Category Archives: Baby Product Advice

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Baby and Toddler Toileting Gadgets – crazy or genius?

Every now and then someone comes up with a new piece of gear for baby and toddler care that is pure genius.  When they first invented the baby monitor I’m sure parents everywhere were relieved to be able to move their ear away from the nursery door. When non spill valves were added to sippy cups toddlers rejoiced at the freedom to upturn their drinks with wanton abandon. But when some bright spark started selling the Peepee Teepee, basically a little hat for your baby boy’s penis, not everyone was convinced.peepee-teepee (1)

In fact, there are hundreds of innovations aimed squarely at your baby or toddler’s toileting habits. But since we’ve got some of the basics to a fairly fine art (think disposable nappies, baby wipes, portable potties…) there are still entrepreneurs out there pushing at the glass ceiling of baby ablutions and eliminations. 

Here are three baby and toddler toileting gadgets that just might be crazy enough to be genius. Unless they’re just crazy. 

Baby Bathroom Harness

Baby-Keeper-Basic

The Babykeeper is a harness for a baby aged 6-18 months that is designed, not to be worn by an adult, but to hang over the door of a public toilet.

This one’s more about your toileting habits, but if you’ve ever had to go to a public toilet with a baby you know the choices you’re faced with are all crap (pun intended!). You can leave your baby in their pram just outside the locked door where they will no doubt be abducted and raised by a cult. You can leave the stall door open with the pram just outside so the cult members coming to use the public bathroom can watch you wee. You can try and cradle your baby in your lap while using the toilet, and probably drop them, Baby 59 style, straight into the bowl. Or you can set them on the floor and pray the germs are no worse than anywhere else your baby sits (side-note: apparently they probably are actually no worse than anywhere else).

This over-the-door-harness may make you feel slightly as if you’re treating you baby like a handbag, but provided you don’t forget to collect them as you leave, may just be the answer to the question: “What happens if I can’t hold it until I get home?”

iPad Potty

ipad potty

The iPotty is a plastic potty with an activity stand for an iPad attached.

Though there is what seems to be incessant talk about whether or not toddlers and young children should use technology like iPads (note to self, write post about whether or not toddlers and children should use technology like iPads) the fact is, millions do. Much advice about potty training centers on the dual issues of keeping the child actually sitting on the potty long enough to see some action, and finding the experience rewarding, or at least not finding the experience upsetting. Having a TV show to watch or an app to play with while learning to use the potty addresses both issues smoothly and simply.

You may cringe at the idea of introducing your child to iPads in general, let alone encouraging them to hunker down on the loo staring at a screen for long periods of time, but when your toddler starts asking to use the potty instead of weeing on your lap or smearing poo on the walls above their cot I suspect it won’t seem such a problem.

Toddler Urinal

toddler-urinal

The Peter Potty website announces that it is the world’s only flushable toddler urinal. It is exactly what it sounds like, a urinal small enough for the smallest of urinaters, and adjustable as they grow.

Children of both sexes are usually taught to wee sitting down. But many little boys want to stand, like they see their Daddy doing. An adult toilet is too high for a toddler to wee into standing but a regular potty on the floor is too small to aim at. You either have to resign yourself to urine all over the bathroom floor or insist your boy sits to wee until he is much taller.

Adding a urinal to your bathroom at home may seem like overkill, but despite the instinct to link them with the smell of stale urine and the general distaste of some public men’s bathrooms, the toddler urinal could be be best way to keep your bathroom floor wee-free while keeping your little man happy.

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Join the discussion below, are these gadgets crazy or genius?

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Playpens: Are they good or bad?

Not so long ago the playpen was a very common and ordinary part of a young child’s life. Ask your own parents or grandparents and there’s a good chance they not only used one, but did so without spending much time pondering over its evils or benefits. The playpen was as ubiquitous as the pram or the highchair.

But today it is far less common to see a playpen. Those who do use them often joke uncomfortably about “locking” their baby away, to buffer against the criticism of others. Forums are littered with parents questioning their pros and cons and asking for advice about whether a playpen will help or harm their baby and their family. Many feel the playpen has become a sort of anti-status symbol, where parents who use one believe they are looked down upon by those who do not.

Why the playpen has fallen from favour.

There are various websites and forum comments that allude to studies that show babies placed in playpens experience developmental delay and suffer long term mental and physical harm. But no one seems to be able to point to any such studies and Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology at University of California-Berkeley and author of  The Philosophical Baby, says she ” [doesn’t] know of any systematic research on this.” What seems most likely is that advice about the importance of allowing a baby to move and explore their environment has been applied by concerned parents to playpens, though not intended to specifically warn against their use in their entirety. Continue reading

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Teething Necklaces: Are they a scam? (I’ll give you a hint, the answer is ‘yes’)

In recent years I’ve seen more and more babies wearing amber teething necklaces. You probably have too, both in the streets, in your circle of family and friends, and around the million dollar necks of celebrity offspring.

Pretty? Sure. Curative? No.

If you don’t know, these necklaces are made from Baltic Amber and are supposed to relieve pain and inflammation from teething.  I’ve heard many people say they work, and many more who say they may as well try them even if they’re aren’t sure if they work, but here’s the rub: there’s not one single shred of evidence worldwide that amber necklaces have any affect on the body whatsoever – except to self-esteem, perhaps. I feel great when I wear some beautiful amber jewellery my dad gave me, but only because I look so lovely in it 😉

There’s two main arguments why I don’t think the teething necklaces should be used.

I write about both here, in an article about the dangers of choking or strangulation from a necklace made with beads that have absolutely no proven health benefits. The beads can break off easily and become a choking hazard and you should never wrap anything about a baby’s neck as they risk strangling themselves. Some suggest wearing the necklace around the ankle to avoid strangulation but then the risk of choking on dislodged beads still exists.

But the main reason I don’t think an amber necklace should be worn by babies to relieve teething pain is because they’re a hoax. Continue reading

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#7. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby

English: A typical baby's diaper bag, over-sho...

One of the top items on many new parents’ to-buy list is a nappy bag. It can shine like a beacon of hope against the fear that having a baby will mean you can never leave the house again. With a nappy bag you can hit the streets, hit the road, hit the town! Most people with whom  I’ve worked nappy bags three or four times the size of their baby and filled to the brim.

I’ve already written about paring down your nappy bag so you don’t carry around more than you need. If you lessen the amount of stuff you bring with you on baby outings, then do you still need an expensive and large specialised nappy bag or just….you know… a bag? 

#7 piece of baby gear you probably don’t really need: A specialised nappy bag

What makes a actual ‘nappy bag’ different from a regular bag?

  • Size: Most nappy bags are over-sized  like a swollen tote or satchel. There’s a sense the nappy bag should be big enough to carry everything you might possibly need, but what actually seems to happen is that you carry everything it can possibly fit, regardless of whether you need it. Continue reading

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#6. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby

I am a big advocate of swaddling. In my experience young babies who are swaddled sleep much better than those who are not. Wrapping your baby is one the very first things I’d suggest if your baby has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

 

However, I do not recommend you buy a swaddle suit. Not only are they an unnecessary expense but can actually do more harm than good, potentially causing damage to your baby’s hips. All you need to swaddle your baby are muslin cloths.

#6 Item you should avoid buying your baby: Swaddle Suits

Why Swaddle?

  • Swaddling basically means “wrapping your baby firmly.” The sensation of pressure on their bodies mimics the feeling of being in the womb and provides comfort (like a hug!). This comforting feeling allows them to feel safer and more relaxed when falling asleep. Continue reading

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