How and Why to Use A Diaper Genie

how and why to use diaper genieIf you don’t currently own a diaper genie, the concept of one could seem a bit puzzling to you. What is this strange device that swallows diapers and outputs long chains of shrink-wrapped bundles like sausage links? It might seem like one of those frivolous baby products, a needless or pointless expense. But it’s not. Your diaper genie will become one of the most important things in the nursery.

At the newborn stage, babies are on, essentially, a liquid diet. Their poops are almost cute. There are much darker days ahead. Between the introduction of solid food and potty training, you will encounter things in diapers that are unspeakable. Unless you want your home to smell like a public outhouse, you’ll want a diaper genie right next to the diaper changer. Aside from taking every single diaper out to the outside garbage cans after every change, there is no substitute. And let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen when you’re changing 8-10 diapers per day.

how diaper genie worksHow a Diaper Genie Works

The Diaper Genie is essentially a self-closing, odor-neutralizing, sophisticated trash can. You open the lid and push the rolled-up diaper down into the plastic. This separates the clamp, allowing the diaper to drop into the plastic bag in the body of the diaper genie. Then the clamp pushes the plastic closed again, essentially sealing the soiled cargo off from the world, which is a very good thing.

The Diaper Genie II (also called the Diaper Genie Elite) functions in a similar manner, except that you don’t have to lift the lid. Instead, you push down on the foot pedal, which simultaneously lifts the lid and opens the clamps. Then you drop the diaper in, lift your foot, and it closes back up again.

Emptying the Diaper Genie

When the Diaper Genie is full, you’ll know it because you won’t be able to shove any more diapers down in it (or you can, but then it won’t close). At this point you have to open it by pushing the button on the front-middle. You use the built-in cutter to cut the plastic a few inches above the top of the diaper roll. Make sure you leave enough for you to tie it off.

replace diaper genie bag

Emptying the diaper genie

Then you lift out the diaper sausage, and (importantly), tie the bottom of the open plastic before closing the genie. If you don’t do this, the diapers fall right through and you probably won’t realize it until the next time you change it. Bingo! Your Diaper Genie is now ready to accept another load of stinkers. The one you removed should be tied at both ends (we usually call this a “diaper sausage”) and should be taken as far away as soon as possible.

Why the Diaper Genie Works

There are essentially two reasons that Diaper Genies are so popular and so essential (in my opinion) for day-to-day baby care. We even take ours along for weekend trips; that’s how important it is.

  1. Odor control. The clamp mechanism is a big part of that, because it seals off the diapers and doesn’t let much air escape (I still recommend holding your breath when you add a diaper to a near-full genie). The plastic refills are a big part of this too; usually they have additives that help neutralize odors.
  2. Dirty diaper stash. It’s good to have a single, central location to put your dirty diapers. That way, you never forget one in an odd place only to find it days or weeks later. Yech. And it also puts the diapers out of sight, too, which everyone in the house appreciates.

Diaper Genie Tips

diaper genie refill

Diaper Genie Refill Pack

Our kids have collectively been through around 15,000 diapers. That’s not a ballpark, that’s a real calculation based on diapers per day and age of potty training. Since we’ve had a couple of Diaper Genies and obviously used them quite a bit, I can pass a few tips along.

  • Wrap diapers first. After removing a diaper, I wrap it around itself into a tight ball and use the velcro straps to hold it. This takes up much less volume, which translates to more diapers in the genie.
  • Beware the loose bag. If you forget to tie the bottom, or the knot comes undone, the diapers will disappear but the odor won’t. If you smell strong odors from your genie, double-check the bag by popping it open.
  • Empty early and often. It’s always tempting to stuff a few more in, but when the genie is full (or reeks) you gotta empty it. Luckily it takes only a minute during which you’ll probably want to hold your breath.
  • Stock up on refills. There really is no way to estimate how much plastic you have left on your refill ring. All you can do is be prepared and make sure you have another one to put in after that.

