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Posts Tagged ‘gear’

As my adventures in nursing come to a close, we’ve been experimenting with lots of different bottles. I’ve been searching for the perfect one for baby Clementine for months. You can research all you want but it’s really up to the baby to decide if it works or not. When we had Violet, all of the BPA info was just coming to light and it was obviously really scary, especially being new parents & having no idea what to do with/for a baby! We immediately ditched the Playtex bottles we had been given and went to glass. We ending up using Born Free bottles, one of the only BPA-free options at the time. We’ve come a long way as far as bottles (and plastics in general) go in just under 4 years.

So now, I give to you, the Littlewhirl bottle round up!

Born Free
Like I mentioned above, we used these with V because the old standard Evenflo glass bottles gave her an incredible amount of gas. They are definitely awesome, I tend to prefer bottles that have a nipple with a larger bulb, and both girls responded to those types better. They have a great anti-colic vent that’s easy to clean, and now they even come in glass! Born Free bottles will cost you a pretty penny but they are really great all around. I would have definitely used these a second time around but we were on the hunt for a cheaper option.

Green to Grow
We got a 2 pack of the 4oz. glass bottles made by Green to Grow. I love the shape of these bottles, they were super sturdy and Clementine didn’t have much trouble with the nipple (although I found that they were a bit leaky). The best part about these bottles is that they are made in the US, I love that! I do wish that we got the larger size, because Clem was drinking more than 4 oz at 4 months; so, I highly suggest getting the 8oz. size. Green to Grow also makes BPA-free plastic bottles in 5 oz & 10 oz sizes, in wide-neck & regular neck, along with a great collection of baby cloths and super cute totes.

Green Sprouts
Another good BPA-free bottle, no fancy extra pieces, a decent nipple (although we use these are our spare bottles with MAMbaby nipples). A good stand-by, we’ve been pretty happy with using these as our “back up bottles” (read: when we are too lazy to wash the other ones) now that Clem is a bit bigger. Green Sprouts bottles some in 4 oz & 8 oz sizes and cost about nineteen dollar a pack (2). Green Sprouts also makes loads of other BPA free baby cups, bibs and other feeding essentials.

Organickidz
People, these are stainless steel bottles. That’s right, *stainless steel bottles*. Organickidz bottles do not contain BPA, Phthalates, PVC’s or lead. They will not leach toxins or shatter and are made with food grade stainless steel. This bottle was nice and super light. They don’t scratch up so you never have to worry about nasty germies sticking around or hiding in them. Obviously you can’t stick these in the microwave (I usually warm water in a glass bottle in the microwave and then pour it in whatever bottle I’m using) and since they are stainless steel the embossed measurements on the side are a little useless. I also had a heck of a time getting the nipple in the ring. The top can also be used as a 2 oz measuring cup, and that I have to say, is pretty cool. This one is also a 4 oz bottle so we don’t use it much anymore; if you’re going to spring for these bottles (they’ll run you twenty bucks a pop), I highly suggest you buy the big ones.

Dr. Brown’s
I just can’t even deal with how many pieces are involved with this bottle. People love them but I don’t.

MAMBaby Anti-colic bottles
These have definitely been the standout bottle in our house, I really, really love these. MAMbaby bottles have a vented base and a really great nipple. Clementine had absolutely no problem going from breast to bottle with these. They are super easy to clean, the base detaches so I’m never trying to jam a bottle brush in there to get it clean and when I do clean them, I know they are getting really clean. Clementine is a super barfy baby and when we started using these it definitely decreased (in fairness, we also started adding rice cereal to her formula too so it would, um, stick better…). The best part about these bottles? They are cheap and BPA-free! A 3-pack of 8 oz bottles costs under fifteen dollars (they also come in a 5 oz size), you really can’t beat that. MAMbaby is so awesome. I’d be hard pressed to meet a MAMbaby product that I don’t like. Really.

What are your favorite bottles?

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Calling all mitten lovers!

I have almost always had a problem with losing mittens. And now, as a parent, I have a problem with losing my kid’s mittens. Although, let’s face it, kiddos do a pretty good job of that on their own. I am the not-so-proud owner of a drawer full of single mismatched gloves & mittens. I have long considered finding a pair of mittens connected by the long string but with a 3 year old that just seems like it would be problematic & frustrating for her.

