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Baby Shower Gifts for Every Budget

Many people have a love-hate relationship with baby showers. We love the idea of celebrating the arrival of a new baby, but we can have anxiety about picking the appropriate gift (not to mention those not-so-fun baby shower games!).

 Should we only choose gifts off the parents’ registry, or can we go with an old stand-by that we just know will be a hit? Will they lean toward the old fashioned toys, or would more tech-savvy and modern gifts be better received? So many choices can make the process more tedious than fun.

 Having attended my share of baby showers, and selling a very unique shower gift myself, I can offer a few tips to guide you through the maze of baby shower gift shopping. Let’s look at some items that every new Mom can use.

 Clothing:I suggest staying on the registry here, as Mom likely has a good idea of how she wants to dress her little one. Who wants to have a big stack of Minnie Mouse onesies to return, when you clearly registered for pink tutus? The exception here is if you want to buy an outfit for the future, like a 12-month size, for example, just to give Mommy something to look forward to. (She can still return this, but it’s likely not on her registry.)

 Gear:  All new parents need the basics, like a stroller, car seat, bouncy seat, high chair and maybe a traveling crib for hotels or car trips. These are among the most expensive necessities, so you could join forces with several other guests and tackle one of these items together. Definitely stay on registry for these pieces, since some of them match or coordinate. And remember never to buy these things used, as industry regulations change quickly, and they may not be as safe as a new model.

 Feeding and Changing Accessories:What goes in must come out! So feeding and diaper accessories are great baby shower gifts. I suggest finding out which type of bottle, breast pump, diaper system or product line Mommy plans to use and supplement her supply. We have all run out of wipes at a terrible time, and having a ready stash would be a relief. This category includes Diaper Genie (or the equivalent), diapers, ointments, wipes, disposable changing pad covers, bottles, breast pump and accessories, Boppy pillow (or the equivalent), bottle warmer…the list goes on!

 Bathing Supplies: Mom will likely have these on the registry, as she may have a certain fragrance (or fragrance free) brand or an allergy-free line that is her favorite. This is a fun category, as you could choose hooded towels, baby bath tubs, bath tub mats, water temp thermometers, squeaky toys or one of many bath gel/shampoo lines just for baby. There are also towels that keep Mommy dry as she takes baby out of the tub.

 Just for Fun: If you’re sure that Mommy will receive most of what she has registered for, or you want to add a little something special to your gift, go for something that you would have loved receiving at your shower! A Bottle Snuggler is a great item in this category, as it helps Mom while it helps baby, and when it’s not feeding time, it doubles as a cuddly toy. Other thoughtful gifts are picture frames, photo albums, milestone or baby books, books for Mom to read to baby, a cute toy or something monogrammed with the baby’s initials, like a receiving blanket.

 Most importantly, whatever you buy, include a gift receipt! If Mom gets an abundance of one category, even though she loves it, she may need to exchange it for another item. Gift receipts make life so much easier these days.

 Enjoy your shower, and have a piece of cake for me!

Less Packaging = Less Waste!

Don’t you hate it when your child gets a great new toy and you have to spend half an hour trying to get it out of the package? Toy packaging has gotten way out of hand lately, if you ask me. Sometimes, we even need a screwdriver to get my son’s toys free from their cardboard and plastic homes! That’s taking it a bit too far, isn’t it?

Bottle Snugglers has always tried to minimize our packaging. This can be tricky because we have a lot of information to communicate in a small space. Believe it or not, we have shrunken it even further now! Our new packaging is a colorful back board that hangs on a peg. It looks so great, communicates how amazing the product is (in two languages) and all with just one thin piece of cardboard to dispose of.

Doesn’t it look great? Those little bottle inserts are our care and use instructions printed in 5 languages. Hopefully, this small change will help our customers to reduce their waste and encourage more stores to add Bottle Snugglers to their lines. 

If you know of a great baby or maternity boutique that would be a great fit for Bottle Snugglers, drop me an email at jennifer@bottlesnugglers.com. We are always happy to hear from you.

What Type of Bottle Works with Bottle Snugglers?

