The Great Sippy Cup (Mis)Adventures

As a new mom, everything in the world of baby items is new. It is a vast, undiscovered, fun, exciting, and at times frustrating and downright annoying arena.

Logan at 20 months with the first cup, and
probably the 3rd top.

When Logan was about 10 or 11 months old, I bought him his first sippy cup. After looking around at all the varieties, I settled for one that (now that I think about it) was very overpriced but looked like something useful. Instead of the usual hard tip, it was soft, like a nipple was. I thought he might drink from that so I got it.
It wasn’t long before I discovered the first problem – he liked to bite the tip. He used it for some time (at that time just for water) but eventually I knew I’d have to replace the tip … and this is where the problem grew. I couldn’t find a replacement! The manufacturer hadn’t put one out and the only solution was to buy a new cup. This bugged me A LOT because I had paid so much for this supposedly great cup to have my kids teethe on it and I couldn’t replace it? Finally, after much searching, I found a top by a different manufacturer. It didn’t fit perfectly but I made do and the cup lasted a little longer.
By this time, he was using the cup for milk and problem number two had shown up – milk caked in the tip. Frustration doesn’t describe the feeling as I spent countless hours soaking, scrubbing, and picking with a toothpick all the milk that got stuck when it wasn’t washed immediately.
Eventually I’d had enough with the cup, so I got him a new one with the usual hard tip. And yes, he chewed that one up too, and I had the same milk-caked-in-the-top problems. I think until he was almost 3 I got him a new cup every few months cause he would chew on the top and I figured it must feel funny to drink from. Then I just gave him a regular child’s cup, plasic but no lid and he had to learn to drink carefully.

Opening gifts the morning after her
first birthday.
With Lila I was more aware of what to look for, and she happily drank from a bottle, so I waited until her first birthday to get her a cup, plus plate, bowl, and utensil set, all matching in pink (of course). Yes, the cup problems continued but … she didn’t bite the tip of the cup. Wow. The cup could last longer, and it did. I made sure to wash it as soon as she was done so the milk couldn’t cake up, or so I thought.
But over time it did and I soon got her a new one which lasted all of 2 hours, since as soon as we got home, Logan proceeded to bite up first his cup and then hers. Groan.
I think I waited a month or so, and then got her a new one, which she still has … cause I’ve learned the secret to getting all that milky gunk buildup out:
1. Wash it right away, or soak with water if I can’t.
2. When it won’t come clean with a wash, soak with a drop of bleach for a few hours and then wash well. You have to make sure the lid of the cup is completely submerged to get it clean, so put something heavy on it to keep it from floating.
If you have a spray hose at the sink, the force of the water can help dislodge milk that is in parts you can’t get into to clean.
3. Q-tips work great for cleaning hard-to-reach spots.
Of course cups do eventually have to be replaced but trying these cleaning methods can make them last longer.
Scarlett’s birthday is next month, so guess what I will be buying her? (I think, though, that I will just get her a cup, a plate that has divided sections and a spoon. Everything else is not really necessary.)

Anyone else have sippy cup stories you want to share?

Packing Your Diaper Bag

Picture this: it is your first outing with your newborn. You are excited about going somewhere since you have been stuck in the house for so long, waiting for your baby to be old enough for outings. You get dressed, dress the baby, grab your purse and head out. It isn’t until you get where you are going that you remember you were supposed to bring … something. What was it?
Baby decides it is time to do one of those poops, the kind that leak and spread all over his clothes … and you. Now too late, you remember what you forgot – the diaper bag.
Hopefully this hasn’t happened to you. I’d never wish such horror on anyone (unless I hate them. Then I might just laugh.) Going out with your baby means lugging enough supplies for a small army. How can you keep it down without forgetting anything?

The following is a basic list of items you should pack in your diaper bag. Not everyone will need every item, so I have divided them into must-have’s and optionals.

Elegant yet practical.

2 or 3 disposable diapers – how many you bring will depend on how long you plan on going out for
Package of wet wipes
Changing pad – some diaper bags come with one attached. If yours doesn’t, pack one.
Change of clothes – in case of diaper leaks, throwing up, etc.
Empty plastic bag to place soiled items
1 – 2 bottles and formula – if you don’t breastfeed or if your destination doesn’t provide privacy for breastfeeding. You could either bring the sterilzed water in the bottles and the can of formula, or carry the water in a separate bottle and measure the formula into the clean bottles before you leave. How much you bring will depend on how long you will be out and how many feeds your baby will need in that time frame. Bring a bottle brush if needed.
Hand disinfectant – so you can clean your hands even if you aren’t near a bathroom.
Light-weight sheet for covering baby or to put down on a seat or bed before you put the baby down.
Tissues or a handkerchief.
Sun hat and sunscreen
Sweater or jacket, other warm clothes
Drool or meal bibs
Snacks or baby food – if your baby is old enough for solids and will need them.
A toy or two.
Fancy and fun
Bag options are endless, so whether you have a bag with lots of pockets for sorting everything (my personal favorite), or you have one where everything goes in one place, try keeping it sorted and organized in some sort of order so you don’t have to dig through it when looking for something. Keeping each item at your fingertips will make it easier for you to use your diaper bag. It should be your friend, not something you come to dread carrying.
Mommies, care to share what you put in your bag and how you use it?

