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baby gears

BABY products FAMILY

My Must-Have Baby Gear List | Being a First-Time Mom

must have for a baby

must have for a baby

My son is 5 months today. I am taking this occasion to share what are the baby items that we really used over the last 5 months since it could help moms-to-be with their shopping list. Besides the car seat and the stroller, I think that you should get:

A lounger or bouncer: I have the mamaRoo. We use it to let my baby rest after a feeding. He also sits in the mamaRoo for watching his favorite movies or TV shows, when I read him a book or simply to be near to us when we eat dinner or when I cook. We used the movements and the sounds for the first 3 months. Lately, the mamRoo acts as a low chair where we know that he sits safely.

A play yard: We bought the Graco’s Pack ‘n Play Chadwick Playard at Babies R Us when my son was a few weeks ago. We bought it because we were invited to a brunch at the home of a single guy. This is why we selected a model with a removable bassinet and diaper changer. What we did not anticipate was how much we would use it at home. I use the bassinet for when my baby takes a nap. His nursery is on the second floor. The diaper changer comes handy when we have a babysitter. It is easier for them to not go upstairs and we feel better knowing that they do not carry our baby up and down our long staircase.

An activity mat: I suggested that you buy an activity mat that will look good in your living room since it will be on the floor all the time. At first, I stored our activity mat after each usage but I quickly give up. Providing enough tummy time is very important to build muscles. Since most babies do not like to be on their tummy, you end up doing mini sessions several times a day. It is wise to avoid tummy time immediately after a feeding. I bought the Treetop Friends Activity Gym from Skip Hop.

A musical mobile: Contrary to my initial belief, a mobile is not to make your kid sleepy unless it is by exhaustion. Our son becomes excited when we put the mobile on. A mobile distracts and entertains your baby while you are doing something else. We bought the Tiny Love Sweet Island Dreams Mobile. The sound quality of the Tiny Love is way better than the Fisher-Price Rainforest Peek-a-Boo Leaves Musical Mobile, which is a similar model.

Fun Educational Toys: It is important to stimulate the senses of our baby as soon as possible. We bought and received from friends many toys. The ones my son enjoy the most are his Tug & Play Activity Knot and his Musical Inchworm, both from Lamaze, Sophie The Giraffe plus his T’es fou louloup hand puppet from Ebulobo. The puppet enables me to interact and communicates with him.

Books: At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, they told us to read books from day 1. It will help you create a lasting connection with your baby. Your baby will learn to recognize the sound of your voice. Zack already have a huge collection of books. I buy board books suitable for children aged 1 to 3 years old. Now that Zack is able to manipulate objects with his both hands, the books become a tool to further develop his motor skills.

SOURCING:
+ Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym $74.99 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Tapis de jeu Treehop $81.99 CAD at Rose ou Bleu
+ Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard – Chadwick $199.99 CAD at Babies R Us
T’es fou louloup hand puppet from Ebulobo
+ I Love You Through And Throughby Bernadette Rossetti Shustak $8.95 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
Tug & Play Activity Knot $11.99 USD from Lamaze

BABY products FAMILY

Chronicle Your Baby’s Life with Sticky Bellies

sticky bellies

sticky bellies

As my son approaches the 5-month mark, I wish to find an easy way to document his monthly milestone. We already take a daily picture of him. I initially wanted to design my own signs, but I clearly lack the time. I need a ready-to-use option to identify his age on a picture. I might have found the one.

Sticky Bellies is a peel-able sticker that looks great on shirts, pants or objects. It comes in a set of 1 to 12 months and a set of 13 to 24 months. The Oh Sew Adorable is tailored towards little girls, the Oh Sew Handsome is for boys while the neutral Oh Sew Cute would fit both genders.

SOURCING:
+  Oh Sew Stickers by Sticky Bellies $14.99 USD per set

FAMILY LIVING with kids

A Lot Happened in 3 Months | Being a First-Time Mom

I can’t believe that my little baby son is already 3 months old (he reached it last week). I met lately a few parents-to-be who ask me what to expect, which gave me the idea to share my impressions so far. They say that the first 5-6 weeks are hard and they do not lie. I recall the first days where I wore a PJ all day and was wondering when I could go back to a routine where I do my hair and wear make up every day. But it happened quicker that I imagined at that time. We all need some “Me” time. I feel that it boosts a new mom’s morale to try to look good on a daily basis.