Choosing A Diaper Genie

It might surprise you to learn that there are a couple different kinds of diaper genies. There’s your classic diaper genie with the lid that you lift. The middle option is an “Elite” pail with foot pedal that comes with a bonus mini pail. Then there’s the Diaper Genie II which has a foot pedal and a higher diaper capacity.

Diaper Genie Essentials Pail

Diaper Genie Essential

Diaper Genie Elite Pail

Diaper Genie Elite Pail

Diaper II Elite Pail

Diaper Genie II Elite Pail

21.7 x 11.8 x 10.5 inches 22.3 x 11.0 x 11.1 inches 27.1 x 11.8 x 10.5 inches
The original Diaper Genie with flip-up lid. This is the one we use on a day-to-day basis; it doesn’t have the big capacity but it works well for odor control. And it’s durable: ours has lasted 4 years. The Elite pail features the foot pedal that lifts the lid for hands-free operation. This one comes with a bonus mini pail that you can take on trips or leave with grandma & grandpa. The Diaper Genie II is the current top of the line. It’s got the foot pedal, the 5-layer odor control with double-lock seal, and perhaps most importantly, it’s about 5″ taller so it has more capacity.
Buy Diaper Genie Essential Buy Diaper Genie Elite Buy Diaper Genie II

Breathe easy and good luck! May your diaper sausages always be well-tied.

Do I Really Need A Video Baby Monitor?

do i need a video baby monitorThe world is filled with baby products, and it seems like they get more advanced (and expensive) every year. Sometimes it’s hard to draw the line between necessity and extravagance. I mean, do we really need a pacifier with a built-in thermometer? And does it work? But video baby monitors are a different sort of debate. They obviously have a real, tangible benefit, but they also cost a lot of money. I’ll break down the basics of video baby monitors compared to audio-only monitors, and then we’ll look at three or four of the best options.

Key Features of Video Monitors

If you’re thinking about a video monitor for your nursery or play room, here are some things you should know about:

  • Video. The obvious feature of a video baby monitor is that it gives you a live image of your sleeping (or more likely, crying) infant. It might be a high-definition video, though that’s really not necessary.
  • Audio. Just like traditional monitors, video monitors give you an audio feed from the nursery so that you can hear when your baby wakes up, fusses, or babbles. The bonus is that most video monitors have two-way audio, so you can talk to your baby through it.
  • Night vision. Most of the time you need it, your monitor will be in the dark. So it needs night vision (infrared). FYI, this will give you a black-and-white image. All of those delightful color images you see on the box were taken in unrealistic daylight.
  • Wireless. Usually the transmitter (in the nursery) plugs into the wall, and your receiving unit is battery-operated / rechargeable. They communicate on a wireless frequency (often 2.4 Ghz). Is it secure? That depends on the monitor (see below).
  • Pan, Tilt, & Zoom. Some monitors are fixed, while others have remote control movement in the form of pan (left or right), tilt (up or down), and zoom.
mom with baby monitor

Yes, she looks like a mom to a newborn. Or not.

The Arguments Against Video Monitors

We should keep in mind that video monitors have only been around for a few years. Here are some of the reasons that we survived so long without them:

  1. Cost. Compared to the cost of audio monitors, these cost three or four times as much, depending on the model.
  2. Hassle. Yet another kind of baby gear that can be difficult to set up, get working, and fiddle with when you really should be, you know, showering or napping.
  3. Privacy. There is the possibility that videos from your nursery could be intercepted — if not during transmission, maybe to a hacker or laptop thief. It seems like an invitation to a privacy violation.

