Monday, April 23, 2012

Our favorite baby products

Keep reading, I'm not spamming you!

When we first signed up for our baby registry--we used Babies "R" Us--we realized just how clueless we were when it came down to what to buy for a baby. There were millions of products to chose from, different colors and styles, different brands which all looked the same to us. And so we dove into the world of being parents through trial and error. My best friend is pregnant now and so this blog entry is dedicated to her. I am not being compensated by any of these companies and these opinions are solely my own.

We are definitely a Pampers family.  We were sent home from the hospital with Pampers Swaddlers and have since graduated to Pampers Cruisers.  Since we were given a box of Luvs and Huggies, we also tried out those two brands.  The Luvs gave our son a pretty severe diaper rash on several occasions--we tried them more than once thinking it might've been a fluke rash--and he had a way of poop bombing through the Huggies.  So we stick to our tried and true.  I can't remember the last time he leaked through a Pampers diaper, and that's how we like it.

This next product was a Christmas gift to Dylan when he was about two months old and he still loves it over a year later.   It is called a Skwish and is made by Manhattan Toy, although their website isn't working for me tonight for some reason.  You can buy it at Toys R Us for $14.99.  This is not only a great toy for little ones to look at and feel, but it also doubles as a teether and rattle.  The Skwish is so great for entertainment, learning, and development.


Baby Simply Saline is a nasal mist which saved us during the middle of the night on several occasions.  I never liked those little booger aspirator things that your supposed to use to suction out snot from your baby's nose.  This spray is an alternative and works a lot like a neti pot.  It can be purchased at Toys "R" Us.

The Sassy Grasp and Glow Rattle brought us so many great memories because Sean would snuggle up with Dylan on the floor in the dark every night and show him this rattle.  It is just a simple cheapo rattle, but for some reason Dylan adored it.  Actually, we've had a lot of Sassy brand rattles and all of them were pretty great.  I think I've posted this photo on this blog of Sean and Dylan playing with this rattle before but I love it so much it's worth posting again.  Dylan is four months old here.

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For our baby carrier, we bought a classic Baby Bjorn. I didn't try any other carrier first, but this one came highly recommended by my sister-in-law.  Actually, I take that back.  I also had a Moby wrap which probably would've been pretty cool if I had any clue whatsoever on how to tie it around myself.  The Bjorn, although a bit confusing to figure out for the first one or two tries, was great for us.  We took him hiking in it, to the grocery store, I wore it around the house to do chores.  Here is D on his first hike in the Bjorn at 34 days old.  Note that Daddy doesn't mind wearing it, although he probably would've protested if it was pink.


If you plan on breastfeeding, skip the cheapie hand pumps and invest in a high quality breast pump.  I believe this Medela model was around $279 and I was lucky enough to have it purchased off of my registry for me.  It's compact and discreet and worked great for me for that one month that I decided to go back to work at a corporate office.  Now that I am on week two of weaning Dylan, it is a lifesaver on those days where my boobs are achy from too much unused milk.  I remember watching an On Demand instructional video on how to pump while I was pregnant and thinking that the woman looked exactly like a dairy cow being milked.  You won't look pretty while using this product, but you'll feel comfortable and I'd also recommend stocking up on the Medela bottles.

It's no secret that I love to shop consignment.  With one income, we really like to save wherever possible and children's consignment is the only way to go.  At first I spent that twenty dollars per outfit because my baby was going to be made of gold and his tush would never touch an outfit that was worn by another baby (gasp!), and then I got real and checked out my local Once Upon a Child store.  If you have one in your area, rush there right away.  Go before you even finish reading this blog post.  It will save your life.  And your wallet.  Sometimes this store even has grab bag sales where you can fill an entire grocery bag with clothes for $15.  Everything is in mint condition and really inexpensive.  We even buy our toys here.  Kids outgrow stuff.  Kids spill spaghetti sauce on your favorite outfits.  Go to this store and indulge yourself in adorable baby stuff and they'll even buy it back from you when your little one outgrows it.

