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A Year in Review – The Must-Haves That Really Helped…

My daughter just turned 1 last month. It’s been quite busy. She’s walking and talking. There aren’t too many free moments with her now, but as I clean out her already full closet and the attic filled with contraptions she doesn’t use any more I feel quite nostalgic. It is with that nostalgia that I am creating a list for those parents about to embark on this fun journey of the first year:

FIRST THREE MONTHS – MUST HAVES:

– An infant swing  (that thing has to wind up, buckle them in and rock slowly. It’s a blessing at 4 a.m. agitations, but get one handed down or in a consignment store as it’s about $100 for a 3 month use cycle. Not worth it).

– A play mat with fun toys attached for texture and pulling. (Again, good gift or consignment store purchase as it is a 3 to 6 month purchase. Once they crawl, it is of no use).

– Taggies – blankets, toys, etc. The brand is filled with great textures and colors that my daughter loves still at 1 year.

– Breathable bumper – I poo-pooed this, but when my daughter nicked her head against the crib while sleeping. The breathable bumper went on. Bright green color is cute. The other colors feel like medicine colors to me. It is ugly and doctors tell you try not to do it. Breathable bumper is okay by my pediatrician though.

– Universal stroller that clicks your baby’s car seat right in. Don’t get any other stroller until your child is at least 6 months old. This is a huge investment that you want to really fit your child’s needs. The Universal stroller is easy to click in and fold up to store in car. Unless you live in a very urban area where you’ll walk a lot with your baby, wait. I wished I would’ve.  I use my $29.99 umbrella stroller more than my $300 stroller I had to have because the umbrella stroller is easier to get her up and down stairs while still inside.

– Dr. Andrew Weil bottles (They click so you know the nipple is on right).

– Munchkin brand dryer rack is really good with the larger hooks for bottles and smaller nearby hooks for nipples. Someone does have to improve the offerings though to provide more hooks AND a companion rack for plates, forks and spoons to click on when the baby starts on solids at 6 months and then another with less deep hooks for sippy cups at 9 months, etc. (I’ll be happy to help any manufacturer develop this. My mom friends all think this is a great idea).

– Infant formula single “to-go” packs. (Even when breast feeding, I’d use these from Simulac for those “hard to go public” moments and mix it with a bottle of spring water. It was really easy.  They keep really well. Better than those pre-measured containers you can get for infant formula).

– 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month white onesies (long and short-sleeved from Carter’s or Osh Kosh B’Gosh because they are thicker cotton and wash well. Onesies are good “protection” from the bad leaks).

– A BACKPACK diaper bag from Land’s End with side mesh bags for bottles and accessible rattle toys.

– Zip lock baggies to hold diapers with diaper wipes for those “Oh my” moments in the public bathrooms.

– Deodorant baggies to throw diapers in the public bathrooms.

SECOND SIX MONTHS:

– Lots of fun colorful bins to put toys, books and stuffed animals in for baby to easily pick and choose on her own.

– Pop-up toys with any characters make her laugh and occupy hours of her time teaching her motor skills of pushing up and down the shapes.

– Sorting toys with shapes and colors to stuff inside boxes are hysterical time occupiers.

– Musical toys such as egg shakers, maracas, drums (without sticks) and bells are wonderful teachers of rhythm and receive screams of joy from my daughter.

– walking push toys of any sort, but ideally a walking toy that can push up with a handle bar for those trying to walk and also offer a seat to others who are ready to ride.

– pull toys are fun too!

– The umbrella stroller is great at 6 months and older because it is portable enough for you to carry the baby up and down stairs and folds easily at a restaurant to become inconspicuous. Those bigger strollers are easier to undo, but really down fold up as tight — especially in a restaurant, subway or tight public spot.

– The shopping cart cover is a great invention that fits easily inside the front part of a shopping cart to give her a lovely padded area with strings and loops that occupy her for hours and keep her strapped in safely, as well as hasten the spread of germs.

– a high chair that has a washable, wipeable seat. It isn’t enough that you can wash it in a clothing washer, but you really should be able to wipe it down easily after her meals. It gets messy.

– Moistened hand wipes are really great! I personally love the Aloe Vera soft hand wipes from Babies R Us or the Nice N’ Clean hand wipes you can get there too. Diaper wipes dry out her skin. These hand wipes — even Sani Clean brand or Wet Wipes in those canisters are really good at getting everything off her. Eating is a messy time, but there are other times too. These moistened hand wipes do a great job, but also seem to have moisturizer in them. It’s not alcohol smelling either.

– Sippy cups from Munchkin have silicone nipples that really work well for my daughter. I started her with the 6 ounce cups that have handles and graduated her to one without. She also uses Advent sippy cups.  Tommy Tippee from England also look good, but she’s already in possession of more than enough sippy cups.

– Sassy brand plates with plastic tops are sectioned for easy meals and very bright, happy colors. They are dishwasher safe too (or I’ve had no problems in the dishwasher).

