Adventure, baby!

New York Life

Dressing Brooklyn: Appaman and the Husband and Wife Team Behind It

The Brunch With My Baby team are huge fans of Appaman, a Brooklyn clothing brand known for their stylish kids’ clothes. Lynn Husum owns the brand, along with her husband Harald. She filled us in on what it’s like running a family business and raising kids (Kaya, 9, and Elie, 7) in NYC. 

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

We hear that Appaman was named after Harald’s childhood stuffed monkey. Is he still kicking around?
Yes Appaman (the original) is still around. He is a little floppy but he is in the office on a shelf for inspiration.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Appaman is a husband and wife team — how has it been working together AND raising two girls?
We truly love to work together. We are great at the division of labor thing. I won’t lie, there are good days and bad days, but the good far outweighs the bad. We each have tasks at work and home and we don’t micromanage each other. I think trust and a sense of humor are imperative when you have a working marriage like ours. The highs are being able to be in each others lives on a consistent and regular basis, to celebrate the triumphs and laugh at the daily absurdities. The lows are that we have most of the same problems so when something goes wrong we are both stressing about it. Rather than just one party having a work issue, we both have it.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Starting your own business is a brave endeavor — what were Appaman’s humble beginnings?
We started in our 659 square foot apartment in Brooklyn. We dyed clothing in our washing machine and went door-to-door selling our wares. Harald took some screen-printing classes and was printing on our kitchen table. I took a night course on marketing to the children’s wear industry on a shoestring. I was a star pupil, did everything I was told and it worked.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Were there any big setbacks or disasters along the way?
Knock wood, we have not had too many disasters. The biggest one I can recall is the season very early on that we shipped pants that could not fit any human child. They were very long and incredibly thin. We had to recall them but at the time we only had a few dozen accounts so although it seemed like a big deal at the time it was pretty minor.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

What was the biggest “We’ve made it!” moment with Appaman so far?
One of our T-shirts was photographed on Maddox Jolie-Pitt on the day Angelina announced her pregnancy with Brad Pitt’s baby. It was like the photo that went around the world. It was a perfect shot of our t-shirt and our phones were ringing off the hook. It was an exciting moment and a great example of the power of celebrity in the day and age.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
We live in NYC so inspiration is everywhere you look. Walking down the street can fuel creativity any day of the week.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

What do your kids think of your designs? Do they wear them?
We have two girls and they are fans of Appaman but are very picky. They like to choose the styles they are into at the current moment and are very vocal about their opinions. They are both pretty proud of Appaman but do not wear it exclusively.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

You’re based in Brooklyn! What are your favorite places in the ‘hood to take your family?
I love Brooklyn and my family has extreme Brooklyn pride. We are big fans of Coney Island for the boardwalk, Nathan’s and the Cyclones. We spend a lot of time at Fort Tilden beach in the summer. We hit Bay Ridge regularly for eating. We love Tanoreen for Middle Eastern food. Grand Sichuan House for Chinese. My kids’ favorite is Vietnamese food. They are obsessed with Pork Pho. We always go to Gia Lam in Sunset Park. We spend a lot of time at Brooklyn Bridge Park and weekends on Governor’s Island. Brooklyn is an amazing place to raise a family. I like to refer to it as small town living in an urban setting. My kids know all of the merchants in town and we shop at small bodegas for fruits, veggies, fish and meat. It’s friendly and family oriented.

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Appaman are giving one lucky Brunch My Baby reader the chance to win an outfit from their fall/winter collection. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway opens Wed February 19, 2014 to 11:59pm 25 February EST. By entering this competition you are agreeing to sign up to the Brunch With My Baby mailing list. 

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Cold outside, cosy inside: The 7 A.M. Enfant Blanket 212 Chevron

#7amenfant @7amenfant #blanket212chevron via brunchwithmybaby.com

New York winters are brutal. Icy winds, sleet and snow, and long, gloomy days. What you need to survive the long cold days is warm things, lots and lots of them, for you and your baby. We are particularly enamoured with the new stroller bunting from 7 A.M. Enfant — the Blanket 212 Chevron. You might be freezing as you’re trudging through grey sludge, but at least your kid will be so warm and snug that you’ll want to climb in there with them.