I actually don't like Johnson and Johnson's products except for this one, their extra conditioning shampoo.  Dylan was born with really bad cradle cap (flaky scalp) and no matter how hard I tried to get rid of it, nothing worked.  We were instructed to use dandruff shampoo and that helped a little.  But then we took Dylan to get his first haircut at nine months old and the hair dresser told us to pick up a bottle of this extra conditioning shampoo.  Wouldn't you know it, after months of trying to cure his cradle cap, this shampoo did the trick in just a few washes.  Regular JNJ's makes Dylan break out in a rash so we didn't use this as his body wash, but it didn't seem to have any negative side effects on him and smelled very nice.

We use Aveeno Baby as his soap and shampoo.  It's gentle on his skin and smells incredible.  I really like Aveeno's whole line of baby products, especially the unscented lotion.  I give Dylan a foot rub with it before putting him to sleep and it knocks him right out.   Buy this oatmeal wash.  It's really great and makes for very happy babies.


While we're still on bath time, let's talk about my love/hate relationship with this product, the Aquatopia Deluxe Safety Bath Thermometer Alarm which you can buy on Amazon.  I absolutely love this turtle thermometer because I know exactly how hot Dylan's bath is at all times.  I hate that there is no on/off switch on it.  I have zero clue on how you are supposed to turn it off and so it beeps at you once it's no longer submerged to warn you that the temperature is too low.  So I just smack it against my leg a hundred times until something in it shuts off the beeping.  Buy it, but don't make the same mistake I did and figure out how to turn it off before throwing away the packaging.  If you know the secret to this thing please feel free to fill me in.

And if your little one is a bit older buy this Little Tikes Bathketball ($9.99 at Toys "R" Us).  We used ours so much that I had to throw away the squirt balls that came with it because they got a little moldy inside from too much water play.  We just use a few plastic balls that came with another toy now and he still loves this.  You can see this thing in the picture above.  He puts every bath toy he owns through the net while we yell, "Shoot it!" and he squeals with glee.


The Fisher Price My Little Lamb Cradle and Swing was also one of those life savers.  This was given to us when I was still pregnant and I rushed home to set it up in the living room.  It was my first piece of real baby equipment in the house and I was so excited to put my little bundle of joy in his lamb swing.

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And he loved it from the moment he first cuddled into it.  When he was first born, the rocking would immediately put him to sleep.  As he got older, he would spend hours cooing away in his swing staring up at his little face in the mirror and watching the stars go around in circles.

My only negative things to say about this swing is that it is very small and Dylan quickly outgrew it, and that it only operates on batteries so we were constantly changing them out once it started to slow to a crawl.

Nonetheless, I would still recommend the lamb swing.  He really did love it while it lasted.  And there is nothing as glorious as a sleeping baby in a swing when his mom really wants to take a nap, too.

And speaking of sleep...

We still use this product at night on occasion, the Homedics Sound Spa Lullaby Relaxation Machine which you can get at Walmart or Target for about the same cost.  Ours is broken now, it still projects and makes sounds but no longer rotates, but to be fair we did use it every night for over a year.  This machine is great because you can set it on a timer, plug it in, project images on the ceiling, and it comes with a variety of sounds such as ocean waves, heartbeat, rain, or music.  Since we co-slept, when I moved Dylan into his own bed he really seemed to appreciate the heartbeat sound.  The Sound Spa made transitioning into his big boy bed just a little bit easier for both of us.

He also really loved his Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse.  It's rare to find toys that are rated for birth+ and this one was great for any age.  He took to it immediately and when he woke up in the middle of the night I would reach over and turn this little seahorse on and he would watch and listen to it intently until it shut off again.  I came to memorize the pattern of the music and would catch some zzzs until I heard the last song come on.  He also still has this little guy and loves him.

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For teething, Dylan loved ice cubes in mesh teethers. Any type of mesh teethers will do, we used any brand.  You can also put fruit in these and your little one will love to safely munch on food he/she may not normally be able to have because of a choking hazard.  Ice cubes will be very messy in these but totally worth having a teething baby with happy gums.  I think you can get these at any big box store.

We also couldn't live without Munchkin's snack catchers.  These are great for little hands, especially for those who share their house with large dogs who would love more than anything to get their paws on your snack.  We get these at Target, but you can get them online, too.

I've got plenty of products left to share with you, but it'll have to wait for another day.  If I don't get to sleep soon I'll be a zombie mama tomorrow.  Please feel free to share any of your favorite products in the comments.