When Emmett started daycare, I knew I needed to label a lot of things. Everything he takes to daycare - clothes, blankets, pacifiers, bottles, food - is supposed to be labeled with his first and last name, plus the date in the case of bottles and refrigerated food. They’re not strict about clothing, though you run the risk of losing items if they lack labels, but they are pretty serious about the bottles and food. Of course my first inclination was low tech DIY: just write his name on everything with a Sharpie. Unfortunately, my friends with older kids in daycare told me the Sharpie wears off the bottles and you have to keep writing it over and over. One friend gave me a couple sheets of freezer labels that can be printed at home. I printed them up, with varying results. Maybe my printer malfunctioned or was not the right type for these labels, but some were smudgy. They have held up well though, going through the dishwasher and fridge (and occasionally freezer) over the past five months. A few bled even more the first time through the dishwasher, even though I waited at least a day after putting the labels on. Some are like the one on the left, some are like the one in the center. Even the bad ones are readable, so I’m leaving them alone.
I have two labels on each bottle: a permanent one with Emmett’s name, and a LabelOnce erasable label on which I write the date (daycare requires this), the quantity (to facilitate my own OCD record keeping), and the date I pumped it (for my own info so I know how fresh it is). These labels are neat: you write on them with a Sharpie and then you can erase it later. They stay on really well through the dishwasher, fridge and freezer, and the writing stays on about as well as it does on anything else - it gradually wears off after a few times through the dishwasher. Going through the dishwasher doesn’t seem to affect the erasability, which you can do with any soft, white eraser like the Magic Rub. I don’t know if they’re that much easier than using masking tape, which is what other people seem to use for the date, but it works well for me. One note: it’s very difficult to write on the LabelOnce labels when they are cold and/or wet with condensation, so it’s best to write before they go into the fridge or freezer.
The bottle lids and rings are too small for the printed freezer labels, so at first I wrote on them with Sharpie. Sure enough, it was barely legible after a few passes through the dishwasher. Meanwhile, my special fabric Sharpie worked well on the paper-like tags of clothing, but on some fabric tags it bled so much it just turned into a black blob, and I hated writing on tagless items.
Another friend had told me about Name Bubbles, and I decided I’d spent as much time going the DIY route as I was willing to, so it was time to give in and buy some. I chose the smallest possible labels: Bitty Clothing Labels for clothes and Mini Labels for bottles. They’ve worked really well. For the bottle lids and rings, I cut them down to size so they’d fit on the side. They definitely look nicer than the freezer labels. If I ever need to put fresh labels on the bottle parts, I will use the Name Bubbles. I’m also applying them to the reusable baby food containers we use when we make our own purees.
Name Bubbles is having a 20% off sale that ends today, so I thought I’d share my experience with them. If you miss today (1/22/13), they have periodic sales and will tell you about them if you sign up for their email list. I just ordered some more of the Bitty Clothing Labels. They stay on well through laundering and peel off nicely if/when you want to pass along the item to someone else.
Note: I’m not being compensated in any way for this post. I like the LabelOnce and Name Bubbles labels, so I wanted to share the info with other parents who may also be wondering if there’s an easier way to label everything.
p.s. Do you know what the title of this post references? I’ll give you a hint: Tim Whatley regifted it.