Our Favorite Things

Ten must-have tools for the world’s toughest job.



The right tools for the world’s toughest job.

 

1

 

Board Books

You can’t go wrong with a soothing classic like Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd’s Goodnight Moon (HarperFestival, 1991), The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Philomel, 1981), or Pat the Bunny (Golden Books) by Dorothy Kunhardt. (“Judy can pat the bunny. Now YOU pat the bunny.”) Also check out titles by author/illustrator Sandra Boyton. Titles like Horns to Toes or But Not the Hippopotamus are a delight for moms as well as babies.

 

2

Mechanical Baby Swing

The gentle, swinging motion and white noise of the wind-up (or, better yet, battery-operated) mechanism have soothed many a cranky baby and frazzled mom. Soft, dangling toys and music can make the swing more fun. One model we love: the Rainforest Take Along Swing by Fisher-Price. Baby will adore the infant-sized, reclined seat, five speeds, toybar, and seven melodies. Mom will appreciate the compact portable size and adjustable volume control. About $59.99

 

3

 

Diaper Wipe Warmer

Sometimes the littlest things make all the difference. The best of these electric heating wraps fits around that store-bought box of moist diaper wipes, keeping them at a bottom-friendly, tepid temperature. It’s a ridiculously simple gadget but if baby is squirmy and uncooperative during diaper changes, you’ll deem it worthy of a Nobel Prize. 

 

4

Tiny Love Gymini 3-D Gym

Lie baby on the three-foot-square quilt and let her enjoy the toys that dangle overhead, suspended on two overlapping arches. Baby will kick, reach, and swat at the toys, getting some good hand-eye coordination practice while your arms get a much-needed break. The whole thing is washable, portable, and folds flat for easy storage. Available at many area toy stores. Price $39.99 at Toys R Us.

 

 

5

Weleda Diaper Care Cream

This natural alternative to the standard super market brand packs a sufficient dose of zinc oxide (12%) to clear up a rash and prevent further irritation, but it also has skin-soothing, organic botanicals like calendula and chamomile, sweet almond and lavender oils. Smells great, and at $9 for a one-ounce tube, you’d expect it to. Available at Mrs. Greens Natural Market and other natural food stores.

 

6

Pink Solution

An organic, biodegradable, nontoxic cleanser (the principal ingredient is a type of seaweed) that removes stains from baby clothes and surfaces alike. Moms praise its powers to remove everything from formula to baby oil, but note that it’s not a disinfectant. Pink Solution is not currently sold in the United States but can be ordered from Canada through the company’s website: www.pinksolution.ca. A 32-ounce container is $19.95 (Canadian) or approximately $18 (US).

 

7

Bundle Me Car Seat Cover

This soft, fleece-lined bunting is a great alternative to outerwear (tough to wrestle baby into) and blankets (always slipping off). The warm fabric covers baby’s car seat, stroller, or jogger, then folds up to cover baby. A removable top keeps out wind and sun. The clever bunting design doesn’t get in the way of safety straps and, when you come in from the cold, you can unzip it so baby doesn’t overheat. Available online at www.target.com for $39.95. Speaking of car seats…Perhaps the best use ever of your tax dollars: your local police station will install your baby’s car seat, free of charge. They don’t take appointments, but you can call the station’s non-emergency number to check that a certified technician is working and available.

 

8

 

Baby Mozart/Baby Einstein DVDs

They’re videos of puppets and toys doing next to nothing, set to a stripped-down classical score (your cellphone’s ringtone is probably more symphonic). Still, your baby’s fascination with them will remind you of your stoner roommate’s “thing” for the TV test pattern. Will your kid really have a higher IQ from watching these? Who cares? He’s happy.

 

9

The Right Coping Library

Some favorites: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood (Perisee Trade, 1997) by Vicki Iovine, a hip, irreverent, yet practical, guide to everything from post-partum depression to nursing, sex, and weight loss; On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam (Hawks Flight & Association, 2001), a guide to getting baby to sleep; and What to Expect the First Year, Second Edition, by Heidi Murkoff, Sandee Hathaway, and Arlene Eisnberg (Workman Publishing, 2003), the closest thing you’ll find to an owner’s manual, a comprehensive compendium of authoritative advice on everything from the practical (feeding, changing, sleeping, developmental concerns, first aid) to the emotional (becoming a father, sibling rivalry, integrating an adopted baby, etc.).

 

 

10

Bouncy Seat

Not only great fun for baby, who gets to get off the floor and exercise his little body, but an ideal first feeding chair as well. Multiple manufacturers; from $30 to $100 depending on options like toys, music, and styling.

 

The Experts 5 Top Parenting Sites

 

Parenting questions and crises can arise any time of the day, so we asked local pediatricians, psychologists, and teachers to name their favorite online resources. Keep these addresses handy. The next time it’s 2 a.m. and you’re wide awake with worry, you’ll have instant help with everything from fevers to feedings.

 

www.familyeducation.com

As one of the first parenting sites on the web, Family Education offers tons of useful information for parents of infants to teens. Articles cover topics as diverse as postpartum health, choosing a pet, and family vacations. There’s also advice for parents of special-needs children. 

 

www.parentorganizer.com

If all the practices, lessons, rehearsals, and school events are too much for your Palm Pilot to handle, this website will help organize it all. Sign up and create a color-coded calendar to keep track of each family member’s hectic schedule, when bills are due, and various important dates (Grandparents’ Day, Aunt Syliva’s birthday, the family dog’s annual checkup). A daily email reminder can be sent to you with a list of the day’s activities, and the site can even be set up to automatically pay certain bills.

 

www.essentialmom.com

Founded by Bedford mom Gretchen Menzies, this handy website has everything a Westchester parent needs. From reviews of kid-friendly restaurants, to area events, to a listing of nannies and babysitters, it’s a one-stop site for all your local parenting queries.

 

www.webmd.com

Think that cough is serious? Check it out on WebMD—easily one of the most comprehensive sites for medical info on the Web. With answers from experts, practical tips, and health news, you’ll gain a better understanding of what’s serious and what’s not. 

        

www.positiveparenting.com

Started by California-based teacher Deborah Critzer-Fox, who leads parenting classes and workshops, this site provides information for parents with kids of all ages. Downloadable MP3 audio articles such as “Parenting with Finesse,” an online newsletter featuring that evergreen child-rearing topic—how to say “no.”

—Marisa Iallonardo