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Tips & Guides
More than anywhere else, baby cribs are perhaps where babies spend most of their time in. It is therefore absolutely important that you choose a safe and comfortable baby crib.
There are so many different types of baby cribs, and so many different brands and models to choose from. How do you choose the right crib for your baby? What should you look for in a baby crib? Read along to find out what type best suits your needs.
What is a baby crib?
Also commonly called a cot, a baby crib is an infant bed designed for infants and very young children. Do not mistaken it with the bassinet though - its cage-like design intends to restrict a child to the bed for safety reasons.
A baby crib will generally last until children reach two or three years of age when they are capable of climbing out the crib themselves (and hence should be moved to a toddler bed to prevent injurious falls).
Though, with technology nowadays, a baby crib may just last you longer if it can be converted accordingly to accommodate your child’s growth.
The different types of baby crib
This is the most common type of baby cribs. It is essentially what first came into your mind when you think of baby crib – a boxed-like cage with four fixed sides and slats. There is version in twin cribs, too.
A standard baby crib is fixed and cannot be adjusted. The design is simple but sturdy so it may be difficult to move this around.
A standard baby crib is usually the cheapest of all and is a great option for those in a tight budget.
A convertible baby crib, as its name suggests, is a crib that can be converted into different types of beds.
Essentially, it accords to your baby’s growth and therefore can be used for a very long time, even when baby has became a teenager!
The usual types a convertible can be converted into are day bed and toddler bed, though some can even be transformed into a full-sized single or double bed.
Really, this is the one bed to rule them all!
Because of this, the convertible baby crib has hands down become the favourite choice of most parents, due to its versatility and cost-effective element.
It is, however, generally more expensive than others but considering it is built to last for a very long time, many are willing to shell out the extra dollars for its versatility.
As you would know, this type of baby crib is designed with portability in mind. The easiest way to distinguish one is to see if the crib comes with wheels.
The wheels enable you to move the crib from room to room so that you can always keep an eye on your baby. Do not worry, the wheels are usually lockable so you can secure it on any spot you want.
One tip for you though: make sure you choose a size that can fit through your doorway!
This type of cribs usually has extra furniture attached to them, thus rendering them multi-purposeful.
The most common type of extra furniture incorporated into this design is baby changing table, dresser or shelf storage. Even though they may be more expensive than a single baby crib, the price is justified by eliminating the need to buy extra furniture.
If you have limited space in your room or nursery, a multipurpose baby crib will be your best choice as you do not need extra space for a separate changing table or dresser/shelf storage.
Last but not least, we have the travel crib.
Similar to portable ones in that they are meant to be brought around, travel cribs are even more compact and can usually be folded and stowed away when not in use.
What to look for in a baby crib?
The two biggest factors to look out for are Safety and Comfort.
The most common material found in a baby crib is wood.
However, cheaper cribs may be wood veneer, which is much more prone to chipping when baby is teething. Buy solid wooden cribs if you can as you definitely do not want pieces of veneer in your baby’s mouth.
Other common materials found are plastic, metal and fabric.
Slats and frame size
Slats should not be more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent baby’s head from slipping through or getting stuck.
Meanwhile, the crib interior should fit a standard-sized mattress (usually 51 ¾ inches long and 27 ¾ inches wide) snugly.
To determine snugness, if you can fit more than two fingers between the side of the mattress and the crib, the mattress is too small. This can be dangerous as baby may get trapped in that space.
You may also consider getting a crib liner to protect your baby from banging his/her head on the slats.
Adjustable mattress height
Most cribs allow you to raise or lower the height for mattress support. It is best that you choose one with such function so that you can change the height accordingly for your own comfort, and to make sure baby does not climb or fall from the crib easily.
Most baby cribs adhere to the latest safety standards but you should still give the crib a good shake, whether in store or at home after assembly, to see if it wobbles or rattles.
If it does, do not fret first and check if you have loose screws. If the problem still persists, you should make a refund and look for other cribs.