If you haven’t heard of the 7 A.M. Enfant brand before, they are known for their innovative, high-quality line of baby and children’s products, particularly those suited to the cold. Designed by French designer Rebecca Campora, the brand is colorful, playful and stylish, using the kinds of luxurious fabrics that you wish your own bags and clothes were made out of.

#7amenfant @7amenfant #blanket212chevron via brunchwithmybaby.com

Their latest version of the popular 212 stroller bunting is called the Chevron. As well as being the most attractive and eye-catching bunting we’ve ever seen (CHEVRON!), it fits any stroller, so you can easily use it on your SUV-sized or umbrella stroller equally well. The new Chevron pattern comes in six color combinations, from bright pinks, greens and reds, to subtler blues and the black and tan one pictured.

#7amenfant @7amenfant #blanket212chevron via brunchwithmybaby.com

The exterior is a water-repellent shell, designed to withstand rain and snow, with ultra-soft premium fiber insulation (read: super, super, super warm). The interior is anti-pilling micro-fleece that is not only warm enough for extreme New York winters, but also comes out of the washing machine looking like new. They’re not lying about the anti-piling — that feature alone makes this bunting worth its cost.

Other features you’ll love:

  • 2 length extensions so it grows with your child

  • Ergonomic hood with safe buttoned elastic adjuster

  • 5-point harness openings for securing into any stroller and car seat

  • Side strap attachments to secure the footmuff

  • Anti-slip back panel

  • Large front pocket

As mother to one very squirmy child, what I also love about this bunting is the strong zip up the middle. It means that tricksy toddlers like mine can’t kick it off – they must submit to being warm.

Bottom line is, this is an investment piece. A gorgeous-looking bunting made from high-quality materials, that’s made to last. Not kidding — you will pass this bunting down from kid to kid to kid, and it will still look fantastic when toddler number three is using it.

Brunch With My Baby was provided with a sample for reviewing purposes. All opinions are our own. 

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants to be a Fireman {Book Review}

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants To Be A fireman {Book Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

If your little one is at the age where she is curious about where mommy or daddy goes all day when they head off to this mysterious place called “work”, then this new children’s book by NYC author (and mom!) Marissa Klein are for you.

After struggling to find career-related books suitable to teach her own 2.5-year-old about careers, Klein decided to write her own story, The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants to be a Fireman. With whimsical illustrations by the talented Brooke Hagel, Rosie Wants to be a Fireman is the first in a series of books that are based on that question that stumps us even now: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Each night when Rosie goes off to sleep, a whole new world opens up for her. In this dreamworld, Rosie can be anything she wants to be. In Rosie Wants to be a Fireman, she helps rescue a cat from a tree and decides that when she grows up, she’ll be a fireman. Tomorrow, however, who knows what Rosie will want to be — you’ll have to follow the series to find out! With gorgeous, fashion-inspired illustrations and sweet rhyming language, little girls will adore following Rosie on her adventures — and hopefully be inspired to find some new big dreams for themselves.

The stories are intended for 4-7 year olds, but 2-3 year olds can enjoy a good read with an older sibling. While this is a children’s book, the message rings true for adults as well – it gives parents an opportunity to explain to their children why they have to go to work every day and how important it is to chase your dreams.

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants to be a Fireman (Rissylyn; June 2013; $12.99, paperback; $19.95, hardcover; $4.95, Kindle) is now available for purchase via Amazon and Create Space. Visit http://www.thedreambigacademy.com to learn more or to buy your copy today.

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants To Be A fireman {Book Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

Daniel Tiger's 3-in-1 Treehouse {Review + Giveaway}

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway

We’re huge Daniel Tiger fans in this household (I MAY be guilty of using Daniel Tiger’s songs in our day-to-day lives (“Problem solved!”). So it was a very exciting day for one little toddler when the Daniel Tiger 3-in-1 Convertable Treehouse arrived. Miss E is really into pretend play and dollhouses right now, so this toy is right up her alley.

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway

The treehouse arrives set up as above, with three figures  — Daniel Tiger, O the Owl and Katerina Kittycat. Designed to encourage imaginative play, the familiar figures can play with their environment in numerous ways, (The slide! The swing! The stairs!). A rocket in the center of the tree goes up and down between levels, and Katerina Kittycat spins in her bedroom while music plays. Super cute. The pieces all detach and can be aranged however the child decides.

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway

With a few changes, the tree house is transformed into a space station (here’s where the rocket elevator is most fun).

