Babyproofing Shenanigans

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So we started babyproofing slowly from the time O turned 6 months old. I wish we’d started sooner. There’s SO much to be done!

We started with the outlet covers. Easy. Then Hubs attempted to do the drawers in the kitchen but we couldn’t find anyone with an L wrench to install them properly. Then we finally – after many hours of searching – found a gate we liked. We installed it & the following day we were getting used to it and our large tomcat couldn’t jump over it. Hubs raised it to 6 inches off the ground. I was worried O could (somehow) fit under (he couldn’t). Our big boy cat was able to get underneath the gate, thankfully.

Next task? Finding a long enough gate to block off the dining room. This was interesting since we needed something at least 87 inched long. We found something on Amazon that would work but had to order an extension. It came (finally!) and Hubs installed it one evening while I tended to some laundry upstairs. Next thing I know, Hubs comes upstairs to tell me it isn’t long enough – even with the extension! Argh!! Odd part? The measurement Hubs took was inaccurate (it was only 81 inches, not 87) but the gate still didn’t fit. Strange…

Luckily, it’ll work fine if we buy a second extender piece.

The kitchen cabinets are all locked, fridge door secured, bathroom door handles “locked”. All the breakables are put away or set up high. Things are looking up! We’ll see if the extension for the dining room gate works properly & we should be good to go!

Any further suggestions on

babyproofing? Since we’re new at this I’d love to hear what I’ve missed or suggestions on things that should be or don’t need to be done.

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Take care, Mamas! -themidwestmama

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Soothing Techniques: What Worked For Us

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If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again: “This worked for us, I’m sure it’ll work for you, too!” Other moms & dads DO know…what worked for THEM. Not to say they’re tactics won’t work for you, too.

I’ve outlined below the soothing techniques that worked for US when O was fussy, over-tired and/or generally upset about something. They MAY work for you. They MAY NOT. I’m simply writing from about what worked for me & my husband in those early months.

The Happiest Baby…
It was mentioned by mom friends, in our birthing class, on mommy blogs, and by our health department: Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby On the Block and his 5 S’s. Before O arrived, I honestly thought it was the stupidest thing – a waste of time. I read the book & had seen the DVD in a baby care class, but still didn’t think it would work for O. I thought the idea of “shushing” my son was horrible and swinging him back & forth rapidly was dangerous. Had these people never heard of Shaken Baby Syndrome?!? Of course, O was quite the fussy baby during the first 6 weeks, so I caved and tried it. My husband was on board with the 5 S’s from the beginning, so he attempted it first. To my surprise, it worked! We used this method until O was around two months old and then we didn’t need it anymore due to finding other techniques that worked better for us.

What are Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s?

  1. Swaddling // Doing this will make baby feel like he’s in the womb.
  2. Side // Placing baby on their side in your arms assists in digestion, according to Dr. Karp.
  3. Shushing // These sounds imitate the “whooshing” sound baby hears while in utero.
  4. Swinging // Lying in your arms on his side, gently but quickly swing baby back and forth.
  5. Sucking // Many babies are partial to sucking on a pacifier or a parents finger.

Doing the 5 S’s together may help get your little one to calm down and fall asleep quickly, but it doesn’t necessarily work for all babies. Worth a try though, right?

Singing
In addition to “The 5 S’s,” we found singing to be a huge success. If you know me personally, you know I am not much of a singer. At all. After 2 weeks of O having meltdowns, I decided to start singing to him. This also helped to calm him prior to feeding when hubs was preparing his bottle. I started with the “ABC song,” but then I found the magic tune. “You Are My Sunshine,” which holds special meaning to me as it was sung to me as a baby by my Great Aunt who cared for me the first two years of life. Funny how things work out like that, eh? Anyway, this song has done the trick since week 2 and now we’re at week 20!

Musical Instruments
Hubs rediscovered his love for guitar when O was about 5 weeks old. Why didn’t we think of this sooner? He started to play songs every evening to calm baby down. O’s favorite song? “Grapevine Fires” by Death Cab for Cutie. I don’t know if it’s the soothing sound of the guitar or simply hubs’ singing, but it worked. Every. Single. Time.

Pacifier
From the beginning I wasn’t keen on getting O hooked on a pacifier. I thought it would cause him to have future orthodontia problems & obsessive behaviors and he’d depend on it for years to come. O didn’t take to the pacifier right away, but from day one he liked to suck on his hands constantly. I was secretly glad he didn’t want the pacifier. O isn’t nearly as fussy at 5 months old, but within the past month he decided he enjoys pacifiers. Now, sucking on a pacifier when he’s fussy helps to calm him down.

“Walkabouts”
Since O was born, we’d take him on “walkabouts” whenever he was fussy. We call it a “walkabout” but it’s really just a walk through the house or up & down a hallway. Although it didn’t work in those early weeks (we tried!), he’s really coming around to it now that he observes his surroundings and gets easily distracted by a cat walking by or a noise from outside.

