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Friday, August 16, 2013

Best in Show

We recently arrived back in Cairo after a few weeks vacation in the states.  And as you may have seen on the news, things are getting down right scary.  There is a lot up in the air right now about our future in Egypt, so I hope you'll forgive me if I ignore the topic altogether and talk about something else.

Every since I found out I was pregnant, I was on the lookout for info on essential baby items.  We face a certain dilemma living abroad in that we don't have access to all the "stuff" like in the states. So if I suddenly realized I needed something when he was 2 weeks old, I wouldn't have a lot of choices.  We'd either have to do without or pay a ridiculous amount of money for something you could get for $10 at Walmart.  Which bugs me....alot.

Now, lets be completely honest there aren't many essential items when it comes to babies besides boobs/bottles, diapers and wipes (no seriously, buy as many wipes as you can carry).  But there are an awful lot of products out there that make having a baby a helluva lot easier.  And when you're focusing on the care of a tiny bundle of pooping/peeing/crying/spitting up/communication impaired joy, you're gonna want some things that make your life easier.  Trust me.

So I scoured the web/books/friends brains etc for the things my little man could possibly need.  And I got a lot of really good ideas, some definite duds and some suggestions that I never even tried because they just sounded dumb.  Seriously, special wipes for your kids boogers?  (If you love those, sorry, but I think they're dumb).  Since I have so many friends who just had babies, are about to have babies or who are trying for babies, I thought I'd share our top ten finds.  Let's call this the Best in Show of baby items from the Cushman family to you.  :)

For the record I am not being paid by any of these companies to advertise their products, but I love them all so much I would gladly help!  (Hint hint product companies, pay me to talk about your stuff)

Here we go, in no particular order....

1.  Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets

These blankets are amazing.  You get a four pack from $30-$40 depending on the style you pick.  And they are worth every penny.  So versatile and they hold up really well.  For the week he let us swaddle him, that's what we used to swaddle Quincy.  They are also awesome for tossing over cold toes, laying on the ground for play time, covering car windows when it's too sunny and tossing over a sleeping baby in the rain.  (Yes we have used them for all these things) They're super thin, which is great if you just want a light blanket for a summer baby, or one that gets hot easily.  But they're also really large, so you can fold them into layers if baby needs something warmer. And they've held up marvelously in the washing machine.  I've heard Target sells a version of them, but that they're not the same quality.  Amazon is the way to go for the best price on the good quality ones. Buy some immediately.

2.  Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water

This is a miracle elixir if your baby has gas, and I'm pretty sure all babies go through a bout of gassiness at some point.  For Q it's been the last month and he gets this stuff and gas drops throughout the day, huge difference!  Apparently it helps with teething too, though we haven't reached that milestone yet.  It's cheaper if you buy it on Amazon, but you can get it at Walmart or Target for a bit more if you just want to try.  For Q he'll only take it before he eats, once his belly is full he just spits it all out, and it's not like gas drops where they just take a teeny bit, the regular dose for his age is a full teaspoon, which is a lot of liquid for a 2 month old.  But it's a wonderful natural aid for belly upset.  Seriously, we bought like 8 bottles of it while we were home.

Ok, this one sounds really gross... and if you think about the mechanics of it too much you probably will talk yourself out of it.  But it works really well.  Basically instead of using a traditional bulb syringe to suck snot from the baby's nose, you suck it out with your mouth.  There's no way the snot is getting anywhere near your mouth, there's a long tube and a filter for hygiene.  It works like magic!  Especially when they're itty bitty and their noses are so small.  Q would sound like an old man trying to breathe underwater, one round with this thing and he's breathing easy again.  He doesn't really enjoy it, and as my grandmother said when she saw us do it "It looks like you're sucking his brains out!" but the relief as a parent to know he can breathe again is priceless.  Make sure you get saline drops to put in their nose first!

Do you have a baby? About to have a baby?  Want to have a baby? Think you'll ever be in the same room with a baby who is crying inconsolably?  Buy this cd, buy it now.  Buy the album on iTunes or wherever you currently buy music, put it on your phone, tablet, or go the old fashioned route and keep the disc in your car.  This album has real magical powers.  No really, it does.  It doesn't sound like anything with supernatural properties, but for babies it does something.... Definitely a must have, especially in the car when you're stuck in traffic with a screaming baby who you can't feed/console/hold.  Nicolette, if you ever stumble upon my blog, all I can say is thank you, thank you very much.

If you plan on nursing, and think you'll ever need to do it in public, this is a wonderful thing to have, unless you're one of those "I whip my boobs out in public no matter whose around" kinda girls.  In which case, good for you.  I on the other hand want a bit of privacy when my tatas are hanging out, and this nursing cover is wonderful.  I've tried several and this one is the best, because it actually stands open by itself.  And if you've never nursed a new born before, the thing everyone fails to mention is that you need both hands to get the baby latched on.  If the cover doesn't stand open by itself you're in this horrible struggle to wrestle a screaming baby onto your boob while keeping the fabric out of the way so you can see.  All the while drawing attention to yourself, which is the whole purpose of the cover in the first place.  Love this thing, take it everywhere.  Definitely cheaper online.  And don't let the pictures scare you, it looks ridiculously big, like a weird apron, but it's the perfect amount of fabric to cover your chest and your tummy.  The corners are made of terry cloth too, which is really nice for cleaning up milky chins.  :)

There are huge debates out there about baby carriers.  Many people love the Ergo, and I was tempted, but after doing some research we went with the Beco and I'm so glad we did.  The main reason being that the baby can face forward when you're carrying them on your chest.  I've also felt the Ergo and the material is much harder.  The Beco is super soft and so easy to use.  Ryan and I can pass the baby back and forth easily with very little adjusting, and we can put him on and take him off by ourselves if the other person isn't there.  The only issue we've had so far was with Q getting too hot in the carrier, but we're toking that up to July, in a heat wave, with a baby who is naturally warm already.  I think in normal temps it will be fine, and it's already held up to a machine washing very well.  

This is another one for the breastfeeding mamas.  Pretty straightforward, put em on your nipples when they hurt.  Feels wonderful.  Pop em in the refrigerator for even more soothing power.  I would recommend every new momma buy at least 2 sets so you can always have one in the fridge ready to go.  

We really like this stroller.  It's very easy to maneuver.  Folds down with one hand, which is super convenient for traveling, and is easy to carry with one hand because it's so light.  We also have the B-Safe car seat which lets us click right into the stroller.  Love, love, love!  

For some reason this mobile keeps Quincy completely mesmerized.  From the time he was just a few days old he would stare at it for an hour.  And now that he's older it's even better because he's talking to the little characters, following them with his eyes and moving his whole body in time to the music.  Best of all for us, the music isn't terribly loud or annoying, very easy to block out.  It's a lot larger than I pictured, and the colors are quite garishly bright, but the baby likes it, so who cares.  And when he gets too big for the mobile, the base stays put for a musical crib toy.  Love that it has multiple functions :)

This App gets turned on every night around 9pm.  It plays white noise which helps Quincy sleep more soundly, blocking out the noises of Ryan and I getting ready for bed (since we're still sharing a room) and it helps me sleep better because it masks all of Quincy's gurgling and grunting throughout the night.  It's a free app you can download on your phone and you can actually build your own sleep melody with the type of white noise you like.  We do River+WhiteNoise+Fan.  :)

Alright, that's it.  The Cushman Best in Show of baby products.  Hope you found it helpful, and if you have something you absolutely love, let me know!