Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Gear Stocking Stuffers

As you think about your Christmas gifts and holiday shopping, my mommies group and I put our heads together to bring you our tiny gear favorites. These are things you might not think of, no one puts in the parenting books, but have made our lives easier. And they make great stocking stuffers at low prices and small sizes.

1. SmartSeat Chair Protector.
www.facebook.com/seatcover or www.smartseatdiningchaircovers.com
Love this thing! It is so smart, indeed, that it is somewhat amazing no one has thought of it. Kudos to these guys.

These covers go on your chairs and protect your real-adult furniture from kid mess. I have to admit I was a little confused as to how to get this to fit snugly but I think that is because I never read directions. Once I actually read the fabulous directions I had no problem. This is adjustable so it fits all sorts of chairs and sizes. It comes in a few different colors. It is fully machine-washable, but line dry. And now that I know how to use it, I can pop it on and off the chair quickly. And the chair underneath looks good!

2. Sippy Cup Strap.
Oh my word, how many times a day does my toddler fling his sippy cup? Let me not begin to count the ways. He does it for fun, for anger, for show, for joy... in restaurants, at home, in the car, in the stroller....yet you want to be able to give your child his water when he needs it. So what's a parent to do!? Enter the sippy cup strap.

These things attach to anything- stroller, high chair, car seat - with velcro. One end goes around the stationary item, the other end circles the sippy cup. Place sippy cup into child's hand and watch with glee as they throw it around. Because it never hits the ground. Which means no constant washing of the mouthpiece. Sometimes the length might not be quite right (meaning too short) and generally they are nonadjustable. But I usually find a way to make them work because they are worth it.

One Step Ahead sells these but they can also be found at our local baby outfitters such as Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us.

3. Name labels.
Be it your kid's clothes, their sippy cups, their blankets, their burpcloths, what have you, when it comes to baby gear labeling is key. If your child attends a daycare or school these are almost a necessity. But if you are like me, even though C stays home he loves to share sippy cups on playdates (and us mommies have some of the same model cups) and he still gets in to the gym nursery now and again.

Two companies in particular we love:
- Inchbug BumpyName Orbit Labels. http://www.inchbug.com/ These stay on so well!
- Name Bubbles. http://www.namebubbles.com/ (These folks even have laundry stickers. No sewing & they survive the wash just fine.)

Both companies have great customization options.

4. Stroller Clips.
You definitely need a place to keep that diaper bag on your stroller. It is so much more comfortable when out and about to place it on your handlebars than try to carry and push simultaneously. Also makes reaching for the snack trap (see below) in a flash easy.

There are many options out there, but Sunshine Kids (which you can find on Amazon.com by clicking here) have great maneuverability, flexibility, and really hold.

By the way, a nice compliment to the stroller slips are the stroller weights. You put these near your front two wheels. It sounds crazy and unnecessary, but man-o-man I can't tell you how many times my mommy friends and I have taken the kid out of the stroller, with the diaper bag still hooked on the diaper rings, and the stroller topples over to the ground. The weight of that bag pulls the stroller straight over once the weight of the baby isn't there to counterbalance. This is especially disastrous if you outfitted your stroller to also have a cup holder and you put a Peppermint Mocha in there....Stroller weights help. Babygadget.net sells some, you can also find them at our local baby outfitters like Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us.

5. Skinny Kidz.
Ok, ours haven't actually come in yet. But we are sooooo excited about these. Some of us have long, skinny kids. That means that to get pant lengths that don't look like high waters, the waistlines are far too big. Enter skinnykidz!

These are adjustable elastic waistbands that function as a belt. But, unlike a belt, they do not cross at the midline. So you don't have to ever take them off to do a diaper change or for potty training. And they are pre-washed and machine-wash durable. Please, Santa, bring me some!

They come in many cute colors and patterns.

6. Boohoo Owl.
These little guys are great. They make boo-boos and bruises less painful. The owl is filled with rice. It can be either chilled or heated in the microwave, depending on the need, then applied to the area of pain. Since we have little toddler boys, these get used a lot. And we can say that all the boys love them. Not that we're trying to make face-plants into the hardwood floors fun....

We found these through In the Know Mom, who found these through an online crafter (Simply Jenna) who made these, but couldn't find them for sale. So we actually had a 'get crafty' playdate where we made these for our little guys. You can read all about that adventure in crafting here: http://2pawsdesigns.blogspot.com/2010/11/boo-hoo-owls.html. It wasn't hard, just follow our advice!

If you want something that actually looks easier than our little owls, try out the Monster Packs by clicking on the tutorial here: http://733blog.blogspot.com/2010/03/diy-monster-heatcold-pack.html.

If crafting isn't your thing, there are some options for something similar (yet much more upscale) for sale by a crafter on etsy.com.

7. Itzbeentimer.
This thing is AHHHH-wesome. Especially for the sleep deprived parent (which if you aren't a sleep deprived parent, please don't talk to me).

This little gadget tracks time for you. You have a bunch of different buttons: last diaper change, last feeding, how long they have been asleep or awake, & a general timer for you to track medications or whatever else you might need. There is even a little button at the bottom to help nursing moms track which side they last nursed. It is backlit to help you read it in the dark (cha-ching) and also has a soft glow nightlight on it for sneaking around the nursery in the middle of the night. Oh, and it also has the real time on it if you really want to know.

8. iPhone applications.
I don't have one of these fancy new phones. I have an old-school one that doesn't even have email on it (gasp). I have such an email addiction it is for the best anyhow. But for those of you who do have iPhones, there are a lot of wonderful applications out there to help new moms. I have jealously watched you all use them. Here is an article that does a fantastic job listing some of the best (with links): http://www.brighthub.com/mobile/iphone/articles/38324.aspx . These include a nursing tracker, a diaper tracker, a BabyCam, a new mommies fitness guide (New Year's resolution?), and even a white noise program.

So yeah. There really is an app for that.

9. Snack Traps.
Please don't forget these. They make car trips much more bearable. No, they don't keep your floorboard Cheerio-free, but they at least allow you to hand the trap back to the carseat and let your child have a go at the Cheerios while you drive away. They also make fun things for toddlers to fight over at playdates.

These are sold at so many places it's not worth listing. And there are a variety of styles and colors, so find the form and function that works best for your little one. But fill them up, load your child into that car seat, and hit the road to one of our many great adventures we bring you at MiCHill.


At December 15, 2010 at 1:22 PM , Blogger Julia said...

Fantastic!! I never thought about some of these things, but they make so much sense! Thank you!!

At December 16, 2010 at 7:17 AM , Anonymous Raleigh Mommy said...

I love this post and am going to bookmark it. I'm always on the lookout for super-useful baby stuff, and while I don't need some of these just yet, I know I will! The stroller weights are genius. I've had many a crash after taking the little man out!


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