Gifts for Kids and The Grownups Who Love Them
327 11th Ave N, St Petersburg FL - 727.894.4769
Baby Led Weaning

Baby Led Weaning

So your baby is 6 months old and your pediatrician has told you to go ahead and begin offering solid foods. What do you do? Should you head out to the grocery store and stock up on baby food jars? Should you gather some organic produce, a fancy blender, an ice cube tray and attempt your own? You certainly can. Or you can ditch the at times infuriating practice of spoon feeding your child all together and instead try baby led weaning.

Baby led weaning is the practice of offering small, bite size pieces of food to your child and having them feed themselves. This allows your child to participate in the meal as you would and also improves their hand eye coordination, dexterity, and helps them to try different textures, colors, and tastes on their own. There is no need for pureeing, making fruit and veggie combinations, offering rice cereal or any other "baby" food. They simply eat what you eat in soft, manageable pieces and feed themselves. Easy peasy! 

If you are just starting out, here are a few tips:

  • Your child should be able to sit up unassisted, around 6 months of age.
  • Just like traditional puree introduction, start with one food at a time, especially if you have a history of food allergies in your family. Fruits and veggies are great starter foods.
  • Put the food directly on the table, a placemat, or our preference, a Happy Mat which suctions to the table, because they will find throwing dishes just as entertaining as food. :) Having something that can't be picked up and thrown will be best. No utensils needed at first as they will be too hard to manipulate.
  • There will be a mess. Make cleanup easier on yourself by putting down a cloth under their highchair, grabbing a bib, or even allowing them to eat the meal naked. It will be a full sensory experience!
  • Don't put too much food out at a time so they are not overwhelmed.
  • If they don't eat something, no worries. Offer what you eat and if they aren't interested try again at a different meal.
  • No need to start with a strict 3 meals a day. They are still getting most of their calories from breastmilk or formula and introducing food before the age of one is just for fun.
  • Don't panic if your child gags. They are learning to manipulate food and move it around in their mouth. It will happen but just stand by to make sure they don't need you to intervene.
  • Remember, by introducing solids you are in for a change in the diaper composition. If you are using cloth diapers, now might be a good time to invest in a diaper sprayer as their poop will become solid and harder to wash out! 

Many people follow baby led weaning without even knowing it! Babies with older siblings are especially interested in the independence of feeding themselves because of watching their sibling eat. Many babies who have weaned using baby led weaning even have a more varied palate than babies who are spoon fed.There are so many benefits- perhaps the best being less work for you! Have fun with it!

May 10, 2016 by Ashley Dunham
Zero Waste - Earth Day 2016

Zero Waste - Earth Day 2016

Today is Earth Day! It is great to have a day devoted to being mindful of our waste, which helps us think of ways to reduce the amount of waste we create. One great way to reduce our waste is to look in our trash can and see what we are constantly throwing away. Water bottles? Diapers? Ziploc bags? K cups? Fast food trash? There are waste free options for all of these things!


Virtually anything you throw away can be replaced with a reusable alternative. Ditch the water bottles and use a reusable bottle. They may be more costly upfront but will save you in the long run and will save hundreds of plastic bottles from the landfill. Pack your lunch with reusable containers and sandwich bags. This will save plastic throw away containers, Ziploc bags and wrappers from the trash as well. This will also help you avoid getting stuck out somewhere with no food and stopping to get lunch. Hitting the drive thru may seem convenient, but it is more expensive and accumulates a lot of trash. Think about it, every item comes in its own container. Plus the straw is in a wrapper, and then everything is put inside a bag and stuffed with napkins. That is a ton of trash for one meal! Other convenience items such as K cups, disposable diapers and wipes, paper towels and body wash are easy to replace with more sustainable or reusable items such as regular coffee pots, or even a French press, cloth diapers and wipes, kitchen towels, and bar soaps.


If you start switching out items and still see a lot going in your trash can, think about what items could be recycled. When you go to the store, instead of buying something in a plastic bag, look for an alternative in a box, which could be recycled. Another easy swap, instead of throwing food waste into the trash, compost it! It is easy to get a small countertop compost bucket to collect your food scraps, which can then be put into an outside garden or around a tree. The fewer items that go into the trash, the better! What do you do to reduce your waste? Share your tips with us!


