Petite Vigogne Blog

Petite Hollywood

By Alison Cupp Relyea

 

  Over the past two years at Petite Vigogne, we have been committed to combining high-quality, luxurious fabrics with newborn baby bedding in a way that is unprecedented, and the word is getting out about our delightful designs. Often the most precious baby products are too delicate to endure the test of time, and the more durable items are not as soft and enveloping. Petite Vigogne achieves both goals, with fine fabrics that are beautiful, durable and machine-washable. Everyone who tries our products seems to agree, even the hard-to-please Hollywood set, who are discovering Petite Vigogne and sharing the brand with their friends and family.

Have you ever wondered where you can find the baby brands that celebrities love? On the pages of celebrity magazines, we see all sorts of information about the Hollywood set, but much of it is sensationalized and does not reflect the everyday moments and choices of celebrities, particularly those who are parents. For their children, these new parents often seek out the highest quality items and services that, like Petite Vigogne, perhaps are not as well-known as other brands. Regardless of who you are, you can share in the joy of discovering well-made items for your child to enhance the wonder of those newborn days. 

Two websites that we have recommended to clients looking to uncover hard-to-find and exquisite baby products are Maisonette.com and TheTot.com. Both sites have become popular among parents seeking innovative and stylish products for their children, from fashion to décor and toys. Maisonette, founded by two former Vogue editors, has a fashion bent but offers a wide array of unique children’s products. The Tot focuses on brands that are tested and proven to be safe and healthy for your child, while also emphasizing design. It also features a reading section with personal and honest accounts of motherhood from influential women including Jenna Bush Hager and Rebecca Minkoff. 

We love when celebrity parents choose our products for themselves and as gifts, and The Belle Bedding set, one of our signature bedding collections, seems to be particularly popular these days. Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk welcomed their first baby, a daughter named Lea De Seine, about a month ago. The couple received a Belle Bedding set as a gift for their new arrival, along with Petite Vigogne accessories, including our Roi baby alpaca blanket, Pink Heart pillow and a Vicuna toy. Others who have enjoyed a Belle collection include Eddie Murphy and Paige Butcher’s daughter, Izzy, born in May 2016, and “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson and Lauren Hashian's daughter, Jasmine, born in December 2015. 

While the word is spreading around Hollywood, why not introduce Petite Vigogne to the stars in your life? Our gifts and accessories are garnering attention at baby showers across the country for their creativity, craftsmanship and precious details. Stand out from the crowd by giving a gift to remember.

Finding Friends In Motherhood

By Alison Cupp Relyea

 
 The first few months of parenting are a rollercoaster, with most of the logistics of your pre-baby days subject to drastic change. Your sleep routines, meals, work and social life can fall by the wayside as you shift your focus to this new bundle of joy. While most moms find they need friends now more than ever, they also feel vulnerable. New mothers often report a feeling of isolation in the early months of parenting, and here at Petite Vigogne, we hope to offer advice to help new mothers nurture their children and nourish themselves.

 One key to taking care of ourselves is finding people who we trust and value to create a support system during this transition. Friends can offer insights, empathy, and a much-needed laugh when the little one in your life brings you to the brink of tears. Friends come in many different forms and the bonds that you form in pregnancy and the newborn year are often incredibly deep. In reflecting on some of the friends I cherish from my early years, hopefully other moms will look at the people in their lives and identify friendships to cultivate.

 When I first told my colleagues that I was pregnant with my first, another colleague pulled me into her office later that day to share a secret with me – she was pregnant, too! Over the next nine months, our friendship deepened as we compared experiences, hopes and fears. Our due dates were only ten days apart, and when our babies arrived, we met up every few days, at breastfeeding clinics, coffee shops and in each other’s apartments. Those “play dates” were for us, not the babies. We talked, listened, shared, and processed this big life change together. When we returned to work, we helped each other breathe through the exhaustion and offered a reassuring hug on the difficult days.

 I found out I was pregnant with my third child just as we – and most of our close friends - were exiting the baby stage, turning the corner to a well-rested existence and regaining a sense of normalcy. Once again, I needed that completely judgement-free friendship where it’s okay to smile and cry at the same time. I planned to take time off from teaching and spend at least a year home with our new baby, making this support system of other moms particularly necessary. One friend was a mother from my oldest child’s preschool. We noticed each other’s pregnant bellies before we knew each other’s names, but shy smiles turned into polite conversation, then coffee and eventually trudging around the block to join forces on snowdays with our newborns and restless toddlers. Another new friend was a mom at my daughter’s gymnastics class. While the girls tumbled happily with their friends, we endured pregnancy together and had open conversations about parenting, politics and relationships. We sat side by side outside the gym at a Czech community center every week nearly four years ago, and now when we get our children together, I still feel a shared openness that I treasure.

 The friends I made early in my children’s lives are a gift I value, a brightness that shines on those early days like my child’s earliest smiles and the newborn baby smell, overpowering the anxiety, sleep deprivation and never-ending laundry pile. These relationships grow and change, but will always be part of this fleeting moment in my life, shaping and supporting me as I became a mother. Look with openness at the people around you; someone you barely know could quickly become a much-needed friend.

