Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

We all have our go-to medications stocked in our medicine cabinets for the adult members of the family.  Maybe yours include Motrin, Tylenol, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, and/or allergy medications.  Most of us have a pretty good idea how to use these safely and can follow the directions on the bottle.  However, the game changes when we are talking about babies and toddlers.  They get the same ailments such as pain, fever, and allergies, but the directions on the packaging often don’t cover our littlest family members. Here is everything you need to know about giving medicine to a baby or toddler.

As a pharmacist, I wanted to provide answers to the most common questions parents ask. However, this information should not be taken as medical advice because I don’t know all the details of your child’s illness. 

Each situation is different, so it’s important that you use this information only as a guide and speak to your pharmacist and/or doctor about your child’s specific symptoms, and other characteristics.


When Should I Call the Doctor?

As a general rule of thumb, things are more severe the younger your baby is.  If you have a newborn, it’s a good idea to contact the nurse helpline or doctor whenever your baby is sick.  However, once your baby is a little older, you can treat low-grade fevers and minor colds at home as long as he’s generally healthy otherwise. 

Doctor’s offices will usually have a nurse helpline that you can contact with questions and they can help you determine if your baby needs to be seen.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call this number.  It’s free and the worse that happens is you sit on hold for a bit waiting for your call to be answered.


Reading Medication Labels

Over-the-counter medications or OTCs are medications that you can purchase without a prescription.  These are medications that the FDA has determined can be used safely based on the directions on the label. 

Drug Facts

The Drug Facts section on the label is where all the information you need to use the medication safely is located.  This is what the FDA has determined is necessary for you to know to use the medication without a doctor or pharmacist being involved.  It includes 7 sections which I will go over below.

Active Ingredient

The section states what ingredients are included in the medication with the intent of providing the intended action.  The drug is listed by its generic name and the amount and purpose of the medication are stated.  This section is how you can tell the difference between products with similar packaging and names. 

If you see ‘HPUS’ included in this section, it means that the medication is a homeopathic remedy.    Homeopathic remedies are beyond the scope of this article.  However, the basic principle is that illness is cured by giving tiny amounts of a substance that would be toxic in larger amounts.  Homeopathic remedy strength is indicated by HPUS and the less of a substance that the product contains the stronger it is.

Uses

This section lists the different symptoms the medication is likely to work for when dosed based on the information on the box.

Warnings

The warnings section is often the longest, but it’s a very important section.  Here you will find warnings about allergies, when to stop using and when to talk to a doctor or pharmacist prior to using the medication.

Directions

The directions are often what people jump to first, but the above sections are also important to read.  The directions state how much of the medication to take and how often to take it.  This is often divided into sections based on age.  However, you will find that many medications don’t providing dosing for children under 6 months or under 2 years.  This is because the FDA doesn’t think the medication can be safely used in this population without oversight from a doctor.

Other Information

This is other information that may be helpful such as how to store the medication.

Inactive Ingredients

These are the ingredients that aren’t expected to have beneficial effects.  These products are added to help form the tablet or liquid or to add color or flavor.  Medications all contain inactive ingredients in addition to the active one.  You would want to look at this section if your child has allergies as there may be an inactive ingredient that they are allergic to.  However, if you aren’t concerned about allergies, you can generally ignore this section.

Questions or Comments?

The final section is a phone number to contact the drug company if you have any questions or comments about the medication.


Giving Medications to a Baby

Medications for babies are in liquid form.  You will need a method to measure the dose and a method to administer it.  For measuring, you could use a syringe or measuring container.  Generally, medications will come with a plastic cup or syringe for measuring.  These are marked with milliliter or mL.  The directions on the packaging will tell you how many mL to give.  If the medication doesn’t have a measuring device or it gets lost, you can purchase one at most drug stores.

The measuring devices can also work to administer the medication. However, depending on the age of your child, a small cup may not work for giving the medication, but a syringe often works well for giving medication to a baby.  There are many handy devices available if you prefer.  These include pacifiers and tiny bottles that are designed for you to put the medication into them and then baby gets the medication while sucking.


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Giving medication can get challenging though, so parents have come up with some hacks for making the process easier.  For babies, a pacifier with an open back (like the hospital gives you) is about the right size for fitting a syringe into.  Cut a hole in the tip and while your baby is sucking on the pacifier, slowly squirt the medication out of the syringe.

For toddlers that have mastered drinking from a straw, cut the back out of an empty juice box.  Then put the medication in a small cup into the juice box for the toddler to drink from a straw.

What you don’t want to do is mix the medication into a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk or another liquid.  The reason is that often a child won’t drink the entire amount and then you don’t know how much medication was actually consumed.  Also, letting the medication sit in liquid for an extended period waiting for your child to drink it, can make the medication less effective.  If you do mix a medication into a drink, make sure that the entire drink is consumed in one sitting.

Antibiotic-Specific Tips

For antibiotics, you will need to make sure you shake the medication well before measuring out a dose.  Antibiotics come as suspensions which means that when they sit for an extended period, the medication will sink to the bottom of the bottle.  By shaking it, you make sure that the medication is evenly mixed before you measure a dose. 

Many liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated and they are also only good for 10 to 14 days.  The pharmacist will tell you if it needs to be in the fridge and how long it’s good for.  It’s important that you keep antibiotics in the fridge if they require it.  This can also make it taste better which is a win. 

It’s important that your child take the entire course of antibiotics.  If the doctor prescribes it for 10 days, then you need to give it for 10 days.  Your child should start to feel better well before 10 days is up, but if you stop the medication too early, the infection can come back.  At the end of the prescribed treatment, you want to discard any leftover medication.  Antibiotics aren’t good for very long once they are mixed, so the medication won’t keep for future use.


Over-the-Counter (OTC) Baby Medicines

Baby Medicine for Fever

A fever is the body’s natural defense mechanism and indicates that there is some type of infection the body needs to fight.  Therefore, it isn’t completely bad.  If your baby has a mild fever and doesn’t appear to be too affected by it, then it may not need treated.  However, if a fever gets too high it can lead to seizures.  If your baby or toddler has a fever, it doesn’t hurt to contact the nurse hotline.  They may tell you it’s okay, but it never hurts to check since a fever does mean there is something else going on. 

If you need to treat the fever, the medications that could be used are Infant’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Infant Motrin (ibuprofen).  These medications are both available over the counter.  Make sure to read the directions on the product you are using because there can be slight differences. If you need help figuring out how much to give, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. 

When your baby has a fever, dehydration is more likely.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to have Pedialyte on hand to help encourage fluid intake.

Baby Medicine for Colds

There are a variety of readily available medications for adults with a cold.  However, these are not recommended for use in babies or toddlers.  If you see a product advertised as cold medicine for a baby or toddler, it’s likely a homeopathic remedy. 

Having a nose suctioning device like this or this is helpful to decrease congestion.  For a full list of what you can do to help your baby feel better, check out this post.

Baby Medicine for Allergies

This is another condition where the adult medications are usually not appropriate.  If your baby appears to have seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor about recommendations.  If you are concerned about food allergies, bring your concern up to your doctor prior to introducing solid foods.  Your doctor can recommend something to have on hand in case an allergic reaction occurs.  Benadryl is a common recommendation, but the dosing on the package only goes down to 2 years old.  Therefore, your doctor needs to tell you what dose to give.  It is worth noting that children can react to Benadryl differently than adults.  Adults will usually get sleepy from the medication, but children can actually become excited.  Therefore, this medication should never be used to help your child sleep.


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Baby Medicine Cabinet Essentials

When preparing for a baby, it’s a good idea to have certain medicine cabinet essentials on hand.  The following are the items I recommend having about home before you actually need them.


There are the tips straight from the pharmacist’s mouth.  As you can see, there are a lot of times when you will need to contact the doctor with regards to your sick baby.  You will eventually get a feel for what requires a call and what doesn’t.  I also strongly recommend asking your pharmacist for advice.  These tips are general information, but your local pharmacist can provide more specific information for your situation.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Breast Pump Comparison

Breast Pump Comparison

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Breast Pump Comparison

Breast pumps – do you need one, how do you decide which one, do you have to pay for it yourself? These are all questions that soon-to-be-moms will be asking at some point.  Looking back, I made a lot of mistakes selecting a breast pump.  But hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes.  Therefore, read on for my complete guide to selecting the perfect breast pump for you. I will cover definitions that are important to know when evaluating breast pumps and well as a breast pump comparison between all of the major brands. If you are looking for a breast pump because you’re worried your baby isn’t getting enough milk, make sure to check out this post.

Around my second trimester, I got a random call from a company that supplies breast pumps.  My doctor had put in the order for me to get one through insurance.  The company rattled off a long list of all my options, and when finished asked which one I wanted.  I selected one I had heard of off the list and was told it would be at my door in a few days if it was covered.  Less than a week later, I had a new breast pump on my doorstep.  However, I ended up buying a second pump and wishing that I had yet another type.  Here are my tips for planning out your breast pump situation, so you end up with a pump you love (well as much as you can love something that leaves you feeling like a cow) as well as a comparison of all the readily available breast pumps.


Terminology

First things first, let’s cover breast pump terminology.

Hospital-Grade Pump

Heavy-duty pumps that have the most powerful motors and a higher amount of “sucks” per minute compared to personal pumps.  These pumps are more efficient but come with a higher price tag.

Personal Pump

These pumps are designed to fit the lifestyle of most moms.  They are usually relatively easy to transport and are more affordable than hospital grade pumps.  However, they are not as efficient as hospital-grade pumps.

