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Baby Tips

bonsaiIs your baby nursery lacking something that you just can’t quite get your fingers on?  I may have just discovered the answer by accident!  You need to “go green” and add a plant!  Such a simple addition will quickly add color and life that you may not have even realized the nursery was missing.

The other day I got tired of my little crawler getting into a tall potted plant we kept in the living room.  After knocking it over a few times, I knew it was time to remove it from the scene.  As a temporary fix, I took the plant to the room in the house with the most available floor space; the baby nursery.  After haphazardly throwing it in the corner by the crib, I soon realized that it looked pretty good in it’s new space.  In fact, it looked amazing, like it was made to be in the nursery all along.  And it has stayed there ever since.  It has added a whole new dimension, and life, to the nursery. [continue reading…]

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Treating Penile Adhesions for Baby

My son had his 9 month well-child check the other day.  He is very healthy and his growth chart is looking great!  He is 95th percentile for height!  However, there was one thing we had to address; his circumcision.  For some reason, he has formed penile adhesions where the skin has grown back together.  I hadn’t really noticed it, but my husband definitely did, and the doctor confirmed as well.

Luckily, there seems to be a fairly easy solution.  Apparently a simple application of a low dose steroid cream to the adhesions may be the cure.  All I have to do is apply it twice a day for a month, and according to our doctor, this almost always fixes the problem.  If not, my son will probably have to have surgery, so I am hoping it works!

With that said, after only 5 days of usage, I can already see the skin on the adhesions thinning out.  Can it really be working this fast?  I’m feeling optimistic that the cream will work completely and that surgery won’t be necessary.

If you’re concerned your baby may have penile adhesions, make sure you bring it up to the pediatrician at the next visit.  They may be able to prescribe a steroid cream and avoid surgery.  But whatever you do, don’t go purchase a steroid cream and use it on your baby without talking with your pediatrician first.

We used some other creams as well after it seemed to work well. This stuff worked well for all sorts of skin issues(dryness, eczema,…etc) 

I’ll keep you posted!

Do you have a baby that has/had penile adhesions?  What worked for you?

Also, it may seem like a long way off, but have you started thinking about your options for your child’s education? Make sure you read about why homeschooling is an amazing option, even if you are a working parent!

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Want to save money by making your own Boppy pillow but don’t like to sew (or don’t know how)?  No problem!  This is what I like to call the “Cheater’s Boppy”, because you really don’t have to make anything yourself.  A normal Boppy costs about $40.  A Cheater Boppy, on the other hand, will cost you less than half of a normal Boppy, but still look and feel like the real thing!  Follow these steps to make your own: [continue reading…]

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Who can resist a baby wearing sunglasses?  Not only are they outrageously cute, they are practical in that they protect sensitive little eyes from the bright sunlight.  We recently purchased the iplay Infant Sunglasses in navy blue for our son.  The sunglasses come with a flexible, wrap-around band and flexible frames to help insure a comfortable fit for baby.  The band velcros in the back to help adjust to the size of baby’s head.  The shaded lenses are 100% UVA and UVB protective.  The iplay sunglasses retail for $8.99 and come in a wide variety of colors.

There are a lot of positive things about the iplay sunglasses.  First of all, the frames are a good fit for baby’s face.  They aren’t too small or too big.  The bridge of the nose fits comfortably and they hug the face comfortably.  The neoprene strap is soft and the velcro makes the sizing easy to adjust.  The overall design is great for either a boy or girl.  The first time my son wore these sunglasses, I thought he would  be bothered by them and try to pull them off.  However, they seemed to fit him comfortably and he wears them with no protest.  He loves wearing them and I love the fact that his eyes are protected from the bright sun and UV rays.  And on top of all of this, the price was great!

