Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm no Expert BUT... Part 2

Remember this post? I wrote it when Sonny was 4 months and it was very relevant then.  Well It has been 6 months since, and I have done a lot more research, purchasing, trashing and saving and this is what I have used and loved these past 6 months.

1)  Dining. My friend Corinne had this for her daughter, the Boon Catch Bowl. Whenever we would meet up for dinner or lunch she would stick it to the table and eat as though a baby wasn't at our table.  I bought one, and it is fantastic.  It makes eating so much cleaner.  Most of the time.  I used to put his food on the tray of his high chair and  hope he didn't fling it everywhere.  Now with this bowl, it is... contained.  That is nice.  We take it everywhere.  Restaurants, just stick it ot the table, throw some food in there and you get about 5 minutes of peace.  Which is 5 minutes more than what you get with out it.  Bibs.  Eh. You don't need bibs. I bought a variety of bibs, from organic cotton to silicon and we don't use any of them.   What works great is an old t-shirt.  It is long enough that it catches dropped food and easy to wash.  Whenever I tried to put a bib on the babe, he would freak out and try ripping it off, this solves that problem.  My Mom also suggested an old towel with a whole for the head cut out in the middle. This keeps their arms free and their front totally covered.

2)  Food. There are a lot of different organic baby foods out there.  Which do I think is the best?  Jar baby food? uh-uh. Frozen homemade pureed food?  Nope (takes too long). After searching shelves and websites it is obvious that the way to go is pouches.  Oh and once you learn that, then you have to learn about all the different brands!  I first tried Ella's Kitchen.  I liked it.  Pro's: A large variety of flavor, taste good, good story, available at Target and online. Con's: Consistency.  It isn't smooth.  Don't get me wrong, I like chunks but there is something off about this brand that I don't love.  Sonny will eat it, but it is not his favorite.  Then I tried Happy Baby. This is my least favorite.  Yes, Dr. Sears is involved with this brand so it sells and it is popular, but it is not good.  Pro's:  Least expensive of the "good" pouches, available everywhere, variety of flavors and options -- if you can't find the other brands in a store, chances are you will see this one.  Cons: Gross.  I bought a bunch of these at Whole Foods when we were traveling once and had to return them.  I did not care for the taste and neither did Sonny.  We gave them a chance, sampled different ones and we were not satisfied.  Call me a baby food snob, it's ok, I don't care.  I recently tried Earth's Best.  I just don't love this brand for anything. Maybe it's the logo or how they have saturated the market of organic goods, I don't know.  I just don't love them.  Pro's:  Well known brand, lot's of options, good price point.  Con's: Too many extra ingredients, too commercial (maybe?).  So what does that leave?  My favorite and my TOP pick for baby food: Plum Organics! I love these.  Pro's: Flavors!  Taste! Consistency! Branding! Con's: Price.  I guess you get what you pay for.  These are by far the smoothest, tastiest food pouches out there.  I can eat these all day long and when I need to give Sonny a little snack or meal on the go, he loves these too.  Mango Pear?!  Yummy.  Even the veggie mixed with fruit combos are good.  I've shopped around for the best price and Ecomom seems to be the best.  Sometimes Babies r Us will have then 10 for $10 and that is great.  Otherwise,  Ecomom is the way to go. You can also buy a variety pack so you aren't stuck with a bunch of one flavor your little one doesn't like.

Now, the paragraph above also goes for snacks and intro foods.  Plum wins hands down.  Their puffs are far supierior to other leading brands.  Their meal pouches are also pretty good. 

3)  Teething.  You all have seen Sonny's necklace.  Yes, it makes people assume he is a girl BUT I think it works.  Josh likes to say, "if nothing else, at least it looks cute."  It does look cute and my experiments show its success.  During a rough few days of teething, I took the necklace off and to me he was visibly worse.  More irritable, more restless and less him.  It could have been that it was just a bad day OR it could be that the necklace really does help soothe and regulate balance, pain and irritabilty. I am going with the latter.  I bought ours from Inspired by Finn.  What I learned after and am passing on to you- is that the lighter the color the more powerful the healing.
Our fail-proof go-to remedy are the Boiron Camilia Drops.  These things are great. I can't even tell you how many boxes we have gone through.  True Story - It was Sonny's first day with a new sitter and he was in teething in a bad way.  We told her about the drops and that they were in his diaper bag should he need them.  When I picked him up after work, she said he was really upset and fussy and she gave him a drop and within a minute he was a completely different baby.  Happy and smiling and back to normal.  It's true, I see that transition every time we use them. The other product I like are the Humphrey's Teething Pellets #3.  We use these at bedtime during bouts of restlessnes and fusiness caused by the teething.  They work.  Yes, I am aware that they have Belladonna and some people aren't OK giving it to their babies.  From what I learned about it and the amount in the pellets, I am fine with using them. Like I said it works.  Three pellets right before bed = sleep, which =  :) Me.

