Posts Tagged ‘baby toys’

How to Safely Clean Baby Toys

Monday, October 10th, 2016

baby toysI’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little bit of a germaphobe.  Before having kids, I always had my trusty squirt bottle of bleach cleaner and Clorox wipes to clean and sanitize my house.  Although I still use bleach in my bathroom, I have found gentler and less abrasive options to clean my kids’ toys.  I clean most of our toys using the following three methods:

Vinegar: Instead of a bleach cleaner, I now use a vinegar solution to sanitize toys.  To make the vinegar solution, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a squirt bottle.  Spray the toys down with the solution, let them sit for about 15 minutes, and then wipe off and solution that is still on the toys.  Vinegar is a dilute solution of acetic acid which denatures proteins in many viruses and bacteria that cause colds and other illnesses, making it a suitable–and safe–cleaner to sanitize.  I clean many of our larger plastic/rubber toys, toys with batteries, wooden toys, and board books with the vinegar solution.  Just as a warning, some people are very sensitive to the smell of vinegar, like my husband, so make sure you can open a window or two if needed. You can also infuse your vinegar with natural scents like lemon, thyme, or lavender.

Dishwasher: Many toys are dishwasher safe, and it is a great tool to use to clean many toys at once.  Any toy that is made out of plastic or rubber that fits in the dishwasher can be washed in it.  Toys that require batteries or are made out of wood should not be cleaned in the dishwasher.  I set my dishwasher to the sanitize setting (or use your hottest setting), add regular dishwashing detergent, and run the dishwasher.  Let the toys completely air dry before using.  I always use my best judgement about whether or not to put something in the dishwasher.  If there is any question about whether or not it’ll melt or get ruined by the dishwasher, I clean the toy using the vinegar solution instead.

Washing Machine: I use the washing machine to clean our blankets, playmats, and stuffed animals (again no batteries).  I put the stuffed animals in a pillow case (two to three together in one pillowcase), and tie the top, to offer a little extra protection.  Use the hot setting and wash like normal.  To dry, you can either let the toys air dry or dry on a low heat, gentle setting in your dryer.

Kids are inherently germy and dirty.  Although I will never be able to completely stop the spread of colds and other illnesses in my house, using these three methods keeps our toys as clean as possible.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.


First Toys for Babies

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

First Toys for BabiesWhen I had my daughter, I wasn’t really sure what to buy for her as far as toys go. I wasn’t really aware that she would even care about toys at such a young age. During a baby’s first months they can’t sit up or really grasp anything, but there are some toys that your baby can still enjoy.

Play mat: Babies need tummy time and the time you spend on the floor bonding with baby is a huge benefit to them. I suggest investing in a nice playmat. We went with the cheap version both times. This is something I regret. Before baby can grasp a toy, he or she may bat at one or learn to pull down the music string on the play mat. Look for a colorful mat with different interactive, soft toys. In my opinion, the more toys on the play mat, the better.

Musical toys: This Baby Einstein toy has been the best for us. It has colorful lights and plays a few different classical songs to entertain baby. Just be careful. It’s a little heavy for baby to hold. You can always just use your IPhone and download a music app. Music is great for entertaining baby, but it also soothes and calms baby and momma down.

Soft Books: Babies enjoy momma and daddy’s faces. Spend time reading to even the smallest of your children. The interaction is priceless. Soft books like this one from Taggies are what we have used. The mirror on the front is a bonus toy. Babies love to see their reflections.

Toys with Tags: Babies love tags. My son, Levi, has a monkey that he adores. My 2-year-old daughter still plays with the tag on her Teddy. These small toys from Dandelion are perfect for baby’s small hands. Soft blankets with tags or soft dolls with tags are great first toys.

Rattles and Shakers: Find one that is colorful and soft for baby like this one from Dandelion. Allow baby to hold the rattle and shake away! I always have a small rattle in my diaper bag. It’s the perfect go-to toy for a fussy baby in the car or if we need something to entertain Levi in a restaurant.

Teethers: Oh teething! It’s not fun for baby or momma. Luckily, there are a variety of teething toys out there to help soothe baby and make playtime fun. Chewbeads makes colorful, fun teethers for baby. They also make necklaces for momma to wear that double as a fashion accessory and teething toy.

So, momma, what have you used as a first toy for your baby? Enjoy the simplicity of baby toys. Soon they will be playing with Legos and Barbies.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2 in Northeast Indiana. She loves to play with her kids, but she wishes she had a bigger house for all of their toys.

Cleaning Out Between Kids

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Cleaning out between kidsWhen you have your first baby, you buy and receive way more stuff than you’ll ever need. If you’re planning on having another, or even three or more, you may feel the need to hang on to that stuff, and even buy more stuff ”just in case.”

In my case, it meant extra junk sitting at the top of the baby room closet for a few years. After I had my second, I dreaded the point at which I would have to make decisions about what to keep for the next baby and what to toss. It can be a really hard process, and one that you should not attempt if you are feeling emotional or depressed. Attack this job at a time when it will make you feel good and accomplished to clean out this stuff.

