Friday, January 10, 2014

Gear: Beyond the Newborn

I already posted a while back on gear that I found helpful during our first three months (you can find that here). I got to thinking that I should probably add a few things to cover some of our favorite gear that was helpful beyond the newborn phase.
For Eating
Bowls with lids
Having bowls with snap on lids make traveling with Owen a lot easier. I could measure out his oatmeal or rice cereal ahead of time and then just add water wherever we were. Someone just happened to buy them for me as a gift and I am so thankful. 

We purchased this fisher price highchair a few months after Owen was born. I was really torn over what to buy. There is such a wide range of options available. Did I want a seat that would attach to any chair and would be portable? Did I want a sleek looking chair? A chair that would become a booster seat later? I really had no clue. In the end, we went with this because I saw it in action at my moms house. She bought it after my brother and sister-in-law had their first.

I like that it has adjustable heights, the straps are easy to wipe down because they aren't fabric, the seat cushion is machine washable, and it has a removable dishwasher safe tray. The downside is that it isn't portable like I'd originally wanted. It has worked really well and given that we were without a kitchen table for a while, it was definitely the right decision for us. There is no way I would have been cool with putting a booster seat on my upholstered dining room chairs. I'm fairly certain that if and when baby number two comes along, I'll be looking into a booster type chair. However, I would want it to have the exact same features I listed above.

Snap-n-go cups
I love these. Everyone else in my family (aka: grandmothers) hate them. They do take a little getting used to but I'm very happy with them.

For Sleeping: 
Halo Sleep Sacks
We stopped using the swaddleme blankets when Owen rolled over onto his tummy the first time. However, I still wanted to make sure that Owen stayed warm. These sleep sacks are great for that since you're not supposed to put blankets in the crib.

He had rolled over to look up at me. The redness is from where he'd been sleeping.
Halo Sleep Sack
We ended up using our pack-n-play a lot during the summer months when we were traveling a good bit. For a short time, I had ours set up in the living room as a safe place that I can put Owen while I get a few things done like unload groceries, go to the bathroom, etc.

The Pumping Mom:
Hands free pumping bra 
This contraption is worth it. When I first went back to work I needed to pump during my lunch break. I could heat up my food, get hooked up to the pump, and eat my lunch. We only get 30 minute lunch breaks so it was critical that I get to do both. If you have a long lunch break, then you might not mind having to hold those things in place.

Sterilizer bags
These were so convenient to have. Because I was away from Owen for 13-14 hours when you really total it all up (including travel time), I needed to pump at least 3 times while I was at work (4 was really what I should have been doing but there was just no way). These microwave bags made by Madela were so helpful.

I would rinse and then sterilize my pump parts right after use and leave them in the bag (after draining the water out) until the next pumping session.

As I sit here and think about this whole pumping topic a bit more, I realize that I should probably write a whole post on how I managed it. Not because I did it perfectly, but I definitely want to remember my own tips and tricks. Plus, someone else out there might find it helpful.

Jogging stroller
This is really only necessary if you will use it for what it was made for. If you will only be strolling through the local mall or something, then you don't need this. I have a gravel driveway so it is nice. Plus, the park near our house has gravel. I just recently started jogging again and it has come in handy to have a stroller built for running. I went with a BOB mainly because I already knew so many people that had them and they always had great things to say.

Umbrella stroller
Yes, we have two strollers. Three, if you count the frame stroller we used in the beginning. I know, it seems ridiculous. However,  I love them all and wouldn't want to be without any of them. This is the go to stroller for quick trips through the mall, to the summit, to Starbucks, or to the farmers market where it is incredibly too crowded for the BOB. Also, it takes up way less space in the back of the car.

Owen wants nothing to do with this now that he is mobile, but it was glorious while it lasted. It was a fantastic place to put him while I cooked meals. He would bounce around happily and I could see him and talk to him while he played. I would hang it up right in the kitchen doorway. My advice would be to try and find one second hand.

Hard to get a non blurry pic of a bouncing baby

I finally packed up the swing in October. It was a wonderful thing to have as well. It got us through many fussy moments. I would say that it is especially helpful during that "witching" hour that everyone talks about. I would pull the swing into the middle of the living room, facing the TV, and turn on praise baby. Worked. Every. Time. Saved my sanity many nights.

7 months old
Praise Baby
I can't say enough good things about this DVD. It works like magic. It puts Owen in a calm hypnotic state. My sister and I have decided that there must be subliminal messages imbedded in it that should probably make it illegal. Whatever it is, it's amazing. It should be handed out in hospitals.

I think that about covers everything I can think of for now. If I happen to come across any other amazing baby gear that has helped make life easier, I'll pass the info along.

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