Saturday, December 17, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Last night, Tommy & I were able to get away for a few hours, have a fun date night, and finish up a few final Christmas gifts (at my least favorite store on earth no less). Have I mentioned that I’m just head over heels for this man? Because I am. We were walking through the aisles talking about how Abi Kate is going to be a year old in 6 weeks.  One. One year! I started getting all emotional and crying (right in the middle of my least favorite store on earth), so that just had to stop and we had to change topics. Either way, it got me thinking about some of my favorite baby stuff that we’ve loved this year. I’m always interested to see what people suggest/don’t suggest to you when you are registering for a baby. This isn’t really stuff you’ll register for. It’s just randomness. I figure everyone has an idea about whether you need a wipe warmer or not, what brand of diaper is best (Buy cloth! It’s so much more fun!), and whether or not you’ll actually use a Diaper Genie.  Also, isn’t the “Favorite Things” song a Christmas song? Or is that just in my brain? Here goes…

1.       Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm- This stuff is absolutely fantastic on diaper rash. It is so healing and extremely versatile. I’ve used it on bug bites, scratches, strange bumps, burns, etc. and it has very quickly healed every single one of those things. Bonus- it is completely non-toxic, scores a 0 on the Skin Deep Database, and I like how it smells too. It isn’t thick or cakey and doesn’t stick all over your fingers. It glides on very easy and a little dab goes a long way. It took us about 9 months to go through an entire 2 oz pot, and we use it often. It just doesn’t take much to work effectively.  To me, it definitely paid back its 10 dollar price tag.
2.       Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion Spray- This was recommended to me when I was looking into cloth wipes while pregnant. (Which I was horribly afraid to use and wound up being extremely easy to use after putting it off) One, I love how this stuff smells. Two, it’s in a spray bottle which is fantastic. I keep one in her diaper bag and we use it as a wipes solution while we’re on the go, as a cleaner, and even as a spritz for any little red bumps she might have after a diaper change. Three, it’s no secret that I’ve always been a germaphobe, and this stuff is great for that. Its main content is witch hazel which can be used as a natural disinfectant, so after leaving a store where she’s touched the buggy or a table or anything else I deem germy, I squirt a bit on her hands. Because it’s natural products, I’m not worried about her putting her hands in her mouth afterwards. It also has tea tree oil in it which acts as a natural antibacterial & lavender which is a natural astringent. Because it’s in a spray form, it goes a long way. I even squirt it on the table at restaurants where she’ll be touching, on the edges of a high chairs, etc. to give it a quick clean before she touches it. I wasn’t  a fan of dragging around the shopping seat/high chair cover everywhere we go. For us, this was much easier.
3.       Baltic Amber Teething Necklace-- This little thing is a lifesaver. I would buy it over and over again. I’d read about these but was pretty skeptical about them. It seemed every review I found was split-- it either worked great for someone’s kid or it didn’t help at all. I guess everything can be that way, so I don’t know why I was so hesitant. Around the time that the teething monster arrived for Abi Kate, I’d made a new friend (who has quickly become very dear to me). I asked her if she owned one and if she felt like it worked for her child. She gave it a thumbs up, and I’m more apt to go with a review of someone I know versus the reviews I’ve read on the internet. I remembered reading an email from a local doula that she also made these. So, I went on her website & ordered one, and I am SO glad. I know some babies aren’t bothered by teething in the slightest, but our baby girl is very sensitive to the whole process. We put this necklace on, I was still pretty skeptical, but about 20 minutes in I saw a significant difference in her pain level. She’d been wearing her necklace pretty constantly (except at night because I’ve never been brave enough to wrap it around her ankle), and when her first tooth broke through, I was completely stunned. She’d been so happy in the days leading up to it, not acting like she was teething at all. Unfortunately, my little Houdini has figured out how to unlatch her necklace now. If I put her in a turtle neck, she can’t get it (so don’t judge if you see my child wearing the same 3 shirts over and over again because we only have that many turtlenecks. This thing is worth it!). Her top tooth is like seconds away from breaking through right now. When she wears the necklace, I notice a huge difference from when she’s not. Definitely worth the purchase for us.
4.       Snuza Halo -- This is the item where I know people are going to think I’m out of my mind, have first time mom syndrome, etc. That’s ok. You just think whatever you want, but I love this little slice of technology. I was talking with a sweet momma in our small group the other night and she was talking about how all moms have that “one thing” they’re just fearful of. It can be irrational, rational, whatever. She said hers was choking. Mine is breathing, or rather not breathing. Basically, I am completely terrified of SIDS. Always have been. I started babysitting at age 12 (Oh my word. WHO on EARTH would let me keep their 3 children at age 12?!), and even then I used to go in and check all the kids constantly while they slept to make sure they were still breathing ok. Choking doesn’t worry me much, stairs don’t worry me, animals, random things put in the mouth, leaving her with others, none of those things make me nervous. But SIDS just makes me feel paralyzed. I’ve wrestled with it, prayed about it, and know that the Lord will have His way, but this little monitor