Thursday, December 13, 2012

Product recommendations: the feeding essentials

One of the most valuable things that I've gained from caring for so many children in so many different homes, besides a knowledge of children, is my knowledge of baby products.
I could whip together a killer baby registry in a matter of minutes.
So, I'm going to share my top picks for "essential" baby products from the feeding category of a registry.
Mind you, I'm not doing this from a pediatrician's perspective or anything else like that, just from my experience.

Let's start with a babysitter's favorite item...

With pacies, your baby will often go one of four routes;

a) Soothie-type nipple
For some reason, babies love this pacifier. If they do, that's a bonus because it means they'll take a bottle a whole lot easier if/when you get to that stage. My only issue with this one is its shape, it's HUGE and flat. This means it takes up half of baby's face, and they may have a lot of trouble keeping it in.
If this is the type your baby prefers, then I highly recommend you get online and order some of these little beauties below. They are called Gumdrop pacifiers, and they are exactly like Soothies except they won't look like a full-faced mask on your little baby, and they're much better contoured to stay in baby's mouth. Also, they come in a few other colors, and you can even get vanilla-scented ones, which babies love.

 b) The generic Mam
These are the pacis I see most often. They are cheap, easy to find at stores, and come in tons of cutesy colors and designs. The reason that moms love these are because they stay in baby's mouth really nicely, and are designed to fit on their little faces without being too bulky.

c) Nuk orthodontic nipple
These ones are pretty common as well. The nipple is meant to ensure that as teeth grow in, they aren't aren't disturbed. (No strange gaps or crooked teeth.) They also come in silicone or rubber nipple, just in case baby prefers or needs one or the other. Moms appreciate the little handle on front for easy picking up, removing from mouth, etc.

My personal opinion is that your child having a pacifier won't do much damage to their teeth no matter what kind you use, and all are better for teeth than a thumb. The easiest way to figure out what paci you'll need to stock up on is to buy one each of your top two choices, and test them out, whichever your baby prefers is the winner.

*Insider tip*
The easiest way to break your baby of their pacifier once the time comes is a method I learned from my sister. (Thanks, Ash!)
When you feel it's appropriate, start using the pacifier ONLY for sleeping time.
A good time for the first step is anywhere from a few weeks- a year of within the time you're ready for the paci to be gone. This will help them to become less attached and dependent on it.
Once you feel like the time is right to stop giving the paci, hide or throw away all but one of them.
Take the one remaining pacifier, and snip the very tip of it off.
Now, go ahead and give it to them whenever they ask for it.
For some little ones, this will turn them off to the pacifier immediately since it no longer functions right.
If they insist on continuing use, cut a little piece of it off everyday.
(Don't let them see that you're doing this)
As it gets smaller and more open, it will become more and more difficult to keep in their mouth, and less of a comfort.
My stubborn little nephew lasted about a week with his ever-shrinking pacifier. Once keeping it in his mouth meant him drooling like a tiny baby, and having to have his hand on it, he willingly handed it over, and didn't ask for it again. (At least not on a regular basis)
Good luck.
*The End*

On to the next item...

With bottles, It really comes down to what you prefer as a mother. Your little one may have a preference as to what size/type of nipple they'll use, but beside that, go wild.
To most properly help you decide, I'll just put them in order of my personal preference. ;)

1)Playtex Ventaire advanced
These are really easy to find at stores, and are designed to reduce gas and colic. Let me tell you, they definitely work! These bottles have an air-venting system at the bottom, which means they have a few little pieces you have to take apart and clean individually, but trust me, that's worth it.
A really nice thing about these is that they come in two different nipple styles, and two sizes of each style.
See how the ones on the left have a wide "natural" nipple, and the tall skinny ones have a classic bottle nipple? That just means you can choose whichever you like, or let your baby choose. :)

2)Dr. Brown's
These are basically designed for the same special purpose, to reduce gas and colic.
To me, these seem to just be more complicated. Effective, yes. Annoying to clean and put together, also yes. So, these are quality bottles, but if it's the function you're going for, I'd choose bottle #1 over this one. Also, Dr. Brown's bottles are harder to find, and more expensive.
3) Avent
I really like Avent bottles. Avent's whole Shtick is that their bottles are specially designed to be most like the breast. This way, if you're doing both bottle and breast feeding, your baby will be comfortable with both, and not refuse one or the other. I've always liked how sturdy and simple these bottles are. They've recently created an updated design, which they call their "natural" bottle, or you can choose the "classic" design, which they also still offer.

4) Playtex Drop-Ins
These bottles are meant to function exactly like a breast. This is why they call them a "nurser" rather than a bottle. Here's my two cents: these are an absolute pain, and you can get the same function in bottles with an air venting design. These aren't terrible, they just definitely wouldn't be my choice.
There are tons of other niche bottles you could choose from; modern ones, glass ones, mock-breast ones, etc. 
I would personally stick to the more common choices. They have been tried and tested, so you know they're good.

Other feeding products I love:

-The boppy pillow
I used to think that this pillow was second-best to another, but I've been converted. Not only can you nurse easier, but your little one can lounge in it before they learn to sit up. Not to mention, you can easily make or buy a ton of cute slipcovers for it, and it's not too expensive.

- Nursing Covers
Nursing covers are fantastic. My favorite brand is Bebe au lait, but you can find a decent nursing cover anywhere these days! Many of them come with little pockets, there are hundreds of cute prints to choose from, and they're just so convenient.

That's all I have for today.
If you have favorite feeding products, please feel free to leave a comment, and share with us!

Thanks for reading!

The Knowledgeable Nanny

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