The Arguments for Video Monitors

Two way video monitorWhen you start to think about it, there are lots of good reasons to want a video baby monitor. Some of these include:

  • Safety. You can literally see your baby breathing, monitor the temperature, and watch for any hazardous situations.
  • Soothing. With two-way audio, you can talk to or play lullabies for your baby without going in. On some models, like the Motorola MBP36, you can even play lullabies using the receiver.
  • Watchfulness. If you hear your baby fussing, a glance can tell you if he or she might go back to sleep, or if (due to a dropped pacifier, leg stuck in the crib, etc.) you’re going to have to go in.
  • Remote monitoring. For parents who work or travel out of town, some monitors allow you to monitor your nursery over the internet. Check in when you’re not even at home.

Four Top Video Monitors

If you’ve come this far, you must be serious about getting a video monitor, so let me tell you about the four bestsellers on Amazon.com.

Infant Optics DXR-5 Video Baby Monitor

Infant optics video monitor
Buy this video monitor
This has been one of the bestselling video baby monitors on Amazon for more than a year, probably because it works well and is affordable (under $100). It has the essential features: a handheld unit with color screen, automatic night vision (infrared), and FHSS technology to keep your transmissions secure.

Features: •  2.4 TFT color screen with built-in microphone
•  Voice-activation power saving mode
•  Automatic infrared night vision
•  2.4 GHz static free digital wireless transmission, range 150-800 feet
•  FHSS ensures privacy for your transmissions
Reviews: Infant optics baby monitor reviews

Dropcam HD Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera

Dropcam video monitor
Buy this video monitor
This is a unique take on a baby monitor: an easy-to-set-up, high-definition (720p), wireless camera. It uses your wireless connection to securely upload the video to the cloud, where you can get a live feed on your smart phone or computer, as well as review and save videos. The camera itself is pretty nice, with infrared night vision, a motion sensor, and digital zoom.The main difference of this monitor versus the others in my review is how easily it integrates with the web. That’s both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the bright side, it’s incredibly easy to set up and get a live feed with the smartphone app. On the bummer side, uploading streaming video is a burden on your internet connection, and you might bump up against your monthly quota. And the DVR service seems like something they’d love to upcharge you for. That said, with almost a thousand reviews and 4/5 stars, it must be a pretty good deal. And as a bonus, when your child is older you can use it as a nanny cam, pet cam, or security monitor.

Features: •  Use as a baby monitor, security camera, or pet cam
•  Two-way audio so you can talk to baby
•  High-def (720P), digital zoom and infrared night vision
•  Mobile alerts and free smartphone app
•  Dropcam DVR – Secure offsite recording
Reviews: Dropcam Wireless baby monitor reviews

Motorola MBP36 Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor

Motorola video monitor
Buy this video monitor
This is your top-of-the-line video baby monitor, and it’s from Motorola. I’ve seen one of these in use and it’s simply awesome. A big (3.5″) screen, two-way encrypted communication, remote pan/tilt/zoom and lullaby playing, and night vision make this everything you could want in a video baby monitor. It also monitors the room’s temperature so you can ensure that your baby never gets too hot or too cold.

Features: •  3.5″ color lcd screen and up to 25 fps
•  Night vision with remote pan, tilt, and zoom
•  Two-way communication and 5 built-in lullabies
•  Encrypted 2.4GHz FHSS wireless technology
•  Range up to 600 feet with out-of-range warning
Reviews: Motorola MBP36 baby monitor reviews

Samsung SEW-3037W Wireless Video Monitor

Samsung video monitor
Buy this video monitor
I included this relative newcomer because it’s by Samsung, and their reputation with other video technology is outstanding. Their video baby monitor includes a 3.5″ color screen, the same size as the Motorola, and the camera has remote control (pan/tilt/zoom). Plus, you can remotely trigger the night light to either soothe the baby or have a bit of light on before you enter the room.