Baby Needs, Part 2

Picking up where we left off… (pt.1 is here)
Here is a list of basic items you will want to have on hand before your baby comes.

Receiving blankets – at least 3
Warmer blankets – only needed in cold climates
Sheets – for the crib, 3 or 4; you may also find some thin small ones useful for when you need to put your baby down somewhere other than the crib, for the first few months.
Plastic sheet – to cover the crib mattress if it isn’t already protected. That way you won’t have to scrub things like pee and vomit out of the mattress.
Set of bumper pads to go around the crib – for wooden cribs

(Important: avoid pillows for babies. They could cause suffication if the baby were to get face-down in it and not be able to move back. Children don’t really need pillows in bed until they are around 3 years old.)

Puddle pad – for protecting surfaces during diaper changes
Changing and bath supplies – diapers, wipes (useful for the early months and outings), washcloths, baby shampoo, soap, cologne, and lotion or powder (lotion is for dry weather, powder for humid).
Nose bulb – for removing excess mucous either after birth or when baby has a cold.
Medicine dropper or bottle – in case you need it.
Baby hairbrush
Nail clippers – don’t get a baby manicure set no matter how cute it is. People who invent such things obviously don’t have babies. Only get the clippers.
Bottles – even if you plan on breastfeeding fulltime, it is a good idea to have one or two 4oz. bottles on hand, with the correct size nipples, in case you need to express milk or give formula.
Bottle brush – for cleaning the bottles
Diaper bag – ones with lots of pockets are more practical for keeping items sorted. But you don’t have to carry a real diaper bag. You may prefer to opt for a large purse or shoulder bag, something that expresses you. Click here for my post on diaper bags.
Toys – a mobile is nice for over the crib, and a few soft toys. But don’t buy too many. You will probably be given lots at your baby shower.

For you:
Breast pump – useful if you have more milk than baby can drink, or if you need to pump so baby can have milk at home while you go out.
Breast pads – you can get either cloth or disposable ones. These are very useful in the early months when you have so much milk and it leaks when nursing.
Nursing bras – nursing bras open so that you don’t have to take your breast out to nurse. Buy them when you are about 8 months pg., and you may need to go for a cup size larger than you normally wear. It will fit well when your milk comes in.
You may want to have a nipple cream on hand in case you need it.
Stock up on sanitary napkins now. You will need lots. I found the extra-long nightime ones were best for the post-natal flow. You can return to your regular ones when your period returns.

What is your most essential baby care item?

Baby Needs, Part 1

Shopping for your new baby before it comes is lots of fun. There are so many things out there that you could get, some important and necessary, others that are nice to have, and yet others that are perfectly useless yet are sold as something you just “have to have”. How do you this important job of preparing for your newborn without ending up with a lot of clutter and an empty wallet?
The secret lies in having a list and a plan.

Before you enter that shop with all those adorable baby items that call to you, take some time to plan. Are you setting up a whole nursery, or just a corner of your own bedroom? Are you expecting one or two or more babies? Do you know the baby’s sex? What is your budget? Sit down and make a list with these questions, plus any more you may have, then make your list.

But if this is your first baby, you may be clueless about what you really need right away, what can wait until later, and what you won’t need at all. Below I’ve written some lists of things you will want to get before your baby comes, based on my personal experience.

Equipment: Immediate
– Crib – Even if you plan on having your baby sleep with you, get a crib from the beginning. That way, you can put your baby there during nap times. Especially as they get older, it is safer for them to sleep in a crib to avoid falls off your bed.
– Car seat – try to get one that you can use past the newborn stage so that it will last longer.
– Stroller – very useful if you plan on lots of outings. Some have detachable carry seats for newborns. When you get it, think about how you plan on using it. Strollers come in varying qualities and strengths, so think about if you will use it for long walks, carrying groceries (like I do), exercising, or just short strolls.

Equipment: Later
– Highchair – You won’t need this until your baby is able to sit up, somewhere around 6 months or so. With Logan and Lila I used a booster seat that has a detachable tray and it ties on to a regular chair. Lila is still using it now and Scarlett has a regular highchair.
– Walker – I’ve writen what I think about walkers here.

Equipment: Optional
– Carrier – this is very useful and practical when your baby is small and light. You can use it indoors or out. There are many styles to choose from.
– Bouncer – a bouncer is nice for the first few months when you need a place to put your baby and they can rock in it.
– Changing table – this can be useful if you have back problems and bending is difficult. Some also have a bath attachment. I never used one. Instead, I changed the baby on my bed and gave them sponge baths on the bed until I was able to bend.
– Bath tub – I used one once I was able to bend post-delivery and hold the baby up. It is also useful for when baby is able to sit up alone and play, especially if you only have a shower stall. Of course, you could also use a regular tub and a bath seat instead.

