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A Big Thanks to Popeye - The "Spinach" Sailor Man!

                           Image Courtesy: www.comicvine.com

Since the last few months, my teenager has been refusing to have spinach. The excuses are different each time. As a result, I need to find out innovative ways to make him have those nutritious leaves. And it is then that I really really miss Popeye!

This cartoon, who is a sailor lands himself in several types of challenging situations. It is just when he is not able to find his way, that he opens his can of spinach and pops it up. The spinach gives hime the strength and wisdom to get himself out of any blues. Thanks to Popeye that spinach was and is popular amongst his kid fan club. When my boy was small, Popeye used to be one of his favorite shows and as Popeye always has spinach, this kiddo loved it too! So things were very easy for me, just point to Popeye and the spinach would be gulped in minutes.
Now he is growing up and cannot be convinced in these ways! Nutrition is the only way that I can explain him. The whole point behind this incident is also that animations and cartoons are not just a pass time. They influence the kids a lot and are also capable of teaching them a lot of things. Popeye is one of the examples where a positive aspect influences the kids at a tender age.

How I wish that every animation would give such fruitful message and make life easier for Moms.
Miss you Popeye !

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Feeding Accessories for 0-1 Year Olds

As a Mom, feeding forms a major part of your schedule from the day your baby comes into this world. As the growth of the baby progresses, especially in the first year, the feeding styles change and so does the food. In the initial months it is only breast feeding. Gradually, as you start with external foods, the routine, the intervals and the style changes.

Irrespective of any stage, feeding accessories is something that will always be on your list. There are some that are essential while some are add-on. Let us take a look at the major accessories that you will need:

Accessories for breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has always been the age old and best way to care for your little one's nutrition. Infants need to be breastfed at frequent intervals. There is a wide range of accessories related to breast feeds that makes the process convenient for the Mom and the baby irrespective of the schedule, place and time.
Nursing Bras and Dresses: These are designed especially for nursing your baby with convenience. They have wide opening in the front to allow ease of breastfeeding. The dresses are trendy and are available in patterns to suit any occasion. So now you do not need to excuse yourself for breastfeeding your little one.
Nursing Covers: These are special designed cloth covers that give you the privacy to breast feed when you are in public. The cuts and designs are casual and you can maintain eye and physical contact with your little one rather than hiding the baby.
Breast Pads: If you need to be out for a long time that will result in keeping you away from the intended breast feed, you can gear yourself with breast pads. These are absorbent cotton pads that prevent the leakage of milk on to your clothes.
Breast Feeding Pumps and Storage Bags and Bottles: If you are a working Mom or if you are going to be away from your baby for a long interval, you can make use of this accessories to ensure that your baby gets the next feed of mother's milk. There is a variety of breast pumps and storage accessories like bags and bottles.
You need to research the appropriate ones that suit your needs.
Nipple shields: They protect the nipples from cracking or getting hurt. You also get ointments in case you have any cuts or cracks.

Accessories for bottle feeds
 If you have started bottle feeding your baby, you have a whole new world of infant accessories:
Baby bottles and nipples: There is a huge variety of baby bottles in the market in terms of size, shapes, brands, and materials. you can talk to your doctor or close friends and research on the internet for suitable types.
Cleaning and warming accessories: There are sterilizers, bottle trays for dishwashers and bottle brushes of various types. If you have microwave friendly bottles, then there are warmers available for them.
Bibs and burp cloths: These are minor accessories, but important in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene when you bottle feed your baby.

Accessories for solid feeds
Once your little one is able to have foods other than milk, it is time for some more baby special accessories:
Bowls, dishes and spoons: All these utilities designed with special plastics or baby friendly materials and with pretty designs that do not harm your baby are available in a really wide variety. You can go in for the best brands and have safe and healthy feeds for your baby.
Sippy cups and glasses: They come in different volumes and shapes too! Here again you have a wide choice. You can have special cups that can be carried when you travel as well.
Highchair: This is an optional but a convenient accessory. These are designed in an infant friendly way and some can be adjusted in height as the baby grows up. The positive aspect is that you can feed the baby conveniently and without running around, but you need to be around to prevent any mishap.