The wonderful thing about being a new parent is that it gets easier every day. I would say that you grow with your baby. You get better organized and always fine-tune some kind of routine. I say some kind of routine because your baby will dictate when you will do things. Right now, I am in heaven. His feedings are going well and are pretty regular. I have a pretty good idea of when it is the right time for quick naps during the day. I have a set of activities to entertain him during the day. I am able to run errands with him during the afternoon. I cook dinner and we are able to enjoy our meal most of the nights. As a bonus, my son sleeps 9 to 10 hours a night. Nonetheless, I am still impressed by how much time you must put to take care of a young baby.

Baby Nasal Aspirator

nasal aspirator for baby

Since he was born, I learned new skills and discovered baby products that I would have never imagined. One of those is the baby nasal aspirator by hydraSense. I received a sample from a PR person in Montreal. I must say that we hesitated to use it at first. When we finally did, a day where it was obvious that my baby needed it, we were impressed by its effectiveness. Our son doesn’t appreciate the process but it works. We use it with Easydose, a seawater nasal drop dispenser that you use to liquefy mucus.

I started an incredible journey and I know that the next 3 months will bring even more adventures. I am leaving you with a cute photo of my son.

BABY care FAMILY

My Must-Have Baby Bottle Accessories | Being a First-Time Mom

must-have baby bottle accessories

Besides the bottles of your choice, these are my three must-have items if you are feeding your baby with a bottle. First, you need one or two bottle and nipple brushes. I seem to prefer the Munchkin Bottle and Nipple brush to the equivalent brush by Nuby but I can’t tell you why other than I got the Munchkin first.

I try to wash the bottle as soon as I finished feeding my son. I rinse it first in cold water, then I use the brush for a quick clean with soap and cold water. The bottles will be fully washed in the dishwasher in the sanitizer mode. You need the drying rack because plastic doesn’t dry well in a dishwasher. I bought the Boon Grass drying rack for its cool design and its two parts easy fit in my dishwasher. Since it is mostly to dry the nipples and the bottom parts of VentAire bottles, it provides me enough place. But if you are worried that it is not big enough, Boon made Lawn, a bigger version of Grass.

It took me a week to buy a bottle warmer. I did it for one key reason: time. The milk gets at the right temperature in more than half the time and you know exactly how long it will take. For that alone, it is worth every penny. I asked around and it seems that parents prefer the Avent bottle warmer. This is why we got this one.

The Baby Bottles

It simplifies my life as a parent to have enough baby bottles for one day of feeding, plus one bottle. I can wash the used bottles before going to bed. This is where the extra bottle comes handy. You keep one bottle ready to use for the night feeding or, if you are lucky like us, for the morning feeding. We bought two VentAire newborn gift sets.

I decided to try out the VentAire and it works fine with my son. I also bought 2 glass Medela bottles that we do not use them anymore. Glass bottles are simply too heavy. My son had problems with the Stage 1 nipples that came with the VentAire bottles. The Stage 2 nipples were too fast for him. After trials and errors, we discovered that the Medela slow nipple works the best for him. We were lucky that the Medela nipples fit the Ventaire bottles. Therefore, I bought several packs of Medela nipples to complete my set.

SOURCING:
+ Grass Countertop Drying Rack by Boon $16.99 USD
Lawn Countertop Drying Rack by Boon $29.99 USD
+ Avent Express Food and Bottle Warmer $36.17 USD
+ Playtex BPA Free VentAire Standard Reusable Bottles Gift Set $26.99 USD

BABY care FAMILY

My Tips on Breast Pumping | Being a First-Time Mom

my baby son

In case you did not hear, I gave birth to my adorable son two weeks ago. He is still at the hospital where he underwent a major surgery that was planned before his birth. This means that I extract and store my milk until he is ready to drink it. If you ever find yourself in that situation, you will have many questions regarding how you will pump your breast milk. Let’s me tell you a few things that you won’t find in the breast pump manual.

The Rent Vs. Buy Dilemma

Pumping two breasts at once is a must. Believe me, you will not have the time to extract one breast at a time. After careful considerations, I decided to rent a professional grade milk pump. I rented a Medela Symphony, which is the same model that they lent me at the hospital. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Regardless of the brand, you absolutely need more power when you use it 5 to 8 times a day.