 

 

Making Memories

By Alison Cupp Relyea

   Only a few decades ago, there were a few standard options for preserving early parenting memories: photo albums, framed photos, hand and foot prints and baby books. Now, with limitless options ranging from personalized products to large canvas prints, it can be yet another thing that becomes overwhelming for new parents. Within months of becoming a parent, many of us have hundreds of digital photos, and the number keeps growing as the child grows. Keeping up is a challenge, but catching up once years have slipped by is even more daunting. At Petite Vigogne, we believe in simplicity and quality. With that in mind, we have a few suggestions for creative keepsakes, many of which add personal touches to a precious Petite Vigogne nursery.

  We have seen many beautiful baby books over the past few years, and Etsy has a selection of personalized and handcrafted books to suit any style. I had a hard time remembering to write down the memories in a baby book, but when my daughter was born, I started writing in a journal. For me, this served the purpose of recording memories and was a welcome opportunity to think and reflect on my experience. Another favorite keepsake for the toddler years is a book called The Quotable Kid. It is a unique way to record the fun, adorable and off-the-wall things your child says in the early years. Also, with journals or a book to capture quotes, it does not matter if you did not start on day one of your baby’s life. You can find the time that is right for you!

  When my three children were very young, I felt an urge to keep much of the newborn items, from snuggly toys to baby clothes. As they grew, it became very clear which items had meaning for me, and I handed down the others to friends. Among the items I treasured and kept were their newborn outfits that they wore home from the hospital. To protect them, I decided to display each outfit in a shadowbox frame using mounting paper and double-sided adhesive. These are now on the wall in our playroom, above the shelves for imaginary play with the baby dolls, kitchen items and dress-up clothes.

  Handcrafted birth samplers and other personalized keepsakes are a perfect way to treasure that special day. The birth samplers are particularly wonderful because your child will become increasingly interested in his or her birth story. Even if you do not have a relative who makes them or time to make one yourself, there are many adorable options, including this one, in the form of a toy block, from Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/478259373/personalized-cross-stitch-baby-block?ref=shop_home_active_1

  Photographs are the most common type of memory we keep these days, and while some families may be disciplined about scheduling a family photo shoot regularly, many of us are not. Luckily, even without professionals, we have many options for turning a beautiful digital photo into a favorite keepsake. Canvaspop and Shutterfly, along with many other companies, have services for printing your favorite picture on canvas or wood. Also, as your child grows, you can use these services to preserve favorite pieces of artwork in addition to photographs.

  Some things are worth keeping forever. How you keep your memories and how much time you dedicate to this is up to you, and once you see it as an opportunity rather than a burden, the ideas will flow. Get creative and have fun!

 

 

Less Is More

By Alison Cupp Relyea

  If there is one lesson many of us learned from the holidays, it is that often less is more. This applies to childrearing more than almost any other area of our lives, and as it is a popular New Year’s Resolution, I decided to look at a few ways this mantra can shape our parenting.

 When it comes to gear, toys and clothing for young ones, you will be a happier, more organized parent from the early days if you adopt this philosophy. It is a hard thing to do, particularly with the clothes, which are oh-so-cute, but when you are sorting through outgrown, unworn items as your child quickly passes through the infant sizes, you will begin to see the beauty of having enough but not too much. With gear, including bedding, the best way to approach purchases is quality and functionality over quantity. Your child does not need ten hooded towels, for example. Two larger, thicker ones that will last for a few years is better than a whole bunch of the newborn ones.

 There are items where quality really matters, and buying a high-quality item will mean that you never have to replace it in the time that your child needs it. If you live in a city with cold winters, spend money on a warm, wind-resistant stroller bunting. If you plan to carry your baby on walks, invest in a baby carrier that supports your back and works for older babies as well as newborns. With sheets and bedding, find a simple design with high-quality fabric that will outlast the crib and toddler bed days. We recommend ours at Petite Vigogne, made from high-quality fabrics and built to last while enveloping your baby in the softest of textures. Your baby will grow and your décor may change, but your bedding will stand the test of time.

 When it comes to hand-me-downs, they can be very helpful, and community pages that allow for an exchange of baby items are a great way to connect with other parents. If you say yes to everything that comes your way, however, you will end up with a house full of stuff. You may even forget what is in the bag from your neighbor down the hall until it is too late to use it. My advice when you are given hand-me-downs is to go through the items right away and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” rather than, “Could this be useful?” Anything you do not want can be donated to an organization that helps families in need. You can ask yourself the same question as you clear out your child’s drawers and toy shelves. It feels great to donate to those in need, and is a positive way to communicate to your child from a young age that you are a family who gives to others and does not waste.

 The “less is more” philosophy can apply to our behavior as parents, too. Do not provide a lot of choices for your children when it comes to things like food at mealtime or what to wear to preschool. Children do well with only two options, knowing they have to pick one. Also, while it may seem like your neighbor’s child is doing every activity under the sun from piano lessons to Mandarin, try only one or two things at a time. What your child needs most in the early years is food, sleep, exercise and love. Reading books at home and playing in the bathtub are activities in their own rights, and will keep you from spending a lot of money and racing around town.

 Life with children can become complicated. Keep it simple where you can!

 

Keep the Colds Away This Winter

By Alison Cupp Relyea

Now that winter is upon us, many of us have had the first round of colds or other illnesses come through the house. Getting sick is uncomfortable, but it can also be a huge inconvenience as you cancel plans, miss days at work and do extra laundry! Here are a few simple practices for you and your family to prevent illnesses and to be prepared when something comes up.