Do Bottle Snugglers work with all bottle types and sizes?

I hear this question often. The short answer is: Most of them! Because of the growing baby product market, new bottles are always being developed. Currently, Bottle Snugglers work with nearly every bottle style and size, though there may be exceptions that we haven’t tested yet. Bottles are getting wider, and it’s important to put the Bottle Band on from the nipple end (usually the narrower end) first, then slide it down to the wider end.

A few of the bottles that we have successfully used with Bottle Snugglers are: Playtex® Drop-Ins System®, Playtex® VentAire® Advanced, Evenflo, Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow® Standard and Wide Neck, The Smart Glass Bottle by Born Free™, AVENT Natural Feeding Bottle, MAM Anti-Colic by Sassy®, Nuby® Softflex® Natural Nurser™, Nuby® Non-Drip® Standard Neck Bottles and Adiri® Natural Nurser™.

Our next batch of Bottle Snugglers will feature wrap-around bottle bands, which will be very easy to fit around the fattest or skinniest of baby bottles. Another improvement that you can expect with the new Bottle Snugglers design is that the Velcro will go further down the side of each animal base, giving you more room to move the bottle down. This is helpful for shorter bottles. This shipment of New and Improved Bottle Snugglers is expected in fall of 2012!

Whatever type of bottle you choose, be sure to enjoy those precious feeding time moments. I can tell you from experience that they are fleeting! I hope you’re loving your Bottle Snugglers. :)

Busy Moms Unite!

I love talking to other Moms about how we “do it all.” Everyone has a little trick or tip for how to make dinner a little faster, organize our schedules a little more realistically, where to find a great baby shower gift, or how to squeeze some “Me Time” into our hectic days.

In March, I was fortunate to be the subject of a Mom-Preneur blog feature. The blogger also happens to be a photographer, so she did a beautiful layout of photos of my son and me. Too bad my hubby was traveling, or he would have been in on the shoot!

Annemarie asked some good questions about business and life, balance, challenges and rewards. Maybe you will get a new idea about balancing your own life (hint: I don’t believe balance exists!) or perhaps you have been thinking about starting a business, and you will benefit from my insights. Let’s keep sharing our information among ourselves so we can all benefit. :)

Here’s the link to the article from Marie Holmes Photography. Happy Easter! http://marieholmesphotography.com/blog/

Holiday Savings: $1 Shipping on Bottle Snugglers until Dec. 15, 2011!

Happy December! It’s hard to ignore that the holiday season is here, right?

With Christmas and Hanukkah decorations appearing in stores as early as Halloween, I tend to get holiday burn out way before December even arrives! But, just in case you are still going strong, here’s a little gift from Bottle Snugglers to you.

From Dec. 1 – 15, 2011, when you order on our website www.bottlesnugglers.com, shipping is just $1 for your first Bottle Snuggler. You will need to use the coupon code 1SHIP at checkout. (This equates to a $3 discount, as shipping is $4 for one Bottle Snuggler.)

The fine print: One coupon per customer, and $1 shipping only applies to one Snuggler.

So, save that $3 and think of us when you treat yourself to a “free” peppermint hot chocolate! Thank goodness for small favors. Happy shopping!

What do you think?

Recently, I was featured in the Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, FL) in Skirt!, a section that focuses on women’s issues. I have reprinted it here, and I have included a link to the newspaper. Maybe you can use the questions to help get to know your friends better. Might be fun!
 
24/7 with Jennifer Marko: Busy business-mom never says never
http://jacksonville.skirt.com/247/247-jennifer-marko-busy-business-mom-never-says-never
 
