Wednesday, October 26

More of My Favorite Things

Back in April I wrote a post (found on this little link here) about my favorite baby items that we use for Brock. He was only about a month old then and wasn't using much, but he's bigger now and I think we've finally gotten some use out of every item that we were given at our baby showers (minus the potty training seat). I thought I'd do another post about my favorite things in the 3 to 7 month range, but first I wanted to mention a few of the items from that first post that we are actually still using, just to demonstrate their longevity.

At 7 months, we no longer use the Boppy lounger (but still use the Boppy feeding pillow), the swaddles (but he stayed in them for a good 4 or 5 months at least), the diaper caddy, or the swing (we still occasionally put him in it but he's too active to want to just lay there anymore so I think we're probably finished with it for now). All the other six items are still in use and are still favorites, although I have two notes: 1) I will say I wish we had a more compact bathtub because it doesn't fit our sink and it's a pain having to kneel and lean over our bath to get to him, and 2) I kind of wish we had just gotten a regular highchair that folds up and can be stored away because the feeding seat we have takes up a chair at our table so when we have dinner company we have to find another chair to bring in. Anyway, that's the update on those previous favorites; now on to the current favorites (Note: The title of each favorite is a link you can click to find where to purchase the item; I am not getting paid for any of my endorsements... unfortunately).

1. Jumping seat
Why We Love It: This is one of those seats you hang in the doorway that babies sit in and use their legs to bounce off of the floor. We have a different one than the one pictured here, but it's the same brand and is similar in style. Our's was actually a hand-me-down so I had forgotten that we even had one until last week when I saw it in the bottom of Brock's closet. I hung it up and stuck him in it, and it was love at first bounce. It took him a couple of times to get the hang of it, but now he will sit in it and bounce and spin for 20-30 minutes at a time. I'm a fan of things that safely entertain our increasingly active and mobile child, plus it gives him good exercise and strengthens his leg muscles. I only wish I had remembered it sooner because the weight limit is 25 pounds and Brock is only about 5 pounds shy of that, so we may not get to enjoy this item for much longer.

2. Luvs
Why We Love It:  I love Luvs. We've tried Pampers, Huggies, some CVS brand, and Luvs diapers, and of those four, Luvs really are my favorite. And it's not just because I'm a cheapskate (which I admittedly am). I preferred the Pampers Swaddlers when Brock was a newborn because they are so soft, and I felt so bad for him having to trade the warm, soft, comfortable womb for itchy diapers and clothes and just the general discomforts that come along with living. But once he became less new and seemed a little less fragile, I just started using whatever diapers we had in the closet. Now, Pampers are my least favorite brand, Huggies are second, and Luvs are my preferred brand. We had a lot of messy leaks with Pampers (and by messy, I mean poop) because it would fly right up the back of the diaper. Huggies diapers have a little tab on the back that is supposed to keep that from happening, and we have had fewer leaks in Huggies. But we've had the least amount of diaper mishaps with the Luvs brand and since they are the least expensive (unless you're an extreme couponer), that's a win-win for me. I'll probably try the store brands eventually and see if they compare. I've heard Target brand diapers are pretty good.

3. Gas drops
Why We Love It:  These were most helpful during months 1 through 5. They say (you know, the all-knowing "They") that babies' digestive systems have trouble regulating themselves during the first few months before they've adapted to nourishment outside the womb, so there can be issues with gas that gets trapped which causes pain. I've had trapped gas a couple of times in my life and it feels like knives stabbing you in the stomach. I don't know if that's what babies feel but if so, then it's no wonder they cry a lot! There are several brands of gas drops, but the best value for the money that I've found are these Target brand. They are not always on the baby aisle either. Sometimes you have to go over to the pharmacy section and look on the aisle that deals with stomach issues. They are HALF the price of the Mylicon brand drops though! And I like them because there's no red-dye so they don't stain. Now that he's older, he doesn't really need them as much, but I still give Brock a dose at night because he doesn't always burp well before bed, and he gets really excited when he sees the dropper so he must be a fan.

4. Pack & Play
Why We Love It:  The pack & play is very useful because as the name suggests, you can pack it up and take it wherever you're going so baby can play there. I've heard they also make good travel cribs. We actually have not used it for those purposes yet, but I think the old name for these (playpens) is more descriptive of why I like it. This is a good way to safely contain your child when you can't attend to him. For example, if I need to dry my hair or cook dinner, Brock can spend 15 or 20 minutes in the pack & play and I don't have to worry about him rolling off the bed or finding some forbidden object on the floor and eating it while I'm not looking. It's good for him to spend some time in it each day because it helps him learn how to play independently without someone constantly in his face. There are about five little toys and rattles that I leave in it, so he only sees those toys whenever he's in the pack & play which adds a little novelty to the experience. The giraffes that hang from the mobile on this particular p&p detach and now serve as chew toys for Brock. I guess maybe I was wrong about him making friends with them in this Friday photo; I think he was actually plotting their demise.

5. Nuby Teethers
Why We Love It:  Best. Teethers. Ever. I have about 20 different teething toys to prove my scientific findings that these Nuby brand teethers are the best! (Disclaimer: my findings really aren't scientific). These are a rubbery type of material that seem to feel really good on the gums and they have different textures in different spots. My sister-in-law gave us a couple of the ones that look like upside down Mickey Mouses (Mickey Mice?) and we got one of the hand-shaped ones as a shower gift. He will chew on these forever, but other teethers, even the ones you put in the refrigerator, he'll only use for a few minutes. We always keep one of these handy in the car or the diaper bag since they apparently help him relieve stress too because he likes to gnaw on them when we're out in public places with people. I've only seen these particular ones at Target, but they probably have them on Amazon too.

