Amber Teething Necklace Giveaway

Win this necklace!

Win this necklace!

Everywhere I go I see toddlers and younger wearing amber teething necklaces.  Since Frances is entering the “teething zone”, I became fascinated by this new trend.  Well, new to me anyway.  Not only have people in Europe been using these forever, but Rebecca posted about it back in 2010!

(For those of you who haven’t heard of amber teething necklaces, the theory is this: amber contains succinic acid, a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory that’s supposedly absorbed into your skin. The child is not supposed to chew on the necklace, a common misconception.)

After asking everyone I knew about their experiences, I decided I must try one for myself.  I didn’t come across a single mom who didn’t rave about the reduced drool and, although it’s pretty hard to communicate with a baby, these moms were convinced the baby’s discomfort was lessened as well.  That’s good enough for me!

Baby Monitors: necessity or luxury?


Our monitor

We got by without a baby monitor for months, so what made us finally buy one?  Well, after Frances moved into her own room it became harder to hear her cry.  My mommy instinct is pretty good at picking out the soft sound of an infant crying, but once we put a movie in the DVD player, it was almost impossible to hear her.  Especially if we were watching an action movie!

What finally tipped the scales was all the traveling we had scheduled for the summer.  We weren’t sure what the situations would be for napping and sleeping, and I didn’t want to have to miss out on the fun because I had to stay inside and listen for my baby.  Having a monitor handy meant we could spend warm summer evenings on the deck with friends and family, or put Franci downstairs to nap and have a noisy meal in the kitchen upstairs.

Review: Lamaze Firefly

Enjoying her firefly

Enjoying her firefly

We don’t have a ton of toys for our five month old, but among the few we have there are winners and losers. I consider a “winner” a toy that captures Franci’s attention for more than ten minutes. So far the most successful plaything is her Lamaze Play & Grow Freddie the Firefly Take Along Toy. It’s easy to hold on to, has that crinkle material inside so it makes noise and lots of limbs to gnaw on.

Eventually she does tire of playing with it, so I think it’s time to broaden her toy collection. I want to make sure and buy something new to introduce when we fly on an airplane later this summer.

Infant Sippy Cups

We’re still figuring out how this whole solid food thing is going to happen.  We’re leaning towards baby led weaning, since that seems to mean that we don’t cook separate food for her.  My parents rave about the food mill they used when I was little, but I can’t seem to find one that’s any good.  For now, I think I’m just going to smash everything up with a fork.

We have our spoons at the ready, since that was the one thing Franci’s dad registered for when we had a baby shower.  I don’t think we’re going to buy any plastic plates or bowls at this point, which we might regret.  Our kitchen floor is linoleum so everything seems to bounce off it instead of break.

How do you prevent diaper blow-out?

We’ve been having some issues with diaper blow-outs lately.  It’s not so much of a problem with the cloth diapers we use at home, but we use disposables when we leave the house.  This means that diaper blow-outs happen at the most inopportune times.

I thought the mess would be less if we switched to a different brand or a different size, but that didn’t seem to help much.  When a blow-out would really cause an inconvenience, like while driving in the car, we’ve started putting a large cloth diaper cover over the disposable.

Is there a better way?  How do you avoid a massive clean-up effort when traveling?

Safe Blanket Use

When Frances went from co-sleeping to crib sleeping at about 6 weeks, I put her in a snuggle nest inside the crib. She had already spent a week or so in the snuggle nest because I wanted to make it an easy transition. She stayed in the snuggle nest for months mostly because she looked so small in that big crib, and it was easy to tuck a blanket around her bottom half without worrying she’d get caught up in it.

The past couple of nights she has scooted her way out of the snuggle nest and when I get her up in the morning she’s wedged into the corner of the crib. Not terribly so, but enough that I think it’s time to pull out the snuggle nest.

This Summer’s Cutest Cloth Swim Diapers

Cloth swim diapers make those summer days at the beach so much easier…and cuter! After all, could a disposable swim diaper even try to approach the adorability of this Kushis Goldfish Swim Diaper? Not possible!

Even for parents who don’t primarily use cloth diapers, reusable swim diapers are a great option. Instead of blowing through an entire package of disposables in an afternoon at the lake, you can just swap out between a couple of swim diapers for years!

Swim diapers’ sturdy elastic bands seem to keep waste in more effectively than disposables as well. In fact, our local pools only allow cloth diapers in the water as they’ve had more leakage issues with disposables. Plus, swim diapers can also be used as training pants near the end of the diapering years.

The Top Ten Items to Pack for Summer Playtime in the Park

After a full summer day at the park, my children arrive home then coated in sand and cracker crumbs…and often partially wet from running through the fountains, but it’s far easier to clean them up then the entire house. They are then gloriously hungry, tired and ready for bed (Even if the summer sun is still pouring in their bedroom windows at 8pm.)

So what have I found to be the most important items in our bag for summer afternoons at the park?

1. Snacks. If I pack twice as much food as I think my kids can possibly eat, it’s not nearly enough. So I throw in an extra bag of carrot sticks and a bonus box of crackers and hope for the best.

Thumbs vs. Pacifiers

When Frances was 3 weeks old we started giving her a pacifier. Even as brand new parents we could tell she needed to comfort suck, and feeding on demand was giving her a lactose overload. She would gladly take the pacifier but as soon as she’d start to relax the pacifier would fall out of her mouth and she’d start crying again. After a few days we tired of this game and stopped. I was reading the archives and saw that Joy had better luck with pacifiers.

Thumb Sucking Practice

Thumb Sucking Practice

In the absence of a pacifier, Frances continued sucking on her whole fist to self-sooth. This produced a sound so loud, I swear you could hear it next door. I don’t think she was happy with it either. I half-heartedly tried to show her how to suck her thumb a few times, but I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. I mean, it’s just a bad habit to have to break later, right?

White Noise Apps

Now that Francis is sleeping more at night, she’s having a harder time falling asleep for her nap.  Unless I’m carrying her around on my back, she fights sleep no matter how tired she is.  I didn’t mind too much until I hurt my back and carrying her meant my back never had a chance to heal.  Since a well rested baby is a happy baby, I needed to find another solution.

It wasn’t until another mom at my breastfeeding support group brought it up that I was reminded about white noise.  Of course!  Later that day when Frances started rubbing her eyes and getting inconsolably fussy that I downloaded a white noise app on my phone and gave it a whirl.  Let’s just say it worked like magic.