Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Baby Blog, Diapers and More

In two weeks, my wife and I have gone through relatively few baby products for our newborn daughter. She's breastfed, so I can't comment on any forumulas.

To me, ever since Nestle's horrifying third world scandal, followed by paint scares, plastic bottle scares, and other infant formula scares, I'm jaded toward baby products in general.

Products for newborns are almost designed to be shoddy and poorly tested. When you shop for a newborn baby, it's not an ongoing process where you use the products for life. Baby products are one of the shortest term items you can find, chances are you buy it once, and by the time you need it again for a second child, you've forgotten which products are good and which aren't.

We've used two brands of diapers so far, Pampers Swaddlers, and Huggies Little Snugglers.

Pampers new baby Swaddlers worked well. They generally kept Alia dry and were easy enough to change.

Huggies Little Snugglers were more of a nightmare. If we leave Alia for more than three hours, chances are she's wet. The real issue here is, if a baby is sleeping for a few hours, parents want a break from changing. I don't want to have to wake up Alia, or in many cases, myself, just to change her every three hours. Furthermore, they have a wetness indicator to tell when it's time to change. The wetness indicator is pretty useless when you have to take an outfit off just to check it.

We've got some Kirkland brand downstairs that we haven't tried yet.

There is a huge range of toys designed for babies, and 99% of them are useless in the first month. In fact, as I've found with Zack, and my nephew, the majority of toys are useless. They get played with for a few minutes, usually when they are given, then they end up in a closet, a drawer, and eventually a charity bin.

Thinking back to Zack's bottles as we diversified his diet to include formula and soups, the best bottles were the playtex brand.

I have to admit though, as a man, buying anything playtex for a son is a little bit awkward. If anything, the company could have changed the damn name to something I don't associate with women's menstration cycles.

One problem I found with bottles was that, moving between Canada and Morocco for Zack, it was a nightmare trying to replace the tops. In fact, our first bottles were sent from France by Siham's sister. We had more than a dozen of bottles around the house, and no way to replace the nipples once they went.

Siham wanted a baby monitor with a television screen. I was skeptical, but the fact that the monitor can later double as a spying device or security camera makes it a neat investment.

The first brand of TV baby monitor I bought, for $150 at Toys R Us, had a clunky black and white screen, and was very loud. It clicked and clacked and had a lot of static. I took it back and bought the Lorex video monitor from Costco instead for $179.99.

It works well, although the wires to connect it to the television are pretty poor if you want some space between the monitor and the reach of a toddler. It takes more effort that I'm willing to put in right now, but you can in theory hook it up to the television and have it as that little window while you watch your favourite programs, assuming you have a modern television and can figure out those windows.

We bought a Graco stroller, one of the ones where you kick a locking device at the back to release the stroller, and push it down to lock it. They fold up smaller than the bigger, clunkier strollers, however I quickly found out that they're also more fragile.
The third time I went to use the stroller, one of the metal folding metal braces at the back snapped. I returned it and bought one of the big clunky Graco strollers instead.

The government puts a time limit on how long a baby seat is good for. This is something that's always annoyed me. It also irks me that that companies sell the exact same, identical child seats in both Canada and the US, except for two major differences. In the US, they have the American safety certificate instead of ours, and is therefore not legal here in Canada. The second difference is they are half the price across the border.

We have a swinging chair that we haven't used very much yet.

Swaddle me wraps came in pretty handy. The baby is supposedly used to being wrapped tightly in the womb, and for anyone who's not a proffessional nurse or baby care giver, figuring out how to swaddle a baby with blankets that are usually too small can be a nightmare. Swaddle me products take care of that with velcro nubs that equate to swaddling for dummies. One or two in the drawer is a wise investment.

We had baby sleeping bags for Zack, but they seem harder to find in Canada for some reason. A great investment for the winter and something I'm keeping my eyes peeled for.

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