Electric Pump

A pump that uses electricity via a wall outlet, but some pumps have the ability to run on batteries.  These pumps have the ability to pump both breasts at the same time and are much more efficient than manual pumps.

Manual-Pump

A pump that requires the user to do the work.  These pumps have a lever that requires a squeeze and release motion to express milk.  These pumps can be useful because they are highly portable and have few parts. However, they can be labor intensive.

Closed-System

Has a diaphragm that acts as a barrier.  This protects the milk from outside air and prevents milk from leaking into the pump tubing.  Therefore, expressed milk is never exposed to the pump tubing or motor which means that the tubing doesn’t require washing or sterilizing.

Open-System

Does not have a barrier between the tubing and the milk collection, so milk may potentially leak into the tubing.  This can be an inconvenience because it requires washing, sterilizing and air drying the tubing.  However, some moms report that small amounts of milk may get into the tubing without being noticed and this can lead to mold in the tubing. 

Flanges/Shields

These are the plastic pieces that go over your breast when pumping.  It is essential that these fit properly.  Flanges that are too small can cause pain from rubbing and flanges that are too big will not allow sufficient suction.  With some brands you can buy flanges in sizes other than what come with the pump, but this results in an added cost.

Dual-Phase Expression

The first step in breast milk expression is when the baby takes short, shallow and frequent sucks to cause a let-down.  The second phase occurs when the milk comes in and the baby’s sucks get longer and deeper. A dual-phase expression pump mimics these phases.


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Things to Consider

  • Unique needs: Determine if you will be pumping at work or while traveling.
  • How many pumps: If possible, plan to get two pumps in case one breaks.  My first week back to work, I accidentally dropped my pump and it broke.  That left me without a pump for a day (thank goodness for Amazon Prime 1-day shipping!).  It was a very stressful day because I was at work and my son wasn’t a big fan of nursing, to begin with, so he was not impressed by having to act as the pump.  Once I got my new pump in the mail, I eventually got my original one fixed, so I kept one at home and one at work.  This was really the ideal situation.  If you are able to get two pumps, I recommend two different styles (one hands-free and one traditional).
  • Manual or Electric: If you are only planning to pump occassionally and/or you need to have something handy to use once in a while when traveling, you may be able to get by with a manual pump.  However, if you will be pumping with any consistency, then you definitely want an electric pump.
  • Hospital or Regular Grade: Breast pumps come as hospital grade and regular grade.  Hospital grade is the type that may be in pumping rooms at work and what the hospital will have.  These are designed to have multiple people use the same pump.  Regular pumps are designed to be single user.  They are smaller and easier to tote back and forth to work.  Regular grade is likely sufficient for what you are doing. 
  • Style: Once you focus on regular grade, electric pumps, you have two basic groups of pumps: the traditional style with the cones and bottles hanging off of them and the hands-free, discrete pumps.  If you are able to swing two pumps, I highly recommend getting one of each. 
  • Desirable characteristics: Things to look at and consider include the following:
    • Battery-powered option
    • The weight of the pump
    • Discrete and hands-free
    • Reviews
    • Availability of support and parts

Breast Pump Comparison Tables

Below is a comparison of all readily available electric breast pumps.  Hospital grade pumps and manual pumps are not included.

The Criteria Evaluated

  • Hands Free (yes/no): Pumping bras are available to make any pump “hands-free” but being hands-free without a special bra is a big plus.
  • Runs on Battery (yes/no): Some pumps don’t maintain great suction on battery. However, having the option to use a pump on battery is helpful in a pinch.
  • Car Plug Ability (yes/no): The ability to power your pump with a car plug is a big plus when you are on the go.  If you can pump hands free, then pumping while driving is a great way to multi-task.
  • Digital Display (yes/no): Some mothers find a digital display really helpful for adjusting pump settings.  Usually pumps with a digital display come with additional features, like a timer or more setting options.
  • Closed System (yes/no): A closed system prevents any milk from getting into the tubing and potentially the pump motor which makes the pump more hygienic and saves you the hassle of cleaning the tubing.
  • Customer Support (yes/no): I learned the hard way that customer support is not a given with breast pumps, so I’ve included it as a criterion to evaluate.
  • Shield/Flange Size: You can often order a variety of sizes of shields/flanges. However, that’s an additional cost and hassle.
  • Warranty: If your pump breaks you want to know that it will be replaced quickly without additional cost to you.
  • Price: Many breast pumps are available through insurance.  However, if you are looking to get a second pump, or want one that isn’t covered, price is important to consider.
  • Amazon Rating: This seems to be the rating system that has the most submitted ratings, so I included it as a way to help compare the pumps.
  • Notes: This is where I included any additional features that I thought were important to consider.

Medela Pumps

Medela Pump In Style Advanced

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Medela Freestyle

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3 stars
Notes

Medela Sonata

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$350
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Spectra Pumps

Spectra S1

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 28 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

Spectra S2

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 28 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$158
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

Spectra 9 Plus

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor
Price$180
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Motif Pumps

Motif Duo

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
21 and 24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Motif Twist

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
21 and 24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$100
Amazon Rating
3 stars
Notes

Freemie Pumps

Freemie Liberty

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 28 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesCan be charged with a USB

Freemie Freedom

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 28 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$132
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

The First Years Pumps

Breastflow Memory Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Comes with 2 sizes; unclear which ones
WarrantyNone
Price$74
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesStores record of pumping sessions

Quiet Expressions Plus

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
“Flexi fit shields”
WarrantyNone
Price$66
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

BelleMa Pumps

Melon Comfort

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$105
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

E5

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year
Price$140
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Plethora

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$130
Amazon Rating
2 stars
Notes

Effective Pro

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$130
Amazon Rating
4 stars
NotesUSB charging

Other Brands

Lansinoh Smartpump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 30.5 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
NotesBluetooth connectivity

Momcozy Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$60
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesUSB charger; portable

BabySteps Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$59
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

BellaBaby Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$52
Amazon Rating
4 stars
NotesUSB charging

KidsTime Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$33
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesUSB charger; hot/cold message pads

Philips Avent Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 27 mm
Warranty2 years
Price$170
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Nibble Electric Breast Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determineX
Warranty1 year
Price$70
Amazon Rating
2.5 stars
NotesOnly comes with one bottle
Hard to find additional bottles and parts
Compatible with Medela bottles and some parts

Ameda Finesse

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 30.5 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Evenflo Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24.5, 28 and 30.5 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$64
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Willow Wearable Breast Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$480
Amazon Rating
N/A
Notes27 mm is only other size available
Run by smart phone app
1:1 coaching included with pump purchase

Additional Considerations

The above section gives you the basics of each pump to help you narrow down your search.  Once you decide which pumps sound like the best fit for you, make sure to research and consider the following.

  • Availability and cost of spare parts
  • What size flange you need. Note: This may change over time.
  • Amazon reviews

My Breast Pump Experience

I originally got the Freemie Freedom Pump which is hands-free.  The cups go inside of your bra and then have a pour spout to put the milk into bottles or bags.  I loved this pump at home, but it’s the one I broke my first week back at work.  I called the company and they simply said they didn’t service their pumps.  Luckily my dad was able to fix it.  In the meantime, I ordered a Spectra S2 from Amazon.  This wasn’t hands-free, but I could purchase adaptor tubing to use my hands-free cups with this pump which I did.  Compared to my Freemie, this pump was lighter weight with better features like different settings, and it was quieter.  I could also use it with traditional cups or my hands-free ones. However, the S2 isn’t able to run on battery (the S1 is).  One that could run on the battery would have fit my lifestyle better, but I’ve heard other mothers say that when running on battery the pumps don’t have enough suction.


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If I was to do it again, I would get a traditional style pump (probably Spectra S1 or Medela) and either the Willow or the Freemie Liberty which are a little more discreet and allow you to walk around compared to the Freemie Freedom that kept me tethered to my desk.  I may gravitate towards the Willow having experienced the lack of support from Freemie.

If, despite a great pump, you are finding you still need to supplement, check out this formula price comparison.

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Once you decide on a breast pump, make sure to check out these other posts on baby essentials.

Breast Pump Comparison

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

Let me guess – you have reached the point where it’s becoming a reality that your baby is going to have to come out eventually, you don’t want to forget anything you might need for the hospital, pregnancy brain has taken over, and you are the one that needs to make sure everything is packed and ready to go to the hospital.  I’ve been there.  I’m the person who would much rather over pack than under pack.  I obsessively searched the internet for hospital packing checklists during my third trimester and none of them seemed to cover everything.  In the end, I took a lot of stuff but used almost all of it.  Below I’ll go through everything that went on my packing list and why I recommend taking it.  There is also a downloadable PDF packing list that you can print to check off items.

Get My Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist

Get the only hospital packing list you will need for labor and delivery. This is the list I compiled for myself and then modified based on reality. Benefit from my experience!

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    Items Specifically For You

    Towel and garbage bag for in the car: Good to have just in case your water breaks on the way to the hospital.

    Gift for nurses: This is a nice gesture but not required.  I prepared a small jar with Hershey’s Kisses and tied on a cute bow.  I forgot to pull it out of my bag though, so I had been there a day before I gave it to anyone.  I recommend dropping it off at the nurses’ station shortly after arriving. If you are wondering why you would bring a small gift for someone whose job it is to take care of you, check out this story from a labor and delivery nurse where she talks about the training she did and the great and no so great parts of her job of trying to do everything she can for you and your baby.