Features: •  3.5″ high quality color LCD display
•  Remote night light and camera pan/tilt/zoom
•  Night vision and quiet mode to remove white noise
•  Secure and interference free 2.4Ghz signal
•  Low battery warning, Flip stand with belt clip
Reviews: Samsung Wireless baby monitor reviews

Fussy Newborn: 8 Causes

causes of fussy newborns

Image credit: mcguirk on Flickr

For the first three months of life, babies have very few ways to communicate. Generally, they let you know of their unhappiness by fussing. Most of the time, it’s cute. At 4 a.m. when you have to get up for work in three hours, not so much. Having raised three little ones, and spent many hours puzzling over the reason a newborn is fussy, I’ve come up with this list of usual suspects.

1. Hunger

Newborns eat about every 2-3 hours, day and night, nonstop, for the first few months of life. If your newborn starts fussing, and you haven’t just physically removed a nipple from his or her mouth, it’s probably feeding time again. This one is easy to test for, fortunately — you just offer something to eat and see if the baby takes it. Just try not to get into the habit of feeding your newborn every half hour.

2. Indigestion (i.e. About to Spit Up On You)

Many newborns — and preemies especially – are born with immature digestive systems. In other words, they spit up. A lot. They need to be burped. And when their tummies get upset, they fuss. The best way to handle this kind of situation is to get out in front of it. Burp early, burp often. Keep your little one upright for a bit after feedings.

We had some success with Mylicon, whose active ingredient (simethicone) is a sort of soap that helps bubbles in the tummy merge together so that they can be burped out. We also tried Gripe Water, which did seem to calm our fussy baby sometimes, though it’s inexplicably pricey.

3. Time for a Diaper Change

We might as well follow the digestive tract down to usual suspect #3, a wet or dirty diaper. Modern diapers are pretty amazing in their ability to absorb things and wick away moisture, but even so, they have their limits. You’ll develop a good sense for detecting when it’s time for a diaper change, but once in a while we’ll still miss one. Then we check just to be sure, and have to admit, “Oh, so you did have a dirty diaper.” It happens.

Watch for Diaper Rash

On a related note, if your newborn develops a diaper rash, it can easily cause fussiness. Even if the diaper is clean, the irritated skin causes discomfort, so they’re just not happy. Especially in the car seat or Bumbo or any sitting position that puts pressure on it. There are about a million different topical creams for diaper rash. Hands down, the best one we’ve ever used is Dr. Smith’s. When that runs out, we prefer the “cream” treatments over the gels.

4. Sleep Problems

Humans in general tend to get cranky when they don’t have enough sleep, and this is certainly true of newborns. Probably because they can’t have coffee. You’ll be keenly aware of this fact if your newborn gets off of his or her normal sleep schedule. Babies need 14-18 hours of sleep per day, and when they don’t get enough, they let you know about it.

Newborns tire quickly. It’s easy to keep them up a little bit too late, which gets them over-tired, and then it’s harder to fall asleep even though they need it. A little bit of baby sleep training will go a long way.

5. Infant Colic

A colicky baby is, by most accounts, one of the most difficult challenges new parents can face. The medical definition of colic is a baby that cries for hours at a time, at least three times in a week. Surprisingly, we don’t know much about the actual cause of infant colic. There are many theories. Even if we don’t know the cause, we know the effects: a baby that cries constantly and can’t be soothed.

There also seems to be a “witching hour” for newborns (colicky or not) at around 5-6 p.m. when nothing seems to make them happy. Our pediatrician mentioned that it’s probably a combination of hunger and end-of-the-day tiredness that brings this on. A good napping schedule, timely dinner, and an early bedtime are probably the way to go.

6. Different Personalities

Even at the newborn stage, babies can have very different personalities. I know this quite well because I have twin boys and they couldn’t be more different. One was relaxed, laid back, and completely calm about everything. Slept wonderfully. Rarely cried. The other was high-maintenance enough for both of them. So personality does make a difference, and sometimes (by the luck of the draw; it’s not your fault) you get a fussy, needy baby. I’d love to tell you that they grow out of this completely as they get older, but ah, well, you’ll see.

