my heart and soul.

I love her little bum in this image <3

mamas perspective <3

snuggles


Session by: Azure Photography

I am a professional newborn photographer in Guelph, ON. I mainly focus on newborns but also enjoy photographing maternity, sitters and cake smash sessions!
I have had a camera in my hand since I was 18 years old. I learned a lot about exposure and colour working the lab at Black’s Photography in my home town and locally in Guelph.
Photographing newborns and babies and anything connected to those is my passion.

 

Find out more about this photographer at:

APNPI Profile

Website

Facebook

Session Spotlight: Surrogate rainbow baby

 

Written by: Helga Firla

This session was very special to me.

A surrogate mother contacted me to photograph the birth of this baby for the biological parents. The parents already had a 7 year old boy and they had lost another child and she couldn’t get pregnant again so they hired a surrogate mother. They had tried for years and just before they gave up on surrogacy, they received good news.

I photographed the birth of Stella and her newborn session. This family is very special to me, they were so kind and loving.

Because they live out of town, we had to do the newborn session 2 days after baby was born, so she was just shy of 72 hours old. The session went wonderful, she slept the whole time and we created so many different setups and poses for them.
The main theme of the session was fall and rainbow but we managed to create so much more.

 

I just love how this family embrace their new rainbow baby.

This 7 year old was so in-love with his little sister.

Little Stella is holding a necklace of Marcus who passed at birth a few years ago.

Stella was born close to Thanksgiving so we had to create a fall themed setup.

One of the must have pose that the parents requested. It was easy to accomplish with this little girl. This image is a composite, baby was held safe by two people.

Only 3 days ago she was curled up like this in her surro moms tummy.


Session by: Helga Himer Photography

In order to understand how my passion for photography bloomed, let’s take a stroll through my life. It all began in Hungary, where I was born and raised by two loving and devoted parents. When I was in high school, my Canadian uncle gave me an old Minolta camera. Right away, I was captivated by this little machine and how it could capture the beauty of the world around me. I was so excited to figure out all the ins and outs of this machine and learn about light and composition. After graduating from high school, I enrolled in a two year photography course and my career was on its way!

At the age of 21, I packed my bags and immigrated to the land of opportunity…Canada! Once I got myself settled, I started working for different photography studios. Right away, I was learning about digital photography and the various techniques used in this country; very different compared to what I had been taught back home, but I must admit….I like the Canadian style much better!

I officially opened my business in Edmonton in 2007. Over time, my understanding of photography technique has grown, both from my experience working for a variety of clients, as well as regularly educating myself through photography workshops and courses. I have built up an extensive array of photography tools (lights, lenses, cameras, software) to make the most of any occasion.

Now I teach and mentor other photographers the art of newborn posing and I’m approving my video skills to apply that with my birth sessions.

Find out more about this photographer at:

What One Member and Her Clients are Saying about the QNP Certification

Written by: Heather Glude – Owner/Photographer of Itty Bitty Bug Photography
This article first appeared on the Itty Bitty Bug Photography blog.

CERTIFICATION AS QUALIFIED NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

The world’s first international newborn photography association, Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International, has just certified Heather Glude of Itty Bitty Bug Photography in their second group of Qualified Newborn Photographers. Heather is honored to be selected to be part of this elite group of photographers dedicated to elevating the art of newborn photography. APNPI was founded to help clients discern the difference among photographers and build a comprehensive educational curriculum to continue to drive excellence in imagery and safety.

“When looking for a newborn photographer, there were so many choices, but skill level seemed to vary a lot, and I didn’t know how to assess their ability to work with newborns. I’m so glad I found Heather anyway, but something like this would have been so helpful!”

In today’s over-saturated market, parents are faced with an overwhelming amount of choice, but have few tools to determine who to trust with the most precious thing in the world – their newborn baby. APNPI’s certification program evaluates the quality of the photographer’s images, their business practices, and their knowledge of and dedication to newborn safety, giving parent’s peace of mind that their baby and their memories are in excellent hands. Jennifer Johnson, a new mom, explained, “When looking for a newborn photographer, there were so many choices, but skill level seemed to vary a lot, and I didn’t know how to assess their ability to work with newborns. I’m so glad I found Heather anyway, but something like this would have been so helpful!”

Newborn photography has been on the rise since the Anne Geddes calendars and books in the 90s. Today, it seems like everyone is booking a photographer to capture their babies’ first moments, and now there’s a photographer for everyone, whether you want documentary-style in your home, whimsical themes and costumes, or fine-art studio style. What has been missing is an organization to evaluate and ensure quality. Amy Kenny, a Snohomish mom, noted that a certificate like this would “make me feel assured that the photographer is well versed in working with newborns, who are so fragile and special.”

 

“make me feel assured that the photographer is well versed in working with newborns, who are so fragile and special.”

As part of the recognition process, Heather submitted images from dozens of recent sessions for evaluation by a panel of judges, who . Her clients agree with the judges’ assessment. “Heather was kind and patient with my newborn, and has a wonderful eye for composition not all photographers possess. She really listened to what I wanted, while also creating beautiful memories that will last a lifetime,” said Ms. Kenny.

 

Heather Glude offers maternity, newborn and milestone sessions in her cozy studio in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. Contact her for more information on her sessions.