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway
The third playspace is on the other side of the toy — the front yard. A section of the treehouse flips down for Daniel’s telescope.

What I like best about this toy is how interactive it is. There are so many ways children can engage with the treehouse and the characters within it. At $39.95 it’s not cheap, but for big fans of the show, it will entertain for hours (or at least the length of a Daniel Tiger episode), making it money well spent.

The treehouse is also solidly gender neutral. Boys will enjoy this toy just as much as girls. You can pick up your own Daniel Tiger 3-in-1 Convertable Treehouse from stores like Toys R Us.

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood are giving one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader the chance to win their own Daniel Tiger 3-in-1 Convertable Treehouse. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Giveaway is open Wednesday January 22 to 11:59pm Tuesday 28, 2014 EST.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

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The Expat Life: Where Your Heart Is Always Torn In Two

The Expat Life: Where Your Heart Is Torn In Two - akissgoodnight.co

We’ve been living in New York for almost exactly three years now. Three of the toughest, most exciting, frustrating years of my life (having a tough kid doesn’t make it any easier).

As I near my 3 year anniversary of living the expat life, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how living in this situation, for me, is like living with your heart permanently torn in two. It’s a state of constantly missing those you left behind and who are living their lives without you, and, at the same time, enjoying your new life – with the thought always floating in your head, how long will this last? How long until the good doesn’t outweigh the bad? How long until you make the move back home and settle back into your old life? Sooner? Later? Never?

Living in a constant state of flux
At least, I certainly am. When we moved here, our time estimation for how long we’d live here was one-to-two years. Every year, we say we will give it one more year. Most of our stuff is in storage in Australia, but since we can’t decide whether or not to commit to living here permanently, we don’t know what to do with it all. It’s things like a giant couch that wouldn’t fit into any NYC apartment. My photographs and negatives and books. All my memories and possessions for my life pre 2011 are packaged into small boxes and stuffed into my parent’s house. I find myself missing things. Like a hair clip I was given for my 21st birthday that I still love to wear, but didn’t make the cut for things that we needed to bring over. And having to re-buy everything (PAINFUL!) because it’s cheaper than having the old things shipped over. How long until we can commit to a life here or there? Is there a magic number of years that pass and present the answer?

It starts off really really hard, but gets easier
The first year was so tough that I didn’t think we’d make it through and wanted to fly home almost every day. I missed everything about my old life – our home, our family and friends, the warm weather, and the easiness of life when you know how everything runs and how to do everything without thinking about it. The hardest parts about adapting to life in the US were the little things. Where to buy good Greek yoghurt. Finding a new GP, dentist, seamstress, housekeeper … Working out how medical insurance worked (ok, and some not so little things).

After the two-year mark things went from tough and frustrating to finally comfortable enough to feel like I didn’t have to fight to get little things done every single day. As I near the three-year mark, life has become great. It’s no longer a daily frustration as I can’t work out the little nuances that make life here different. Some still remain (why is supermarket bread SO BAD?! Why is the cheese ORANGE?! Why does tomato ketchup have CORN SYRUP in it?!) but, in general, New York is feeling like home.

Starting your tribe from scratch
It takes a while to make a new tribe. In my case, it took over two years to accumulate a new circle of friends whom I felt comfortable with. Feeling lonely and disconnected, while seeing all my old friends having a blast together was tough. It takes a lot of effort to stay in touch with people, especially as we get older and have more time commitments. One thing that can be said is that moving countries really shows you who your friends are! The ones who reply to your emails with thoughtful messages (and send you notes spontaneously when they’re thinking of you!) are going to be a lot fewer than you think (sadness), but they will be the ones who are your friends for life (happiness).

Missing family
Family is tough no matter where you live. Near them, they can drive you so nuts you wish you lived far, far away, and then if you DO live far, far away, you miss them like crazy and wonder if you made a mistake. Add a small child into that and it’s an even more difficult situation. People talk a lot about “mother guilt” – feeling guilty about everything you do and don’t do for your child. Instead of this, I get “daughter guilt”, where I feel guilty for moving so far away from my parents with their only grand child. We Skype every week and it’s a constant reminder of how much our decision to live this life is causing pain to other people who are missing out on precious moments with their grand child.

