Good Baby Stuff


Hello, toddler!

 

Look Ma, no hands!

Look Ma, no hands!

I’ve got a full-blown toddler on my hands. Little C turned 1 a few days ago, and he walks! He’s not a baby anymore.

He doesn’t look like a baby either, he’s wearing clothing for a three-year old. Above all, I’m shocked at how fast this year has gone by, and also, how slowly. 

I look at pictures of him a year ago when he was a newborn, and I start to cry. We’ve come so far. He walks! He eats! He plays! He giggles! This time last year I was just coming back from the hospital with him.

He’s left behind all the vestiges of babyhood. He doesn’t use a bottle (he never did), nor a pacifier. The Arm’s Reach cosleeper bassinet was folded up this weekend and put in the basement. The loaned Exersaucer from Zach has gone back. It’s all gone! Toddlerhood is truly here.

If I have another baby, I hope to remember some things:

Bring handwipes to the hospital, and clean socks, and slippers.

Hire the lactation consultant right away. 

Ignore any advice to wake up the baby every 2 hours at night to nurse. And no night pumping either, that’s crazy!

Remember that breastfeeding does get supereasy over time, even if you have an imperfect latch and just about every other condition in the book. Your body will make it right eventually. 

Don’t get so freaked out about mastitis. Stay home, call the house-visit doctor, drink fluids galore and remember the pain will go away in a few days.

Get prescription medicine asap for baby eczema and use it. This is not a condition that will clear up on its own.

Don’t bother with all that Ferber Cry-It-Out sleep stuff.  Just accept that you might not sleep through the night for one year and ignore people that tell you otherwise. This way, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if Baby No. 2 does actually sleep through the night earlier on than Cillian.

Don’t stress about the baby weight in the first while. It took about 9 months for me to lose it all. And happily, I wasn’t even trying.

So on that note, the time has come to wrap up this blog. Thanks for reading and I hope you found some good baby stuff.

-GBS

What Cillian is doing now: Napping in his crib. He often naps three hours each afternoon, which will come in handy when I am working from home starting next month.


Good moisturizer for baby eczema: Aveeno Soothing Relief Moisturizer Cream

 

Mommy uses this on my sensitive skin and it works!

Mommy uses this on my sensitive skin and it works!

Baby eczema must be one of the more frustrating conditions to watch your child suffer from. Watching your baby scratch himself like he has fleas is quite upsetting. I’ve tried many different remedies for baby C, and just about every cream on the market, but my favourite so far is this Aveeno Soothing Relief Moisturizer Cream.

Updated: Oops! Actually it’s called Aveeno Baby Ezcema Skincare Moisturizing cream. And it’s about double the price (but still worth it).

I was sent a sample, and it’s the best baby eczema moisturizer we’ve used so far. In fact, I used it all up in a week. You can buy it at Well.ca for $6.59. And the site offers free shipping in Canada. Definitely worth it. I’ve tried Eucerin, SpectroKids Eczema ointment, and they’re ok but not great. This works well, goes on easily (the SpectroKids is so difficult to squeeze out of the tube) and seems to offer little C some relief. It’s so hard to know, cause ezcema flares up and recedes, and you don’t always know why. For me, right now, my elbows are a mess again. Sigh. 

-GBS

What Cillian is doing now: Pushing his high chair around. He’s standing, going up stairs quickly, pushing stray tidbits of food into his mouth with his finger, all kinds of new and exciting developments. He can say “meh meh meh,” too. And he doesn’t mind being babysat either, he loves to play (I went to see Coco avant Chanel with my friend Y and my mom watched him, then Janet watched him yesterday so Niall and I could eat dinner at the Drake.).


Driving toys for tots: Vtech Learn and Discover Driver

 

I love to pretend I'm driving!

I love to pretend I'm driving!

At a lovely neighbourhood boutique purveying upcycled goods called La Bonne Volonté (aka Goodwill), my friend S urged me to buy this Vtech Learn and Discover Driver toy for $2.99. It retails regularly for $22.99  at Toys R Us.

