We’re in full force toddler mode in our home. Yep. Overturned chairs, toys strewn throughout the house, crying for no apparent reason. Full. Force.
So I find myself online looking for tips to temper tantrums and increasing our twins’ appetite for vegetables. And I certainly had plenty of questions before the girls were born about how to take care of twins — what were we getting ourselves into?!
But what if you could have a coach? Someone to come into your home, listen to your woes and give you unbiased advice? Meet Heather, from Baby, Bump & Beyond, a baby planner and San Diego area entrepreneur. I conducted an interview with her recently and here’s what I learned. Most important? She can help beyond the newborn stage.
**GIVEAWAY ALERT: At the end of the interview, enter-to-win $100 to use toward baby planning services from Baby, Bump & Beyond!**
What is a Baby Planner?
In short, a Baby Planner is a maternity consultant who possesses an expertise in the products and services available to expecting parents. Our main goal is to alleviate unnecessary stress for parents-to-be.
How did you become a Baby Planner?
Honestly, I sort of fell into it. When I got pregnant with my daughter, it came as a big surprise! I was going to college full time, interning with a major sports team, working part time, and my husband deployed 2 weeks into my pregnancy (we had no idea when we said ‘see you in 6 months’). I was completely on my own, in a city far away from any family, and pregnant.
I’ve always been a “researcher”. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll look in a book, search the Internet, or talk to an expert. My pregnancy was no different- as soon as I saw that little pink plus sign I jetted over to Borders and spent over $60 on pregnancy books, then scoured the Internet for reference sites. I was determined to be informed and prepared. Pretty soon every school project and paper was tied to pregnancy and babies in some way.
Shortly after I found out, some friends announced their pregnancies, and I was overjoyed to share the information that I had been gathering. I became the “go-to” person for everything baby related, and I was more than happy to find information and share my experiences to anyone who asked.
About a year after my daughter was born, my mom sent me an article about a Baby Planner. I had no idea what it was, but after reading it, I realized that it was exactly what I had been doing for friends for over a year! When I caught myself researching infant products after my daughter had already turned 1, I knew that this is what I am meant to do.
I completely changed my career path 4 months before graduating college, from Sports Marketing to Baby Planning. After graduating college, I took the International Academy of Baby Planning Professionals (IABPP) Certification course and started Baby Bump & Beyond, LLC.
How do you help parents?
I help parents by alleviating stress and giving them the peace of mind that they aren’t going into parenthood alone. I help with everything from registry set-up to finding childcare, and from Infant CPR/First Aid to nursery design.
Can a baby planner help beyond the newborn stage?
Absolutely! I like to say that we cater to parents from TTC through preschool. Right now, I am helping a family who is adopting an almost 4 year old, with celiac disease, and twin 20 month olds. I am helping the new parents understand what it means to have celiac disease, how to look for gluten on ingredient lists, where to find “gluten free” restaurants, and what ingredients can be substituted. All of our services are customized to each families needs, whether it is before a couple is pregnant, or after the babies are walking.
There are not many tips for parents of twins and multiples in many of the baby books. What are your top tips for new parents of twins?
My best advice would be to find a schedule that works for you, whether they are feeding at the exact same time or 20 minutes apart, do what you can handle. That being said, schedules will change with every growth spurt and developmental milestone, so be flexible and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Once babies become toddlers, there are a whole new set of adventures that await parents. What are some things parents need to be aware of as their babies advance from being infants to toddlers?
I’m a huge advocate for child safety and often it is the simplest thing, like turning the handles of a pot towards the inside of the stove or making sure that a bookcase is properly anchored, that can save a child or if overlooked can cause serious damage.
According to the IAFCA, each year there are about 2 million children under the age of 5 who are treated in emergency rooms for injuries that occurred in the home, according data collected through a national surveillance system, supported by the CDC and the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission. Child proofing is often overlooked, and even when it is properly installed parents don’t realize that by stepping over a baby gate they are actually teaching their children that they can climb over it. It is important to remember that no device is completely child proof–ask my daughter, she could get through 90% of child proof locks within a week of installation.
Additionally, CPR and First Aid are essential skills for parents to have, especially parents of small children who are putting everything in their mouths and who are learning to eat solid foods. I cannot express how many times my previous lifeguard training came into play the first year and a half! Here’s another statistic to put it into perspective: “approximately 19,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for choking-related episodes annually” (IAFCS). Knowing how to do a finger-sweep and the Heimlich maneuver on an infant can save your child’s life.
**How can Heather and her team help you? Leave a comment below on our blog with your answer by 10 p.m. PST on June 2, 2011 to enter to win $100 in baby planning services. (Remember — she can help past the newborn stage!)
The fine print: Entrants limited to San Diego County and Riverside County residents only, and the $100 may not be applied to family counseling services. Additional restrictions may apply. Winner announced Friday, June 3 on our blog.