Baby Product Roundup

June 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Liam turns 6 months old next Saturday, and that’s left me ample time to test out many, many baby products. Some I couldn’t live without, some I only used a short time, and some I didn’t use or didn’t like at all. For all my soon-to-be mom friends, I thought I’d compile a list of my recommended gets or don’t bothers. Many of my most-loved products I found in Baby Bargains, a book I found myself toting around to every baby store. Here we go.

Stuff I used and I love:

    Baby Bjorn: My good friend Christie bequeathed me her Bjorn when she opted for the more versatile Ergo, and while I’m sure newer models would offer more lower-back support, this baby carrier has been one of those items we couldn’t live without. Especially in a crowded city where strollers can be a detriment, the bjorn easily slips on, and Liam absolutely loves riding in it. I particularly like that I could face the boy out when he was a little older — something you can’t do with the Ergo. My curious kid loved it even more once we turned him around. He has gotten pretty heavy…one of the drawbacks…but I would strongly recommend this carrying system for moms looking for hands-free options.

    Diaper Champ: My sister had the ever-popular Diaper Genie, but she complained she was always running out of refills. The Diaper Champ uses standard kitchen trashbags, which we always have on hand. I also prefer the mechanism — just set in the hole and flip, instead of the Diaper Genie’s stuff down and twist. One caution — wipes on their own tend to get trapped and jam the lid. We found it best to either put the wipes in the diaper, or throw them away in the trash can.

    Diaper EZ spray: I was skeptical when I first saw this stuff — one of my non-mom friends gave it to me as a gift, and I thought the gesture was nice, but it couldn’t really work. But 2-3 sprays on even the foulest diaper, and we’ve found it really does cut back on the funk. We’ve got a 4 oz bottle, and even with the nanny using it double-time for Cameron, we’ve used less than a quarter of it.

    First Years Bedside Bottle Warmer: This saved us many a bleary-eyed trip to the kitchen. For night feedings we could load breast milk in the cooler, then warm it right on the bedstand. And now we still use it to warm formula stored in the fridge. It’s been great for our nanny — she uses it both for formula and breastmilk for Cameron as well.

    Yoga Ball: We picked this up during the later stages of my pregnancy, and I mostly used it to sit on and help my aching back. In those last weeks, it got used A LOT. Now we use it to bounce Liam to sleep, either in the bjorn or in our arms. And it works like a charm every time. It’ll also make a great toy for Liam when he starts walking. Oh, and I guess I could use it to exercise with, if I were so inclined.

    Sheet Savers: This is a recent acquisition for us…once Liam started sleeping on his tummy, right around 5 months, we noticed his diaper would leak in the night. We tried putting it on tighter, making sure we changed him right before he went down, and even tucked his little wee wee down a bit like his pediatric nurse suggested, but sometimes he just whizzes like crazy. After three nights in a row of changing sheets (Jill wisely recommended getting water-proof crib pads, so the mattress is protected), I decided to see what my other options were. Crib sheets and crib pads are a pain in the ass to keep changing every night. Enter the sheet saver, a small, terrycloth pad that ties to the rails. I ended up using two at time, because my little wiggler doesn’t always end up sleeping where I first lay him down. But so far they’ve been vastly easier to take out and wash after a leaky night.

    Fisher Price Space-Saver High Chair: Another recent acquisition, this came highly-recommended in the afore-mentioned Baby Bargains book. We love it because it hooks right to one of our kitchen chairs, it’s easy to clean, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. When we have company we can easily unhook it from the chair. It also works as a toddler booster seat, so we expect to use it for years to come.

Stuff that I used, but now is stuffed in the closet:

    The Boppy: This wrap-around pillow was great to have during the early days of nursing, but I found I also had to prop it higher with pillows underneath. It also fit rather awkwardly in my rocker. I liked it more as a way to prop up the baby on the floor, but by 2 1/2 months, Liam was too big and wiggly for it. Mine was a hand-me-down, and I’m glad I didn’t spend money on my own (though, I did buy a few additional covers).

    Baby Sling: My sister loaned me her very cute Hot Sling, and when I first brought Liam home, I had these grand schemes of wearing him in it while I did the dishes, vacuumed the house, and went on about my daily life. But life never works out the way we scheme, and I discovered that wearing him was way too much strain on my hip, which was hard to walk on those first six postpardum weeks. I was able to wear him from the car to my doctor’s appointments, and for about a month he was small enough to fit cozily inside. But he quickly grew, and I found the sling more and more cumbersome. So it went in the drawer. I recently dug it back out to try some of the other positions, but the boy just…didn’t…seem…to…fit. His legs were either terribly squashed, or he was leaning so far away from me that I thought he was going to fall out. I think I’ll just stick with the Bjorn.

Stuff I wish I could get my money back for:

    A second carseat base: This came free with my hand-me-down carseat, and although we only have one car, I figured we’d use it with our nanny. But I discovered that most carseats have a belt feature that you can use without the base — something I wish I’d researched before I bought a third carseat base for my mom in Kansas City so she’d have it for our visit. It does secure the seat more safely, but it’s not worth $50 if you’re just visiting.

    The Wee Block: We were initially looking for the Pee Pee TeePee, recommended by a friend, but the Wee Block is all we could find in stock. It seemed like a good buy, especially after getting peed upon multiple times. But we soon discovered that this foam rubber trend was completely impractical — too large for a tiny infant, and even when it eventually did fit, it fell right off at the first kick. A baby wipe worked just as well (or a dry napkin, which I used for the newborn weeks when he hated anything cold and wet). At six months, I barely ever get tagged, but I still use my wipe method out of habit (and now he’s starting to grab it to play with, so good thing he’s gotten better about those ‘tween diaper showers.)

    Avent Bottles: We received a couple of these as a gift, and after Liam started on bottles and seemed to like them, we bought a whole bunch of them. At $10 a piece, it was quite an investment, but he seemed to like them so well. But then we noticed the bottles leaked if you didn’t screw the cap on tightly. And then they leaked even with the cap on tightly. Nothing is more annoying than a leaky bottle and a screaming infant…so we switched to Born Free (also $10 a piece) and vastly prefer that system. I’ve also heard good things about Doc Brown’s.


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