Bargain time!

Even at full price, it’s worth it. C grabbed the wheel immediately and started turning it, which allowed me to shop LBV a little longer. Where, by the way, I picked up a pair of impeccable-condition snow pants from The Children’s Place for $1.99. Full disclosure here: La Bonne Volonté is totally S’s coinage, and man, she can shop that place like a pro! She’s actually the one who found EVERY item I came out of there with, and I had like 5 things. 

After I scrubbed the toy and sunned it, I put two AA batteries in it, and C has been tearing up the roads ever since. I must take some points away however for the annoying sounds this little contraption makes. Mind you, those sounds are still less annoying than crying/whining, so I’ll take ‘em. Maybe I’ll just find some duct tape to cover the sound holes with.

What Cillian is doing now: Trying to grab my laptop from me. He can stand really good these days, he has 5 teeth, and he took one teeny tiny almost-step toward me today! He’s 10.5 months old, hard to believe.


Stuffed animals as a baby gift: A no-no?

 

Anyone remember the Paddington Bear skit from SNL?

Anyone remember the Paddington Bear skit from SNL?

The reason I bring this up is because my mom wanted to buy a newborn a stuffed animal as a gift. I suggested not to. I said this with a twinge of guilt because of all the nice stuffed animals Cillian has received from family and friends. Stuffies are so irresistable! So adorable. Fluffy. Huggable. 

But they take up a lot of room, and need to be dusted often. C’s shelf is crowded with them. He doesn’t really play with them, but since they are his gifts I feel I should display them. I know this sounds ungrateful, and I suppose it is. But my purpose here is to guide toward good baby stuff.

For newborns particularly, stuffed animals don’t make the best gifts even though they are fun to give, and are nice in that they don’t need wrapping and can be found in a variety of price points. But what can a new mom do with a large stuffed animal? 

Advice: a small book is a nice gift, too. (So is Sophie the giraffe, if you have a $20 budget) You might be afraid of doubling up something the baby already has, but many bookstores will exchange a book so long as it’s in brand-new condition. And an extra Sophie will come in handy when the first one gets tossed out the stroller.

-GBS

What Cillian is doing now: Having an epic, 2+ hour nap. Sorry for the lack of posts in the past few weeks. The crawling/standing phase is a tough one that needs constant supervision. And no, 10 months old and he’s not sleeping through the night. Minimum one wake up, usually two, but at least he’s mostly in his crib these days.


Alternatives to Cheerios, cause they are too salty for baby

 

Cheerios are easy to eat, but full of salt!

Cheerios are easy to eat, but full of salt!

When my bro was a bambino, I tasted some of his Cheerios. I couldn’t believe how salty they were! Knowing this, I confess, I still bought some for Cillian, more just to encourage his picking-up skills skills than for actual nutrition.

Then I bought some other organic types, and the problem was that he couldn’t eat those as easily, something about the shape being a bit too thick. Definitely, Cheerios has the meltiness down pat. 

But  basically, I am convinced they are like potato chips for babies, so I let him eat them with that in mind. The health claims are bogus, if you ask me, or at least eclipsed or negated by the deleterious effect of the sodium content. I looked at the box, which confirms what I thought. There is a lot of sodium in there. What irks me is that these are marketed as a perfect kid’s food. Just look at the image above from the Cheerios website. To the Cheerios people: Your cereal is just too salty. You need to make an alternative low-sodium version for babies, if you want to market to them.

Maybe Canadian Cheerios are saltier than American Cheerios? The Globe and Mail just reported that Canadians are getting way more salt IN THE SAME FOODS that are served elsewhere in the world from companies like Burger King’s onion rings, Subway sandwiches, and cereal makers like Kelloggs (All Bran, of all things). 

Let’s look at the curious case of All Bran. 861 mg of sodium for Canadians. For the US?  A mere 258 mg of sodium, for the same product.

