Early on, our baby had a lot of digestive issues.  She seemed to be sensitive to everything and since I was breastfeeding, I had to drop a lot of different foods from my diet – corn, eggs, soy, dairy, red wine, and coffee.  I had no idea that there was soy and corn in almost everything we eat.  She’s now almost 10 months old and has outgrown almost all of her sensitivities but I thought that I would publish a list of things that helped us get through the worst of it.

* Burp well (for 2-3 minutes straight)

* Dr. Brown’s Bottles – These were recommended to us by a lactation
consultant and have been working really well for us.  The nipples are
“natural” nipples and transitioning between breastfeeding and bottle
feeding has been easy.  In general, I recommend the BPA free plastic
bottles if you want your baby to learn to hold their own bottle
eventually.  The wider the bottle, the better in terms of
self-feeding.

http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Browns-Natural-Flow-Bottles-2/dp/B002GDF3T2/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1332988143&sr=1-3

* Bottle Position – Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle when feeding
the baby (more horizontal/parallel to the floor).  Remember that the
baby should be held or seated at a 30 degree angle.

* Warm Bath – Our pediatric nurse recommended giving a warm sitz
(waist high) bath to our baby when she was screaming/in pain.  She
said that the water should be warmer than a normal, but not too hot.
Apparently the warm water helps relax the abdominal and rectal muscles
to release the gas.  She also recommended adding 1 tbsp of baking soda
per bath to help prevent diaper rash/yeast growth.

* Simethicone/Gas Drops – The most popular brand out there is called
“Little Tummys – Gas Relief Drops.”  These seemed to make a difference
at 3 months when the gas problem seemed to be worst.  We still use
them on occasion, so they’re a good thing to have around.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=safari&rls=en&q=little+tummys+gas+drops&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=12705752747706302935&sa=X&ei=hdVzT9_JK8XXgQfA3Mls&ved=0CEMQ9AIwAA&os=reviews

* If your baby is spitting up a lot, hold them in an upright position
or put them in an infant seat that reclines at a 30 degree or greater
angle for 30-45 minutes after each feeding. So that we didn’t have to
stay up all night holding the baby, we used a Nap Nanny (infant
positioner).  It’s not essential, but made a big difference to our
baby’s well-being.  You might try the other things before running out
to get one since they’re pricy, but ours has done wonders.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004J35D0Q/ref=asc_df_B004J35D0Q1955475?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395093&creativeASIN=B004J35D0Q&hvpos=none&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17788171161446498108&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=

* Babies will often drink more than they need from a bottle because
it’s far easier than breastfeeding. Be sure to give your baby the
right amount of formula per the instructions.  Drinking too much can
lead to stomach aches.  This is true of breastmilk too.

* Probiotics – Our doctor recommended BioGaia to cultivate good
intestinal flora.  It’s not cheap, but seems to help.  I’ve read on
several message boards that a lot of other people have used it to help
with infant gas.  Probiotics help fix the problem whereas simethicone
(see below) helps counteract the problem.  Per this website,
probiotics have been found to be more helpful than simethicone.

http://pediatrics.about.com/od/nutrition/a/0208_probiotics.htm

We tried Gripe Water and it actually made our baby
cry for several hours straight.  She tended to be very sensitive to a
lot of dietary related things so that was most likely the problem, but
you might want to be cautious of it.  It is homeopathic, so it’s not
FDA approved, etc.

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Oh Baby Foods – Peachy Keen

I have to admit, I had my doubts about Oh Baby Foods Peachy Keen when I read the ingredients: Organic Peaches, Organic Sweet Potato, Water, Organic Dill Seed, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).  Dill seed in baby food? Really?  Running out of exciting food options, I bought 3 packets this weekend.  I was truly prepared for baby to refuse them like so many other foods, but she liked them enough to finish the entire packet.  I was impressed.  Maybe we’ll have to try Pearfecto (with ginger) next!

Fisher Price – Laugh & Learn Smilin Smart Phone

I was lucky enough to find one of these at my local consignment shop the other day for five dollars.  A friend of mine had told me that her toddler had one and loved it.  I wasn’t convinced that my 8 month old needed yet another play cell phone and this one seemed much bigger and less realistic to me.  We have stacks of pink cell phones and toy key sets (don’t get me started on that one) all over the house and I wasn’t about to order one from Amazon, especially when it only gets a three star review.

Here’s what’s great about it:

– Each button cycles through a different selection of cute songs or messages.

– It lights up in different ways depending on which button was pressed.

