A friend of mine who is pregnant and planning her baby registry asked me to come up with some “must have items.” There are definitely a lot of baby products that I would recommend to every expectant mother (see my post on my Top 10 Baby Products), but there are a few products that we STILL use even though Porter is now a full blown toddler.
Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket: I’ve written about these before, but I seriously love the Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets. When I registered for them (I actually registered for and was gifted two sets), I was a little doubtful. They are expensive given that they are only baby blankets, but they are worth every cent! When Porter was a newborn, we used them for swaddling. Porter loved being swaddled, and since we had 8 of them, it wasn’t a big deal if he spit up on one. As soon as we stopped swaddling Porter, we didn’t use these blankets much. I kept them in his dresser drawers (instead of packing them away for a future baby) and I’m so glad I did. As soon as Porter was given the “okay” to sleep with blankets, I offered him one of his Aden + Anais blankets, and he immediately loved them. He now sleeps with one every nap and at bedtime, and he loves cuddling with it. We keep one in his diaper bag, and we also keep one at grandma’s! Again, I love that we have so many because we usually replace the one in his crib every other day. Since all the blankets are the same in terms of material and texture (aside from the adorable animals printed on them) Porter doesn’t prefer one blanket over another. I love these blankets!
Boon Grass Drying Rack: When Porter was a baby, we used this for drying his bottles, but even today we still have this drying rack on our counter top. When we run his sippy cups and straws through the dishwasher, we let them dry the rest of the way on this drying rack, and the “blades of grass” seem to allow the cups to dry pretty quickly. Plus, it’s cute and not an eyesore!
Munchkin Bottle Brushes: Again, when Porter was a baby, we used these for washing his bottles, but I still find myself using this on his sippy cups. Porter drinks soy milk, and it seems to be thicker than cow’s milk. Every once in awhile a used sippy cup will be left in his diaper bag for a few days, and these bottle brushes always do the trick against the stubborn gunked up milk.
Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker: This is probably one of the most inexpensive baby toys we own, and given how much Porter played (and plays) with this, I can’t believe it is so cheap! He absolutely loves this. When he started sitting up on his own, he loved playing with this. The front part can be removed, so he would just on the floor and play! Once he started pulling himself up, but not entirely walking on his own, he loved walking this all around the house. He would push it around the house and squeal and laugh for 30 minutes at a time! Even now, he still enjoys pushing it all around the house. He also loves talking on the purple telephone!
Marpac Sound Machine: I definitely have mentioned the Marpac Sound Machine before, but I just love it so much. Confession: I even bought one for OUR bedroom. It’s that amazing. When Porter was a newborn, I used another sound machine that I had registered for, and it just didn’t seem soothing. It didn’t seem to help him sleep at all. Then two different friends recommended this sound machine, and I’ve never looked back. I was a little hesitant to spend $50 on a sound machine, but like I said, I love it so much that I bought one for our master bedroom. It’s small and easy to pack for travel. It has two sound speeds, and the noise is true white noise. It’s not waves, or a heartbeat, or static. Sometimes I worry that Porter won’t be able to sleep without it later, but there have been a few times when he’s had to sleep without it, and it hasn’t been a problem. This may be the best $50 we’ve spent when it comes to baby products!
Zany Zoo: This is another baby product that Porter first started playing with before he could walk. He would sit and spin and play with all the attached toys, and it while it was a gift, I would have bought it myself! While it’s not often that Porter wants to sit and play (usually he’s just running around) he’ll still play with his Zany Zoo. I like that it has different types of toys attached to it, so when he gets bored with one, he can move on to another. It is kind of big and heavy, so it can’t be easily put away (at least we don’t–we just let it sit out) but it’s made of wood, and the colors are pretty. If I had to leave a baby toy out, this would definitely be it.