The one thing I wish was different about this sunglasses is the location of the velcro.  Although it functions fine, I would rather have a design more like the Baby Banz sunglasses where the adjustable velcro is located on the side versus the back.  This side adjuster also folds on itself so it keeps any exposed velcro from scratching baby’s head.  I also believe this design would make it easier to adjust when the glasses are being worn.  I also like how the Baby Banz sunglasses have a wider strap at the back of the head to help keep the strap from slipping as easily.  Due to these factors, I believe Baby Banz might be a better choice than the iplay Infant Sunglasses, and if I could go back I would probably purchase them instead.  However, Baby Banz are about twice as expensive as the iplay.

In considering all of these factors, I believe the iplay Infant Sunglasses are a great product and would recommend them.  They are a good fit, comfortable, and a more economical choice.  However, if you are wiling to spend a little more, I believe that the Baby Banz sunglasses are probably the best overall choice for infant sunglasses.

What baby sunglasses do you find to be the best?  Why?

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Are Crib Bumpers Safe for Older Babies?

I was asking myself this question last night before I put my 8 month old to bed.  He has yet to master the art of sleeping through the night, and the fact that he is now very mobile at night doesn’t help.  We tried swaddling him recently, which worked for a time.  But now that he is crawling, he is simply too strong for a swaddle.  After having a few rough nights in a row, my husband suggested I sleep next to our son for a night just to catch up on sleep.  So I did, and he hardly peeped all night. 

So where does the bumper come into play?  Being that I don’t want my son to get used to sleeping in my bed, I was feeling desperate to try something else that might make him sleep better.  I decided to bring out the bumper from storage and give it a try, hoping that it would give him that cozy, secure feeling that he gets when he sleeps in bed next to me.  Also, since he moves around so much at night, I was hoping it would keep him from jarring himself awake when he pushes into the side of the crib. 

So I put the bumper in the crib and placed him in for the night.  I was feeling okay with my decision despite the fact that you hear horror stories of babies suffocating or that bumpers are linked to SIDS.  However, my husband was pretty nervous about the thought, which in turn made me nervous.  Was it really safe to put my baby in a crib with a bumper?

So I went right to the internet and searched to see what information was out there in using bumpers with older babies.  As with anything else, there were strong arguments for both sides.  But the one thing that helped me make my decision was a post by an active police officer who gave statistics that your baby is more likely to get kidnapped than to be harmed or killed by a crib bumper.  I also found many parents who have used a bumper since their baby was just a newborn and have not had any problems. 

So after reading this I breathed a little easier about my decision.  How much of this bumper hysteria is simply due to people being overly-cautious?  I think of all of the other dangers out there that are more likely to hurt my baby: the stairs, the coffee table, a nickel he finds on the floor.  The possibilities are endless!  After having this little pep talk with myself, I decided to try the bumper for a night.  If there was no improvement in his sleep, I would remove it. 

Before I went to sleep for the night, I snuck into his room to check on him.  Was his face plastered to the side of the bumper?  No.  Was he breathing?  Yes, and sleeping perfectly.  So I went to bed and had a great night’s sleep, only getting up once, which is much better than the every 3 hours I’ve dealt with in the past!  I’m not saying the bumper helped him sleep better.  It will take a few nights to figure that out.  But I realized in all of this that a bumper isn’t going to cause certain death to my baby like I felt I was led to believe. 

So my advice, if you’re not sure about a bumper, do some research.  Read what parents say about it online.  Talk to your pediatrician.  Talk to your friends.  It may or may not be the right decision for you and your baby.  Just trust your instinct and make the best decision for baby!

What do you think about using a crib bumper for an older baby?

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With the addition of our newCroozer 535 bike trailer, we had to buy an infant bike helmet for our son.  Soon after starting our search, I discovered that there really aren’t a lot of infant sized bike helmets out there to choose from.  We ended up going to a local bike shop and finding one helmet that fit our needs; the Specialized Small Fry Toddler Helmet.

