Sippy Cups

When your baby turns 9 months it is time to start introducing other eating utensils into their daily feedings, and one of these is the sippy cup.  Sippy cups are a great way to ‘graduate’ your child from the bottle and lets them feel like a grown up, and there are a number of great products that are safe, convenient and fun to choose from.

1. Zoli BOT Sippy Cup $12 (6oz)    Buy Here

LOVE how the weighted straw follows the liquid inside the cup so that nothing is wasted, the most frustrating things can be having the ‘tilt’ the bottle when baby is drinking it so he/she can have the last of the juice.  The cup is easy to even for a baby, nice soft silicon straw won’t hurt delicate mouths and flip open lid to ‘save’ any unfinished water/juice.  This cup is BPA and Phthalate free and conveniently top drawer dishwasher safe.  Not the cheapest sippy cup out there but worth the investment.

2. Thermos Foogo Phases Leak Proof Stainless Steel Sippy Cup $18 (7oz)          Buy Here

A great sippy cup for on the go and travelling, with double vacuum insulation to keep drinks cold/warm for up to 6 hours and spillage free.  I especially like its bacteria free stainless steel interior and exteriors as well as how the spouts are interchangeable for different stages of growth.  Top drawer dishwasher safe and BPA free.

3. Playtex 2 Pack The First Sipster Spill Proof Cup $7.49 (7oz)    Buy Here

This is a easy to clean, easy to drink and spill proof cup, the spout is soft for delicate gums and the handles make it easy to grip for younger babies.  The cups are made of BPA and Phthalate free plastic and is also dishwasher safe.  Great value for money and comes in a variety of colors, I would recommend this for everyday at home use as it doesn’t come with a lid it will probably not be the best idea to take it out.

I would also recommend the use of a sippy cup strap with the cups to prevent any accidents, such as the Booginhead Sippigrip, a must item for when feeding when out, or at home to minimize mess.

- Favluv Kristy

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Lightweight Strollers: The Bestselling Top 3

The market for strollers is huge, and a thorough look at the different types of strollers often results in a lot of information and a lot of confusion, so the best thing to do before embarking on a stroller spree it’s always a good idea to have a list of things that absolutely require of the stroller (such as a large canopy, good recliner angle, lightweight etc.) and a few things that you would like but is not absolutely necessary (such as cup holder, folds into a free standing structure, hot pink etc.), and finally set a reasonable budget for your purchase.

Here are the top 3 selling lightweight strollers on the market:

1. Maclaren Volo Lightweight Stroller $130   Buy Here Black / Pink

This is a lightweight (10.9 pounds in weight) durable and portable stroller that is very easy to maneuver and folds up easily. This is an ideal stroller if your child is a bit older and bigger (It does not look too comfortable for smaller infants and definitely a no no for newborns), and if you are looking for travel with your child as its very compact and will fit into the back of the car with room to spare. The wheels on this stroller looks a little delicate to handle rough terrain so it is more suitable for a urban rather than an outback adventure. A good choice of colors to choose from and very sleep design, overall a good price to pay for a quality stroller.

2. UPPAbaby G-Luxe lightweight stroller $219.99   Buy Here

This is a very functional stroller that seems to have all the little perks of a more expensive travel system at a fraction of the weight (and price!).  Apart from its lightweight aluminum frame (11 pounds), easy fold up and good handling, it also includes an SPF 50 visor canopy to protect your bub from the damaging sun, rays as well as a full width reclining seat, shock absorbers on each wheel, shoulder carry strap AND a cup holder for mums on the go!  However this stroller does not seem to accommodate for a larger child due to the shallow seat and short seat belt and it seems that the folding this stroller up does take a little bit of practice and getting used to.  Overall this is an very good every day stroller for running errands, strolls around the park and travel purposes.

3. First Years Jet Stroller $45   Buy Here

This is truly a very good stroller at a very good price and size (weighs 12 pounds) for that matter.  Folds up neatly and easily, this is the perfect second stroller to have for travelling (you don’t have to worry about getting your ‘fancier’ stroller all scratched up and ruined).  It also allows to a bigger child of up to 50 pounds and a great height for taller mums and dads too.  There is also a 5 point safety strap for extra active kids and comes with a (sort of) reclining seat.  Looks great, handles well and easy to use, not what you would expect from something that costs less than 50 bucks.

*Please note that due to the light weight of these strollers caution must be taken when putting your child in and out of the stroller or putting heavy items onto the handles due to risk of the stroller being off balance and tipping over.