All in all, as time goes on, it’s getting easier to calm O down. The only times he really gets fussy is when he’s hungry, overly stimulated or tired – and we’ve learned all those different cries so it’s easy to resolve.

I wish all you mamas & daddys out there much luck in calming your little! Hopefully some of the things that worked well for us will also work for you, but remember to do what works for YOU! -themidwestmama

Top Ten Tuesday: Nursery Themes

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After we found out we were pregnant, we had three different themes for nursery decor in mind. Regardless of if it was a boy or a girl, we were going to keep with the same theme(s). Our first option was Doctor Who because we are both huge fans of the series. After realizing that may be a little more elaborate & expensive than we wanted, we went to our other two ideas – outer space & dinosaurs. Not able to choose between the two, we went with a ‘Dinosaurs in Space’ theme and it turned out wonderfully! Although we only considered a few themes for O, there are others that I’ve found online or saw in other moms’ nursery’s that I really liked. Below is my Top Ten List of Nursery Themes for boys and/or girls. Hopefully something in my list will spark inspiration for your little’s nursery!

First, I wanted to share O’s nursery with you!

Photo: Copyright Heather Smith 2013

Photo: Copyright Heather Smith 2013

Photo: Copyright Heather Smith 2013

Photo: Copyright Heather Smith 2013

Photo: Copyright Heather Smith 2013

Photo: Copyright Heather Smith 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Dinosaurs. This is a rather popular theme for many little boys’ nurseries. It’s also completely fine to do this theme for a little girl – dinosaurs are for everyone!
  2. Jungle. The zoo/jungle theme is pretty popular. We recently found out our little boy loves giraffes!
  3. Princess. This can be girly, but it can also be taken down a notch so it’s not so ‘frilly’.
  4. Outer Space. This is a fun theme for a boy or girl & it can be as elaborate or simple as you wish! So many ideas!
  5. Shabby Chic. This is more for a girl’s nursery, but it can be as girly or not as you want!
  6. Bears. Teddy bears, Paddington Bear, brown bears, black bears, polar bears, Chicago Bears! The ideas are endless when it comes to bears!
  7. Airplanes. This is a fun theme, especially for a little boy. If you have someone in the family who is a pilot, this could really be a wonderful theme for a nursery!
  8. Polka Dot or Stripes. This is a simpler theme, but it can be as decorative as you wish. I really love the polka dot or stripes theme for either a baby boy or baby girl nursery. So many options!
  9. ABC’s. The ABC’s theme is a classic. I have seen so many wonderfully decorated nurseries with the alphabet incorporated into them – all were amazing! This theme can also grow with baby – it’s perfect for a toddler’s room too!
  10. Library/Literary. Always a favorite of mine. We have a mini library in O’s nursery now, but will have to expand soon because he has A LOT of books! I love these shelves – such a neat idea to really make your little’s nursery into a library.
Source: Pottery Barn Kids

Source: Pottery Barn Kids

Source: Project Nursery

Source: Project Nursery

Source: You & I - A Story of Us

Source: You & I – A Story of Us

Source: California Peach

Source: California Peach

Source: Style Me Pretty Living

Source: Style Me Pretty Livin

Source: Project Nursery

Source: Project Nursery

Source: On To Baby

Source: On To Baby

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

 

 

 

 

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

Bluum Box

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Do you subscribe to any “baby” boxes, such as Bluum, Citrus Lane, WittleBee, Kiwi Crate, Little Passports, petiteBox, or Spark Box?

I recently signed up for one and I’m in love! There were so many options to choose from, but I ended up settling on Bluum because they were offering a “50% off your first box” promo. I received my first box at the end of February.

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Can you guess the best part of Bluum? It’s customized to your child’s age so they receive age-appropriate items!

I paid $12.50 for my first box and it was worth every penny! In the February 3 month old box, we received:

  • Munchkin Swaddle Angel Burp Cloth ($15)
  • BabySoy Hat ($7)
  • BabyLegs Leg Warmers ($10)
  • Sample of Oscillococcinum
  • Blum Facial Towlettes ($7.49)

I was so happy with this box, I decided to try another month (at full cost: $24.95) to see if it was worth the full price. When our 2nd box arrived in late March, I was (again!) blown away with the quality & quantity of the items we received!

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Again, since it’s catered by your child’s age, we received a box just for O at 4 months old! Included in our March box was:

I am continuing it from month-to-month since it has proven to be absolutely amazing the past two months. Everything included is by quality brands and fit for my son’s age – and it’s wonderful!

If you’re interested in giving Bluum Box a go, please feel free to use my unique referral code to order your first box at 50% off! For $12.50, you can test it out for a month and then cancel if you’re not satisfied.

