As a mom, I have been a voluntary test-subject for a vast array of products designed to make my life with kids a little bit easier. Some of these products have worked miracles while others have made me suffer from bad cases of buyer's remorse. The following product reviews (and occasional mommy ramblings) are my own opinion, given in the hopes of helping other moms decide what's worth their money and what's not worth a second look. I plan on covering every item I have ever encountered- from conception aids and maternity essentials to baby gear and beyond.
I plan on updating this section regularly, so check back often!
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Fetus to Fifth Grade
by Dr. David Schapira
When I started my journey into the world of motherhood, I found myself approaching it the same way that I would tackle anything else.
I went seeking out any and every bit of worthwhile information that I could find on pregnancy and parenting and I researched the heck out of it.
That’s me. I’m a total bookworm.
Now as a mommy blogger, I have the wonderful opportunity to read and review books about child-rearing that I may not have discovered otherwise.
And recently I was given a copy of the book, Fetus to Fifth Grade by Dr. David Schapira for review.
This book is unique from other parenting books that I’ve read because it gives helpful advice that is supported through scientific studies and statistical analysis. It holds a wealth of useful financial information, such as how to effectively budget for baby, and it even has a breakdown of how to determine whether going back to work after having a baby is really financially beneficial for the family. (We always figured that it wouldn’t be for us, which is why I ended up leaving my job shortly before my second son was born. Seeing the calculations in this book made it obvious that we really had made the right choice).
In addition to the economic topics that are covered, the book also covers other important subjects such as post-partum depression, interpreting a baby’s cries, and making the decision to breast or bottle-feed.
There is also a great chapter about the actual science involving vaccinations and Autism. Other chapters include recommendations for promoting healthy child development and battling out temper-tantrums.
Overall, I was impressed with how much information Dr. Schapiro was able to include in an average-size paperback. With pertinent content that is well researched, comprehensive and informative, Fetus to Fifth Grade is an essential read for any parent.
Especially one like me, who enjoys doing their homework.
BuildASign.com Vinyl Banners
I am always looking for things that I can do for my boys that are creative and special, so I was super excited when Build A Sign contacted me awhile back and asked if I would be willing to try out some of their products.
They make a variety of products that you can customize for personal or business use. I decided to design a vinyl birthday banner for each of my boys.
Build A Sign’s website makes it super easy to customize every detail of the product that you design. I was able to create these amazing banners:
The banners are huge and they look fantastic. They are also very sturdy, so I think that they will probably be durable enough to last for a very long time. I cannot wait to use them every year at the boys’ birthday parties!
Intelligender Gender Prediction Test
The wait to find out this baby’s gender has been driving me crazy!
And just look at how the package arrived. So adorable! They even sent a tiny elephant for baby!
I had to wait until the next morning to use the Gender Prediction Test because it requires the use of first morning urine for the best results, but I tried the elasti-oil the same day I got it. I have no idea if it will actually keep those dreaded stretch marks away (here’s hoping!), but I already like it better than that blah cocoa butter lotion. The elasti-oil is a therapeutic, aromatherapy massage oil. I heated the bottle in hot water according to the instructions, so the oil was warm and silky when I applied it and it smells like an absolute dream.
I did the Gender Prediction Test the next morning. The test can be taken as early as 10 weeks into a pregnancy, and I was at 15 weeks when I took it.
The test was easy to use and being the POAS queen that I am, I loved the opportunity to once again crate a makeshift science lab in my bathroom.
So, according to the IntelliGender test, I am having a…
Another boy?! Oh, say it isn’t so!
According to IntelliGender, the test is 82% accurate. We still have another month to go before we find out if the test has predicted correctly. We will have to wait and see…
In the meantime, the test has made the wait for the big ultrasound much more interesting. It was an exciting experience to have during the pregnancy.
And it is a lot more fun than that stupid needle-on-a-string test.
Update: The test works (at least for me anyways). We welcomed another bouncing baby boy to our family!
If you are serious about ever leaving the house once the baby arrives, I highly recommend picking one of these carriers up. We bought ours when I was pregnant with my first and it was a wise investment. I like it because it’s sturdy, the baby is in full view at all times (and can face toward you or away from you) and it keeps your hands free.