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How to Take Care of Baby Nails

A baby's nails grow very quickly and babies tend to scratch themselves as they move their hands and feet. Their toe and finger nails are very delicate too. Therefore, you need to look into the nail trimming at least once or twice a week depending on the nail growth. You also need to be very careful when you cut the nails.

The best time to cut the nails is when the baby is fast asleep, preferably during the day so that you can be extra careful. The sleep after the bath is also a good time, as the nails become soft after a bath. Depending on the sleep pattern, you can decide which time would be ideal.

Place the baby on a wide surface and sit beside her. Gently hold the hand and cut the nail using an infant scissor or an infant nail clipper. Do not use scissors or clippers that are sharp or meant for adults. If the baby tends to wake up or moves, stop for a while and then resume. When cutting the nails, make the nail stick out by applying slight pressure and cut it in one single motion. Cutting the nails in an irregular manner can leave sharp jagged edges and the baby may hurt herself. Repeat the same process for the toe nails. Observe the growth of the nails and trim them as needed.

Do not cut the nails too deep as it may hurt the tender skin. If there is any dirt, gently remove it with your fingers.

There are various accessories intended for baby nail care. You can also buy a baby manicure set. The important nail care items for babies are:
Infant nail scissors:These are especially designed for baby nail cut. They have large handles that are comfortable to hold without the risk of losing the grip. The blade has rounded edges that eliminate the risk of pricking or causing cuts. Scissors are much convenient to handle than nail clippers.
Infant nail clippers: These are available in various sizes and pretty shapes, but the clip size is small and designed for the tiny nails. They also do not have sharp edges and are safe. Nail clippers are more useful if there are any jagged edges that need a trim.
Infant nail files: These are small files that are exceptionally tender on the soft nails. Files may be used to file off the fresh cut nail surfaces or any sharp edges.
You can manage your baby's nail care with just a pair of baby scissors, but you can have the other two items ready if you feel any sharp edges still persist.

Important:
Be extremely careful when cutting your baby's nails. Do not haste and cut it in an incorrect way as this can harm the tender skin.

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How to Buy a Pacifier for your Baby

If you have decided to buy a pacifier for your little one, here are some important tips that you need to remember:

  • Research for the correct pacifier size that your baby is going to need with respect to age. Pacifiers usually occur in the range of 0-6 months and 6+ months. If the pacifier is large, it becomes uncomfortable for the baby while a smaller size may result in choking hazards.
  • Study the various pacifier brands available in the market and try out 2 to 3 different brands so as to know which one suits the best. Opt for different designs and select the one that is safe and convenient for the baby.
  • Once you narrow down your search to specific brands, observe the design of the pacifier and shape and size of the nipples. You can opt for a BPA free nipple that is extremely safe for the baby. BPA Bisphenol-A is a synthetic compound that is found in plastics and is supposed to be risk posing. In other cases, prefer the silicone nipples. Avoid plastics and also check out for latex allergies. The pacifier shield should be broad but it must also provide sufficient breathing space to your baby.

 Warnings:

  • Strictly avoid pacifiers that may pose any type of choking hazard.
  • Examine the pacifier and nipple intermittently. If there is any discoloration or wear out, discard the pacifier immediately. In any case replace pacifiers frequently.
  • Keep the pacifier regularly to avoid infections.
  • Pacifiers are many a times not recommended as they may interfere with breast feeding.
  • Avoid using bottle nipples as pacifiers as it results in choking hazards.

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Top Tips on Baby Bottles

When you think of buying a feeding bottle for you baby, you may get confused with the numerous options that you find in the market. There are various types of bottles, several types of nipples, bibs, and a range of bottle accessories. However, a feeding bottle is definitely a product that you need for your baby. It may be required at the stage when you start bottle feeding or you may need it to store breast milk.

There are basically three types of feeding bottles and every type has its own benefits and drawbacks:

  • Plastic bottles are easy to carry, unbreakable and safe to handle than glass ones. However, the quality of the plastic needs to be good. It is also advisable that the plastic should be BPA free. The plastic bottle shave a low life as compared to the glass bottles.
  • Glass bottles can be cleaned thoroughly by boiling. They also last longer, but have a risk to being cracked or broken if not handled properly.
  • You also get disposable bottles that have a sterilized liner that can be disposed after each feeding. If the quality of the liner is good and safe to use, these bottles are very convenient. However they are expensive than the other two types.

