Thursday, November 1, 2012

Guest Blog - Moment for Mom - Our New Partner!

We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Moment for Mom, a meal delivery service for new moms in Chicagoland. Read their tips for staying nourished below as well as details on a blueprint discount!

Top 3 Tips for Moms to Stay Nourished

When getting ready for your baby, it’s so natural to think only about your baby and hardly at all about yourself. The irony is that one of the best ways to take care of your baby is to make sure he/she has well-nourished parents! (Ideally, they would be well-rested too, but hey, we are not magicians!)

In addition to getting the nursery ready and stocking up on baby gear, take some time to think about making sure you have a plan for eating nutritious, tasty food. Here are some tips I learned the hard way:

  1. Stock up on easy-to-eat, nutritious, filling snacks.  Eating three square meals a day is not a realistic expectation for a while. The truth is, you’ll be eating a lot on the go and at unconventional times. You may have to take quick advantage of the 5 quiet minutes your baby is happily playing by him/herself at 3:30pm to eat lunch! Pick up some trail mix, granola bars, nuts, and baby carrots with hummus.
  2. Make sure you have the right food in your freezer. For breakfast and lunch, there are lots of good-for-you options that are easy to eat and prepare available right in your grocer’s freezer. For breakfast, waffles are a great option (try to get some made with whole grain rather than the super-sugary varieties). Plus, these are great if you have an older child at home. For lunch, try enchiladas, mini calzones, mini quiches or anything else that is easy to eat while holding your baby.
  3. Make the right kind of food in advance. I’m sure you’ve already been told to make some lasagna and freeze it. That’s nice, but not a very realistic food to eat while holding your baby (heavy, messy foods tend not to be…). Plus, because you have to defrost the entire pan, you’ll be eating it for a while! Here’s the solution: convert your favorite casserole into muffins. Instead of making a huge pan of macaroni and cheese, bake it in muffin tins. That way, you can defrost only what you need and, it will be much easier for you to eat! (Extra bonus: you can feed this to an older child if you have one at home!)

I hope these tips help you as you prepare for this exciting time!

Now is the perfect time to get yourself some meals or to give a gift to a mom you know! We are pleased to announce a special offer to Baby Blueprint customers! Purchase a Day of Meals Package, get a FREE upgrade to Day of Meals + Dinner for Partner ($15 value). To redeem, purchase a Day of Meals through Paypal and where it asks “Is this a gift (YES/NO)?”, write “BLUEPRINTGIFT” if it’s a gift and “BLUEPRINT” if it’s for you. Offer expires December 31, 2012.

Merav Benson is the founder of Moment for Mom, a meal delivery service for new moms in Chicagoland. Our menu was developed with a registered dietitian to focus on the nutritional needs of a new mom and we offer lots of options that are easy to eat even while holding a baby! Our meal packages are great for you and also perfect as a gift for a new mom (you choose the meal package – and mom chooses what she wants to eat and when she wants it delivered!) Check us out at

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guest Blog - 5 Sleep Tips for Newborns

We are absolutely THRILLED to announce our newest partner - Kim Schaf, Founder and President of Sleep Training Solutions and the Midwest Regional Director (USA) for the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC). Check out Kim's bio and 5 tips for newborn sleep below! You can learn more about Kim by visiting her website at

5 Sleep Tips for Newborns
Does this sound familiar?  You were the model pregnant mom-to-be, taking classes on Breastfeeding Basics, Newborn Care 101, prenatal yoga, signing dad up for Daddy Bootcamp and you even resisted going hog wild with the Chunky Monkey at 11:00pm every night...
But then baby came home! You know what size diapers to buy, how to feed your little one, and buckle her into her carseat...but sleep? That's a pipe dream right behind winning the lottery.