7. Loneliness or Fear

Newborns are quick to recognize their parents, to become familiar with their face, scent, and the sound of their voice. They have a pretty good idea who loves them the most! And their vision isn’t very good for the first couple of months. So if they can’t see or hear you, they might fuss a little. Just to get some attention. The good news about this is that picking them up for a snuggle usually does the trick.

8. Teething or Sickness

There are occasionally real, medical/developmental causes of newborn fussiness. Teething is one that you generally don’t have to worry about until 3-6 months, but an early tooth coming in will make them fairly miserable. See our baby teething guide for some help there.

Alternatively, you might be dealing with a baby who’s got a little cold or stomach virus. A sick newborn is a rough experience, and I hope you don’t have to go through it. Those who have begin to understand the “Have you washed your hands?” onesie.

Baby Teething Questions Answered

baby teething questions answered

Image Credit: Festivefrog on Flickr

If there’s one experience that will be mutually disagreeable to both you and your baby, it’s teething. While we all agree that little babies with teeth are just adorable, the process of each tooth coming in is a rough one. Worse, sometimes your baby is teething and you don’t realize it. You just thing that something is terribly, terribly wrong.

In this article we’ll provide some useful answers to common questions about baby teething, in hopes that it makes the process go a bit easier for you.

When Do Babies Start Teething?

Most babies cut their first tooth between 3 and 6 months, and have a full set (20 teeth) by age 3. The graphic at right gives you an idea of the typical teething order. Your baby might have two or four coming in at once, usually every couple of months.

when babies start teething

The Order of Teething

The two bottom teeth and two top teeth are first, and they’re also the easiest to spot. Honestly I think they are the least painful. When your baby’s cutting four molars at once and you aren’t even aware of it, your life is going to suck. Because you have all of these symptoms to enjoy.

What Are Teething Symptoms?

The signs that your baby is teething can be subtle, because they overlap quite a bit with an infant’s general behavior and fussiness:

  • Drooling is the big one to watch for, and in my opinion one of the most reliable signs. All babies drool a little bit, but teething really pushes it to a new level.
  • Rashes around the mouth, chin and neck area sometimes result from the irritation of all that drooling. Yeah, it’s gross.
  • Swollen gums. If you can manage to get your baby to hold still long enough to look in his or her mouth.
  • Refusing to eat. The pain of eating/chewing often outweighs the hunger, and this usually makes the baby miserable.
  • Refusing the pacifier. Same cause, different source of baby crankiness. Ours always loved their pacifier, so when they spit it out we knew things were serious.
  • Chewing and biting. At the same time, a teething baby might chew on just about anything — crib rails, toys, their hands, your hands — and the distinction is that they’re biting down more than usual.
  • Fever / runny nose. These seem to coincide with teething sometimes, though they’re difficult to distinguish from a little cold.
  • Wake-ups at night. Because teeth grow at night, that’s often when they cause the most pain. So occasionally your baby might just wake up screaming for no apparent reason.

There’s also the general symptom of increased fussiness, at least in babies that suffer from teething discomfort. They’re just unhappy.

What Teething Remedies Work Best?

The suffering that teething causes for babies — and by extension, their parents — has been around as long as we have. In the time of my grandparents, the trusted remedy was to rub a bit of gin along the baby’s gums (according to my parents, anyway). If rubbing it on didn’t numb the pain, I’ll bet the booze itself had a calming effect. Sadly, those day are gone and we have to find other teething remedies that are less likely to result in a call to Child Services.

Here are the remedies I’ve found to be the most effective, in order of preference.

1. Baby Orajel / topical pain reliever

We are big believers in modern medicine, and Baby Orajel often provided the relief that let our baby sleep and preserved our last bit of sanity. You can apply this mild topical anesthetic with a Q-tip or finger tip. It works quickly and effectively; we found it most necessary at nap time and bedtime.

