Clothes Shopping for Baby - Hidden Gems at Macys

Let me put it out there, I love shopping at Macys. Not only that, I consider Macys to be a haven for hidden treasures. My normal shopping style is frugal and you would think that a department store like Macys shouldn't be on any frugal person's list; but it's on mine because
  • I never pay full retail, I shop the sales and clearance aisles only
  • I combine coupons on special sale days
  • I shop off-season or at the end of the season
Following these rules, it's easy to score good quality duds at lower than clearance prices in a Macys near you. Here's an example: I've been eyeing these Carter's corduroy dresses but prices at the usual retailers (babies r us, amazon, JC Penney, Carters Outlet etc) have ranged from full retail of $32 to sales price of $12.60. Combining the Macy's shopping rules above, I purchased each for $4.49. Don't need an abacus to calculate those savings :)   





Temperament Tools - Book Review

Temperament Tools: Working With Your Child's Inborn TraitsTemperament Tools: Working with Your Child's Inborn Traits by Helen Neville and Diane Clark Johnson.

I borrowed this book from the library because I've always been interested in personality studies. I also work in an environment where personality profiling has been successfully used to improve team dynamics and efficiency. With this background, it was with great gusto that I dug into this book but my enthusiasm soon gave way to blah by the time I got to page 22.

That's the page where the authors start to describe the different behaviours to observe in a child so that they can be grouped with a particular personality. I stopped reading at this point and have no intention of restarting. I stopped because I found the choice of word's used in describing children's behaviour too negative. I am a strong believer in the power of the spoken word and confessing positives into the lives of my children (and not just when they are within hearing range either but all the time.) For example, I'd rather say we had difficulty going to bed last night than say I have a difficult child. "Dawdles thinking about my child in such terms even if it's to understand their personality better. I don't want to fall into that very big parent trap of labelling kids especially in non-complimentary terms.

I recommend skipping this book. I'm still interested in understanding how to best work with any difference in personality and temperaments that I have with my daughters, but I will be getting my advise from another source. Any recommendations?

Burt's Bees vs Boudreaux's Butt Paste

Today's duel is between Burts Bees Diaper cream and Boudreaux's Butt Paste

Boudreaux's Butt Paste, Diaper Rash Ointment, Tube 4 oz (113 g)     Burt's Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment, 3 Ounce
Out of the gate, I chose these two creams because I assumed they were both made from natural ingredients. I was wrong. Boudreaux's contains mineral oil. I used Boudreaux's first and I loved the smell and texture. Plus it cleans off easily. Burt's Bees diaper cream has the advantage of being made from all natural products including lavender. And that's the primary beef I have with this product. I just don't enjoy my baby's tooshie with that strongly aromatic smell. Burt's Bees diaper cream is also thicker in consistency.

In terms of price, there's no clear differential. In terms of availability, Boudreaux's can be found in just about all the baby aisles of the major retailers. Burt's Bees is not as readily available. Of course, both can be ordered off amazon.com

I would use Boudreaux's daily for diaper rash prevention but once there's actually a diaper rash episode,m I find that thicker diaper creams like Burt's Bees are more effective

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure statement for more details

Baby Birth Greetings From the White House

I read on several websites that it's possible to get a congratulatory message from the President after the birth of your baby. Seems like that would be a nice addition to the memory book so I sent a fax and waited. Well guess what the mail man delivered today? I must confess I thought it would be more fancy like the one from the Texas Governor but ... anyhos, if you'd like presidential greetings for your little one, check out the instructions here and here.

This is what came in the mail.

Review of Disposable Breast Pads

This throwdown was between the following products which I had the pleasure of using in my 2 months of breastfeeding. Here are the disposable breast pads I've "been" through. (Apologies for the picture quality)
  • Ameda Noshow Premium - The worst of the lot. Strange shape and no adhesive. It was sliding all over the place. The lack of adhesive meant I had to spend time trying to figure out which side was which. With every thing going on when trying to breast feed twins, this was an additional complication I did not need.
  • Lansinoh - The best. Absorbent but still flat. Well-shaped enough to be discrete. Has two adhesives to ensure no embarrassing hanging out at the corner of your t-shirt moment. Definitely recommended
  • Avent - I have no complaints about this pad except that it was a little on the thick side.  
  • Medela - Another middle of the pack contender with a very nice shape. No complaints except that the plastic packing can be trifling to remove and leaves yellow particles on my fingers
 













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Baby Food Bible - Book Review

The Baby Food Bible: A Complete Guide to Feeding Your Child, from Infancy OnThe Baby Food Bible by Eileen Behan.

As we approach the four month mark, I've started thinking (and looking forward to) the introduction of solids to my girls. This is the first book I'll be reading on the subject.

This book certainly works hard to earn its title. I love how Ms Behan covers the topic of baby  food with an emphasis on the matters that are important to me as a parent as well as giving practical tips. I especially love the list of foods with tips on shopping and preparing them. I also like that she gives advise that will help prevent a child being labelled a "picky eater"; a label I wore as a child :(.

My recommendation, this book is worth reading. I'll revisit it again in a couple of months and it just might be a keeper. 

Twin Stats - 3 months



Happy birthday to us; we're 3 months today; happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday to us!


Since there's no official pediatrician appointment for three months, I had to use the home scale to check the weights. The girls are now officially a pound apart in weight.

