Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Baby Christmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffers

Hanukkah is over but in just 15 days, many people will be exchanging Christmas gifts. For those of you who are looking for a few gift ideas for new parents or babies, below is a list of some of our favorite things.  Pictures can be found at the bottom of this blog post. For additional ideas and favorite items, pleas click on the shopping page.


Leap Frog Animal Adventure Learning Table

We were having a difficult time getting Emily to sit-up in a straight and unassisted manner. The Leap Frog Animal Adventure Learning Table helped solve this problem. Emily is motivated to sit because she wants to play with the various components of the learning table.

The table legs made the learning table too tall for Emily to use while in a sitting position. So, we placed the face of the learning table on a large dictionary that she can comfortably reach while sitting.

The bright colors and music from the table have helped encourage Emily to sit. She enjoys opening and closing the hippo's mouth, which sings several songs (when singing, I change Hippo's name to Emily's name); playing with the musical book of numbers and letters; as well as the yellow, red, and blue piano keys.

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Books

Emily loves Pop-Up Peekaboo! Books by DK. She squeals in excitement when we read the pop-up books to hear -- and proactively reaches for the various pop-out figures. She even tries to help turn the pages of the book. She received the Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm edition as a gift. We took the book with us to her last doctors appointment. The book was great entertainment for the 20-minute wait time required after the administration of the Synagis shot.  It also helped turn her forget about the two painful injection areas on her thighs.

Since she loves the Farm edition of the book so much, I got her Christmas Pop-Up Peekaboo!, Woof! Woof! Pop-Up Peekaboo!, and Bedtime Peekaboo (which is a touch-and-feel book rather than a pop-up book).

Infantino Activity Triangle

Emily discovered the Infantino Activity Triangle at a physical therapy session. It was love at first sight. She became captivated by the bright colors, shapes, and moving parts. I can't wait until she opens it for Christmas.


The Bumbo has helped Emily learn how to sit. Sometimes Emily practices eating while sitting in her Bumbo since it is complete with a tray. Now that she is becoming more mobile, we have flipped the Bumbo upside down. We put all of her small toys in the nooks and crannies of the Bumbo. She enjoys pulling out each of the toys one-by-one.

Halo Sleep Sacks

When we brought Emily home from the NICU, we swaddled her in a blanket for naps and bedtime.  No matter how secure the swaddle was, she would always find a way to wiggle out of the blanket -- or kick-off the blanket with her feet.

The Halo Sleep Sack Wearable Blankets have been a blessing to us.  Unlike blankets, which can loosen and cover your baby's face, these zip-up sacks fit over pajamas. We have found that the Halo Sleep Sacks actually stay on and in place. We have several micro-fleece Halo Sleep Sacks, which are great especially on snowy nights.

The Halo Sleep Sack Wearable Blankets come in many sizes. Some are even built with feet children who can walk.

Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets

The summers in the Washington, D.C., area and many other locations throughout the country can be humid and sometimes unbearable. Many of Emily's baby blankets are made from a heavy cotton fabric material.

I searched high and low for a light-weight blanket for the summer months and stumbled on Anis and Anais Bamboo blankets. If you are looking for an incredibly soft swaddling blanket, then look no further.  Aden and Anais makes amazingly soft and comfortable blankets. I prefer the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets that are rayon from bamboo fiber because they are so soft, but the muslin blankets are great too and less expensive. I'm hoping that the company eventually expands its product line and enters the adult arena. As an adult, I think I would find sleeping on their sheets to be heavenly.

Dr. Brown Bottle Warmer

We used to place Emily's bottle in a glass of warm water for five or ten minutes to warm it up before each feeding. We learned this technique in the NICU, but found that this process didn't work very well for us in a two-story home, especially for the 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. feedings. Since our hot water heater is in the basement, it would take forever for the hot water to make its way to our upstairs bathroom for middle-of-the-night feedings. 

In order to reduce preparation time and lower frustration levels, we bought the Dr. Brown Bottle Warmer. The bottle warmer heats up Emily's bottle in three minutes or less. In fact, I often have to run the bottle and the nipple under cold water -- and let it cool down -- before conducting a feeding. 

Nuk Pacifiers

We have about a bazillion pacifiers, yet we can't always find one when we need one. I love the Nuk pacifiers because Emily enjoys sucking on them and their fashionable designs are just darn cute!

Nasal Aspirator

Babies can't blow their own noses and often get congested. To help with occasional stuffiness, we bought a couple of different types of nasal aspirators. Our favorite is the Bulb Syringe Aspirator by Mabis/DMI First Aid. We have one downstairs, one upstairs, and one in our diaper bag.

Dr. Brown Bottles and Nipples

Dr. Brown Bottles are great for reflux. The bottles feature a blue tubing system that helps reduce air bubbles. The tubing system is helpful when it comes to reflux and colic; however, it does make for a chore when it comes to cleaning. Luckily, the Dr. Brown bottles come with a pipe-cleaner-like wand to help with tube clearning.

Emily is currently drinking three to four ounces of milk per feeding.  We typically use the Dr. Brown four ounce bottles but are almost ready to graduate to the Dr. Brown eight ounce bottles.

In addition, we started with Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Level One Nipples, but recently switched to the Dr. Brown Natural Flow Level Two Nipples. It should be noted that most of Dr. Brown's bottles come in packs of three; however, nipples are only available in packs of two.

Tommy Tippee Closer to Nature Bibs and Neat Solutions Water-Resistant Bibs

Emily tends to be a dribbler when she woofs down a bottle of formula. She has a tendency to lose milk out of the corners of her mouth -- and sometimes stores the milk in her cheeks only to spit it out like one of the sculptures in Rome's Trevi Fountain. The formula likes to collect on the folds of her neck, especially when she maneuvers her head into a turtle-like position. If the formula isn't removed from her neck in a timely manner, she gets really stinky. 

We have tried several different types of bibs. We prefer Tommy Tipee Closer to Nature Milk Feeding Bibs for bottle feedings because they feature a bump-out collar that helps collect and absorb milk dribble. We have the Tommy Tippee Closer to Nature bibs in all colors -- neutral, neutral with pink piping, and neutral with blue piping.

We wash the Tommy Tippee bibs in the washing machine and have found that the fabric is pretty stain resistant when it comes to liquids. We've even been able to get dark brown iron supplements out of the bib fabric. When washing the bibs, you definitely should definitely seal the Velcro collar and put them in a laundry bag -- otherwise the Velcro could snag anything else you are cleaning. 

Although Tommy Tipee cloth bibs are great for bottle feedings, we have learned that they are not so great when it comes to solids, unless you enjoy scrubbing soiled clothing with Shout Stain Remover. Emily is just beginning to practice eat and most spoonfuls of Gerber's Sweet Potatoes don't quite make it into her mouth.

We have found that bibs with a plastic-like covering are best for feedings that consist of solids -- and are most convenient when it comes to clean-up. We are currently using Neat Solutions Water-Resistant Bibs, which offer both girl and boy bib designs and patterns; however, since Emily is becoming more aware of her hands, we may eventually purchase bibs that not only cover the chest, but the arms as well.

Happy shopping. Preemie Blessings wishes you a very Merry Little Christmas!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  Some of the links in the above post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link, and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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