This helmet is specifically meant to be used for ages 0-3 years, but I still wasn’t sure if a bike helmet would really fit an infant.  We originally were going to purchase a helmet online, but am glad we found one in store to assure a good, safe fit.  There were a few different models and designs to choose from, but we found the Specialized helmet to be the most comfortable fit for our son.  The purchase price was kind of steep at $39.99, but the helmet should last him a few years.

The main thing that sold me on this helmet is the dial-operated fit system.  The size of the helmet can easily be adjusted to fit as your child grows with a simple turn of a dial.  This feature gave this particular helmet the best fit over the others.  The helmet also comes with extra foam inserts to line the helmet for even younger infants.  However, I have not had to use these with my 8 month old as the helmet fits perfectly without. 

The helmet also has built-in mesh in the vents to keep bugs from flying in during a ride.  The chin strap is easily adjustable and comfortable.  The helmet also has a built-in visor to protect little eyes from the sun, as well as a shape that makes it suitable to wear in a bike trailer.  All of these things combined make it a great helmet.  However, the thing I love the most is the design.  The particular helmet we bought is called “Moto Red”, which is a bright red helmet with kids riding on dirt bikes.  A lot of the other infant helmets I saw were too “baby-ish”, which is fine, but in the long run I want a helmet that my 3 year old will want to wear.  The Small Fry Moto helmet comes in red, blue, green or yellow.  Specialized also makes infant helmets that are designed more for girls, with kitten and lady bug designs.

The only thing I don’t like about the helmet was the price.  This particular helmet was the highest priced infant helmet I had seen at $39.99.  However, I think it’s design and longevity make it worth the price.

Specialized makes a great infant helmet!  Make sure you consider it when choosing a bike helmet for your little one!

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I got my Mother’s Day present early this year!  It’s the Croozer 535 3-in-1 bike trailer,(Edit: This is a comparable model ) and I love it!  After doing A LOT of research online trying to find the most economical, yet good quality bike trailer, I decided on this one.  What sets the Croozer above the rest is it’s versatility, with the ability to go from a bike trailer, to a jogging stroller, to a stroller with a simple change of hook-ups, which are all included at a reasonable price of $450.  If you’re having sticker shock, do your research and you’ll find this is a fabulous deal for what you get.  Most bike trailers of this quality start at $500 and up, plus you have to buy the attachments for the stroller functions separately.

So what are my favorite features of the Croozer?  Well, there are many!  Like I said, the thing that sold me on it was the fact that it included not only the bike trailer function, but the fixed wheel jogging stroller, as well as a small swivel wheel for a regular stroller.  It is also extremely easy to change the wheels and attachments.  They simply pop into place and insert the pin, and it’s ready to go!  The 535 also has two bucket seats, which was a huge advantage to the Croozer.  Most bike trailers have a bench seat, and most reviews I read complained of children sinking in towards to middle during the ride and not having their own space.  The bucket seats solve that problem.  Also, the bucket seat makes it a very comfortable ride for my 8 month old son.  He is held securely having 2 sides next to him while he rides.  The Croozer also has a 5-point harness with padded seatbelt covers so it is great for younger children to have a comfortable and secure ride.  The Croozer is also very easy to break down and folds fairly flat, making it suitable to fit into the trunk of a car.  But even though it is very portable, it doesn’t skimp on size.  The Croozer 535 can not only tow 2 young children, but it also has a fairly large covered storage space in the back to easily stow a diaper bag, water, or a few bags of groceries.  The material of the cruiser is heavy duty and high quality canvas.  The sides windows are made up of heavy plastic, as well as a removable weather shield that can cover the front screen if it starts to rain.  The Croozer also rides low to the ground, which makes it an easier pull and safer for the kids in tow.  It weighs 36 pounds with the removable handle.  It pulls very smoothly with a bike, and the stroller function is great to use as well.

There aren’t a lot of things I dislike about the Croozer 535.  I still think the cost is a little steep at $450, but considering the options you get and comparing it to the competition, it is really a deal for the quality and versatility.  Another negative is that the stroller handle is not adjustable.  Luckily, at my height of 5’5”, it’s perfect.  But it is a little low for my husband who is about 6′ tall.  The Croozer also does not have any shocks, so it is definitely meant for smoother trails.  One more thing is that the instructions aren’t the most clear that come with the trailer.

Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of the Croozer 535:

Pros:  Versatility, easy to adjust, bucket seats, padded 5-point harnesses, low profile, portability, large storage area, heavy duty materials, built-in weather shield, pulls well behind a bike, stylish

Cons:  Non-adjustable stroller handle, no shocks, poor instructions

Overall, I believe the Croozer 535  (Edit: This is a comparable Model – Burely Kids Honey Bee Trailor)will give you the most bang for your buck in the world of bike trailers.  We are definitely into our Croozer!

What features are important to you in a bike trailer?  What do you think about the Croozer?

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Fisher Price Take Along Swing Review

The Fisher Price Take Along Swing is a great option for parents wanting a swing that is both space-conscious and portable.  The swing comes in a few different styles, including Precious Planet, Rainforest, Khaki Sands, and Woodlands to name a few.  The swing is for babies up to 25 pounds or until they are able to crawl out of the seat.  All swings are equipped with a 3-point harness and are capable of 5 speeds.  Some of the models come with music and a removable toy bar as well.  The Take Along Swing runs on 4 “C” batteries.  The swings range in price from $49.99 to $74.99 depending on the style. 

I personally own and have used the Precious Planet model for my son since about 2 months of age.  He was going through a phase in which he was very fussy.  In desperation my husband decided to buy a swing in hopes it would help with his fussiness.  He decided on the Fisher Price Take Along Swing first of all for the price.  It is one of the cheapest swings available being that baby swing can easily run $100 and up.  We have used the swing for about 6 months total so far so I have had adequate time to test it.

There are definitely a lot of great things about the swing.  First and foremost, it’s space-saving feature is wonderful.  It’s easy when you have a baby to have your living space completely overrun with baby items, but the small build of this swing definitely cuts back on that.  It is very compact and low to the ground, and not an eye sore like some of the over-sized swings out there.  It is also quick and easy to fold up for storing in a closet or behind the couch.  The seat of the swing folds in half and the legs come together with the squeeze of a button.  Having a smaller home, the compactness of the swing has been wonderful.  Portability goes hand-in-hand with the space-saving feature of this swing.  Because it is small and fully collapsible, it is very easy to throw in the trunk of the car when traveling. 

Another great feature of the swing is how quiet it is.  I have heard some baby swings that have a loud grinding sound when they are running, but this one doesn’t have that at all.  It isn’t completely silent, but it is definitely quiet.  On my particular model of swing, there are 7 songs that cycle through if I choose to play them while baby swings.  I usually don’t like baby toys with music.  Many times I find them to be too high pitched and simply annoying, but the songs that come with this swing are actually tastefully done and relaxing.  The music can be turned off, quiet, or loud.  The five speed settings are at good intervals.  The swing cushion is very comfortable and is machine washable.  The design would be great for either a boy or girl. 

There are a couple of things I dislike about the swing.  First of all, the seat has only one position: reclined.  As my son has gotten older he wants to sit up in it.  We simply can’t use the swing anymore for play, but only for when he is tired.  Despite this fact, he is almost 8 months old and is probably really too old for playing in a swing anyways since he is nearly crawling.  He would rather play on the floor or in an exersaucer.  One more thing that may be a downside is the fact that it runs on battery power only.  I have only had to replace the batteries once in the 6 months we’ve used it, but I know some people would rather have the option to plug it in. 

Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons:

Pros:  Affordable price, space-saving design, easy to fold and store, tasteful design and music, quiet

Cons: Non-adjustable seat, battery only, not for older babies

Overall, I am very into the Fisher Price Take Along Swing.  I don’t think I would ever use a different type of swing for baby.