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    Copy of birth plan (if you have one): If you spend the time creating this, you want to make sure you take at least one copy, but 2-3 copies may be better.  I didn’t make a birth plan because my plan was to go with the flow and it worked out well for me.

    Yeti mug (or similar): I have a 32 oz Yeti mug that I kept at home full of ice water which really helped me to drink more.  Taking it along was a last-minute thought, but I’m so glad I did.  The nurses would bring me ice and water whenever I needed a refill.  I then had a mug with a lid that kept the water cold which really increased how much I drank.  Pro tip: Bring one along for your partner too.  The nurses are happy to provide ice water, but it would have been much better if he had a mug to keep it cold.

    Pillow: The hospital will provide pillows, but they aren’t very comfy.  Having one from home can make a big difference.  Pro tip: Bring one for your partner too.  My husband insisted that he didn’t need to take a pillow because the hospital ones would be fine.  He was fine because he kept taking my pillow.

    Exercise ball and pump: Bring this and leave it in the car until you decide you need it.  The hospital had two exercise balls, but someone was already using the bigger one, and the one they brought me was way too small.  Had my own definitely prevented a mid-labor meltdown.  Don’t forget to bring the pump as well so that you can add more air if you decide it’s too squishy.

    Handheld fan: Pushing is hard work, and I was doing it for 3 hours!  I’m so glad I had a rechargeable handheld fan that my husband could hold up to my face. This is the one that I’m so glad I had at the hospital.

    Music: Some people create a playlist specifically for labor.  If this is you, great.  If not, still bring some source of music in case you need something to block out the annoying sound of machines (or your husband).


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    Robe and fuzzy socks: You will likely want to walk the halls at some point and you don’t want to do it wearing nothing but an open-backed hospital gown.  A robe and fuzzy socks are perfect… if you’re cold.  However, that’s where it’s also a good idea to bring PJ shorts that you can wear under your hospital gown if it’s too hot for a robe.  I wore my robe and fuzzy socks a decent amount after giving birth but was so hot while I was walking the halls that I just wore PJ shorts, a hospital gown and flip flops.

    Flip flops: Because no one wants to stand in the gross hospital showers without flip flops.  These also work for walking the halls if you’re too hot for the fuzzy socks.

    Nightgown/Labor and delivery dress: You can buy a dress designed for labor and delivery which is basically a fancy hospital gown.  If you do this, I would save it for after delivery.  What I did was purchase a stretchy tank top style nightgown from Target.  This was cool in case I got hot, had easier access compared to shorts and was stretchy at the top so I could pull it down for nursing.  Everyone thought I was wearing a sundress, but really it was just a nightgown.  I ended up going back and buying a second one in a different color after I got home. This one is similar to mine.

    Depends: It may require some effort to stoop to buying adult diapers, but these are a wonderful thing to have postpartum.  The mesh panties that the hospital provides do fit right and don’t stay put – they are essentially useless.  Depends on the other hand are extremely comfortable and can be discretely worn under yoga pants.  Get at least one pack and take a bunch to the hospital and have them at home.  I wore them for at least a week postpartum.

    Perineum Ice Packs: The hospital will provide you with diaper ice packs that work really well (and fit well inside Depends). However, they aren’t that comfortable to move around in.  I suggest ordering a package of perineum ice packs that you can activate at the time of use (these can be easily found on Amazon). Take a couple to the hospital and have the rest of the package on hand at home.  These are the ones I got, and they worked great.

    You will also want a bunch of other self-care items when you get home, but the hospital will supply you with everything else you need while you’re there.  To see what to have on hand at home, check out this post.

    Going home outfit: You will not automatically fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans.  However, you will be smaller than when you arrived, but how much varies from person to person.  I recommend leggings or yoga pants and a loose-fitting shirt which is a comfy outfit that can be cute and gives you wiggle room on what size you are when you leave the hospital.

    Nursing sleep bra: This may be necessary depending on what you are planning to wear in the hospital.  With the nightgown I mentioned above, it has built-in padding and is fitted enough to provide support, so I didn’t wear any other bras until I left.  A nursing sleep bra will come in handy when you go home though.

    Nursing pads: If everything goes smoothly, and you are discharged on schedule, your milk probably won’t have come in yet.  However, if you have an extended stay you may end up needing nursing pads.  I didn’t need them, but they are small, so I recommend taking a set or two just in case. These bamboo ones are the washable ones I suggest for long term.

    Breast pump with all accessories: The hospital will have a hospital-grade breast pump you can use if you need one.  However, if you are a first-time mom I recommend taking your personal breast pump and all the related pieces.  The lactation consultant can help you figure out how to use it and make sure everything fits appropriately.  For me this was a life saver.  If you are not new to the world of pumping, then you can probably just use the hospital one if necessary.

    Makeup: The thought of putting makeup on right after giving birth may sound crazy to some, but I’m so glad I had it with me.  As soon as I was given the okay to shower I did so and followed that by styling my hair and doing my makeup.  This took about 20 extra minutes, and I love the pictures of me and Paxton in the hospital. 

    Hair styling items and ponytail holders: See above for why you want to take hair styling items.  If your hair is long enough for a ponytail you will definitely want to utilize this style to get your hair out of your face during labor.

    Chapstick: Hospital air is dry, so you will want something for your lips.

    Glasses and contacts: If you have both, take both.  You may want contacts for labor in case your glasses get fogged up, but you may not want to put contacts in the entire time you’re in the hospital. 

    Laundry bag: You will generate laundry, so it’s helpful to have a designated place to keep it separate from things that aren’t dirty.

    Cell phone and charger, shower items, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash and deodorant: I hope that why you would want these items is pretty self-explanatory.

    Insurance card, ID and hospital paper work: I hope these items are pretty self-explanatory too.

    Items For Baby and Your Partner (because chances are you are responsible for everyone else. Get used to it.)

    Going home outfit for baby: This can be as fancy, as sentimental or as plain as you want.  Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s appropriate for a car seat and bring both newborn and 3-month size outfits.  My husband and I were both big babies that never fit into newborn clothes, but out son wore newborn clothes for a solid month.  You also don’t want to be in the position of having a baby that doesn’t fit into newborn clothes if that’s all you bought.  We had friends that had to go to the gift shop and get a bigger outfit for their baby to go home in because he didn’t fit in what they brought. 

    Car seat: Get this installed in your car ahead of time.  You can leave it in the car until you are close to leaving which helps keep the room from getting too cluttered.

    Stocked diaper bag: I cover what should go into a diaper bag in a different post.  You can view it here.  Most likely you won’t need any of these things before you get home, but you will quickly learn that baby and diaper bag go everywhere together.  It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.

    Baby blanket: If it’s cold, this can be used to tuck around baby in the car seat.  The hospital provides plenty of blankets for use while there, but some people prefer to have their own so consider what you prefer. We used the hospital ones until it was time to go home.

    Baby socks and Onsies: Something you may or may not need, but tiny enough they are worth tossing in. The nurses kept our son swaddled unless they were doing something with him, so we didn’t really see a need for baby clothes.  However, we eventually realized that he hated being cold and actually was happier dressed.

    Pillow for partner: See above (under your pillow) about why you must bring your partner a pillow.

    Entertainment: The last thing you want while you are in labor is a bored husband.  Make sure to have whatever will keep him entertained when you aren’t keeping him busy.

    PJs for partner: Sleeping in jeans is never fun, and you don’t need the whining.

    Cash for vending machines and snacks: The cafeteria is likely closed when you want to eat and the meals they deliver never seem to come at convenient times.  I was in the hospital for 2 days before I ever had a chance to eat one of the meals they brought me.

    Yeti mug (or similar for partner): Nice to have, and the nurses are happy to fill it up with ice water.

    Shower items, razor and shaving cream, ball cap, toothbrush, deodorant and cell phone and charger all for partner: Hopefully self-explanatory as to why these are needed.

    Card games: During early labor and after I got an epidural and slept for a couple of hours we played a bunch of card games.  Sometimes a pause was required for a contraction, but it was a great way to relax and keep us both occupied. This game got a lot of use in the hospital and while I was on maternity leave.

    Computer and charger: I can’t be the only one who never goes away overnight without taking my laptop.  I think I used it for maybe 10 minutes, but I’m sure I would have missed it if I hadn’t taken it.  The laptop can also be used for Skyping with family, listening to music or watching movies that you downloaded ahead of time (recommended).

    Extension cord: There may not be a plug near where your partner is sleeping so an extension cord can be good for allowing more flexibility with plugging in a cell phone.  In my room, the only outlets were behind my bed which wasn’t super convenient for keeping cell phones plugged in.

    Gum: Always good to have on hand for dry mouth, nausea and your partner’s bad breath.

    Camera: We took all pictures on cell phones, but if you are talented with a camera, don’t forget to take it.

    Overall, I am a strong proponent on taking everything that there is a slight chance you might need.  I hate being somewhere and wishing I had brought something, so I really don’t want to be in the situation while in labor or learning how to care for a new tiny human.  I do suggest packing multiple bags.  A bag for you, a bag for your partner, a bag for baby and a bag of stuff to leave in the car until needed.  It’s also helpful to have an extra bag to put stuff in as you finish with it.  Taking stuff used during labor to the car and bringing in baby stuff after our son was born worked well to keep the room from getting cluttered.

    Download PDF packing list here: Ultimate Hospital Packing List

    Did I miss anything?  What are you glad you had at the hospital?  Let me know in the comments.