- Favluv Kristy

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Baby Teether: The Ultimate Top 3 (August 2012)

Next to his teddy bear, a teether is probably your child’s most played with toy in his first few months to years.  Teethers not only help to sooth sore gums, but also offer a form of entertainment and a learning experience on muscle control.  Here are a few favorite teethers available.

1. Sophie the Giraffe by Vulli   (Retail $25.00, Buy Here $18.25)

This has pretty much become the cult toy of the 21st century, and if you are a new mum/dad and have not heard of this toy, then I must ask – which planet have you been living on the last few years?  It is very obvious why this toy has become so popular, celebrities love it, mums love it, babies love it, heck even my dog loves it!  It is made of natural rubber so you don’t have to worry about it being toxic – tick! The coloring on the toy is naturally derived – tick! It squeaks –tick! And the dots on the giraffe stimulate the baby’s brain –tick! Making it an all round safe, fun toy/teether for babies 0 months +.

My only problem with Sophie the Giraffe is she cannot be attached to a conventional binkie strap, it will only work with those straps that uses a large plastic loop that will go around Sophie’s neck (like this Munchkins pacifier leash).  Otherwise I have to let my son play with it in his crib, which can be a bit of a nuisance.

2. Baby Banana Bendable Training Tooth Brush   (Retail $8.49, Buy Here $8.37)

Made of 100% silicon this adorable banana shaped toothbrush teaches your baby to get used to the sensation of getting their teeth brushed.  The chewy silicon is also good for sore gums during teething periods and I really like how the wide banana peel handles teaches the baby how to grip onto the banana with their hands, and also allows for a soother strap to be attached.

I think this is a pretty cute toy but probably not suitable for babies who are keen biters as the bristles look as though they will come off if baby chews on it vigorously, once your babies have a few teeth you can switch to the big baby version of this brush

3. Razbaby Razberry Teether  (Retail $5.99, Buy Here $4.99)

I really like the idea of this teether as it allows the baby to chew on it without having to take it out or dropping it etc.  However when buying this teether please buy the baby pink or baby blue version as those two are one single piece unlike the others which are made with two pieces glued together and may possibly choke your child.  Other than that it is a great teether and will definitely come in handy to help relieve those uncomfortably sore gums.  I also recommend the Tommee Tippee close to nature teether, it’s quite similar in design in that it fits into the baby’s mouth but its designed like a mouth guard so the silicon part goes all the way around a baby’s teeth so all of the gum areas can be massaged.

Baby Carrier: The Ultimate Top 3 (July 2012)

There are a number of advantages of baby carrying, not only does it create a great bonding experience for the newborn and mother (or father), it also lets the mum have her hands free whether she is at home doing housework or out buying groceries.  It is important when selecting a baby carrier to find one that is both comfortable, and safe, for the baby and the wearer, while stylishness and longevity of the product also goes into consideration.

1. Ergo Organic Baby Carrier  $109.95

Made in India

This award winning baby carrier from Ergo Baby is one of the most comfortable carriers out there for both you and your baby.  The design of the Ergo Baby ensures that the weight of the baby is dispersed to his hips and thighs and not on his crutch, which some research have advocated its affect on spinal growth.  Meanwhile the thick shoulder bands and waistband allows the weight of the baby to be distributed evenly and comfortably for the carrier.

The carrier can be worn in three positions, front carrier with baby facing mother (or father), back carrier, like a backpack or side carrier, you can also breastfeed while carrying the baby in the front position (with a bit of practice). There is also an attachable hood that can be used to cover the infant when they are asleep and the carrier also comes with a zip up pocket to put pacifiers or wash clothes.  The fact that it is made with organic cotton is also a plus for environmentally conscious parents.  The Ergo Baby is suitable for babies 4 months plus or with some neck control (alternatively purchase the heart to heart insert ($24.95), which allows newborns to be carried safely in the carrier) until toddler age)

I personally have this carrier for my 7-month-old son, and I find this a godsend.  Being a bigger baby, this carrier allows me to carry Riley around without any back pains, the organic cotton is very soft against his skin – I also bought the original carrier and found it very rough.  The organic cotton is also great for hot summer days too, being a natural breathable fabric.  I have only used it in the front carrier position so far but I cant wait to try the back position when Riley is a bit older.  I also like how there are a few nice colors to choose from.  My only qualm with the Ergo Baby is the inability to carry a handbag when wearing the carrier as the shoulder pad is so thick, luckily as there is a zip pocket on the carrier, I can fit my key, some cash and my cell in, but there is not much space for any more than that.

