Baby gear

Gear & Gadgets for Moms with Little Ones

mj

As a mom of toddlers, I am often around other moms of small children and two common topics that come up over time are:

(1)  “How do I save time?”

(2)  “What’s an easy way to do this?”

Let’s face it–when you have kids, there is only so much time you can save and nothing is easy about being a mom :).  With that said, it is all the more important to have efficient gear and gadgets (please note that I am only specifying brand names when necessary):

(1)  Primo Bath Tub–This bathtub can be used from Day 1 and my 2 and 3-year-olds still use it.  It’s safer than using your own bathtub/sink and other baby tubs, saves water, and makes bath time a cinch (with this tub, bath time for each kid is only 5 minutes!).

(2)  Electric Pressure Cooker–Three words: One button cooking.  Throw everything in a pot, push a button, and walk away.  I cannot imagine my life without mine.

(3)  Stand Mixer–Many people have hand mixers (as do I) but the idea is that the less you have to do by hand, the better.  Also, mommy deserves a treat once in a while (try making a chiffon cake with a hand mixer–possible but would take forever!).

(4)  Blender–If you’re lazy, busy, or have kids who won’t eat their veggies (or all of the above), then a blender can help you and your family have a healthier diet.  Remember, there’s a difference between blending and juicing (both have benefits).

(5)  Contours Options Tandem Stroller–I have used this stroller just about every day since our kids were born and I would say that this is probably the best mommy gear we have in our home.  The reason is because the seats can recline 180 degrees, are adjustable, and removable/interchangeable.  The space under the seats has ample storage for shopping and day trips.  In addition, there is a shopping basket attachment that you can purchase.  (Before we had our second child, we would replace the second stroller seat with the shopping basket attachment–pure genius; I would get wide-eyed, envious looks from other moms of babies every time I used our stroller.)

(6)   TravelJohn Unisex Travel Disposable Urinals–This product is a godsend.  Anyone (men, women, boys, girls, adults, toddlers, etc.) can use it.  Plus, it’s odor and leak resistant (the internal non-toxic gel instantly absorbs urine and transforms all contents into a gel).  Super portable and disposable.  Use it anytime and anywhere.  Need I say more?

Thank Goodness for Little Girls

  
So I’ve gone a bit nuts in preparation for the arrival of Baby #2–namely, shopping for clothes.  Shopping for boys is not nearly as fun as shopping for girls.  Cases in point and Exhibits A, B, and C:   

   
And I’m just getting started.  In addition to clothes, I’ve also invested in a tandem stroller and a couple new diaper bags among other things that are either little girl-specific or two-under-two-specific:

(1). Ju-Ju-Be Be Prepared Diaper Bag–This bag comes in several colors/prints and has received rave reviews from mothers of multiples.  The features of this bag are fantastic:  anti-bacterial material, Thinsulate insulation, handles and cross-body strap, pockets galore, etc.  Plus, it’s machine washable.  Need I say more?

(2). Ju-Ju-Be Hobobe Diaper Bag–This is a diaper bag disguised as a purse.  Perfect for the time being and running errands since Baby #2 isn’t arriving until July.  This style has most of the important features that the Be Prepared style has but is in a compact size.  

Neither of the diaper bags above are what I would consider stylish (organization is the goal here).  But the pros definitely outweigh the cons and with having two kids under the age of two, mama is going to need all the help she can get!

Traveling with Baby Must-Haves (International)

Our trip to Tokyo was fantastic.  With that said, we did learn a lot in terms of what to pack for future international trips.  Domestic travel with a baby is easier (traveling with a baby is never EASY) because you can almost always stop by a local Target at your destination to pick up any items you didn’t pack and/or forgot to pack.  Unless you are traveling to see family and/or friends (which usually makes it easier to access baby items as things will probably be ready for you upon your arrival), international travel (especially if your destination is one where you don’t speak the language) can be tough on finding the right baby supplies for your little one.  Here are my must-haves for international travel:

(1)  Cell Phone Case with an Attached Clip–A cell phone case with an attached clip may not seem very useful when you’re at home but when traveling with a baby, anything that can facilitate being hands-free is a winner.  Since I usually don’t wear outfits with pockets, my case allowed me to attach the phone onto the stroller (and that’s how I carried my phone during the entire trip).  Having the clip also made my phone very accessible for taking photos and pulling up any necessary apps (like currency converter, Google Maps, etc.).

(2)  Travel Stroller–Unless I am mistaken, the only travel stroller on the market that is able to be compacted into a carry-on small enough to fit into plane overhead compartments is the Babyzen YOYO Travel Stroller.  This was a LIFESAVER.  Light enough to be carried with one hand and yet sturdy enough to hold a child of up to 50 pounds.  Many people would argue that it’s easier to check a stroller with your other large pieces of luggage rather than lug it around as a carry-on.  I would agree with that if you have a non-stop flight, are traveling extremely light, and are unafraid of your luggage getting lost during transit.  Since I prefer to have one layover per flight (easier to grab a bite to eat, use the restrooms, stretch your legs, etc.) and have had my luggage lost a couple times during previous trips, I was unwilling to risk any mishaps by checking our stroller.  Plus, it felt great to be able to put Max in it right way after holding him during our entire flight (each way).

(3)  Organized Diaper Bag–I’ve tried several diaper bags and, by far, the Skip Hop “Chelsea” Diaper Bag is the best for traveling.  With the usual baby stuff compartments, this bag also has two zippered compartments (one small and one large–perfect for things like your wallet, house keys, passport, flight itinerary, etc.).  An added bonus: handles AND a crossbody strap.  Need I say more?

