Product Review: Difrax Pacifiers

classis 0-6 monthsDifrax has two categories of pacifiers, Classic and Orthodontic. Each type comes in different sizes depending on the age of your baby.

Frances tried both kinds of Difrax pacifiers, with mixed results. She had never tried an orthodontic pacifier before, and wasn’t about to start now. After sterilizing the set, I took them to my breastfeeding group to see what the other babies thought. It turned out that there weren’t any infants there that had ever taken an orthodontic pacifier, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that they didn’t take the Difrax one either.

Next up were the Classic shape. To be honest, Frances is more of a thumb sucker, and really isn’t taking any pacifiers. But she did suck on the Classic for a moment longer than she would the Ortho. Once again I sterilized the set and took it to my group to get some other opinions.
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Product Review: Mesh Feeder

Now that Frances is in full-on teething mode, she’s been using her Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders every day. I slip in a combination of frozen banana, mango and peach and she obsessively sucks at it until her face is cold and red and her fingers are frozen themselves. If it’s close to nap time, I add a cube of frozen chamomile tea to the mix to encourage sleep.

I’m very grateful that mesh feeders exist, but I have a few complaints about the Munchkin variety. For one, they can be hard to open. I had to use pliers once to get the darn thing open. My biggest grievance is that they are incredibly difficult to clean. Banana in particular doesn’t even come out with scrubbing. Even a toothbrush isn’t that great a cleaning tool, and sometimes I have to scrape it inside out with my fingernail. Where the mesh meets the plastic is an especially tricky spot. And you better clean it immediately after use or you’ll be tempted to just throw it in the trash!
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Book Review: Jungle Rumble

jungle

Truly Indestructible!

At this stage, Frances considers books to be chew toys. The board books handle this fairly well, but not as well as Indestructibles: Jungle, Rumble!! Not only is it rip proof, but it’s washable. That’s a winner in my book!

As you can see from the cover, Indestructibles: Jungle, Rumble! is very colorful and captures Franci’s short attention. And since there aren’t words, the story is only as repetitive as my imagination.  This might not be as enjoyable for her as she begins to understand words.

I haven’t picked up any of the other Indestructibles titles, but I’m sure they’re all just as good.  I haven’t come across any other books quite as sturdy, but I’m open to suggestions!
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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!
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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.
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Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fails to cure my daughter’s picky eating

(Desperate for a solution to my daughter’s picky eating, I turned to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for guidance. I am sad to report that her so-called “cure” did not work. Read on.)

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I turned to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to help me cure my picky eater. Now, I’m familiar with her schtick: she usually relies on aversion therapy, magic, or–in the case of the picky eater cure–a combination of both. Unfortunately, she failed to understand the basic psychology of the picky eater, and therefore I have serious doubts that her cure would prove successful.

The kid in this story eats a perfectly normal assortment of foods his whole life. Then one day, he turns up his nose at his old favorites. He goes so far as to accompany his distaste with gagging noises and audible “yucks.” Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, true to form, provides his mother with a magical powder that will transform all his food into boiled noodles–the only thing he agrees to eat. At first he’s delighted, but sure enough, after a few breakfasts, lunches, and dinners of nothing but boiled noodles, he sees realizes how boring his life is without a wide variety of foods. He agrees to go out with his father for pizza.
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Book Review: The Zero Footprint Baby

If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint as a parent, pick up  The Zero Footprint Baby. It’s more of a narrative than a how-to manual, but the tips Chatterjee includes will get you on your way to reducing your family’s carbon foot print.

Most of the advice is simple, such as riding public transportation or not buying anything new, but she’s really done her research.  In general, the more simply you live the lower your carbon footprint.

A lot of the advice mirrored what Rebecca and Joy wrote in The Green Baby Guide’s companion book, The Economical Baby Guide.  For example, don’t buy a lot of plastic toys and other baby gear that quickly ends up in the landfill.  And if you must buy new, find something that will hold up long enough to pass along to friends (or to hand down as heirlooms).
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Review: Ecos Laundry Detergent and Stain Remover

My normal laundry routine includes Tide Free And Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent and OxiClean Max Force Gel Stick. I’ve been happy with both, but I decided to try something new.  Baby Ecos Laundry Products are Plant-Based, pH balanced and formaldehyde and petrochemical free seemed a good place to start.

In my experience, cloth diapers hold in a lot more waste than disposable so I don’t have a lot of stains to deal with.  Since we use disposable when away from home, there was an explosion that stained a white onesie and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to see just how well Baby Ecos Disney Stain and Odor Remover worked.  I followed the instructions and sprayed the stain thoroughly and let it sit for five minutes. The stain lightened considerably during the first washing, but not completely. Instead of drying the item, I sprayed the stain again and let it sit for thirty minutes. It almost worked. But it seems to me a stain remover that is geared towards babies should work on an average baby stain.
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Aquasana Glass Water Bottle Giveaway

Aquasana Glass Water Bottle

When the whole BPA=bad trend started, I traded in my plastic water bottles for  stainless steel.  That didn’t last long because I hate the metallic flavor even lined stainless bottles add to the water.  Then I noticed that companies were starting to come out with glass water bottles so I gave them a try.  The first generation broke too easily, so I was pleased when companies started adding silicon sleeves to make them more sturdy.

I won’t name names, but I spent way too much on glass water bottles with silicon sleeves but leaky caps.  So I was really excited to see that Aquasana has a reasonably priced reusable glass water bottle with a silicon sleeve in a variety of pretty colors.  I decided to give one a try.
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Library Reading Programs for Babies and Kids (+ Book Recommendations!)

Babies really need to get off their iPhones and crack open a good board book every once in a while, right? The Multnomah County Library agrees, which is I guess why they hold a summer reading program for babies, kids, and teens. Read to them, or have them read to themselves for fifteen minutes, a half hour, or an hour (depending on the age group), and they (or you) color in a space on the game card. Fill out so many squares, claim a prize. If your kids fill in the entire card, they get a T-shirt and a bigger, better prize. Last summer Audrey chose a book, but there were also coupons for local ice cream shops and passes for activities around the city.
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