There are wide varieties in nipples too when it comes to material, shape and size. Nipples are usually made of plastic, silicone or latex. If you are opting for latex, you need to ensure that the baby does not react with any allergy. For plastic nipples you again need to ensure that the plastic is safe and preferably BPA free. The best choice to opt for is silicone nipples. The shapes vary from rounded to flat or mimicked to the shape of mother's nipples. Nipples also come in various sizes. Accordingly the holes in the nipple may be small or large, thus affecting the milk flow. You need to test the milk flow before using it.

There are some important tips that you need to follow regarding nipples:
  • Your baby may or may not adapt to a particular nipple type. If she is a picky one, the you will be required to try variety of nipples till the baby gets used to a particular one.
  • Nipples may gradually get cracked by wear and tear, hence need to be replaced periodically.
  • Always use a bottle or nipple cap for safety and hygiene.
  • Research for good nipple brands to ensure good quality.
Accessories related to feeding bottles
Though there is a wide range of accessories that relates to feeding bottles, you need not have all the items. There are certain accessories that are important like bottle brushes, nipple brushes, extra nipples, bibs and burp cloths.

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How to Buy a Baby Stroller


Baby strollers are very convenient for various tasks like talking your baby out for walks, to the markets, and also transporting them in and out of the house. When you actually decide to buy a baby stroller, there are various questions that arise in your mind. There are many small but important things that need to be considered.
So if you have decided to buy a baby stroller, here are few tips to help you with your purchase:

  • Decide the type of stroller that you wish to buy. The basic types are the travel systems, the traditional ones and the jogger strollers. Research the details of the applicability and based on your requirements, select the type of stroller that you wish to select.
  • Go in for a decent brand. Even if it is a bit costly, the quality matters. If the cost is exceeding your budget, you can opt for other good brands or types of strollers. Ensure that the brand meets the standards and specifications as per the certifications recommended in your country.
  • Once in the shop, verify the handle grip and the fabric of the stroller. The handle and framework need to be sturdy since these are the main operative parts. The fabric should be durable and sturdy to wear and tear. The handle grip should be comfortable but firm. The handle length should be adjustable as per the height of the person who will operate it. The fabric should be baby friendly and convenient to clean. 
  • The stroller should be easy to assemble and fold. You need to understand both the mechanisms. Check out for the space that it occupies after folding. It should get accommodated in the house or car.
  • Look out if any accessories are available with the stroller. It may have a cover, space for bottles and toys. Verify if they are usable and proper.
  • Get a test ride, if possible along with the baby. This way you will be ale to judge the way to handle the stroller and also know the correct way to place the baby in and out of the stroller.

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Tips to Decide on Buying Baby Strollers

A baby stroller is a baby carrier with wheels. This enables the parents to take the baby out for a walk, for running errands and anywhere outside the house. The parent can just lead the stroller with the push of the hand while the baby sits or lies comfortably inside watching the surroundings. There are several types of strollers like jogging strollers, all-terrain strollers, traditional strollers,  combo strollers, umbrell strollers and carriages. Similarly there are several brands and a wide price range. You can select the appropriate type of stroller based on you needs and budget.
When you think of buying a baby stroller, following are the points that you need to consider:

Your requirement
Since there is a huge variety and corresponding price range for the strollers available in the market, you need to narrow down your search based on three factors. The type of stroller, your budget and the age of your baby. This is because strollers are not always economical, you may not essentially need them and your baby might be old or small for the particular stroller that you may be tempted to buy.
Following is a brief description of the types of strollers and their characteristics:
Travel System Strollers: These strollers allow you to convert your car seat into a stroller. They are suitable for infants and slightly older babies. The travel systems are sturdy but bulky. You can also opt for seat strollers that are of similar type and less bulky.
Traditional Strollers: These are the usual strollers and come in various styles. There are light weight and heavy options in this type. Light weight strollers are meant for short distances and need to be changed as the baby exceeds the weight limits. Full-size sturdy strollers are convenient and can be used for any terrain, long distances and for a longer duration even as the baby grows.
Jogger Strollers: The jogger strollers can be carried for jogs or walks. They are comparatively expensive and can be preferred for babies 6+ months in age. Their use is restricted.

