Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things you didn't know you need

These items were lifesavers for us:
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Newborn Starter Set
If you're a hardcore "breastfeed only, nature is best" nazi, skip this section. Otherwise, if you're like most modern working people who don't have infinite time and energy, then you're probably going to (at some point in your baby's life) bottlefeed your baby. In my opinion, there's nothing better than a set of bottles where the nipples actually mimic the natural breast. By using Tommee Tippee, our baby never had "nipple confusion" and could switch back and forth easily. Highly recommended.

If you happen to have the world's most perfect baby (<1%) then skip this section. But if you happen to have a normal baby that is picky about the temperature of the milk (fresh 98.7F), then this is for you.

Normally a new baby will wake up every 2-3 hours (around the clock) and by the time you're done heating up the water/milk, the baby is furious and screaming for milk. By pre-mixing the right temperatures, you can just pour water straight to the bottle without having to worry about temperature. This is a time and scream and stress saver. Must have. Get the best. Zojirushi vacuum insulated ones are the top of the line. Tiger brands (Korea) are decent too. American brands just don't cut it (most don't give you the exact temperature retention ratings).

Munchkin Formula Mixer, Colors May Vary
Have you even spent over a minute mixing the formula and still see clumps on the bottom? Have you ever endure your baby's screaming cry for milk while you shake shake shake shake shake the bottle and yet it's still not read? You must get this mixer. In 10 seconds, the milk is ready. Scream and stress no more.

HDE Temperature Gun Infrared Thermometer w/ Laser Sight
and the
I don't need to say how great it is. You already know how great it is. You can use it to measure the temperature of the milk (INSTANTLY) and approximately whether he/she is having a fever. You can use it to measure the temperature on the floor (ambient temperature) and temperature outside. This device is amazing. It is not as accurate as basal or armpit methods (to the closest 1 degree), but it is FAST, and accurate enough. Just get it.

An infant has no hand-eye coordination. He will sleep, wave the arms randomly and hits himself and starts crying furiously. Why torture your baby when you can give him a sense of peace and tranquility with the swaddle? Please swaddle your baby so that he will sleep better. No, swaddle him/her so the entire family can live in peace. Just get it.

P.S. Please spare me the "I want to give my baby freedom! Swaddling looks so cruel!" and go take a parenting class before lecturing me about how evil it is to swaddle children.

You'll notice that baby toys use batteries. Lots and lots and lots of batteries. Get the rechargeable ones, they're worth it in the long run.

You'll need a great battery charger with the expensive Eneloop batteries. These are amazing. They will tell you how much charge you've used, voltage, refresh (memory effect), so on so forth. Just get it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Renting vs. Buying

No I'm not talking about housing. I'm talking about baby stuff.

One of the things I noticed about parenthood, is that 1) there are always surprises (e.g. you need this, you need that, baby outgrows this, outgrows that) and 2) you're on a never ending quest to buy more and more and more and more stuff . Very soon you'll realize that either you need more room, or to organize your life better.

We're city folks and we live in a 2 bedroom apartment. It's not very big, and yet half of the items in the apartment belong to our son, Calvin. There's the jumper, 2 electronic rockers, one rocker-seat, one walker, one crib, boxes and boxes and boxes of diapers, dividers, and toys toys toys toys toys toys toys and more toys all over the place.

Toys are wonderful. They keep your baby pre-occupied so that you can do what you need to do. For example, a baby squirms and turns while you change the diaper. But with a new toy, they are pre-occupied and it makes diaper changing experience 100x easier. Toys keep them busy while you heat up their meal/milk/bath-water or just going to the restroom. Toys are wonderful. Unfortunately, babies get bored of new toys quickly.

Solution: rent toys. Like media or anything else, there is no reason to buy something you use for only a times and then store them in the box forever. We've been renting our toys from and are loving it. The fees are cheap, the toys are sanitized and well packages, and we get new toys once every 2 months (the cheapest plan) via UPS. Calvin is excited with new toys, and we no longer have to worry about storing old toys in boxes that just take up more space (or that we just end up donating, hence wasting $). We've considered those places that allow parents to trade books and toys with each other, but it's been difficult due to our tight schedules.

So before you go out and buy something that your baby will use only a few times, consider renting. It is better for the environment, it saves you money, and it saves you the headache of having to deal with space and storage.