2. Frozen Waffles

This was a recommendation from our pediatrician, and one of the reasons that we love him so much. Frozen waffles offer three benefits: they’re cold, chewable, and also a source of some nourishment. Obviously this is for babies that have started solid foods. It’s just as good as a freezable teether toy, with the advantage of being edible.

3. Freezable Teether Toys

There are a ton of gel-filled rattles and chew toys available specifically for teething; I like the kind that you can put in the freezer to keep cold. The cold numbs the pain and also makes it interesting for your baby (rather than just something to chew on).

teething pacifier

Razbaby Teething Pacifier

4. Teething Pacifier

There’s a unique kind of pacifier made for teething babies by Razbaby, called the RazBerry teething. It’s specially textured to massage the gums while the baby sucks on it, and there are a lot of moms that swear by it.

The pacifier is BPA-free, non-toxic, and made from medical-grade silicone. You can freeze it, too, for a bit of extra comfort.

baby-gum-massagers5. Baby Gum Massagers

Sometimes you can tell your baby’s in pain, and maybe see the swollen gums, and really want to do something to help directly. For this I highly recommend the Zo-li Gummy Stick Massagers. These  toothbrush-like gum massagers let you gently rub the parts where teeth are coming in. It can really make a difference.

Watch your fingers; they will bite you! It’s adorable only until they have about 4 good teeth.

6. Baby Tylenol or Advil Pain Relief

When our son had about four teeth coming in at once, he suffered pretty badly. The Baby Orajel worked a little bit, but with his gums completely swollen, a slight fever, and a runny nose, he was just miserable.

baby teething necklace

Chewbeads Teething Necklace

7. Chewable Teething Necklace

What about a wearable fashion accessory that’s also a portable teether for your baby? These baby teething necklaces are all the rage. I haven’t tried them, but I certainly like the idea because it’s portable and in the right location when you’re holding your baby against you.

Surprisingly, there are more and more of these teething necklaces for moms, in a wide variety of styles. It’s a functional accessory, right? Better they chew this than your clothes or shoulder.

 

 

8 Things to Do with Baby Photos

8 things to do with baby photosA simple fact about having a baby — as most of your childless friends will probably tell you — is that you take an unprecedented amount of photos. Since the invention of the digital camera, probably more photos have been taken of babies than any other subject. Depending on your level of obsession, you might take hundreds or thousands of baby photos in the first year.

Importantly, and I’m sorry to have to tell you this, a lot of them will be crappy. The odds of capturing your baby’s adorable smile or first steps or sleeping face in a good photo are usually 1 in 10 at best. But that’s no problem, because digital photos are essentially free so you can just keep snapping until you get all of the ones you need. That’s what they did at the photo studio where you probably dropped some serious dough.

And if you read our article on baby photo shoot ideas, you probably got some adorable ones. But once you’ve inundated Facebook and the e-mails of everyone you know with photos, once the refrigerator and walls are covered in your favorites, what the heck do you do with all of the rest? In this article, we cover some helpful and creative ways to deal with baby photo overload.

1. Three Words: Baby Photo Calendar

baby photo calendar ideas

Photo Calendar on Snapfish

You might love kittens, or The Far Side, but nothing beats a calendar featuring your own cute baby. On Snapfish, you can design and order custom desk or wall calendars with lots of different backgrounds, color photos, and my favorite feature: custom date marking (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).

They’re very fun to design and make good Christmas gifts, too. If you really want to impress, use a baby photo taken each month in next year’s calendar.

2. Organize Your Photos

Simply managing thousands of different image files can be a difficult task. Ideally, you’d like to tag and rename and sort every single baby photo, but let’s be honest: you have way too many photos and far too little time. Realistically, your best shot is to organize photos by putting them into a bunch of folders, centered around events or periods of time.

If you do this whenever you download the photos to your computer, then you can sort the folders by creation date and thus have a decent organization system.

