Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Mommy "Must Have's"

Lately, I find myself completely surrounded by pregnant chicks.  They're everywhere!  And most of them are either having their first, or in my sister's case, her first in six years...  This time is different than the last baby boom two years ago though, because this time, I have experience!  After all, who better to offer advice on baby products and gear than someone who has had four babies in the past two years, right?!?  :-)  So, for all of my "new mommy" and "new again mommy" friends and family, I have compiled a list of products and gear that I absolutely can not live without. 

  • Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair - I love this high chair!  The seat and tray are the same size as a full-size high chair, but it attaches straight to the dining room chair, reclines for smaller babies, sits straight for older babies, and converts to a booster seat for toddlers.  It is awesome!  I don't think I'd ever settle for a full-size, stand alone high chair again.  They're too bulky, take up more room than I have, and I'd end up having to buy a separate booster seat when the kiddos hit toddler age anyway.

  • Plain old, ordinary cloth diapers - Oddly enough, I use cloth diapers for everything except diapering.  They make the best burp cloths!  I use them to clean off hands and faces after messy meals.  After they start to wear out a little, I use them as dust rags for the furniture.  And as their final duty, they work great to clean up hairballs and messes that the cat decides to leave for me around the house.  In my humble opinion, one can never have too many plain old, ordinary cloth diapers.

  • Lots of Links - They seem like such a mundane, simple little toy, but for some reason, these have been the favorites of most of my older babies (9-12 months).  Little Miss could sit for an hour just sorting them and putting them into different containers.  :-)  I also use them all the time to attach other toys to carseats, strollers, etc.  I lost one too many teethers, rattles, etc. and finally wised up and started attaching them to the stroller with the links.  Baby can throw their toys down, but they aren't going anywhere!  Mimi is so smart!  :-)

  • Hyland's Teething Tablets - OMG!  I don't know what it is about these little homeopathic tablets, but they are un-be-freaking-lievable!!!  The Booger Bear had the worst time when he was teething, and a couple of my friends told me to try these teething tablets.  Booger could be crying, fussy, drooling all over the place, chewing on his hands or anything else he could get into his mouth, and just plain completely miserable.  Within 5 minutes of giving him the Hyland's teething tablets, without fail, he'd have a complete turnaround.  I especially loved them at bedtime because they helped soothe him long enough to fall asleep.  I keep these things on hand all the time now for all of my babies.

  • Huggies Overnites diapers - LOVE me some Huggies Overnites diapers!!!  Most of my kiddos are sleeping through the night by the time they come to me, and there is nothing ickier than waking up in the morning to a soaked through baby (especially after you've already gotten ready for work).  I'm fairly certain the babies aren't too thrilled about it either.  I found the Overnites when I had the Booger, and haven't had a nighttime leak with any of the babies yet while using them!  They're like magic diapers or something!

  • A BIG Nasal Aspirator (lovingly referred to as a "snot sucker") - I always make sure I get the bigger nasal aspirators as opposed to the tiny little ones that usually come in the first aid kits.  The best "mommy advice" that I ever got was from my friend, Trina (who I lovingly refer to as Super-Mommy because she is AWESOME).  She told me, "Don't be afraid to use saline drops and the snot sucker thing."  ...and she was totally right!  Booger Bear (appropriately nicknamed for his chronic sinus infections) loved the thing.  :-)

  • Little Squirters Bath Toys - Seriously.  These things rock.  The little flat ones make awesome teethers (Booger and the Munchkin chewed on them almost constantly), and the rest kept all of the babies distracted enough in the bath that they never even realized when I was washing their hair.  The only thing that I don't really like about them is that the water never completely gets out, so once you use them as bath toys, you really can't use them anywhere else.

  • Dex Baby Dura Bibs - Love, love, love these bibs!  My sister found these years ago for the twins, and I inherited a few of them to keep at my house.  When I started fostering, I went out and bought my own stash.  You just snap up the "catch all" pocket, and the baby's good to go!  I've even used them as a "snack tray" in the stroller or when we're shopping.  Just throw some goldfish crackers or Cheerios in the pocket, and the kids have easy reach of their snack.  :)  They flatten out and can be easily wiped off.  I throw them in the washer (don't dry them in the dryer though!).  They actually have lots of animal and other styles.  I just saw the "Bad to the Bib" series today when I was looking for a sample picture.  I'm totally going to order these to add to my bib collection!

  • Take and Toss bowls with lids - I use these all the time for baby snacks, baby food, my own snacks, and even as containers to mix frosting colors during Christmas Cookie Decorating Day.  :)  I put dry cereal or oatmeal in them to send to daycare so they can be easily mixed.  And even though they are labelled as "take and toss," I wouldn't dare throw these puppies out!  They hold up really well in the top shelf of the dishwasher, so I just wash them and use them until they inevitably get lost.  I'm sure I'll end up moving my couch or other furniture and discover a treasure chest of take and toss bowls under there at some point.  :)

  • The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddler Tub - This tub is one of the least expensive, but in my opinion, the best!  It has a newborn sling, the reclining tub as they get a little older, an additional upright backrest for toddlers, and can be used in sinks as well as bathtubs.  I use this tub until the kiddos start trying to stand up, and then moved up to...

  • The Safety 1st Tubside Bath Seat - I initially bought this for the Booger Bear when he outgrew the tub, but refused to sit down in the bath.  I had absolutely no intention of chasing him around the bathtub and having to write up incident reports every time I gave him a bath and he inevitably slipped or hurt himself, so...  The tubside bath seat it was!  And I LOVE IT!  I used it for both the Booger and Little Miss in the last week she was with me, and I'm so glad I have it.  The babies seem to feel more secure, but still have the freedom to play in the "big" bath. 
  • Soft, water-filled teething rings - I tried several different teething rings and teethers for my babies, but the big "winner" as far as the babies were concerned seems to be soft, water-filled teethers that you put in the refrigerator.  If any of the kids had a choice, they always went for the soft teethers over the harder ones.

  • Flannel lap pads - I use these almost as much as I use cloth diapers!  They work great as extra protection on contour changing pads.  They are awesome for sheet protectors for small babies who still spit up throughout the night (although once they start moving around, it's anyone's game).  They also work great as liners for carseats, strollers, etc. to protect the seats in case of leaks.

But I think my #1 "Mommy Must Have" would have to be...
  • Plain old, ordinary short-sleeved onesies - "Why?" you might ask?  Well, I'll tell you...  It all stems from something that happened when the Booger Bear was with me.  Fortunately, it didn't happen to me personally, but the story that his Daddy told me after one particular visit put the fear of God and baby high-fives into me.  Yep...  Apparently, the Booger dug deep into his diaper and gave his great-grandpa a "high five" that he will likely never forget!  From that point on, I put a onesie on him every single day until the day he went home to live with his Daddy.  I wasn't about to be the recipient of one of those "gifts" that he had bestowed upon his Papa.  :-)  I happened to mention my love of onesies and my logic behind it to the Booger's dad and new mom recently, and his Daddy thought it was pretty funny.  He said that he always wondered why I had started putting those on him all the time.  I pretty much just told him that I was attempting to save the world...  One poop-free high five at a time...  ;-)

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