Munchkin Dishwasher Basket: When Porter was still using bottles, we used this dishwasher basket to wash the bottle nipples and other parts. Now we use it for his sippy cup lids and straws. I love that there is a side compartment that will hold the straws in place. I don’t have to worry about the straws slipping out and melting from the heat of the dishwasher! I’ve seen some other dishwasher baskets that don’t have a straw compartment, so I would definitely recommend one that does!
What about you? Are there any baby products that have stood the test of time?
First of all, I’m sorry that I haven’t posted in over a week. School started again last week, and it’s been a whirl wind. Things have been pretty chaotic around here while we’re trying to get back into the “mom is back to work” groove, so forgive me.
Anyway, I have some BIG news: Porter has officially ditched the pacifier! I feel so funny saying this, but I am so proud of him. I don’t know why, but it seems like a big accomplishment to me. I guess this means he’s one step closer to being a “big boy.”
Porter didn’t take a pacifier immediately as a newborn. He did have one when he was in the hospital for his pyloric stenosis when he was 2 weeks old, but that’s because there were times when we couldn’t feed him, and it kept him somewhat content for at least a little while. After we came home from the hospital, he never seemed too interested and for several weeks he didn’t want anything to do with it. I remember one especially difficult evening. Porter was around 6 weeks old, and 5:00 p.m. rolled around and he was just a cranky pants if I ever saw one (he tended to cry and cry for awhile in the late afternoon/early evening.) Usually we had to pace and pace around the house, and even then that didn’t always work. David was still at work, and Porter was getting really worked up, and then I started getting worked up (sweat and tears were involved.) I remember wishing that he took a pacifier, because at the time I felt like it would solve our problems. Out of desperation, I went and found one and popped it into his mouth, and he was quiet! Ever since then, the kid has loved his pacifier!
For a long time we never worried about when he wanted his pacifier and let him have it whenever he wanted. When he was around a year old, we started limiting it to only nap time and bed time. This transition went seamlessly and he didn’t have a problem with it at all (as long as he could have it at nap and bed, he was happy.) It was around the year mark when I started thinking about when we would wean him from the pacifier. I started doing a lot of reading about it even though I knew we wouldn’t try to wean him for awhile. I had it in my head that I wanted him to be done with it before he was two. For some reason, I felt like once he turned two that we’d never rid him of it (or that it would be a lot more difficult to do so.)
Around the 18 month mark, I changed my mind and decided that I wanted to wean him from the pacifier before school started back up towards the end of August. When he was almost 19 months, I decided to try the “hole poking” technique. I poked a few holes in the pacifier with a sanitized safety pin, and honestly, it didn’t make any difference. He still sucked on the pacifier, and didn’t seem to notice a difference in the quality of the suction (or if he did, he didn’t mind it.)
A few weeks went by and I decided to cut the very tip off of his pacifier. While there is controversy surrounding its safety, I had read that this was a successful technique for a lot of people. Porter immediately noticed the difference, but it didn’t change much. I hoped that he would realize that it was “broken” and not want it anymore, but that didn’t happen. He still wanted to sleep with it, and would moan and groan for a little bit at the start of his nap or at bedtime when he realized that once again, his pacifier wasn’t working the way he wanted it to. Sometimes it made him really angry and he would stand up and throw his pacifier out of his crib. Sometimes he never fussed for more than a few minutes and fell asleep just fine. I remained strong and never gave him a different pacifier. Every few days I cut a bit more and more off of his pacifier.
But then he came down with a really bad head cold one day, and he was extremely congested. On the second day of his cold, I put him down for his nap without his pacifier. I figured that he couldn’t breathe with his pacifier in anyway, so that maybe he wouldn’t notice if he didn’t have it at all. He fell asleep just fine, and he didn’t even fuss at all.
That same night I put him to bed without a pacifier and told David what I had done for his nap. He thought it was a little mean since Porter was sick and was likely wanting some comfort, but I saw how well he did with it at nap time and knew he would be fine, and he was. This went on for a few days, and there were a few times when he fussed for a few minutes, but within a few days, he stopped fussing and after a week, I felt comfortable saying that he had officially stopped using a pacifier.
