Wednesday, January 6, 2010

RTS Endorsements: A Booster Shot

The other day, I was thinking about some of the great (and not so great) baby products we’ve discovered since the last time I shared some product reviews. It seemed like a good time to update our previous list, so here you go, in no particular order:

Bumkins SuperBib – I really don’t know how anything else stays on the market. Nothing else we’ve tried can touch ‘em. These are lightweight, waterproof, easy to clean, and provide great coverage. After you use one, you run it under a faucet for all of 10 seconds, wring it out, hang it on a cabinet pull, and it’s ready to go in time for the next meal. They take up zero space in the diaper bag and they are reasonably priced. I can’t say enough good things about them.

Britax Marathon – Regular readers will remember the agony I went through in choosing a convertible car seat. I don’t know why, but the plethora of options available really overwhelmed me in a way no previous baby purchase had. Through relentless research and some great tips received on this blog, we went with the Britax Marathon and couldn’t be happier with it. OK, I couldn’t be happier. M thinks the straps are a little tough to handle at times, but from the reviews I read on other seats, I have a feeling it could be much worse. I found the more neutral patterns hard to compare online, so I will also tell you that we have the Onyx print and it's perfectly inoffensive. The thing that clinched this positive review is the fact that Elliot seems completely comfortable in the seat. This is not the case with the Evenflo seat my mom bought for her car. When he is in that seat, he screams from start to finish. Well, except for when he’s trying to sleep, and I say “trying” because the darn seat is so upright he can’t even sleep in it without someone holding his head so it doesn’t fall forward. I hate that seat, and all of the things I hate most about it make me all the more fond of and grateful for the one we have in our car. If my mom was less than 6 states away, I’d probably spring for one for her car as well. Then I’d take that Evenflo out back with a baseball bat, Office Space style.

Magic Bullet – Yep, the “As Seen On TV” starlet. This has been our go-to gadget when it comes to making our own baby food purees. The one down side is that Elliot comes unglued if he’s within a 25 foot radius (it’s a little loud) but it’s tiny and easy to clean and purees cooked fruits and veggies in about 3 seconds flat. It has weathered intense, almost-daily use for the past four months and it was about three years old when we repurposed it as the baby food machine. My mom was so impressed by it on her last visit, she asked for one for Christmas and we were happy to find that Costco has a package that gives you a lot more for your dollar. Even if you can't take advantage of that deal, I still think it's a good investment. You'll still be using it for smoothies, sauces, hummus, etc. long after you're done using it for baby food. (Side recommendation: Pastry bags for putting sweet potatoes, squash, and other thicker foods into ice cube trays for freezing. M and I stumbled into this idea the other night and, ahhhh…. Bliss!)

So.ft S.tar Shoes – Full disclosure: I know the person who owns this company. We’re not BFF’s or anything, but we’re friendly enough that I feel I need to own up to our association. We’re NOT friendly enough that I would falsify a good review for her. Elliot has a pair of wo.olies and OMG they are the coolest freaking shoes ever. And by cool, I mean super-warm and stylish to boot. (I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress. Barf.) They have elastic in the ankles with a little cinch-clasp-thingie which makes them virtually impossible for Elliot to take off, and this is a kid with mad footwear removal skills. I can’t wait until he’s walking so we can try some of the other styles. (Note on this one: I didn’t provide a link because if the owner was to find her way back to this blog, she’d know instantly who I am and - with carefully selected exceptions - I generally try to keep my online and offline lives separate. So, if you google them and get yourself some awesome shoes – which you should – please don’t say you heard about them on this blog, unless you know my real name in which case I would be delighted for you to use that to tell them I referred you. Thank you in advance for indulging my neuroses.)

Kidkusion Hearth Kushion - We haven’t had great luck with many baby-proofing products yet. We’ve tried these and these and this, all with disappointing results, but the Kidkusion Hearth Kushion? That, my friends, is one useful piece of foam. Well… three useful pieces, actually. We have a particularly hazardous raised brick hearth in our living room (a.k.a the room we spend 98% of our waking home hours in) and M and I were pretty sure we’d be stuck duct taping a heavy blanket around it or buying E a helmet or both. M read some reviews online and determined we should give this one a try before dooming our son to unattractive head gear and I am so glad we did! It has thick padding and stays on really well. Elliot “walks” back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth) along the hearth and it doesn’t budge. The other day, I witnessed his head bouncing squarely off the corner, which caused my heart to skip a beat but he didn’t even notice it. Our family gives it six thumbs up.

Here’s one thing I don’t recommend – the Graco Travel Lite crib. The primary reason we opted for this one over a full-size PNP is so it would be easier to travel with, because we travel A LOT. (Elliot has been on 6 round trip flights and 2 road trips so far.) The full-size PNPs are so heavy and cumbersome. Well, we were right, the Travel Lite is lighter for travel. It adds exactly zero pounds to our luggage because we don’t take it anywhere. Elliot grew out of it (like, head and feet pressed against the mesh at top and bottom) by the time he was six months old. To be fair, we still needed this or something like it for those first couple of months when E slept in our room. We have a serious shortage of floor space in our bedroom and it was cheaper than a fancy co-sleeper. However, if you have the bedroom real estate to accommodate a full-size PNP, I suggest you start there. Do not be fooled into thinking this will be the lightweight travel crib of your dreams or you will end up like us, with yet another extinct piece of baby gear in your basement, trying to decide if you should bite the bullet and buy a full-size now, or continue to limp by using borrowed/improvised fixes everywhere you go.

In looking back at my previous post, I realized that I never wrote anything about cloth diapering. Hmmm. I really should get back to that sometime.

So there you have it: Another unsolicited report of my entirely subjective and unempirical findings. Do with it what you will!


Elise said...

Do you know what was just delivered to my doorstep less than 15 minutes ago? Yup, a graco travel lite crib! lol. The good news is we purchased it to use as a co-sleeper and our girl is a peanut, but the timing was just too funny not to comment on :)

nutella said...

We love those bibs too. Very glad you like the car seat, it would suck to spend so much $ on something and then hate it.

And I'm sorry, but I can't read the name of the M@gic Bullet and not think of an adult product.

K said...

Ha ha!! I almost started my paragraph with "no, not THAT magic bullet" but I decided to let it lie. :-)

Elise - Too funny. If you're just looking for an affordable co-sleeper, it should do the job for you just fine. I was just unpleasantly surprised by how quickly Elliot outgrew it.

tireegal68 said...

Love the product reviews! Keep em coming. I'm looking forward to trying them in real life!

kennedy said...

With the evenflo does your mom have the kickstand foot out? if you don't flip it the seat sits upright, if you flip it it reclines more. I have the Britax in my car and Carol has the evenflo in hers. We both actually like the evenflo better and wish we hadn't spent the money on the Britax.

K said...

Kennedy - Well, there you have it. One size does not fit all! :-) Yes, we have the foot in the "recline" position, but it still doesn't tip it back far enough for E to be comfortable. I would think it was something funny with my mom's seats, but the little leveler says it is at the proper angle.

By the way, hold the phone on the Kushion review. It's been in place for two months, but of course Elliot would pick the day I rave about it in my blog to figure out how to peel it up. *sigh* It's still my favorite of our many babyproofing gadgets, but the competition isn't that stiff. :-/