Thursday, September 8, 2011

5 Great Baby Buys

First, let me say that the idea for this post is old. I have read many other such lists but, since everyone has a unique perspective, I will submit my own...

1. Boppy Pillow - A great, multi-use pillow, it provides a level surface for baby to lay on while nursing and a "boost" so mom need not lift baby to the breast or hunch over to nurse. Also, a great support for babies who are beginning to sit but still topple easily. For younger babies who can hold their heads up but are still far from sitting independently, this next product does the trick.

2. Bumbo Seat - Both of my daughters love(d) their Bumbos. Many parents swear it helped their babies learn to sit sooner but I can't attest to that. In any case, it is great at holding little bodies in an upright position and allowing baby to safely* observe the action while freeing up mom's arms. *I must say that while my first daughter, try as she might, lacked the strength to get out of the seat, my second (at 18 weeks) arches her back and is close enough to pushing herself out of it that I can't really leave her in it and turn away. My advice would be to watch how your baby acts in the seat before assuming they cannot escape.

3. Moby Wrap - With my first child, I used the Baby Bjorn carrier. By the time I had my second, my social circle had changed and now consisted, almost exclusively, of other moms. Many of my mom friends raved about the Moby wrap which, at the time, I dismissed as being trendy but probably lacking functionality. Nevertheless, my friend lent me hers so I figured, why not? Well, I have to say, for 1/2 the price of the Baby Bjorn, you can have a carrier that far exceeds the Bjorn in both comfort and versatility. The Moby is just a long piece of stretchy cotton fabric but, as such, the "straps" are thick and cover much more surface area, thus distributing the weight evenly over your shoulders, back and hips, instead of concentrating it all on a narrow section over your shoulders. This allows you to carry an older, heavier child for a longer time. This said, the greatest advantages of the Moby are for newborns, for whom skin to skin contact and comfort are most important. Unlike other carriers, you can use the Moby in a variety of different positions, including the "cradle" hold, where the baby can assume the fetal position (obviously, a very natural position for newborns), instead of being held upright with their legs dangling down. Also, the Moby supports baby by pressing him/ her against your body; the only barrier between you and baby is your clothing. This brings me to the unadvertised feature I like the best- you can nurse in the Moby! When you purchase the Moby, you will see a reference to breastfeeding in the instructional guide but you will not see a claim that you can breastfeed in the wrap. This is probably because you must be very careful that there is enough space for baby to breathe while nursing and that the wrap is not pressing them too tightly against the breast. Nevertheless, it can be done safely and discreetly while in the cradle hold position, which becomes especially convenient on outings or during busy days at home. I never found the idea of nursing on the move quite as appealing until I had my second child, when long, intimate nursing sessions became a luxury. As you have probably gathered, I love the Moby wrap. I would say that the only disadvantages are a slightly longer learning curve associated with putting it on and the fact that the wrap is so long, it is hard to put on without dragging the ends on the floor. Nevertheless, I would recommend it, and do, to anyone looking for the ideal baby wearing device.

4. Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags- It was my baby gear savvy friend, Jenney, who introduced me to these. And, to be honest, I didn't see a huge advantage of using them in place of a pot of boiling water until I went back to work, where boiling a pot of pump parts in the office kitchen would be very impractical and slightly embarrassing. Five steam bags come to a pack and you can use each one 20 times. So, for just over $5, you get 100 uses. They are affordable and perfect for the breastfeeding, working mom. Munchkin brand also makes them and they are comparable enough in quality and price.

5. Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo- Ok, so I didn't exactly buy this one but if you can't borrow one from a friend as I did, I would certainly recommend it. My 4-month old LOVES this thing and could easily spend an hour in it if I let her. It took her a little while to realize what it was capable of but, once she did, well... I'll just let this video do the talking...

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