12 MONTHS:

– She’s now 12 months and I’m finding that she is loving to imitate me. Have purchased an old fashioned Fisher Price dial phone and various plastic cell phones to keep in places throughout our house, car and the diaper bag so she can “stay in touch” while she uses any bag as a pocketbook/purse to begin her hours of being mommy.

– Got a great plastic small trike for her with no pedals that she sits and pushes herself around our patio.

– Her big red wagon with safety straps and a pocket for her sippy cup of ice water has been great fun.

– Her blow up pool has yet to be blown up this summer, but this is a nice gift too.

– My sister-in-law bought her a plastic beach bucket with shovel and hoe that is also a favored toy.

– She plays with funny sunglasses and is just starting to enjoy smaller dolls.

– I’ve tried to get her into the Little People bus I just purchased, but she’s not ready for it yet.

– Another mommy-pushing the envelope thing I just purchased is art supplies like the 24-month Crayola crayons and markers. She loves them!  She mostly sucks on the non-toxic crayons and washable markers, but also draws – spending hours at her mini table and chairs with either her daddy or me — making pictures for everyone. Hope this is the start of a Picasso!

So, these are my daughter’s beginning must-haves. It’s been a fun first year. I miss her little cuddly baby self, but am truly enjoying the walking-talking maniac of a girl she is becoming. She plays with me as we point to our nose or belly button, read books together and cuddle. My daughter is really an engaging and fun girl who is blossoming before my eyes. And what a bonus, she’s a kid I like to hang out with, too.

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August 10, 2010 Posted by | kids marketing, marketing to new moms, New Moms, Uncategorized, What to buy for new mothers | Leave a comment

The Transition to MILK – It Does a Body Good…

It’s funny. I’ve talked to so many more experienced moms about when the right time is to transition your baby from infant formula to milk. They all offer very different advice.

My daughter is 11 months old. She is growing well, but still registers a “proportional” 25 percent on the charts for weight and height. (Her head is a little bigger, but she’s cute anyway).

She is loving the “real” food I am giving her — everything from string cheese, chicken, cooked carrots and asparagus to potatoes, hummus, bananas, apples and pears. She is quite a healthy eater. We are really lucky that the only thing she really doesn’t like is peas and green beans. My decision to introduce milk was one I felt she has been ready for this month with her real food transition going so well. She is getting great nutrition. Infant formula is becoming less and less important for her overall calorie intake is diverse and nutritious.

The mommy network however seems to be a bit across the board. Many mothers I talked to insisting that you must wait until the child is a year to assure she’s getting the right nutritional intake.

I asked both my daughter’s pediatrician and my retired pediatrician, wise old dad this question and both replied that she is absolutely ready to receive milk. I listened to my medical advisors. The transition was really smooth. She still gets infant formula in the night time before she goes to bed to make sure she is full at night, but received whole milk for the first two weeks of this transition and is now completely on 2 percent milk two or three times a day baby.

The milk transition has gone well so far. The mommy network is in awe of me right now because they are receiving tons of messages from infant formula companies about the “transition” happening at 12 months. And I just listened to my gut. I did receive a great mailing from Enfamil (not my infant formula brand right now though) who says the transition to growing up milk should be 9 months to 15 months. (Thank you Enfamil for making me feel better).

Personally, I believe it’s a cultural thing. We American mommies may be too overwrought with nutritional supplement messaging for us to make a gut decision that’s right for our child alone. My daughter is doing great with milk. In fact, her hair has grown much faster and shinier than before. She hasn’t been sick in over a month even though her daddy has and several day care buddies have too. Might be the overall nutrition she is now receiving with a more diverse food palette, but she is loving her milk. It seems to be doing her body good!! (Insert Milk advertising messaging here)…

May 24, 2010 Posted by | New Moms, What to buy for new mothers | Leave a comment

Special Request: The Amazing “Everything You’ll Need for the First 3 Months” Mommy List

Being a new mom is pretty terrifying. You want to make sure you have everything you need to take care of the baby. All the decisions seem overwhelming. A number of my parents friends have asked me for this list I received from my cousin that helped me set up the nursery for my daughter’s arrival. It is invaluable, but certainly not totally complete as everyone has their own personal nursery needs.