After my second son was born, I thought about switching to a wrap because they seemed a little more comfortable, but I gave up on that when a lady at a baby store tried showing me how to wrap the baby around my body using just a strip of fabric. I knew there was no way I could do that without the baby falling out…it was a ridiculously complicated-looking process. At least in the Baby Bjorn, I have peace of mind. My kid is not falling out of it. It has clips that snap securely and the material is heavy-duty. And I never have to tie or wrap anything myself.
It adjusts easily so my husband and I can both wear it and it’s so small that I just keep it in my van so I have it with me wherever I go. It’s super handy for those times when you don’t want to haul out the stroller (or in my case- the hefty, he-man double stroller that I also keep in the back of the van).
Both of the boys have seemed to enjoy being toted around in it as well. If it holds up through two more kids, then I think it will be worth the eighty bucks.
Pampers vs. Huggies
After almost three years of endless diaper changes, I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of disposable diapers. And sadly, I am a little bit of a diaper snob. I’ve used the “pricey” brands since Day 1 and unlike the ladies in the Luvs commercials, I never “got over it”.
I know that some will argue that a diaper is just a diaper. And maybe in the grand scheme of all that is important in life, they are right. I’m a mom of two boys that are not toilet trained, so I’m still sweating the proverbial “small stuff”.
To me, the almighty diaper matters.
I am split down the middle on this one. Pampers is my diaper of choice because they are much softer and more flexible than the stiffer and bulkier Huggies. Both appear to contain the chaos equally well, but the Pampers just seem so much more comfy. Also, the Preemie, Newborn and some of the Size 1 Pampers have a wetness indicator ( a little line that changes color) on the front of the diaper so you can tell right away if baby is wet. This may not seem like a big deal, but anything that doesn’t require the use of my neurons at this point is a lifesaver.
While I am not a big fan of Huggies in the diaper department, (even though we will break down and buy a package if we have a coupon) I prefer Huggies wipes over Pampers. The same principle applies here. The Huggies wipes are thicker and sturdier and the Pampers wipes are thinner and softer. The Huggies wipes hold up much better and can get the job done quickly when you find yourself cleaning up a sticky and smelly mess in the wee hours of the morning.
Thankfully, my boys rarely poop in the middle of the night anymore.
Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor
This amazing little gadget is definitely your best bet if you are tired of playing the waiting game while trying to conceive. It took my husband and I ten whole months of trying before I ended up pregnant with my oldest son. After the first eight months of temperature-taking and mucous checking (ugh) proved to be fruitless, I invested in this monitor. It is a bit pricey, around $150 for the monitor itself, and then about $50 for a three-months supply of test strips. However, it is worth every single penny. I used it for two cycles and viola! -- I was pregnant.
The monitor works by testing your urine each morning and then it displays your level of fertility for that day. Depending on your usual cycle length you test for 10 to 20 days each month and the monitor tells you when your estrogen levels increase and when you have an LH surge.
Both of my children were conceived using this product.
I am not a huge fan of hormonal birth control, so I use the monitor now to track my cycles in an effort to prevent any surprises from happening. The instructions for the monitor advise not to use this device as a form of contraceptive, but if you are following the rhythm method this product is bound to make your calculations a little more accurate. That said, my husband and I are planning for a least a few more children, so if this option isn't the most effective way to prevent a pregnancy we would still be overjoyed to have another addition to the family. :)
If you are TTC, I highly recommend picking one of these up. It'll be your best friend.
1001 Healthy Baby Answers
by Dr. Gary Morchower
Sourcebooks sent me a copy of this book for review right after I found out I was expecting my third child.
This book covers every medical condition I’ve ever heard of and some that I haven’t. It even has a section on pyloric stenosis (which really made me wish I had had this back when Bronx was having his tummy troubles).
Each section in the book covers a different medical condition or disorder and has questions answered by specialists. There is an index for quick reference and the topics are divided into two categories: newborn/infant and child/adolescent. (Although, the section on Umbilical Cord Stump Inflammation is in the child/adolescent area of the book, which is confusing to me).
As a soon-to-be mother of three with many years of doctor’s visits in my future, I know that this book will be a useful reference tool. Especially since I’m too busy changing diapers right now to find the time for med school.
To find out more about this book or to order a copy, click here.