Know of Someone Having a Baby Soon?

Throw Them the Best Baby Shower with These Gifts

 

This is already one of the best seasons for presents, so if you know someone who is a mom-to-be, here are some of the best gifts to give at a baby shower:

Baby Booties

Pediped Originals are beautifully crafted shoes that have leather soles and soft uppers in 75 different styles that fit the 0-24 month set of babies. These shoes are meant t support growing feet and to help babies take the next steps (literally).

New-mom note cards

New-mom note cards are the perfect gift for a mom-to-be since she’ll be able to pick out baby announcements, moving cards, thank-you notes or holiday greetings from the selection available at TinyPrints.com. There are plenty of different styles to choose from such as classic, vintage and contemporary.

Wild Thing

This baby-bouncing seat has everything from music to blinking lights to busy spinners and some amusing jungle friends such as a monkey and a toucan. This seat has a three-point restraint and comfortable pad for comfort for your child’s head and shoulders.

Sleep Tight

One of the safest cribs is one that has nothing in it but is completely bare and on those cold nights, a Halo SleepSack is the best choice. It’s already backed by the First Candle/SIDS Alliance and was awarded as one of the safest sleep products.

Tummy Time

Play mats are great for babies since most of them lay on their backs. It has vivid colors, a dangling monkey toy, teether, wind chime and a soft quilt that turns this into a perfect play haven for your child. The pad can be washed in the machine and the entire ting folds up rather easy to make clean up quick. 

What a Cutie Pie New Baby Gift Basket for Boys or Girls

The What a Cutie Pie gift set is an easy choice for a baby shower gift, but I think gifts like these are best for those you don’t really know well.  They tend to be a little bit impersonal and, while the contents are very cute and neatly arranged, they are not exactly the most practical gifts.

What I like about this particular set is that you can choose from three colors – boy, girl or neutral, and they really are adorable.  The bear can be a nice snuggly for a newer baby who wants something to hold onto, and the washcloths will certainly come in handy.

I like that the clothes are sized three to six months, because most gifts are for newborns who grow fast and don’t really need that many clothes.  This set can be used for longer, and like the description says, the wicker basket can come in handy for storing small necessities.  We used one similar to that on the back of the toilet for all of baby’s washcloths, hair accessories and other small items.

One nice thing about getting this from Amazon is that you can ship directly to your recipient, and this is just the type of gift that is well suited to being sent to a distant friend or loved one.

Though it has just one rating, this gift set appears to be a quality set and the one reviewer has purchased multiple sets to give as gifts.  As far as pre-arranged gift sets go, I think this is a good buy at $32.99.

Giving a Baby Crib as a GIft

Has a lot of Baggage - Learn how to Pick the Right One

Babies usually spend the majority of their time in the crib, so while it’s important to consider comfort, it’s absolutely necessary to keep safety as a top priority. Most babies stay in a crib until they are around the age of two of three, when it’s time to move to a real bed, so also keep in mind that the crib should be sturdy to hold varying weight as the baby ages.

When buying a crib, it’s important to look for numerous things such as:

Safety standards:

When buying a crib, it’s important to look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association certification. This ensures that the product was tested for quality as well as safety. It’s also important to check BabyCenter’s Product Recall Finder to see whether the crib you are going to purchase has been recalled.

Slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart:

The crib that you purchase should have slats that are close enough to prevent the baby’s head from slipping through and getting stuck. The distance should be no larger than 2 3/8 inches, about the size of a soda can.

Adjustable mattress height:

Cribs usually allow for mattress heights to be adjusted by either raising or lowering the mattress support. When the baby begins to sit up, it’s time to lower the mattress; this is necessary for the next steps of standing so that the child doesn’t fall out of the crib.

Stability:

After the crib is put together, it should be given a good shake to make sure that it’s sturdy, if it is, then another one should be purchased, or it should be taken apart and put back together.

Frame size:

The interior of the crib should be able to accommodate a crib mattress relatively snugly and be at least 51 ¾ inches long by 27 ¾ inches wide. If you can take two fingers and fit them between the side of the mattress and the crib, then it’s too small. It’s important to make sure that the mattress fits in the frame because the baby could get stuck in the space.

Versatility:

There are many cribs that are designed to convert to a toddler bed, a children’s bench, or even a headboard and footboard for a full-size bed. You should keep in mind how this might look after it is transformed and also whether or not it is easy to perform and worth the time/cost.

It's Cold Outside...

Keep your Baby Warm in Winter

 

When it becomes winter, there’s usually no way around it, you will need a lot of extra time in the morning to prepare your baby for the weather. There is a lot to assemble never mind that by the third or so layer, your baby might just be screaming for you to stop. Here are some tips to help with the long winter mornings.