6. Activity seat
Why We Love It:  This is the Bright Starts Bounce-a-Bout seat and it's actually an updated model of the one we got only 8 months ago, but I'm a little jealous because I see several things on this new one that I would like better than our old one. Oh well, that's beside the point. Brock has been sitting in this little seat since he was about 4 months old (on different occasions; he's not been sitting their continuously since 4 months) and he likes it more and more the older he gets. It has been interesting to see him progressively get better at grabbing the toys and figuring out what they do. I like this particular one because the seat spins all the way around, it has a lot of little activities on it, and you can attach more toys to it with those little linking toys. We have kept a pillow where Brock puts his feet because he's still not quite tall enough to stand comfortably in the seat, so that's kind of a negative. And the bouncing part of the seat on the bottom is kind of stiff so I'm not sure how easily babies can bounce in it. But it's another mode of entertainment for Brock and he enjoys banging and eating all the toys. (I'm noticing a pattern in that a lot of my favorite things are things that keep my child entertained without my effort, hmmm).


Why We Love It:  I've always thought those blankets with the tags sewn onto them were really cute, but I didn't register for any and really only saw them on Amazon instead of in stores. But my crafty and talented friend Stephanie gave us this taggie blanket and cube (along with some adorable burp cloths) as a baby gift before Brock was born. He has always liked the blanket because we would play "where's the baby" with it, but he's developing a deeper appreciation for it and for the cube now because he's suddenly become really interested in tags. He finds the tag on everything (his activity seat and pack & play included) and likes to suck on them until they're drenched in drool. With the blanket and the cube, it's like hours of fun because there are so many tags with so many different textures that he can explore. He especially likes to grab the cube and squish it to his chest and stuff it in his mouth; he's kind of aggressive. I don't know if Stephanie is going into business, but she definitely could with these things.

Why We Love It:  I've had an affection for the Bumbo seat ever since I saw my little niece, Livi, sitting in it at Christmas a couple of years ago with her chubby legs poking through the holes. We've been giving Brock time in the Bumbo since he was just a couple of months old to try to strengthen his stomach muscles and help him learn to sit up sooner (not sure it actually did any good though). So it was fun for that use, but now I really like it as a travel feeding seat. Our highchair is actually just a feeding seat that sits on a chair and we could use it when we go places, but it's too much of a hassle to unstrap and strap it all in so I just started grabbing the Bumbo. It has a tray that is sold separately that attaches to the seat too so it's just like a little feeding chair. The only negative I've found is that Brock's chunky thighs are getting a little too large for the holes so he gets slightly stuck, but never permanently. My friend Kerri said they recently told her at Target that the Bumbo seats were recalled and I couldn't find any on their website, but Babies 'R Us still has them. I think as long as you use common sense with these things, then they're perfectly safe. I mean, leaving your kid unattended on a tabletop or couch in anything is a danger. I think any safety issues with the Bumbo are probably more related to user error than anything else.
Why We Love It:  I mentioned these little guys before in a Friday Photo, and we're still enjoying them. These are great for helping a baby learn how to self feed and how to chew (I'm amazed at all the things we take for granted that we had to learn once, like how to chew). We've given Brock peeled grapes and bananas in these feeders, and I'm sure there are a lot of other things we could put in them, but I haven't really thought about it yet. He loves to suck the fruit out of them though and they are very useful for an afternoon snack. We can also freeze fruit in them to help with teething pain. The negatives of these feeders is they are kind of a pain to clean because the mushed up banana gets stuck in the holes, and they can be super messy. I always have to give Brock a bath after he eats a banana in these. The grapes weren't as bad, but the banana gets all over the place. I saw a review of these by a mom who said she attaches the feeder to the baby's clothes with a pacifier clip so they don't throw it down, which is pretty genius since Brock is now at the age where he likes to throw everything to the ground.

Why We Love It:  This one isn't a very fun item, but I think it's very useful. I registered for this particular humidifier, the Safety 1st brand, because it said it was a 360 degree humidifier, which I thought meant that the little spouts spun in a 360 degree circle to humidify the whole room. Not so. They do spin, but only manually, so you can position the spouts wherever you want them to be at any point in a 360 degree circle, but then they stay there until you move them again. That was a little bit disappointing (I'm not sure why I wanted them to spin automatically but it just seemed like it would be a really efficient use of the humidifier), but overall this is a pretty good product. Really, I just put this as a favorite thing because of the general humidifier product not the specific brand we have. There are probably better brands out there, but I think a humidifier is definitely one of the must-haves, or at least, good-to-haves. We were given two at two different showers and ended up keeping both of them so we could use one in our bedroom and one in Brock's. I always get sinus issues at the beginning of each season, and I always come down with a cold whenever we turn our heat or our air conditioner on after it has been off all summer or winter, but this past month I kept the humidifier going in our bedroom when we had to turn the heat on, and no sinus problems! I plan to keep these going constantly in our rooms this winter because the heat dries us out so badly. This has also been useful for when Brock and I had colds last month because it seemed to help us both breathe a little easier at night.


So there are 10 more of my favorite things for anyone who cares or for anyone who is baby shopping now or in the near future. Honorable mentions include baby Acetaminophen (for teething) and foam covered board books (also apparently for teething not reading).

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