Hi, my name is Jordan and I am a gadget person. There, I admitted it. I love new thingamabobs. I always "need" the newest version of something...although I am sitting here with my iPhone 4s so I guess I don't ALWAYS require the newest, fastest gadget. Just most of the time.
Combine that with having 2 kids now and I feel like we've tried many different baby things. Some worked for us and some didn't.
I thought it'd be fun to do a little baby product review series for any of my preggers friends...or for anyone who just loves to read about baby products! I think it's amazing the new things that came out between Emmy and Nora. We did get a few new baby items when Nora came along that weren't available in Emmy's day and age ;).
So without further adieu, here's my list of our top "feeding" items that we used and my take on them (please keep in mind that these words are my own and are just from our own personal experiences). Also please note that they are in no particular order because I am too tired to rearrange.
Yes you will look like a cow when using the "hands-free" option and yes you will feel like one too. But, you can also fold laundry, walk around the house, pick up toys and mow the yard all at the same time (hah. Never tried it, but I bet you could). This pump has been my best friend. It is a little louder in comparison to the Pump In Styles, but it's completely portable and fits in your hand. The battery is rechargeable and lasts a few days before needing to be charged again. I recommend you check out www.awaybabyessentials.com if you plan to buy any pump. Much cheaper on this site than in store (even when using coupons).
BRAVADO NURSING BRAS
They run about $40 each I think? A tad bit on the expensive side, but if you buy the Freestyle (which becomes hands free when you attach it to your nursing bra) then you might just be wearing your nursing bra all day. I have 3 bras and could probably use a few more. The only problem I've found is that I was a Medium right after delivery (also wore these when I was pregnant) but could probably use a smaller size now.
A dear friend bought this for me when we were pregnant with #2 (first miscarriage). It had been sitting up in the attic until recently. I have now made a few batches of food for Nora with it. It is a nice all in one machine. True, you could steam your food on the stove and then get your food processor out and do the same thing But, I enjoy the convenience of this one!
So you know those squeeze pouches of food that sell for $1+ in the stores? They are so convenient! Well, Beaba came out with this little silicone beauty that you can put purees/yogurt/applesauce/etc in and use OVER and OVER and OVER again. Genius, I tell you. One drawback is that the food does flow out of them a bit easier than the pouches so they need to be used with parental assistance until those toddler fine motor skills can work the pouch without it going all over their face.
PLAYTEX DROP INS (NURSERS)
These are the only bottles we have used with Emmy and Nora. I have heard horror stories about how babies can be finicky with their bottle preference?!?!?! Luckily we didn't have any of those issues. This bottle may not be the most economical or environmentally friendly (Do the math on the liners and you will spend much more in a year than if you just buy a traditional bottle...and maybe the liners are recyclable, I need to check), but I LOVE this bottle. I love that when immersed in hot water, they heat up pretty fast since the heat only has to transfer through the liner, not a plastic bottle. I love that you only have to wash the nipple and the lid, the bottle itself can just be rinsed. I also love that the bottle does not allow air to come inside when baby is drinking from the bottle. It is supposed to be a great bottle if you have a colicky baby.
PLAYTEX BREAST MILK STORAGE KIT
I haven't used this item as much as I thought I would. It's a system of lids and adapters and such for the Drop Ins bottle. It has a pump adapter so you can pump right into the liners, and then seal them with a flat lid and then freeze. When I have used this, I used it mainly for the pump adapter function. I find that using breastmilk storage bags (I use Lansinoh) store in the freezer better because you can lay them flat to freeze and then pack them up in a gallon sized Ziploc bag.
PLAYTEX FRIDGE TO GO
This little black bag is one of my best "baby" friends. The cooling element is built into the bag so you just pop it in the freezer and it will theoretically keep things cold for up to 12 hours. I'm a little skeptical on the 12 hour , so I would say the 8-9 hour mark is more realistic (which has suited all of our needs). It can hold 2 tall bottles. Or one tall bottle and some baby food jars, or it can hold quite a few Lansinoh bags. I have even used it a few times when I pack my lunch! Oh, I also used this when I was severely engorged after Nora's birth. I placed my NUK relief packs in there and would put them on the "girls" after feeding Nora in the middle of the night (in efforts to tell my body to STOP MAKING ENOUGH MILK FOR OCTUPLETS!)
MUNCHKIN COOL WRAP
This is very similar to the Playtex cooler, but this one has gel inserts that you put inside of the fridge (as opposed to placing the whole bag in the freezer). Our Target didn't have the Playtex item in store, so we got this one instead b/c we figured with 2x the girls we needed 2x the freezer bags. I was wrong. We haven't needed 2 bags at the same time yet, but it is nice to have lots of little bags around so that one of them is ready to use at any given point in time.
A PLASTIC CUP
From WalMart, Target or wherever.....it's the perfect device for warming up a bottle :)
4 CUP PYREX MEASURING CUP
This item has a permanent spot right by our sink. (If we had more room in our sink, I'd just place it there....but, we use our left side sink to dry dishes and the right side is always full of sippy cups. HAH). I fill it up about 1/2 way with soapy water. It's the soaking dish.
INSINKERATOR INSTANT HOT WATER DISPENSER
This thing will change your life! Not only is it great for having instantly hot water for warming up bottles, but it also reduces water boiling time for making pasta!!!! We had bought one of these to be used while Emmy was a babe, but this and that..and yadda yadda yadda....it didn't get installed until Nora. But that's OK, it was totally worth the wait! Just make sure you tell your guests what it is when they come over so that they don't try to wash their hands under 160*F water!
BABY LED WEANING (BLW)
This isn't necessarily the weaning that we think about (weaning from bottle, formula or breast)...but it's more about the introduction and movement towards solid foods. In BLW, you skip the mushy food and purees. I made it about 1/2 way through this book and decided I knew enough to give it a try. I had great intentions of sticking to it, but we have now ended up doing 1/2 mushy foods and 1/2 solid foods. Some solids (in solid form) that Nora has tried so far: Avocado, apples, pears, toast & hummus, pasta, pot roast, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peaches, squash (too stringy) and cooked egg yolk. I love the theory, and I agree with the authors and mama's who have used this that it makes meal time less stressful and more fun. Baby gets to explore with food and decide what SHE wants to eat.
MY BREST FRIEND (MBF)
This nursing pillow was a lifesaver! I had some issues with Emmy and her latch b/c of her tongue tie and the boppy just wasn't cutting it. Don't get me wrong, we love the boppy and use it for many other things, but it just wasn't good for us for nursing. The MBF pillow is much more firm and really helps you put baby in an optimal position for nursing. In the early days it can be used for a cradle type hold or the football hold.
What do you think? Did I leave anything out that was essential for your first year with baby? I'd love to hear your thoughts throughout this series.