Just before our last snowstorm, I got a pair of MimiTENS in the mail. Holy moly are they awesome. mimiTENS were cooked up by Anna-Maria Mountfort, a native of Canada (where she still lives & operates mimiTENS). Not only does she produce these great mittens but they are made in Canada. Anna-Maria spends about 80% of her cost on labor so that she can be sure to manage production in her own country. How many companies do you hear of that are willing to do that, especially in the midst of a recession? Sadly, Not many. 3 cheers for Anna-Maria! So yes, it does make them a bit pricier than your average mitten (they’ll run you about 31.00 USD) but it’s almost impossible to lose one of these (while they are on anyway) and they do an amazing job protecting your little one’s hands from the snow & cold. Isn’t that alone priceless?

mimiTENS are great for a number of reasons; there’s the obvious staying-on factor. The All-weather mimiTENS V has (in Robot of course, she loves robots) are made of water-repellent nylon, insulated with Thinsulate™ and lined with Oeko-Tek bamboo fleece for extra warmth and softness. The mitten itself is very roomy so she is free to wiggle her fingers as much as she can. The cuffs are made of Cotton/ Lycra and are nice & stretchy so they stay on incredibly well. It’s really nice to add an extra layer of warmth on V’s arms without having to burden her with yet another whole layer under her winter coat. She *loves* these mittens. As we speak, we’re in the midst of getting more snow (yay!) and she’s already asked when she can put them on. (Above is a very silly picture of her refusing to take them off after a romp in the snow.)

These are great mittens and I am SO happy with them. These are definitely going to be our go-to mittens from here on out. mimiTENS also makes a SOFT version of their mittens w/ eco-friendly bamboo, I’m sure those are divine. Super cute scarves & hats are also available (I can’t wait to try those). Charity wise, mimiTENS loves and supports the Yonge Street Mission, the Geneva Centre for Autism, Right to Play and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. So when you buy mimiTENS you are supporting these organizations too. *And* right now they are running a sale so hop on over & don’t miss out!

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Starting last summer, V started to show a real interest in taking photographs. Our crummy point & shoot is broken, so we mainly use my husbands work camera which is a pretty expensive DSLR. Obviously, I get nervous with it in the hands of a toddler. So for V’s birthday this year we bought her a Vtech Kidzoom camera.

I hate it.

First, let me say that we are a pretty low income family so at 60.00 this was a big purchase for us. I thought it would be worth it because she was showing such a keen interest in photography & if there’s one thing I always want to do for my children, it’s foster their creative side. When the camera arrived, I was so excited to give it to her that we ended up giving it to her early, thinking if we did, she could take pictures of her new baby sister when she came. The camera body itself is very sturdy but here is my beef: It has video games on it.

I can handle the crappy resolution of the camera (it’s actually terrible), that’s fine. It’s not like she’s Nan Goldin or anything. But as soon as she discovered the video games on it, that’s all she wanted to use it for. If I wanted her to play video games, I would have bought her a freaking Gameboy. I personally, don’t want V playing video games until she is much older. I know Vtech likes to deem them ‘educational’ but in my opinion, I’d rather have her using her own imagination then being a mindless drone at 3 years old.

I am so disappointed in this camera. What’s worse is that we can’t afford to replace it. She found it this morning, took 3 pictures & went right to the video games. It breaks my heart that I have to a) take her birthday gift away from her and b) know that I wasted 60 bucks on a video game system disguised as a camera. I thought I had done a pretty good job researching kid’s cameras….why should I assume they’d stick video games on a camera. Ugh. The better options seem to be the following:

Discovery Kids Digital Kids Camera (this one doesn’t have the greatest reviews, but it’s a cheaper option)

Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera (I think maybe next year this will be the one we get V)

I guess we’ll have to wait until her next birthday to find out.

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Clementine hates being swaddled. Like, HATES it. She loves having her hands free, so she always hulks her way out a swaddle. I know I don’t have to swaddle her, but she’s really fussy & I notice that it definitely helps her so I was really psyched to try out an Ergococoon. The Ergocoon is an organic lightweight zip-up swaddle and it is AWESOME. It’s perfectly stretchy and it allows for Clem to move her arms around a bit & touch her hands, which plain old swaddling doesn’t do. And seeing as my new daughter loves to hold her hands together like some sort of teacup evil genius, the Ergocoon is a huge hit. It also has an open bottom, so middle of the night changing is super easy & I never have to worry about my hubs not doing it correctly.
(I say that in a my-husband-actually-has-trouble-with-it sort of way, not in an all-men-are-useless sort of way, Jesse is an amazing dad). There’s also no loud, baby-waking velcro involved. The Ergococoon is lightweight, so it can be used all year round if needed. I usually swaddle Clementine’s bottom half & Then stick The Ergococoon on her for really cold nights. I truly believe that this swaddle has supplied me with many extra hours of sleep at this point, I love it. Take that, fussy little baby!

