Category: Toys

Vacation Essentials with a Baby

Packing for a vacation with baby is never easy.  I’d like to share what we learned from going on our trip to Mexico.  I am hoping this post will help other parents embarking on their first beach/pool/hot weather vacation!

Sun Protection

If you’re going to be out in the sun, you need to protect baby’s delicate skin!  Our pediatrician did not recommend any sunscreen for babies under 6 months old so please check with your baby’s doctor for their recommendation.

We consulted the EWG Sunscreen Guide which rates sunscreens on effectiveness and toxicity of ingredients.  We chose the BabyGanics Cover-Up Baby Sunscreen, SPF 50+ which is very highly rated on the EWG Sunscreen Guide and is fairly inexpensive.  It has a hazard score of 2 which is considered a low hazard item.  The best score is 0, and worst score is 10.  Be aware that the commonly sold size is 6 oz so you won’t be able to bring this in a carry-on bag.

BabyGanics Cover Up Baby Sunscreen (Approx $9-10 at Amazon or Target)

We also brought along a hat with a strap since our little one tends to rip hats off her head.

Bug Protection and Treatment

Since we were attending an evening wedding, we had issues with mosquitos the night of the wedding.  I got absolutely eaten ALIVE!  I think the problem was that I was sitting in front of the wedding lights which were attracting tons of bugs.  In the first 5 minutes sitting at the dinner table, I got about 10 bites on my legs and feet!  A friend got bitten so many times her ankles swelled up dramatically!  Thankfully, my little one did not get a single bite.  Also thankfully, one of the other moms was prepared with an organic bugspray that was safe for babies.  My friend with the swollen ankles quickly ran to the hotel convenience store to get some anti-itch cream.  Fortunately, they had something.  Unfortunately, we didn’t recognize any of the ingredients.  I really wish we had brought our own supply of hydrocortizone that our doctors have told us is safe for breastfeeding and for babies.  I took the risk and used a bit of the topical gel on my bites but I am just glad I didn’t have to decide whether or not to use that questionable gel on my daughter.  Next time, I’ll be packing the hydrocortizone that I know is safe for her.

Pool Essentials — Toys & Diapers

A friend brought along their baby spring float toy and this thing is a lifesaver for playing with babies in the pool!  Since our 1 year old doesn’t know how to swim yet and can’t use a regular donut pool float, this made it really easy for her to sit and enjoy the pool while mom and dad splashed around her.  Without this, we would have to always have 1 arm around baby.  By using the pool float, we could stay within arms reach, but still have our hands free.  This is one reason why we love hanging out with other parents — we always seem to learn something new from them!

Baby Spring Float ($13.95)

To hang out in the pool, you’ll also need a supply of swim diapers.  Swim diapers will contain your baby’s poops, but not pee… so don’t put them on until you’re ready to jump in the water!  You may have a warm accident otherwise 🙂  We use Pampers disposable diapers though there are lots of great reusable swim diaper options as well.  The nice thing about the Pampers ones that we use is that the sides tear away.  I think several of the reusable options also have this feature.  Friends have told me that they recommend the Charlie Banana brand.

Charlie Banana Reusable Swim Diaper ($11.98) – How cute is this heart on the tush?!

Food and Snacks

Our little one is eating table foods now, though we still like to give her puree pouches since she still can’t chew crunchy veggies very well yet.  For breakfast, she ate eggs and banana off my plate.  For lunch and dinner, she would eat cut up chicken and beef and puree pouches.  All of that was available from the resort.  We also brought puffs and dried fruit bars with us.  She really enjoys Happy Baby Organic puffs and Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers Bars.  There was no problem bringing any of that with us into Mexico.  The other baby we shared with seemed to enjoy these as well.

In Case of Emergency

One thing that I truly hope no parent experiences is a medical issue while on vacation.  Not only are you worried about your little one, you are now faced with dealing with it without your regular pediatrician and perhaps in a foreign country with medical professionals speaking a different language.  A friend gave me this tip long ago that I hope that you’ll find useful as well–bring baby tylenol and a thermometer with you on all your trips!  You don’t want to be trying to find a store that sells this in the middle of the night when your baby has a fever.  Also, don’t forget to bring the information that lists the proper dosage amount!  Our pediatrician provides us a leaflet that lists dosage amount of tylenol by the weight of the baby.  I keep a copy of this on my phone, though I should really keep a printed copy tucked in with the bottle of tylenol as well.

Did I miss anything from my vacation essentials list?  I’d love to hear your opinions!

First Birthday Gift Ideas

Sorry for the weeklong hiatus!  Things have been hectic around the house with our baby girl turning 1 last week and planning and hosting a party for 50 people at our home!  Now that is out of the way, I can get back to blogging! 🙂

So my husband and I looked around our living room and realized that we barely have any toys at home for our baby girl.  So I’ve been thinking about what toys would be age appropriate to mark this big birthday.

Personally, toys with a lot of noise drive me crazy but she seems to enjoy them.  We have a Leapfrog Musical activity table that we got as a hand-me-down, so it had no batteries for the first few weeks we had it at home.  I finally decided to put some batteries in it and C now LOVES IT.  It’s currently one of her favorites!  The nice thing though is that there are 2 volumes — loud and super loud. 🙂

Here are a few toys that I’ve been scoping out.  I think she might be a little too young for some of these but she’ll get there soon.  Right now, she’s crawling and cruising with no problems.  I think she’ll start wobble walking without a walker pretty soon.

Ride On Toy

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe ($44.90)
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe ($44.90)

This looks really fun for my little one to ride around in, Fred Flintstone style!  I showed this to my friend and she mentioned that babies also like to be pushed around so she suggested this one as another option to consider.

Little Tikes Push & Ride Racer ($27.28)
Little Tikes Push & Ride Racer ($27.28)

Both of these have tons of great reviews on Amazon so I’m sure either of them would be great. I’m kind of leaning towards the Push & Ride since we will soon be upon our winter months in the Pacific Northwest which means a lot of indoor playtime and I think that one would work better inside our home since its a little smaller.

Sand/Water Table

Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay ($29.99)
Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay ($29.99)

This looks really fun and I like that it includes an independent cover for each side so if you have a child that likes to chuck water in the sand or vice versa, you can prevent that. However, it also looks like it is a bit small.  You can’t really launch a big boat in the water side.  It is one of the more affordable sand and water tables.

Kitchen Set

KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen ($129.99)
KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen ($129.99)

A play kitchen is really high on my wishlist but my little one is probably still too young for this right now.  From my friends who parents of older children, they say this is one of the most played with toys in the home and will last for years.  I like that this one has gender neutral colors.  It also looks way nicer than our real kitchen. 🙂

Train Set

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set ($89.82)
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set ($89.82)

When I told my husband that I wanted to get our daughter a train table he was surprised since it’s something he’d LOVE to play with, with our daughter.  This wooden set has gotten some great reviews and includes 100 track pieces as well as 30 accessory pieces.

Right Track Toys - Wooden Rail Pieces - 52 pieces ($29.99) or 100 pieces ($46.95)
Right Track Toys – Wooden Rail Pieces – 52 pieces ($29.99) or 100 pieces ($46.95)

Another option would be to get the tracks separately from the trains. This one claims to be compatible with all major systems including Thomas the Train sets.

These are the big items on our wish list.  In the next post, I’ll post some smaller items that (a) don’t take up as much space and (b) are more budget friendly for gifting to friends and family.

Do you have any other great 1st birthday toy ideas?