 Young children get sick, particularly if they are in group settings often. It is actually an important part of developing an immune system and should not be too alarming, but there are effective ways to minimize the spread of illness. The best way to prevent your child from getting sick is to promote a healthy lifestyle with a bit of extra attention on germs in the winter. One main defense against illness is rest, so make sure that everyone in your family gets plenty of sleep. Even if you keep your child extremely healthy, if other people in your household are under a lot of stress or not getting enough sleep (yes parents, that’s you) they can bring germs into the house. Use winter as a time to slow down.

 Being prepared is also a big part of staying healthy. Having tissues and baby wipes on hand, regular baths and extra hand-washing can keep germs at bay. Also, avoiding water fountains and carrying your own pen means you don’t expose yourself to other people’s germs when you are out running errands. We recommend stocking your diaper bag for winter with extra supplies, a change of clean clothes, a pen and a water bottle. In the event that someone does get sick, preparing your house with items to keep them comfortable is also important. Decide with your pediatrician what medicine to use if your child has a fever, and what other treatments he or she recommends in case of discomfort. I found the line of products called Little Remedies to be very helpful with early colds and stuffy noses, and an easy-to-clean humidifier can be key for nighttime sleeping. Petite Vigogne sleepsacks are a great way to keep your baby warm during the night. 

 This last piece of advice applies not only to illness, but to parenting in general. Listen to your child and respond to his or her needs. If the fever is down but your child still seems tired, continue to get a bit more rest. If your child has a runny nose and cough but still has the energy to run all around the house, get outside for a walk and some fresh air. Every child is different, and as you get to know yours, you will recognize patterns. Soon this season will pass and you will have more knowledge and perhaps a story or two to share with other parents at the playground.

 

Winter With Kids

By Alison Cupp Relyea

With the temperatures dropping rapidly and the holidays approaching, winter is getting underway. While many of us enjoy this time of year because it means seeing family and more time to relax and snuggle up with our little ones, it can also mean that some of the healthy habits we practice in the other seasons slip away. We know it can be harder to motivate in the winter months, but the best way to enjoy the season and avoid colds and the flu is to stay healthy, with plenty of sleep, exercise and good food. We decided to put together some advice for new families, who often find transitioning through those first few winters to be particularly challenging.

The first thing to remember about winter is that when we are dressed appropriately, it can be quite wonderful to be outside. This is true for babies, children and adults. Some new parents hesitate to take their children out in the winter, but with the proper bundling and warm stroller blankets, babies are very happy going for walks and playing outdoors. A brisk walk every day or a trip to the playground is good for everyone in the family, helping you stay active and creating a sense of routine on cold winter days. Make sure you have the right hats, mittens and outerwear for your children and yourselves, and then you can enjoy watching your child experience a world of winter firsts – snow, snowmen and sledding!

Once you are back home from being outside, a great way to stay healthy and take advantage of the slower pace is to cook together. Trying out new recipes and inviting friends over to enjoy them are great ways to focus on healthy eating this winter. Visiting a local greenmarket is a fun outdoor activity, too, and can introduce you and your family to new possibilities! Greenmarkets tend to be less busy in the winter, and they offer new flavors to sample and interesting people to meet as you explore. 

While you may have lived in your community for a long time before kids, explore it through a new lens now that you are a parent. Are there other indoor activities that you and your child can enjoy for this winter and many to come? Indoor gyms are a fantastic way for your child to move and grow, and your local YMCA or community center may offer free baby swim and baby movement classes. Museums, with their wide-open spaces, are a great place for early walkers to get the runway they need during winter months. There may be other hidden play spaces, too, like community gardens or atriums of large buildings. While being outside is the ultimate goal for healthy living, finding the indoor alternatives helps everyone get their energy out.

Children and adults all sleep better after an active day, so the best way to get the sleep you need and to enjoy a good cuddle with a sleepy child at bedtime is to get outside during the days. Your whole family will feel better physically and emotionally, and you will all sleep well at night!

 

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Children

 

By Alison Cupp Relyea

On Thursday, we will celebrate one of the oldest American traditions, a unique holiday in that most people in our nation celebrate it, regardless of religion, cultural background or age. As our families grow and we transition from from the young people’s table to the adult table or from guest to host, this is a perfect time to think about how to teach our children about family traditions and gratitude from an early age. After all, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. 

As we talked about in an earlier post, holidays are a perfect opportunity to merge your family traditions with your spouse’s traditions, and form new traditions together. From the earliest years of your child’s life, it is fun to build memories that will become part of the fabric of their childhood, things they remember doing year after year. As you map out the next few days with your children and other relatives, think about how to savor the moments together and what opportunities there are to be part of the larger community. Is there a Turkey Trot or a holiday festival in town, or a local museum or nature center that has special activities for young children? Will your children be part of the cooking to prepare the meal or the desserts? Even if you are not hosting, perhaps there is a way for you to contribute something handcrafted or whimsical to the table, such as braided napkin rings or place cards decorated by your children. 