Newborn sleep is tricky for two reasons. First, newborns have nights and days mixed up, and until their biological clocks figure that out (with your help of course!), there won't be much difference in sleep between the two. Second, babies need to feed frequently. This definitely puts a damper on long stretches of sleep.
But here's the good news...there ARE things that you can do to encourage your baby to be a good sleeper!

Here are 5 goals to work toward with your little one:

1.  Help your baby learn how to fall asleep without a sleep prop (feeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, walking-while-bouncing to sleep, etc.).
When a child uses a sleep prop to fall asleep, it becomes very difficult for her to fall asleep independently...which means for every wake up, you'll have to recreate the same scenario that got her to sleep at bedtime for every night waking!  When babies stop relying on their sleep prop to fall asleep, bedtime is quicker, night-wakings decrease (or are eliminated all together, depending on age) and babies will be able to put themselves back to sleep when they wake too early in the morning.

2. Swaddle your baby
If you have ever watched your baby sleep (something you probably do on a daily basis!), you've most likely seen him throw out his arms like he's falling. This is called the Moro Reflex and swaddling can help prevent the baby from startling himself awake.  As babies get older, however, some start to rely on that tight fitting blanket to lull them to sleep at which point swaddling becomes a sleep prop.  It is best to start weaning your baby off of the swaddle sometime between 8-12 weeks of age.   

3. Use a pacifier in the beginning
 You've probably noticed that your newborn has a very strong need to suck. This is normal during the first few months and using a pacifier is a great way to fill this need. That said, after about 2-3 months of age, babies can satisfy this need during feedings. Parents often find using a pacifier past this point makes it more of a sleep prop, and that's something you want to avoid!

4. Set up a calming bedtime routine
None of us come home from an evening out, walk in the door, and get right into bed, but often we transition babies to bed that quickly! Start with a bath, maybe give a little massage with some baby lotion, get her cozy in a sleeper and new diaper, sing a song and feed her.  Do the routine in the nursery to start getting her used to her new room.  Remember, it's never too early to start a bedtime routine and it is a great way to cue the body and the brain to settle down for sleep.

5. Remember that your child is growing and learning every day and longer stretches of sleep are right around the corner!
Assuming your child is healthy and gaining weight at a normal rate, night feeds will typically diminish between 11-13 weeks. Our biological clocks are programmed to be more alert and awake during the day and asleep at night...and babies are working towards this in the first 3 months of life. At about 6 weeks, their little bodies are beginning to adjust and will typically sleep 3-5 hours at a time.  When babies are about 12 weeks old, most are able to consolidate their feeds during the day which will promote consolidated sleep at night. Once this happens, babies can sleep 10-12 hours at a time.
So in these first few months, use these tips to set a foundation for healthy sleep habits and you'll be rewarded with a full night's sleep soon!

Kim Schaf is the Founder and President of Sleep Training Solutions and the Midwest Regional Director (USA) for the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC). After completing an extensive training and mentoring program with one of the world’s most respected child sleep authorities, she became a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and offers expert guidance to resolve behavioral sleep issues for families in Chicago and across the country. Kim has a Master of Arts degree in Teaching and is a member of the American Sleep Association, the North Suburban Children’s Business Network and the Neighborhood Parents Network. She lives in a northern suburb of Chicago with her husband and two small children, both of whom are excellent sleepers.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Birthday Party!

We had the pleasure of planning a 1st birthday for the adorable Ian Felix! The theme was a carnival, which was perfect for the little Clown!

From balloons to table runners, the room was covered in bright red, white and blue. Guests snacked on popcorn and cupcakes…

 … but Ian was all about his smash cake! 