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    Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery
    Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

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      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      Is there anything cuter than squishy little baby feet? I don’t think so.

      So, it makes sense that none of us can resist all of those adorable baby socks and shoes?

      I mean, I had a shoe collection ready to go before my son was born that rivaled my own.

      So, imagine my surprise when I learned that just like adults – baby feet are not one-size-fits-all.

      Sadly, many of those first pairs of shoes I bought ended up donated without so much as having the tags cut off.

      Now that I’ve learned the expensive way how to find the best baby and toddler shoes for wide, thick little feet – I’m sharing all my best tips with you.

      Go forth and buy all the wide little shoes. I support you.

      circle of girl baby shoes

      But First, When Does Your Baby Need Shoes?

      Before we dive into those sweet shoe recommendations -let’s cover some basics:

      It may come as a surprise that babies actually do not need shoes. While socks and soft-soled baby shoes provide warmth – your baby does not actually need supportive shoes. In fact, restrictive or structured shoes may actually impair their mobility. Whenever possible, allow them to go barefoot, so their feet can breathe, stretch, and grow.

      That means that when shopping for shoes for your precious little nugget – you are really looking for soft-soled shoes made of soft, flexible materials that will allow them to move their feet comfortably. And, you’re only using them for as long as necessary.

      Once they are pulling up to stand and starting to walk, shoes begin to serve more of a purpose. Their shoes will protect their feet from sharp objects and provide a flat, supportive surface. But, still, when they’re home and in a safe environment, the best way for baby to learn to walk is barefoot  – so their flat feet can build arches and strengthen ankles.

      circle of boy shoes

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      Types of Baby & Toddler Shoes

      Once you’re ready to start shopping, you’ll want to know the key vocabulary.

      Pre-Walking Shoes:

      These are designed to be flexible and made with breathable material. Typically, these are more for the cute factor rather than serve a real purpose.

      However, some babies are incredibly adept at kicking off their shoes. For these little Houdini’s, you may find yourself snapping up a pair of those baby moccasins you see everywhere.

      A few of the most popular baby moc lines include:

      Walking Shoes:

      Once your precious little snowflake starts taking those first few steps, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a more structured shoe.

      But, not so fast, truth is – barefoot is still best when you know the environment is safe for them to strut.

      When you are ready to invest in those first pairs of real shoes, you’ll want to look for a few key criteria to determine the best shoes for your baby learning to walk.

      1. Do they have flexible, nonslip soles? This means you should be able to bend the toe of the shoe up easily.
      2. Are the shoes comfortably padded? Make sure the material is soft and there isn’t anything that will rub the toes, feet, ankles or heels. Baby skin is soft and won’t stand a chance against rough materials.
      3. Do they close securely?  You don’t want the shoes coming off or flopping around when your little one is already unstable. You want them to be easy to get on, but secure once fastened.
      4. Are they the right size? Believe it or not, babies’ feet can grow fast. You’ll want to re-measure every couple of months to make sure their shoes fit properly and allow their feet room to grow.

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      Also, if your child has feet on the wider size, you may find that many baby shoes just don’t comfortably fit.

      That’s where I come in. You’re veritable Wide Feet Shoe Fairy. You’re welcome 😉

      Line of baby shoes

      Baby & Toddler Shoe Brands For Wide Feet

      Through trial and error, I have found 7 high-quality, affordable, adorable shoe stores that make wide enough shoes for babies and toddlers with wide feet.

      Let’s go shopping:

      See Kai Run:

      With fresh, fun prints, comfortable shoes and great sales, See Kai Run is a don’t miss on the baby shoe circuit. Their site is well organized and you can print out a size chart to measure feet and accurately determine a size. Now, if only they made sizes for adults…

      Black high top boots for baby girls
      High top boots from See Kai Run

      Pediped:

      Another big winner. Pediped’s are made so well – they’ll outlast your child. Plus, if you sign up for emails for the Pediped Outlet, you’ll be notified of big flash sales. I recommend ordering one pair first to make sure size and style work for you – as most of their deep discount sales are final sale. But, once you know what works for your little one, you’ll be able to snatch up a few pairs for less than what you’d pay for shoes at a discount store.


      Dr.Scholl’s From Nordstrom Rack:

      I love shopping Nordstrom Rack online because they have access to the full inventory, rather than just one store. I found Dr.Scholl’s online one day and remembered how comfortable they were for adult sizes and snatched some up. They ended up being fan favorites around here. They held up well enough to be donated to a friend’s baby and they said they loved them, too.


      Surprize by StrideRite for Target:

      This line is a more affordable version of the beloved Stride Rite line – but you won’t see a sacrifice in quality. Online they have even more options than in-store. These are cute, durable, and affordable. What else are you looking for? 😉

      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet
      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet
      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet
      The Best Shoes for Babies & Toddlers With Wide Feet

      Nike Tanjuns:

      At one point, my daughter had grown out of all her shoes and I hadn’t found a brand locally that could work. With shoes ordered and en route, I just needed a quick fix. I rifled through a bag of shoes donated from a friend that I had dismissed because all of the shoes were not wide enough, and found a pair of Nike Tanjuns at the bottom.

      Waddya know, because of the soft sides, these worked great. Nike has since been added to our baby and toddler shoe rotation and my son declares that his Nikes are his 2nd favorites. I find the best deals on Nike Tanjuns on Kohls.com.


      Puma:

      Yup, you guessed it – Pumas are his absolute favorite. He says they make him run “extra fast like the Flash”. They’re some of my favorites, too, because they come in adorable style and color options. You can find them for a steal at stores like DSW and they often participate in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – which is where I snagged my daughter’s sparkly pink Pumas that strangers stop and ask me about.

      Both my kids wore their Pumas for a recent trip to Disneyland and after a whole day of walking and playing, neither of them had so much as a red spot on their feet.

      I love you, Puma.


      Livie & Luca:

      If you’re looking for some adorable dress shoes for those family photos or that holiday party, look no further – here you go. Livie & Luca makes the most gorgeous dress shoes, sandals, and boots. But, they are pricey. I watch for the sale on sale and that’s when I buy. Because these are like special event shoes for us – I don’t choose them when she’s playing all day.

      I might have to grab some of their adorable winter boots, though, since she’s been wearing my Uggs around the house. Hmm…

      white baby girl dress shoes
      Special occasion shoes from Livie & Luca

      There you have it! 7 well made, fashionable, affordable shoes that are wide enough for your baby or toddler.

      Many of these retailers offer great sales, or special discounts when you sign up for emails.  They may even be available at a store near you.

      I hope you find something that both you and your child will love. If you have a favorite that I forgot – let us know in the comments below!

      For more information on baby items, check out these posts.

      Have a fabulous day,

      Erica

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      What to Put in a Diaper Bag

      What to Put in a Diaper Bag

      Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links (indicated by *) meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      What to Put in a Diaper Bag

      Your diaper bag will go everywhere baby goes.  You will carry it so much that it may even replace your purse.  Therefore, select a bag that you like, and it needs to have lots of pockets.  Once you have the bag, it can be hard to think of everything that should go in it until you are out somewhere and need something that you don’t have.  That leaves many new moms wondering “what to put in a diaper bag.” Below I outline everything that is in my diaper bag for my 8-month old son.  Some of the contents are pretty constant but others will come and go as baby grows and reaches new stages.  If you want to skip my narrative, you can download the list here.

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      Make sure to never forget anything when heading out with Baby. Download my PDF diaper bag packing list.

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        Collection of baby items that go inside of a diaper bag spread out on a coffee table.
        Above is my diaper bag with all of the items that I keep in it.  Stocked like this it’s always ready to grab and walk out the door at a moment’s notice.

        The above image shows everything that fits into my bag and believe it or not, I have a bit of space left over.

        Thin blanket: good for putting down when you want to let baby play on the floor

        Extra onesie: messes happen, and it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you switch this when baby grows out of a clothing size.  Since it’s summer, a onesie is the only piece of extra clothing I have, but during the winter I will also have a pair of pants and socks.

        Hat: It’s sunny here and Paxton doesn’t have very much hair; therefore, I always have a hat on hand in case we are outside for more than a couple minutes.


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        Sling carrier: This carry is basically just a piece of fabric, so it’s easy to fold and store in my bag. I have this Seven Everyday Sling.

        Burp rags: I have 3 in my bag right now, but for younger babies that are still in the spit up stage, I recommend even more.  Burp rags are good for all sorts of things.

        Toy: I have one with a clip attached to the outside of my bag. It doesn’t require any space inside but is ready to pull out when I need baby entertainment in a pinch.

        Sunscreen: I have a little bottle on a clip in case we spend more time outside than previously planned.

        Empty bottle: For mixing and feeding formula

        Formula powder packets: I keep 3 or 4 of the powder packets that have enough powder in each to make a 4-ounce bottle. I use these formula packets*.

        Bottled water: For mixing with powder formula or a quick drink for myself.

        Ready to drink formula bottles: I keep 2 or 3 of the 2-ounce ready to serve bottles on hand.  These are the ones that I use. They were enough for a meal when
        Paxton was tiny, but now they just buy me a little time.


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        Nipples for ready to drink bottles: I keep 2 nipples on hand that can be screwed onto the top of the ready to drink bottles.

        Snack container: Now that Paxton is old enough to eat cheerios, yogis and puffs, I keep a snack container that has three compartments on hand for when Paxton starts getting hangry. I love this 3-compartment snack container*.