Getting young children involved in the holiday while also starting discussions at home about the meaning of Thanksgiving are very organic ways to teach gratitude. Your children may have some sense, even in the preschool years, of what Thanksgiving is about. They begin to recognize the symbols at school and around town: turkeys, cornucopias and tables filled with food. As they hear stories about the origin of Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, you can begin to explore concepts of gratitude and generosity. At your Thanksgiving table, each person can share a few things for which they are thankful, giving even toddlers a chance to participate in a moment of thanks.

It is so rare for us to have four days together as a family, and balancing the meaning of Thanksgiving with delicious food, quality time at home and community activities will bring warmth and cheer to your holiday.

We wish you and your loved ones a healthy, happy and heartwarming Thanksgiving from Petite Vigogne!

 

Imagination Contained

By Alison Cupp Relyea

 

  As the weather begins to turn cooler and the days get shorter, we often spend more time indoors. Many of us want to be outside with our children as much as possible, but indoor play does not have to feel limiting or confined. By approaching the play areas in your home to offer the most open-ended play opportunities, you can create a world of imagination that engages and delights your child for hours on end, even on the most brutal winter day. Depending on your child’s age, the specific toys in your play space may vary, but the three categories are consistent: art, building, and imaginary play.

 Art materials are an important part of learning and play from the earliest years of your child’s life. Materials can be simple, with crayons, paint, paper and play dough in the early toddler years. Children need only a newspaper, laminated placemat, a child-sized table and some quiet time to have a productive art session at home. As their interests grow, you can incorporate new materials and watch your child’s curiosity unfold. Art sessions are also opportunities to reuse household items, teaching important ecology lessons and growing their minds at the same time.

 Building tools can be used as a standalone activity, as your child explores the physical properties of structures as he or she plays, or can become the basis for imaginary play. If you are limited on space, having great building sets and a few sets of figures, such as people, cars, and animals, you can combine building with imaginary play for your toddler. Traditional wooden block sets and Magnatiles both incorporate mathematical relationships and geometric properties into their designs. Children learn about the scientific properties of the various materials through building while also working on their creativity, problem-solving and fine-motor skills. With the right complement of other toys, they can also become fire stations, houses, barns, and skyscrapers; the possibilities are infinite.

 Imaginary play may incorporate art and building, but is also a type of play on its own. This play allows children to explore different roles, practice their social skills and build a deeper understanding of the world around them. A play kitchen with toy food, a few costumes and a few dolls or stuffed animals may be all a child needs to create an elaborate world inside a bedroom or playroom. Versatile accessories such as capes, hats and a doctor kit or a tool kit take up less space and are often more useful over time than specific children costumes.

 As you select toys and materials, consider purpose, simplicity and open-ended play opportunities. Start with a few things in each category and then add on as you see your child’s interests grow. You will be amazed as you explore the concept of play with your child!

 

From Child to Parent: Making the Transition when Your Baby Arrives

By Alison Cupp Relyea

  For many new parents, the anticipation you feel when you are expecting your child is matched only by the anticipation of your parents, particularly if they are becoming grandparents for the first time. Having a child is a family affair, as it should be, but it is also a defining moment for you and your partner as your own nuclear family takes shape. No matter how many months or years you were together as a couple prior to this, having a baby changes the dynamic of your partnership. It also brings extended families into the relationship in ways that are new and different, and worthy of discussion.

It is a blessing if you have family nearby, and family members who are willing to help you and your child are an even greater gift. Sometimes, however, managing your own needs and priorities with those of other family members can be tricky, even in this exciting time. Doing three simple things can help you manage everyone’s expectations and create positive, stress-free relationships.

Discuss your family dynamics. When you were dating or even first married, some of your family quirks may have been comical or annoying, but once there is a child involved and things have the potential to become a bit more stressful, they become personal or highly inconvenient. Talking about small conflicts as they arise and expressing your needs with your partner will help you both feel heard and will enable you to make plans that work for your new family.

Make time for your small family. You may feel as though you and your partner see a great deal of each other these days, but with increased responsibilities, it is probably not the same quality time that you used to spend together. When you have a free day, do not feel as though you have to make plans with family members. Carve out time for the two of you, alone and with your child.

Start some new family traditions. While holidays and birthdays are often occasions for extended family and might already be full of traditions, there are ways to infuse new traditions into your life. Giving one gift to your child each year, such as a limited-edition book, a beautiful baby blanket, a teacup or a handmade craft can be a wonderful way for you to pass something precious on to your child. Simpler traditions can be woven into your everyday life, such as baking every weekend or visiting a different park or playground once a month. These gestures, while they might seem small, are important. They will begin to shape your journey together and your child will come to see them as part of what makes you a family.

 

 

Back-to-School Worries: Our Children and Us

By Alison Cupp Relyea

 It is back-to-school season, and everywhere, parents and children are saying good-bye to the summer, usually a season marked by an increase in family time, and saying hello to new teachers and friends. This is an exciting time, particularly for young children and new parents who have been looking forward to those first preschool experiences, but it can also be a time of nerves and worries. Children may be separating for the first time, which means parents are also separating for the first time. I have had three children transition to school and I spent many years on the other side of the door as an elementary school teacher, and while every child is different, there are some easy tips to follow that will make the transitions easier.