SpIce aka Twin A
Weight             13lbs 6oz
Dress size        3 - 6 months
Diaper size       Size 2

Sugah aka Twin B

Weight             12lbs 6oz
Dress size        3 - 6 months
Diaper size       Size 2

Schedule
We are now officially on a schedule. 5 bottles of 6 oz daily. Scheduled feedings are at 5am, 10am, 2pm and 6pm then sponge bath and bedtime is between 7 and 8pm. They'll have another feeding between 11pm and 3am whenever they start fussing. I don't wake them up to eat at night because I'm hoping that one day they sleep right through the night feeding crosses fingers. Both babies are taking around 28 oz daily. Naps are still on demand as I'm not really keeping track but I'll have to start now to make sure that night sleep routine is not ruined.

Top Gear - My fave 5 

Swing
Crib mobile 
Baby carrier - for when I need to carry the two babies or take one for a walk or hold a fussy one while doing other things around the house
Activity mat
Bouncers - I have two. The precious planet and the rainforest both from fisher price
Development
Both are cooing and making really sweet "talk" sounds. I'm in love and trying to start implementing some sort of "sleep through the night" agenda except I'm not sure what I want to do next.


Happy hump day y'all

Toy Tips - Book Review

Toy Tips: A Parent's Essential Guide to Smart Toy ChoicesToy Tips: A parent's Essential Guide to Smart Toy Choices by Marianne M. Szymanski and Ellen Neuborne.

Sugar and Spice are spending more time awake these days and love to play. I know that the experts say that at this age, mummy is every kid's favorite toy but this mummy needs to provide alternatives. I went to the toy section of the great baby retailer and left utterly confused as to what a 3 month old baby was supposed to play with. So off to the library I went and this is the book that is supposed to  make me a smarter toyshopper 

I read it through, and can safely say that this book is a good resource. Unfortunately, it didn't tell me anything I did not already know about appropriate toys for this stage of infancy. It looks like I arrived the party too early. I should probably reread this in a few months; but for now this goes back to the library tomorrow  

Choosing my Side-by-Side Double Stroller

Choosing a double stroller for the twins was a subject that occupied many a sleepless night for me. There was the option of "snap n go" versus full stroller. I settled on full stroller, fully accepting the fact that carrying two car seats around would be a challenge and my Chicco car seats were not fully compatible with the double snap n go

Chicco Cortina Together Double Stroller, Fuego    Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller, Black/Black
Having settled on a full stroller, I wittled down my choices to the Chicco Cortina Together versus the Baby Jogger City Mini Double. For cost, the Chicco was at least $100 less than the city mini. It also had the advantage of being able to accommodate two Chicco infant seats. To be sure of this, I went to the baby store and test-drove the Cortina Together with two infant seats in it. I was still pregnant so the test was without the babies' weight. Even then, I found it really, really hard to maneuver. I wasn't sold on this. I then test-drove the City Mini Double and fell in love like a ton of bricks.

Maneuverability made the difference for me here and caused me to give the medal for this duel to the City Mini Double. I have since had the opportunity to purchase and use my City Mini in a busy mall. One word... AWESOME. Lightweight even with 25lbs of baby, easy to assemble, unfold and fold, passes through all doorways with ease and fits into almost all store aisles. The only con is that it's hard to put things in the basket; but that's a con I can live with for now. As the babies grow, I'll let you know if I ever fall out of love.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more details.

Free Magazine Subscriptions for Parents

Free is always nice, and in this economy free is awesome. Here are links to 2 parenting magazines that offer free subscriptions. Enjoy!

Pondering Childcare Options

I've be weighing and unweighing my options for childcare when I return to work. I visited my 4 shortlisted daycare centers yesterday and eliminated 2 on the list. The 2 I eliminated were located in strip mall settings and had glass walls and I'm just not comfortable with the security setup. Of the two that made the shortlist, these are their criteria
  • Daycare A: Walking distance from the house, $1,xxx per child per month, 8 cribs for 8 infants in room, summer wait list
  • Daycare B: Not along my commute route, $8xx per child per month, 2 cribs in room for 8 infants. no wait list, Montessori system
I'm torn. I like the idea of each child having their crib in daycare A but I also realise that means they can spend the day without much interaction with the teachers. Daycare B's room looks more interactive but it did have a strange smell that I can't get past. I need to revisit and resmell :). My next move with the daycare centers is to go after work hours and talk to a few parents picking up their kids to get their opinions.

On the other hand, I could get a nanny. Cost-wise, it comes to roughly the same amount as a daycare. My concern is leaving my babies alone with one person. Sometimes twins can get overwhelming if they're crying at the same time and I don't want to risk the repercussions of a stressed-out caregiver. Also most nannies want a long term position and I cannot offer that right now.

What to do? I suspect, I'll be going with daycare B but I'll keep you posted.

Your Baby's First Year - Book Review

Your Baby's First Year: Third EditionYour Baby's First Year by American Academy of Pediatrics 

This is a surprisingly good and hearty book from the American Academy of Pediatrics in conjunction with the makers of Similac. Since I had my babies, most books get the speed-reading treatment from me and have to prove themselves worthy of a second glance.

I understand that most parents of young children can find themselves in the same boat, so here's my advise. If you have to cherry pick what to read in this book, I recommend chapters 6 to 9 which focus on monthly developments. I can safely say these chapters contain the best information I've read on the month-to-month details of a baby's growth. They cover such topics as the changes in the baby's five senses, basic care, health issues and what your baby needs from you at each stage. (I even used the growth charts to forecast the transition point for our moving up from size one to size two diapers)

Chapter 19 is another good one as it covers special family issues such as adoption, blended families, working mothers and of course twins and multiples. 

This book is a definite keep and I see myself consulting it regularly over the next few months
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