Also, be sure to check out our Earth Day sale going on this weekend. This is a great way to stock up on reusable items! -->


April 22, 2016 by Ashley Dunham
New to Growing Up- Clek car seats!

New to Growing Up- Clek car seats!

We are very excited to now be carrying Clek car seats! Clek is a company born from a major auto maker that is known for its innovation in design and safety. 

The Foonf

is referred to as the "mother of all car seats" and is Clek’s no-compromise convertible child seat – introducing revolutionary safety technology, innovative convenience features, and is recyclable. It offers extended rear facing- until the child's 4th birthday, advanced side impact protection- with foam layers on the inside and outside of the frame, a rigid steel sub structure, and an anti-rebound bar that limits rotation of the seat to protect your child's head in a collision.



The Fllo

is Clek's compact convertible car seat. It offers extended rear facing- up to 50 pounds, advanced side impact protection- with foam layers on the inside and outside of the frame, an adjustable head rest with deep side wings, a rigid steel sub structure, and an anti-rebound bar that limits rotation of the seat to protect your child's head in a collision. Fllo boasts a best-in-class narrow width under 17 in. at its widest. The improved compact design sits lower in vehicle for improved visibility and ingress/egress. There is an integrated flip foot for rear-facing installation. The base of child seat measures 13 in. wide for improved installation in difficult vehicle seating positions, like deep bucket seats and center seating positions. The anti-rebound bar nests into flat part of vehicle seat back ensuring a snug installation with ease (and is removable for a more upright installation for extended rear-facing).

The Foonf and Fllo are very similar, with identical weight limits. The main differences are the recline mechanism, the height in the vehicle, the lower anchor, and the recline positions. To sort out the differences, visit this post from the blog Car Seats for the Littles:

Quick Stats: Clek Foonf Clek Fllo
Rear facing: 14-50 lbs., 25-43″ 14-50 lbs., 25-43″
Forward facing: 22-65 lbs., 30-49″ 22-65 lbs., 30-49″
MSRP: $449.99 $379.99
Lowest/Highest harness height: 10″/17″ 10″/17″
Lock offs: Yes, rear and forward Yes, rear and forward
Lower anchor weight limits: 25 lbs./30 lbs. 35 lbs./40 lbs.
Lower anchor connectors: Rigid anchors, can be used forward facing with seat belt Flexible anchors
ARB: Required when rear facing Optional when rear facing



Clek's oobr

is a full back booster seat built just like the seat in your car but sized for your child. Its metal sub-structure and unique recline feature bring new “firsts” to booster seating.




Here at Growing Up we are very passionate about the importance of extended rear facing and correct car seat placement. Come in store to see these great car seats in person!

We also are proud to have a certified CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) on staff. If you'd like to schedule a one-on-one car seat check with her, contact us at or call 727-894-4769. 


If you'd like to read more about the importance of extended rear facing, check out these resources:


March 17, 2016 by Kelly Hehn
How to green your period

How to green your period

Tired of throwing money down the drain buying disposable menstrual products every month? Worried about the chemicals that are being leached into your body? Concerned about your impact on the environment? 

Try reusable menstrual products like a menstrual cup or cloth pads!

Our favorite menstrual cup here at Growing Up is the Lunette. It’s your user-friendly, safe, reusable, and eco-logical alternative to pads and tampons. Lunette collects fluids rather than absorbing them, keeping your superior interior naturally lubricated and healthy. You empty it rather than change it, wash it, and reuse it. You never ‘run out of Lunette’ (like tampons) because it runs around with you: in a pretty, convenient pouch (in case you’re early) or in you, during your cycle. It is made of medical grade silicone and pays for itself in less than a year. You can wear it throughout any sports activity and many times all day without emptying it!

Questions? Reservations? Check out the very informative website- Here you can find a quiz and comparison chart to help you choose the right cup for you as well as videos and tips on inserting and care and anything else you might want to know!

Cloth pads are also a great reusable option for that time of the month. There are lots of great brands and makers out there. A few of my favorites are MotherMoonPads and Talulah Bean on Etsy. If you are crafty, there are also tutorials out there that make them pretty simple to make yourself. 