Guest took home carnival-themed animal crackers as favors. We were so happy to be able to plan a 1st birthday that the kids loved! Happy Birthday, Ian!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day Gift Guide

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we at Baby Blueprint are busy recommending some wonderful treats for all of our clients, and dropping hints to our own husbands! Whatever your budget, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show Mom some appreciation. Some of our best bets are below. Beauty: For Moms too busy chasing around their toddlers to devote the extra time to primp, we love the gift of a no-chip manicure or a Keratin blow-out. The manicure will last through dirty dishes and art projects and the blow-out will redefine her “wash n go” look. Fitness: For Moms who don’t have the time to work-out, we love Stroller Strides classes. Available nation-wide, these classes offer a workout that Mom can do WITH her kids in tow. Checkout for a class near you! Technology: If you’re looking to splurge on Mom, nothing beats an iPad. Not only can she use it to grocery shop, order diapers and look up dinner recipes, it will become her little one’s favorite toy with downloaded videos, flashcards and more! Jewelry: We love jewelry pieces that are meaningful and can be added to over time. Our new favorites are the charm necklaces from Helen Ficalora. Start with a simple chain and initial pendent, and expand with birthstone charms, charms to celebrate milestones etc! Then possibilities are endless. Available at or one of their retail locations. Read: For the Mom that loves her kindle, we recommend If You Give a Mom a Martini: 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself. The book has tons of suggestions for “time-outs” for even the busiest Mom. Available at Fashion: For the fashionable Mom on the go, we love ballet flats from Tieks. These designer flats are comfortable, available in every color imaginable, and fold up easily into a purse. Available at

Thursday, March 15, 2012

5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Number 2

If you’re anything like me, the arrival of baby #2 can occur just as you’ve finally settled into a predictable routine with your first child. The thought of double the work, and a whole lot less sleep, can be overwhelming for almost anyone. Here are our top 5 tips to help you get ready for your newest addition.
1. Get your partner involved. When the new baby comes home, you will suddenly have a lot less time to oversee every aspect of your older child’s routine. It’s important that both parents are comfortable with things like meal preparation, bedtime and bath time routines. In my household, this meant my loving husband was finally forced to learn how to prepare something other than Mac N Cheese for my daughter!
2. Create Mommy and Me time. With all the demands a new baby can bring, it’s easy to lose out on quality time with your older child. By setting aside quality time for just the two of you – whether that be a Mommy and Me class you go to every weekend, or simply a book or two before bed each night, you can ensure they still have time during which they get your undivided attention.
3. Work on milestones. If you’ve been contemplating tackling a milestone for which your older child seems ready, be it potty training or the transition to a toddler bed, I’d suggest taking this on BEFORE you bring the baby home. Not only is it easier to tackle these while you’re still getting a good night sleep, but you’ll give your oldest ample time to adjust to the transition before the baby arrives.
4. Baby Present! Jealousy is natural and to be expected when your older child encounters a baby who suddenly gets lots of attention – and LOTS of gifts! A great way to temper that is to have your oldest receive a present from their little sibling. Your oldest will feel like they are getting in on the present giving action and every time they play with it you can remind them of how much their little brother or sister loves them.
5. RELAX. Before the arrival of my youngest daughter, I was very strict about the amount of television my daughter was allowed to watch, her meal plan, etc., etc. Since the arrival of number two, I’ve found not only that I’ve had to relax those guidelines, but also that it is totally okay. New babies are a lot of work, and stress, and you need to give yourself a break, and time to adjust to the transition. Some days, you just need to accept that the only thing that’s getting accomplished is watching Finding Nemo… twice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Reading List

Now that the holidays are over and winter is setting in, it feels like a good time to curl up by the fire with a good book. There are thousands of books about pregnancy and babies to thumb through but it can be overwhelming. We would like to offer our personal favorites which range from informative to irreverent!

Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby's First Year by Denise Fields and Ari Brown, M.D. (September 1, 2011). The title states it all. Wondering how to swaddle? Worried that baby’s poop looks funny? Just how much sleep does my newborn need? Let this book serve as a quick reference guide for all of those new parent worries.

Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! by Denise Fields and Alan Fields (Apr 21, 2011). Preparing for baby can take a big toll on your wallet. From cribs to strollers to layettes, this book will help you find all of your essentials at deep discounts.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp (May 27, 2003). This book takes an innovative look at your baby’s first three months. Dr. Karp reveals the secret to stopping colic and soothing your baby by combining science and societal antidotes throughout history. It is a must read for all expecting parents!

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau (Jul 26, 2005). Hogg provides the insight necessary to understand and respect your baby from day one. She offers tips for breaking bad habits and gently encouraging your baby to sleep.

The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette (Mar 15, 2007). Down-hearted from pumping in a janitor’s closet at IBM, new moms Colburn-Smith and Serrette sought to form a community of pumping mamas. The new mothers wrote their thoughts, advice and funny family stories in a notebook that they left in the room. More and more mothers started writing until the notebook was full and a strong, supportive community was formed. This book offers advice on combining work and nursing while making you feel that you are not alone in the struggle to find that elusive balance between work and home.

The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine (Jan 9, 2007). Feeling just fat? Face breaking out? Inexplicably want to throw your French fries at your partner? Welcome to pregnancy!! Iovine acts as your closest girlfriend and gives you the real low down on what to expect during those glorious 10 months!

Ink and paper not your style? Check out Baby Center ( for a complete online resource for your pregnancy and newborn. Baby Center will help you determine the best dates to get pregnant and send you weekly emails on your baby’s in utero development! Their assistance doesn’t stop when the baby comes. Baby Center is also a good resource for all of your baby and toddler questions. Experts and the community weigh in on almost every topic you encounter!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest Blog - Finding the Nanny of Your Dreams!

We're thrilled to announce our newest partnership - we'll be teaming up with Olive.You.Nanny to help our clients find the nanny or night nurse of their dreams! Check out the wonderful tips below from Sarah Davis of Olive.You.Nanny!

Who you’re looking for

It’s a good idea to make a list of specific qualities you’re looking for in a nanny; what is important to you and your family? Do you want someone who is a career nanny? Or, someone who has at least 5 years of full time nanny experience. Perhaps you are looking for someone who is younger with an educational background. Whatever it may be, make a list. You may just end up with someone you didn’t expect but it’s important to find who would be the best fit for your family.


It’s unrealistic to think your nanny is going to do everything the way you do. Be open to the idea of your nanny bringing new ideas to the table. Chances are they have been in this industry for many years, so they may have some good suggestions! It’s a good idea to have a list of expectations for your nanny. Make sure in the interviewing process that you go through the things you want your nanny to do; in terms of your child and also around the house. (Just remember a nanny takes care of your child, and is not a housekeeper.)

A good fit

As most moms will tell you, you just know when it’s the right person. You get that feeling that the nanny will become a part of your family and you have a connection. Make sure you have the same childcare philosophies and your expectations are in line.


It’s extremely important to conduct your due diligence. You’ll want to get all of her childcare references. It’s a good idea to speak to at least 3 of the nanny’s past employers. It’s important to have a list of questions you want to ask. (If you’re working with an agency, this is their responsibility.) It’s also a good idea to do a background check on your nanny. It helps to have the piece of mind that your nanny is fully verified. If you’re nanny will be driving your child, it’s important to review driving history records.

Trial day and contract

We always recommend setting up at least a half-day trial before offering the nanny the position. Make sure you see the nanny interact with your child, show her around and where things are. You both need to feel comfortable in the situation. After the trial day, assuming all has gone well, it’s time to create a contract with your nanny. This can be as simple as hours, pay, holiday and vacation. And can get as detailed as all of your expectations, both with the child and your home (this should all be discussed in the initial interview.)


Families should offer paid holidays, sick days and vacation. You should also get an idea of what the market pay is for your situation - whether you have one or more children. You’ll want to be in the same range of what other families are paying.


It’s a good idea to follow up with your nanny to see how things are going. The 3 month mark is a good time and again at 6 months and 1 year. Having a nanny is all about communication. You want to make sure you’re on the same page!