Monday, July 2, 2012

Children's Baby Items :: The Best of the Best

Over the course of three children in four years, I have had my fair share of time to test out baby products. Some good, some great, some pitifully awful. I have done two posts already on my Top 10 Baby Items - found here and here - and a couple items may overlap, but on this post I am only going to focus on the very few that have achieved gold medal status. I am excited to share these gems with you so that you can avoid the headaches and frustration that I have been through, and also save money while doing so as you won't be testing product after product to find the perfect one - I already have!


We have tried Fisher-Price chair attachment high chairs from Target, Graco free standing ones from Babies 'R Us and fancy mahogany Scandinavian ones that promise to last through kindergarten as desk chairs. I finally landed on the Boon Flair and do not have ONE single complaint. I cannot find a flaw! Honestly, it is the perfect high chair. 

It is ridonkulously easy to clean, which, as all Mommies know happens roughly 32 times per day, so this is the #1 key factor for me. It is comfy for baby. It comes in a wide range of lovely colors. It moves up and down very easily. The tray actually fits in the dishwasher which is unheard of, even with so-called "dishwasher safe" trays. And, as an added bonus, it is tip-proof. Trust me, Squish has tried to beat this one and thankfully for Miss Munch he has failed.

I know what you're thinking. Generally, a crib is a crib is a crib. I couldn't agree some extent. If I could afford it, I'm sure the Nurseryworks Clear Vetro Crib that Blue Ivy Carter is currently residing in would be on my list, but alas I don't have $3.5k to drop on a baby bed right now. Given its large size though, I could very well stick with my original nomination for perfect baby crib: The Alma Mini Crib. 

Perfect for smaller spaces, or just to scoot up next to your bed at night in place of a bassinet, the Alma Mini Crib is wonderful. It can roll around - the wheels are also removable - and it can be folded up for travel or storage...or a long weekend at grandma's. It is not light so the ease of folding it up is not as simple as a typical play crib, but nonetheless it is a wonderful feature. It states that it can be used until 2 years old {there are two adjustable levels to put the mattress at} however if you have big boys like I do, it won't make it to the 18 month mark. That is the one main snag I can find. The colors are outstanding and, given the flexibility and beauty of the item, I think the price is justifiable. Several main stream stores carry bassinets for $300+, then when you factor in the bedding to go with it, you are nearly at the price of the Alma and I am fairly certain the quality of it cannot be beaten. 


I am typically a Target kinda gal for kids pj's. I mean I love Gap, Old Navy and the like, but Target is a frequent stop of mine and it's just easy to grab some Carter's while I'm there, not to mention nice on the credit card. I have a secret children's pajama love though - Roberta Roller Rabbit. They're a pretty hefty splurge in my opinion at $55 a pop - adds up fast with multiple kiddos, especially if you purchase more than one pair for each child - but They. Are. SO SOFT, and the prints are adorable. Green and orange elephants, blue monkeys, and pink hearts galore, they are neither too loose or too tight, and Squish and Munch never want to take them off. Unfortunately the RRR website is not working correctly in order to select and purchase the pi's at the moment...but keep checking back. 


Roberta Roller Rabbit pajamas are available in size 6 months, but for infants, my favorite onesies that can of course double as pajamas come from Splendid. I first discovered Splendid when Biz gave me a onesie of theirs when I was pregnant with Squish. We still have it - Squish loved it, Munch wore it, and Snooze has already sported it several times! It is not worn or falling to pieces at all. They are great quality and even softer than the RRR toddler pj's! Such great patterns as well. This is definitely a special purchase, but you won't be disappointed. I truly love everything they do and have tons of their stuff for Squish and Munch, as well as myself.


We have probably bought 6 or 7 baby monitors over the years. The walls in our home are so thick that the signals are terrible. We finally resorted to a wi-fi monitor and I LOVE it. It is very pricey at the $300 mark, but it's to be expected when this technology is involved. You can stream it to your iPad, your iPhone and several other electronic devices. The picture clarity is incredible - as clear as HD, and just what you would expect from a wi-fi device. The monitor is also gorgeous! Well, maybe gorgeous is a stretch, but then again maybe it isn't compared to other monitors. It is sleek and chic, and looks great with any decor. 