There are still other alternatives like a menstrual sponge, which are naturally occurring sea sponges that are inserted to absorb menstrual flow, or the new technology of period panties, such as Thinx. We have heard great things about both! Whatever method speaks to you, switching to reusables is definitely worth looking into.

Many people find after switching to reusable menstrual products that they have less cramping, lighter flow, and even a shorter period! Reason enough to make the switch!

Along with period care is a new product line that we've begun carrying from Taylor's Pure and Natural just for LADIES! Treat yourself to some pampering or give as a gift to a sister or new mother. From that time of the month to postpartum time to daily freshness, EVERY lady needs these!

Woo Woo Wash: Designed for the ladies, our gentle Woo-Woo Wash is perfect for washing the most sensitive & sacred part of your body: your Woo-Woo. Keep {down there} sweet n' fresh and keep owies at bay! Not only will this herbal bestie of yours keep you fresh, she will keep you moisturized and balanced, keeping dryness, irritation and owies away. 

Great for every day use and especially handy during Moon Cycles! Perfect for post partum owies and soreness. Makes a great Baby Shower Gift to someone you Love (Including yourself!).

Muffin Mist: Muffin Mist is a Natural Mist Spray for keeping {down there} sweet n' fresh and keeping owies at bay! Not only will this herbal bestie of yours keep you fresh, she will keep you moisturized and balanced, keeping dryness, irritation and owies away.

Great for every day use and especially handy during Moon Cycles! The perfect After Shave / Wax Spray! Perfect for post partum owies and soreness. Also great to freshen up all your Muffin Accessories: Panties, Pads, Linens & more! Freshen your Muffin; keep it Sweet!

Punani Paste: Punani Paste is every Girl's Bestie when anything funky is going on DOWN THERE! Especially good for after birth care, sores, dryness, Moon Cycle Time, or anytime your sacred punani needs comfort.


As always, if you have any questions or want to talk to someone who's used these menstrual products, contact us or come by. We would love to share our love for reusables!

March 08, 2016 by Kelly Hehn
Growing Up announces new location in downtown St Petersburg, FL

Growing Up announces new location in downtown St Petersburg, FL



Retail concept’s new location will offer expanded offerings and services.

St. Petersburg, FL (March 4, 2016) — Growing Up, a local resource for families to find all natural products, toys, cloth diapers, and baby carriers originally opened in 2012 announces the expansion of its flagship store to a new location this summer.

With the move Growing Up will be increasing its current product lines and services to meet client demand. The new space will expand their Learning Center, with a Montessori based play space and larger class schedule.

“We are very excited to announce our move to 4th street as part of the old North Ward School Project. This building is a space that many people have been trying to save, so the public is going to be very excited about this new project,” said Melane Nelson, Owner of Growing Up.

The new location will be in downtown St. Petersburg with other local restaurants and shopping, close to its current location, and enable Growing Up to stay true to its roots in a historic St. Petersburg building.

With its focus on the new, expanded St. Petersburg location Growing Up will be closing its retail location in the Community Roots Collective in Tampa at the end of March. “We wish the Community Roots Collective all the best, and enjoyed our time there.  We are excited [to see] what the new location, especially the Play Space and Learning Center is going to offer our community,” said Nelson.

The new store will offer expanded hours. The final move is still to be determined.

For additional information please visit, or contact Melane Nelson at

March 04, 2016 by Melane Nelson
What to consider when considering cloth diapering

What to consider when considering cloth diapering

When I had my first child, I knew nothing about cloth diapering. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know anything really, if I am being honest. I followed mainstream everything, including horrible advice given from what I thought were reputable sources. It wasn’t until years later when I was pregnant with my second son, that I discovered I had choices and it wasn’t just about where I wanted to birth, or how I wanted to feed my baby, but that I had choices about EVERYTHING. It was really liberating.