I’ve always contended that cereal is just junk food, and it looks like I’m right. Nothing wrong with junk food in my book, it just gets my hackles up when it’s portrayed and heavily marketed as healthy, nutritious stuff.

-GBS

What Cillian is doing now. Mercifully, sleeping. It’s been a wild ride of nightwaking and difficulty putting him to bed, this little dude. On the developmental side, he’s crawling like crazy, and yesterday he was chasing Janet around the house and yelling at her, for fun.


Eczema treatment for babies: Spectro Kids Eczema

 

We were skeptical, but this stuff is pretty good for eczema!

We were skeptical, but this stuff is pretty good for eczema!

Baby eczema. It’s all about putting the moisturizer on WET skin.

Part of me thinks I shouldn’t jinx it, but C’s baby eczema is relatively under control. Many thanks to my friend L who cottoned me onto the practice of wetting the skin and then moisturizing, three times per day, and to my mom who said she read that you should bathe baby every day (tepid/warm water, NOT hot) and moisturize. Using a combo practice, C’s eczema is under control. He also has Betaderm, too, but I’m needing that less and less.

I like this Spectro Kids Eczema product, though initially I thought it was just a gimmick. It’s very difficult to squeeze it out of the tube though. Really quite annoying, they should change the toothpaste tube style to a pump or a soft tube. It’s one of those metal tubes.

The thing about baby eczema though is it can flare up out of nowhere, for seemingly no reason. So while I’d like to believe it’s strictly the wetting/moisturizing of the skin, it may just be that C’s skin is calmer, too.

Fingers crossed.

-GBS

What Cillian is doing now: He’s watching the rain stream down the sliding glass doors in the kitchen. He is also alternately banging on something, though I’m not sure what and I’m not inclined to find out. I figure if he’s making noise, he’s alive. He’s teething again. He’s got two teeth but drooling like a hot puppy on a sunny day.


Well.ca offers free shipping anywhere in Canada, on all items

 

We bought Weleda baby oil from this site. Hope it comes soon!

We bought Weleda baby oil from this site. Hope it comes soon!

If you live in Canada, you never get free shipping. However, this site, Well.ca, ships items to your home FOR FREE! That’s kind of a big deal for us Canucks considering there is no minimum purchase. Yesterday I bought Cillian some Weleda Calendula baby oil for his bathwater on this site. Not only is it free shipping, the product is a little cheaper than in stores (not that I could find it in stock at a store near me, but I digress).

I’m not sure how they can afford to do this, but I suppose they are betting that you’ll order more than one thing, or that the one thing you order will cost more than the postage, or this is a loss leader and eventually they’ll go back to charging for shipping…but really, I don’t care! I’m just happy I’m getting my product.

These are some of the nifty things I saw on the site: Baby food cubes for $4.99 (those plastic cubes you freeze food in), bibs, Burt’s Bees Diaper cream (cheaper than Whole Foods and Loblaws, FYI), Weleda baby products (French actress Julie Delpy is a fan, apparently), Aquaphor ointment (can’t seem to find that on the shelves here, I heard it’s behind the pharma counter–what a hassle!), and on and on. Oh, and makeup and I think even fragrance. It’s wild. Check it out.

-GBS

What C is doing now: Rattling away at something in the kitchen. He’s become QUITE the crawler, “thundering around” as his dad says, with his big hands slapping the floors as he crawls. He also…can pull himself to standing position, and fall relatively gracefully on his bum; crawls up to me for a hug when he hurts himself, but then goes back to what he’s doing; twirls around like an alligator when you put him on the change table; eats paper if you’re not looking.


My advice: Buy a cheap baby bathtub

 

This is my inexpensive bathtub. I still use it.

This is my inexpensive bathtub. I still use it.

Wow. I’ve hardly posted lately because I spend my days chasing Baby Squirming Salmon, who crawls everywhere and pulls himself up on his knees onto everything. In fact, I think he’s getting all sooty in the fireplace right now. 