By Tracy Jones
Jennifer Marko is owner of Bottle Snugglers, a Jacksonville-based business specializing in stuffed animals that hold baby bottles, giving moms at least one free hand to do something else.
Skirt! recently got a glimpse into Marko’s life as a local business owner and mom.
My passion right now: Reading biographies of people I admire.
Words I live by: Always reserve the right to change your mind.
Three items on my nightstand: “Entrepreneur” magazine, “Inventing a Nation” by Gore Vidal and a family picture.
The oddest job I’ve held: The job that had the most unpredictable range of activities was being the public information officer for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. I loved it.
My life in three words or less: Hectic but fulfilling.
Favorite clothing line: A great Jimmy Choo can make any outfit my favorite.
Signature scent: Cerruti 1881.
If I could live anywhere: I love where I live.
My nickname: J.J. It’s from my childhood.
I can’t live without: Pajama days at home with my husband and son.
Favorite restaurant: Medure.
My muse: My 5-year-old Max. He lives to have fun.
I never want to: Regret a missed opportunity.
Right now I’m reading: “A. Lincoln,” a biography of President Lincoln, and “Women of True Grit.”
One item always in my purse: Wet wipes — every mom has them.
My secret ambition: That’s a secret.
The food I could eat every day: Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.
The food I never want to eat again: Never say never.
I still can’t get the hang of: Skating — ice or roller.
Favorite flower: Iris.
My workout: Ashtanga Yoga, though I’m a bit rusty.
Dream vacation: The Orient Express.
My pet: Moses, a Devon Rex cat.
Where I shop locally: Whole Foods and Sephora.
My desk: is covered with packing materials for a big shipment.
I wish I’d known: That just because someone has more experience or speaks louder, it doesn’t mean they are smarter or more capable than you.
I’d like to learn to: Speak fluent Spanish.
Early bird or night owl? Early Bird.
Always … be compassionate.
Never … assume your way is the only way.
 
For more information about Bottle Snugglers, visit www.bottlesnugglers.com.

Where Did Bottle Snugglers Come From?

Because our product is still relatively new to the market, I am often asked how Bottle Snugglers came to be. I also am constantly explaining how they work.

Recently, a friend suggested that I add some videos to the website which would explain both of these answers. It was a great idea, but harder than I thought it would be to execute. First of all, to see yourself on video is odd, and it takes a lot of tries to get one short video that’s acceptable. (Truth be told, I would still be re-doing them if I had the time.) Secondly, it’s not that easy to put into concise words the motivation it took to close a business, change industries, learn a new business from the ground up (including production), and keep it afloat for three years as I wait to be “discovered”.

But after some soul searching and editing, the project is complete. I wanted to be sure to communicate exactly what Bottle Snugglers are for, how they can help Mom AND baby, and why they are important enough to me to make big changes in my life to bring them to market. Another video shows how to use them. (So easy!) And we are also starting to add video testimonials to the site, the first of which went up last week. Very exciting for me and, I hope, enlightening and helpful for you. Here goes nothin’!

http://www.bottlesnugglers.com/what-are-they.php  

 http://www.bottlesnugglers.com/how-to-use.php

 http://www.bottlesnugglers.com/testimonials.php

Customer Loyalty Program!

I love customer loyalty programs. I have several of those little plastic cards attached to my key ring that earn me points at my favorite restaurants and stores, and I LOVE to use my rewards for a discount or freebie. I am proud to announce that Bottle Snugglers now has a customer loyalty program in place. It took us a while to get here, but I hope it comes in handy for you.  Here’s how it works:

In order to earn points, you have to sign in and create an account when you are at check-out. For every Bottle Snuggler you order (when you are signed into your account), you earn one point. After you have earned two points, you will be emailed a gift certificate for 15% off your next Bottle Snuggler (a $3.14 value.) The email goes out within two weeks after your purchase. Because many of our customers come back to order more products as gifts, I think this is a great way to reward you for helping us grow.

A few notes: Of course, you must be ordering from www.bottlesnugglers.comin order to earn points.  Also, you have to sign in and create an account for your points to be calculated by the system. And we are not able to do discounts retroactively (i.e. we can’t give you a refund for something that you purchased before the system was in place.) We are a small business, but we are trying to implement a program that helps our customers with discounts and encourages you to come back to Bottle Snugglers for your next baby gift.

I can’t wait to see those points adding up and start seeing the gift certificates redeemed! Trust me – it’s as exciting for me as it is for you. Thanks for supporting Bottle Snugglers.

Baby Won’t Hold Her Bottle? We Can Help!