At this point, my 2.5 year old was still in Pull-Ups and we were spending more than I care to admit on a weekly basis to keep him from peeing his bed at night or pooping on the floor (as he was only half potty-learned by that age). I was in school full time trying to finish my degree, so my husband was our only source of income and we were undeniably living paycheck to paycheck. The stress of making sure we had enough money to buy diapers each week was overwhelming. I decided then and there that I wanted to try cloth diapering with our newest little one, once he arrived. I started trying to research the types of diapers, how many I would need, what kind of detergent I would use, how I would store dirty diapers, and so on. It was intimidating to say the least. I had a friend who invited me to a free cloth diapering and babywearing class at a local birth center, so I decided to use that as my definite starting point. That class was so helpful! The instructor passed around about a half-dozen different diapers and explained how each worked, pros and cons of each. She also covered detergents, cloth wipes, and storage for dirty diapers. Basically any question you could ever possibly have about cloth diapers was answered in that class.

When my husband and I left the class, we both were 100% satisfied with our decision to cloth our newest baby and couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was for the environment, our baby, and our tight budget! I don’t think I have ever seen him as excited…not about video games, sports, nor food. He decided that he liked the all-in-ones best because they go on just like disposables do, and I decided that I liked prefolds and covers best for their simplicity and lower cost. A few months later when we got some extra money, we made our way to Growing Up in St. Pete and we picked out a dozen bumGenius All-in-One diapers. I was later gifted a mix of small diapers to try, which included Thirsties covers, some prefolds, and some fitteds, so we felt pretty happy with our little stash.

We didn’t want to have a baby shower for our second, so we opted for a “Meet the Baby” party instead. My mom, who was hosting the party for me, told me that relatives would want to buy stuff for us, so I should provide a registry with some items for them to pick from. Everything on my registry was cloth diaper related; I had wetbags in a few different sizes, some covers, a few newborn sized AIOs, cloth diaper safe cream, and some Snappis on it. I figured that most items were $20 or less, which is roughly the cost of a small box of disposable diapers, and thus would be easy for them to contribute to our tiny
stash if they wanted to. If each person/family purchased one diaper for about $20, we would most likely double our stash, and be able to have enough diapers to last more than one day at a time… at least that was my train of thought.

Day of the party, pretty much everyone bought us a gift… but they all brought disposable diapers. I was given one pack of prefolds, but they were super thin; later on as we were cloth diapering, we ended up using them as burp cloths instead. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad for the celebration of my little one’s arrival and the thoughtfulness of buying us something, it just put us at a slight disadvantage. I tried to return most of the boxes to big box stores in the area, so that I could use the money for more cloth diapers or accessories to aid us on our cloth diapering journey, but I quickly found that most stores weren’t going to give us nearly what the boxes cost. My husband and I decided we’d use the disposables first, and as soon as they were gone, we’d start using our cloth (which was prepped and ready to go). I had enough disposables to last three months. As we approached closer and closer to the end of our disposables, my husband and I found that we started psyching ourselves out. “What if we can’t do cloth?” “What if it’s too much work?” “What if we get leaks or blowouts?” The self-doubt was abundant!

My final straw, before making the switch, happened one afternoon as I drove with my boys to my mom’s house. I pulled up to her driveway when my toddler proclaimed “Mommy baby is yucky. He’s making a mess!” I got out of the car and walked to his door, when I realized he was covered, literally head to toe, in liquid EBF poop! There was no salvaging his outfit; he was stripped and my mom bathed him while I had to scrub the bucket seat clean. It was so bad that there was a puddle of poop in the base of the car seat! That day was the day I said “nope, we are switching to cloth!” It’s funny how after a huge blowout in disposables all of that self-doubt went away (I mean, seriously, what did the diaper even hold? It was all over him and the seat, there’s no way that disposable was doing anything to contain the mess.) We put him in cloth diapers the next day, and lo and behold, no more blowouts!

Cloth diapering wasn’t always easy; I dealt with stink issues at one point and ammonia burn because I wasn’t using a strong enough detergent, but it was a wonderful learning experience. My husband still raves about cloth diapers, and we’re both excited to cloth diaper our newest son who is due in May.

So what can you take away from my crazy journey? There are a few things I would suggest to anyone considering cloth diapering.

1. Go to a cloth diapering class! This was super beneficial to us, as it helped us have a side by side comparison of all diapers as well as introduced us to other options we didn’t even know existed! Such as cloth wipes, storage options, what creams to use/avoid, how best to clean the diapers, etc. We host cloth diaper classes once per month. 