        Teething biscuits: Also good for buying time when Paxton is hangry.  A plus is that kids are usually able to eat these quite a bit earlier than they can eat cheerios. Paxton likes these ones.  They could easily get crumbled in a diaper bag though, so I store them in Crystal Lite drink mix plastic containers.

        Applesauce cup (no added sugar) and food pouch: For if Paxton needs something more substantial than snacks.

        Spoon and sip attachments for pouches: These make the pouch much less messy. I love these spoon attachments because they have a cap and lock so you can store the pouch.

        Baby spoon: For the applesauce.

        Bib: To keep the mess contained.

        Extra pacifier and strap: For mid-store meltdowns and the strap keeps it off the gross public floors.

        Diapers: I usually go with 1 per hour I’m going to be out plus a couple extra.

        Wipes: I keep 2 travel packs handy.

        Changing pad: So that you have a place to change baby (my bag has one build in)

        Diaper rash cream: I like the Honest Company travel tubes here because it’s less messy on my hands compared to other brands which is important when I’m out.

        Gallon-sized bags: I keep a few tucked into my bag for storing soiled clothes until I get home.  They are also good for messy diapers if you are somewhere that you can’t throw one away.

        Nasal bulb: You never know when a nose will need suctioning.

        Hand sanitizer: I use a cute little holder to attach it to the outside of my bag, so it’s always handy.

        Items for me (tissues, snack bar, notepad, pen, chapstick, ponytail holder, and wallet): Like I mentioned earlier, the diaper bag often replaces a purse.  (The items like tissues and snacks are good for dealing with hangry husbands too.)

        As a disclaimer, my husband refuses to carry my bag and is glad he has his own.  He skips the personal items, but otherwise has most of the same things as I do.

        If you have a younger baby, you won’t need the solid food options, but here are some additional items I suggest adding:  Extra formula packets or bottles, extra burp rags, and a spare shirt for you.

        Make sure to grab the PDF checklist here!

        What are some things that you think are must haves in a diaper bag?  Tell me in the comments.

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        What to Put in a Diaper Bag

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        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        Who knew that someone so tiny can come with so much stuff – certainly not my husband and me!  When we moved into our 4 bed, 3 bath house we thought we had space to spare, especially with an entire room dedicated to a future tiny human.  However, by the time we had everything we thought we needed and everyone told us we needed, we had filled that room and then some.  Some of the stuff people gave us/said we needed ended up being wonderful and other things aren’t so necessary.  Below is my review on what common nursery items are really necessary.  To see what toys are really necessary, check out this post.

        Rating Scale:

        –       Green: Definitely recommend purchasing

        –       Yellow: Might be good to have

        –       Red: Don’t bother

        Baby Furniture That Grows with Baby: Rating Green

                    There are many cute baby cribs and changing tables, but those only last a couple of years and then they get put in storage and don’t have any more use unless you have another baby.  However, various companies now make cribs that convert to toddler beds and then full-size beds and changing table toppers that attach to the top of dressers.  These sets also have dressers and end tables that go together.  This allows you to create a classy nursery with a good quality crib and safe changing place without ending up needing all new furniture in a couple of years.  We went with a medium grey set and purchased the low dresser with changing table topper, the crib, and toddler and full-size bed conversion sets.  We won’t need the conversion sets for a couple of years but wanted to make sure we had them in case the style was discontinued.  This ended up being a good idea since it was a Babies ‘R’ Us brand and now that’s no more. The set also has end tables, but everything is built very sturdy and we didn’t want too much clunky furniture filling up the room.  Walmart end tables that you put together ended up being a $10 solution that fits nicely into the room.  Other than a full-sized mattress and a desk, Paxton is set on bedroom furniture until he moves out.

        Grey dresser with floating shelves
        Nursery with grey crib and glider and image images on wall

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        Glider/Rocker: Rating Green

         Some people said we needed this and others said it wasn’t necessary.  After 5 months I decided I’m glad we have this.  It was great for nursing when we first brought Paxton home because the armrests really helped me position him.  I did eventually start nursing on the couch or in other areas instead of always holing up in his room.  I would still recommend having some type of comfy chair that rocks and has armrests to have in the nursery.  There isn’t any reason why I can’t feed Paxton on the couch now, but I like being able to go into his room before his nap or bedtime and turn the lights off and feed him there to settle him down and get him into sleep mode.  This chair is also a lifesaver when he is cranky because we can go in there and snuggle and rock, and he calms right down.  Having a chair with the area beneath the armrests open allows for your baby’s legs to stretch out as he gets bigger, but I just put Paxton’s legs on top of the armrest and don’t have any problems. This is the one that I have and would highly recommend.

        Nursery with grey crib, glider and window shutters

        Humidifier: Rating Yellow

        This was something that registry lists said I should include, and other mothers told me it was a must-have.  However, in 5 months I haven’t felt like I had to have it.  I do run it on a low setting pretty continuously and it may have helped when Paxton was pretty stuffy the first few weeks after he was born.  We have one that is a cute elephant shape, so it looks nice in the nursery. You can see it here. I guess when you need it, you want to make sure you have it, but I haven’t really had a major need.


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        Mobile: Rating Yellow

        We registered for a cute safari mobile that would look great in the nursery.  However, all the cute ones are crank style.  This meant that it was pretty to look at but served almost no purpose.  Therefore, we ordered a more toy-like style off Amazon. This is the one we got that we really like.  This one plays for 40 minutes with just the push of a button and has an optional night light.  We still don’t use it a ton because Paxton prefers to fall asleep without it.  However, when he wakes up and I’m not quite ready for work, it usually buys me an extra 15 minutes to finish getting ready.

        Noise Machine: Rating Green

        We have a cute owl-shaped one for the nursery that shines stars on the ceiling and a little travel sized one for when we are away from home. You can see the owl noise machine here.  This is the travel noise machine we have. I would rate a noise machine as a must have.  I used the lights initially as a night light but after a couple of months, Paxton preferred sleeping in a totally dark room.  The noise machine has been on since the day we brought him home, and I definitely think it has helped him sleep as well as block out some of the noise we make while he’s sleeping.  He also is used to sleeping someplace that isn’t totally quite which helps when we need him to sleep on the go.

        Do you agree with my assessments?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

        For more help deciding what baby items you really need, check out these posts.

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        Where did all this stuff come from?!?! – What Nursery Items Are Really Necessary?

        Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

        The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That’s Been There)

        The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That’s Been There)

        Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

        The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That's Been There)

        When you are getting ready for a baby there are a bunch of different stores to register at and they will provide you with a helpful checklist of everything you should register for.  Which store to pick is beyond the scope of this article.  However, my husband and I wanted a store we could actually go to because we had very limited knowledge of baby stuff, so the thought of bumbling through setting up a registry online seemed way too difficult.  When we went to register, we were handed a list of everything we should register for.  The list plus both of us having no idea what we really needed resulted in a confusing 4 hours of selecting a bunch of items with little reason behind out selections.  Some things we ended up with are great, and some are pointless.  What follows is my review of what items are worth having and which are a waste.  If you want to skip my narrative, you can get the checklist here.

        I suggest setting up a baby registry on Amazon here. We did ours at Babies R Us, but a lot of people bought gifts off Amazon because it was more convenient and they had the best prices. This resulted in a bunch of duplicate items because nothing was actually getting checked off of my registry. Everyone uses Amazon, so this is a super convenient way to create a registry!

        The Only Baby Registry Checklist You Need

        Get the real list of things you need to register for as a PDF in your inbox. Don’t forget anything and don’t end up with stuff you will never need.

          We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

          Well-wishers want to gift you with the items you want for your new baby.  They rely on your registry to see what you like and want.  Therefore, when you build your registry decide what you really want.  I also found it helpful to use my registry as a shopping list, so after my showers, I could remember everything else I needed to get.  Below is a list of items with my thoughts on each.  There is also a PDF checklist here without all the added details. The Real Baby Registry Checklist

          You can start setting up your registry here.


          Related Content

          Items for the First 4 Months

          Travel

          • Car seat: You can choose between convertible, travel system or infant, but you will need one of them. I recommend a travel system (see next bullet)
          • Extra car seat base: You only really need one car seat while baby is tiny, but you will want to be able to use it in all of your cars. If you have a second car, you will need a second base.  Car seats can be used without a base, but for your regular cars, you want a base installed because it makes it much easier.
          • Car mirror: When you are driving it’s nice to be able to see what baby is up to in the back seat. A car mirror is designed to be attached to the seat, so you can keep an eye on what baby is doing through your rearview mirror.
          • Car window shades: Unless you have really dark windows, you will want at least one window shade. I have one on both of my back windows because the window on the far side from baby still allowed sun to shine on Paxton without the second shade up.
          • Travel system stroller that can be used without a car seat for larger kids: Find a stroller you can attach your car seat to. For the first few months, it will be easier to keep baby in the car seat.  However, after 5 months or so, the baby will be strong enough to sit in the stroller without the car seat, so you will get more use out of it if you can use the stroller without a car seat.  Check out the one I have here.  I LOVE it!
          • Stroller hooks: You will want to attach your diaper bag to the stroller in some way. I have chains with snaps that clip to rings on either side of my diaper bag.  I also have a hook that I can hang things from.
          • Baby carrier: If you have friends with little kids, try out their carriers prior to purchasing one. Most good baby carriers are pricy and different people like different ones.  I actually have two.  I have a Lille Baby Carrier which is good for carrying Paxton all day, but I also have a Seven Everyday Sling sling style that puts him on my hip for short periods.  I like keeping this one in my diaper bag for quick access when I’m out.