Last but not least, don’t forget about your budget. Before you even start shopping, you should decide how much you want to spend on a baby crib.
This will save you time as you do not have to even look at cribs that are above your budget. In other words, it can make selection easier for you.
Remember, most expensive does not necessarily mean the best. Instead, choose the best option that works within your budget.
Safety tips for your baby crib
Do not underestimate the place you choose to put your baby crib. Make sure that it is placed far away from windows, window blinds and draperies.
Babies may strangle themselves from cords and draperies, and older babies may be able to climb out and fall out of windows. Do not put it near furniture which can be used to help baby climb out of the crib.
And always remember to put it far away from heaters and radiators for health reasons.
Cords and decorative items
As mentioned above, babies can strangle themselves with cords so always make sure that there are no cords of any type near the baby crib.
There have been several cases where babies are strangled by baby monitor cords in the U.S so make sure you keep the cord well away from the crib, or switch to a wireless baby monitor.
Once baby is able to stand up, remove any mobile hanging from the crib to avoid choking hazards.
One simple rule: Don’t use these.
These are cribs with movable railings on the side which enable parents to move down the side to carry baby out.
Once hugely popular due to such convenience, this type of crib has been banned since 2011 as it no longer conforms to safety standards.
According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least 32 infants had died between 2000 and 2010 as a result of being entrapped, strangled or suffocated in the space between the drop side and the crib mattress.
So if you are looking at second-hand cribs, stay away from these.
Watch this video to know more about safety measures around your baby crib!
Best baby crib
Now that you have learnt the basic 101 of baby cribs, you should feel more comfortable selecting the right baby crib for your little one.
If you are on the lookout for the best convertible baby crib, we have got some really good ones here on our list of Top 5 Best Baby Crib.
Do you ever feel confused by the variety of bottles (and brands) available in the market? Anti-colic, anti-reflux, anti-choking ... what are they and what's their difference?
Here, we will break down some of the most asked questions. Most importantly, we will list out what are the vital criteria to look for when choosing the best baby bottle for your little one.
Features to Look At
There are many different aspects to consider when you're buying your baby's bottle. Some babies take to a particular type of nipple or bottle while others outrightly refuse a different brand.
Before you even choose a bottle, there are 4 important criteria that you should look at. Get them right and it may just make your job of finding the right one for your baby so much easier.
While different brands can have different design for their bottles, they generally do not divert too much from the following 5 types:
Standard bottles: These are your traditional baby bottles. They work well for most babies and come in a variety of materials (see next criterion).
Angled-neck bottles: These have a bent neck which is meant to prevent air from filling the nipple. They are more suitable for gassy babies and make feeding easier but the angled part may be difficult to clean.
Disposable liners bottles: Similar to angled-necks in that it is aimed to reduce gassiness but this is done via a plastic insert (that holds an individual pouch of milk) which will collapse when baby drinks. Convenient and hygienic in that you use and toss each bag but not exactly eco-friendly.
Wide-neck bottles: These are short and squat and have a wide opening, which naturally means a wider nipple too and they are to echo the breastfeeding experience. Ideal for babies transitioning from the breast to bottle and is also easy to clean due to the wide opening.
Vented bottles: Another type that is meant to help prevent gas, these ones include a built-in tube to prevent air pockets from forming in the bottle or nipple. Effective but the vents and other extra parts can be harder to clean.
Plastic may be the most common material found in baby bottles, but there are actually other materials such as glass, silicone and stainless steel which are gaining increasing traction in recent years.
The third criterion to look at will be the nipples. Choosing the correct nipple is actually more important than you think - it prevents numerous conditions and risks such as:
- Delayed speech
- Nipple confusion
Most bottles offer a variety of nipple sizes, which are actually defined by their flow (i.e. how fast or slow the milk comes out) and this is controlled by the size of the hole in the nipple.
