The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

Parenting Magazine Editors Share the Baby Must-Haves

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The editors at Parenting Magazine have recently come out with a new book called, “Baby Must-Haves: The Essential Guide To Everything From Cribs to Bibs” and wanted to know if I would be interested in reviewing their new book.

This book would be a great guide for a new mom or for an expecting mother because it covers everything your baby would/could need and what items are just a plain waste of money. Included is information on the best stroller, what every mom should keep in her medicine cabinet, how to outfit your nursery, and the essential safety gear that moms will need. They also have mom tips, from the real-life mom experts, on things that they have done that have made their lives easier.

I got the opportunity to interview the editors about their new book and here are some of my questions that I thought our readers might find helpful.

When it comes time to outfit the nursery, what is the one item that you feel it is a good idea to splurge on? Do you have any recommendations for where to purchase this item or what brands you feel confident in going with?

A Baby’s crib should be a safe haven—a place where she can sleep or play comfortably, without any dangers of getting hurt. This is one necessity that moms shouldn’t feel guilty about splurging on, as the child will use it every day (several times a day!) for the first couple of years (it’s not time for a toddler bed until your child is 35” tall, or the top of the side rail is below mid-chest level).

Many of our Mom-Tested retailers, such as Babies ‘R’ Us (babiesrus.com) and Buy Buy Baby (buybuybaby.com), feature countless styles of cribs that meet moms’ highest standards – safety, solid construction, durability and sleek design.

One brand that gets high marks for quality is Pottery Barn Kids (potterybarnkids.com). The “Kendall Crib” ($599) is available in a wide range of baby-safe finishes and combines style, functionality and the highest safety standards. Built of solid pine, the crib can be converted into a toddler bed. This allows mom to truly create a room that grows with the child, and justifies the splurge.

One mom in our survey raved about the durability of her Babee Tenda Crib (babeetenda.com). A mother of five, she attests the crib is just as sturdy for her youngest child as it was for her first. Another tip? Always splurge for a new mattress.

- When moms find the glider of their dreams but debate over splurging on the matching ottoman, it may be worth it: Elevating the legs can help take pressure off the back, especially while nursing. And besides, it just feels good!

Most ottomans sold as accessories to specific gliders also glide, making it easy to keep that gentle movement going. Expect to pay around $200 for an ottoman.

What are some items that parents tend to buy that they really don’t need? Are there any good substitutions for these items?

- Organic bedding and clothing have gotten a lot of press lately. They may be better for the environment, but you don’t need them—some organic fabrics, like wool, can actually irritate delicate skin. Just stick with 100 percent cotton that’s soft and lightweight.

- You’ll spend a small fortune on bottle sterilizer contraptions that steam-clean bottles, nipples, pacifiers and such, but tossing those things into the dishwasher and setting it to “heat dry” will kill germs just as effectively and so will boiling them for a few minutes on the stove. Save the bucks for a date night instead!

- Several companies are turning out infant tubs that come with spray attachments—but they are pricey and tend not to work very well. A plastic pitcher or cup is just fine for rinsing.

You feature tips from real moms in your book. What is one of the best “Mom Tips” that you have received?

While there were a number of really useful “Mom Tips” featured in the book, three of our favorites are:

• Buy a car seat for each car: Once it’s positioned correctly, you’ll never want to take it out again. Spending the extra money will save lots of time and annoyance for everyone. (Pg 151)

• In the store, see if you can lower the crib rail with one hand (which you’ll need to do if you’re holding your baby). Also, make sure it raises and lowers silently so you’ll be able to move it without waking a sleeping baby! (Pg 14)

• When making up the crib, layer on two crib sheets, with a plastic mattress cover/liner in between. That way, if your baby spits up or has a leaky diaper in the night, you can just strip off the top layer without having to change the whole bed.

When it comes time to give baby gifts to your friends and family, what are some frugal baby gifts that are always a hit?

-Brilliant Basicsâ„¢ Snap-Lock® Beads by Fisher-Price are only approximately $5. Snap them together and pull them apart, over and over again. Babies love repetitive play, and these brightly-colored beads offer stimulating fun while strengthening developing skills. There’s even a bright, shiny surprise with rattling beads inside!

-A number of moms in our survey swore that teddy bears that make womb noises (like a heartbeat) soothed even the fussiest newborns. Check out the super soft and cuddly Womb Sounds Bear, approximately $20, available at Target.

