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Let's Talk Babies!

Baby Equipment

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Hello Baby Direct, a really cool online baby store based in the United Kingdom, to see if I would get interested in reviewing one of their top selling products, Sophie the Giraffe.  I had heard about Sophie before but never come across one in my baby store perusing.  Know how important a good teething toy is I, of course, agreed to review the product.

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Sophie the Giraffe has been around a long time, since 1961 to be exact, and has been a huge seller all over Europe.  My Nana, who is from England, actually purchased a Sophie the Giraffe for my mom when she was a baby!  Slowly, Sophie found her way to North America and has become a hit here as well, selling mostly in small baby boutiques.

Sophie is made of 100% natural rubber that is derived from the Hevea Tree and painted using food paints to make her a very safe toy for babies and young toddlers to chew on.  Her shape, texture and squeak make her an instant hit with babies.  I love her bright smiling face and her natural colors.

When Sophie arrived in the mail I gave her to Maya to see what she thought of her.  Almost immediately Sophie found her way into Maya’s mouth :)  Clearly my daughter knows a teething toy when she sees one!

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After a little further examination Maya discovered that Sophie squeaked and she spent much of the rest of the morning dancing Sophie around the house making her squeak.  She was a huge hit right off the bat with Maya.

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This really is a great toy, especially as a teether.  The rubber is sturdy and strong and held up to my daughter’s teeth tugging on it very well.  The shape and texture of the giraffe make it very appealing to babies.  Good, strong, natural teething toys are hard to come by.  When your little one is working on those first teeth it can be challenging to find something that not only helps with the pain they are experiencing but that you also feel comfortable with them shoving in their mouth.  Sophie definitely fits that bill.

One of the things I liked most about Sophie the Giraffe was her shape and how it allows babies and toddlers to use this as a teething toy even when the are working on those molars way in the back.  Many teething toys don’t seem to reach way in the back and so become useless for when those molars are coming.  Sophie’s long legs and long neck mean toddlers can still use her to chew on when their molars are coming in.

My only beef with Sophie the Giraffe is the price tag.  At about $20 a pop here in the United States she certainly isn’t a toy that is attainable to all parents.  I’d love it if these safe, natural, cool baby products were priced so everyone could afford them.  If you are okay with dropping that kind of money on a toy for your child, than I would definitely recommend Sophie the Giraffe.  She was a huge hit with Maya and I’m looking forward to seeing what my next child thinks of Sophie, especially since he or she will get to play with her from the beginning, assuming Maya is willing to share her (if not we may end up with 2)!!

Maya has one great love in her life, one love that she just can’t live without…her blankie.

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When I was about 6 months pregnant with Maya, not too long after finding out we were having a girl, I made a trip to our local Pottery Barn Kids to pick up the one baby item I had always known I would buy, regardless of whether I was having a boy or a girl; a beautiful, soft, warm stroller blanket.  I had purchased the same blanket for the babies of several of my friends after coming across it one day while perusing Pottery Barn Kids for the perfect shower gift.  The blankets were so soft and warm, with beautiful silk ribbing around the edge.  It seemed like the perfect blanket to cuddle up with.  I could just imagine it becoming the go to blanket for a little child for comfort.  I knew that when it was my turn I would get one of those blankets for my child.

While I was pregnant I remember touching the softness of the blanket and running my fingers over the smooth silk edges trying to imagine what my daughter would look like wrapped up in its warmth.  When Maya first came home we often used the blanket for tummy time, or for cuddling on the couch.  Since Maya was born in the winter we needed a warm blanket to drape over her in the stroller or carseat while we were out, this blanket fit the bill perfectly.

Slowly, as she got a bit older it she started taking it to bed with her.  When she became mobile it was often the first thing she would crawl towards if she could see it laying on the floor.  She took her first steps while playing on the floor with her blankie.  She loves to cuddle with it.

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She loves to play peak-a-boo with her blankie, or just walk around with it wrapped around her.

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No matter where she is or what she is doing you know her blanket isn’t far away.  It is looking very loved these days.  The pink color has faded a bit, it isn’t near as soft anymore and the silk ribbing has almost completely disintegrated, but she loves it just the same.   Where every Maya goes so goes her blankie :)

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baby feeding gear

All it takes is one trip to your local discount retailer or baby store to see that baby feeding is big business.  Aisles and aisles are filled with the gear and equipment necessary to feed a baby.  Everything from breast pumps to breastfeeding support pillows to bottles to formula.  It can be, understandably, very overwhelming for a new mom to stand in these aisles and try to figure out what she needs and what will best meet her baby feeding needs.

Depending on whether you plan on breastfeeding or bottle feeding will, of course, impact the baby feeding gear you will need.   For example, if you will be exclusively breastfeeding you will not need formula and won’t need as many bottles.  However, if you are exclusively bottle feeding you can skip the breast pump and will need to make sure you are adequately stocked up on bottles and formula.  Here is a quick break down of what you’ll need.