has brought much peace for me. Essentially, it has a very sensitive detector that monitors breathing movements and sounds an alarm if movements stop. I have a precious friend who recommended some type of monitoring system to me when I was pregnant. Without divulging all their personal info, her sweet baby went to be with the Lord at just a few days old, but because of a monitoring system, she was with her child in those last moments. He entered the world with her by his side and left it the same way, and that has always touched my heart. I’m grateful she recommended the idea to me because this little device made the transition from her sleeping in our room to the crib in her room so much easier. We’ve only had about 2 or 3 false alarms, it is trickier to put on with a cloth diaper because we stuff her diapers pretty heavily at night with inserts, but even with both of those things combined it was worth every cent. I can’t imagine not using it with future children as well. There’s a lot of different types of monitors available, but this one just made more sense to me. If you’re paranoid like me, this is a great purchase.
5.       Hidden in My Heart Scripture Lullabies & PraiseBaby-- We L.O.V.E. music in our house, especially at sleeping times. We love even more music that is based on scripture and biblical truths. I adore both of these. I started with several PraiseBaby albums that were given to me by a really great friend and my mom. I mean, we killed those albums because we loved them so much. I feel like that’s all we listened to at all times of the day! But I really liked the music. SOOO much better than most “kid music”. Highly recommend you purchasing every single one of them! My favorite albums are Praises and Smiles, My Father’s World, and Sleepytime Lullabies. Then, my friend Rebecca introduced me to Hidden in My Heart several months ago and I just fell in love. This is absolutely as much for adults as for children. If you are having a crazy stressful day, listen to one song on here and I promise you will start feeling more at peace. I love that they are essentially just scripture put to beautiful music. Currently there are only 2 volumes, one that came out this past Thursday (which I immediately purchased!), and they can only be purchased on their website at the moment. Both volumes are equally fabulous. You can even download a free lullabye to get a feel of the music before buying a full album. Trust me, you’ll want the albums after listening.  Both PraiseBaby and Hidden in My Heart have helped Abi Kate sleep very well. I really do notice that she sleeps better with them on, maybe it’s totally psychological, but either way you won’t be sad if you buy them!
6.       A babywearing device-- It’s no secret that I love babywearing. LOVE it. I started wearing Abi Kate at 1 week old and I have absolutely no intentions of stopping anytime soon. I adore having her so close to my heart, and she loves it too. I believe in the benefits of wearing your baby when they are tiny and small, and I believe in the convenience of it when they are older. Car seats are heavy, folks. If you have a chunky baby, they’re heavier. I stopped carrying Abi Kate in her car seat at about 7 weeks old. Her car seat has not been removed from our car since then. I wear her everywhere. I wore her when she was tiny at the store because it cuts down on the number of random strangers touching her-- I mean they have to get REALLY close to you and your chest to touch. That stops most people, though there are the occasional weirdos… Now that it is disgusting flu season and I don’t want her touching a buggy, I wear her while I shop. My hands are free, it’s easy. I wear her on long outings because it’s easier than maneuvering a stroller. I kept my wrap in the car for the longest time and now I keep my mei tai in there. I occasionally still use the wrap around the house. There are SO many brands of these, sold in stores, sold online only, so many work-at-home-moms who make all types of these. You can find really good and really bad reviews for almost every single brand. To me, you basically just need to use common sense when using one no matter the brand-- check the seams each time, make sure nothing’s loose, and if it doesn’t feel safe then it probably isn’t. In my opinion, you’re going to know if there’s a problem. The actual act of babywearing is NOT a science. It’s really easy. I know a lot of “professional babywearers” disagree with that, but I just don’t think it’s all that serious. Common sense prevails here or rather your maternal intuition. If you’re crafty, make your own and a save a bunch of money! I loved a stretchy wrap for Abi Kate when she was little and for quick trips in and out of the car. Now that she’s heavier, a non-stretchy mei tai has been better. Ring slings, peanut shells, stretchy wraps, woven wraps, mei tais, soft structured carriers--you're likely to get a different answer about which kind is best depending on who you ask. Honestly, the best type for you depends on your body shape, your baby’s weight, and what you’re using it for. Some are sized, some are one size fits all. Either way, one of our best purchases EVER.
7.       Breastmilk. Yes, I realize that this is not a purchased commodity, nor is it accessible for everyone. I know not everyone breastfeeds. However, outside of it’s obvious nutritional benefits, this stuff is magical. Seriously. I know you’ve heard it called “liquid gold” and it’s so true. It’s so great for lots of things outside of nutrition. It has crazy healing powers. There’s not a diaper rash that it hasn’t healed, a rash/bumps that it hasn’t cleared up. You can use it in place of saline for suctioning a snotty nose. I made breastmilk ice cubes and put them in a mesh feeder for Abi Kate when she’s teething. It helps with inflammation and helps sore gums. Long story short, if you’ve got it- use it! It’s versatile as well! And it’s free!

Seven-- a rather random number to end on for a rather random list of items. Seems appropriate to me. :) 

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