Thursday, July 15, 2010

Favorite Baby Products

There are so many baby products out there that it's really hard to know what to spend your money on.  I've wasted a few bucks buying the wrong stuff.  Four and a half months into my job as a mom now, I have a better idea of what I like.

  1. Baby CarrierERGOBaby.  My husband really likes the Moby Wrap, but I like the convenience and comfort of the ERGOBaby.  It's a bit pricey, ranging from $105 to $120, not including the infant insert, but the comfort and good craftsmanship is well worth it. There's also the possibility of buying them used off Craigslist or eBay.
  2. Stroller  (a) BabyTrend Snap N' Go.  The Snap N' Go is a wonderful stroller.  There are many reasons why I like this product, the most important being the ability to, well, snap the carseat into it and go.  This is important because my baby usually naps during a car ride and I can transfer her, carseat and all, into the Snap N' Go without waking her.  For an inexpensive stroller (around $70), it navigates surprisingly smoothly.  AND it folds up  and fits nicely into a small car like my Corolla.  The storage basket and the cup holders are a bonus. (b) Bugaboo Frog.  I was appalled at the price of this stroller (retails for around $700), but I got it for free, and so I was eager to test out why there is so much hype about it.  I was amazed by the sturdiness of its metal frame construction and its minimalist aesthetics.  The wheels navigate really smoothly -- the stroller comes with its own air pump for its inflatable back tires.  The frame can be used with a bassinet or seat.  So far, we've only used the bassinet, which comes with a beautiful quilted sleeping bag lining and canopy.  The bassinet on the stroller is so comfortable that it is very easy to rock my baby to sleep in it inside our home.  I think this stroller is great for folks who live in the city and won't have to worry much about constantly loading the bulky thing in and out of a car (it does not fit into my Corolla).  Also, the shock-absorbing tires provide a smooth ride over bumps and cracks in urban sidewalks.  We live in a fairly walkable neighborhood, and I like to do light grocery shopping on foot with this stroller.   It does not come with a cup holder, but you can order it as an accessory for a hefty price of $25.
  3. Baby WipesBounty Paper Towels + water.  We were skeptical when the nurse at the hospital told us to stay away from baby wipes and instead use Bounty and water because they cause rashes.  I think we were being optimistic because we had already received so many boxes as gifts from our registry.  Besides, we got the kind for sensitive skin.  But the hospital nurse was right.  Our baby developed really bad rashes.  Now, we cut up each sheet of Bounty into 4 squares and wet it with a spray bottle.  We still have a lot of commercial baby wipes, and I use them when I have to travel.  But the rashes are gone.
  4. Disposable DiapersTarget store brand (some sizes are hard to find).  I've come to realize that there is very little reason to use Pampers or Huggies, except for the fact that they're widely available.  In fact, Pampers and  Huggies often leak desiccant crystals that I find disturbing.  The Target store brand diapers do not have this problem, and they are amazingly economical: $6.16-6.49 (50 count in size 1 and 42 count in size 2).  It makes me wonder how much of the Pampers or Huggies' licensed animal characters (e.g., Winnie the Pooh or Cookie Monster) you're paying for when you buy them.  Also, the sizes of the Target diapers run a little larger, so my baby fits into a size 1 in these and a size 2 in Huggies/Pampers.

  5. Cloth DiapersgDiapers.  It occurred to me that my baby used 1,000 disposable diapers in a little over 3 months.  The thought is disturbing, and I began to look into cloth diapers.  I started with the old-fashioned diaper cloths (which are great to have as burp cloths regardless of whether you use them as diapers), but I soon found out that my baby gets a rash from the urine-soaked 100% cotton material.  I invested $50 in the gDiapers system (2 gently used covers from eBay and 1 new + 6 gCloth inserts from Babies R'Us).  It's not cheap, and she can easily go through all 6 inserts in a day.  But the gCloths are well crafted with a layer of microfleece to keep her skin from getting irritated and the rest of it is made with cotton and hemp.  The system  has yet to pay off, but I'm looking into using other substitute inserts to work with it.

  6. Changing Pad Liner – Any brand of doggy training pads in large size.  We cut these wee wee pads in half and place them on top of our changing table mattress to minimize washing the changing table covers (of which we only have two).  They are a lot cheaper than the ones sold specifically for this purpose in the diaper aisle.
I'm sure this list will expand as I have more experience.

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    RIP, Loki the Cat

    Loki passed away suddenly yesterday from what I gather was a stroke and subsequent cardiac arrest.  I just want to take a moment to remember him while it's peaceful in the house.

    I adopted him in April 1997 with his brother Apollo, an orange tabby, when I was living in Tokyo.  He was born to an English mother and a Japanese father.  The mother was owned by an English family who let her roam about the streets of Tokyo unspayed and later returned with her to England right after she had her litter, which they left behind with a friend.

    Loki was all white with light green eyes and a semi-bobbed, crooked tail, which I attribute to his having a Japanese father, since there are many bobbed tailed cats in Japan.   He was the most gentle cat I have ever known.  All thirteen years of his life, I never heard him hiss.  The only times he bit were when he was playful.

    Loki lived up to his name.  He was mischievous and stole food from us often.  No meal we prepared was safe from him if left unguarded for one minute.

    He had a series of illnesses over the past few years, but he's finally pain-free now.

    Apollo is sad today.  He walks around meowing loudly and comes to me often for solace.  We miss Loki.

    Sunday, July 04, 2010

    THE BLIND SIDE by Michael Lewis – Book Review

    The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I saw the movie starring Sandra Bullock first and loved her in it, and MONEYBALL has been sitting on my to-read list for a couple of years now. When I found out that the movie was actually based on a Michael Lewis book, I decided to read THE BLIND SIDE. I'm glad I did. The book is far superior to the movie, which is a bit too sentimental in hindsight.

    Michael Lewis is a wonderful writer. At times his prose is so rhythmic that your pulse quickens as you visualize the action he describes on the football field. He writes his characters with respect and compassion. He does not get sappy (unlike the movie), but I still feel emotional enough to choke up at certain passages.  He has an honest voice that is not laced with hypocrisy.

    I should be reading MONEYBALL soon.

    View all my reviews >>