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.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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? – Baby Toys Edition

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 baby toys are really necessary. Make sure to also read my review on nursery items here. You can also see what is worth registering for and what isn’t here.

Rating Scale

–       Green: Definitely recommend purchasing

–       Yellow: Might be good to have

–      Red: Don’t bother

Bumbo Chair: Rating Red

I didn’t have one of these initially.  However, when my son was about 3 months old, he wanted to be sitting upright and had pretty good head control.  However, we had to hold him in that upright position.  I decided a Bumbo chair would be perfect for allowing him to sit on his own some.  In reality, the baby has to be pretty close to sitting up unassisted to use the Bumbo chair, and the legs are tight enough that my son’s legs barely fit by that point. It took up space in our living room and got used a handful of times.  I think my cat used it more than the kid.  Totally not worth getting.  My husband renamed it the ‘Dumbo chair’ because he wasn’t impressed. If you want to see what you are missing, you can view it here.


Infant Play Mat: Rating Green

I didn’t think we needed this before our son was born.  However, when he was about 3 weeks old, we were tired of holding toys over his head for him to look at.  We got a play mat that has toys overhead and is designed for baby to lay on.  They make ones with things for baby to kick to make lights and music.  However, the one we got was basic and quiet.  It worked great, and we used it all the time until Paxton started rolling over. This is the one we had.


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Teething Toys: Rating Yellow

Every baby is going to teeth at some point.  During this time chewing on things will be a favorite activity.  Teething toys come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures to provide relief to sore gums.  My son will chew on the teething toys if I give them to him.  However, he is just as happy chewing on a wooden block, a spoon or anything else he gets his hands on (cell phones are a favorite teething toy).  As long as he has something he can stick in his mouth, he couldn’t care less if it’s designed for chewing.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Foam Mats: Rating Green  

These are perfect to have until baby starts crawling.  You can buy mats in bright colors and patterns designed for kids, but they can be pricey.  Instead, we bought a package of foam mats from Costco for $12.  These were a plain black and could be wiped off easily.  We set them up on our white living room carpet and made that Paxton’s main play area.  They provided an extra layer of cushion for a baby just learning to sit unassisted and made for easy cleanup for spit-up and milk.  We didn’t get these until our son was about 5 months old. However, they would have been great to have from the beginning. 

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition
My son playing on his foam mats.  

Activity Table(s): Rating Green

You don’t need these until your baby is a little older, but they are great for 6+ months.  I really like the designs where the legs are detachable. We had one that we used for a few months without the legs once my son could sit up, then when he started standing, we added the legs.  Now at almost a year, he loves crawling over and pulling up on it to play.  The music and lights are favorites.  We got one that sings/talks in both English and Spanish. When I get tired of listening to the ABC’s in English I switch to Spanish.  We have this one.


Walker: Rating Red

The walkers where you put your baby into them and they have wheels are not recommended by the AAP because they can be dangerous by allowing really little babies to get into things and fall down stairs.  There hasn’t been shown to be any benefit from using these.  Therefore, these walkers should be avoided.  This is the type of walker that isn’t recommended.


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Push Toy: Rating Yellow

If you really wanted your baby to have a walker, for older babies, compromise and get a push toy. These are designed to be used as baby is learning to walk.  They can still pose dangers, but by the time baby is using them, they are already crawling and pulling up on things.  I have a wooden one by Melissa and Doug (you can see my video on it here).  There are also options that have activity things on the front to play with while sitting like this one.  I rated this as yellow because I think it’s good for my son to practice walking and to experience the cause/effect concept of pushing it. However, he wouldn’t care if he didn’t have it.  Here is the toy we have.


Exersaucer: Rating Green

This is a must-have for your sanity.  I said you don’t want walkers; however, the beauty of this is that it’s like a walker but doesn’t move.  I highly recommend getting one that allows your baby to jump up and down in it. This is a great way to get out some energy in a baby that isn’t mobile yet.  It also works to briefly contain an older baby.  I put my son in it when I need a minute of him not getting into things. He gets bored more quickly than when he was younger, but I can usually buy myself at least 5-10 minutes. This one is similar to ours.


