Good Buys: Part II (& Lesson #148)

Another lesson I’ve learned: You never really know what you need until you start using things. I’ve learned a lot from other mothers and even more from my own using.
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  • If you’re going to get a Diaper Genie, get the one with the step not the one you have to hand push the diaper into with your bare hands.

    Jan 1, 2013. 2 weeks away from 18 months.

    Jan 1, 2013.
    2 weeks away from 18 months.

  • A small heater has come in handy for Mila’s nursery. We have a decent sized house and to keep the entire thing heated, especially throughout the night, can get pretty expensive. We have a small heater that runs on a thermostat in Mila’s room. When the temperature gets too low, it kicks on, always keeping Mila’s room at a nice 71 degrees. We set the heater this high because she doesn’t like to be bundled and kicks her blankets off almost immediately after going to bed.
  • A humidifier is a must in the winter time. The air gets so dry, add to that the space heater, and Mila gets all dried out. Don’t be fooled – a humidifier is a humidifier. You don’t need to spend a lot on a baby-advertised humidifier when a regular one does just fine.
  • Block books, or any book with thick pages that a baby can’t rip, are good for babies and toddlers. Mila loves her books – even to munch on.
  • Decals or some other form of visual entertainment is a must for those areas that have none, like the changing table.
  • I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but I will. A thermometer and safety kit is a must. You can tell when your baby is running hot – you can feel it. To know exactly how hot and when it’s time to get on the phone with a doctor can only be determined by a thermometer. We have a standard thermometer that I stick in Mila’s arm pit photo-32when I need to take her temperature and we have a temporal thermometer. The latter helps when Mila won’t sit still. That one works best behind the ear.
  • Toy bins are great. I picked a couple of these up at Target for $10 and it makes clean-up so easy. Sure, it’s not as pretty as a stand with different baskets (which Mila would certainly destroy) or a toy box (that Mila may hurt herself on), but it does the job and holds up to Mila’s abusiveness*.
  • Remember those mesh snack holders? Well, they’re kind of difficult to clean, (and the dishwasher leaves them less than desirable). I found that a nail brush works great to clean them.

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Check out other tips, tools, fixes and baby items. 
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*Apparently I make up my own words… 

Lesson #129: Don’t Pack That Up!

Just because it gets cooler outside doesn’t mean that all those warmer weather outfits go to waste!

I’ve learned to add a pair of pants to a tank-top that was originally paired with a skirt or shorts.

October 11, 2012
3 days shy of 15 months.

Or, a pair of tights to a skirt or dress. And when it gets even colder, throw on a long-sleeved shirt with that dress and tights.

November 5, 2012
9 days shy of 16 months.

Or even long sleeves to a tank top.

October 10, 2012.
4 days she of 15 months.

It all really works and you get even more use out of those summer clothes that still fit.

You can also do this with items that are larger sizes. For example, in the last picture, that tank top is 24 months. I purchased it for next spring and used it this fall.

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*Written mid-October, 2012

Bath Time is So Much Fun!

Dan and I had a routine where I fed Mila, he bathed her, and I put her to bed. This worked great for a long time. After Mila began to really start playing in the tub and have bubble baths, I wanted to join in the fun, so we switched. You can’t not have fun with a toddler in a tub.

Mila has bath letters that stick on the side of the tub. When I stick them, she pushes them all off, back into the water. She grabs the letters and puts them in her little bucket, along with her duckies and other bath toys.

One week while Dan was working nights, when I cleaned up the toys, I would leave him a note with her letters, knowing that he would jump in the shower when he got home. One of my messages was “867-5309″…he never understood it.

Yesterday, while I bathed Mila I took a few pictures. We were having so much fun and when I said, “Mila, give kisses”, she did this:

October 8, 2012
6 days shy of 15 months
edited in Instagram

She’s such a ham.

Bumps, Bites and Bruises

Mila is a pretty tough little girl and has had many bumps and bruises from falling – on her face, off the bed, off the couch, into the side of the tub, you name it.

Hours after rolling off a bed, (not mine!)
February 28, 2012
7 and a half months.