I love it when we hear from Moms on how they use Bottle Snugglers. We recently got a great review on a blog called Momma Drama (cute name) that gave me an idea for a new segment of Moms to reach out to.

Maybe you never had a problem with little issues that you had to deal with during feeding time (another child needing your help, answering the phone/door/client phone call, or eating your own food sometimes). But now your baby is old enough to hold her own bottle, but she refuses to! 

I have heard this story twice in the last two days from Moms, and this is when their Bottle Snuggler comes in handy. It helps give older babies the feeling of holding their own bottle without having it drop when they decide to let go and protest. Baby’s bottle stays in her mouth, and Mommy’s hand doesn’t have to reappear to replace it.  Here is the blog post from Momma Drama in her own words. Maybe you will find it helps you, too!

http://blogginmommadrama.blogspot.com/2011/04/bottle-snuggler-review.html 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bottle Snuggler Review

I have to say that bottle time is one of my favorite times with my baby. It’s the best time to snuggle up and just enjoy the feeling of having her warm baby body in my arms. It’s such a quiet and relaxing time! But every once in awhile we have one of those nights. You know, where it’s already bed time and nothing has been done. And you look at your beautiful baby who is taking their time chug-chug-chug-a-lugging and you just wish they could drink faster so you could have your hands back!
Thankfully, we don’t have too many nights like that. And the majority of our bottle times are as wonderful as a momma could ever imagine. But my daughter has something funny about her. She refuses to hold her own bottle. Refuses! She has never done it and even when we try and show her how to she immediately drops her arms. I think we have made her just too comfy to bother lifting those arms. So on the occasion that we have a crazy night she is of no help to me and does not allow me to have a single free hand. 
When I saw the Bottle Snugggler I thought, wow, wouldn’t that be helpful once in awhile. I can still hold my baby and enjoy my time with her. But I can also free up one hand. One hand! That’s all I need on those crazy nights. It allows me to read the mail, respond to an e-mail, eat, take a phone call, or write a shopping list. 

Bottle Snugglers®, are a bottle support system designed to assist during baby’s feeding time. They support the bottle while you hold the baby, leaving a hand free. If you have a baby, you’ve been there. The baby is hungry, and you need to answer the phone, change the channel, eat a sandwich or help another child. No more propping the bottle under your chin or on unstable surfaces! Just insert the bottle into the Bottle Snuggler, position it properly, and everyone wins.


For me the Bottle Snuggler has come in handy on a couple of occasions already. But the best thing I have found is that it’s motivating for my daughter to want to hold onto it. She loves the cuddly puppy attached and wants to hold it.

Sadly my daughter is pretty much past her bottle days. She has been on a sippy cup for quite a while now and only has a bottle before bed. So as we continue to eliminate the bottle altogether, I will be holding on my Bottle Snuggler. I can see it coming in handy even more once I have a second child. Or do we get another of arms when we have a second child?

Mom Finds Found Us!

We’re always giddy when we get a great review from Moms.

I wanted to share this review from www.momfinds.com from July 22, 2010 (today), which always has great ideas for useful products. Happy shopping! I will post the link here, along with the copy.

http://www.momfinds.com/2010/hands-free-feeding-made-easy-with-bottle-snugglers/

By Mom Jeanine

We’ve all been there. You just sat down to feed your little one and then the phone rings. You’d reach over and grab it, but then you’d have to let baby’s bottle drop or try to prop it up with a pillow all before the fourth ring. Finally, there’s a solution. Bottle snugglers.

These adorable, cozy stuffed animals rest softly on your little one’s chest, while the stretchy elastic ring on top holds baby’s bottle in place. It’s designed to hold the bottle at the same angle a person would so feeding is still comfortable for your little one. And because the probability of leakage is high, these plush proppers are machine-washable and can go in the dryer.

Have twins or triplets? Use Bottle Snugglers to ensure everyone is fed on time without trying to hold three bottle simultaneously by yourself.

Bottle snugglers are available in several animal styles including the cuddly cow, a charming teddy bear and a precious puppy.

Bottle Snugglers® is not responsible
for errors in translation by Google
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