Monday, September 20, 2010

Recycle Me!

With today's economy we are all looking for ways to save money!  Especially when it comes to things that we need for baby.  Items specifically made for a baby can be outrageously expensive.  Now, I am not one to sacrifice safety for cost, but here are some safe substitutes for things that you may need for your little one, and already have laying around your home!

Sunshade for Car Seat
This may sound ridiculous now that it is the last day of summer, but for those of us that live in the desert, where it is still 109 degrees this may be a useful tip.  Once Dylan transitioned out of the carrier to the "big boy" car seat, I started looking for a way to keep it cool if we were out shopping or the car was parked somewhere out in the sun.  Some days when Dylan and I return to the car, even after as little as 30 minutes, the temperature of the car is over 180 degrees.  I can't even sit him in his seat!  I looked online for solutions and found a cooler cover for about $40...but I thought there has to be a better solution.  One day, instead of  placing my reflective sun shade in the windshield, I simply opened it and placed it reflective side up, over the car seat.  What do you know, it worked!  The straps and buckles were cool to the touch and the seat padding was much cooler then without.  The best part is, that if you don't already have one, they cost about 5 bucks at Walmart!

Tupperware as Toys
Many of you probably already do this, but a friend recently suggested this to me and it is amazing!  Babies have a natural affinity to plastic containers!  My son has a bucket full of toys, but he will sit on the kitchen floor for 20 minutes chasing a plastic lid around the floor.  I have started putting his Cheerios inside some of the small containers an placing the lids half on, and letting him work the lids off.  He loves the rattling sound of the O's inside when he shakes it, and it really works his fine motor skills to take the lids off.  Just make sure to properly clean the containers before giving them to your little one, and make sure there are no sharp edges around the opening or on the lid.

Laundry Basket as Push Toy or Activity Table
Laundry baskets can serve dual purpose if you have a pre-walker at home.  An up-side-down laundry basket is the perfect height for a little one to pull up to stand.  The wide base creates a sturdy surface for standing and playing.  When your baby gets ready to take his or her first steps, the up-side-down laundry basket makes a great push toy.  Pushing on carpet creates more resistance and makes it easier for baby to control the speed.  If you don't have carpet, control the resistance by keeping a hand on the basket to slow it down. As with all infant push toys never leave your baby unattended and wipe down the bottom of the basket before letting baby play with it.  Never give your baby a broken laundry basket and check thoroughly for sharp edges.

Turn Unused Shirts into a Breastfeeding Cover
Are you tired of wearing an "apron" around your neck when breastfeeding in public?  If you are like me, I am a full supporter of breastfeeding in public, but could never bring myself to "bear it all" when sitting at a restaurant or at the shopping mall.  I used the Utter Covers and Hooter Hiders...whatever fancy name you want to call it, but it is still an apron for your neck!  Recently I was cleaning out my closet, full of clothes that I no longer wear...for various reasons.  But came across some shirts that I was getting ready to donate.  I thought, "Gosh, what if I can turn these into stylish breastfeeding covers?"  I am not a seamstress, but I can sew a simple stitch and that is all you need.  Instructions below:

1. Use a shirt that is loose fitting and longer then your waist line.  Avoid polo shirts or shirts with wide collars. The materiel should be breathable and lightweight, as baby will need to be able to breathe underneath while you are breastfeeding.
2. Cut tags out of shirt and make single cut up the middle of the BACK of the shirt.  You may hem edges of opening for a tailored look.
3. To ensure that shirt will stay in place, sew small "pocket" to hold large washer or 2 quarters at top corners of each side of the opening.  This will weight down the back and prevent the cover from slipping off your shoulders while in use.  Wear the shirt with the opening at your back with the closed part of the shirt covering baby.  It takes about 5 minutes to complete and people may not even know you are feeding a baby under that fabulous shirt!
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