2. Get support! Find a local cloth diapering group or a friend who cloth diapers and have them ease whatever fears you may have. It’ll be great to have those resources later on, in case you run into any issues like we did. Join our facebook group to ask questions!

3. Don’t put it off! The longer you wait, the bigger chance you have to psyche yourself out or talk yourself back into disposables. We wish, looking back, that we had just started from birth even if that meant washing diapers everyday due to a small stash.

4. Get your partner/significant other on board with cloth diapering, too! This is really important as I know some moms have tried to go it alone, without the help, and although it IS doable, it makes it twice as hard. Bring them to the cloth diapering class with you and let the instructor tell them all of the benefits, instead of just trying to convince them yourself. Sometimes it takes someone else to convince them that cloth diapering is great, don’t get discouraged if they aren’t immediately receptive to your wanting to make the switch.

5. Find your “why!” Why is cloth diapering something you want to do? To save money? To help the environment? Figure out why you want to cloth diaper and remind yourself of that reason, especially during tough times. Our reason was financial, so when I would get exhausted and not want to do another load of laundry, I would just remind myself why I started in the first place and how much we were saving by using cloth, and it helped me power through.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I know here at Growing Up we have helped lots of families with their cloth diapering needs. Whether it’s advice about a particular style of diaper, help with leak issues, changing wash routine, or adding more diapers to their stash, we love it when somebody asks us a question about cloth diapers!

Parenting can be hard, but diapering doesn’t have to be! :)

February 19, 2016 by Kristina Gray
5 new mama must haves- that are just for her!

5 new mama must haves- that are just for her!

We've got a new mama (again!) in our crew and were inspired to post about some great items to bring to a new mom after she's given birth. It's always fun to shop for baby but moms need to be pampered too- especially after going through the marathon of birth! 

Here are our top 5 natural picks:

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It's so important for new moms to stay hydrated to recover from birth and also keep up with the liquid needs of an infant! You don't want mom to become dehydrated so we recommend arming her with plenty of refillable water bottles around her home so she will always have one on hand. We love these Ecovessel bottles that are dishwasher safe.
  2. Moms don't only need water. Teas like Birds & Bees' Our Lady of La Leche help support a nursing mom's overall health and milk production. Not only is it good for mom, it's tasty too!
  3. Mom has just been through a delivery, whether vaginal or not, and is likely experiencing some swelling, soreness and postpartum bleeding. This great spray from Taylor's Naturals includes aloe vera, witch hazel, and a healing oil blend. Just spray it on your pad/cloth pad/or directly to your nether regions to provide instant relief. Muffin mist is soothing, freshening, and cooling! Perfect for the postpartum period.
  4. Newborn babies love to nurse and nurse often! That adjustment to the outside world is tough. And it's also tough on mom's nipples. Grab Balm Baby's nipple soother to help her out! Made with calendula & chamomile, cocoa butter and shea butter, this balm helps sooth sore and itchy nipples while being completely safe for baby.
  5. Along those same lines, new moms also benefit from wearing cloth breast pads to find relief from leaking breasts. Made from super-soft bamboo rayon velour, Bamboobies are the #1 premium nursing pads available.

So next time you go to visit a new mom, remember these ideas and bring her a few goodies, maybe even a meal or gift for a sibling. Also, when you visit, ask if there's anything you can do for her! Does she need dishes washed? Someone to hold baby while she hops in the shower? A volunteer to take older children out to the park for an hour? Every little bit of support helps. 

Congrats to our own, Ashley, on the birth of her second little boy last week! We are so happy for you!

February 05, 2016 by Kelly Hehn
Sustainable Living- 7 small ways to reduce your impact

Sustainable Living- 7 small ways to reduce your impact


It’s a new year and that means new resolutions. Even if you’re not a resolutions type, it’s a good time to pause for reflection over the past year and think of changes we can make for the better in the new, optimistic year. Something we have been focused on at Growing Up is sustainable living, ways that we can lower our environmental impact and be more “green”.

Here are a few small ways that we have come up with that might help you as well.