The up side
These last three years in New York have been a wonderful experience, despite the hardships – or perhaps, even, in some ways, because of them. Without a doubt, it’s been totally worth it. I’m an introverted person, so being here has pushed me out of my comfort zone in ways that staying in Sydney wouldn’t have. As well as the amazing experiences I’ve had here (not to mention that NEW YORK IS MY HOME!! How cool is that?!), the self-reliance and resilience I’ve built up as a result of this new life have also been positive for my own personal growth.

It’s not just my life
It’s not just about me and Alec. We are constantly trying to decide what is best for E. Little Missy E is having an amazing childhood, by the way. Central Park is her backyard. The American Museum of Natural History is her playground. She has dined at some of the best restaurants in NYC, all before she could walk. Lucky kid. We try to keep her as connected as possible with family back home so she knows who she is and where she comes from. It’s a normal part of her week to Skype Nanna and Pop-pop. E gets older, she will truly reap the benefits of her dual life. As an American and Australian citizen, a world of opportunities are literally open to her.

7 A.M. Enfant Adult WarMMuffs + Kids' WarMMuffs GIVEAWAY

Keep little and big fingers toasty warm with our giveaway this week – a set of adult and kid WarMMuffs from 7am Enfant.

WarMMuffs are insulated with heat protective fibers and have a soft fleece lining, creating a snug and cosy pretective cover for hands and replacing gloves by attaching to your stroller. Now your scooter-loving little one can keep on scooting all winter long with a pair of the brand new WarMMuffs for kids.

The new kids’ 7 A.M. Enfant WarMMuffs are basically the same as the iconic adult WarMMuffs, shrunk down to fit teeny tiny hands. They easily attach to scooters and bikes with big, adjustable velcro strips, and are available in nine colors. You’ll love them because they’re easier for little tots to use than gloves and mittens, and your kid will love them because they can stay outside for hours, no matter how low the temps get (wait a minute!).

#7AMEnfant #WarMMuffs #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The generous folks at 7 A.M Enfant are giving one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader the chance to win a pair of adult AND Kids’ WarMMuffs. If you want toasty and snug hands (who doesn’t?!) enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck — and stay warm, friends!

Giveaway opens Monday January 6, 2014, to 11:59pm EST Sunday, January 12.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Think Global, Act Local: Inkkas Shoes Review & Giveaway

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

One of the absolute coolest things about living in a cramped city like New York is that you’re bound to have people in your circles who are doing really cool things. I recently discovered that one of my Brooklyn neighbors is the creator of this beautiful line of shoes, called Inkkas.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Inkkas.com is a socially conscious clothing company founded in 2012 on the principles of fair trade, philanthropy and authenticity. All production, sourcing and manufacturing of the shoes is done South America. The shoes are handmade of authentic South American textile by South Americans. As well as being beautiful, they’re ethically made and afforable (yay!). Kids’ Inkkas are $46 and adults’ start at $65. A portion of all proceeds is donated to to help protect the Amazon rainforest.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

I was supremely thrilled for the opportunity to try out Inkkas shoes for myself and Miss E. Sidebar: it seems a lot of people actually named their child “Cheese” last year (no judgement!), so to start the new year off, I’m changing my daughter’s online pseudoym to something a bit less . . . dairy-like. Miss E it is (and sometimes Missy E, if she’s being sassy).

Back to the shoes: my slightly more subtle (in terms of design) Inkkas are the Concrete Jungle Low Tops (also available in High Tops). I like that the pattern is funky but not so over the top that I can’t just throw them on while wearing other colors. Missy E on the other hand, adores her very brightly colored Cotton Candy Kids.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

I took the Inkkas shoes on our trip to Mexico a few weeks back since we needed some comfortable shoes to run around in (and to search for lizards in, and to take trips through lagoons in, and to eat guacamole in). Not only did the shoes fit the aesthetic of the trip (the patterns are reminiscent of traditional Mexican textiles), they’re also really comfortable, making them the perfect shoes for both kids and adults to wear all day.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Inkkas are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own pair of Inkkas shoes. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

Giveaway open Thurs Jan 2, 2014 to 11:59pm Wed Jan 8 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brunch With My Baby were provided with samples for reviewing purposes.

Christmas in NYC

2013 was my very first year spending Christmas away from my parents. The airfares were just so expensive for three people that we decided to go home at a different time when the prices were a lot lower and spend the holiday season in New York. New York is just beautiful over Christmas. In Australia it’s always hot over Christmas, so I was really looking forward to enjoying Christmas in true winter, with cold-weather food, clothing, decorations and traditions.