          Other Posts You May Like


          Sleep

          • Crib: You will need one for once baby outgrows a bassinet. I suggest making it one that converts into a toddler bed and a full-sized bed.  Otherwise, you will be left with a crib that you don’t know what to do with.
          • Crib mattress: Babies don’t need super fancy mattresses. Just make sure it fills the crib and is firm.
          • Mattress cover: Get at least 3 waterproof liners. You always want to have one on so that the mattress doesn’t get ruined.  If one gets wet during the night you want to have a fresh one ready to put on.
          • Crib sheets: At least 3 of these for the same reasons as above
          • Bassinet and sheets: Paxton slept in his nursery from night one, but the AAP recommends babies sleep in your bedroom for the first 6 months. If you are going to do this, a bassinet is good for keeping baby close by.  You will also want at least two sets of sheets for the bassinet.
          • Baby monitor: Invest in a good quality video monitor. I thought WiFi was a must-have feature of a baby monitor, but in reality, I use that feature very little.  Invest in high-quality video.  You will appreciate being able to see details such as baby breathing.
          • Rocking chair/ glider and ottoman: A rocking chair is wonderful for feeding and soothing and reading. You will also want a footstool so that you can put your feet up.  I have this one and it has been a lifesaver. 
          • Nightlight: Lights can keep baby awake, but at first it was nice having one, and it didn’t seem to bother Paxton for the first couple of months. We have this one that is a dual noise machine/night light. 
          • Noise machine: Baby is used to hearing noise in the womb. A noise machine can help mimic that and help baby sleep.  It also helps block out noises around the house to keep baby sleeping soundly. Here is some great information for deciding on a noise machine.
          • Dresser: I store jackets in the closet, but the rest of Paxton’s clothes in a dresser. I recommend one that matches the conversion bed, so baby can use it for years to come.
          • Humidifier: This is probably good to have on hand, but I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity. I keep Paxton’s on a low setting all the time.  I’m not sure if it helps, but it doesn’t hurt.  The one we have is a cute elephant, so it looks nice with the nursery décor.  Here is the one we have.
          • Pack N Play: This is great for spending time outside with baby or traveling.
          • Pack N Play sheet: If you have a Pack N Play, you need a sheet to put on it. Two sheets aren’t a bad idea, so you have a spare.
          • Swaddles: Babies have a startle reflex for the first 4 months or so. Swaddles help them feel snug and keep them from jerking awake.  They are wonderful for helping baby sleep during those initial months.  The nurses in the hospital will teach you to swaddle with a blanket, but when you are home and sleep-deprived, just go with the swaddles that only require a zipper and Velcro, it will save your sanity.
          • Wearable blankets: You don’t want anything in the crib with the baby for the first year. However, you don’t want to swaddle the baby once he starts rolling over.  Therefore, if you are afraid baby will be cold overnight, wearable blankets are good to have.  These can also be helpful to keep baby from climbing out of the crib.  We didn’t use these much and instead dress Paxton in pajamas with pants year-round and keep our house a consistent temperature.
          • Baby sleep book: One of the best gifts I received, which I didn’t even know I needed, was a sleep book recommended by my aunt that is raising 4 kids. There are tons of sleep books.  They make good reading while you are up with the baby in the middle of the night. I love this one.

          Feeding

          • Bottles: Even if you are planning to breastfeed, at some point you will want to give the baby a bottle. For the first 4 or 5 months 4-oz bottles are a good size.  After that, you will want 9-oz bottles.  While you will want a lot of bottles in both sizes, I recommend not getting a bunch right away.  There are so many types of bottles and some babies need anti-colic or are just really picky, and you will like some styles more than others.  Instead, I suggest polling friends on which types of bottles they liked.  Then get a couple of them to try.  After a few weeks of using them, decide which ones you want more of.  Once you know what you want, you can easily order off Amazon. Paxton and I love these ones.
          • Bottlebrush: I haven’t used mine much, but it’s not bad to have. It helped to clean bottles when traveling.
          • Bottle drying rack: Bottles are dishwasher safe, but I felt better soaking them in the sink before Paxton started eating solid food. The drying rack was wonderful during this time.
          • Breast pump: You can usually get a free one through insurance. See my post on selecting a pump here.
          • Pump accessories: Your pump will come with everything you need to use it. However, a second set of the parts is helpful. See my post on pumps and accessories.
          • Pump bag and cooler bag: If you are planning to travel at all or work while pumping, you will need a bag to carry your pump and all the accessories as well as a cooler bag for any milk you pump.
          • Breast pump cleaning wipes: These make cleaning pump parts way quicker when on the go or at work. You could also go with steam sterilizer bags, but I had a pump that said not to steam the parts. These work great for work and travel.
          • Breastmilk storage bags: Having a box on hand is helpful. If you don’t, these can be ordered from Amazon prime and arrive the next day.  Any brand will work.  However, I use the Lansinoh ones. These have double zippers in case one fails.
          • Nursing pads: Even if you are not planning to breastfeed, you will leak milk. I suggest the washable pads but disposable work too.  I really like these bamboo ones. They are super absorbent and easy to wash.  They even come with a cute bag to store them in.
          • Nipple cream: If you are breastfeeding, you will want this.
          • Nursing pillow: I wasn’t sure I really needed this. The day after coming home from the hospital, I sent my husband to the store to get me one.  It made breastfeeding much easier at first.  As Paxton got older, it was good to prop him up and then as a balance when he was learning to sit up.  For something I thought I didn’t need, I have sure used it a lot.  I got a Boppy.  There are some fancier ones out there, but this one served its purpose.
          • Bibs: You will want small soft ones for the first few months and silicone ones once the baby starts eating solid food. With solid food, dishwasher friendly is a big plus.  I really like these Silicone ones with a pocket to catch dropped food.
          • Burp cloths: The first few months will require a lot of these. You will want to have multiple ones on hand everywhere.  Eventually baby will outgrow the need for burb clothes, but for the sake of your sanity, get a lot for the beginning.

          Bathroom

          • Baby bathtub: You will want one for the first few months. The fancy spa-style ones are nice for the person giving the bath, but baby will outgrow it before they really enjoy the extra features.  You will likely be fine with a basic one that includes a slanted sling for baby to lay on.
          • Baby soap: A basic baby body wash/shampoo is all you need here.
          • Baby washcloths: Baby is tiny, and it really is easier to wash with a soft thin washcloth designed for babies.
          • Soft hooded towels: Robes are a pain until baby can stand. A hooded towel works well.  You will want tiny ones for the first few months, and a larger one designed for toddlers once baby gets a little bigger.
          • Baby lotion: At first babies don’t need lotion on their skin, but eventually they will start drooling and getting dry skin from all the drool. The lotion will be necessary.  I use Eucerin.
          • Baby first aid kit: When baby gets sick (it will happen eventually) you don’t want to be running to the store. Get one of these which should include a baby thermometer and a nasal bulb.  You also will want to have baby Tylenol or Motrin and Benadryl on hand.
          • Baby nail clippers: Babies have nails that grow freakishly fast, and these nails are sharp on their soft skin (and yours). You will want to keep them clipped short to prevent scratches on baby (and you).
          • Baby nail file: Along with the need for nail clippers, you will need a tiny baby nail file.

          Changing

          • Changing table: You need a place to change baby. However, you don’t need a table dedicated only to this purpose.  We have a changing table topper for the dresser.  This is wonderful, doesn’t take up any floor space and works great for diaper changes.  Once we don’t have to change diapers, the topper easily detaches from the dresser, and the dresser is still great.
          • Changing table pad: You will want a pad to put on top of whatever you decide for a changing table.
          • Changing table pad covers and waterproof liners: You will want a cover for the changing table pad as well as a waterproof liner that sits on top. There are many times I’ve tossed the waterproof liner in the laundry but not had to change the entire cover.
          • Cloth diapers (if using): I didn’t use these, so I can’t add much here.
          • Diaper rash cream: An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment. Get a generic diaper rash cream and apply it with each diaper change.  We have done this with Paxton and have kept diaper rash at bay so far.
          • Diaper paste spatula: This is the item you never knew you needed. Getting diaper rash cream on your hands is a thing of the past with this. Here is the item you will be so glad you have!
          • Diaper pail and liners: The Diaper Genie has been around since I was a baby, but it’s still popular because it works. It’s simple and effective for disposing of diapers.

          Play

          • Activity mat and tummy time mirror: A newborn doesn’t need many toys, but after a few weeks you will decide you want a toy that baby can play with when only a couple of weeks old. An activity mat is great for this.  There are a bunch to choose from.  When selecting one, consider that baby will be able to see black and white best at first.  A mirror designed for tummy time is also great for when baby starts to like looking at themselves.
          • Baby swing/bouncer: Newborns like to move. Most of the time they will be in your arms, but a swing or bouncer is nice to give you a little break.  I wouldn’t get the most expensive one though because the baby will outgrow it quickly, and there’s no guarantee that the baby will be a fan.
          • Books: Reading to baby from the start is highly recommended. Baby doesn’t care what you read or if you read the same thing over and over.  However, you will care.  I heard an idea about having everyone give you a book for your shower with a message in it instead of a card.  I really wish I had heard of this before my showers.  Books will get read to baby for years; cards gather dust.
          • Mobile: I suggest one that plays for an extended period of time versus one of the cute crank ones that matches the nursery décor. An extended runtime will be way more useful.  We had a cute nursery décor-matching one and eventually swapped it out for something more practical.  We have gotten a lot of use out of this mobile.