Your Surroundings, routine and lifestyle
There are various factors that will help you decide if you really need a stroller and if you do, then what type should you go in for. If you have extreme climatic conditions in summer, winter and monsoons, then you need to give a thought about the period when you are actually going to  need the stroller and your baby's age during those months. Also, in extreme climates if you are not going out frequently, then you will not need the stroller often.
If you are required to travel often then you will need a travel system. If you are living in a really crowded area with heavy traffic around, then using the stroller will not be possible. The space in your house and in your car also help you decide the type of stroller. Every stroller has a different folding mechanism. Consider all the factors when you plan to buy a stroller.

Brands and Budget
There are numerous stroller brands available in the market. You need to research and determine the brand, the types of strollers that they offer and the price. Similar to other baby products, do not venture for local or unknown brands. Study the specifications of the strollers for different brands.

Comfort level of the baby and the user
The task to buy a stroller is accomplished when the baby is happy in it. You can test ride a new stroller or share one with a friend to see if your baby is happy being in it. You also need to be comfortable using the stroller, handling the baby in and out of it and folding and opening it. You can take a trial of these tasks.

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Moses Baskets for Babies

Trend Lab Moses Basket Set -Wrap Style Bumper and Mattress Cover Sheet
A Moses basket is a small and pretty basket in which you can put your baby to sleep or can carry her around and place her at a reachable distance from you. This basket is intended for newborns and small infants. You need to stop using the basket as soon as the baby outgrows it. The Moses basket is available in pretty designs in different brands and qualities. It consists of a small mattress, lining and is padded entirely for comfort. Some baskets come along with a baby blanket and the basket hood.
Following are the precautions that parents need to take if they are using a Moses basket:
  • The basket needs to be at a reachable distance. Do not keep it away from you. The baby should not be left alone in the basket when you are away.
  • When you carry the baby in the Moses basket, hold the handle with one hand and ensure that you place the other hand at the base of the basket. This avoids the risk of any hazard.
  • The Moses basket should always be kept in a safe place on the floor. Avoid keeping it at a height or on the bed, table or on any furniture. Do not place the basket near doors, staircases, heavy furniture items or outside the house.
  • Keep the basket out of reach from other small kids and pets. Do not let children handle the basket when the baby is placed in it. You get baskets that are placed in a stand above the ground level. This may prove useful if you have pets.
  • Ensure that you use the basket with lining and padding. You can also use a baby blanket at the base ensuring that it is spread properly and is not uncomfortable for the baby.
  • Swaddle and tuck the baby properly inside the basket. Make sure that the baby is placed at the center of the basket.
  • If the baby outgrows the size of the Moses basket, stop using it. Also avoid using the basket if the baby is old enough to twist an turn or sit up by herself.

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Top 3 Baby Keepsake Products

Parenting keeps you busy day in and day out. You are little aware that time is going to fly off and your little one is going to get out of the crib and get ready to walk out into this big world. You will be left with sweet memories of raising your sweet pie. 

So, now itself its the time to collect and preserve all those moments and things related to them. It may be the first smile of your baby, the little heart shaped locket that you first got for your little girl or the silver spoon that you used to feed your angel. Actually every moment and every silly thing associated with that moment is a life time memory for the parents. But still there are some special moments that you can treasure and revisit several times, even when your kid grows up and gets busy in his or her own world.

The market is flooded with keepsake items and you have a wide choice today. However, I would recommend 3 basic types of keepsakes that you can opt for. They help you preserve a whole lot of memories.

Scrapbooks: These are pretty colored and decorated scrapbooks. You can add photographs and enter specific dates and events. You can also embed hand and foot prints of your little one in this book. You can create customized scrapbooks at home too or you can order specific designs from online baby stores.
Similar to scrapbooks, you have baby calendars that help you to note down events. You may opt for baby frames that occur in combination with baby hand and foot prints.

Keepsake Boxes and Tins: These are cute little tins and pretty boxes which can be used to preserve baby items. Keepsakes like baby jewelry items, feeding spoons and bowls, anklets can be stored in the boxes. You can also get chests large enough to enough to hold the first pair of shoes, birth announcements and first toy as well.

Silver Keepsakes: This involves a range of products. You may opt for pure silver or silver plated products. The first baby cup, bowl or spoons that you had specially bought for your little one. A silver frame that embeds special memory pics. It may be the silver or gold baby jewelry that you have been using from 0 to 2 yrs old.

