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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BABY PRODUCTS: KITCHEN ADDITION

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I hope everyone has their stretchy pants ready so they can indulge tomorrow. Ha! What better way to kick off a holiday that revolves around eating then to talk about the baby products that are kitchen centered? When I was pregnant and scouring the internet and pestering my friends for product recommendations, I never once remember anyone ever advising me on a highchair. People have opinions on strollers, car seats, and even what nursing pillow is best, but nada about highchairs. I registered for your basic highchair that every mainstream brand tends to have a variation of assuming they were all the same and to just pick a color combination that I liked. Fast forward six months, to when Grace started eating solids, and that run of the mill highchair became my arch nemesis. It was an absolute beast to clean. It had multiple little crevices perfect for little hands to fill with purees, chunks, and anything else that graced her highchair tray. I seriously hated it. Was I doing it wrong I wondered?! Simply put: no. I asked all of my friends who had similar ones and they all said something along the lines that it was torture for them, too. I suffered for a month or two and then after looking thoroughly, chose the Boon Flair. Now that I have a 21 month old, it puzzles me even more that people don't put more thought into choosing their highchair. It's strange, people are willing to spend more on a stroller, which I'm not suggesting that you skimp there either, but other than a stroller, a highchair is one of your most used items. Think about it, you use it three times a day! So, treat yo'self.
 
 


 
I have nothing but positive things to say about the Boon highchair. It's as easy to clean as the other was hard (less than a minute is spent after each meal cleaning it) and I love being able to roll it around the kitchen and dining area. It's comfortable for Grace to sit in and will hold a child up to 50 pounds. It also has the ability to change up the tray liner seat with different color options, like these. The OXO Perch highchair would have definitely been my 2nd choice and after looking at it extensively, I'm confident that it would be easy to clean as well. The price point is the same for both, so for me the design of the Boon was simply more appealing than the OXO. The only downfall to either one of those is their price tag. For that reason, I also included the IKEA highchair. I have a friend who uses it for her twins and swears by it. It's the cheapest highchair that I'm aware of, and it  has no fabric or liner, so it's known for being a breeze to keep clean. It doesn't have the features that the others have, like wheels or the ability to be at multiple levels, but it would get the job done. We received the clip-on chair as a gift when Grace was about 9 months old and really love it! We keep it in the car so we always have it to go in restaurants and it's so nice not worrying about the quality of a restaurants highchair or having Grace stuck out in an aisle. She also loves being table height. Our latest seating for eating purchase is the OXO booster. I picked it up last month as we were traveling to a family members house where there wouldn't be a highchair and would also need one for Thanksgiving travels. I went with this one because of it's easy to wipe down design and the fact that it folds flat. Eventually, Grace will use it as a booster at the table at home in lieu of a highchair. If I wasn't anticipating using it for travel, I would have went with this slightly nicer version.
 
 
 
 
 
Before highchairs and boosters, babies start with bottles! (Well, some babies! Exclusively breastfed babies obviously do not.) Bottle preference can completely vary by child, so my biggest piece of advice would be to not invest in more than one or two of each kind until your child is here. I know more than one person that has went all in with a bottle brand only for their child to refuse it. The most recommended seems to be Dr. Brown, but they have so many parts that I wouldn't jump to those unless they're needed for colic/fussiness. Como Tomo and Avent Naturals ended up being our go to's! I had never seen Como Tomo until Grace was a few months old and they are so neat! Instead of being the typical hard bottle, they're squeezable and much easier to grasp. Because of this, they are supposed to mimic the feel of a breast. When we started offering Grace water throughout the day, we did so in the Nuk sippy cups. She uses a Nuk pacifier, so I thought it would be similar enough for her to not refuse it. At a year old, we used it to transition off of bottles. We simply replaced one bottle at a time (she was down to 3 bottles a day) with a sippy of milk instead and the transition went really smooth. We used the straw sippy to teach her how a straw works. It's weighted, which is great because if the child turns the cup up, which is natural since they've always done that with bottles, it doesn't shower them in liquid. The Munchkin 360 has got to be the most raved about sippy cup of all time! Dentists and doctors favor it, since it doesn't have any type of spout, plus it also teaches the concept young of a normal cup. It's as spill proof as any other cup (it won't withstand a toddler chunking it against hardwood, but what will?!) and children can drink from anywhere around the rim. They are so neat.

 
 
There are only two bibs that you need: the first one for liquids and the second for solids! The Tommee Tippee bib has a squishy ring around the neck that catches milk dribble. Perfect! The OXO big has a soft, wipe able upper that's perfect for stickier, messier food, and the tray area catches things that are inevitably dropped. The difference in it and the other similar bibs on the market is how soft it is. The others (that I'm aware of) are all a harder, less flexible material in their entirety which makes it harder for babies to work around. My absolute favorite plate is #4, the OXO. It has perfect portion areas and a non-skid bottom. I think the Skip Hop ladybug set is adorable and will be used more as Grace gets older. It does not have a rubberized bottom and is still a little large for Grace's highchair tray. We use the bowl for oatmeal every morning, though. Finally, I keep the happy mat in the diaper bag for when we're out to eat. It keeps me from worrying about Grace launching a restaurant plate and the easiest thing to wipe down and stick back in the diaper bag. They also make a full size version here that is popular for people to use at home!
 
 
 
 
 
None of these things are must haves, but are all nice to make life with a baby a little easier. A bottle brush is a must have and I really liked how this particular OXO one had a stand up feature, so storage wasn't an issue. Especially when you're already at a place with a new baby when you're finding storage for so many extra things! We used the Boon bottle warmer. Since we didn't use just one brand of bottles, it didn't make sense to use a specific brands bottle warmer since they're tailored to fit their particular bottle shape. The Boon warmer was a generic size and I liked the small footprint that it left on our countertop. The Boon drying rack is a fun little alternative to a traditional drying rack. It's easy to clean and comes in three different sizes. It's the only baby product still out in my kitchen (we use it for Grace's Munchkin 360 cups now) and while I could get away with putting it away now, once I remove it there will be no signs of the baby that rules the roost. I'm not quite ready for that yet! It's crazy to think about how many baby things were present in our house a year ago that have already served their purpose! I was unaware how short of a time you actually use a lot of baby items. Another nifty item that we used for a bit was the sippi grips! Grace was a chronic cup thrower. We lost many a cup that she would toss out of the stroller without me realizing and it would never be seen again. This solved that issue until our little thrower reined in that habit!
 
I hope this is helpful if you're in the market for some of these items! Happy shopping!

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