Generally speaking, the Medela Symphony would enable you to pump more milk in less time than with a consumer model like the Freestyle or the In Style. I figured out that if I need a pump once the baby comes home, I could always buy one for occasional use or rent a few more months the Symphony.

Establish a Schedule

You must stay motivated to not give up. This feeling has nothing to do with your ability to produce and extract milk. It is just that every 3 hours comes often and extracting milk with a machine can be boring. Therefore, find a reason that will get you going when you feel like giving up. On the bright side, after a while it will truly become a part of your daily routine.

Here are a few tips to ease the transition. First, you can skip the night shift. When I was at the hospital, I pumped during the night. After a week of sleeping only 2-3 hours a day, I was too exhausted. With all the stress you are going through as a parent with a baby at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the medical staff encourages us to rest. The best way that parents can help their baby is to stay healthy physically and psychologically.

At the NICU, they advice mothers to extract their milk at midnight, 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, noon, 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM. I follow more or less their schedule. I’m so tired that I also skipped the 6:00 AM session to try to get back in shape.

Setting the Mood

Being in a comfortable environment is important. I set everything up in my son’s nursery where I sit on the rocking chair and listen to music. Plus, I can admire two pictures of him. You need to feel relaxed, especially at the beginning.

Milk Storage

I either use small storage bottles that I get at the hospital or the Medela’s Pump and Save breastmilk bags. I freeze my milk after each session.

Knowing how much a baby will drink is important to reduce waste. I mostly store 2 to 3 ounces of breast milk per container. I like to freeze a little less than 5 ounces in the bag since on average, a baby will drink about 4.5 ounces per feeding once he reaches one month old. Until that, most babies drink 2.5 to 3 ounces of breast milk in a bottle, eight times a day.

Mixed Feedings

Moms should not be ashamed if they need to supplement their breastfeeding with formula milk. This will not be an issue initially since I have a good stash. I will use my own milk for the night feedings. If and when I will run out of milk for the night feedings, formula milk can come to my rescue.

BABY products FAMILY

Beco Butterfly II, Baby Ergo or BabyBjörn Baby Carrier | Getting Ready for the Baby

buckle baby carriers

buckle baby carriers

At one week before my due date, I want to complete my baby gear shopping list. The baby carrier is the last thing on my list. Some people have suggested to wait after the baby is born to try them out with my baby boy before I select one. In the meantime, I share my short list.

My husband and I initially wanted a BabyBjörn baby carrier but after reading many reviews and chatting with parents about the fact that it might be uncomfortable for a baby boy, I am leaning towards either Baby Ergo, the Beco Butterfly II or the new Beco Gemini.

If you want to read more about the concerns parents have with the BabyBjörn baby carriers, google “baby bjorn crotch”. Having said that, I know that BabyBjörn is a very popular brand for baby carriers. Therefore, I suppose that many parents must be happy with them. One point that seems obvious when I look at the pictures is that the BabyBjörn baby carriers put more weight on the shoulders of the parent. The Beco Butterfly and the Baby Ergo distribute some weight to the parent’s hips.

I like the fabric choices of the Beco Butterfly II and think that it is more stylish than the Beco Ergo. Plus, The Beco Butterfly 2 seems easier to wear the baby of your back than the Baby Ergo. On the other end, for light outdoor activities, the Baby Ergo or even the BabyBjörn give me the impression that they are more suitable for active activities.

For your information, the Beco Gemini allows you to carry your baby in the front facing out; a position that is not supported by the Beco Butterfly II. Otherwise, they seem to be pretty similar.

Before I make a choice, I would like to hear your thoughts and your experience with any of these baby carriers.

Why, How and When I Plan to Use a Baby Carrier?

But before you share your experience and recommendations, here is how I intend to use the baby carrier. I feel that I need a baby carrier to make my life easier. I plan to use the baby carrier when I go at places or do things where a stroller may be harder to maneuver.

For example, shopping at my favorite local farmers’ market on weekends with my Bugaboo Cameleon stroller with the bassinet base will restrict my mobility. Plus, I would need to go up and down many stairs. Another occasion would be when my husband and I will go hiking in the woods. I do not plan to wear it for consecutive hours at home.

Now that you know my needs, which buckle baby carrier do you recommend and why?

BABY products FAMILY

My Shopping Trip at Babies “R” Us | Getting Ready for the Baby

shopping spree at babies r us

I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary $500 gift card from Babies “R” Us for my baby shower. I went with my husband. We bought baby essentials and other things that we feel are necessary for either my peace of mind or for what we believe will bring well-being and fun to my son-to-be. I was happily surprised by their inventory.