– The volume is low, so a baby will not hurt his/her ears if they have the phone up to their ear.  This is something that a lot of the Amazon reviewers disliked about the toy.  No comment.

– Baby has dropped it a million times and it does not seem to have any scratches on it.  Maybe Apple should consult Fisher Price on design for the iPhone5.

I don’t really have anything bad to say about it other than that the robust design has hurt my foot a few times after baby has dropped it in just the right way.  I guess that it’s pretty heavy for older babies to hold for longer periods of time.  Nonetheless, I think it’s one of the better toys that we have.  If you’re lucky enough to find one for five dollars in a consignment shop, I’d say it was worth it.  Paying twelve dollars for one on Amazon is not a bad deal either.

Early Years – Curiosity Cube

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I can’t believe how hard it is to keep a baby busy!  I’ve grown to fear the whine of boredom from my little one, so I’m constantly looking for new toys to keep her entertained.  On the way back to the car from Whole Foods the other day, I decided to stop in at a local toy shop before heading home.  I honestly thought that the store was a “teacher store.”  You know what I’m talking about, right?  One of those stores with squiggly borders, giant cutouts of Abe Lincoln, and foil stars stickers.

Baby and I made our way into the store and found the infant section.  It was full of the usual suspects – Sophie the Giraffe, Manhattan Toys, O-Balls, everything and anything Lamaze ever made, etc.  After two minutes of looking around, I knocked a toy off the shelf as usual (baby in the Baby Bjorn = always something on the floor).  As I picked it up to put it back on the shelf, I spotted an Early Years Curiosity Cube.  Wow, something different I thought.  As soon as I showed it to baby, I knew we were taking it home with us.

I can’t say enough good things about this toy.  We’ve had it for three days and baby is still playing with it. I’ve bought so many toys that didn’t last beyond the car ride home.

Here’s what’s great about it:

– The parts move easily; baby can spin them with little effort.

– Each side of the cube has a fun activity – sliding “abacus” disks, spinning bead maze, spinning mirror, sliding puzzle, clicking dial, spiraling colored disk.

– Each activity is stimulating in a different way and helps babies to build their fine motor skills.

– The plastic is substantial/not cheap.

– The colors are great. I love you Roy G. Biv, but sometimes it’s nice to change things up.

– No batteries required, so no batteries to buy.

– Did I mention that it’s fun?!  Even I have been playing with it.

The recommended age(s) for this toy is 9-24 months, but my 8 month old loves it.    I’m sure that she’ll get good at sliding the parts around as she gets older.  Right now spinning the moving parts is enough entertainment for her.

Beaba Babycook

This weekend I bought a Beaba Babycook, which I absolutely love.  For someone with a baby who loves to be held 24-7 (yes, if I held her all night, she’d be in heaven), the Beaba is the only way I think I’m ever going to be able to make baby food.  It’s super easy to use – skin and cut up your fruit or veggies and stick them in the steaming basket, measure out the right amount of water for steaming and pour it into the heating reservoir, put the steaming basket in the bowl and cover it with the lid, then attach the bowl and turn the dial to steam.  After the light on the dial goes out, remove the steaming basket, pour out the liquid from steaming into a cup, then add back the veggies or fruit to the bowl san steaming basket, add as much liquid as you want in order to thin the mixture, put on the pureeing cover, switch the dial to puree and puree.   My daughter is just now starting solids, so I have been using all the liquid but I’m sure that will change soon enough.  I also bought some of the freezer storage trays for the fruit and veggies that I made.  I measured out 2 tablespoons of each mixture since my baby won’t be eating a full serving of anything yet.  Once the baby food is frozen, it’s really easy to pop out the serving.  I read some reviews that said people had trouble removing them but I didn’t have any problems, even with the half servings.

Another nice thing about the Beaba is that you can also use it to re-heat your baby food.  I happened to have a small glass bowl that fit perfectly inside the steaming basket for re-heating.  To re-heat, all you do is add 1 measure of water to the heating reservoir, put your cold or frozen baby food into a glass bowl inside of the steaming basket, put the steaming basket inside the bowl with the lid on top, and turn the dial to steam.  The only downside is that you end up with extremely hot food, so be prepared to put the hot bowl of food in the freezer for a few minutes to let it cool.  After doing this a few times, I have to say that re-heating in a pan is easier.  It’s easy enough to put the frozen foodsicle in a pan on medium, add a tiny bit of water, and once it is half melted, turn off the heat and swirl the rest of the frozen part around until it melts.  This results in luke warm veggies or fruit, ready to be served.