When dressing your child, use easy on and off outer layers such as a snowsuit. This will provide a great buffer between your child and the cold and snow. If you have your child dressed for the day, instead of piling on the layers, just slip them into the snowsuit and they’re ready to go. It’s important though when picking out a snowsuit for your little one that it has a layer of insulation and a water-repellent exterior fabric such as fleece, flannel or fiberfill.

Also, it is true when people say that most head escapes through the head, so make sure that your baby has a hat on before going outdoors in the winter. If hands are exposed, it’s necessary to put mittens on them, and make sure to bring an extra pair too, just in case. Also make sure that your baby is wearing booties or very warm socks before they leave the house, as well.

On a morning where it is especially cold, take a blanket and wrap your baby in it to keep the heat from escaping from their body. Use the blanket as extra insulation and protection from the weather elements that can oftentimes be too harsh for babies. Blankets that are either heavy cotton or made of wool or fleece usually work the best.

If you go inside with your baby, make sure to take off at least one layer so that your baby doesn’t perspire. This is necessary because going back out in the cold with the dampness from perspiration can lead your baby to be colder when in the winter air. Also, if the baby is covered in the car, be sure to remove the blanket once the car is heated. 

Handmade Girly Hair Gifts

As you may have noticed, many babies start out with very little hair, and for the most part boys and girls are hard to tell apart.  Enter the hair accessories.  You can dress up your little girl like a baby doll to make sure you never hear, “Oh, he’s so cute!”  Infant hair accessories are a dime a dozen at big box stores, but it is so much more fun to make or buy handmade hair gifts.

Make Your Own
You can get all you need to make baby hair gifts at your local craft store.  Blank alligator clips and headbands, combined with a hot glue gun, lengths of ribbon or bits of felt can make the most adorable hair pieces you have ever seen.  The only limit is your imagination.

Buy Handmade
I am a big advocate of supporting small businesses.  Many of us are struggling to get by while corporations rake in record profits.  When you can, put your money to good use by shopping handmade sites like Etsy.com.  I just searched for “baby hair” (wanted to cover the clips, headbands, etc.) and there were more than 110,000 results. 

When you are buying or making gifts for baby girl hair accessories, try getting a selection of colors so your recipient has options when dressing their new girl up.  Pink is a given, but look at purples, yellows and even some neutral whites that go with everything.  Handmade gifts are a treat because they are not your typical, assembly line style and have that extra special handmade touch.

The Award for the Best Baby Stroller Goes to...

Check out this list for 2011 Best Baby Strollers

There is always a necessity for a stroller when you have a child on the way and this is something you should take time to research, but why do it when we’ve done it for you. Here are the top three strollers for 2011:

Bugaboo Cameleon

It’s no surprise that Bugaboo made another list of the year’s top strollers. These tend to be rather expensive but definitely worth it in the long run since it will be the only stroller that you will actually have to buy. This stroller accommodates newborns through toddlers, which will save you from buying multiple strollers when your child keeps growing. It’s more lightweight than the typical full-service stroller and has a lot for features. It’s built for all terrain, and is very maneuverable. The infant bassinet comes with the stroller as well (it is included and not sold separately).

Uppababy Cruz

This stroller is very versatile as it grows with your baby from birth up to 50 pounds and includes a reversible seat; travel system compatibility and the toddler ride-along board option. Uppababy has been characterized as a favorite stroller and is narrower than most popular ones at 21” wide and under 18 pounds.

Bumbleride 2010 Flite Stroller

This umbrella stroller is definitely lightweight and is one of the lightest strollers you can actually buy, weighing less than 15 pounds. It’s perfect for errands and traveling. This stroller reclines almost fully, the footrest is adjustable, the sun canopy has relatively decent coverage and the interior is cushioned and plush. There is also a storage basket that is accessible from the front of the stroller as well, a cup holder, and a child’s snack tray that can attach but is sold separately.

What's with Shopping Cart Covers?

"Diligent moms left and right come marching in with their sterile little shopping cart covers to protect little babies from any hint of dirt or germs"

As someone who grew up in the country where there are things like dirt, bugs and tadpoles, I never give it a second thought when my kids roll around in the grass, dig in piles of dirt, or chew on a stick they found outside.  Germs and dirt were never things we worried about growing up, so I guess I never acquired the proper fear of them.  So when I saw those shopping cart covers, I was totally taken aback.  How far we have come in this society of fear – now our kids can’t touch anything!

I could be wrong, but it seems to me kids are getting sick more often these days.  In daycares and schools, kids are being taught that other kids are dirty and they need to wash their hands before and after just about everything.  In grocery stores, the first thing you see now is a big dispenser of “sanitary wipes” to help prevent the spread of…humanity.

Diligent moms left and right come marching in with their sterile little shopping cart covers to protect little babies from any hint of dirt or germs.  Meanwhile, kids are getting sicker, and we are getting more and more afraid of interacting with anyone for fear of “getting something”.  I think this is going to have far-reaching implications long into the future.  We wonder why we are so disconnected from each other, but it is things like shopping cart covers, industrial size Purell and this terror when it comes to germs that are creating such a divide between people.

As for me and my kids, we will proudly touch those cart handles, play in the dirt and enjoy life - free from the fear of contagions.

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether

"Made of natural rubber, Sophie is very flexible and has a great texture that appeals to little babies."

For almost as long as I have been a parent, Sophie the Giraffe has been a top selling item at Amazon, and it is easy to see why with her smiling face and eye catching pattern.  It is really difficult to find quality products for babies that don’t have safety concerns such as toxic chemicals, lead paint or choking/breaking hazards.  Sophie is the real deal when it comes to natural, healthy and safe toys for babies.

Made of natural rubber, Sophie is very flexible and has a great texture that appeals to little babies.  Every part of her is safe to chew on, which offers great relief to those aching gums during teething time.  Babies love the colors, pattern and feel of Sophie, and her squeaky inside makes great fun too.

The paint on Sophie is food grade, so swallowing it is not a concern at all.  Between the natural rubber and food grade paint, this teether is one of the safest around.

With over 1,500 reviews on Amazon, Sophie the Giraffe has an impressive 4-star rating, with reviews such as “We love Sophie so much we got three!” and “Well Worth the Price”.  At $18.10 currently on Amazon, I think the price is a bit high, but if it does what it is supposed to and offers relief during the agonizing period of teething, it really would be well worth the price.

So when you are looking for a unique, natural and thoughtful gift for a new baby, consider Sophie the Giraffe.  Parents and baby will appreciate this beautiful toy.

Best Teething Toys of 2011

Raz-Berry Teether and more.

Every child at one point of another starts to teeth, and it’s necessary to aid in the process by providing your child with toys that can make it less painful, while helping to hone and stimulate senses. The top teething toys from 2011 are:

Sophie the Giraffe is marketed as the world’s most famous baby teething toy, so obviously it merits some explanation. Sophie is made of natural rubber and chewable appendages as well as an internal squeaker that makes noise when squeezed to keep your child amused. Sophie fits well in your baby’s small hands and stimulates the senses while soothing your baby’s sore gums.

The Organic Fruit Tote by Under the Nile has assorted chewable pieces that your baby can choose from to help soothe their sore gums but also help with their motor skills as they practice grabbing and mouthing the fruits. All of these individual pieces are also machine washable.

Rainbow Baby by Kathe Kruse comes in a variety of different colors and is made of ultra-soft cotton and holds a ring made of bees waxed beech wood, which is perfect for teething. The two different textures give the baby a range to explore, while both stimulate senses and promote growth, while easing sore gums.

Raz-Berry Teether by Razbaby is especially great for babies that love pacifiers. The teether is designed to look like a raspberry since raspberries have little bumps and apparently feel great on aching gums. This teether is made of flexible 100% medical grade silicone.

 

Moses Baskets

I am expecting another baby at the end of December, so I am working on collecting all the necessary baby gear.  In the past, we have used a crib and a pack 'n play for our newborns to sleep in, and have considered using a bassinet.  This time around, I am so excited to try out a Moses basket, and I think they would make a great gift for any expectant mother.

Moses baskets are like bassinets, without all the trappings and legs.  A Moses basket is simply that - a basket.  It has handles, and sometimes a hood, which is great for holding up a receiving blanket to block out the light. 

The best thing about a Moses basket is that it is completely portable.  If you have ever had a newborn, you know how scary it is in that first little bit, always checking them to see if they are breathing and worrying about them suddenly figuring out how to roll while you aren't there to make sure they are safe.  A Moses basket is the perfect solution.  You can take it with you to any room, and it provides a safe environment for your newborn baby to sleep in just about anywhere in the house.

There is no high stand to create a high center of gravity, and the bottom is completely flat.  You can set it on the floor, on the bed, or on the desk next to you while you write blog posts!  My mother in law is getting me a Moses basket for this baby, and I am so excited I can't wait!  Have you used a Moses basket before? Did you prefer it to a traditional baby bed?

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