3. Give Framed Photos as Gifts

At some point you’ll run out of room in your own home and workplace to keep those adorable baby photos. Now it’s time to inundate the empty spaces of others. A cute baby photo in a decent frame makes a nice little gift, especially for grandparents and godparents. If you have a photo featuring both your baby along with those godparents/grandparents, it’s sure to be well-received.

4. Print a Photo Book

baby photo booksOne way to capture special events — like your baby’s homecoming, or first Halloween, or special play dates with friends/cousins — is to print a little photo book. This is my absolute favorite thing to do with baby photos, because photo books:

  • Are easy to make. It takes about five minutes to design a photo book on Snapfish, with adorable layouts and captions and everything. 
  • Use many photos. A dozen or more of your favorite photos become immortalized together, in one place.
  • Are inexpensive. You can print a 5×7″ photo book for about $12, and they occasionally go on sale. Not a bad deal for the number of photos one book contains.
  • Store easily. No wall space or refrigerator frontage is required; you can literally store them on a bookshelf, which is what we do.

5. Back Up Photo Files

photo backup driveIf there’s one thing I’ve learned about owning various laptops and hard drives over the years, it’s that they are unreliable. Hard drives crash. Memory cards are damaged or lost. Laptops are stolen. A relative of mine had years of photos on his smart phone, but never backed them up, so when he left the phone in a cab, he lost everything.

You need to back those photos up, somewhere safe, and on a regular basis. So what are your options?

  • Dropbox offers secure online file backup and sharing. The bonus here is that you can backup from one device (i.e. your computer) and access or share the files with another. Free accounts start at 2 GB, which is something like 1,000 photos.
  • If you need more backup space (i.e. for photos and videos), a backup hard drive, like Western Digital’s My Passport, is the way to go. You connect them to your computer by USB and it will backup whatever you want on a regular basis. Then just keep the drive somewhere safe.
  • photo dvd burnerWith an AmazonBasics DVD burner you can backup your photos and videos to DVD. You can buy a pack of DVD-R discs for about $6, and each one holds about 4.7 GB (2500 photos) or 120 minutes of video. This is a nice option because you can store the DVDs in a safe or filing cabinet for safekeeping.

Don’t rely on social media sites — such as Facebook and Flickr — or e-mail as a backup method for your photos. They usually shrink the images for display on the web, which means the quality isn’t enough to print. Also, they (and not you) are the owner of content that you upload, so if the company goes bankrupt or changes its policies, you could be hosed.

6. Mugs and Mouse Pads

photo travel mug

Travel Photo Mug

Some might find this cheesy, but I love taking favorite photos and turning them into every day objects, like mugs and mousepads (and even T-shirts). For an unusual take on the photo mug, take a look at Snapfish’s commuter mug, which is a 13-ounce, stainless steel, spillproof travel mug for hot or cold beverages.  If you’re a coffee drinker, which you probably are since you have a baby, you can never have enough of these.

The best part is that you have less chances of losing it, since your average kleptomaniac will be unlikely to take a mug with someone else’s baby photos on it.

7. Screen Savers and Desktop Backgrounds

Another little way to put your baby’s cherub face all around you is the screen saver. Electronic screens are everywhere these days, and most of them — laptops, televisions, smartphones, iPads — can have a custom screensaver. I use my laptop for presentations at work, and hey, if my co-workers spend a few seconds looking at my cute kids, I figure it brightens their day.

8. Baby Photos as Art

baby canvas art

Wrapped Art Canvas

I saved one of my favorite baby photo ideas for last: turning your favorite shots into actual art. On Snapfish you can upload a photo that will be printed onto a wrapped artistic canvas so that it almost looks like a painting. They come in a variety of sizes and are ready to hang on the wall.

It does take wall or shelf space, but the printed canvas is a clever and unique way to show off your favorite photos. They’re good for taking to work, too, or giving to grandparents.

That’s it for our 8 things to do with baby photos. Have another clever idea that we forgot? Please leave a comment below!