Stage 1: Also known as slow-flow, this is meant for newborns (including preemies) up to 3 months as drinking too fast may result in choking or overeating.
Stage 2: As babies grow older, they can suck more effectively and are able to handle quicker and larger flow of milk. This is when you can switch them to Stage 2 (medium-flow), when they are around 3-6/ 6-12 months.
Stage 3: Most babies actually stay at Stage 2 indefinitely and move straight to sippy cups but if you notice your baby seems to be pulling hard on Stage 2 nipples, then it is advisable that you move to Stage 3 - the fast flow nipples.
These stages/sizes are usually marked on the rim, along with baby’s recommended size and age range for each stage. Don't worry too much about them though, use these markings as guidelines only adjust accordingly to your baby's growth and situation.
You should also know that nipples generally come in either latex or silicone varieties. The former are softer and more flexible but they don't last as long (some babies may be allergic to them) while silicone ones are firmer and are able to hold their shape better (and longer).
D. Bottle Size
Last but not least, you should look at bottle size. With this, just remember one formula: small --> big.
The reasoning behind this is very simple - newborns do not need as much milk as older babies. Most newborns drink up to 4 ounces in a single feeding, so smaller bottles are a great fit (also easier to hold).
As babies grow, you will need bigger (8 ounces or larger) bottles as they drink more now, but at less frequent feedings.
You can certainly buy smaller capacity bottles first, then purchase the bigger ones later.
Or, if you want to be more economical, you can select bottles with larger fluid capacity, then adjust the flow by changing the nipple size accordingly (see above). This way, you don't need to change the entire bottle - certainly a wiser option financially.
What Price Range Are We Looking At
For once, price isn't the deciding factor when it comes to baby bottles.
You see, unlike other baby products, the price of baby bottles does not vary much among different brands. For example, see this starter set and this of a similar nature - the difference is less than a dollar only.
In general, we are looking at:
Traditional glass / plastic bottles
$4 - $10 per piece
$13 - $17 per piece
$13 - $20 per piece
Starter sets / gift sets
$30 - $90
So, pricing isn't something you need to consider when it comes to choosing the best baby bottle for your baby. Rather, it is the above mentioned criteria that should be given attention to when you're making your decision.
Why Choosing The Right Bottle is So Important
A straightforward answer to that is just so your little one will take the bottle, and be able to feed comfortably without any side effects.
Sounds pretty easy, isn't it? Until you've tried it yourself.
Let's take breastfeeding babies for example. Select the wrong nipple or bottle, your baby might reject the bottle altogether. Of course, there are those who will take any bottle with a smile and if this is your little one, lucky you!
The flip side of the coin, and what's worse, is that the wrong bottle or nipple may cause nipple confusion, resulting to baby rejecting both the bottle and breast, and that, is every mother's nightmare.
"Which is why when it comes to breastfed babies, you have to be extra careful when selecting your bottles. "
So much so, there are specific bottles dedicated to breastfed babies that are designed to closely mimic the feel of nursing to make it easier to transition a breastfed baby to a bottle,.
Another reason as to why it is so important that you choose the right baby bottle for your little one is to avoid gas, colic or spit-ups and that, applies to all babies regardless they are breastfed or not.
There are certainly babies who do not suffer from any of these side effects but then again, there are those whose colicky or gassy issues can only be resolved by using certain bottles.
It can be overwhelming, we admit, especially if you are a first-time mother, what's with being presented with so many choices when it comes to baby bottle selection.
Our advice? Narrow your choices down to three or four different bottles to try out before you commit to a bunch of the same type of bottle, and see what works from there.
Different babies prefer different shapes, sizes and textures, and it can be hard to know which one will work for you until you actually use it. So start with perhaps 2 different brands of newborn starter sets, check reviews online or ask friends for recommendations.
Just know this: there is no one universal 'best baby bottle' that fits every baby. In other words, there is no straight/fool-proof formula for success when it comes to babies and bottles. It will be a trial and error process.