If you plan on breastfeeding you will need:

  • A breastfeeding support pillow.  I’ve professed my love of the Boppy pillow in the past, but any breastfeeding support pillow will do the trick.
  • A breast Pump.  The type you get will depend on your needs.  If you will be returning to work and will be doing a lot of pumping than you’ll want an high quality electric pump.  However, if you will be staying home and don’t plan on doing much pumping than a manual pump may be enough for you.
  • A couple of good nursing bras and shirts.
  • A tube of lanolin to help relieve the chapping and discomfort of your nipples during early breastfeeding.
  • Breast pads.  These help protect your bra and clothing from any leaking that may happen.
  • A good supply of bottles.  You may need to try out a few different types before you find the one your baby likes best.
  • Some cleaning supplies for the bottles, such as a bottle brush and a basket for your dishwasher to help keep all the little pieces of the bottle from getting lost.
  • A handful of burp clothes.

If you plan on bottle feeding you will need:

  • A supply of formula to get you started.  You may find your baby doesn’t take to all formulas and you may need to change the brand you  use, so I don’t recommend buying too much before you figure out which brand your baby takes to.
  • A large supply of bottles.  You’ll need little bottles for the first few months and then you’ll likely move up to the larger sized bottles so make sure you have both.  How many you need will depend on how often you want to be washing bottles.
  • A breastfeeding support pillow may be useful for a bottle feeding mom as well, but probably won’t be a necessity for you.
  • Plenty of bottle nipples.  You may want to get a couple of varieties and figure out which type your baby likes best.
  • A handful of burping clothes.
  • Cleaning supplies for the bottles including a bottle brush and a basket for your dishwasher to keep all the little bottle pieces together.
  • A bottle sterilizer (not necessary as you can just boil them in a pot of water).
  • A couple of insulated baby bottle carry bags for when you need to take a bottle of formula on the go with you.
  • A portable bottle warmer that plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car (if you plan on feeding the baby on the go often).

Be sure to talk to your friends and family members with small children to figure out what they found they needed and what they determined they could live without.  As I mentioned above, you may find that your baby develops a preference for a specific bottle type, or nipple type or brand of formula, so it is best to just buy a few of these things and when you determine what your baby likes best you can stock up on that type or brand.

I breastfed my daughter and she never did take to a bottle so I didn’t end up using any of the bottle supplies I purchased.  You won’t know for sure what you need for your baby feeding situation until you get into it, however, there are basic supplies that pretty much everyone needs so you can be sure to have that stuff on hand for when the baby comes home and then pick up the rest as you go and as you need it.

What baby feeding gear did you find most helpful and most necessary?  Did it change depending on if you were breastfeeding or bottle feeding?

baby-shower

So, is it proper etiquette to have a baby shower for a second or subsequent baby?  Do second babies deserve a baby shower or is this a right reserved only for the first born?

There seems to be two schools of thought on this subject.  There are those who are old school and think that a baby shower’s sole purpose is to provide the expectant mother with the necessities of baby raising and argue that it is poor etiquette to have a shower for a second or subsequent baby.  And, then there are those who believe a baby shower is less about gifts and more about celebrating the pregnancy and the baby about to be born.   Depending on which camp you find yourself in will depend on how you feel when you receive an invite in the mail for a “second baby” baby shower.

I am a proud member of the second group.  A baby shower, to me, is a chance to get together with friends and family to celebrate the impending arrival of a new baby. I actually think that shopping for gifts to bring to baby showers for second and subsequent babies are even more fun to buy because you can pretty much buy anything, you don’t have to focus on those “necessity” items.  And, it seems a lot of people agree with me.  A recent poll on babycenter.com asked mothers if they thought it was appropriate to have a shower for a second or subsequent baby, and three quarters of moms agreed that it was fine.  Etiquette experts agree as well.  Having a shower for a second or subsequent baby is perfectly acceptable.

So, what are you thoughts?  Which side do you fall on in this debate?

We have several friends who are expecting their first babies in the coming months and they have been asking us (the “experienced” parents of one!) what our “can’t live without” baby products were.  I give them all the same answer.  I don’t even need to think about my answer .  There is one product that was far and beyond the absolute best baby product I ever purchased, my Boppy Pillow.  It was definitely my “can’t live without” item and is always my answer when anyone asks me to recommend a baby product to them.  From the day Maya was born until I stopped breastfeeding it was never far from my side.  I used it for everything.

From the day Maya was born I began my love affair with the most wonderful baby product ever created.  As a breastfeeding mom I used my Boppy for it’s originally intended purpose, as a pillow to support the baby during breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding was so much easier having that pillow on my lap to support the weight of my baby, especially in those early days when I was still sore from her delivery and later as she began to weigh more it was again a godsend for my tired arms.

But, I quickly discovered that the Boppy is far from being only a breastfeeding support pillow.  The uses for the Boppy are many.  It was great as a little place for Maya to nap in those first days when she was so tiny.  She would nap almost as peacefully (and as long) in her Boppy as she would on my chest.

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It was also very useful as a place for Maya to sit, before she could sit up on her own, in order to give her a different vantage point.

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As Maya got older and was learning new skills, like learning how to sit up on her own, we found yet another use for it.  It was perfect as the support and protection she needed in order to begin sitting up on her own.

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Even our cats enjoyed the Boppy :)

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So, to all our friends expecting babies in the coming months, as I’ve said in person, I say here again, by far my favorite baby product is my Boppy Pillow.  Go buy one (if you don’t get one as a gift), you won’t regret it.

*FCC DisclaimerThis post was not sponsored by Boppy.  I am not being compensated in anyway for this post and was not asked by Boppy to write this post.