A lot of people I know are expecting their first babies right now, and they ask me what things I have liked or not liked for Josey. Moms (including myself) tend to go on about our strollers, our pediatricians, and what we found most helpful for breastfeeding, etc.
While I do think those things are helpful to know (obviously, since I post about what Jo uses every 2 months), I find that we tend to skip over the “pharmacy” and grooming stuff we acquire. I’m sure this is mostly due to the fact that everyone has their own idea of what is best for their baby. And I do think moms need to follow their instincts along with hearing out their pediatricians.
If you want to go all organic, that’s great. If you find medicine to be overly doled out, I get it. If you are willing to give you kid medicine to stop the crying from teething, I understand. Listed below is what has worked for us.
1. Johnson’s Baby Bath Head to Toe Body Wash
When I’m washing my little wiggle worm, the easier the better. So I like having one soap that can do it all, and that is dispensed with a pump. This soap isn’t anything new, but it works for us, so I’m sharing it.
Also, it really doesn’t hurt her eyes on the few occasions when soapy water has gotten in. I just wipe her eyes with a dry towel and carry on.
2. Johnson’s Baby Lotion in Honey Apple and in Vanilla Oatmeal
After her bath, I slather her in lotion, then I get her diapered and dressed. Neither of these lotions has caused a negative reaction on her skin. Both smell awesome (but if you have a boy, I would skip the girly-smelling apple scent). Everyone comments on how good her skin smells, wanting to know what it is.
In fact these both work so well that when we go out of town, I just use her lotion instead of bringing my own. I figure, skip Bath and Body Works, and give me the Johnson’s Baby Lotion! It’s cheaper!
3. Safety 1st Deluxe Healthcare and Grooming Kit
We were given this by some friends at a shower, and I LOVE it for so many reasons:
- The comb gets all her tangles out.
- The bush makes her hair so smooth and shiny.
- The nail clippers are easy to grip and the perfect size for little nails (I have to do this weekly).
- They even include tiny nail files just in case there’s a sharp edge (her nails are sharp!!).
- The thermometer is straightforward and easy to use, and it comes with covers in case you have to take a rectal reading.
- The nasal aspirator bulb opens in half, so cleaning is easy, and it does a better job than most bulbs. It’s also clear, so you can see if you got the gunk out.
The little medicine bottle dispenser was so clever, but it actually didn’t work well for us. Josey couldn’t seem to suck the medicine out of it. But that was no big deal because we use syringes to dispense her meds (see below).
4. Aquafresh Training Toothpaste and Training Toothbrush
Well, we lucked out because Josey has LOVED her toothbrush ever since we were just brushing her gums. In fact, she has 3 toothbrushes just for play and chewing on (spread all over the house), and this one for actual use.
I don’t know if this one is any better than the others out there, but it’s the one we bought. It’s worked well for us, and it’s small enough that I can actually brush her teeth, gums, and tongue with it.
Which is a good thing, because she has several teeth and eats solids now, so she get stinky breath otherwise. We do this at least once a day.
Like I said, everyone has to do what they think is right for their child. Personally, I hate seeing Josey in pain, and on the days when she is crying nonstop, chewing on her fingers and miserable, I thank the Lord that someone invented drugs that help her get relief and even let her fall asleep when she’s in pain.
Same goes for days when she has gas pain. To each their own.
That said, not everything in here is medicinal.
1. Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer
I remember seeing this advertised when I was a nanny and asking the mom, who was a nurse in a pediatrician’s office, if they really worked. She surprised me by saying they work great and are super accurate.
They scan the temporal artery (running up the side of your forehead) for a heat reading, telling you your body temperature. How nice not to need to stick a thermometer ANYWHERE in a baby!
The one thing I will say is that they are advertised as if they are so convenient, you could do this to your child as they slept without waking them. I’m calling BS on that for two reasons:
- You run it across the forehead as it beeps and flashes a red light. Who can sleep through that?
- You can’t read it in in the dark because the screen doesn’t light up.
But other than that, I really like it for a quick, easy read. Of course, Josey moves nonstop, so I have to do this about 3 times before she is still enough for it to work, but that’s still easier than taking her temperature any other way!
2. Graco Nasal Clear Nasal Aspirator
I use both a bulb and this aspirator, depending on the gunk in her nose.
When snot and boogers are close enough to bother her or for me to see but far enough back that I would have to use the bulb for 15 different suctions to get it out, I use the battery operated aspirator. It’s easier and faster. Most of all, it annoys her less that way.
Another thing is that when her patience is running out on her nose being cleaned, this aspirator has a button to play music, which distracts her enough to buy me some more time for cleaning her up.
