Baby Tools/Methods: Hits & Misses

So for first time parents, there is often LOTS of guesswork. Here’s some of our hits and misses to hopefully make life a little easier for other first-time parents 🙂

1) Tools

Video baby monitor + WiFi

So I have a bit of a paranoid streak in my technology use, so I’ve never used the WiFi features (The unit was a gift).

The Video is a BIG win. The ability to quickly tell if that yell was only a dream, or if they are sitting/standing up without the risk of being seen/heard checking in (PLUS NIGHT VISION!) is purely awesome.

Baby Carriage & Car-seat

Winter Clothing

“Petit Coulou” Carseat-cover
BIG WIN; forget dressing the kid in a suit, into the carseat and just cover the whole thing! No need to risk waking them up by forcing little limbs in or out of sleeves/legs

Thumb-less gloves with forearm and wrist elastics+toggles
WIN: Thumbs on childrens’ gloves are totally over-rated, even at 18mo…

Winter boots (with side-zippers)
WIN: much quicker than laces, and hold on pretty decently


WIN @ 1yo. Spill-RESISTANT cups: if they drop it, you get a splatter instead of an empty cup and a puddle. With the right expectations, they’re pretty sweet.

2) Methods

Baby Sign-language

We only used a sub-set of signs, but definitely a WIN.

Past month ~3 of using this (with the BLW) it take SO MUCH guesswork out of what your kid wants. They won’t be able to talk for another 6mo-1year, but them being able to communicate basic things like ‘more’, ‘finished’ and ‘drink’ make mealtimes so much easier!

There is a plethora of sites that explain the different signs; I’d recommend looking at a few and try regularly integrating 2-3 signs (in-context, of course) at a time, until the kid understands and starts repeating them. With each sign they get, you can add a new one to the rotation.

We started with ‘more’ and ‘finished’. Later brought in ‘bath’ and others, though they were more or less useful in the end. Your kid will understand what you’re saying rather quickly – it’s nice to give them some basic way to give you a better hint of what they’re after 🙂

Baby-Led Weaning (BLW/DME)

tl;dr: This was a WIN! If you are a foodie and/or enjoy cooking, definitely check this out! (@ or just google BLW)

I think the french name for this idea/process more accurately describes what happens: “Diversification MenĂ©e par l’Enfant” or ‘DME’ – Baby-led diversification – since nothing stop the mother from breastfeeding once the kid starts eating solids.

The basic idea is to capitalise when your kid starts putting everything in their mouth (@ ~6mo) to put APPROPRIATE (in nature, and size) foods in their hands so they can explore tastes, textures and control how much and how fast they eat.

  • APPROPRIATE SIZE means (roughly) pieces the size of your thumb (for starters). They wil begin by biting of small bits and chewing that
  • APPROPRIATE NATURE means soft stuff; think bananas, avocado, carrots boiled until soft, etc. You’ll also want to peel most things. Later you can start ripe fruits and tomatoes (cut in wedges), etc.
  • AVOID!: anything that is A) ROUND (grapes are the BIGGEST NO-NO), B) that can’t be easily be squished between your index and middle finger (on the same hand) and/or C) contains added sugar and/or salt

It will be messy, food may be thrown around but in 2-3 months, you should be able to give your kid a few pieces on their tray and have some peace for 15-20 mins as they work their way though the selection.

We went to a 4-hr seminar with Jessica Coll, who is a nutritionist-dietician, and learned the ins and outs of BLW. I’d highly recommend attending such a seminar, if you are interested in trying this technique. She also offers an online-course style section of her site with recipes, message boards and videos; we signed up but didn’t actually use it.

I LOVED the example she gave in the class: “Imagine going to a fancy restaurant and ordering a nice steak. Next imagine the waiter bringing it to your table, having run it through the blender with your potatoes and vegetables, and proceeding to shovel the amalgamated slop into your face with a spoon, leaving you hardly any time to breathe, let alone take note of the flavour of what you’re eating”

CAVEAT EMPTOR: this method WILL be completely weird/alien to your parents; be ready to respond to “what do you mean you don’t give baby mush-mush!?”.

3) Baby-proofing

Magnetic Latches

THESE. ARE. AWESOME! Hover a magnet over the right spot and the cupboard opens! Don’t and it stays locked. Kid not interested in the cupboards/etc. yet? Turn them ‘off’ (Yes, they have an ‘off’ switch!)

The installation instructions didn’t make any sense (I’m an P.Engineer) but I was able to figure our how to place/space everything just right on the first try 3 cupboards out of 5 (2nd and 3rd try on the last 2, respectively).

If a toddler gets a hold of the handle and really pulls, the 2-sided adhesive may give, but if only trying to pull from the edge of the door, it should last.

Cabinet Latches

These require 2 opposite cupboard doors to have handles in-range (<~6″ apart) to work. We have knobs on the cupboards, so just slip the gizmo on and off to get into the cupboards! YMMV depending on the type/spacing of your cupboard handles. Probably no good for drawers.

Outlet Covers

Only 1$ for a pack of ~30, these are a must have before baby starts crawling. Apparently HydroQuebec (electrical utility) will send you somefor free if you ask.

Plastic corner-covers

These seemed like a great idea, but work best in the following cases:

  • you plan to install them on perfectly square (cubed) corners
  • you don’t mind it being held in place by 2-sided tape
  • your kids doesn’t take an interest in trying to remove them

The 2-sided tape is no match for a determined child (or mine, in any case). I put one on the corner of the fireplace mantle – it didn’t last long. Added some clear boxing tape on top and it’s still attached many months later.

Foam glass-edge covers

This is larger (~1″ deep) than we expected form the photos, but also a better cushion. Installation takes some imagination as the 2-sided tape provided comes in a roll (not pre-attached to the inside of the foam). If you’re aesthetically demanding, try something else, as they arrived rolled, so had a ‘wrinkly’ look to them, and the sides of the roll of tape also leave funny marks on any parts of the foam it touches.

Would not buy again (and didn’t install it on the second coffee table either).


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