I adore my baby subscription box each month & it gives us something to look forward to in the mail! I highly recommend trying it out today! -themidwestmama

Top Ten Tuesday: Baby Bath Products

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From newborn to infant, bathing a baby is pretty simple. Most of the time.

The first time we gave O a bath, he was ~3 weeks old. We assumed putting the newborn/infant bath tub into our bathtub would be the easiest. We got him in the bath sling that attached to the baby tub and into a little bit of luke warm water. He screamed through the entire ordeal. The next time, we tried a “mom and baby” bath – I got into the tub with him and attempted to bathe him with my hubs’ assistance. This worked better, but it was still not ideal – babies are slippery! Finally, we decided we’d use the newborn tub as intended – in a sink. We were hesitant at first because the only sink it would fit in was in our kitchen. At least in the bathroom we could steam it up before giving O a bath and it would be warm and humid. How would we do that in the kitchen? Luckily, I have a smart hubs. We turned the oven on and vented it by leaving the door cracked for about a 1/2 hour. This definitely warmed the area a little before we did bath time. Using the newborn bath (without the newborn sling!) in the sink worked wonderfully! O was happy and really seemed to enjoy it!

We stopped using the newborn sling after the first one or two baths and just used the side marked ‘newborn.’ It was easy to use because there was a little ridge for his bum and he could recline easily so he just sat there having a ball while we cleansed him and shampooed his hair. We’re still using the tub, albeit the infant side, but will soon transition him to the tub with mom or dad – as soon as he can sit up on his own. Over the course of bathing our son, there have been products we’ve fallen in love with and I wanted to share with you a list of necessities we use for bath time.

  1. Mustela Baby Shampoo // We were gifted this amazing find by our friends when O was two weeks old – we’re still using the same bottle after nearly 5 months! Although it’s specifically marketed for babies with cradle cap, we like to use it every time we bathe him because it keeps his scalp moisurized, smells wonderful and lasts forever! If you’re a frequent viewer, you know I’ve reviewed this product in the past.
  2. Circo Infant Washcloths // These are my favorite because they are so soft! Plus, each pack contains 6 washcloths so having one or two sets will get you by for at least the first year. These are available in boys and girls patterns.
  3. Hooded bath towels // I am not necessarily partial to one specific brand, as we use 3 or 4 different ones, but I definitely recommend having at least 3 hooded towels for baby. We have two Cutie Pie hooded towel & washcloth sets that we really like because they’re thin, large and so soft! The Just Born hooded bath towel from Kohls is also a wonderful pick.
  4. Triple Wash Gentle Diaper Rash Wash // We received this magnificent product in March 2014’s Bluum Box and used it for O’s next bath. Luckily, we haven’t had to deal with any severe diaper rash yet but this wash did work well on his mild irritations. It doesn’t have the best scent, but it’s not horrible. I would recommend this to anyone who is dealing with diaper rash, whether mild or severe.
  5. Thermometer // This is a must to test baby bath water, to ensure it’s not too hot (or too chilly!). We use Taylor’s Digital Instant Read Pocket thermometer and it works great!
  6. Infant Bath Tub // I know a lot of moms who just put baby directly into a clean sink to bathe them, but I was extremely happy with The First Year’s Infant to Toddler Tub with Sling. We are still using it after 5 months!
  7. Body Lotion // We adore the body lotion from Just Hatched! We use their Soft Baby Body Lotion on O – and I admit, I use it pretty often on myself! You can read my review of it here.
  8. Bath Toys // These act as a great distraction from bath time, especially if your little isn’t partial to taking a bath quite yet. Although O enjoys bath time, we usually draw it out a little and play a while. We have several different toys, but our current favorite is the Sassy Soft Swimmers. They’re soft, cute and squirt to keep baby’s attention!
  9. Cotton Swaps // We use Johnson’s Safety Swabs to clean around baby’s ear – and even his belly button!
  10. Brush & Comb Set // This is a must for us, since O has a lot of hair! We have the Safety 1st Easy Grip set and it works great! It’s also relatively inexpensive for such a high quality set.

Other items to include are a manicure set, a travel bath sponge pad, baby body wash (other than what’s mentioned above), a change of clothing & a diaper (for after bath!), and a camera to catch all those sudsy cute moments!

What items do you use during bath time? I am always looking for innovative new products to add to our bath time routine! Have a great day! -themidwestmama

Top Ten Tuesday: Teething Remedies

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O started teething this week. So far, it hasn’t been too bad. Just a bit of discomfort, a lot of drooling, a new form of crying off & on, and constant pacifier action. Since realizing we’re now in this stage, I’ve been doing a lot of research on different teething products and remedies. I had already done some browsing around to see what the consensus was on favorite teethers, but wanted to delve a little deeper into the products available – there are so many! We already had a few we received as gifts or purchased on our own, so the ones we’ve tried are notated as such. The others are products and/or remedies I’ve heard amazing feedback about or I know moms who’ve used them on their little one(s).