Stuffed Animals: Rating Green (in moderation)

These are the quintessential childhood toy.  Stuffed animals come in so many cute, cuddly styles.  Babies love them to play with.  I have a couple that my son likes to push his head into when he gets tired, and I keep one handy to entertain him while he’s on the changing table.  They can also be used to decorate your nursery.  However, the number of stuffed animals can grow quickly if you’re not careful.  If you have stuffed animals, you will also want to get an animal net like this one. 

Important Note: Make sure not to put anything, including stuffed animals, into bed with a baby less than a year old.

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Miscellaneous Electronic Toys: Rating Green (in moderation)

There are a ton of choices when it comes to plastic toys that run on batteries to entertain your little one.  These often play music, talk and light up.  They can be great fun, but you will get tired of listening to them no matter how cute the music sounds in the store.  Make sure you have toys that don’t require batteries on hand for when you need a break from the same song over and over.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Miscellaneous Wooden Toys: Rating Green

These are great because you don’t need batteries, they are sturdy, they make good chew toys for teething babies, and they don’t make as much annoying noise as the electronic toys above.  My son loves playing with/chewing on wooden blocks.  An activity cube is also a hit.  I really like the Melissa and Doug toys.  There are so many cute wooden options that are built to last.  This one that involves pounding is next on our list because our son loves to pound things these days.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Rattles: Rating Green

These toys are great for younger babies to practice picking things up, gripping things, passing items back and forth and the cause/effect of shaking.  They come in a variety of designs ranging in loudness.  I suggest a few different designs.  Ones with big holes are easy for younger babies to hold and thicker ones are great for older babies who want to use it to pound on things.


Books: Rating Green

There are so many benefits to be gained from reading to baby right away.  When baby is really little, you can read whatever you want.  Baby just likes hearing your voice.  However, as baby gets older and more active with better eyesight, you will want books with bright pictures.  Board books are great because they are hard to destroy and brightly colored.  Touch and feel books and ones where you press buttons for sounds are also great options to keep baby engaged.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Dump Bucket: Rating Green

This is my take on the sensory bin concept.  I renamed it the dump bucket because my son loves finding it and dumping everything out to find the perfect item to play with.  You can read how I put this together for less than $10 here.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Ottoman Storage: Rating Green

With all these toys, you are going to want some storage.  I have a couple of these ottomans that are perfect for storing toys. They look nice with our living room décor but hold quite a bit.  They can also double as extra seating when people are over, cat beds, and my son enjoys using them to pull up on.


Final Thoughts

You likely noticed that I rated many of the above items as Green.  I’m a big fan of the variety of toys and then I switch out the readily accessible ones periodically.  I find that providing toy variety for my son sometimes is helpful for keeping him distracted so he doesn’t get into things he shouldn’t.  However, if you prefer a more minimalism concept, you can cut out many of these items in favor of letting baby play with pots and pans and other safe household items.

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

For more great information on what baby items you need and don’t need, check out these posts!

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Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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.

Want more great info like this?  Subscribe in the sidebar for weekly updates and tips.

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.

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

Make sure to subscribe in the sidebar for updates, so you don’t miss out on any great content!

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.

Must-Have Classic Picture Books

Must-Have Classic Picture Books

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.

Must-Have Classic Picture Books

We all know that it’s good to read to kids starting at birth.  Generally kids aren’t too picky about the book at first; however, you will get tired of reading the same book over and over.  Make sure to start early with introducing your kids to the classic picture books you know and love from when you were a kid.  They have stood the test of time for a reason after all!  If you are a grandparent, then stock up on these books (or dig them out of storage) for a trip down memory lane to when you were a new parent reading these books to your kids.  These books make perfect gifts for kids and parents alike!