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5 Unique Baby Gift Ideas

Want to wow the expecting mom and guests at a baby shower?  Choose from the following baby gifts and you’ll be sure the impress with your unique gift for baby!

1.  Robeez

Baby shoes are more of a luxury than a necessity, but most parents need at least a pair for those special occasions when baby needs to dress up.  Robeez are a great and very unique choice for shoes for baby.  Parents will love them because they are elasticized, making them easy to get on and off of chubby little baby feet, and they come in many different adorable and unique styles.  Baby will love them because they are soft-soled and light-weight.  They don’t confine like other shoes and are great for learning to walk.  The Soft Sole Stopper are my personal favorite for boys, and the Organic Tree Soft Sole for girls. 

2.  Wooden toys

With the big plastic chemical scares and a lot of mom’s choosing to “go green” for baby, wooden baby toys offer a safe and classic alternative.  They may be a little more expensive up front, but they are very safe and, more importantly, very adorable!  Some of my favorites include the Haba Froggy Teether, the Squish Color Burst, and for older babies, the Plan Toys Dancing Alligator.

3.  Infant Sunglasses

Who can resist smiling at a baby wearing sunglasses?  But not only are baby sunglasses cute, they are practical in that they protect little eyes from bright sunlight.   Adventure Banz Baby Sunglasses come in many colors and have a soft, adjustable band that fits comfortably around baby’s head to keep them on.  My 7 month old loves to wear them and doesn’t even try to pull them off of his face.

4.  Vulli Teether

The Vulli Teether, in my opinion, is the best teether out there!  It is very unique and baby will love chewing on it.  It will surely become their favorite teether to chew on.  Read my review of the Vulli Teether to find out what makes it so great.

5.  Fabric books

Get a good start on baby’s library by giving the gift of reading.  Fabric books are a unique and safe alternative to traditional paper.  Baby can play with the book and even chew on it.  And mom or dad can spend precious time reading to their little one.  A great soft book for playtime is the Bugboo Exploratory Soft Book and for sleepy time, Lullaby and Goodnight Soft Book.

Let your gift stand out from the crowd and give something that is truly unique using this list! 

What ideas do you have for unique baby gifts?

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Despite the fact that many experts agree that babies under the age of 1 should not sleep with a blanket, I couldn’t bear the idea of letting my son sleep without the security and warmth of one.  However, I was nervous about placing a blanket in his crib when hearing horror stories about SIDS and suffocation.  In trying to find the happy medium between safety and comfort, someone gave me a blanket that was the best compromise: a classic crocheted blanket.

Although crocheted blankets might not be the most desirable on your list of baby items (it sure wasn’t on mine), give them a chance before you rule them out.  My son’s crocheted blanket sat in storage until he was about 4 months old, when he outgrew swaddling.  He loved the feeling of having a blanket near his face when he fell asleep, so I continued using a blanket for him at night.  However, I found that most of his baby blankets were too warm and not very breathable.  It was then I remembered the crocheted blanket I had overlooked, and it has become his baby blanket of choice ever since.

There are a few reasons why I find the crocheted blanket to be superior to the rest.  I love the fact that it provides some warmth and comfort to baby at night, but it doesn’t overheat.  The blanket also provide more breathability than any of the other blankets since it has small gaps in the crocheted pattern.  These small holes also make it extra cozy and fun for little fingers and toes to snuggle with.  When it’s time to sleep, my son will stick his fingers through the holes and pull the blanket up to his cheeks, and rub his face on it until he goes to sleep.  I love the fact that the blanket seems safer than most, and that my son absolutely loves it.

If you’re lucky, you might get a crocheted baby blanket at a baby shower or from a relative.  Or maybe you even know how to crochet your own.  Either way, I would definitely give this type of blanket a try if you think your baby needs to sleep with a blanket at night.  It just may turn out to be everyone’s favorite.

And it may seem like a long way off, but have you started thinking about your child’s education? It’s never too early to start considering homeschooling! Read about why homeschooling has been an amazing and freeing choice for our family!

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