Well, love and emotions have no limits. Every little moment and every little object has its own significance when it comes to preserving it as a memory. So keepsakes are a must, aren't they?


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Diapers and Related Diaper Accessories


Once your baby comes into this world and you get her home, diaper becomes an inevitable item on your regular shopping list! The more the quantity, the better. You cannot predict the number of times that you will need to change the diapers of your little bundle. Diapers may be the cloth ones, handmade ones or the branded disposable diapers, but you cannot do without this item.

Okay, but it is not just the diaper, there are a whole lot of items that come along with it. These are the items that you may use occasionally or regularly. So the list goes on, there is no escape. What are these items? Do you really need them, and if yes, how do you go about it?

Here you go! Let us begin with the source item, the diapers:


Diapers: These are basically of 2 types, if you go in for the ready-made ones available in the market. You have the cloth diapers and the disposable ones. Cloth diapers also occur in wide range of varieties. They are leak proof, customizable and soft enough to make the baby comfortable. Disposable diapers of brands like Huggies and Pampers are famous. They occur as simple diapers, diaper pants and as nappies. There are many other well known brands as well.
When selecting a diaper, you need to find out the correct size for your little one. You need to test whether the baby is comfortable in the diaper and has no tendency of any allergy or rashes. Gradually you also need to follow up with the change in size. For the cloth diapers, you need to verify the texture of the cloth and the nature of the anti-leak mechanism.

Baby Wipes: You can clean your baby at home the usual way. However, when you are out or you are travelling, it is advisable to carry wipes. Baby wipes are wipes that are extra soft for the baby skin. Most of the baby wipes have the specifications described on them. They are alcohol free, fragrance free and so on. Wipes may be dry or moist. You may select as per your choice and convenience.
There are a variety of wipe holders and wipes dispensers available in the market. These items are very convenient when you take your baby for outings.

Diaper Pails: Diaper pails depend on the type of diapers that are used. For cloth diapers, you need to rinse them if they are stored till laundry time. These pails are dry and have liners that can be washed along with diapers. For disposable diapers, the pails come in varieties. They are deodorized and have filter mechanisms to prevent unpleasant odour. They contain liners that can be disposed with the diapers.

Diaper Refills: These are containers or holders where you can stack in diapers and then use them throughout the day or night. Some refills come in a combo along with diaper pails. You need to ensure the excellent quality of the refill since the diapers are supposed to be stored in it for a long time.
Alternatively you can go in for stacks or organizers. Stacks come in varieties as multi purpose stacks, where you can store the baby's clothes and other items as well. However, if you are a travel person, then you need handy portable refills.

Changing Pads: These are soft pads that come in various dimensions are are made of variety of material. They are used for changing diapers and can be used at home and outside as well. Changing pads are leak proof and deodorized. Some are washable while some are disposable. You can also have covers for changing pads that are not disposable. The cover helps the pads to last longer.
Another option for changing pads is Changing Kits. These are amazing fold-able kits that you can carry in your purse as well. Just open them to turn them into a changing pad. You can use them conveniently anywhere on the go. They occur in various sizes and shapes.

Diaper Bags: These are not exclusively meant for diapers. They are also called Mommy's bags and are customized to carry all the baby necessities. The Mommy bags market has revolutionized and now you get a whole new range of bags that include Daddy's bags and stylish Mommy bags too!

Diaper Creams and Powders: After cleaning, Moms usually apply baby creams or powders to keep the skin moisture free and clean. There are anti-rash creams specially available for babies who have a sensitive skin.

So this is the list of all the possible diaper related items that I can recollect.

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Tips to Select a Baby Carrier


Parents today are busy and hence are required to multi-task. As a result, baby carriers become an evitable object most of the times. Baby carriers enable the parents to carry the baby along with them and yet have their hands free to carry out their tasks. Baby carriers occur in wide varieties and different brands in the market. Selecting the right one can be quite confusing. Considering the basic styles like backpacks, slings and frontpacks, you can map them to your routine, the age and personality of your baby and then arrive at a decision to buy the correct baby carrier.

Evaluate your requirements

The first thing that you need to take a look at is your routine and the person who is going to use the baby carriers. You need to answer questions like - Are you required to walk for considerable distances with your baby? If the Mom is going to carry the baby, will she be able to balance and bear the weight? Are you travelling with the baby? Which baby carrier do you think will suit your baby, the frontpack or backpack?
Men and women have a different choice in this case too. Hence you need to come to a common choice.

