I'm putting off a little mandatory sewing project tonight (need to sew extra elastic into my skinny childrens' pants) and so am once again giving this somewhat-neglected blog my attention...
Awhile ago, I was gathering some things to send to my sister-in-law for her new baby (who is set to arrive at any time - we are excited!). I sent her a bunch of our favorite baby things and it occurred to me that this might make a pretty helpful blog post for anyone out there who is either expecting a first child or needs to give a useful (but inexpensive) gift. There are a bunch of what I consider to be can't-live-without baby items that cost less than $5 and can make life so much easier. So, without further ado, here is my list of 10 great baby must-haves that cost around or under $5, in no particular order.
1) Boogie Wipes. They might seem frivolous. I certainly thought they were the first time I saw them at the store. Then my son got a really bad runny nose and his little upper-lip was all sore and red. He hated having it wiped, so I thought I'd give these a shot. They are soft cloths moistened with saline. Why do I love them? Because not only are they sensitive on nose-skin, but the saline actually helps get the goo out. They are also nice and thick so adult hands feel protected from the ooze. They come in three scents, one of which is menthol. They cost about $3.50 a package, but you can now buy them at Costco.
2) Unscented Aveeno Baby Lotion. First let me start by revealing an odd thing about me: I love the smell of unscented lotions. I am not a fan of really perfumy-smelling stuff, so that is one reason I like this stuff. The main reason is that it is really thick but non-greasy. I even like to use it on my hands. I am not big on actually putting lotion on my kids - they have always been way to squirmy - but when they have needed it, this is what I use. I love it. Aveeno makes a great unscented baby wash too that is great for sensitive skin. I prefer Burt's Bees, though, although that is well above my $5 mark. Another note on unscented products: they are more likely to be phthalate-free. This lotion costs about $4.50, I think.
3) Triple Paste Diaper Cream. Don't waste your time with any other kind. This stuff is the best, hands down, I have tried them all. Our pediatrician actually turned us on to this stuff. When my youngest was very tiny, he had serious diaper rash from regular disposable diapers and this stuff calmed his rash down over night. No joke. It was amazing. I then went and bought the 1 lb. tub of it. That costs about $17 (at Target), but the smaller travel-size costs a little under $5.
4) Orajel Teething Swabs. These are completely awesome for grumpy-teethers. The reason I like them is that unlike the tubes of gel or the spray, which is really hard to aim at the right spot and numbs your finger in the process, this is a stick that you can put in your baby's mouth RIGHT where you want it to go. Older babies can put it where they want it themselves and find it soothing to suck the medicine out of on their own. It's a great way to target the affected area without getting bitten by those razor-sharp tiny teeth. During those awful months when the first 4-8 teeth come in, I have these stashed everywhere. They come in a nice plastic case, too. They cost around $4.50 or so.
5) Waterproof Lap Pads. My mom turned me on to these precious gems and I can't thank her enough. I don't know how anyone gets through the infant-blow-out phase or the little-boy-pee-fountain phase without about 20 of these. Here's the deal: They are waterproof pads that you lay over the changing table pad. When your tiny one makes a huge mess, you just remove it and wash it and put down a fresh one (usually mid-change to hopefully save that outfit or minimize the damage), OR in those horrible moments when the baby poop/pee flows, you just lay one on top of another as the mess keeps piling up to keep the little one as clean and unscathed as possible. They also come in a larger 18"x27" size which I prefer (you know, because sometimes IT ends up all the way to the back of the neck). I can even see how these would be useful during potty training. Trust me. This is a necessity. These are a little over $5, I think, maybe closer to $6.
6) The bug comb and brush set. Both my kids have been fascinated by it. Not only is it an adorable set, but it is a great occupier of little hands at the changing table. It also makes a decent teething toy. Mostly it's just cute. It's around $4. (Amazon is showing it for about $7 but I know I didn't pay more than $4 for it at BabiesRUs.)
7) Bumkins SuperBibs. They are waterproof and wonderful. I have three. I like them because you can either wash them off in the sink or throw them in the washing machine. They are big and offer great coverage. They also fold really small into a purse for going out. They are not the cheapest bib option, but they are well worth the money and they come in really cute prints - my favorite one being the Green Eggs & Ham print. Even my three year old, who hasn't worn a bib in about a year and a half thinks these are so neat he occasionally begs to wear one. They are around $6.50 for one (but they last and last and last) - sorry, I thought it was under $5, must have gotten it on sale.
8) Gerber Bunch-a-bowls. I love these bowls. They are sort of wide and flat and come with nice-fitting lids. These work excellently for feeding baby food, taking baby food to go if you make your own, using for toddler snack bowls and also for when older babies are exploring eating out of a bowl with a spoon. I learned from an occupational therapist that wider, flatter bowls are easier for children to use and watching my younger son, it appears to be true. They are about $5 for 4 bowls. (Amazon is showing these at $6 but I think they are cheaper at Fred Meyer.)
9) Links. My husband and I don't know how anyone survives early childhood without having links. They are such a multipurpose thing to have hanging around. There are always toys that need to be hung somewhere - whether to a play gym, an exersaucer, to the carseat or stroller, I even have one dangling from the handle above the car door above my younger son's carseat at the moment. On top of all that, they make a great toy in and of themselves. They cost about $5 for 24 links.
10) Stacking cups. These are another very functional toy. They are small, they nest or stack. They can be used as a living room floor toy, in the bathtub, outside at the beach, or for snack cups. Because they are so compact, and such a favorite, I always take these with me when we travel. Such a cheap toy and for some reason, so intriguing with little ones. These cost $4.
11) Bonus! I gotta add an 11, sorry no picture since I'm done with these and they are packed away. I forgot about these... Munchkin Infant Spoons. I love these because they are cheap so if you lose one, it's not a big deal. They are also very long so that your hands can stay as far away from the baby-feeding-carnage as possible. They are also softish plastic with dull edges so if the baby gets ahold of it (like mine with an iron grip), it won't hurt him/her. They cost about $3.50 at Target for a package of 6 (?).
Have any great suggestions to add to my list? Let me know in the comments. I always love to hear about helpful baby products that will hopefully improve my life.