  1. Quit buying those plastic water bottles. Instead, invest in a glass or stainless steel water bottle that is refillable.
    U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. Bring your reusable cup to the coffee shop, smoothie shop, or even restaurants. No need to waste more plastic or paper cups!
  2. Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box.
    Send them in your kid’s lunchbox or to wrap up leftovers in the fridge.
  3. Recycle!
    Something we probably already do a lot of, right? But are you recycling the right things and everything that you can?
    Most places accept things like tires, paper, glass, #1&#2 plastics, and yard waste at the curb but some will take all plastics or properly dispose of and/or recycle other goods like plastic grocery bags, batteries, electronics, paint, etc. Here is what our local residential recycling programs say:
  4. Compost!
    Composting is a simple, easy way to reduce the amount of food and yard waste you throw away. In general, you can compost anything that isn’t meat. You can even compost coffee grinds! It is cost effective and can be used later in your yard for plants or gardens. You can build your own compost bin with a quick google search or purchase ready made ones from your local hardware store. Hillsborough County also gives a free Compost Happens Workshop, that is open to residents of other counties for only $26. You receive a compost bin and thermometer plus all the info you need to get started.
  5. Switch to cloth napkins and paper towels.
    Cloth napkins are easy to find in your mainstream stores like Target now. Cloth paper towels have not really hit mainstream yet but I have seen many local seamstress options and on etsy!
  6. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping.
    They’re easy to forget in the trunk but try to bring them in when you shop or ask for paper bags that can easily be recycled.
  7. Taking the dog for a walk? Bring an extra bag and pick up any litter you might see along your way.
    This may seem like a relatively minor way to help, but keeping our streets and neighborhoods clean is important to keep our water sources and environment clean.

Looking for bigger changes?

  1. Try mama cloth or a menstrual cup!
    Here at Growing Up, we love the Lunette cup! Also, there are lots of choices for mama cloth. Go see our friends at Barefoot Herbals or search Etsy.
  2. Cloth diaper!
    It sounds like a big step but even investing in cloth diapering part time will save you money and save the environment. Ask us for more info on starting out or attend one of our Cloth 101 Workshops!


What about you? Do you have any other ways you have reduced your environmental impact? Share with us!

January 29, 2016 by Kelly Hehn

Meet the Growing Up family!

We are so glad that you are following us at Growing Up! We strive to give the best customer service around and we’d like to introduce you to our team members who take care of you every day!


Hi everyone!  My name is Tara and I am the manager at Growing Up.  I have been here at the store for the past three years and I love watching all of your children grow! When I became pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I decided we wanted to do things that made sense to our family.  This included home birth, cloth diapering and breastfeeding.  I am a huge advocate for families being able to choose whatever works best for them.  I love the support and advice that we are able to give (and receive) from our amazing customers, many of which are now friends.  I never thought I would be able to combine my passion of natural parenting with an actual paying job.  I definitely feel lucky to be a member of the Growing Up family.

Hi my name is Ashley, I have worked at Growing Up for almost two years. I have always been interested in reducing the amount of chemicals that I was using, and putting into and onto my body. When I became pregnant with my son in 2013, I knew that it was even more important! If I would not use it on myself, I sure was not going to put it on my newborn. I became very interested in cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and babywearing. When my son was 6 months old, I saw an ad that Growing Up was hiring and I applied. A store that sold products I used and enjoyed and the chance to share my passions with other parents? It was meant to be, and I have been here ever since!

Hi, I’m Sam. I live in St Pete in a little 1920's bungalow with my beautiful 20 month old daughter, Scout, my Golden Retriever mix Nolen, and my wonderfully bearded husband, Travis. I attended Florida State University and I am a serious iced coffee addict. I enjoy anything that allows me to be creative as well as fashion, being outside in the sunshine, learning the art of traveling with a child, natural parenting, thrift stores and showing my baby girl this beautiful planet we live on.   

Hi, I'm Allie, our resident CPST or Child Passenger Safety Technician. I'm a full time USF student and mama to a vivacious 2 year old little girl. I am an animal lover, disney freak and tattoo enthusiast. I'm often cracking jokes and providing customer service with a smile. My favorite Growing Up product is Balm Baby's "spray that bottom" which I've dubbed "magic in a can."  

January 26, 2016 by Allie Terry