 The first tip for parents is to practice walking away. If your child senses that you are confident and happy about the new school or new classroom, he or she will likely also be happy and confident. A child whose parent is able to say a quick goodbye at the door will learn to transition more smoothly than one whose parent seems worried or attached. In the beginning, many children may seem worried and will cling to parents, but the more able you are to stand your ground and maintain enthusiasm for school, the easier it will be for your child. Preschool is a wonderful part of childhood and most children love playing with friends and teachers, but it is often accompanied by feelings of separation. Try to keep it as simple as possible.

 Keeping a routine at home is one of the most important things you can do to help back to school go smoothly. Summer is not a time of routine and schedule for many, and fall can feel overwhelming for children and parents alike. Prioritize healthy meals, time outdoors and rest over activities and playdates, especially in the beginning as your child is adjusting. Set a bedtime routine, full of books, cuddles and quiet time, and stick to it. You and your child both need adequate sleep and feeling tired or rushed can create anxiety.

 Lastly, use the new school experience as a way to get to know your child better rather than focusing on missing him or her. Young children have a hard time answering open-ended questions such as “How was school today?” or “Do you like school?” They tend to give one-word answers. If you ask specific questions, however, such as, “Who did you play with at recess?” or “What did you have for snack today?” they will often tell you the answer to that question as well as much more detail about their school day. Learning how to listen to your child will help ease any worries you have and will add to your child’s delight as a new world unfolds.

 

When To Switch From Crib To Bed

By Alison Cupp Relyea

One of the biggest questions we consider as parents when thinking about our toddler’s sleep habits is when to transition from a crib to a toddler bed or a big kid bed. Having had three children who all transitioned at different points and on different paths, rest assured there is no right answer. A child’s readiness, family needs and space constraints can determine the natural time for your child to transition. The important thing is to keep some consistency to maintain good sleep habits through the change.

 My oldest child moved into a toddler bed a month or so before his sister was born, at about 22 months, and my daughter stayed in her crib until she was nearly three years old. When her younger brother arrived, she moved directly to the bottom bunk of our new bunk beds. My youngest is extremely tall for his age and started climbing out of his crib at 18 months, marking the end of the crib era for our family. Some families try to retrain their toddlers after they learn how to climb out, but sensing my son’s determination, I was concerned about safety after two nights in a row and quickly transformed the crib into its toddler version.

 As my children moved from crib to bed, a few things made the transition easier: high quality bedding, personal items and bedtime routines. The move from crib to toddler bed, whether the bed is a converted crib or a new bed for the child, is made easier because you can use the same bedding. The child then feels at home in a familiar environment at bedtime. If a child is moving into a twin bed, new bedding is a must, but involving a child in the bedding selection can help, along with keeping other elements of bedtime consistent. Often children are more attached to their favorite snuggly animal or blanket, and that can help offset the transition to a new bed.

 Bedtime routines are very important during any transition, and during a change in sleep arrangements, they are particularly crucial. Before you consider moving a child, think about how you can ensure that the move goes smoothly. If you usually read to a child while he or she is already settled into the crib at night, consider starting bedtime books in a comfortable chair a few weeks before moving your child to the new bed. Any changes that can be made in advance to keep the bedtime routine consistent will help. The initial few betimes may take a bit longer than usual, but as long as you adhere to the same bedtime patterns you established while your child was in a crib, things should fall into place within a week or two. You will marvel at the growth of your child, not long ago a tiny newborn, now sleeping in a bed!

 

Summer Sun Makes Travel Fun

By Alison Cupp Relyea

     

Vacations are wonderful, right? In theory, yes, but with small children, travel can also be exhausting and emotionally draining. The change from your everyday routine means more planning ahead to ensure a smooth trip. Being prepared can make an enormous difference in your family’s experience.

No matter where you are going and whether you are driving or flying, remember that traveling as a family is about having fun and spending quality time together. Making the extra effort before you leave will lead to a more relaxing vacation. Here are some of our favorite travel tips from experienced parents.

General Tips: 

  1. Bring first aid supplies. Scrapes and bruises happen, particularly in summer months, and being prepared for them will save time and tears.
  1. No matter what size your child’s soothing toy or baby blanket is, be sure to bring it.  Families who think the child will be fine without a security item often learn the hard way never to leave it behind.
  1. Pack snacks that take a long time to eat. This will keep your child occupied while killing time.
  1. Bring along your child’s favorite activities, such as crayons or books. A little extra packing can mean a busy, happy child.
  1. Don’t forget to pack a set of travel laundry bags on your hand luggage for wet clothes! Accidents happen, especially if you are in the middle of potty training!
  1. Always carry a baby blanket, no matter how hot it is outside; airports usually have strong air conditioning.

Airplane Travel:

  1. Arrive early. Getting through the airport with young children takes more time, with extra bathroom stops and more for you to manage at check-in and security. Leave plenty of extra time.
  1. Some airlines recently changed their stroller rules and no longer allow passengers to bring strollers through to be gate-checked. If you aren’t prepared for this, it can create a stressful and disorganized trip. Call your airline to confirm your travel expectations, such as stroller use, a carseat on the plane or a bulkhead seat.
  1. Introduce your child to the flight attendants and your seat neighbors. This will help your child feel more comfortable and others are generally happier to help and more forgiving of disruption if they feel a personal connection to your family.