Baby Essentials

The first thing we did was to make sure we have all the baby essential gears. We started with baby care essentials and diaper care products including the Playtex Diaper Genie II Elite Advanced Disposal System. I decided to go with disposable diapers since as a first time mom, I will already have plenty of things to do. We bought the Pampers Dry Max diapers for newborns. A friend had recommended those because they don’t leak.

I bought the Especially for Baby Contour Change Pad in Blue Dots and the Blue Especially for Baby Terry Change Pad Cover because the blue complements our nursery decor. And I can tell you that one of my cats seems to adore the changing pad.

Then, we headed to the baby clothing department. I received many clothes as gifts from our friends but we still needed more in different sizes. I bought clothes in sizes 3 months and 6 months. Newborns need a good supply of diaper shirts, sleepers, receiving blankets plus a few hats, no-scratch mittens and tiny socks. I particularly like the design of Gagou Tagou and Bruin.

Toys

I bought him Sophie the Giraffe, a famous French baby toy that was created in 1961. Lovable and amusing, Sophie makes a happy sound when her body is squeezed that stimulates baby’s hearing and helps him to understand the link between cause and effect. She is perfect for soothing the baby’s sore gums when teething. The singular scent of natural rubber from the hevea tree makes Sophie very special and easy for your child to identify amid all his other toys. It’s a toy that is suitable from birth up to 12 months.

My husband and I remembered how much fun we had with our Jolly Jumper. Therefore, we want him to have the Original Jolly Jumper. When we arrived home, we noticed that where we wanted to hang it there was no frames. Therefore, we will exchange it for the Jolly Jumper on a Stand.

We like the brand Lamaze for their educational values. We bought the Spin and Explorer gym on which the baby will play on his tummy. Being on his tummy is important for his body development. A friend gave us the Lamaze Musical Inchworm.

Safety

For our peace of mind, we bought the Angel Care Movement and Sound monitor. I am more interested in the motion detection monitor than the sound monitor. Many parents told me that babies make so many noises when they sleep that they turned the sound monitor off to be able to sleep.

I saw that in the United States, Babies “R” Us carries many products from Skip Hop either online or in stores. I wish that the Canadian stores did the same since I like their merchandises.

SOURCING:
For Canadians:
+ Playtex Diaper Genie II Elite Advanced Disposal System $45.99 CAD
+ Especially for Baby Contour Change Pad in Blue Dots $29.99 CAD
+ Especially for Baby Terry Change Pad Cover $10.99 CAD
+ Sophie the Giraffe $23.99 CAD
+ Original Jolly Jumper $39.99 CAD
+ Jolly Jumper on a Stand $69.99 CAD
+ Angel Care Movement and Sound monitor $159.99 CAD

For Americans:
+ Diaper Genie II Elite Diaper Disposal System $34.99 USD
+ Pampers Dry Max 108 Ct Swaddler Diaper Value Box – Newborn $29.99 USD
+ Sophie the Giraffe Teether by Vulli $22.99 USD
+ Lamaze Musical Inchworm $19.99 USD
+ Angel Care Deluxe Movement Monitor $149.99 USD

BABY products FAMILY

Baby Shower Gift Ideas – Part 2: Decor Gifts

Baby Shower Gifts :: nursery decor

Baby Shower Gifts :: nursery decor

After talking about baby basics, let’s continue with cute decor gifts.

Woodland Plate Set

These three woodland-inspired plates from Chik Design feature deer, squirrel and bunny cutouts in pastel shades. Plate displays are typically seen in traditional homes, so this adorable collection would make for unexpected nursery art.

Eames Molded Plastic Rocker

Every nursery needs a rocking chair. If the parents-to-be are fans of modern design, the Eames Molded Plastic Rocker is the ideal choice (it’s what Kim wants for her son’s nursery). It’s available in a variety of colours to suit any type of nursery decor and would fit in elsewhere in the home as the child grows. It’s pricey, but a nice option for a group gift.

Zinnia Mobile

Known for their gorgeous printed fabrics, DwellStudio has transformed nursery decor – and this whimsical mobile is no exception. Designed by Frazier + Wing, it would work a nursery now and in a little girl’s room later. Shopping for a baby boy? Check out the transportation mobile.