Picture book Stellaluna

Stellaluna

This book is about a bat who gets lost and endsup growing up with baby birds.  Theybecome friends and when Stellaluna finds her way back to the bats, the friendsrealize how different they are but that they are also similar.  The final lesson is that they are friendsdespite any differences they may have.  Thisbook is on the longer side but has vibrant pictures throughout.


Picture book Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh The Places You’ll Go

This book starts off encouraging about how you will be successful, but then it takes a turn by addressing the fact that sometimes things will go wrong.  It then shows the character getting his groove back and being on top once again.  This book is a great example of how things may go wrong, but you can work through them. The pictures are bright with a lot of details to take in.  The book is on the long end.


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picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This is a cute book with brilliantly colored pictures that take your kiddo through a variety of foods the caterpillar eats before becoming a butterfly.  There is opportunity to practice counting and identifying common foods.  This book is short in length.


picture book Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

This book takes you on a trip into a little boy’s imagination.  On the trip, the boy becomes king of the wild things but decides he would rather go home and eat his dinner.  The pictures are somewhat dark but contain a lot of details.  The book is short in length.


picture book Officer Buckle and Gloria

Officer Buckle and Gloria

This book is the story of a police officer and his dog Gloria.  They go to schools and give safety tip presentations.  However, the students only listen because Gloria is an entertaining partner.  This book is a moderate length.


picture book Curious George

Curious George

This series is about a little monkey that is very curious which results in him getting into all kinds of trouble.  A wide variety of stories are available to entertain any child’s specific interests. These books are moderate in length and have colored pictures.  However, the pictures may not be as bright and engaging as some of the other books on this list.


picture book Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

This classic book is about a character that has no desire to try green eggs and ham. He’s convinced that he doesn’t like it. However, through rhyming nagging, he tries it and decides it’s pretty good.  This is a great way to address trying new foods with kids.  The book is moderate in length.


picture book The Poky Little Puppy

The Poky Little Puppy

This book is about 5 puppies who keep getting into trouble for digging a hole under the fence.  The poky puppy is the last one home and lucks out a few times, but the last time he gets caught too.  This book is moderate in length and has bright pictures.


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picture book Harry the Dirty Dog

Harry the Dirty Dog

Harry doesn’t like getting baths, so he hides the scrub brush and goes on an adventure. He gets really dirty to the point his family doesn’t recognize him.  He ends up begging for a bath to prove he’s Harry.  This book is moderate in length.  The pictures are colored, but not very bright.


picture book Clifford Goes to Dog School

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Clifford is a giant red dog.  These books are about him, his owner Emily Elizabeth and their friends.  There are a variety of stories, but they all focus on a big idea that Clifford has.  These books are moderate in length and have colored pictures to keep young kids entertained.


picture book Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?

This book follows the journey of a baby bird that fell from his nest.  He doesn’t remember what his mother looks like, so he keeps asking various animals and things if they are his mother.  In the end, he gets put back in the nest and his mother finds him there.  This book is a short read, but the pictures aren’t as engaging as some of the others on this list.


picture book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

This book is a story about a town where all the food comes from the sky.  However, the town eventually meets its demise when severe “food weather” strikes day after day and the citizens run for their lives.  This book has lots of pictures, and it is longer than many of the others.


picture book The Cat in the Hat

The Cat In The Hat

The Cat comes to visit on a rainy day when the mother is out.  He then unleashes all kinds of chaos on the house despite the pet fish protesting.  In the end, everything is cleaned up before mother comes home.  This book is longer than the others and the pictures are somewhat enticing. 


picture book Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

This book starts with a description of a room and then says goodnight to everything in the room.  This book has bright pictures and is very short and basic.  It’s a great book for a child just learning to read.


picture book Madeline

Madeline

This is the story of a little girl in Paris.  She comes down with appendicitis and has to have surgery.  When the other little girls go to visit her, they see how much fun she is having in the hospital and they want to have appendicitis too.  This book is moderate in length and has colored pictures, but they aren’t all that bright.