I can’t remember a time in her life that she didn’t have a stuffy or a runny nose. This device is essential for me.
3. Little Noses Saline Mist
I have had the same bottle since she was born and still not run out. I don’t use it a ton. But when there is something in her nose that is clearly needing to come out, but it can’t, I spray this up her nose.
It’s easy to use, and it loosens stuff up so I can suction it out with her aspirator. Not really much more to add, other than it’s useful.
4. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
Yep, the stuff that’s been around for ages is a natural moisture barrier. So after you change your baby, you can pat them dry and slather a bit of this on them to help prevent diaper rashes.
That’s something I learned as a nanny, and it worked incredibly well. I did this with Josey all the time when she was “new,” but as she’s gotten older, I’ve slacked off a bit. Now I usually only use this if I see any redness indicating a rash might be trying to form (or when I remember it).
Still, it’s a great thing to know and use for diapering.
5. Desitin Maximum Strength Paste
When the rare occasion that Jo gets a diaper rash does prevent itself, I use this stuff. It knocks it out quickly and provides her with relief from the pain while she heals. Love it.
6. Hyland’s Teething Tablets
This is yet another thing I gleaned from the nannying days. These homeopathic tablets are great.
They seem to work instantly, and they dissolve pretty much as soon as they are in her mouth. She loves to eat them, and it calms her down so quickly. Love these.
They can be hard to find nowadays, so I order mine off Amazon.
7. Children’s Acetaminophen with Syringe
I have discussed this before, but I love this dispenser. It is SO much less messy because of the syringe and the top designed for just the syringe to be used.
It also wastes less because you turn the bottle upside down to get the medicine into the syringe, versus having to stick the syringe down into the bottle.
Besides all of that, the actual medicine is very helpful when Jo has had shots, is teething and miserable, or if she has a fever. Just be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician for dosage information.
8. Children’s Benadryl
Now this one didn’t even cross my mind until recently. I was telling my sister how miserable it had been because even with tablets and Tylenol, poor Josey was in so much pain with all these teeth coming in that she couldn’t sleep through the night or take good naps. She was in pain, and we were all exhausted.
She pointed out to me that a little bit of Benadryl might help her sleep, which is so important for overall health and ability to cope for both parents and babies. At this point, it had been two weeks, so I gave in and bought some.
What a relief! Josey could sleep through the night again most nights, and Tom and I were getting more sleep too. We all felt more capable to deal with the teething pain when we were rested.
I know the bottle says this isn’t really supposed to be used for knocking out your kids, but at some point, I had to think “what is worse, giving her her size’s dosage of medicine when she doesn’t have allergy problems, or her never getting sleep and all of us being worn out, me getting sick from it, and all of us cranky?” For me, sleep won.
When Josey was a few days old, I made the horrible mistake of eating two tiny pieces of broccoli that were in with my Chinese food.
Many of you seasoned breast-feeders are groaning in empathy. For those of you who plan to breastfeed but haven’t before, there are some foods you don’t want to eat, and broccoli is one of them. These foods will give your baby horrible gas pain. (Here’s a list of some of those foods, though I will say that eventually, you can add some of those back in- hello coffee, chocolate, and wine!- just be mindful of when your baby nurses.)
She was up for most of the night. She comfort nursed for two hours until I started crying, and my mom said “just pull her off!” Then the screaming began and went on for four solid hours. It was pure misery.
I was exhausted, my mom was having to comfort us both because I was bawling as much as Josey, and we were all three up all night. (Thank the Lord for mamas who help after coming home from the hospital!)
I said something about it on Facebook, and a couple of sweet ladies gave me some life-changing advice. Simethicone.
It’s like bean-o or gas-x for babies. In fact, that’s all Gas-X is, but it’s more of it for adults. So, next time she seemed to be having tummy issues, I gave her some, and voila, it helped!! I don’t want to know a world without this medicine.
This is basically a multi-vitamin for babies. It’s especially important for breast-feeding babies who won’t get all their supplements (like iron) via formula.
Fair warning, this stuff is gross looking, smelling, and, if Josey’s reaction is any indication, tasting. I give it to her during bathtime because she doesn’t mind spitting it out. But it is good for her and pediatrician mandated (for us).
And that’s it! That’s all the over-the-counter grooming and healthcare stuff I’ve found useful for the last nine months and would be willing to recommend to others. I hope you find this list helpful!
ps- If you are breastfeeding, you need to continue taking your prenatal vitamins with DHA. Your body will be sharing nutrients with the baby, and you want to continue giving him or her all those good vitamins, especially DHA, as well as benefitting from them yourself.