Study the carrier types and their specifications. The baby carrier needs to offer the comfort to you and the baby as well.  It needs to be sturdy and flexible with respect to the baby's weight changes. For the specification details, check the maximum weight that the carrier can acomodate and the sitting position for the baby.

Have a trial of the carrier. Verify the strength of the straps. Map the current size of the baby and the carrier. Ensure that the baby is not uncomfortable and you do not stress your back while carrying it. Be very careful in case of infants. Using large carriers for infants can be risky.

Type of carrier, as discussed above is important. Slings are advisable for infants or premature babies. They remain cuddled to you and it also provides privacy for breatfeeding. Frontpacks are preferable for slightly older infants who can hold up their heads. You can position the baby inward or outward depending onher moods and personality. BackPacks are for the next age group that can sit independently.

Warning
  • Ensure that you are well trained in adjusting and managing the baby carriers before you start using them. Practice them at home and learn the minute details from some experienced person.
  • Verify that the carrier is sturdy and comfortable and has a size proportional to the baby's size. Keep observing for any defects that can come up or any wear outs.
  • Each time you take your kid in the carrier, verify if the carrier is placed and tied appropriately.

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How to Manage the Baby Bath Toys

                                        
                                                    Image Source: Amazon.com

 Your baby loves to have a bath while playing with the bath toys, or you are getting her comfortable with the bath by using bath toys.Alternatively, you may be very enthusiastic in buying toys and may land up with numerous bath toys. Now you have an additional job of managing the bath toys. You need to ensure that they are cleaned and dried thoroughly. Managing bath toys can be tedious. Every time you clean the bath tub and the bath space, you need to collect the toys, dry them thoroughly and make space to store them.

There are some objects that can really ease your task:

Nets and Holders for Bath Toys: You can get get scoop nets exclusively or along with the set of bath toys. It is convenient to just scoop up the dispersed toys in the tub.Your toddler can also help you with this. There are netted holders which can be suspended and which hold the toys easily. The net helps to drain the moisture and the toys can dry up gradually. However, you need to be careful to thoroughly clean and dry up the nets too.

Bath Toys Bags: These are netted bags that come in various sizes. You can collect the toys in this bag and allow the excess water to drip off. It is then easy to dry them and the bag in sunlight.

Bath toys Organizers: You get storage baskets or toy organizers in different shapes and sizes. According to the design of your bath space or nursery, you can place them. Some are large enough with independent spaces for bath accessories and bath toys. They are easy to clean and have slits that drain off water.
Some organizers come in suitable sizes to be fitted on to the bath tubs as well.

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How to Select Bath Toys for your Baby

You may have visited the baby toy shop to find an exciting range of bath toys or you may be planning to shop them online. The next thought that flashes across your mind is whether they are safe for the infant. As the toys are bound to be immersed in water, preferably hot water, they are expected to be of the best material. You are also aware that the baby is quite likely to put the toy in her mouth. You may have similar questions in mind when you plan to gift bath toys.

How do you select the correct bath toy for your little one? Here are few tips:

Rather than going in for offers and quantity, go in for well known brands and quality. Baby toys of established brands like Fisher-Price are a bit costly but they are safe and durable.

Check the age group for which the toys are meant. Some toys that are safe for 6 months and above may not be recommended for younger babies. Infant and baby toys vary for different age groups.

Be careful to read the specifications on the cover. Ensure that the colour and material are safe and free from any type of hazards. Make sure that the toy size is safe for the baby and is free from any kind of choking hazards. Especially the squirking or squeaking toys have small parts that may pose a risk.

Ensure that the toy material does not pose the risk of growing molds. You also need to clean and dry the toys after the bath in any case.

Research different brands and their reliability before you go shopping. Read reviews related to the product. Bath toys is an item that you may frequently shop for. They make the bathing experience a delight and babies may love the varieites.

Ideally do not let the baby chew the bath toys. Let the baby enjoy the toys under your supervision. Prefer teethers for chewing. However, prefer BPA free toys in case the baby does put the toy in her mouth.

Tip to remember: Along with the bath toys, be careful to follow all the safety measures for your baby's bath too!

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