Final Thoughts

I am a firm believe that all kids should get a few books for Christmas.  These ones are classics that have stood the test of time.  Since these books are ones today’s parents likely remember from their childhood, they are perfect to share with their children!

For more gift ideas, check out these baby clothes tips.

What were your favorite childhood books?  Let me know in the comments.

If you liked this content, make sure to subscribe for more great information!

Must-Have Classic Picture Books

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.

Homemade Baby Food 101

Homemade Baby Food 101

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.

Homemade Baby Food 101

Get Your FREE Baby Food Meal Planner

Get a printable meal planner specific to your baby’s age. Each meal planner includes age-specific servings, a place to brainstorm foods and a calendar to plan meals and check which food groups are included.

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

    Overwhelmed at the thought of starting baby on solid foods?  Grab my free baby food meal planner HERE!


    Feeding baby.  The one thing that has stressed me out more than anything else since I became a mom.  But like all challenging things, I find a good way to overcome that is to change your mindset.  To that effect, I thrive in finding the healthiest, most affordable and most convenient way to feed my 9-month old son.   This ends up usually being homemade baby food.

    In this post I’m going to talk about how I make 90% of Paxton’s baby food.  However, if you aren’t to that stage yet, but breastfeeding exclusively isn’t working out (despite my best efforts I’ve used a lot of formula), check out my previous post on affording baby formula here

    How To Make Homemade Baby Food In 6 Steps

    Step 1: Outline Your Goals

    When you start your baby food making journey, you want to answer a few questions, so you accomplish what you want with the least amount of money, time and effort.  As a mom, I find that all three of those things are in short supply, so I try to conserve them as much as possible.

    • Are you planning to use exclusively homemade baby food, or intermix it with store-bought?
    • Are you passionate about baby only getting organic food?
    • How much freezer real estate do you have available?
    • Is baby eating finger foods yet or strictly purees?
    • What is baby’s consistency preference?
    • Any family history of allergies?

    Step 2: Decide How Often You Are Going to Make Homemade Baby Food

    You could make fresh baby food every day, but as a working mom, that’s really not practical for me to do.  I also know plenty of stay at home moms that don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch for baby every day.  If you do, more power to you, but if not, decide how often you are able to make baby food.  I plan to make some baby food every other weekend or so.  Therefore, I want to make sure there is enough quantity and variety to last a couple weeks.  Also consider if baby eats any adult food.  My son is to the point where he eats cheese, yogurt, bananas, etc. so I can sub those in instead of homemade food once in a while.

    Step 3: Make a Plan

    If there are certain things that baby really likes, make them in bulk.  This goes back to time-saving. However, for new things, make a small amount until you decide if baby likes it.  You should definitely retry things many times, but some of them are just too much of a battle no matter how much you try.  You don’t want a freezer full of something that puts you and baby in a bad mood every time you feed it. 

    I suggest making at least one new food each time, so that you have variety to introduce.  Once you have identified a few food baby enjoys, then make these often enough to keep a freezer stash.


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    Step 4: Assemble Your Toolkit and Ingredients

    When making baby food, you will need cookie sheets for baking, a steaming pot for steaming, containers to freeze food in, and a blender of some type.

    A bag of sweet potatoes and a bag of carrots
    A bag of sweet potatoes and a 5-pound bag of carrots are what I’m making into baby food today.

    I see no reason why someone needs to buy the blenders made specifically for baby food.  If you have a ninja, mini ninja, or some type of smoothie blender, then you are set.  I use my mini ninja pictured here and it works great!  There are plenty of storage things designed for freezing and storing baby food. I have these ones. However, I find that basic ice cube trays with lids from Target work great!  I also found these tiny ice cube trays that are great for making things as mix-ins.  I’ve made pears and zucchini in these.  Paxton eats a solid 2 ounces minimum now, but if you have a younger baby, having smaller cubes allows you to mix a couple of things without ending up with tons of food.