4) Brands.  One of my go-to baby brands is ZoLi.  They are a smaller company and of their 10 products (not counting variety of each product) I have 5.  Their Teething sticks are the best.  They come in a pack of two.  They are used so often and lost so often in our house that we have had to reorder them 3 times.  Josh was worried at first that Sonny would poke himself in the eye with it, but he never did.  We gave it to him when he was 4 or 5 months.  The Sumo Stack is also used daily in our house.  I love it because it really keeps all his snacks seperate.  In one simple container we can have: dry snacks, fresh fruit and veggies. Or a grain or whatever else you want to take with you.  Lastly, the sippy cup.  I thought I was mad at it for leaking once, but it turned out I just didn't close it properly that time.  I really like this.  I like the weighted straw, the handles and it's size.  It fits perfectly in Sonny's hands.
H&M. I have found the best, stylish, plain, not overly boy clothes and accessories at Baby H&M.  The prices are good and if on sale they are great.  I will warn you though that the sizes run very big. I'm still dressing Sonny in 4-6 month clothes.  Added bonus:  a lot of their staple items come in Organic cotton.

5)  Skin/Sun Care. This is a hard one.  It took me a while to find sunblock that I felt good about using regularly on the baby this summer.  One of my favorite blogs Growing a Green Family dedicated a couple posts to sun safety.  If you are interested in learning about the chemicals and free radicals that enter our bodies via ordinary sun block, that is a good place to start.  As always when buying ANY skin care item I strongly suggest you check it on Skin Deep first.  We used two sunscreens this year. For long exposure and to cover the baby head to toe, I like Loving Naturals.  It has a 1 rating on Skin Deep and their ingredient list is friendly.  When we were just out and about walking around we used the Badger Face Stick. This also has a 1 rating.
The other major summer skincare item for us is mosquito repellent. If you know me, then you know I am a magnet for any type of bug that can bite.  It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have an allergic reaction to any bite. They last forever, and bruise my skin.  Anyway, I wanted to get some products that I would be comfortable using for myself and Sonny.  Again, I found two I like. One for a good head to toe and the other for out and about last minute application.  For all-over spray on protection I opted for Alpenglow Insect Repellent.  It rated 0 on Skin Deep! All their products are hand made in Alaska and are wonderful.  I am really really happy with this spray.  For the last minute application, Badger won again, we use the Badger Anti-Bug Balm Stick. This also has a 0 rating.

6)  Shoes.  There are always two or more sides to every theory when it comes to raising and caring for kids.  When it comes to shoes, I am on the side of soft soled shoes are best for new feet.   There are plenty of articles online to read about the development of the bones in babies feet. I think this article gives a nice simple break down of baby feet development.  Long story short: baby feet bones are super soft and constintally changing and fusing together. We need to let their feet be free to grow and develop naturally without hard conforming shoes.  Ok, there are a ton of soft soled shoes on the market. I have reached out to mom groups, pediatricians and friends and I've learned which are the best and why.  My favorite (I ordered a pair- haven't received them yet, so they are just my favorite in theory- so far) are Soft Star Shoes.  These are hand made in Oregon with formaldehyde free leather and lined with sheepskin.  They are a little more expensive than other brands, but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for.  When Sonny was just cruising and taking a few steps we used Robeez.  They are tried and true and probably your most common soft soled shoe.  I like that you can get them for a good price on Amazon, they come in all sorts of colors and styles, they are easy to get on and off and they stay on.  However, I don't think their leather is chemical free.  Some other brands you might want to consider are: See Kai Run, Pre-Schoolians, Bobux (these are made with eco-leather and are a safer alternative to Robeez),  Pedipeds and Nowali.  That will give you a good place to start.  I will say on our next kid, I will skip Robeez and do Bobux.

7) Carriers.  You can carry your baby a million different ways, in a dozen or so carriers. The most common are the Ergo, Bjorn, wraps, ring slings and Mei Tai's.  I've put Sonny in everything except the Bjorn.  My favorite hands down is the Ergo. It is easy and I feel the most secure with it. However, I will say that with more confidence I would have used the wraps more and started using my ring sling earlier.  If you are interested in carriers and live in NYC then I highly HIGHLY recommend you contact Caprice at The Art of Baby Wearing. She is a baby wearing genius and can help with all questions you might have.  Once a month she does classes here in Inwood and I think she also teaches in other locations (does house calls too).  There are other places like Slings in the City which can be helpful. I'm not going to judge you if you have a Bjorn, but I will suggest that you learn more about the development of baby hips, spine and pelvis.  When your baby is in a Bjorn, their legs are not supported and they just dangle there.  That is not ideal for their hips and spine (so some experts say).  Naturally, babies (especially newborns) should have their legs up in frog position. Later, they should be in a wrap-around-you type position.   

Phew, that is a lot of information.  I sincerely hope you get something out of it.  If you have a product you use and think I will love, please tell me about it!  I am always eager to try new things.

a couple weeks ago at the Highline

1 comment:

  1. Ah, so helpful! I feel lucky to have all these wise moms in my life.