          Other

          • Receiving blankets: You don’t need a lot of these, but a couple are good to have. I keep one in my diaper bag for when I want to put Paxton on the floor to play in a public place.
          • Diaper bag: Take my advice and get one for you and one for your husband. You can each fill it with what you need (see my post on what to put in a diaper bag).  This bag will go with you everywhere, so make sure you get one you like.  I have this Petunia Picklebottom Backpack which I love.
          • Baby laundry detergent: Baby has sensitive skin. Prewash clothes before baby wears them for the first time and do all of baby’s laundry with it.  Baby laundry detergent is an easy change to make to prevent eczema.
          • Pacifiers: These are like bottles. You will want a bunch, but the baby may only like a specific kind.  Get a variety to try.  Paxton only likes these MAM pacifiers.  Also, pacifiers come in different sizes.  You will want newborn ones initially, and then use larger ones as baby gets older.  The right size pacifier makes a big difference.
          • Pacifier straps: Pacifiers never seem to stay in baby’s mouth. Straps are wonderful.
          • Laundry hamper: Babies go through a lot of clothes, burp rags, and bedding. You need a place to put all the laundry.
          • Wastebasket: I don’t find I end up with that much nursery trash. However, it’s nice to have one next to the dresser.
          • End tables: We didn’t think about needing these, but they are nice to have next to the glider. Cheap ones work just fine and don’t take up too much space.
          • Baby hangers: If you have a closet, you will want at least a few hangers. I found it helpful to hang sweatshirts and jackets.
          • Storage baskets: A couple of baskets are helpful for decorative storage.
          • Storage drawers: Put one or two plastic storage drawer sets in the closet to increase storage without sacrificing nursery appearance.
          • Hand sanitizer: Get the cute little travel ones that you can attach to your diaper bag as well as a bottle for the changing area.

          Items for Beyond Month 4

          • Jumperoo: From about 4 months on Paxton has loved his jumperoo where he can jump out some of his energy.  This Jumperoo is the one we have, and it gets tons of use.
          • Toys: As baby gets older you will want different types of toys. I suggest getting ones that don’t require batteries.  Some that play music or make noise are okay, but you will get tired of listening to them eventually.
          • Teething toys: Get a variety of types because the baby will likely want different ones at different times.
          • High chair: You don’t want to chase around a wiggly baby at mealtime.
          • Baby food bowls: You don’t want baby using your good bowls. You will eventually want ones that suction onto the high chair tray.
          • Baby spoons: Hard plastic spoons that are thick are good for feeding baby. I suggest ones with longer handles to start so that both you and baby can hold on.
          • Snack containers: These are great for traveling with snacks when baby starts eating finger foods. This one has 3 compartments, so it works great for taking a variety of snacks with us.
          • Sippy cups: Same as bottles – get a bunch of different styles to try.
          • Baby toothbrush: Once baby has teeth you want to start brushing teeth. I suggest a toothbrush that is extra -long so that you and baby can hold on. Before baby has teeth, you can wipe the gums with a wet washcloth. I like this one that has an extra-long handle, so baby can help.
          • Baby toothpaste: To go with the toothbrush
          • Childproofing products: We aren’t quite here yet, but you will definitely need these eventually. Paxton already wants to grab everything, so I can only imagine what it will be like once he is on the move.
          • Umbrella stroller: Baby won’t be able to use this at first, but after 6 or 7 months, it will be an easy thing to keep in the car to move the baby around.
          • Bath kneeler: Now that Paxton is using the real bathtub, I’m glad that I have this. He likes having someone play with him in the bath.  I need to be on my knees to do this.
          • Bath toys: Playing in the bath requires toys.
          • Bath toy holder: When you get toys, you will want a way to contain them.
          • Toy basket: Same as with the bath toys; you will want a place to store all the toys you collect.

          Items You Need but Shouldn’t Register For

          • Formula: If you aren’t planning to breastfeed for the entire first year or if you end up with milk supply issues like I did, you will need formula at some point. Wait until you need it to buy it.  You don’t know what baby will like or need. In the meantime, register for the Enfamil and Similac sample programs.  These send you free samples in the mail, so you can try out some different formulas before buying.
          • Disposable diapers: If you aren’t using cloth ones you will need these. I highly recommend sticking with a brand name.  In my experience, the generic ones just don’t work as well.  You will need lots of every size except maybe newborn.  Instead of registering for them at a specific location, I suggest just letting people that plan your shower know that you would love diapers of whatever brand you choose in any size.
          • Wipes: You will need lots of these, but I suggest the same as diapers. Generic wipes are okay and work, but in my experience, generic ones stick together.  Therefore, when you pull one wipe you get a handful.
          • Nursing bras and clothes: You will need these if you plan to breastfeed, but likely want to pick them out yourself.
          • Baby clothes: You need lots of these, but people will get you plenty even if you don’t register for them. If you see something you just have to buy for baby, get it in a larger size (6 months or larger). People will give you lots of tiny size clothes.  However, you will find yourself in need of clothes when the baby reaches 6-month size.
          • Baby blankets: You will get plenty of these that people make, and you really only need a couple. You don’t need to register for any store-bought ones.

          Items You Don’t Need

          • Bottle warmer
          • Wipe warmer
          • Crib Bumpers
          • Bottle sterilizer
          • Dishwasher basket
          • Make your own baby food system
          • Baby food cookbooks
          • Bumbo seat

          What are you must-have and could do without baby items?  Let me know in the comments.

          Head over to Amazon and start setting up a baby registry now while all this info is fresh in your head!

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          The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That's Been There)

          The Only Baby Registry Checklist You Need

          Get the real list of things you need to register for as a PDF in your inbox. Don’t forget anything and don’t end up with stuff you will never need.

            We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

            Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

            Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?

            Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?

            Disclaimer: These prices were obtained from the store websites at the time of writing.  They may be subject to change at any time.

            Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?

            There are what seems like a million different formula options available if you need to supplement breastfeeding or decide to skip breastfeeding altogether.  When I finally acknowledged that exclusively breastfeeding wasn’t going to work out, I was overwhelmed trying to decide which formula was the best option.  What baby formula is really the best deal?

            If you are supplementing because of low milk supply, make sure you have a good pump to boost your supply as much as possible. You can check out my pump comparison here.

            I wasn’t married to the thought of using brand name.  As a pharmacist, I trust the fact that the FDA has minimum requirements for all formulas and that these are based on research. However, there are differences between brands and generics in the consistency, how easily it mixes, ease of digesting and taste.  Our pediatrician told us that it really didn’t matter which formula we used, as long as Paxton liked it and seemed to be tolerating it.  We tried a bunch and ruled out Soy (it gave Paxton constipation) and the Similac spit-up formulation (it was really hard to mix and kept clogging the nipple).  Otherwise, Paxton was fine with whatever we used.  That led us to selecting the most cost-effective option.  But this tactic was harder than it seems.


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            The obvious way to do this would be to look at the price and choose the cheapest.  However, the different products come in different size containers.  In this case, you might want to see the price per ounce.  The ounces are clearly stated on the label, so it’s an easy calculation and gives you a little better comparison.  However, the listed weight indicates the weight of the entire container (powder + all packaging) and to further complicate things, the scoops are different sizes depending on brand even though all scoops provide enough powder for 2 fluid ounces of formula.  Therefore, list weight doesn’t directly correlate to how many ounces of formula it makes.  Another factor to consider is where to purchase from.  Does one store have better prices than another? To help out other exhausted moms in my shoes, I’ve done the math for you and outlined how much each brand is costing per fluid ounce of formula.  I did this with the sensitive/gentle formulations because that’s what I use.  There might be slight variations if you use a different formulation, but it will likely follow this trend.  I did the math with three scenarios: 1.) basic calculations for 3 popular retailers; 2.) taking into account manufacturer coupons; 3.) taking into account manufacturer coupons and Target’s popular formula sale

            Conversions used (obtained from formula packaging):

            • Enfamil: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
            • Similac: 22.5 ounce container = 169 fluid ounces
            • Gerber: 32 ounce container = 224 fluid ounces
            • GoodSense: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
            • Up&Up: 33.2 ounce container = 235 fluid ounces
            • Parent’s Choice: 33.2 ounce container = 238 fluid ounce

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            1.) In General, Which Is The Best Baby Formula Deal?

            Amazon

            • Enfamil Gentlease (21.5 oz. container for $29.99): $1.39/container weight ounce
              • $0.19/fluid ounce of formula
            • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $31.99): $1.42/container weight ounce
              • $0.19/fluid ounce of formula
            • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $35.58): $1.11/container weight ounce
              • $0.16/fluid ounce of formula
            • GoodSense Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $15.19): $0.71/container weight ounce
              • $0.10/fluid ounce of formula

            Target

            • Enfamil Gentlease (21.5 oz. container for $26.88): $1.25/container weight ounce
              • $0.17/fluid ounce of formula
            • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $25.99): $1.15/container weight ounce
              • $0.15/fluid ounce of formula
            • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $35.99): $1.12/container weight ounce
              • $0.16/fluid ounce of formula
            • Up&Up Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $21.99): $0.69/container weight ounce
              • $0.09/fluid ounce of formula

            Walmart

            • Enfamil Gentlease (21.5 oz. container for $26.99): $1.26/container weight ounce
              • $0.17/fluid ounce of formula
            • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz container for $25.94): $1.15/container weight ounce
              • $0.15/fluid ounce of formula
            • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $35.58): $1.11/container weight ounce
              • $0.16/fluid ounce of formula
            • Parent’s Choice Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $19.98): $0.60/container weight ounce
              • $0.08/fluid ounce of formula

            For this category, it looks like the brand name products are pretty evenly priced across all three stores with Amazon being slightly more expensive.  Walmart’s generic formula comes in as the cheapest generic being more than $2.00 less per container than Target’s.  From this scenario, it appears that you should go generic all the way if your baby will tolerate it. But what if you have $5 manufacturer coupons for brand name products?  (Note only 1 coupon per brand can be used per purchase.)  As far as I can figure out, you can’t use the coupons on Amazon, so we will just look at this scenario for Target and Walmart.

