Saturday, February 9, 2013

What Works For Us: favorite baby stuff (6-9 months)

When I look for baby products I look for things that are durable & good quality, useful & long lasting, not too garish/ugly, and free of toxins and chemicals. So here are some of mine and Judah's favorites from when he was 6-9 months old (and they still are now!).

1. Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Musical Table - this toy and the Fisher Price jumperoo that we have are the one exception to my "no huge companies" toy policy (especially because Fisher Price is known for lots of bad chemicals in their toys). Judah LOVES this table, and it's not something he can really put in his mouth and chew on, so I'm happy to let him play with it. It has kept him happily occupied for many, many hours... he loves to twist, turn, push, and slide the various little activities, he dances to the music, AND he's hearing the alphabet, colors, numbers and other educational things while playing. It's a win-win-win, really.

2. Plan Toys baby walker - Apart from being wooden and beautifully made, it's also non-toxic and perfectly safe. Plan Toys is a great company to find beautiful and bright wooden toys. We've had this since Judah was 7 months old, and he figured out how to push it and walk with it at 8 months old. He still likes to push it around the house now at almost one, even though he can walk just fine by himself :) It's more of a toy now rather than a walking aid. He also LOVES the blocks that come with it. He likes to dump them all out and bang them together and occasionally chew on them.

3. B. Toys Funkeys - I am in love with the whole B. Toys line. They are all so cute and clever. And they're all non-toxic - no BPA, PVC, phthalates etc. Judah LOVES these keys - he chews on them, rattles them, pushes all the buttons (and the noises aren't terribly annoying, either), and he drags them around everywhere by the hanging strap thing.

B. FunKeys

4. Oxo Tot Sprout Highchair - The highchair was something I was willing to pay extra for, because we will use it for multiple kids. It's also hard to find less expensive highchairs that are free of PVC and phthalates and other nasty toxins... and because Judah would be eating off of his highchair tray I really didn't want him to be ingesting nasty stuff. So I did a lot of research and came up with three options in the same price range - the Boon Flair, Oxo Tot Sprout, and the Keekaroo Right Height chairs are all eco-friendly and toxin free... and we decided on the Oxo Tot mainly because we like the style the best. It's been great! The tray slides on and off with ease with just one hand, Judah is very comfortable in it, and it has a small base "footprint" which is important in our smaller apartment. I didn't want a massive highchair sprawling all over our dining room. It's also table-height, so you can take the tray off and just slide it right up to the table so baby can eat with you, AND it converts into a "youth chair" when kids get older. And it looks nice. Perfect all round.

5. Graco On-The-Go Travel Pack n Play, with Snoozy Organic Cotton Waterproof Playard Pad - This pack n play is simple, easy to put up and down, and easy on the eyes (ie. no bright baby jungle animals/other baby-ish patterns). Judah mostly uses it as a play pen when I have to get something done and I need to make sure he doesn't get into trouble for a few minutes. He has slept in it in our room when we've had guests, since we only have a 2 bedroom apartment, and he's very comfortable in it. It's easy to drag from room to room as we need it.
I always cover the mattress with the Snoozy Organic Waterproof Playard Pad, especially when he sleeps in it just to protect him from the flame retardants that are in all baby products like this.

5. The First Years Take and Toss utensils and snack bowls... I was looking for some easy-to-grab snack bowls and utensils for Judah, and these were perfect. I found them at Target. They are BPA, PVC, and phthalate free - yay! The utensils are chunky and easy for little hands to use, and the little bowls are the perfect size and they have lids so you can bring snacks along - little cheese cubes, chopped up fruit etc.

6. Playtex First Lil' Gripper Straw Trainer cup - I decided to skip the sippy cup and go straight for a straw cup. From what I've read, straw cups are better for oral development. Judah was always wanting to drink out of our straws, but couldn't quite figure out how. This little cup has a "squeezy" feature, where if you squeeze the cup, liquid comes out of the straw, so it helps the baby learn to suck on the straw. Judah had it figured out in under a day, and now he drinks from any straw! This cup states that it's BPA and phthalate free, but I still avoid putting anything plastic in the dishwasher (plastic materials release more toxins in high temperatures). Now that we're starting to take sippy cups of water with us in the car, I'm looking for a good stainless steel one so it doesn't leach out toxins if it gets left in the hot car. But this one is GREAT for around the house.

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