2. Beco Baby Carrier Gemini  $129

Made in USA

This is also a fantastic baby carrier made responsibly with organic cotton.  It has the same baby positioning options as the Ergo Baby but also with the added possibility of front carrier with baby facing out.  This is definitely a huge advantage over the Ergo, especially when the child is older, their interest in the world already them increases, this allows them to see everything with so much more ease (as opposed to having to turn their head left and right).  The Beco carrier also has extended straps that are suitable for larger or taller mums and dads as the straps.  Breastfeeding is also possible in the front carrying position and there is a hood attached to help a baby sleep better.

A lot of people have told me the Beco is in fact more comfortable than the Ergo Baby, but as I have not tried it out myself I cannot say whether this is true for me or not, but if it is true then I think this is definitely a carrier I would consider purchasing. The Beco carrier is also said to be able to hold newborns, without the need to purchase an additional insert (like the Ergo Baby) but some reviewers have mentioned that baby will need to be at least 12 lbs. to be comfortably and safely carried, otherwise there needs to be at least a baby blanket in there to ‘hold’ the baby in.  Once the baby is big enough, the Beco will last a long time, until the child becomes a toddler and it will still remain a comfortable carrier for both the mother and child. However, a disadvantage of the Beco is that it does not have a pocket like the Ergo baby to put all your knick-knacks in, which may be a nuisance when going out.

I love how the Beco comes in such a variety of cute colors and patterns to suit every mother or father.  It is important however to make sure that the Beco carrier washed according to factory specifications, or is spot washed, as there has been instances where the colors of the carrier were faded in the washing machine due to the natural dyes of the Beco.

Overall, I think this is a well-made, comfortable and versatile carrier, suitable for taller/bigger mums.

3. Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Solid Baby Carrier  $38.73

Made in Thailand

I Love the idea of this baby carrier – it reminds me of a mother kangaroo carrying her joey in her pouch!  The Moby baby wrap is ideally suitable for mother with smaller babies (from 8 lbs. +) and would like to have their loved ones snuggled closely to them.  The wrap can be used in a number of differently positions and the straps go evenly across the mother or fathers shoulders and back so it is relatively comfortable for the wearer.

The wrap does take some practice to get used to, especially in the beginning when your baby is still tiny and trying to put her in a wrap can seem like a daunting task.  However once you get the hang of it, mothers have commented on how easy it is to use, comfortable to wear around the house and great for bonding with your newborn.  The down side to the wrap is that as it is very long it is not recommended put on when outdoor, as the straps will most definitely fall onto the ground and get dirty.

I would recommend this carrier for younger and or smaller babies, but I see this wrap not lasting more than perhaps 6 months (where as the other carriers can potentially be used until toddler ages).  Once the baby gets older and bigger it would be a struggle to physically maneuver them into the wrap and I would imagine it would be a burden on your back also.  However, I personally would not mind trying it because although this product does not last very long, the bonding time created in this wrap is invaluable.

Baby Activity Gyms: The Ultimate Top 3 (July 2012)

Baby Activity Gym (3m – 12m)

One of the most essential baby items and a piece of toy that can be enjoyed from around 3months until 1 year old is a baby activity gym.  There are a few things a new parent should look out for when purchasing this item, such as whether it is machine wash safe, whether the toys are detachable and also size is a factor for family living in smaller spaces.  Most importantly however is if it is interesting enough to keep your loved ones entertained while stimulating their mind at the same time!

1. Tiny Love Super Deluxe Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym $42.09 (19.7” x 30.7” x 1.6”)

A great activity mat for babies to stare, touch, play and interact in, this play gym has colorful illustrations of floras and faunas in all kinds of fabrics and textures for babies to experience.  It also comes with detachable toys that can be place on strollers or chair and each toy is unique in its design, some with rattles and others with bells.  The toys are also not too high up like in some activity gyms that babies cannot reach or see well especially in the first few months when their sensors are not as acute.

2. Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym $76.95 (20″ x 32.5″ x 3″)

This activity gym offers a good variety of play modes for they baby and the large light in on in the center of the arms really attracts a young baby’s attention.  The added function of being able to change the volume on the music is also a plus while the large toys on the gym – the giraffe and monkey are a favorite of small and big kids alike!

3. Infantino Square Twist and Fold Activity Gym $39.99 (29” x 10.8” x 5.5”)

If you travel a lot, whether its across the globe, across the country or just next door, this fold up activity gym is perfect for both you and your baby.  It folds up neatly into a compact size for moving around while the colorful design excites a baby’s imagination.  Another great part of this gym is it has a unisex color scheme so both boys and girls will enjoy playing in it.

- Favluv Kristy