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Swaddling Blankets

Posted by Alina on Sunday Jul 27, 2008 Under Baby Products

Being in the womb for nine months, babies are accustomed to pretty tight quarters. For the fist few months after birth, to satisfy their sensory needs, babies often enjoy and are calmed by being swaddled. Not all babies will need this, but many do, and you will know by your baby’s response if swaddling is for him/her.
I received various kind of blankets as gifts. Some were pretty, some were super soft and some were shaped as triangles, apparently to make swaddling easier. I feel like I have tried my fair share and I have two recommendations.

While my son was small (the first 2 months), the blankets that worked best for me were not the fancy pretty ones, which I thought I would prefer, but the cheaper, simpler, cotton waffle weave blankets. I like the ones by Koala Baby because they are larger (30″ x 40″) than some of the other brands out there. These are great because they are stretchy, allowing for a snug swaddle but still allow some breathing room. They are not too heavy, so the baby does not overheat. And they are quite affordable. I purchased four so that we could always have a clean one on hand.


Once my son got taller (~25 inches at 2 months), I found the waffle weave blankets to be too small, and discovered another wonderful product: muslin wraps by Aden and Anais. These are fantastic! They are light-weight, large, and are great for swaddling a taller/ larger baby. They come in a great variety of colors and patterns and can be used for much more than just swaddling. I found them great for lining the inside of the stroller, covering my son when he sleeps, and placing one under him if he’s on the carpet or grass, to provide a clean surface for tummy time.


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Communication and Deciphering Cries

Posted by Alina on Monday Jul 21, 2008 Under communication

Although mainly concerned with communication technology, the Shannon-Weaver model can be applied to human communication. There are six main components; a source, an encoder, a message, a channel, a decoder, and a receiver. Communication breakdown may occur at any point in this chain.
As an example, my latest challenge has been communication with a newborn. My son Henry (the source), mainly communicates through crying. He encodes his message via use of vocal cords, lungs, facial muscles, and often his limbs and trunk. This is the only way he can communicate at his age of a few weeks, so the message he sends out for hunger, is a slightly different cry and body language than one for a wet diaper, boredom, or fatigue. The hunger cry sounds like he’s saying “nah” and is usually preceded by smacking his lips or sucking on his fist. He also keeps his fists tight when he’s hungry and relaxes his hands once he has eaten. The fatigue/ exhaustion cry is best described as a “fourth gear”, inconsolable cry with a cough, which lasts about 1-2 minutes after which he falls into a deep sleep. During this cry, his whole body tends to straighten out completely, and once he falls asleep, he curls up. The channel he uses to send his message is vocal/auditory as well as tactile. The decoder in this case, I think is my increasing experience as well as knowledge I have gained from reading books on the subject, which is allowing me to differentiate between different cries and his various body gestures. Thus, I (the receiver) am now better able to understand his messages and quicker attend to his needs than in the first two weeks, when all cries seemed like a mystery and just made my husband and me nervous.

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My stroller (re)search:

Posted by Alina on Thursday Jul 17, 2008 Under Baby Products

At first the search for the perfect stroller seemed overwhelming. I was about 30 weeks pregnant when I began going to baby stores and playing with all the different types. To make my search easier, I narrowed down my list of wanted features. I live in New York City, don’t own a car, and tend to walk a LOT. Stroller features I focused on were:
1. Large wheels – for a smooth ride and easy maneuvering of curbs and uneven sidewalks, as well as easier navigation through grass in the park and snow/ice in the winter.
2. Bassinet – for baby’s comfortable sleeping in the fist few months.
3. Reclining seat – for comfortable napping once my son gets a little older
4. Easy collapsibility – for easily folding the stroller when taking a bus, subway stairs, or getting it in and out of a rental car.
5. Something that would last a few years.

I found it very helpful going to the stores and actually trying to take strollers apart and put them back together. I narrowed my selection to the Baby Jogger City Series Elite, Bugaboo, and Stokke. All of the above come with a bassinet, have large wheels, and have very sturdy construction and are can support 40 lbs (Bugaboo), 45 lbs (Stokke) and 75 lbs (Baby Jogger).

I ended up purchasing the Baby Jogger because it was the easiest to collapse – one hand operation – while holding baby in the other arm. Both, the Bugaboo and the Stokke require use of both hands and multiple steps, and I thought the Bugaboo was a bit difficult to reassemble. All three make adapters to attach a car seat to the stroller frame. My son hated being in the car seat, so I didn’t use this feature. If you purchase the bassinet for the Baby Jogger ($199.99), it comes with the multiple car seat adapters for the Graco, Peg Perego, Britax, Maxi Cosi and other car seats, which otherwise retail for about $60. The Stokke car seat adapter is $79.99, and the Bugaboo adapter is $44.95 (for one type of car seat of your choice).

I’m very happy with the stroller we got. However, in hind site, I realize it is missing one feature that I would have liked to have, the ability to have the baby facing me once we’re on the go. Once my son turned 2 months, he was no longer happy to be in the bassinet, and when I put him in the regular seat (reclined), I found out that he likes looking around, but after a little while, he get upset, because he cannot see me (and probably thinks I’m not there). Thus, every block or so, I have to go around the stroller and talk to him for a few seconds, so he knows I’m near. I’m sure he will soon outgrow this stage, but now looking back, I see that being in Manhattan, I hardly ever need to collapse the stroller when I am by myself. And if my husband is with me, I can hold the baby and he can collapse the stroller, so it doesn’t have to be a one hand operation. Although I am pleased with the many features of the Baby Jogger, I probably would have chosen otherwise knowing what I now know.

Baby Jogger Pram/ Basinette

Baby Jogger Pram/ Bassinet

Baby Jogger City Series Elite

Baby Jogger City Series Elite

Bugaboo

Bugaboo

Stokke Xplory

Stokke Xplory

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