Car Travel:

  1. Be sure to avoid rush hour or weekend traffic.
  1. Think about your child’s routines and travel during the hours when your child tends to feel best. Some children will nap when traveling, but some get overstimulated and traveling when tired can make things worse. 
  1. Fill up on gas, use the bathroom and eat a meal before getting in the car to try to maximize your travel time.
  1. Take advantage of the flexibility. If your child needs a break from the car, find a local spot to get out for a walk and break up the trip.

 We hope these tips are helpful as you prepare for your next trip, whether it is this summer or in the more distant future. Thinking through the details in advance will mean you can focus on what matters most when you arrive at your destination: Family and fun!

 

 

Cooling Down as Summer Heats Up

By Alison Cupp Relyea

       As a new parent, I remember struggling to keep our apartment set to the right temperature, both in winter and in summer. My first two children are both summer babies and needed summer baby clothes. They spent those first few precious weeks in the hot humidity that defines a New York City summer. Following the advice from the nurses to always dress a baby a bit warmer than we would dress ourselves, I set out to create a comfortable crib environment and wardrobe for my babies that would work in those hot summer months.

 During the night and at naps, it is important to find a temperature that is cool enough to encourage good air flow but not so cool that your baby gets cold. New parents need as much sleep as possible, and waking from being too cool or too warm is a common problem with young children! With infants, use receiving blankets or swaddling blankets and then move on to sleep sacks to give children an extra layer that stays on all night. Many parents experiment with these in those early months to see what works best for their child.

 Nighttime temperatures in the summer continue to be tricky as children become toddlers. They no longer tolerate sleep sacks but they cannot keep sheets and blankets on in the night. We find the best solution is to dress them in very breathable full-length cotton pajamas rather than shorts and t-shirts. Socks can help, too. This means that you can keep the air cool but your baby stays warm.

 Lastly, exploring the city with a newborn in August taught me quickly the value of a sweater and a baby blanket! In your diaper bag, always keep an extra lightweight blanket, sweater and socks. Restaurants, stores and other people’s homes may be very cold in summer, and you will want to be able to quickly throw an extra layer on your baby, particularly a sleeping newborn! Our precious blankets and travel laundry bags can help you keep track of your extra layers when you are on the go!

 

summer baby clothes


 

Surviving the Summertime Stains

 

By Alison Cupp Relyea

         Summertime can be surprisingly messy, especially if this is your first summer with a mobile toddler or with multiple children. Suddenly the gorgeous bedding, luxury baby wear and accessories that made it through the winter without much wear and tear are subject to an active, messy toddler. After a long day of play in the sun, it is fairly typical to return home with a tired child who is covered in dirt, snacks, and maybe a scrape or two. You want to preserve the quality items in your home, but how do you take advantage of all that summer has to offer while doing your best to prevent and treat stains? We have some suggestions here to help you stock up and get prepared.

Pretreating stains is one of the best ways to guarantee they will come out in the wash. OxiClean spray is a staple for many moms. If you prefer organic laundry products, we recommend using Seventh Generation spray or Biokleen Bac-Out to pretreat stains. Even after pretreating and soaking stained fabrics, it helps to use a stain remover in the laundry. Again, OxiClean Stain Remover works well, and for a more natural alternative, try Shaklee NatureBright Laundry Booster and Stain Remover. Of course, remember to sort your laundry for color and durability! Sometimes in summer we have a tendency to rush, and sorting colors and washing according to fabric recommendations ensures that stains come out while fabrics stay bright and beautiful. With care and time, even the finest fabrics will have a long life.

 For preventing stains, there are many easy practices that will help to make sure dirt does not end up on your best fabrics. When we were children, most artwork and dirty play involved wearing a smock or old t-shirt. With toddlers, life can quickly shift from a Sunday brunch or visit with grandparents in nice clothing to a trip to the playground or sandbox. Be prepared. In addition to diapers and extra clothing, always pack an old t-shirt that you can throw on your toddler at a moment’s notice. This can help around the house, too, when you are getting ready to go out. Wearing a t-shirt until the last possible minute means stains won’t ruin your outfit or your children’s outfits moments before you walk out the door! A great way to keep track of the extra clothes when you are on the go is to use our Petite Vigogne Travel Laundry Bags in your diaper bag. You will always know what needs to be washed or replaced. Lastly, a quick shower or bath, even on the most exhausting of days, will mean that your tired toddler gets tucked into bed nice and clean, protecting those beautiful sheets from dirty fingers and toes.

Now that you have taken the time to get ahead of the summertime stains, you can get out there and enjoy the sun, sand, water and dirt with your little explorers.

 

 

 

 

 

Toddler Furniture

By Alison Cupp Relyea

          Before having children, our homes are filled with adult-sized things, from tables and chairs to towels and place settings. When a baby arrives, some items immediately become smaller. We get cribs and bassinets with beautiful baby bedding sets, hooded towels for bath time and baby books for story time. In one part of our house, things become smaller, but elsewhere, they remain the same.

As a baby quickly grows into a toddler, they often outgrow the initial supply of newborn items and we race to keep up on clothing and shoes, often overlooking the other things that are too small or too big for our growing child. Toddlers live in a world much like that of Goldilocks, where things are not quite the right size for them. With a little extra effort to find those items that are “just right,” you will see your toddler blossom in his or her ability to be independent.

Furniture is often the biggest challenge for parents, especially when space is limited. Having separate furniture for a toddler can make everyone’s life much easier – and neater! By about two years old, many children resist being strapped into a high chair. Also, they can start to do art projects and other things at the table besides eating, but a large table with large chairs does not allow a child to manage independently.

 One of the best investments you can make for your toddler is a child-size table and chairs set. These vary in price and quality, and there are many choices to fit your décor and your space needs. Children love to have snacks at their tables and engage in art projects, look at books and play with friends. Much like a baby’s crib, this quickly becomes a toddler’s personal play space.

Children very quickly respond to things that are made especially for them, and as soon as you bring this new furniture into your home, you will see your child acting out everyday tasks of setting up a snack and tucking in chairs. As they grow, it is also perfect for imaginary play as it can transform from family kitchen to restaurant or school table.

To round out the “just right” toddler items in your home, be sure to get some place settings and toddler utensils. These are bigger than baby items and baby spoons. They are designed to be used independently to promote early feeding skills. Also, having a couple of toddler step stools around will soon enable your child to wash hands and brush teeth without help. You will be amazed at what your growing child can accomplish with the right tools!

 

 

 

Baby Gifts and Baby Gift Sets for a Special Little One

 By Alison Cupp Relyea

Your friend or relative has a brand new baby, and you want to give a gift that captures this special time. It can be hard to find that perfect balance of beautiful and practical, gifts that will shape the experience of a new parent. We explored the market of luxury baby gifts and gift sets to bring you a selection items recommended by mothers, some must-haves and other unique treasures.

The Abeille Set by Petite Vigogne is a sweet and simple way to combine luxury and durability for a useful newborn gift. This baby gift set contains a swaddle blanket, burp cloth, bib made from a soft white pima cotton.      

 

A sterling silver tooth holder is a unique way to give a keepsake that will be cherished for years to come. One mother noted that seeing this item on her daughter’s dresser over the years reminds her of those early tender moments, even now that her daughter is older and uses it for the tooth fairy.

A book collection is a personal way to put together a gift set that can grow with a childover time. By selecting titles that range from newborn board books to timeless picture books, a set of six or seven books can help to shape a child’s library and create timeless memories.   

 

A music box or musical globe makes a memorable gift for a newborn. From those first few months into early childhood, a parent and child will share tender moments enjoying beautiful music. Its old-fashioned beauty and simple melody often reminds parents of music boxes from their own childhood. We recommend the Reed and Barton Seaglobe.

Our Petite Vigogne Travel Laundry Bags are a customer favorite. This gift offers a way to give a new parent an unexpected gift that comes in handy for years to come. Each set comes with two bags, one for clean items and one that is lined for dirty items. Many moms suggest having an extra set for the spare clothes in the diaper bag.

 

Sleepwear sets are a guaranteed way to bring a new parent something essential and adorable at the same time. We suggest getting high-quality sleepwear a few sizes up in a 6-12 month size. This way, as their little one grows out of tiny newborn clothes, parents will have something to look forward to and it will fit for much longer.One parent noted that one of the best newborn gifts she received was personalized notecards with her child’s name on them. Parents have spent nine months selecting a name for their new arrival, and these notecards make thank-you notes more touching and meaningful.

Framed prints or wall prints are a great personal item for new prints. Many new parents take a lot of photos and keep them digitally, but do not have the time to turn them into prints for the nursery.

The Sleep Sheep white noise machine is a cute and cuddly addition to a nursery and can help new parents establish sleep routines with their newborns. The Sleep Sheep attaches to the crib and has a selection of soothing natural sounds.

Depending on climate, a well-made thermal stroller bundle makes a fantastic baby gift. The best items are high-end and durable, such as the 7am Infant bundles.

 7am Bundle

 Bath and body gift sets bring mothers and babies an element of sensory indulgence they can enjoy every day. Splurge on items formulated specifically for a baby’s sensitive skin with safe, high-quality ingredients. We recommend Mustela and Erbaviva products.

Get to know our mommy blogger Alison Cupp Relyea

Alison writes our Petite Vigogne News blog and we are thrilled to get to know a bit more about her routine and what is her secret to maintaining a balanced life with a busy schedule and three kids!
Feel free to post your comments!

Q- Alison, how do you chose your blog topics?

I try to choose topics that will be of interest to many moms and will offer advice. I enjoy connecting with parents and believe that by sharing ideas, we can support one another through the challenges and celebrate the many joys of raising children.

Q- What do you think is the most important advice you could give to your readers?

There are a couple of pieces of advice that I try to follow as a mother of young children. One is to worry less about little things, and the other is to live in the moment. These concepts seem simple but are two things that can get lost in our busy lives. 

Q- What do you consider the best advice you got when you had your first baby?

The best advice I heard as a very new parent is to remember that everything is a phase. If we think in terms of phases, then we worry less, forgive ourselves more easily and are more mindful of living in the moment. The phases pass too quickly, particularly in those early months!

Q- What is your secret to balance your time with 3 children a husband and a writing career?

I try to make realistic goals for myself and take things one day at a time. I have to balance priorities and every day looks different, but I have learned to be flexible and roll with it! 

Q- What is your favorite thing about sharing your experiences with other moms/dads?

My favorite thing about writing for other parents is the conversations and connections that come out. While there are many different ways to raise children and each child is an individual, there are many common experiences that bring parents together. I hope that my writing offers insight, information or reassurance for parents.

Q- What is something every mom should carry in her bag at all times?

Baby wipes! This holds true even as children get a bit older and enter elementary school. Baby wipes always come in handy. 

 

 Photo: Alison Cupp Relyea and husband Richard with Robert, Eliza and Ian. 

Sleep Tips from a Seasoned Mom

Posted on February 29, 2016

By Alison Cupp Relyea
Mother of three.

 

            When you have a newborn, there is no more popular topic of discussion than sleep. Sleep is important for everyone in the family, not only for the baby, and figuring out how to get more of it is often the biggest goal in the first few months of your baby’s life. While turning to the experts definitely helps, there are a few pieces of advice that I found helpful in those early days: Be consistent, be flexible, and listen to your baby.

            Consistency is key when it comes to sleep. Bedtime routines should be consistent and predictable, using signals to help the baby understand, even in the earliest weeks, that nighttime is here. Many people use bathing, a last feed, songs, books, and swaddling as parts of the bedtime routine. The setting for bedtime, whether it is a crib or bassinet, should be the same every night. Having a few sets of your favorite crib sheets and blankets also helps. You can pick what works best for you, but it is very helpful for everyone to have a set routine, following the same steps at the same time each night. 

            Flexibility is also important, which seems a bit contradictory to the first tip, consistency. Consistency matters from one day to the next, and flexibility happens over time. As newborns grow and change, their sleep patterns shift, and we as parents need to be able to adjust to that. Some babies in the early weeks do not go down for their longest stretch of sleep until 9 or 10pm. Once they are five or six weeks old, though, this shifts to be earlier as their sleep consolidates. Watch how they are napping during the day, and as nap patterns change, so will bedtime patterns. Some new parents work very hard to keep babies on a set schedule, growing increasingly frustrated when the schedule is no longer working. Staying flexible and aware will help you make adjustments before frustration sets in.

            Last but not least, listen to your baby and your instincts. Families approach sleep differently, and babies are individuals. Note what is working for your child and for you. If your newborn naps three times a day and only sleeps for a stretch of five hours at night before waking to feed, it does not matter if your best friend’s newborn sleeps for seven hours and takes three naps. If you are happy and feel that you and your baby are getting enough sleep, do not doubt yourself. Seek the advice of others when you are concerned and struggling and enjoy the bliss – and the rest - when it is going well.

 

 

Why investing on a high quality baby bedding set matters.

baby bedding set

Up until their toddler years, babies spend more time sleeping than awake, so preparing a comfortable sleeping environment should be a priority for any parent.

There are three main things to consider when buying a baby bedding set.

Quality

A 100% cotton baby bedding set should be your absolute top choice. Cotton’s characteristics allow the fabric to breath much better than synthetic fabrics. It is also more absorbent, which means the sheets will dry faster in case the baby sweats at night. And it is also convenient as it is machine washable.

Peruvian pima cotton is widely considered the highest quality cotton in the world. Its long staple yields a very soft weave and makes it a more durable fabric. It is also hypo-allergenic, which makes it an ideal alternative for people with skin sensitivities and, thus, also perfect for children.

Pima cotton reacts extremely well to washing, so your baby bedding will endure the first years of your child without losing its quality.

Design

Design is also an important decision, as you want to surround your baby with a soft and peaceful atmosphere.

Whites and pastel colors give a harmonious and peaceful environment to their upbringing. Bright colors are a good choice for your children’s play area as well as other parts of their room, but their crib should be a calm and soothing space.

Thread-count

Children’s brands many times don’t disclose the thread-count of its bedding sets. Little ones, just like us, will enjoy the experience of a more comfortable sheet, so thread-count should be part of the bedding set buying decision, just like it is for adults.

Thread count alone doesn’t mean much unless it goes hand in hand with a high quality fabric. Thread count stands for the number of threads per square inch in the fabric. Higher thread count fabrics are finer, most of the time resulting in a softer and more luxurious feel. When combined with a higher quality fabric, such as Pima cotton, it will ensure the bedding set maintains its quality over time.

Meet Petite Vigogne's Head Designer

Q- Describe Megan in three words.     

Creative. loyal. authentic. 

Q- How would you describe your designing style? 

I love to create cohesive stories. It does not start with pieces , but with a collection -a story. So once I see a direction for the collection, then I get to touch each piece, making each one it's own masterpiece inside the story. 

Q- How does being a mom influence your designs?

Designing while a mom, has made me know my "client's" needs. My baby! He needs functional products that last a million washings that maintain style and comfort. 

Q- What inspired you to create Petite Vigogne signature collections?

Vintage and european bedding and linens is where I have drawn most of my inspiration. I love starting with something vintage and old and beautiful and working it into a new nursery -make it come alive again!

Q- Who are your favorite designers?

Having worked for Ralph lauren, I have a great respect for him and the world he has built. The RL style is strong, elegant and the definition of quality. I respect a wide range of other designers as well. It is inspiring to me to see a wide breadth of styles.

Q- Why do you think buying high quality bedding for your child is so important? 

When it comes for products for your child, it is essential that you know what you are getting. And when you select high quality goods you have a much better idea of the quality of content, durablitiy and the functionality of the product. Babies spend most of their day sleeping, what better place to invest in soft, durable, and beautiful products that will be so soft for babies skin!

 Photo: Megan Devine and son Sam

 

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