That was a few weeks ago, and he’s still doing just fine. He does sleep with a blankie (an Aden + Anais swaddle) as well as an elephant stuffed animal/blankie combo (similar to this.) He LOVES these, and I’m sure he would have a hard time sleeping without them (at least without his blankie) but for now I’m totally fine with him needing those comfort items.
Porter, you’re growing up so fast, and mommy is so proud of you! I mean, seriously, doesn’t he look like such a big boy in this picture? (Ignore the cookie crumbs all over his face.)
So what is ThredUp? It’s a website that sells gently used clothing in excellent condition for women and kids. If you tend to favor certain stores and brands, you can search by brand. You can also search by type of clothing and size. The best part: if you need to clean out your (or your kid’s closet), you can send them your gently used clothing (but make sure it’s freshly washed and in excellent condition) and they’ll pay you cash! I sent in my first ThredUp bag, but I haven’t heard how much they’re paying me for my bag yet. Any items that they don’t buy get donated (which is okay with me because I would have just taken them to Goodwill anyway.)
We all know that it gets expensive when buying clothes for your kids, especially when they seem to grow out of them every 5 minutes. I decided to give ThredUp a try, and I am thrilled with what I bought, and I got a heck of a deal!
It comes in this really cute box (the sides are covered with polka dots.) I loved the message on the top.
When you open the box, you get another “feel good” message.
Porter was really excited to see what I bought him.
Item #1: Baby Gap Button Down Shirt (I love that they put little tags on the clothing!)
Porter immediately started vacuuming on the clothes. I have no idea why, but it was pretty darn cute. He’s obsessed with his baby Dyson vacuum.
Item #2: Baby Gap Zip-up Hoodie
Item #3: Baby Gap Jeans
I bought everything a size up, so it will be awhile until he can wear these things, but all three items arrived in very good condition!
So how much did I save? Well, the button down shirt was $6.99. The hoodie was $8.49, and the jeans were $8.99, BUT I had a $10.00 coupon, so even with shipping I only paid $19.44. That is less than $6.50 per item (even when I include shipping) which is obviously a lot less than I would have paid for brand new Baby Gap items.
I ordered a few things for me, too, but they haven’t arrived yet. I’m anxious for them to arrive!
If you’re in need of a new diaper bag (or even a work bag), you’re in luck because I have another giveaway for you guys today!
Lina Jake recently sent me their Lina.J bag, and I absolutely love it. It comes in three gorgeous colors: orange, purple, or green. I received the green one.
The snakeskin pattern is beautiful, and I love how versatile this bag is. It can be worn three different ways, and the leather handles and polyester exterior make it very easy to clean. It’s extremely well made, and at 13 inches wide, it’s definitely big enough to hold everything you need.
Since school is starting back up soon, I’ve got work on the brain, so I decided to turn my Lina.J bag into a work bag. While this bag could be used as a diaper bag as well (that’s what it was designed to do) I do think cloth diapering moms would have a more difficult time fitting everything in–cloth diapers are thicker and bulkier–but I’m sure it could be done! The Lina. J bag has a TON of pockets, so in my opinion, it’s great for either use! The two pockets on the sides could easily be used for bottles or water bottles.
Can you tell which books I’m teaching first this quarter?
Again…I’m not sure how fashion bloggers do this whole “take pictures of yourself” thing.
Porter wanted in on the action. I don’t know what he was laughing at, but it was so cute that it made me laugh, too.
And then he wanted to give kisses which I gladly take whenever they are offered.
If you’re interested in winning your own Lina. J bag, just enter below! If you’re anxious to get one now (or if you don’t win) use the code babyblythe20 for 20% off your order on Lina Jake’s website! This giveaway will end at 12:00 a.m. (central time) on 8/16/14.