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Friday, September 21, 2012

Product Reviews: Nursing Pads

So Little Man is almost 3 months old now and I have not stopped leaking.  I don't think I will.  If you are lucky enough to stop, good for you!  Otherwise, you're going to be investing in some serious nursing pads.  Here's what I've tried.  You can purchase all of these at any baby store or Wal-Mart.

Johnson & Johnson Contour Nursing Pads

These come in a box of 60 for about $10 per box.  They have a little contour for your nipple so they don't flatten it out uncomfortably, but that contour shows through on the other side, so if you don't wear a padded bra, it looks like you're...well...chilly all the time!  Not cool.  Also, the fabric sticks to your skin when it gets wet, so they get itchy.  Last but not least, after nursing a time or two, the absorbent material inside them bunches and won't lay flat again, so then you can see them through your shirt all bunched up.  This is probably due to the fact that these only have adhesive on one corner of the pad instead of two, so they slide around a lot.

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Let me start out by saying that Lansinoh is a great brand for nursing items.  I've liked everything I've tried.  Their lanolin was a life saver.  So when I tried their nursing pads, I was not dissapointed.  They have adhesive on two sides, so they don't slip, and the fabric is soft and absorbent, despite being nice and thin.  The only thing I didn't like about them is they're not perfectly smooth on the outside, so for the first hour you wear them with a thin bra or sportsbra, you can see the shape of them.  But after a couple hours of being against your body they smooth out.  Did I mention they're the same price as the Johnson's?

Lily Pads

When I read about these, they sounded great.  They're reusable and actually use compression to prevent you from leaking, so even though they're about $20 each, I decided to try them.  Here's the deal, forgive me for the slightly graphic explanation.  When you first put them on, they are great.  They stick without irritating and do prevent you from leaking.  But you have to remove them to nurse, which is fine at home, but a little difficult when you're out.  Where do you put them?  How do you get them off/back on without flashing someone?  And I kind of depend on the disposable ones to catch the dribbles Little Man lets out of the corner of his mouth when nursing.  Obviously these won't do that.  And here's the worst part.  After you nurse, your nipples will be hard, and they will stay that way for longer than you will want to wait to put the pads back on.  If you press down on your nipple when it is hard and put the Lily Pad back on, it will leave a little gap of air all around your nipple inside which milk can and will collect.  So the pad will either leak, or next time you take them off milk will squirt out everywhere.  So. Not. Cool.  And when you sweat, which you will as your boobs will stay hotter than the rest of your skin when producing milk, when you take them off your nipples will smell icky.  Imagine old milk plus old sweat with a hint of sulfur...yes, it's pretty unpleasant. 

Sorry if I grossed you out, but this is what I went through testing these.  I never tried the cloth reusable kind because milk-soaked cotton sitting in my hamper for a week sounded too icky to even test.  If someone has had a good experience with these, let me know and I'll do a test run.  But I'm not promising I won't go right back to my Lansinoh's!  And remember the most important rule of nursing pads, change them at least twice a day - I do once in the morning and once before I go to bed, and I change them during the day if I leak a lot or if the pad ever feels wet.

Product Reviews: Diaper Pails

When I registered for baby gear, if there were a couple different pricepoints on items, I generally chose the lower-priced item, thinking that there aren't generally substantial differences.  NOT SO with diaper pails.  Here's the dish:

Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail: This is what I registered for.  It's made by Arm & Hammer, so it has to be good at keeping the smell at bay, which it is.  But it's a little small, so you end up emptying it more often.  And you have to push the diaper into the bag with your hand, which can get unsanitary.  It's also a hand-open model, not the foot-pedal open style, which is also less than sanitary.  And last but not least, you have to buy 2 things, both the bag refills and the Arm & Hammer baking soda refills.  So while it costs less, I prefer the Diaper Genie Elite.

Playtex Diaper Genie Elite : (For reference, the only difference between the Diaper Genie and the Elite model is the foot-pedal opener, which is totally worth the extra $10.)  This model has a claw-type mechanism that opens when you push the foot-pedal, and the diaper drops in, hands-free.  It also has about twice the storage capacity of the Arm & Hammer model.  My parents bought one for when they baby sit, and when I visited for a week, we only emptied it once at the end of my trip, and I never smelled it.  Not to mention, it just looks nicer.

Diaper Dekor Plus: Recently on a trip to Buy Buy Baby, I used their changing room, and they had one of these in it.  It did not have any type of closure on the bag to keep the smells in, and I noticed the refills are a bit more pricey than the above two models.  So I'll pass on that.

These are the only models I've tried, but I wouldn't recommend going up to a higher price point for something that is essentially just a fancy trash can.  If you're like me, your husband will more than likely end up breaking it somehow and you will have to buy another anyway!  Hope this helps.