Mini Pillow and Blanket Set

Newborn babes are sure to have sweet dreams with this handmade and hand screen printed set from Tulip and I. Made of natural fibres, miniature size makes it ideal for a bassinet, car seat and stroller while the neutral shades would work with any decor.

SOURCING:
+ Woodland Plate Set from Chik Design $44.95 each or $99.95 (set of 3)
+ Eames Molded Plastic Rocker $508 at Ella + Elliott
+ Zinnia Mobile from DwellStudio $75l
+ Pillow and Blanket Set from Tulip and I $92
BABY products FAMILY

Baby Shower Gift Ideas – Part 1: Baby Basics

Baby Shower Gifts :: Everyday items

Baby Shower Gifts :: Everyday items

When shopping for a baby shower gift, it can be hard to resist adorable onesies and teeny tiny footwear. And, if the Mom-to-be is a first-timer, baby essentials like blankets and diapers are practical though somewhat impersonal options.

If you’re looking for gift options with a little more longevity, we’ve collected ideas that are sure to please stylish parents-to-be and their stylish babies. Let’s start with baby basics.

Baby Comb and Brush Set

Stylish babies need equally stylish grooming tools. This modern set is cute and compact: bunny ears are actually a gentle brush and comb, while the base has a round, baby-safe mirror. Bonus: it’s BPA- and PVC-free.

Swaddle Blankets from Aden + Anais

There’s no shortage of beautiful baby blankets on the market, but these sweet swaddlers are practical too. Made of lightweight cotton muslin, the blankets are gentle on skin and allow a baby’s body to breathe. Check out this brand for other prints and organic options too.

Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottles

With so much worry about chemicals in plastic, when it comes to baby bottles, glass is the way to go. These non-toxic, colorful baby bottles from Lifefactory include a silicone sleeve and convert into cups when your child is ready.

Sophie the Giraffe Teething Toy

Though Sophie has been in production since 1961, in recent years the popular teething toy has re-emerged mostly due to it’s safe-for-baby materials. Sophie is made from 100% natural rubber and non-toxic paint to soothe baby’s gums while teething.

SOURCING:
+ Baby Comb and Brush Set from SkipHop $20 USD
+ Swaddle Blankets from Aden + Anais $45 for set of 4
+ Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottles from $12.49
+ Sophie the Giraffe Teething Toy $26 CAD at Indigo

BABY products FAMILY

Beautiful Bibs by Oktak Mini | Etsy Finds

reversible large bib by oktakmini bird and red stripes

reversible large bib by oktakmini bird and red stripes

I bought several pouches from Oktak, the brand of Aki Takada, a Japanese bag designer who lives in Manhattan. Aki has launched an Etsy store for baby stuff called Oktak Mini. Like for her coin purses, pouches and clutches, her fabric choice is awesome.

reversible large bib cars

The small and large bibs would make baby shower gift that parents will appreciate since you need a few ones.

reversible small bib fork and spoon

SOURCING:
+ Large bib – bird and red stripes $12.50 USD on Etsy
+ Reversible large bib – cars $12
+ Reversible small bib – spoons and forks on light blue $14

BABY products FAMILY

Bugaboo Donkey: More Storage and Tailored for Parents of 2

bugaboo donkey

bugaboo donkey

On September 16th, 2010 (tomorrow), Bugaboo will launch its latest stroller at the Kind & Jugend Fair in Cologne, Germany. I am happy to share a sneak peak at Bugaboo Donkey. As you will see, the new stroller adds storage and is more versatile for young families. It’s particularly interesting for family of 2.

In three clicks, you can easily convert the Bugaboo Donkey from a full-sized mono stroller to a full-sized side by side duo stroller and back again to a mono stroller. In mono configuration the Bugaboo Donkey has the same width than the Bugaboo Cameleon. This is possible since the Cameleon fits a bassinet. Here, they move the position of the seat to fit an expandable side luggage basket. There is also storage under the seat.

For parents with two young children or twins, the Donkey converts into one of the narrowest duo strollers (72 cm in width). Unfortunately, you will have to wait until Spring 2011 to buy a Bugaboo Donkey in the USA, UK, Netherlands and Spain. Other countries will follow later.

I saw it in action on a private video and it seems pretty easy to convert. I am looking forward to see color pictures. Sept. 22nd Update: I added the video which is now public.

SOURCING:
+ Bugaboo Donkey