- Ocean Wonders Aquarium by Fisher-Price ($30). For many moms, this is just dreamy! The crib toy resembles a small aquarium, in which sea creatures swim calmly in sync with mesmerizing aquatic sounds and music.

- Changing a crib sheet can be a challenge: You practically have to lift the entire mattress out of the bed to get the sheet on. This gift could come to the rescue: The Quick Zip Crib Sheet from cloudsandstars.com ($33) a fitted sheet with a rectangular panel that zips on and off for laundering

With September being Baby Safety Month, what is one of the most overlooked areas in a home? Can you offer some inexpensive solutions for keeping your little ones safe?

The best way to approach childproofing is both room-by-room, and age-by-age. Ensure that you cover every room in the home by getting down at kid’s-eye level, going through your entire house looking for potential hazards. Moms should repeat this process as the child grows: What’s dangerous for a crawler will be different than what’s dangerous for a walker.
Some Mom-Tested products to try:

• KidCo Adhesive Mount Magnet Lock Starter Set ($16; kidco.com). A magnetic key gives you—but not your child—easy access to cabinets and drawers.

• First Alert’s Tundra Fire Suppressant ($20; firstalert.com). This compact fire extinguisher will put out small household fires, including cooking oil flare-ups.

• Summer Infant’s Turtle Spout Protector ($5; summerinfant.com). Moms and babies alike love this adorable way to protect from bumps and scalds during bath time.

What are the top three items that every mom should have in her medicine cabinet?

1) Thermometer

It is important to have a thermometer that is both accurate and easy to use; especially in the first 3 months when even a slight fever could be serious. A rectal thermometer is the most reliable. As neither mom nor infant will be pleased with the task of sticking one in baby’s bottom, opt for a digital one that registers quickly and is fail safe.
Try the Timex Acrobat Bendable Thermometer with Indiglo rectal thermometer for $16.

2) Pain and fever relievers

Simply; your choices are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). Parenting suggests that you keep both as each one has its pros and cons:

Acetaminophen is gentler on the stomach and can be given to newborns, but only lasts about 4 hours.

Ibuprofen lasts about 6 to 8 hours and may be a more effective fever-reducer, but is only approved for babies 6 months and older.

It is fine to use generic brands of both, as long as they are labeled for infants or children. Of course, check with your child’s pediatrician before giving her any medication. A great mom tip? Check out the Web sites for particular drugstore products. Many offer printable coupons, often for at least a dollar.

3) Rehydrating solution

These are drinks that can help to replace fluids in a child who has been vomiting or had severe diarrhea. The most popular, Pedialyte, comes in liters, single serving sizes and freezer pops.

Sound Off: What do you think is the most useless baby item? What are you glad you splurged on?


5 Comments

Comments

  1. 1

    So much of the stuff that the big stores list as “neccessities” is just a waste of money.

    For us, the swing and the baby carrier were life savers.

    OH and recharable batters are the best thing ever!

    [Reply]

  2. 2

    I love the medicine cabinet suggestions. I would add to that list infant gas drops such as Mylicon, teething gel or teething tablets, and a really good diaper rash cream. Having those in my medicine cabinet would have saved my poor husband late night trips to the 24-hour pharmacy.

    [Reply]

  3. 3

    The Diaper Champ is awesome, because you can use regular trash bags in it. I would die without a bouncer. We actually have one for upstairs and one for downstairs and that has been worth the expense.
    The medicine cabinet suggestions are great. You’ll decide you need baby Tylenol at midnight, so I always have some on hand, along with a rectal thermometer and Vaseline for the thermometer. I also have Pedialyte on hand, because the last thing I want to do when my toddler has a stomach virus is leave the house!

    My final advice is to send out an e-mail to friends for high-priced items, rather than buying them- Babies outgrow things so quickly that it’s not worth the money for most gadgets. We decided my baby would benefit from a swing after he was born, but didn’t want to spend $100 on one, so I e-mailed all my friends with toddlers and got three immediate responses from friends offering to let me borrow their old ones.

    [Reply]

  4. 4

    With our second child we bought the Arms Reach CoSleeper. Worth EVERY penny!

    We skipped the ottoman and got the Medella Nursing Stool. It was way cheaper and provided adequate support.

    Tricia

    [Reply]

  5. 5

    We debated a long time about where to dispose of dirty diapers (Diaper Genie, Champ, etc.), and ended up getting a “regular” trash can with a flip-top lid. It’s worked well so far!

    I agree with getting an ottoman. We found one on clearance at Toys R Us, and it has been wonderful to put my feet up while I’m nursing!

    [Reply]

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