    Various sized icecube trays for freezing homemade baby food

    Once you have everything necessary for making the baby food, you need a way to store the frozen food.  If you have a baby food tray or ice cube tray that has a lid, you could store it in the tray.  You could also package the food into pouches and freeze these.  I have this machine to fill pouchesbut have never used it.  My hesitation is because the pouches aren’t really easier to feed at this stage and I can’t thaw them in the microwave.  I let everything freeze in the trays and then put the cubes into gallon-sized Ziplock bags.  I can write on the bag what it is and the date I made it.  It keeps the food from getting frost and is easy to store and label.

    Ziplock bags full of various types of homemade baby food cubes

    Step 5: Making Homemade Baby Food

    To actually make the food, you will wash, chop, peal and cook as required to get something that can be pureed or squished between the fingers (for older babies).  Most things can be either steamed or baked, but in general, baking preserves the nutrients a little better than steaming.  Once cooked until very soft, you can puree in your blender of choice.  Some things (like potatoes) will need a little water, breast milk or formula added to make it thin enough.  Other things (like pears) will be plenty watery without adding anything.  Below is a table of things I have made for Paxton, and my notes on making them.

    Chopped carrots on a white cutting board
    Carrots steaming on the stove
    Homemade baby food in containers ready to freeze
    Homemade baby food cubes on a red cutting board
    Here are the carrot cubes ready to put into a labeled bag.

    Step 6: Storing and Serving Homemade Baby Food

    Once the food is made, you can freeze it for up to 2 months.  Once thawed, you want to use the food within about 24 hours.  When reheating, I put the desired number of cubes into a baby bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  I stir and add an additional 30 seconds if required.  I then mix with Greek yogurt, oatmeal or rice cereal or applesauce as desired.  Alternatively, you can put the food for the next day into the fridge to thaw and serve it cold.  Baby doesn’t know what should be hot and what should be cold.  As long as it’s not frozen and not too hot, you are okay.  You do need to make sure you heat slowly and stir the food well to make sure there aren’t any hot spots.  I also mix the food with something cold like Greek yogurt or applesauce to further cool it down.

    “Homemade” Baby Food That Works Well For Baby, But Doesn’t Require Prep

    • No sugar added applesauce (just apples and water)
    • Bananas
    • Plain Greek yogurt
    • Avocado

    Note: Make sure all peels are removed prior to freezing.  I cook the sweet potatoes with the peel on and then scoop out the middle.  Everything else, I peel prior to cooking.  I also chop everything else prior to cooking so that it doesn’t take as long.  For butternut squash, I slice in half and scoop out the seeds prior to baking.


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    Note: There are different stages of solids.  When first starting baby on solid foods, you will want them very smooth and a little runny.  As baby gets more comfortable, you can increase the thickness.  Once baby is around 9-months old and can pick up food, you can start serving small pieces of food that can be squished between the fingers (like really well-cooked pasta or veggies) and things that dissolve quickly (like Cheerios).  Also, when first starting solids, only introduce a new food every 3 days or so.  This allows you to observe for any allergies.

    Ready to start planning meals for baby?  Get my free age-specific meal planner HERE!


    Homemade Baby Food 101
    Homemade Baby Food 101

    What homemade baby food have you made?  Was it successful?  Let me know in the comments.

    If your baby is drinking any formula (babies should drink breast milk or formula until they are at least a year old), check out my post on Affording Baby Formula.

    Like what you read? Subscribe to email updates to receive updates straight to your inbox!

    Get Your FREE Baby Food Meal Planner

    Get a printable meal planner specific to your baby’s age. Each meal planner includes age-specific servings, a place to brainstorm foods and a calendar to plan meals and check which food groups are included.

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      Homemade Baby Food 101

      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.

      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. 

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      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

      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.

      Get the Diaper Bag Packing List

      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

        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.

        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

        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?