Babies grow rapidly in the first six months of life, so if you are able to get used items instead of new ones, you will save a lot of money. Don’t turn down offers from friends and relatives. Buy on discount if you can. Baby clothes cost as much as adult clothes, but will use them for less time than you would, so only buy new what you absolutely must. Also, buy unisex unless you already know the baby’s sex.
With all my kids I had people give me clothes. When Logan was born I had nothing, but within the first week, bags started showing up from all over the place. Lila was the most well dressed. She had so many clothes that she outgrew many of them before she had a chance to wear them. I’ve had to buy the most new things for Scarlett, but I also saved whatever was still nice of what Lila had outgrown. Do hang on to things if you plan on more kids. It will save you money in the long run.
Some of my personal favorite clothing items for babies are one-piece items, jumpsuits, pajamas, etc. They are comfortable, easy to wear, and practical. Always think practical when buying baby clothes. Think comfort.

For your newborn you will need:
– Onesies – in hot weather they are a complete outfit and in cold weather they are a layer of warmth. Buy cotton cause it breathes better than polyester. You will need a good amount on hand, especially if you are using cloth diapers.
– Pajamas – get the ones that snap up with the covered feet. Newborn ones often have an extra piece at the wrist to cover the hands, or else they come with mittens.
– Mittens – a few pairs. They are not just for warmth, but to keep baby from scratching himself in those early weeks when the nails are still fused to the finger and you can’t clip them.
– Warm hat – needed for newborns and those born in winter.
– Socks
– Booties – for extra warmth

These are the best items for newborns. Save outfits with tops and bottoms for when they are older.

To be continued… click here for part 2

A Mommy’s Best Friend

Meet my new best friend.

Elegant and practical, I take it with me wherever I go.

Many pockets make carrying needs easy.

Top: Wallet and wet wipes (Wet wipes are good for more than diaper changes. I use them for wiping sweaty, dirty faces, sticky hands, my hands and more. I always carry a pack with me.)

Bottom: Left – liquid hand disinfectant spray, mosquito repellant cream, tissues, bandaids, antiseptic cream. (The last two are just in case. You never know what could happen when out and it’s best to be prepared.)

Right – lipstick, lip balm, keys, gum, wipes for cleaning my glasses, hand cream.

Inside: Water bottles for all of us. It is easier to carry one for each of the kids than one for all of us to share. That way they can drink what they want at their pace without having to wait for the other to finish. Extra diaper, snack box, comb, sun screen, bib, hankerchief (good for wiping sweat off your head when out)and phone. I also include a change of clothes for each of them if we plan to be out for a while.

See the side pockets?

One is for the camera and the other will be useful for the baby’s bottles. Yes, I plan on breastfeeding, but when out, it is often hard to find a private place to feed and if I’m at the playground with the kids it isn’t possible at all. So I always carry a small (4 oz.) bottle of water and another one with powder formula. That way, if the baby is hungry but we aren’t ready to go home, I just add water to the formula, shake it and we are good to go. Baby is fed and happy and I can let the kids play in peace.

I know this will happen because it happened when Lila was tiny. I didn’t use formula with Logan since it was easier to stop and nurse him. I only had him to watch and didn’t have to worry about a kid running off while I’m nursing the baby. Also, we were living in Bangalore at the time and it is cooler there so he didn’t mind having a sheet over his head while nursing, but Lila always hated it, and I can’t blame her, as it is so hot here, anything over your head makes you sweat like crazy. So I started carrying the formula for her and it saved many a stressful moment when she was tiny. This time around I know better and have planned ahead for it.

The bag itself still has plenty of space for the other things I will need for the baby: extra diapers, change of clothes, sheet, changing pad, and I could even fit in a few books and toys if needed.

Now, why do I use such a big bag? Well, the more kids you have to carry stuff for, the bigger the bag you need. But it isn’t that this bag is so big but that it has lots of outside pockets that have lots of space. See, I used to carry a purse and diaper bag, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t practical to carry both, so I switched to only carrying a diaper bag.

My first one was nice, small and compact, perfect for only one child.

Logan on his first bus trip at 4 months old.

But I wore it out from overstuffing, so when I was given this one, though it wouldn’t have been my choice, I used it until it fell apart.

Logan on his first train trip at 10 months old.

I then decided that I needed something that looked nicer but could still carry everything. I opted for a large purse. This one served me for a while but I eventually found it just didn’t open up wide enough and I’d have to take everything out when I needed something off the bottom.

Lila on her first train trip at 8 months old.

I didn’t want another diaper bag that looked like a diaper bag. I’ve realised that a mommy can still look classy and carry what she needs for her kids, so I wanted something nice but useful. I also wanted something well made, as often, because diaper bags are plastic lined, the lining will rip easily. This bag is well made and it is water resistant. It only looks like leather. I searched all over, but when I spotted this one, I knew it was the one.

That is why this nice bag is my new best friend.

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