We had three lovely daughters, so I can share with you the de-cluttering steps I took, and what I found helpful, and what I ended up throwing out anyway.

  • Clothes. For me, clothes were the hardest to sort through. Everything had memories attached to it, and it’s all so cute. But I did learn that no matter the memories, everything is not worth saving. Since we had three girls, we had a TON of clothes, and if I kept everything I would have way too much, so I gave myself some rules to help me make the hard choices. I limited keepsake clothes to:
    • Items that were boutique/handmade. These things are usually better quality and have a chance of making it intact to the next generation.
    • One item (whether it was Target/Old Navy/whatever) that reminded me of each daughter.
    • Special items (Sunday dresses, holiday items, outfit they came home from the hospital in, etc) that had been worn by all three girls.
    • Socks and shoes. Baby shoes are so wee and cute, they are impossible to get rid of. I did go through my baby sock drawer and throw away every orphan, and I saved out each baby’s first pair of shoes, bought matching organza ribbon and used it to hang them on the Christmas tree. It was as close as I could get to throwing them out.
  • Blankies. I did throw out/give away blankies that had stains or holes, but the rest I kept. These little blankets have so many uses even after the kids don’t use them.
  • Toys. I learned after baby number one that most baby toys are totally useless. Newborns just want to nurse and sleep. And when they are old enough to sit and play with something, your keys, a wooden spoon or their sibling is just as entertaining as some plastic thing. I did keep a first stuffed toy for each girl, but got rid of all the plastic stuff that wouldn’t last, and anything broken. Also be sure and look over the toy recall list in between kids in case something new has been found to be dangerous that you didn’t know about before.
  • Check your car seat. Car seats do expire, and no, it’s not a marketing gimmick. Plastic is constantly heated and cooled during the course of a year or more in the car, and changing temperatures weaken the integrity of the plastic. Every car seat will have an expiration year molded on it. Check your seat, and if it’s expired or recalled, cut the straps and check your local baby store to see if you can get a discount on a new seat for bringing in the old one.
  • Baby contraptions. I got suckered into a lot of these that I never used, among them baby washcloths, the strainer thing to put fruit in so your baby can gnaw on it, baby bathtub (not as convenient when you have to take it out for your toddler to take a bath afterwards) the Bumbo seat, playgym, and more. Your list will vary, but really look at the stuff you have and consider if you would miss it. It can make a big difference when you need more room.
  • Cloth diapers. I found new baby time was a great time to re-evaluate my stash, get rid of any diapers that had saggy elastic, and buy some perky new covers with some fresh prints. Now you also have more doublers–bonus!

White items or anything with a stain will just get worse over time, so don’t save light-colored items that aren’t in great condition. Plus, you’re going to get a ton of new stuff from other people, so anything you save that looks haggard probably won’t get worn anyway.

If you know someone who can use those clothes right now, give them away–you may not know anyone with a baby when you have a toddler and a preschooler. I loved knowing someone was getting use out of my girls’ clothes. And if you don’t have any friends who can use them, check your local crisis pregnancy center, women’s shelter, church or just take them to a thrift store. You can also try consignment boutiques, but I found most of them aren’t worth the trip unless you have designer items that are in new condition.

The biggest thing to remember is that you don’t have to keep everything—not even if it fits someone or could possibly fit someone in the future! More clothes equals more laundry because you can put off laundry longer. Remember: It’s OK to throw away.

Erin Hayes Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who is up to her eyeballs in adorable girls’ clothes that currently fit none of her children. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.

Sunday Funday Giveaway: Frog Rattle by Dandelion

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Did you know that in addition to the awesome variety of cloth diapers and baby carriers at Mom’s Milk Boutique, there are also some way cool, eco-friendly, ORGANIC baby toys? For example this adorable smiling Frog Rattle from Dandelion is made with organic cotton fibers and filled with soft corn fibers. He is the perfect size for little hands to hold and manipulate. He’s super soft and cuddly, plus has a rattle inside for baby to enjoy shaking. I love the light pastel coloring of Dandelion toys, and this little froggy is no exception! His big floppy feet and slight texture will keep baby engaged for a while. His little loop on top allows you to easily attach the Frog Rattle to a car seat or stroller. As with all Dandelion toys, the Frog Rattle comes minimally packaged in recycled cardboard printed with vegetable ink. How’s that for eco-friendly!?!

Looking for a fun Holiday gift for a baby in your life? Be sure to check out this Frog Rattle by Dandelion along with all the other awesome, eco-friendly toys at Mom’s Milk Boutique!

And while you’re at it, why not enter this week’s giveaway below for your chance to win a FREE Frog Rattle by Danelion? Winner will be notified via email on Sunday, November 25. Winer is asked to reply to that email within 48 hours in order to claim their prize.

Good luck everyone!!