Not only that, she’s had many-a-rashes. Most recently, she developed a heat rash on her upper back. We treat her skin irritations with Aquaphor and it goes away in no time.

That’s not it, though! Since this summer has had an infestation of mosquitos, Mila has had bites all over her. You can’t put bug spray on a baby, so she gets bit. You can’t put topical cream on a baby, so she suffers. What we have been able to do is give her Benadryl – at the recommendation of the doctor, (if we noticed the bites were bothering her and yes, I caught her scratching). The Benadryl has helped clear up the bites, it just takes a while.

Mosquito bites
August 9, 2012.
1 year, 26 days.

One day while we were outside, my father-in-law stuck an “Off” mosquito repellant on Mila’s back. I guess it worked. It didn’t bother her, that’s for sure.

September 2, 2012
13 months, 19 days

I also found that Avon’s Skin So Soft is safe for babies. I purchased a bottle while I was pregnant because I couldn’t use repellant then either.

There’s really no way around it; your child will have bumps, bites and bruises. Once your baby starts moving, she is bound to fall. When it’s summer time, she’s bound to have mosquito bites. It will break your heart, yet all you can do is try to protect her and find solutions to heal her.

Good [Baby] Buys – Part I

I’ve been working on this list that would eventually become a post for a long time. I have a lot of items I’ve found useful and others I found to be a waste.* I’ve found common items that aren’t even baby items to use that cost half the price of what’s advertised specifically for baby. It’s amazing the amount of items we are inundated with on a daily basis, all claiming to be NEEDED for a new baby. It’s not true. Take this all in stride and think about what you actually need before you purchase it. There’s been a lot of wasted money in my household and a lot of  grateful advice along the way.

  1. Once Mila began drinking bottles, I purchased a small plastic basket that I keep near the kitchen sink. You can find this in the storage, laundry, or kitchen section of just about any store and it costs about $3. I use this to toss in all the pieces of Mila’s bottles, her pacifiers, bowls, spoons, etc. that need to be washed. Everything gets rinsed before going into the basket and this has been the best at keeping everything together and away from slipping down the drain.

    #1

  2. I received flannel blankets at my baby shower that I used as receiving blankets, swaddles, blankets for Mila when she was real little. When she outgrew this, (really even before because I had so many), I cut them in half with a pair of pinking shears, and used them as burp clothes. I was shocked at how much stores charge for burp cloths and most of them don’t absorb real well. I found that the thin flannel of these blankets worked great for cleaning up spills and spit-up, too.
  3. I learned quickly that different style bibs were important for different things. When your baby drools like crazy, you either change her clothes three times a day or you purchase a cloth bib with a plastic back. This way, the drool doesn’t seep through the bib and soak your baby’s clothes, too. When Mila began eating more foods and feeding herself, her bibs would become stained. Make sure you have a stash of (cheap) bibs that you don’t mind having ruined or tossed in the trash.
  4. Aquaphor  has become a staple at Mila’s changing table. We’ve used this to heal baby acne, random bumps and rashes, scraps and small cuts, (after they’ve been cleaned, of course). It really is a miracle ointment. Even today we use this to help heal her mosquito bites.

    #6
    April 27, 2012: 9 months, 13 days

  5. Desitin is another ointment we keep handy and not for diaper rash. When Mila was first teething she drooled so much (“[more than] the kitchen sink”, as once pointed out) that she developed a rash under her chin and on her neck. She was so little she really didn’t have a neck, which meant that the skin in that area couldn’t air out and a rash developed. A small amount of Desitin rubbed on her neck took the rash right away. I’m sure this isn’t strictly a Desitin thing and that other diaper rash ointments could be used, it’s just what we had available.
  6. Mesh fruit/veggie bag: This worked great for bananas especially, when I wanted to keep the mess to a minimum and not worry about Mila choking on large pieces of food.

 

*I’ve posted about other items, too.

Teething On Cribs

Keeping things nice with a baby/toddler is difficult. This is why you purchase teething covers for your crib:

May 12, 2012.
2 days shy of 10 months.

Better yet, this is why:

So, I battled against Monster Mila and her wicked sharp teeth with cloth and rubber rail guards.

Of course now she doesn’t bother with them at all — not as a teether, not to play.