New York does everything big and bold, and Christmas is no exception. Trees and lights start to sprout all over the city following Thanksgiving. The biggest is of course the Rockefeller tree, but there are trees all over the city, with tree lightings and caroling in a lot of the small neighbourhoods in the lead up to Christmas. Santa likes to visit all the ‘hoods as well, from the famous Santa at Macy’s to the lesser-known ones that pop up in the smaller ‘hoods for breakfast with the kids.

Since Missy E is a very … inquisitive toddler, we decided to forgo a tree this year (mostly because I just didn’t want to have to put the ornaments back on it over and over and over again). Instead we chose a little felt tree from Etsy, with felt ornaments, that E could decorate herself repeatedly. It did the charm, as this year was the year she decided Christmas trees were the best thing ever. Christmas Eve we placed a few gifts around the felt tree to surprise E with in the morning.

Christmas Day - akissgoodnight.co

Our present opening in the morning was truly a high tech experience, with my parents skyping in from Sydney to enjoy the festivities with us. It was so lovely that they could still enjoy being with us from afar. It was really difficult for me being away from home this year. I really missed being with my family on Christmas Day, and we decided that next year we will save up so we can afford the airfare home for Christmas.

Doll house - akissgoodnight.co

After present opening (the biggest hits for E were the  doll house, train set and guitar), we attempted to get E to nap before lunch. After a few hours with no napping for the hyper toddler, we set off into the city, walking over the Brooklyn Bridge to get her to take a stroller nap. It was a brisk day, with a high of -5, so it’s fair to say that it was a pretty cold walk! Thankfully, E did nap, and we did make it to lunch on time.

Christmas Day - akissgoodnight.co
“Cheese!”

Christmas Day - akissgoodnight.co

Since we would be on our own this year, I made a booking at a restaurant for Christmas lunch – the Bryant Park Grill. I wanted to capture as much holiday spirit for us as I could. The Grill was a good choice. It was a bit crazy busy, but the location was fabulous. Right next to the ice rink and Christmas tree in Bryant Park. We had a really love, non-traditional meal, and then let E run around Bryant Park. She loved the tiny carousel, and watching the ice skaters. She was actually begging to go ice skating – maybe next year … The Christmas tree was the big hit for her. Unlike most of the trees, this one you can go right up underneath and touch the giant ornaments. A very gleeful toddler though this was the most fun in the world.

Bryant park Carousel - akissgoodnight.co

Bryant Park - akissgoodnight.co

And so was our very New York Christmas this year! We tried to fit in as many of the holiday activites as possible, but only managed a few, like the department store windows (Saks and their Yeti was the favourite), visiting Santa at The Plaza, and seeing the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller plaza.

Saks Yeti via akissgoodnight.co

The Plaza Hotel Christmas Tree via akissgoodnight.co
The Plaza Hotel Christmas Tree

Santa at the Plaza Hotel

Rockefeller Plaza - akissgoodnight.co
Rockefeller Plaza

I feel blessed for my little family, and blessed that our lives have been so lucky. Hoping everyone else’s Christmases were filled with love and family.

Home For The Holidays: Pediped Review & Giveaway

#Pediped shoes review & #giveaway - brunchwithmybaby.com

Baby, it’s cold outside! While you’re pulling on the boots and wrapping yourselves in the warmest possible coats you can, you still need to dress up for the holidays (or, if you’re anything like us, dress your kid up and then throw on something passable for yourself as an after thought).

Big boots are great for the cold, but they are NOT great with indoor heating, which is why Missy Cheese will be wearing a pair of Pediped Flex Janes for all her holiday functions (this toddler keeps a busy dance card). She’s such a super active kid that she will only tolerate comfortable shoes that let her move freely and climb things that toddlers aren’t meant to climb (like, say, kitchen stools, or Christmas trees . . . but, I digress). The Pediped Flex Janes are not just pretty-looking shoes for looking good in photos, they’re also so practical and comfortable that kids won’t refuse to wear them. Added bonus — these shoes double as school shoes, so Cheese will be wearing them to school in spring.