Here it is:

For Baby When She/He Comes Home: – 2 pairs of mitts (helps them not scratch themselves while sleeping), – baby glider/rocker chair (there are a ton of brands to choose from mine rocks back and forth on batteries it’s a Fisher Price), – baby gym that adjusts for height (Fisher Price is the best) – Johnson’s unscented Baby soap (acts as their shampoo too-unscented is helpful for newborn sensitive skin), -baby bath with sling insert that’s padded (mine is a First Years brand), – lots of wash cloths (I have six) – 4 or so burp cloths (Aiden + Anais muslin wraps are great dual purpose wraps & burp cloths but expensive) – 4 blanket sleepers with tie bottoms (no legs, I like Carter’s brand) – 2 Swaddle blankets (Kiddopottamus brand is good and Halo has something too. There are a lot of good brands – just get Swaddle in the name) – 3 receiving blankets – 1 packet of 3 side-snap t-shirts for 3 months (new born size doesn’t last long not worth the investment and side snap shirts are good for the belly button healing after birth) – 2 packet of 3 onesies in 3 month size (I like Gerber or Carter’s brands, but MiniMe from Babies R Us is good too) – in the winter, get him/her a “BundleMe” zipper blanket that goes on the infant car seat it’s GENIUS (JJ Cole is a good brand I have the “sherpa” like one and it’s warm) – 6 cotton hats for infant and 3 month size (VERY IMPORTANT to keep on them) – 2 packets of 5 pairs of the MiniMe(?) brand baby socks 3 month size from Babies R Us – infant Saline spray (they get stuffy and the weird plastic bulp thing is really bad for them this is better) – 2 SafetyFirst nail clippers (Target carries learn from my mistake – the other ones hurt the baby and you need to cut their nails like every 2 to 3 days to keep them from hurting their cute faces. I keep one in my diaper bag and another where I nurse her) – 3 crib sheets (Circo at Target is a great brand that washes well) – 2 crib sheet “savers” (these are essential for babies who sleep through a wet diaper) – 3 changing pad covers (Munchkin brand is really great and fits well on any changing pad) – Unscented, Odor Eliminating garbage bags for dirty diapers (Diaper Genie is a hoax, it smells awful and the refill bags are tough to install. Personal choice though, many folks love them. We hang the garbage bag on one side of the changing table. Odor Free bags catch the odor really well in the Glad kitchen bags) – Mesh laundry bag for baby’s dirty laundry  – Diaper “basket” (caddy is available, but I just use a $3 basket I got somewhere to hold everything together  – Udder cream (available at Walgreen’s or CVS with regular lotions, and is an amazing diaper rash cream I recommend as it is really good for my daughter’s skin, but this is personal. You’ll have to try a lot of different ones). – 3 blankets for baby to play on – 2 packages of Diapers (start with newborn size in a small package as they grow quickly out of this size, and get another size 1 for your nursery – I use Pampers Swaddlers) – unscented wipes (get one plastic starter box with 2 or 3 refill packages)  – 3 Piddle pads (Gerber brand is good – you’ll use this when baby gets her/his first diaper rash. Let him/her lay naked on it and a blanket for a few minutes to “air out” — it’s adorable…) – for baby’s laundry detergent, we use 7th Generation Baby unscented laundry detergent (buy it at your local co-op or Whole Foods when on sale. It’s less money than Dreft and better for the baby, I’m told… but Dreft is a great brand for a lot of my friends. Again, personal choice. We do her laundry only using the baby detergent and wash all new clothes before she wears them because her skin is sensitive until she is one years old, I’m told…)

For Feeding: – Personal choice here, but I breast feed AND nurse. I don’t pump!, so I have the following:  – Dr. Andrew Weil bottles (they are the greatest and don’t leak like the others – start with 4 or so 4 oz size and get another 3 larger 9 oz sizes) – bottle sanitizer (I use the microwave version, but some folks don’t like the microwave – personal choice) – bottle drying rack is essential, get the one that comes with a drying tray too – Infant formula is a personal choice. We use Simulac in powdered form because we got a trial package and stayed with it. And now, my daughter is older we are using Up & Up generic Simulac Sensitive formula because she’s lactose intolerant it seems (It’s half the price for more powder). This is your decision. All infant formula should be as close to breast milk with iron fortified.

For You: – breast pads (I like Medela and buy the 60 pad boxes) – nursing bra (go cotton if you can – everything hurts when you first start) – The purple Lanolin cream is amazing. I’d take all the samples you can get from the hospital and buy one more medium size tube. You won’t need it past six weeks. -I also use the Aiden + Anais muscullan blankets as a cover up – the Boppy pillow is great, but regular pillows work just fine don’t freak out if you don’t get this $30+ item. It’s helpful to my daughter at 6 months in her sitting up but I didn’t really use it too much while breast feeding.

For Both You & Your Partner/Husband: – Diaper bag with lots of pockets – especially side bottle pockets outside of the bag (We have a back pack & it’s great. I highly recommend, but this is a personal decision too)

For Diaper Bag, we always carry the following: – 12 oz. bottle of spring water – nail clipper – Simulac powder packs (the greatest invention EVER as each powder pack equals 4 oz of formula premeasured and it doesn’t get clumpy) -Boogie wipes – Saline spray for infants – receiving blanket – burp cloth – bib – extra change of clothes – diapers

Hope this list helps!  You’ll certainly have a lot more to add to it when you bring your baby home. Congratulations.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | kids marketing, marketing to new moms, New Moms, What to buy for new mothers | Leave a comment