Have a review you want me to do?  Post your questions/comments below!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Product Reviews: Infant Bath Tubs

Purchasing the wrong baby bath can be a big mistake.  Take it from me, I did.

I purchased this:

There were a couple things I liked about it in the store.  The package said you could use it for infants and toddlers.  And it had a little motorized shower to rinse with.  Pretty nifty, so I thought.  For infant use, it has a little net prop to lift the baby's head out of the water.  There are multiple issues I have with this.  First of all, the baby slides down the prop, so you have to hold him up constantly.  Also, if you put enough water in the tub to touch the baby and keep him warm, his ears end up under water.  Dirty bath water and ears?  Just asking for an ear infection.  Next, when you want to wash the baby's back, again he will slide down the net and you will have to hold his head out of the water.  It's just dangerous to me.

And then there's the nifty sprayer.  The tube gets kinked and it won't spray.  The button is slick and hard to push when wet.  I often run out of water from the resivoir before I'm done and have to get my husband to refill it, because I certainly can't walk away from Little Man while he's in the bath.  So bath-time has now turned into a tag-team ordeal.

Lastly, this bath is made to sit on a flat surface.  When you fill it with water it's heavy and will slosh if you move it, which leaves you two options, putting it on the kitchen counter if you have the counter space (I don't) or putting it in the bottom of the bathtub.  So here you are, on your knees on the bathroom floor, leaning over the edge of the bathtub and constantly needing both hands on the baby.  Not the most efficient situation.  (If you wanted one of those fancy and pricey whirlpool tubs, keep this is mind: How will you fill/empty it?)  For a while I just filled the bath and got in with the baby or brought him in the shower with me so I could hold him the whole time, which was actually easier!

That's until I saw the bath my sister has for her little one.  She has a this:

The First Years Sure Comfort Newborn to Toddler Tub

So hers costs less, and when I saw her use it I was impressed.  It doesn't have a flat bottom like mine, it has a bottom designed to sit over a  kitchen double-sink, which most people have.  It also has a seat, so the baby is held up basically hands-free, but is still sitting deep enough in the water to keep her warm.  And her little one seemed to enjoy it much more than my Little Man likes his, and who wouldn't?  She's warmer and feels more secure.  The only thing it lacks is a crappy sprayer, but since it sits over the sink, you can use the sink sprayer.  Just make sure to keep the temperature between 90-99 degrees (that's right, you still need that digital thermometer I recommended on my Registry List!) 

Flying with an Infant

We recently took a trip from Alabama to California so Little Man could meet his great grandpa.  Traveling with an infant involved a lot more planning than any previous vacation my husband and I have taken.  I did tons of research and made a few mistakes, but learned that it's really not so bad, as long as you know what you're doing.  So here is everything I learned from my experience, all in one place for you!

Making travel reservations: Flights are cheapest on Tuesdays.  They are far more on the weekends, up to double the Tuesday price!  If your baby is under 2, he can sit in your lap for free, but he needs to be on your reservation.  So I booked my husband and I tickets on a travel website (we used Orbitz) and then called the airline, gave them my confirmation number, and they added Little Man to my reservation for free.  We packed our carseat base in the suitcase and carried on our stroller and carseat, which attaches to it (it's a free carry-on.)  I found out later this was unnecessary because car rental companies do rent carseats, which I didn't know.  So call the car rental company and see what they have available.

Carrying on: I packed my diaper bag like I normally would and added my Moby wrap.  Your arms will get tired on a long flight holding the baby if you don't bring a sling or carrier of some kind.  We brought our stroller right to the gate, and they put it under the plane for us.  If you want to bring breastmilk or formula, the TSA makes a special exception for the 3 oz liquids limit for those, you just have to take them out of your carry-on and show them to security.  Little Man fell asleep before we ever took off like he does in the car, and when he got fussy because his ears were popping, I just nursed him and he was fine.  I sat by the window and had my Moby for privacy, so I had no problem.  And if you're wondering about changing the baby on the plane, there is a fold-down table in the bathroom.  It's tiny, so just grab a diaper, the wipes, and your changing cushion and leave the bag.

What to bring: We were staying with family, and they of course did not have a crib.  No problem, we just made Little Man a pallet on a recliner.  I'm sure there are tons of people who would freak about this, but it was a big sturdy one, and in the reclined position there was no way he could fall out, since he's not rolling over yet.  But if you don't want to do this, you can make a pallet on the floor out of towels, couch cushions, etc.  We didn't want him in the bed with us because one thing I am afraid of is rolling over on him.  Just remember, you have options, and you can always bring a pack and play.  I brought my hand pump and 2 bottles and some clothes, and his bath soap and lotion, but not much else.  I bought diapers and wipes when I arrived. 

The only other advise I have is, don't try to do a hundred things on your trip.  Relax!  If people want to meet the baby, they should come to you!  Because flying an infant 2,000 miles is hard enough, right???