            2.) With a $5 Manufacturer Coupon, Which Is The Best Baby Formula Deal?

            Conversions used (obtained from formula packaging):

            • Enfamil: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
            • Similac: 22.5 ounce container = 169 fluid ounces
            • Gerber: 32 ounce container = 224 fluid ounces
            • GoodSense: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
            • Up&Up: 33.2 ounce container = 235 fluid ounces
            • Parent’s Choice: 33.2 ounce container = 238 fluid ounces

            Target

            • Enfamil Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $21.88*): $1.02/container weight ounce
              • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
            • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $20.99*): $0.93/container weight ounce
              • $0.12/fluid ounce of formula
            • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $30.99*): $0.97/container weight ounce
              • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
            • Up&Up Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $21.99): $0.69/container weight ounce
              • $0.09/fluid ounce of formula

            Walmart

            • Enfamil Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $21.99*): $1.02/container weight ounce
              • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
            • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz container for $20.94*): $0.93/container weight ounce
              • $0.12/fluid ounce of formula
            • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $30.58*): $0.96/container weight ounce
              • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
            • Parent’s Choice Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $19.98): $0.60/container weight ounce
              • $0.08/fluid ounce of formula

            In this scenario, using a $5 coupon for brand name formula brings them closer to generic pricing, but they are still a bit more expensive. 

            Now let’s take into account the enticing sales Target offers: Consider this, what if you have $5 coupons for all 3 brand names (you can use all these together) and Target is running one of their sales where they give you a $10 gift card for buying 3 containers of brand name formula (mix and match)?  Note: Target actually runs this and other baby item sales pretty regularly.

            In this scenario you must buy one of each brand name formula to be able to use a coupon on each container, so we will compare that total (remember this has a $5 discount on each of the brand products PLUS $10 taken off of the final total) to the total cost for the same amount of formula ounces from the target brand at regular price.

            3.) With Multiple Manufacturer Coupons and a Target Sale, Which Is The Best Baby Formula Deal?

            Conversions used (obtained from formula packaging):

            • Enfamil: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
            • Similac: 22.5 ounce container = 169 fluid ounces
            • Gerber: 32 ounce container = 224 fluid ounces
            • GoodSense: 21.5 ounce container = 156 fluid ounces
            • Up&Up: 33.2 ounce container = 235 fluid ounces
            • Parent’s Choice: 33.2 ounce container = 238 fluid ounces

            Total brand cost: $73.86 – $10 = $63.86 for enough powder to make 549 fluid ounces of formula ($0.12/fluid ounce of formula)

            • Enfamil Gentle (21.5 oz. container for $21.88*): $1.02/container weight ounce
              • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula
            • Similac Sensitive (22.5 oz. container for $20.99*): $0.93/container weight ounce
              • $0.12/fluid ounce of formula
            • Gerber Gentle (32 oz. container for $30.99*): $0.97/container weight ounce
              • $0.14/fluid ounce of formula

            Total generic cost for

            • Up&Up Gentle (33.2 oz. container for $21.99): $0.69/container weight ounce
              • $0.09/fluid ounce of formula

            Final Recommendations

            Based on the above summary, here is what I decided to do for formula:

            1. Register for the Enfamil and Similac programs that provide free formula samples and periodic rebate checks for $5 off any product.  You can sign up for Enfamil here and Similac here
            2. As illustrated above, $5 off isn’t enough to bring brand name down to the same price as generic.  However, you can use these to purchase formula packing that isn’t available in generic.  I use them to get travel-sized bottles of liquid formula and travel packets of the powder. 
            3. For everyday formula, I use Target’s generic gentle formula.

            For other money saving tips, see my post on The $8 Toy.

            What other stores do you want to see price comparisons for?  Let me know in the comments, and maybe I’ll do those next.

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            Affording Baby Formula – Which is Really the Best Deal?

            Toys on a Budget| The $8 Toy

            Toys on a Budget| The $8 Toy
            Toys on a Budget| The  Toy

            Babies play with anything they can hold and put into their mouth, so why not provide them with toys on a budget?  It’s great for their development to make the items they have access to varied so that they can explore different textures, shapes, weights, etc.  For you, it’s nice when these items are cheap and quiet.  Enter the dump bucket.

            The dump bucket is something I created by wandering through Doller Tree and spending a total of $8.  It’s one of the cheapest toys Paxton has, but the one that gets the most use, and the beauty is that as baby gets older you can change up the items in the container.  Here is what I included in Paxton’s dump bucket.

            A plastic bucket, piece of felt, car drying rag, metal spoons, foam sheets, mixing spoons, measuring cups and a spatula laid out.
            Items used to create Paxton’s dump bucket

            1.)   A light-weight plastic container to hold everything.  Paxton loves this because he can dump it out, chew on it, and use it as a drum.  I love it because when I pick up his toys, I can toss everything back into it.

            2.)   A piece of fleece

            3.)   A vehicle drying mitt that is super soft with a weird texture.

            4.)   Metal spoons

            5.)   Pieces of foam for crafting

            6.)   4-pack of plastic mixing spoons

            7.)   Rubber spatula

            8.)   Set of measuring cups

             To pick these items, I walked the aisles of Dollar Tree and selected things that would be safe for a baby to chew on.  When selecting your items, stay away from anything that has small pieces that may come off, items that are small enough to be swallowed and anything that may be toxic if ingested.  Otherwise, use your imagination to create a unique bucket for your child.

            I’m always looking for new items to add, so let me know if you have something that your kiddo loves to play with!


            Related Content

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            Toys on a Budget| The  Toy

            10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes

            10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes
            10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes

            Before having a baby, I thought baby clothes were cute and you selected them based on which ones were cutest or cheapest.  Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot in the past 9 months, so here are my 10 tips for first-time parents choosing baby clothes.

            My Top 10 Tips

            1. Don’t register for or buy clothes in newborn or 3-month size.  People love to gift you with tiny baby clothes, you will have way more clothes than your tiny human can wear before growing out of them.  If you
              see something that you have to have, buy it in a bigger size.
            2. Know that sizes don’t line up with actual age.  A newborn baby may wear newborn clothes for a while or start out in 3-month clothes.  My 9-month old is wearing clothes ranging from 9-18 months.  It depends on the brand, material and style what size fits when.
            3. Make sure what you buy is weather appropriate.  Along with above, make sure if you live somewhere super hot like us that you aren’t buying long sleeved shirts your baby will grow out of before it finally gets cold enough for them.
            4. For newborn-6 months, don’t get any shirts that don’t have the layette (snaps at the bottom). Until baby can sit up on his own, shirts that don’t have the snaps will ride up constantly.  T-shirts were super
              annoying until Paxton could sit up. However, now they are great. 
            5. For shirts without layettes, plan to always be one size ahead in these compared to the rest of the clothes.  Because these can ride up, you want them a little bigger so that baby’s belly isn’t sticking out.
            6. Sleepers are great.  When you pick out ones that baby will wear before 4 months or so, get ones where the zipper starts at the top and ends at the bottom.  This probably seems like a really random detail, but when you are changing diapers and swaddling and unswaddling multiple times a night, only having to unzip part way is a lifesaver.  Once baby is generally sleeping through the night and not swaddled, the direction of the zipper doesn’t really matter.  Pro tip: Target
              has a good selection of ones that zip from the top down, but not every style they carry does this.
            7. Stay away from the thick sweaters and coats in tiny sizes.  Even if it’s cold, these aren’t recommended in car seats because the straps won’t fit right.  These may be super cute on a tiny baby but when it’s cold, you are going from one building to the car to another building.  Often times you do all this without taking baby out of the car seat. Even if you do take baby out, it’s so much effort to get those tiny, flimsy arms into thick sweaters and jackets, you likely won’t bother.  Save these for when baby is a little bigger and can at least help get them on.  In the meantime, dress baby in long sleeves, pants, socks and a hat and tuck a blanket around him once he’s in the car seat. You can also get a car seat cover to help keep the wind out.
            8. You don’t need plain white anything.  Babies always find a way to get their clothes dirty.  Exactly how will vary with age, but plain white is way more work to clean than it’s worth.  You will also have so many cute clothes for baby to wear, that using something plain white seems like a waste of a cute outfit opportunity. 
            9. When baby gets older, go with sleepers that don’t have feet.  This helps them fit a little longer than the ones with feet.  
            10. If you plan to take baby swimming, get a rash guard so that baby is completely covered on the top half.  We got Paxton a one-piece suit which had long sleeves, mid-length legs and a hood.  This was super cute and great for keeping me from worrying about sunburn. 

            Related Content

            With regards to shoes, you don’t need them right away. However, there are some important considerations (and they are super cute). Get tips for selecting shoes here.

            If you want more suggestions on what to register check out my real registry checklist here and my review of what nursery items are really needed here.

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            10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes