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Baby Products - Essential Baby Products, Which Ones Do I Really Need?

Monday, July 26, 2010
There are many essential baby products a new parent must purchase. Cribs, car seats, baby monitors, baby strollers, high chairs and clothing are all necessary to ensure your child's safety and comfort. However, there are many baby products out there that are not worth wasting your money on, but are marketed to parents as being vital for a baby's growth and development. Parents always want the best for their child and therefore purchase these items that do not serve a great function. This guide reveals the important baby products a parent must obtain to properly care for their child.

Baby Strollers
The baby stroller is an item every parent must have for his or her child. Before you purchase a stroller, however, consider how you are going to use it and the money you are willing to spend. This makes the process of buying a stroller much easier. There are many types of strollers to choose from including: full-size, mid-size, lightweight, umbrella, jogger, double and triple baby strollers. Parents who do a lot walking should consider purchasing a full or mid size stroller, while active parents are better suited for the jogger stroller. Lightweight and umbrella strollers are appropriate for parents who travel around frequently because they are easy to stow away. Finally, double and triple strollers are made for parents who need to transport two or three young children in one stroller.

Baby Cribs
Babies spend the majority of their time in the crib. Therefore, every parent should invest a significant amount of energy in selecting a safe baby crib and mattress. Safe baby cribs must always have adjustable sides, the space between the crib bars must not exceed 2 and 3/8 of an inch, and the crib must be sturdy. The crib mattress has to be firm and fit properly into the crib because the baby can suffocate if this protocol is not followed. Baby bedding ought to be kept to a minimum--one cotton fitted bed sheet and a light blanket will suffice. Never place pillows, toys or heavy blankets in your child's crib.

Baby Car Seats
A baby car seat is one of the essential baby products to purchase for your new child. The car seat protects the child against injury in the event of an accident. There are three main types of car seats available:
  • Rearward-facing infant car seats
  • Forward-facing baby car seats
  • Booster car seats
The rearward facing baby car seats are used mostly for infants who do not exceed 29 pounds to support their neck, back and spine. The forward-facing car seats are perfect for children between 20 and 40 pounds and should be secured with a tether strap on the car frame. Lastly, booster seats are made for children who can no longer fit into a normal child car seat. The booster seat basically lifts the child so they can use a regular seat belt properly. In addition, always remember all child car seats must be placed in the rear of the car away from airbags.

Baby High Chairs
A high chair is one of the baby products a parent doesn't need right after the infant arrives home from the hospital. Although, once your child can independently sit upright a baby high chair becomes a necessity at mealtimes. Wooden, conventional, adjustable and booster high chairs are just some of the styles on the market. Regardless of the model you choose make sure your highchair has the following features:
  • The high chair must have two support straps--one should be around the waist and the other must be between the child's legs.
  • All baby high chairs must have trays that lock firmly into the chair.
  • The legs of the high chair should be spaced apart in order to properly anchor it to the ground and prevent tipping.

Baby ClothesBaby clothes are one of the obvious baby products a parent must buy. Keep in mind when shopping for clothes to purchase outfits that are functional for you and the baby. For instance, try to choose clothes that are not complicated to get off come changing time. Also, purchase clothing that is appropriate for the season your child is going to be born in. This step prevents you from buying clothing that is not necessary for your baby's immediate needs. When selecting baby clothes hand me downs are a good way to go because babies grow at such a rapid pace. Hand me downs save you a lot of money and usually come in very good condition. Never buy second hand clothing that is worn out because it could potentially rip posing a safety hazard to your baby.

Baby Monitors
Baby monitors help parents keep a watchful eye on their little one without having to be in the same room all the time. This enables parents to multi-task without jeopardizing their child's safety. Over the years there have been many technological advances in the baby monitor realm. Sound monitors are still the most extensively used ones, but now visual, temperature, movement and breathing monitors are becoming more common. Visual (or TV) monitors are great for parents who want to see what baby is up to at all times. These monitors are quite expensive, but can later be converted into a security system. Temperature and breathing monitors are useful for parents who are concerned about their child's health. These monitors inform parents of the temperature in the baby's room and whether it is too hot or cold.

Other Useful Items
Besides the aforementioned baby products there are many other small items a new parent needs to purchase for their child. Diapers, pacifiers, bottles, shampoo, soap, bottle warmers, a diaper pail and travel bags are just some of the baby products required. When purchasing baby products always stick to these basic items - do not get sidetracked by gimmicks. Before buying a product always ask yourself the question: "Do I really need this for my baby's well-being?" Good luck with all the shopping!

About the Author
Dorothy Smith is a freelance writer, mother and self-confessed bargain hunter who loves to provide tips to consumers shopping for baby products [], best baby cribs [] and best baby strollers [].
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Baby Monitor Technology - A Buyers Guide
What is a baby monitor & why do I need one?
It might seem like an obvious question these days, but baby monitors are a relatively new innovation. At the most basic level they give the parent freedom from keeping a constant vigil at their baby's bedside (cot-side or Moses basket-side!).
A baby monitor normally consists of a transmitter and a receiver unit. The transmitter is placed near the baby and the parent keeps the receiver unit. This way the parent can hear instantly if their baby needs reassurance while doing other things around the house - or maybe catching up on some well needed rest!

Baby Monitor Types
Baby monitors now fall into three main categories. There are the traditional audio baby monitors. These alert the parent if the baby starts to cry or seems restless or uncomfortable. Audio/visual baby monitors take this a step further by letting the parent see and hear their baby. These consist of a camera unit with a microphone and a receiver unit with a TV screen and speaker.
Lastly, there are sensor baby monitors (also called respiratory baby monitors). These offer peace of mind by immediately alerting the parent if their baby's breathing becomes significantly uneven or even stops completely.

Audio Baby Monitors
Audio baby monitors fall into two further types: analogue and digital. Analogue baby monitors traditionally were subject to lots of interference from other household items that gave off a wireless signal. While this still can be true of cheaper analogue monitors, today most have more than one channel enabling you to select one that is interference free and incorporate technology that lessens outside interference.
To guarantee an interference transmission and reception you will need a digital baby monitor. Remember that a baby monitor is essentially a radio transmitter and receiver and digital radio (should you have one!) is superior to normal radio reception. The higher-end digital baby monitors use something called DECT technology. This technology came from digital walkabout phones and stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology.
 DECT monitors will select a channel automatically from 120 channels and often encrypt the channels to stop any eavesdropping. Because of this technology these monitors are normally more expensive, but (like the Philips Digital Baby Monitor and the BT Digital Monitors) they guarantee interference free transmission and often come with several useful extra features:

Audio baby monitors - things to look for:
o Number of channels
o Rechargeable parent unit
o Belt clip for portable convenience
o Light display on the parent that shows noise level even if the sound is turned down.
o Low battery indicator
o Night light on baby unit
o Two-way transmission - so you can talk to your baby from the parent unit.
o Temperature gauge - remember the ideal nursery temperature is around 18C (65F)

Audio/Visual Baby Monitors
A recent innovation - these monitors let you see and hear your baby. This gives obvious added benefits such as seeing if your baby has come out of their blanket, or if they are sleeping in an awkward position etc. However, these baby monitor may also be useful for older children so you can remotely check on them if they are playing by themselves in another room.
The range of audio/visual baby monitors can be limited by your house layout. If your house has normal partition (or stud) walls then the range will be around the quoted 30m. However, if you live in an old house with solid internal walls the range will be reduced - especially if the signal has to pass through several walls. This will not apply when you are directly below or above a nursery as the signal only has to pass through a wooden floor (or floors) and should therefore be perfect.

AudioVisual Baby Monitors - Things to look for:
o Night vision - sounds obvious but some come without it! This is essential for night time viewing. All our audiovisual baby monitors come with night vision.
o Number of channels - helps in finding the best channel but can also enable you to add extra cameras later.
o Standby mode - if you have a portable parent unit the screen can be draining on the battery. Some units come out of standby mode if you baby makes a noise.

Sensor Baby Monitors
Also called respiratory baby monitors these monitors consist of sensitive pads that go underneath your baby's mattress. During the first year of life, infants can experience irregular breathing patterns or even stop breathing completely.
These monitors can alert when your baby's breathing changes due to a cold, high fever, or other illness. The Babysense II will continually detect your baby's motion and breathing movements, and set off a sound and visual alarm if breathing movements ceases for over 20 seconds or if the breathing rate slows to below 10 breaths per minute.
REMEMBER, a sensor baby monitor is an added precaution and safeguard which can help peace of mind but it must be combined with the important recommendations of "Safe Sleeping" (sleeping on the back, not overheating of baby's room, not smoking around the baby).

Sensor Baby Monitors - things to look for
o Certifications - the Babysense II is currently the only Household Movement Monitor to carry complete CE registration as a Medical Device and to comply with 93/42/EEC Medical device Directive.
o Mattress type - some sensor baby monitors will not work properly with a spring mattress
o Mattress thickness - check your mattress thickness. Some are certified for thicknesses up to 12cm and some for thicknesses up to 14cm.
o Mattress base - sensor monitors work best on a flat base. This should be no problem with a cot, however, if used in a Moses basket you are advised to put the basket on a flat base.
Sarah Cooke. Mother of two and Director of MonitorMyBaby - Baby monitor specialists a site specialising in all types of baby monitor.
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Babies - How to Get Your Children Excited About the New Arrival
The sudden appearance of a new baby can be rough on the
other children in the family. Daily routines are disrupted and
suddenly mom and dad are too busy to pay attention to
older siblings. Worst of all, the new baby is the instant star
of the family - the center of attention. The adorable baby is
the big attraction for everyone from mom and dad, to visiting
relatives, to casual acquaintances bumped into at the mall,
right down to strangers on the street. Everyone is talking
baby talk, cooing at the new baby, and making a fuss over
the newborn. The older kids may feel shunted aside and
resentful. This is especially true for the displaced former
baby of the family.

Given these natural reactions, anything that you can do to
prepare your other children for the new arrival will ease the
transition. Everything you can do to involve your kids in
advance and to get them to actually look forward to the birth
will make a big difference in how they experience it. It might
even help establish a stronger brother or sister bond with
the new baby that will contribute to the lasting closeness of
a positive sibling relationship.

Here are some simple ideas that expectant parents might
try, to smooth the road ahead for their other children. Most
are common knowledge or simply common sense, but
sometimes too easily forgotten amid all the excitement and
activity surrounding the birth of a new baby. A few might be
new ideas that are worth a try. A little advance thought and
preparation may go a long way towards making the
"blessed event" a blessing for the ENTIRE family. Hopefully,
you'll be inspired to try some of these ideas, so here goes.
Let your other kids in on the secret as soon as the
pregnancy is confirmed, well before it is obvious just by
looking at mom. Even with your youngest children, try to give
them some understanding of the changes that mom is
going through and what they mean. Check out your local
public library. It should have books geared to all different
ages that can explain, in terms that children can
understand, the biological process of having a baby. Picture
books about baby animals may also help crystalize the
concept and relate it to something your kids have already
experienced, like watching newborn kittens, for example.
The library or local bookstore should also be able to
guide you to works of fiction, including picture books for
preschoolers, that focus on the arrival of a new baby in the
family and such issues as jealousy and feelings of neglect.
Quiet parent-child story reading times can provide an ideal
opportunity to prepare young children for changes that are
on the way and to reassure them of their own importance
and irreplaceable position in the family. Discuss things
openly and answer your kids' questions.

Encourage your children to think about life with the new
baby and how family routines will be altered. Coax your kids
to develop their own lists of things that will be fun about
having a new baby in the house - for example, they can push
the baby carriage and help dress the baby. Help them think
about all the things that they'll be able to share with and
teach the baby as he or she grows up and how important
their role will be as a "big brother" or "big sister".
At other times, let them focus on coming up with ways that
they can help care for the baby or have them think of things
they can do around the house to ease the burden on mom
and dad. Also, take this opportunity to make your kids aware
that babies require gentle handling and a quiet
environment. You might even use a baby doll with your
younger children to role play baby's diaper changing and

Nurture the feeling that every family member is of equal
importance and that each occupies a special niche and has
special contributions to make. No one is being replaced by
the baby and the family cannot be whole unless EVERYONE
is a part of it. If your kids internalize this belief, you may be
able to avoid some of the trauma and the understandable
resentment toward this little stranger who has stolen
mommy and daddy's hearts. The better your children are
prepared for the impending event, the better they'll be able to
cope with it emotionally.

As part of that preparation process, from time to time plan
special activities with your kids that relate to babies. For
example, they might draw pictures of babies or collect baby
photos from magazines and create a collage. Sit down and
go through photo albums of your kids' baby pictures and
reminisce with them about their own arrivals into the world.
Re-tell any family anecdotes surrounding their births. Teach
your children lullabies that they can sing to the baby, plus
finger games and "peek-a-boo" games to entertain their
new brother or sister.

Arts and crafts projects can furnish a special parent-child
discussion and sharing time and may sometimes revolve
around preparations for the new baby. Kids can make
pictures to hang in the baby's room, or create a baby-safe
mobile to hang over the baby's crib, or draw scenes in which
they imagine their lives with the new baby - rocking the baby
in their arms, and so forth.
Let the kids be involved in every facet of the preparations
that you yourself are making for the baby's arrival. Your kids
can help you repaint the nursery or paint a mural on the
nursery wall, and help you pick out baby furniture, bedding
and nursery decorations. They can choose baby clothes that
appeal to them. All of these things can later give the
pride and a sense of importance and inclusion in the baby's
life. When grandma says "What a cute bib the baby's
wearing," your preschooler can say "I picked it!"
In addition, make your children key members of the family
committee that chooses a name for the new baby. Keep the
kids involved and actively participating and then, as the birth
becomes imminent, dad and the kids may even conspire to
prepare some extra, special, secret surprises for mom and
the baby, like buying or creating a special keepsake item or
putting together a "welcome home" party.

In short, it's always worth the effort to do as much as you
can to get your kids involved in and excited about the arrival
of a new baby. Include them in every step of the process.
The more they feel that it is THEIR baby, too, the more
positive their attitudes will be towards the baby. In this way,
you can try to minimize the natural insecurities and feelings
of jealousy that go with the territory.
The suggestions mentioned in this article can help lay the
groundwork for good sibling relationships but, of course,
you can't rest on your laurels once the baby is born. After the
baby arrives, try to do everything you can to set aside some
special time each day that's just for you and each of your
other children. Offer them special little treats or outings or
surprises, and encourage grandma and grandpa to do the
same. To reduce jealousy, give your kids pride in the things
that they CAN do that the baby can't do, like dressing
themselves or enjoying a movie or reciting their ABCs.
Continue along the path that you started on months earlier -
reassure your kids that each of them is just as important as
the baby is, so that they won't feel that they must compete for
your love and attention.
Good luck and oh, by the way, congratulations!
Barbara Freedman-De Vito is a professional storyteller and artist. Visit Kids T-Shirts, children's clothing, and adult's clothes decorated with pictures and words
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How To Talk To Your Baby - And Understand What She's Saying Back
It is incredible, but within a years time your baby will progress from random crying to talking. This is quite an achievement for your baby and in a very short period of time. In this chapter we will look at your baby's development when it comes to language. You'll also discover what you can expect to see every month but it's important to remember that these stages of your baby's development are broad and because every baby is different these are not meant as exact milestones.
One month. Your baby will be able to understand speech long before actually talking. From birth he will look at your face and listen to your voice. He may make a small range of noises that will start to mean something to you - these may be made when he experiences feelings of hunger or pain (such as crying and certain sounds while he is breathing). When your baby is eating, you may notice him making sucking type noises and sounds of contentment. The way that your baby cries is an important communication method while he is actually unable to talk. Crying lays the foundation for speech as your baby learns to control his vocal cords. Crying is also a baby's way of indicating hunger, discontentment, or general discomfort. Through responding to this crying you let your baby know that she is important to you - and this can really be reassuring for a young infant.

Two months. As a child enters his second month he is far more aware of the world - things such as sounds, even that of your voice, will amuse and fascinate your child. Change the tone of your voice and this will keep him amused. Your baby will respond with a variety of cooing sounds, vowel-like sounds, and sometimes some consonant sounds such as a "k". You will find that your baby has quite a collection of cooing sounds that she uses to communicate with you as well as discover how to use the sound of her own voice. During this time, try and talk with your baby - this will encourage her response and help in the development process. By looking into your baby's eyes you are communicating an important thing to her - that you are listening.

Three months. By now you will find that your baby is able to recognize your voice and may come to you or face you when your voice is heard. You may notice him laugh out aloud and may even scare himself by doing this (as he does not initially know that he is the one making the sounds). Your baby will be making sounds such as "ahhhh gooo". He will squeal when he is happy and content, again often startling himself as he learns his own abilities.
At this stage you should not only talk to your baby but also introduce other communication forms such as singing and story telling. The greater your effort in trying to talk with him, the better his response is likely to be.

Four months. By now more and more communication should be taking place with your baby. You may notice a greater amount of smiling - while his babbling may have a noticeably singsong quality to it, often ranging into a high pitch that delights him as he learns to like the sound of his own voice. There will be lots of repetition to the sounds that your baby makes.
It is important that you always respond to your baby's "oohs" and "ahhs" and whatever other communication methods she is using - respond with your own voice tones. This is your chance to have a "chat time" with your baby and you should take advantage of these times - you are helping him to discover the art of conversation. There will also be certain times when your baby may also not be in the mood for talking. He will turn his head in the other direction and may put his arm over his face. He may be showing signs of anger or frustration by crying out, especially if something is taken away from him.

Five months. As each month progresses you will find that your baby is becoming better at communicating. It's possible that you will notice him imitate some sounds and gestures. By now he'll most likely be able to let you know if he's happy or sad. When attention is wanted your baby will babble until he is given the attention he feels he deserves. Interestingly, if you always respond to his communication efforts (whatever these may be) he'll repeat them whenever he wants your attention this way.
During this month it's likely that your baby will be looking at your mouth moving while you talk. Talk to him from across the room and he'll be able to find you with ease. He is learning to control his vocal sounds as he watches your response to his sounds.

Six months. Your baby may now be using consonant-vowel combinations. It's quite possible that he has discovered his mirror reflection and is probably having conversations with himself. Your baby's language is becoming much more precise.
 Here are some ways that you can help your baby develop her language skills:
· Speak very slowly and clearly.
· Identify and point out items, objects and people as you talk about them.
· Use shorter sentences sentences.
· Using repetition when singing songs and nursery rhymes helps the learning process.
· Reading to your baby is a good idea and should be done as often as possible - ask your baby questions and point things out to make the process as interactive as possible.
· Let your baby respond in his own way when communicating with her.

Seven months. Your baby is now continuing to learn how to use his newfound language skills. He may be able to do things such as wave goodbye and may accompany his wave with babbling sounds. He can say "mama" or "dada".

Eight months. Your baby is playing games such as pat a cake and peek-a-boo. Even though he can't speak the words that belong to these games, he can babble and talk to himself. It's likely that your baby knows what the word "No" means by now as well.