As I said, we have burned through monitors over here. {Mainly Summer Infant} They can't make it past a certain point in our house, or break a few months after getting them. I finally found one that is incredible with range and great on features, and the screen is amazing - large large large, and wonderful picture quality day and night. Like the Withings, there is a microphone, a zoom feature, temperature gauge, and nursery rhymes you can play through the camera in the baby's room. Unlike the Withings, the camera is movable and controlled by the video base, and also has an alarm feature to set at either 2, 4 or 6 hours if you need to wake up to feed baby. It will not work from Squish's or Munchkin's room down to ours, but that is not a monitor problem, that is a walls are to thick problem. I'm sure in our next home it will be fine anywhere in the entire house.


If you swaddle, my favorite swaddler is the Miracle Blanket. It is Houdini proof. The Woombie is also impossible to get out of, but the babies can move their arms around in them so I do not think they are as effective for babies past 4-6 weeks as the Miracle Blanket is. Some people prefer the Woombie however, so you may just have to do a trial run with both and select your favorite. The Miracle Blanket is not my favorite for ease of swaddling, as it is more difficult to do than simple zipping or velcro as it requires wrapping {the Woombie is a simple zip}, but if I had to pick only one it would still be the MB. I also love Summer Infant swaddles, though arms can come out of here more easily than you think!

A 3 month old Munch wrapped up nice and cozy in one of her Miracle Blankets :)


If you haven't heard of this have been living under a rock. Or you just don't have a baby in your life at the moment :) Aden and Anais originally became known for their muslin swaddle blankets. I never cared for them as swaddle blankets as Squish always broke his arms free (perhaps that is more user error ;) but they are wonderful blankets in general. 

Now A and A have moved on to sleep sacks, bibs, burp cloths and more, and I literally love EVERY single thing they make. I am over the moon for their innovative burp cloths that can double as a bib, but my VERY favorite product of theirs is the four layer muslin sleep sack aka Cozy Sleep Sack. It is sooo cozy as its name says, and has an absolutely perfect weight for night in a cool nursery. I wish I had 10! I have yet to try their Dream Blankets or Crib Sheets, but I know I would love them just as much as the other products. The quality is incredible, the prints are adorable and the colors are gorgeous!


This last one might be my very favorite, absolutely most important baby product out there and I have never mentioned it before. In my opinion and based on our personal experiences around here, the most integral part of helping a baby learn to go to sleep on their own {after putting them in their crib awake but drowsy}, is to have something that they associate sleep with. We have always used the Angel Dear Blankies, and they work like a charm. I always have two also, so that they both smell the same and when one has to be washed you aren't left high and dry! There are probably 40 different animals to select from, so you are sure to find one you and your little one love.

Squish, Munch and Snooze with their blankies....

I start putting them in the crib with them or next to be in bed - wherever baby is sleeping - from day 1. Every time they are asleep it is with them without fail. They learn that it means sleep very fast! Even if I rock them to sleep, it is right next to their face. Then, when I switch to all naps and nighttime sleep in crib, I put it with them and it makes it SO much easier for them to fall asleep. Snooze has two little dog blankies, and as soon as they touch his face - like the millisecond - his eyes shut and his body relaxes and goes practically limp, and he starts heading to  dreamland. {FYI after the 10pm feeding, I do not put it next to their face as they can feel it against their cheek and wake to nurse}

Some of these products are certainly on the high end of things, and I truly believe you get what you pay for. I really notice a difference when I compare these items to other high chairs, cribs, pajamas, clothes, sleep sacks, bibs and monitors. I am all about being thrifty and saving whenever you can, but sometimes it is worth paying up! Do you have any favorite products that you just absolutely cannot live without? Please share!