His hands and feet get all dusty these days, so I’ve had to give him quick baths almost every night. In contrast to the once-weekly baths I gave him from ages newborn to 7 months, that won’t fly anymore. He’s too dusty and grimy (it’s the summertime, too). 

He sits quite nicely in his inexpensive bathtub that I registered for. I think it cost like $10 or so. And my cousins who gave it to me as a gift thought to buy other items from my baby shower registry and use the tub as a basket. It was a lovely gift, I used everything inside!

Some tubs are outrageously priced. I think I saw one for $45 or so, with all the bells and whistles. Fine, but really not needed. Even that strange-looking cup shaped one costs $40. And it’s just a plastic tub.

Spend the money on a nice high chair instead, they spend way more time in there.

-GBS

What Cillian is doing now: He’s moved on from the fireplace all the way into the kitchen, where he’s climbing up on something. He’s also babbling “Errr, urgghh.” Yesterday at the Salsa St. Clair festival he ate churros. The day before he ate naan bread. He is really spoiled for international variety of food. I don’t think I ate those things until my late-20s.


Teething remedies: Bread and spoons

 

Baguette slices keep me busy for up to 25 minutes!

Baguette slices keep me busy for up to 25 minutes!

Hello, first tooth! Cillian has been a handful the last week, because he’s cut his first tooth at 8 months. Yay, Cillian!

One of the most effective foods for him, I’ve found, is the end of a baguette (one that’s not too soft, they could choke on the too-soft stuff). He’ll chew on it for about twenty five minutes, or as long as it takes him to polish it off. And best of all, he’s so quiet when he does it. He just sits and eats. No crawling. No bawling. No whining. He just bites and chews and tugs at it with his, um, tooth.

Also effective to a lesser degree: Spoons. He’ll bite and suck on them for a while, but the drool is copious, so a bib and vaseline on the chin is a must (he’s got a bit of redness there).

-GBS

What Cillian is up to: Right now, playing in his crib. He’s finally sleeping nearly 12 hours most nights cause he’s tired from the nonstop crawling.


Breastfeeding: My Brest Friend nursing pillow

 

Mealtime used to happen on this pillow, every few hours!

Mealtime used to happen on this pillow, every few hours!

One of my most searched and most read posts is one I wrote about breastfeeding, mastitis and potato slices.  Man, I’ve been through everything when it comes to nursing. Crazy thing is, once upon a time, the whole idea made me quite uncomfortable. I knew I was going to try it, but generally speaking, I didn’t like looking at breastfeeding mothers and even the though of myself nursing was very abstract, and not something that exactly filled me with pleasure.

It was so hard to get nursing started (as it is for nearly everyone). The pain, the frustration. This My Brest Friend pillow was a great help, and I used it constantly for about 3 months, then only when I nursed when sitting on the sofa. The lactation consultants all seem to like it best, as it’s nice and flat. 

Breastfeeding is very technical at the beginning: sit your chair up nice and straight, deflate that little hemmoroid donut they give you (invariably way too inflated) so that there’s just a touch of air in there, put the pillow on nice and high under your breasts. Then there’s the baby. Undress him so he’s skin-to-skin with you. Make sure he’s on his side. Latch him on while holding your boob with your hand closest to it. Compress your breast to make it flatter and therefor easier to get more of it in his mouth. 

Sigh. I could go on and on. It’s tough going. Like learning to ride a bike with a newborn in a basket on top.

However, take heart. Here is my one piece of advice. Whatever breastfeeding problem you may have, it will probably go away. My friend Y told me “Eventually it will come as naturally as blowing your nose.” And true enough, it happened at around the five-month mark. No more problems. No more pain. Just easy, breezy nursing. Thank god. Cause I hate cleaning bottles and making formula, and I only did it a handful of times.

-GBS

What Cillian is doing now: Sleeping. It’s 11am and he’s still going strong, SINCE LAST NIGHT. Yep. He fought me to stay up until 11, crying and writhing like crazy, finally fell asleep. Woke up briefly to nurse at 7:30, played on my bed a bit, fell back asleep. It’s like having a teenager in the house.


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