  1.  Sophie the Giraffe // a favorite among many moms, we haven’t tried this wonder yet, but I am planning to purchase it as the teething stage continues.
  2. Molar Muncher // I have seen this product on numerous other blogs/websites and have heard amazing things about it. When O’s molars start poking through, we will give this product a go!
  3. Mom’s or Dad’s finger // Yes, a time-consuming activity for mom or dad but a really great remedy – and it’s FREE. Simply run your finger lightly but firmly along baby’s gums to help relieve soreness.
  4. Wooden teethers // BunBun Baby on Etsy has some really great teether rings available at great prices! I’m partial to the fish teether for O, but many other designs are available! You can review feedback of her products here. Of course, there are many other wooden teethers available, a quick Google or Amazon search can likely find you what you want. I haven’t tried these specific teethers yet, but I am very interested and I know wooden teethers are one of the best types of teethers to give to baby.
  5. Mom’s Teething Necklaces // I have been wanting to purchase one of these to wear for O to chew on while I’m holding him for a while. There are so many choices out there & some have mixed reviews. I’ve found a few that I like, but haven’t made any decisions yet. I am partial to the wooden teethers and I found this one on Amazon recently and I really like it. Also available are the Smart Mom Teething Bling Donut necklace, which looks promising.
  6. A damp washcloth // This is a tried-and-true method used for the past 50+ years by moms all over the world. Simply wet a washcloth with cool water, wring it out and offer it to baby. They can chomp on the cool washcloth and it will sooth their sore little gums!
  7. Nuby Silicone Teether // We purchased this around month two when we thought O was teething. He wasn’t, but we kept it for later use. Even though he’s started teething, we haven’t continued to use it yet because it’s still a bit too big for O’s mouth. As he grows, this will be a great tool to use for the front/side teeth. This teether gets excellent reviews on both Diapers.com and Amazon.
  8. Ice Ring Teethers // These have been around a long time too and continuously get wonderful reviews. I found this one from Munchkin and think it’s just wonderful! We have the Munchkin Sesame Street ring teether and O seems to enjoy it. He hasn’t quite grasped the concept of putting it back into his mouth himself, but likes it when it is in his mouth. **As always, be sure to only chill this – do not freeze! Doing so could cause serious harm to baby!**
  9. A simple pacifier // When baby is just starting to teeth (front teeth), a pacifier seems to really help. O enjoys sucking on his pacifier constantly!
  10. Appeteethers // These just look FUN! They get awesome reviews from Amazon and come in a variety of fun versions, such as Broccoli and Chicken Wing!

Have you tried a teether & found it really useful? Do you swear by one specific teether for your little one? I would love to hear what has worked (and what hasn’t!) for you as we continue down the teething trail with O! -themidwestmama

NOTE: I have not received any of the products above as a free sample from the company or manufacturer. These products were either purchased on my own or I have received feedback from a friend or family member. I am in no way endorsing the products above. All information in this post is my opinion based on use and/or research & feedback.

You Can Never Have Too Many…Bibs!

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Am I right?

I thought having a few around the house would be enough. After O turned 2 months old, he became a drool monster! From months 2-7 he wore a bib all day from the time he woke up until bedtime. During that time, I changed his bib at least 3-4 times. Sometimes even more if he was especially “drooly” or he was spitting up a lot. Whenever I went out of the house with him I would make sure to pack 3 or 4 extra bibs in the diaper bag just in case.  They came in handy every single time.

So far, we’re up to around 8 bibs per day if we go out. That’s insane! If you’re like me, you do at least one load of laundry per day. Luckily, we are able to get by on having ~10-12 bibs because we’re able to do a load everyday. Something funny happened a few Saturday’s ago though. I hadn’t had a chance to do a load of laundry because our washer was on the fritz. Sunday came around and we only had ONE clean bib! Of course hubs and I just looked at each other thinking “what do we do?!?” That won’t happen again. Luckily, O wasn’t drooling too much on Sunday so he made it with one bib until the afternoon when the laundry finished. It was touch and go there for a while though! 😉

So, yes, in my opinion you CANNOT have too many bibs! Be sure to put lots of bibs on your baby registry. We didn’t think they’d be useful until O could sit up and eat solids so we only put one or two on ours. Luckily, we did get a few at the shower we hadn’t registered for, but we still ended up having to buy the rest when we found out how much we actually needed them.

Quick tip: I always scour the clearance sections at Target, Babies “R” Us, Buy Buy Baby, and Meijer for bibs. Most of the time you can pick up a pack of three bibs for dirt cheap! I also found that you can find nearly new bibs at garage sales for 25 cents a piece! Awesome!

Stay tuned for more “You Can’t Have Enough of…” posts! -themidwestmama