#pediped review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Pediped shoes feature a Flex Fit System™, which is an additional insole that can be inserted into the shoe for a snug fit and then removed to make room as your child’s foot grows. These insoles can reduce shoe size by almost half a size, extending the life of the shoe. When you’re forking out big bucks every few months for even more shoes, you really want those babies to last as long as possible!

#pediped review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

It’s also worth noting that the makers of Pediped have been hearing for years from their “grown-up” customers that they want nice-looking, comfortable shoes, too. Pediped’s answer? A shoe line for adults, called Brian James, which launched last spring. We were sent a pair of Brian James 3.0 Booties to test drive, and I have to say, they are so comfortable — made from soft leather, and with a heel that is easy to walk in — plus they make my legs look great (woo!). The magic is in the making: Extra padding on both the ball and heel of foot. My feet are thanking Pediped’s consideration.

#Brianjames shoes review & #Pediped #giveaway - brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Pediped are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own pair of Pediped kids’ shoes. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

Giveaway open Wed Dec 18, 2013, to 11:59pm EST Tues Dec 24, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brunch With My Baby were given a product sample for reviewing purposes. All opinions are our own.

The 411 On Cord Blood Banking #MC #cordblood411

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

This week I attended an unusual event – an introduction to Cord Blood Banking at the very posh Russian Tea Rooms. I was really keen to attend and learn more because I felt like I hadn’t been well informed enough about cord blood banking during my pregnancy. I should actually say that I wasn’t informed about it at all by my doctors – in Australia it’s not a big deal at all, hence why I hadn’t even heard of it until I moved here, and I didn’t start seeing my New York doctor until I was five months pregnant, and I guess he figured I already knew about it, so didn’t bring it up.

I only knew about cord blood banking because I found a pamphlet in a waiting room somewhere while I was waiting for an appointment. I started researching it online and I didn’t really find super useful information to help me make my mind up about if I should have the cord blood banked or not. I knew enough to know that it was a good thing for science to donate the cells, and was intending to this if I didn’t bank it privately – but the problem was I couldn’t get a definite answer on if it was important enough to bank the blood privately, and while I was humming and haring over my options, I went into early labour and had the baby. BAM, problem solved – no decision made and no cord blood donated or banked.

Why was I thinking of banking it? I have a family history of auto immune disorders (type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto’s disease), so I’ve been worried about the likelihood of Cheese inheriting something. There are currently medical trials in place treating auto immune disorders using stem cells, which is why I was considering banking the cord blood privately.

So more about cord blood banking. Basically, cord blood is the blood found in a baby’s umbilical cord. It’s rich in potent stem cells, the powerful cells used in regenerative medicine. Stem cells have already been used in the treatment of more than 80 conditions, including certain cancers, blood disorders, immune deficiencies, and metabolic disorders.

Expecting parents have two choices when it comes to cord blood. You can either bank it privately so it is reserved for your or your family’s use alone (it costs about $2K upfront, and a yearly upkeep fee of $130), or you can donate it so it can be used by anyone who needs it. It’s free to donate the cord blood, but can be a bit difficult to organise as it means an extra step for hospital staff to have to take care of on top of taking care of you and your baby. Currently, only 10% of cord blood in the USA is collected for either banking or donations. If you want more info on cord blood banking. you can find it here: http://www.cordbankingbasics.com.

Back to the event: a group of bloggers (including myself) were served breakfast at the very swish Russian Tea Rooms, while we listened to talks on cord blood banking on behalf of the Cord Blood Registry, including a personal account of how a stem cell transplant improved the recovery of a child who suffered a stroke. It was really interesting to listen to the facts about cord blood (and heart breaking to learn about the little girl who needed the treatment), and also really great to mingle with other bloggers at such a beautiful venue.

We learned some really useful info about cord blood banking – whether to bank or donate it is a big decision that could really feature more prominently in an expectant parent’s check list. I think we owe it to our children to think through all the options out there that might effect their future health. While it is possible to get stem cells from adults, the stem cells in cord blood are so much more potent as they are brand new and pure – and there is only one opportunity for them to be harvested, at the birth of every child.

While stem cell medicine is still in its infancy, it is already known that stem cells reduce inflammation, stimulate the growth of new cells, promote healing in the body and stimulate blood flow. It’s amazing to think of what might be accomplished, and what diseases might be curable, in the future with the use of these amazing little cells.

Blogger gathering – with Stephanie Barnhart, Allison Cooper and Elizabeth De Castro.