Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: BusyBabe Daily Planners

It may have been 13 and a half months ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Bringing home my teensy-weensy, newborn baby from the hospital for the first time. I was an absolutely clueless first-time mama. Completely disorganized and frazzled. Did that cry mean he was hungry or tired? When was our last nursing session again? Between sleep deprivation, breastfeeding every 30 minutes to an hour and colic episodes, I was lucky if I could remember to take a pee once a day much less keep track of important details.

I thought Mommy Brain was a myth to strike fear into the hearts of the expecting. I was so very wrong. I recall friends and family asking me about our "routine". I had no idea what they were referring to nor did I have any clue how to establish one. We were in utter chaos.

If only I had known about BusyBabe back then, I could have made some sense of the confusion.
BusyBabe, a personalized daily calendar and organizer for mom and baby, was created in 2005. Co-founders Lisa Hale of Chicago and Ryan Barker of Denver , CO , were both new parents looking for an easy way to stay organized as well as track their newborns' daily activities. After months of research, various designs, and countless brainstorming sessions with new moms, the perfect tool was created.
I do have to admit this planner is pretty darn near perfect.

Where to begin? Well, the book itself is 6.5" x 11" so it's small enough to throw in a diaper bag but large enough that I wouldn't have to squint to write notes in a 3 a.m. blurry-eyed haze. The organizer covers the first six months of your baby's life, which also happen to be the most daunting. By the end of the sixth month, you'll feel more on top of things. (Trust me, you will. And with a product like this by your side, it will probably happen much sooner.)

Each daily calendar page includes space for a to-do list, appointments, food tracker, sleep tracker, pattern tracker (diaper output, behaviors, medications, etc.), buzz (events, travels, firsts, milestones), and menu/dinner plans. You can even record the weather that day. However, one of my favorite features is an inspiring quote or tip at the top of every page. Something that simple really helps me to start the day off on the right foot, even if I had a cumulative three hours sleep the previous night.

There are tabbed dividers to separate the months and sections, which include baby's health record, doctor appointment details and babysitter notes. These tabs make it super easy to navigate and find exactly where you want to go. My favorite section has to be "me time", where you can jot down books you want to read, movies you want to see and places you want to visit. When you're so wrapped up in meeting the needs of your little one, it's easy to lose sight of your own. Even if you don't accomplish everything on the list(s), it's nice to aspire towards more than making it through tummy time without a meltdown.

In addition to the sections noted above, there is room to log important contacts, milestones, baby gifts, solid foods you've tried and any reactions or allergies, as well as exercise goals to shed that postpartum weight. 9 months on, 9 months off, they say. What better way to get motivated than to put your plan in writing? There are blank note pages in the rear of the book that can act as a journal for when the creative bug strikes you.

Wait...there's more! There are also helpful checklists for packing mom and baby, childproofing, and interviewing a babysitter, as well as a comprehensive list of useful websites and resources for everything from breastfeeding to finances. Is there anything they didn't think of? This planner puts everything in one place so you don't have to scramble for a phone number or search the depths of your exhausted brain to recall when exactly your baby rolled over for the first time.

What makes BusyBabe unique from other planners on the market is its personalization option. It's the only planner that can be customized with your baby's photo and birth stats. Just email them a photo and baby's birth details once your little blessing arrives and you'll have your custom planner in no time! There are 3 adorable cover designs to choose from for both boys and girls. And all personalized planners contain prefilled dates, so that's one less thing you have to fill in! There is also a standard cover design - which I received - for the "nesters" who just can't wait another day to personalize their planner. It was an adorable yet contemporary, gender-neutral design. The cover was a thick plastic that could easily be wiped clean should bottle or stomach contents find their way onto it. The spiral binding gives it a clean look and won't snag that sweet baby layette. I can only imagine how sweet it would be with my little boy's photo on the front. It would certainly urge me to write in it more than his baby book.

Not only is it practical, it also makes a beautiful keepsake. On your baby's first birthday, you can pull out your planner and look back at all of baby's firsts, seeing them grow up before your very eyes yet again. It's a great reminder of how far you've come - and probably a bit of a tearjerker if you're sappy like me.

I seriously wouldn't change a thing about the content of this planner. As for the covers, I'd like to see more whimsical themes or more colors. But that is hardly a deterrent.

Bottom line: I would highly recommend the BusyBabe Planner as a thoughtful, special gift for any expectant mom. There's no better present than sanity. And truth be told, it's going to be hard to give this up to my cousin, due in December with her first child. It's so nice I am tempted to be greedy and keep it for myself for whenever we are blessed with a second baby.

BUY IT: You can order your BusyBabe Planner online or by phone at (888) 867-7526. Personalized, predated planners retail for $29.95, while the standard planner (you have to fill in dates) goes for $19.95.

Disclaimer: As I mentioned, I was sent a standard planner from BusyBabe to facilitate my candid review. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

Special thanks to Lisa at BusyBabe and the PR Place for this review opportunity!


JaelCustomDesigns said...

Popping in from MBC!
Now following your blog!

I love planners. I have two one for my personal use and one for work. Having one for mom and baby is genius! :-)

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