Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baby #2 Series: Our Favorite Baby Items


Thanks for following along with our Baby Prep Series! Check back tomorrow for our last post!

Jess and I came up with different categories and picked our top baby item (as seen in picture), and then our runner-up in the category. Babies are very low maintenance if you let them be! Most of the items we picked can be purchased at Target or Kohl's, and have held up at least three years for us! We both knew we wanted multiple children, so we went with mostly gender neutral colors and themes. We also did a lot of research of Consumer Reports for high safety ratings - for those items I linked to the exact model we have. We also looked for purchases that would grow with our kids into toddler years, were low weight enough for us to carry, and had the highest baby weight limit in case we had large children. Definitely aim to get the most bang for your buck!

Health and Safety
1. Circle Gate - we love the fact it can be used inside or outside! I even completely open it up so it's a straight line and tuck the ends behind the couches to create a bigger barrier. I couldn't find a regular gate that fit our wide hallways, so this works perfect in our open concept house!

2. Carbon Monoxide Detector - something to make you feel a little safer at home if you don't already have one!

1. Sleep sack - Abby didn't like to be swaddled, but loved her sleep sack and used it until she was a little over a year old. It is a great alternative to a blanket - safer, keeps them warm, and stays on! Most brands have a removable swaddler which is great when they no longer need it.

2. Breathable Bumpers - this is a lifesaver when chubby legs get caught in crib rails! ;) And they are safe to use when installed properly.

1. Boppy - I loved mine for breastfeeding Abby, and formula feeding Josie and James. It helps a lot with being able to comfortably hold baby after a c-section. (Jess can vouch for that since she had surgery shortly after adopting James.) We also used ours as a prop around the kids' back when they were learning to sit up. Remember to buy at least two covers - trust us, you'll need them!

2. Booster Seat - we both have boosters instead of the traditional high chairs. They don't take up much room, easy to store away, can transport if needed, and really simple to clean (aka dishwasher). We have one that has a removable tray, and now that the girls are older, we have moved the base up and they can eat at the table with us like big kids. :)

1. Activity Gym - you don't need a super fancy one, but find one that is machine washable! Our kids loved laying there looking and batting at all the toys hanging. And it kept them entertained for a few minutes while lunch is being made. ;)

2. Bouncer - same as a gym, it doesn't need to be fancy! No need for vibrators or self rocking ones...not every kid likes that, so start off basic. And, washable is key here as well!

1. Bath Cushion - our kids hated baby bath tubs! They never fit in them right. A simple, and a lot cheaper, alternative is just a bath sponge. We used ours on the counter after Abby's birth and in the tub too. They don't last as long as a tub, but long enough for us to use before she could sit up on her own in the tub.

2. Hooded Towel - we got a larger, child sized hooded towel for Abby. I love having a bigger one to keep babies warm, plus she's been able to grow into it. We got a lot of different towels and robes, but a hooded one worked the best!

1. Carter's Brand - we find that Carter's brand is typically the most accurate on sizing and best quality for a lower price. Plus they are super adorable! :)

2. Tube Socks - little baby socks will not stay on, which is a shame because most of them are very cute. Especially the little ones that look like shoes. :) We have used tube socks (with the tightest tube part you can find - we found ours at Walmart) and those by far work the best!

1. Stroller - we both have the same single and double strollers, and love them both! For the single, we have a First Years Ignite, and the double is a Graco DuoGlider. Both are easy to fold up/out, have plenty of storage, perfect shade cover length, and give a smooth ride. I like that they aren't too pricey, and the weight limit is very high so we can use them longer.

2. Pack and Play -  even if you don't plan on traveling with baby, a pack and play comes in very handy! We have the basic model with a bassinet insert, and it is so simple to use. Babies grow out of bassinets quickly, so a pack and play is a great solution. We plan on keeping it next to the bed for the first few weeks with the bassinet insert, and then transfer him to his room after that.

1. Cloth Diaper Cover - for starters, we do not cloth diaper. I use the Up and Up brand from Target (love it!), but I put a snap cover over the diaper - completely sealing the diaper in. Let me tell you - I've never, never had a blow out diaper or a mess up the back. I love our covers! We bought ours from a mompreneur online, and that is what we use. They can also double as a swim diaper, which is great since we start swim lessons soon! :)

2. On the Go Diaper Changer Pad - if you don't have room for a changing table, just have a changer pad rolled up in a basket with all the diaper essentials. You can change them anywhere, they are easy to clean, and it is portable!

1. Video Monitor - we finally invested in one of these, and I wish I would have sooner! We have a basic model, but it is so nice to see Abby in her room and what she's up to. And, I'm not gonna lie, it's really funny to watch them sleep sometimes! Kids are so adorable. :)

2. Sound Machine -  we absolutely loved our sound machine! I bought a cheap one at Target, mainly because I wasn't sure if Abby would like it or not. It was the best ten dollars I ever spent. The night we started using it, she started sleeping at least two hours longer. TWO HOURS. Serious life saver. I was sad when it broke (dropped it - oops!), but it will be replaced for sure.

1. Toy Links - extra links come in handy a lot! You can link more toys to the activity gym or exersaucer, use it to lock up cabinet doors, or to attach snack containers to strollers. We have found so many uses for these and I'm glad we bought an extra pack!

2. Baby Carrier - I had a hard time with a carrier being smaller (hurt my back too much), but Jess loved using her sling when her kids were smaller. Both of our husbands are pros when it comes to baby wearing the older kids, and the carriers have come in handy on many walks, festivals, trails, etc.

1. Car Seat - obvious choice for traveling! We also made sure we had one that could go on airplanes as we have to travel to see John's family.

2. Car Seat Cover - since we had little ones during the winter months, having a cover over the seat was great. We could easily vent it in the car, but have them completely covered in the cold winds and snow. And I felt like it was a lot safer than throwing a blanket over top!

Something You Might Not Consider
1. Wet Dry Bag - if you cloth diaper, these are a must! If you don't, they are still nice to have, especially in the diaper bag. You can store dirty or wet clothes in them, and there is virtually no smell. And since they are machine washable, you don't have to worry about the mess afterwards!

2. Lingerie Bag - oh, little baby socks, hose, and if you are breastfeeding - breast pads! They are so little that they will get sucked up into the seal of your front loader washer. Place all the socks, pads, etc into little lingerie bags to keep them all contained. And now that we will have two little ones, we can keep their socks separate this way! :)

I hope you enjoyed our list of favorites - do you have any to add? I'm finishing up the series tomorrow with my list of simple meals that I have on our fridge! And then this weekend, Jess will be updating on how her monthly resolution is going so far.

Have a fabulous evening!

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