The Music of Sleep. Or, The Sleep of Music.

“You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, which seemed to be talking in its sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!”*

August 16, 2011.
1 month, 2 days.

While in the womb, it’s been said that music has a wonderful, calming effect on a baby. Studies have made connections between brain development and music, dubbing this as the “Mozart Effect”. There are critics for everything you go searching for, so I’ll just tell you my results. (Dan thinks it’s hogwash that if you play Mozart, your baby will be smart, however, he kept urging Mozart for my baby playlist.)

I made a playlist of different music, (all mellow sounds), and played it to Mila by placing headphone speakers to my belly, every night as I lay reaching for sleep. Most of the time, this playlist put me to sleep. I mixed happy songs and sad songs, since I figured it didn’t much matter since she didn’t know the words. It’s the vibrations that become the baby’s lullaby.

Fisher-Price World Baby
Peaceful Celtic Lullabies

Once Mila arrived, I played this playlist on repeat throughout the night and it seemed to send her into a calm and restful sleep.  When the CD no longer worked, (I’m noticing a trend here with Mila boring of things), I switched it with this — a CD I was given by a friend. –>

I instantly fell in love with this CD. And so did Mila.

To keep things interesting – and Mila to sleep – I would switch between this CD and my original playlist. At some point Dan put the country music station on and we added a third to the mix. It never fails – when Mila is fussy and wont sleep, I change the style of music and it really does help her drift off to sleep.

We have a few other CDs in this collection but they don’t seem to do the trick the way this one does. I highly recommend this to mothers of newborns – or even to those playing music to their unborn child. And definitely, for your sake, keep a radio/CD player in the nursery. The music helps drown out other noise in the house and it gets baby used to sleeping through noise.

August 20, 2011.
1 month, 6 days.

Another item I found very useful at getting Mila to sleep is the glow seahorse or some variation of that. I used this when Mila was really little and actually just started using it again. There are nights that Mila just refuses to close her eyes. The light from this distracts her, gives her something to focus on and between the glow and the song, she falls asleep in no time.

*Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, (1865).

Don’t ask me what any of that had to do with this – I just liked the quote.

Lesson #94: Shoes – Another Function

For a child that won’t keep socks on, shoes are great!

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I always thought it was crazy buying and putting shoes on a baby that doesn’t walk or spend any time on his feet. Then there was Mila.

Mila hates socks and kicks and kicks and kicks until she can get them to fly off her feet. Most of the time I can’t find one of them so she now has several half-pairs.

Because it’s winter, (or at least when I was originally writing this), when we go out, I put socks on her AND shoes. The shoes are to hold her socks on so that her feet don’t freeze. I can’t say she really likes this idea much better, but at least her feet are warm.

Word of advice: get soft shoes. Her hard-soles hurt like crazy when she kicks my shins!

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Update: As the weather is getting nicer, even though Mila’s not walking yet, we put shoes on her still. We use her walker outside on the concrete patio and if she didn’t have shoes on, her feet would end up all banged up and dirty. She tends to drag her feet a bit, so it’s safer to put little shoes on her. I just picked these up.

I had to go hard-soled so that she could walk on the pavement. 🙂

Lesson #92: Travel Losses

Blow up bath tubs are bad and airplane seat harnesses are useless.

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Mila’s grandma and great-grandmom live in Florida; we’re in New Jersey. Since it was Mila’s first trip in an airplane, we borrowed a harness from my cousin that attaches around the baby and then to your seatbelt. It really was pointless. It didn’t stop Mila from leaning forward and it wasn’t tight enough to keep her in a seated position. Maybe I wasn’t using it right…

So that we could keep Mila on the same routine, I purchased an inflatable bathtub for use at my mom’s, (it was extremely easy to travel with). During our first visit, Mila couldn’t quite sit up by herself. Needless to say, she kept sliding. I would hold her up while Dan washed her. It truly was a pain in the butt.

On our next visit, Mila could sit very well on her own, so I thought this time the tub would work nicely. Nope. Dan was so annoyed with it that he threw it aside and just sat Mila on the bottom of the bathtub. Do yourself a favor – save the ten bucks.