(4)  Baby Toiletries–In general, diapers and baby powder/cream are easily accessible in most places (especially if you’re traveling to another developed country) via full service drugstores (ones that have pharmacies).  So, packing just enough of these items (plus a few extras) for the flight should be enough until you reach your destination.  However, for things like baby shampoo, baby soap and/or body wash, it’s best to pack more than you’ll need for the entire trip.  This will minimize your baby having any allergic reactions to other cleansing products.  Plus, using (and smelling) familiar products will likely be a comfort to him/her in an unfamiliar environment.

(5)  Double Amount of Formula and/or Baby Food–If you’re breastfeeding, you can cross this off your list.  I initially wanted to pack just enough baby food for our flight but after doing some research on Japanese brand formulas and packaged baby food, I discovered that a couple brands had recalls due to radiation contamination.  That was enough for us to pack enough formula and baby food for the entire trip.  Packing your own ensures that your little one will avoid any food allergies.  For travel, I’m a big fan of packaged food brands like Plum Organics and Ella’s Kitchen (as they’re disposable, easy to feed, and don’t spoil as easily as homemade food).

(6)  Pacifiers–Max does not use pacifiers on a regular basis because I’m afraid they’ll make his teeth come in crooked.  However, pacifiers work wonders on a plane!  They serve two purposes:  help to calm your baby and lessen the pain in his/her ears during flight.  Enough said.

(7)  Washable Toys–Bring several toys that are easy to pack and easily wiped and/or rinsed clean.  This one’s self-explanatory.

(8)  Baby Wipes–You can never have enough baby wipes.  Ever.

(9)  Anti-bacterial Surface Wipes–These wipes come in handy for wiping down public changing tables, toilet seats, airplane seats/headrests/tray tables, etc.  You get the idea.

(10)  Extra Change of Clothes–Self-explanatory

(11)  Inflatable Baby TubThis was also a lifesaver during our trip.  In addition, be sure to pack a plastic cup to use as a rinsing cup.

(12)  Tissues–What would you do without them?

And last, but certainly not least, a kid-friendly hotel.  What does that mean?  That means that your hotel must, at bare minimum, be able to provide a safe and clean crib.

Puj Flyte Infant Tub

puj

After dealing with the hazards of the 4Moms Infant Tub (large, bulky, awkward, unstable, and, ultimately, unsafe), I decided to get the Puj Flyte Infant Tub for Max and am very happy with my purchase.  The Puj tub is compact enough to fit into most bathroom sinks, is mold and mildew resistant, is BPA and PVC-free, and is slip resistant.  I also like the fact that the material is a hard foam.  Max hates taking baths as it is and this tub makes the task easier and safer.

Down to the Wire

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So the baby’s due in exactly one week and I have a feeling he’ll be late.  Reason being there are a set of things that have to happen before (real) labor which haven’t happened, yet (the “bloody show” being one of them).  Plus, there have been decreased movement from him for the past couple days which has me worried.  That plus the impending move (again) has me stressed out.  I’ve been told, time after time, to stay as active as possible (in other words, walk lots) to encourage the baby to arrive on time but it’s easier said than done (with my cankles, swollen balloon-like feet, and fatigue).

Thankfully, all of my holiday shopping is done.  As far as shopping goes, the only things I’ve been getting now have been baby stuff and things for the house.  Our Turkish towels from Bed, Bath, & Beyond have not lasted well and I discovered the other day that Nordstrom’s hydrocotton towels are actually less expensive, softer, and (supposedly) last longer (in terms of fluffiness and shape).  I placed my order for the new towels a couple days ago and will let you all know how they hold up.  So given the fact that Bed, Bath, & Beyond has an amazing return policy (not as great as Nordstrom’s but pretty close), I took the Turkish towels back and exchanged them for other things that we can use in the new house.  Another discovery for the home has been Archipelago scents.  So far, my favorites are Agave Sage, Bamboo Teak, and Verbena Basil.  In addition to the diffusers, the brand also has a great line of candles.

As for the new house, I’ve been tasked with selecting the design, colors, appliances, etc.  Although I enjoy doing it, it’s also a huge undertaking, especially with the baby on the way.  Architectural Digest has been a fantastic resource for interior design and decorating ideas.  More details to come.

Noodle & Boo Vs. Mustela

mustela

I am just about done with gathering all of the baby stuff in preparation of my due date (Christmas Day).  In doing so, I’ve had to compare two lines of baby toiletry lines:  Noodle & Boo and Mustela.  Both lines rinse off well.  Both lines are supposed to be hypoallergenic.  However, both also have very distinct fragrances.

Noodle & Boo smells quite sweet–I would describe the scent as “very sweet almond oil.”  “Sweet” is the operative word here.  Perfect for girls but not so much for boys (in my opinion).  Mustela (although I believe almond oil is one of the ingredients) smells “cleaner” and less fruity/sweet.  So, I’ve decided to stick with Mustela and, so far, my favorites are the Mustela Cleansing Fluid for Newborns and Mustela Baby Lotion.  I like them so much that I’ve started to use them myself (especially the lotion).

Posts Update

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Funny how I go to Whole Foods for one thing (milk) and come out with ten other things (including pumpkin pie, banana loaf, guacamole, etc.).  I  even made a point to eat before my trip.  Such is the marketing genius of the grocery store.

My first real attempt at alleviating some of my back pains–just purchased the Belly Bandit Support Belt (along with another tube of CD lipstick). Will update and provide a review once I get it.

Now that I’m settled in at WordPress.org (from WordPress.com), I’d like to make the following resolutions for this blog going forward:  (1)  More reviews (restaurants, hotels, and baby/mommy gear, etc.),  (2) More poems (this is a favorite, I know, for most of you and me),  and (3) More recipes/food ideas.