Nine to twelve months. It's possible that by now your baby understands requests and commands such as "give it" or "don't touch that". Similarly, she may understand simple questions such as "where's your rattle?" At this time you should be encouraging your baby to use gestures (and you should respond to them). For example if your baby indicates she wants to be picked up then say "you want to be picked up?" while picking her up. This helps the learning process. You should also talk about everything that you do, and use gestures (and short sentences) as you're doing them.
Here are some ways to help your baby with the learning process:
· Look at books and talk about the pictures in simple languages. Where possible try and use books that your baby is able to hold.
· Talk often to your baby using simple words to identify objects in his life. Name trees, numbers, colours, and animals as you take your baby for a walk. You should also use your baby's name often - this way she will be able to recognise it.
· Talk back to your child when she talks with you.
· Introduce concepts to your baby, such as the "big" dog or the "little" mouse.
· Give your baby time to get his words out; don't be tempted to complete sentences for him.
· Continue to read to your baby as much as possible. Reading should be part of your daily routine.
· From day one start to talk in a simple, short and uncomplicated way with your baby - even though she will not understand what you are saying this is laying the foundations for learning language.
Twelve months. After one year babies are generally able to say one or two words and are able to understand 25 words or more. For example if a person in the room asks, "where is daddy?" your baby will look for you. Your baby is also able to point at things (and ask for things in this way).
Keziah Engineer is the author of the best selling ebook “THE BABY CARE BOOK” – a resource that teaches new parents absolutely everything they need to know about their newborn babies: []
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Baby Signing - 10 Easy Ways to Start Signing with Your Baby
Babies can communicate their needs and desires a lot earlier than we think. They have an instinctive need to communicate. Baby signing is a pre-verbal form of communication. Babies can control their movements much earlier than mastering speech and can express all sorts of emotions, desires and wants with their hands! Baby sign language is key to learning how to interpret what your baby is telling you, eliminate the guesswork and to bond and enjoy life with your baby.
Imagine your baby being able to tell you they're thirsty or hungry. Or that they'd like to read a book or tell you that they've just seen a bird in the garden. Or for you to be able to guide them on safety using signs like 'hot' or 'stop'. All this is possible by talking to your baby and using appropriate baby signs. There are so many new experiences for your baby every day - new sights, new sounds, new objects, new people. And so much to talk about!
Scientific studies show baby sign language to be effective and beneficial for hearing babies in amazing ways. Research shows that signing babies had larger vocabularies, learned to talk earlier, showed less frustration, had more self-confidence, understood more words and scored higher in intelligence tests than non-signing babies
Signing with your baby is also rewarding for you. Imagine your joy seeing your baby 'talking' to you with signs. Of course it doesn't happen overnight. It's a new skill for you and baby to master. But the months of learning together helping your baby to discover this skill will bring you closer together.

10 easy ways to get started with baby sign language.

1. Start early. Start using baby signs in your everyday routine with your baby, even from a few weeks old. Remember to say the word as you make the sign and point to the object. Over time it will just come naturally. Babies tend to develop the gross motor skills to be able to shape their hands and make signs sometime from 6 months upwards.

2. Keep it fun! The more relevant the signs are for your baby the more likely your baby is to want to 'talk' to you. Most babies enjoy pointing at objects they like in books. Use those visual clues to build your baby sign language vocabulary. Sign and say words from the books that you're reading together.

3. Concentrate on a few signs at a time. Start with some simple signs like milk, car, home. You can build more and more signs into your baby sign language vocabulary over time.

4. Always say the word that you are signing. Baby signing helps with early language development as the signs are always done at the same time as the word is spoken.

5. Involve the family. Encourage older siblings, your partner, grandparents and other people that care for your baby. The more your baby is exposed to baby sign language the quicker he or she will learn.

6. Get together with a group of friends to sign. Better still go to a baby signing class if there's one local to you. It's very motivating to see other babies signing and it's a great social activity to get out and about and meet other mums in your area.

7. Don't let the sceptics get to you. People may try and tell you that baby signing slows down speech development. Baby signing was developed for hearing babies. If you're learning signing based on your country's deaf community language - e.g. BSL or ASL - then an added benefit will be that your baby is learning a skill that will enable them to communicate with the deaf community in later life.

8. Do what comes naturally. Adapt signs to suit you or your baby if you want. Above all have fun bonding!

9. Give it a go. If you don't you'll never know whether you could have reduced the frustration of the terrible twos, helped your baby's development or been a happier parent of a more confident, happier baby.

10. Don't give up. All babies develop skills and reach milestones at their own pace. Your baby will sign back to you when they're ready. And when that moment happens, you and your baby will feel like you've shared your own eureka.
© Jenny Davis Baby Experiences 2005
Jenny Davis is the founder of Baby Experiences which offers UK parents ideas on the world of activities, experiences and gifts to inspire, enjoy and bond with their babies. Baby signing is just one of the activities on offer at
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