Ergococoons are made by ErgoPouch, a small company out of Australia. They provide a great line of baby sleepthings, all of which are made with organic natural fibers. For a list of stockists, visit their site. Happy sleeping!

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BUILT

I heart BUILT products, I always have. They manage to perfectly merge form AND function which isn’t really the easiest thing to do. So I was really excited when I heard they started making baby products. Just recently I have been rocking their Cushy Tushy Changing Pad (in Soho stripe) and it is awesome. First, they come in great colors and second it’s nice and compact. No huge changing pads to lug around and it’s a great way to carry just the essentials. I keep it loaded and I can switch it from one bag to another or just take it as it is, no problemo.

BUILT items are made from neoprene, they are sturdy, easy to keep clean and still soft enough for baby. I love the changing wallet because the neoprene makes such a comfy changing pad for Clementine. No cold scratchy vinyl for my baby’s butt! BUILT also offers bibs, bottle totes, diaper bags for baby. I love the Tidy Bib’s nifty little crumb catcher! They also offer everything from laptop sleeves to lunch totes. It’s almost kind of crazy how many really cool products they offer (they even have an oven mitt!) and the prices are very reasonable. Stop by & browse the BUILT store for their full catalog and find them on Facebook!

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I’m always on the lookout for a good baby carrier. I keep trying to love slings but I don’t & mei-tai’s kind of just aggravate me. I just recently tried an Action baby carrier and the verdict: Awesome! Clementine is a very huggy baby so when she *needs* to be on me the ABC is incredibly helpful; sometimes I don’t know how I’d get her to sleep otherwise. This has become my go-to around the house carrier.

Action Baby Carriers have all the benefits of an Ergo but aren’t as bulky & they fold down to nothing, so they’re easy to stash in a diaper bag. It’s essentially a mei-tai but with clips (the baby carrier I’ve always been looking for) and it’s super easy to use. The Action Baby Carrier offers a front and back carry position, has a weight limit of 45 pounds, is completely adjustable & has a sleeping hood. I love the sleeping hood. In fact, my tiny little friend is sawing logs under it as I type this.

The designers, Scott & Angela Alexander wanted to make simple, affordable baby carriers that are made right here in the US. ABC’s are hand sewn in Alpena, Michigan, and are available in six prints and four solids on really nice heavy cotton. We are currently rocking the ‘Memories’ print and I love it. This is a great, stripped down, no headaches carrier for the price ($89, what a steal!) and you’ll be supporting a great small business as well as supporting jobs right here in the states. For more information about Action Baby Carriers, visit: http://www.actionbabycarriers.com

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Cariboo is a New Zealand based company that was started in 1986 by Carol McGeady. Carol sought to make a bassinet that was sensitive to an infants movements, environmentally sound & very well made. Cariboo bassinets really hit the mark when it comes to simple & elegant baby furniture. This is, hands down, the nicest piece of furniture we currently own.

Clementine is currently resting in a Cariboo Folding Bassinet and she seems to really love being in there (doesn’t she look so cute & tiny in there?). I’m able to rock her a bit and she can then take care of the rest with just her natural movements. It’s a nice, deep bassinet, so I can put her in it and I don’t ever have to worry about light bothering her (sometimes I drape a small sheet over half of it if I really don’t want her to be disturbed). The light that does come through, is nice and diffused from the cotton bag so it never really bothers her much. The Cariboo Folding bassinet comes with a custom fit 100% cotton sheet & a mattress that is all natural, waterproof & PBDE-free. All of the fabric parts are machine washable, which I love so so much! I always wish that baby gear was easier to take apart for washing purposes, doesn’t anyone realize how messy babies are? Cariboo also offers a handful of accessories for your bassinet as well as extras like sheets & mattresses, and each bassinet is handmade in New Zealand with sustainable, local materials. We love this thing; not only is it beautiful to look at, it folds flat in mere seconds & is very light so we can take it with us for extended visits to the Grandparents houses. In our small apartment space matters, so it’s nice to have the option of tucking it away while we aren’t using it and the transition into the girls sharing a room will likely be easy if we don’t have to set up a big crib right away. This is definitely one of those ‘worth-every-penny” baby items. It’s everything I thought it would be and more.

For more information about Cariboo & to see more of the beautiful furniture they offer, visit www.scichild.com

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