Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Baby Product Raves- The 2nd Time Around

We didn't buy much for baby E having purchased all large items in gender neutrals when we were waiting for M's arrival, but we did get a few new things I'd like to rave about. Of course I also will share some of the old faithful products I've used and loved with both little ones.

New Items:
These are the items we have bought (or borrowed) for our second go round at this thing called parenting.  I am 100% satisfied with all of these and consider them keepers should we have another little one.

Graco Pack n Play with newborn napper ~
The newborn napper has been invaluable since Day 1 as once again we have a little one that doesn't like the baby swing.  I really wish I had one when M was a newborn.  He love(s) snuggling in it and still likes it now at almost 3mo even though he's about to outgrow it.  Our previous pack 'n play was also a Graco, but two of the corner supports broke (one from being in the luggage area of a cruise ship and the other because I fell on it).  We also use the changer attachment on it daily.  I have yet to use the bassinet portion or drop the mattress and use it as a regular play pen, but those days will come all too quickly.

The newborn napper
Beco Gemini baby carrier~
Both A.R. and I have carried him easily and comfortably (read: no back aches) in the Beco Gemini and once he's bigger it is designed to face baby out for short periods if he should prefer to look around more.  I've also used it many times to wrangle our 2 year old while nursing E at the same time.  It's truly been a life saver for us.  Also, E hates his infant carseat for long periods of time, so we often put him in the carrier for shopping outings.  I just need to buy the strap covers as he's starting to chew on the shoulder straps of the carrier which is common and okay...the company even mentions it on their website.
E in the Beco Gemini when he was an itty bitty
Diaper wipe warmer~
Okay, this was a splurge and is not by any means a necessity, but I know our little guy appreciates a warm wipe on his tushy during middle of the night diaper changes.  I appreciate the warm wipes as they limit the built in sprinkler system that comes with a baby boy...no shocking cold wipe (from the A/C) on his tushy = no sprinkler action.  The Babies R Us brand is sufficient.  Nothing fancy necessary.  It even has a little light on it that has helped us during late night changes.

Snug-a-bunny swing (borrowed from a friend as M HATED the swing we got)~
E actually still isn't sold on the swing completely, but on the rare occasion he does tolerate it this swing can occupy him for a good twenty minutes.  He likes the mobile and soft fabric.  Of course he also decided to have one of his first diaper blowouts all over the white seat.  Luckily, Oxiclean got it out and it didn't stain.  We like it enough (and so does he) that we sold our old swing on Craig's List.

Old Faithfuls:
These items have been our go-to products for both little ones.  They've been put to the test for two babies and passed with flying colors.

Carter's Vibrating bouncy seat~
Our little ones seriously live in this thing until they outgrow it.  It's perfect in the kitchen while I'm pumping, cooking, or cleaning.  I even take it into the bathroom when I'm showering if I have to.  The vibrating feature is the best I've seen and the batteries last forever.  The mobile is also great for them to stare at and bat at once they are old enough to work on eye and hand coordination.  E has never slept in it (M napped in it frequently), but it does help occupy him and he loves to sit in it while we eat and look around.

Davinci Parker nursery furniture~
Our furniture all came from Babies R Us, but I believe Target and other online stores also carry this line now.  We love it and have gotten great use out of the changing table, dresser, and crib.  The crib is on baby number 2 and has had the mattress set at all levels and was converted to a toddler bed for six months before becoming a crib once again.  All pieces have held up well so far to the abusing from two little ones.

Moby wrap~
I know I could sew one now for a heck of a lot cheaper than I bought mine, but alas I bought it while pregnant with M and have used it with both babies.  It is a life saver in the early days with a newborn when they are still squishy and want to be on you close and snug.  E doesn't like it as much now (almost 3mo), but I hope to keep trying new carries with it, so I can use it with him longer than I did with M.  She only tolerated it in the newborn stage.  Even though my little ones outgrow it quickly (they don't like the restrictive feeling of being carried in it once they are past the newborn stage), I know other moms use it well into the first year and beyond with great success.  I would still buy (or make) another if mine should need replacing.
I LOVE my Boppy.  I used it everyday for 19 months while I nursed M and I've used it everyday since E's birthday so far.  I even borrowed my friend's Boppy so I have one upstairs and downstairs.  I have various covers and a waterproof cover for it.  I consider this a MUST if you are a nursing mom.  I will say that I've heard some nursing moms prefer the competition pillow called Breastfriend, but I never tried it as I didn't want to be strapped into a pillow.  My Boppy is my best friend and will be until the day E weans himself.  Also, it isn't just for breastfeeding!  E loves tummy time on it while he hates tummy time on the floor.

City Select stroller~
If I could marry a stroller and be bonded to it for life, it would be to my City Select.  It is just as good as a double stroller as it was as a single.  I cannot rave about it enough.  The adaptor works great with our Graco infant seat and I've had M in various positions in her seat on the frame at the same time with no issues.  The storage basket is the best part of it.  It holds so much (I've gone grocery shopping with just this stroller!) and then some.  We also bought a cup holder/storage attachment that snaps on.  I think the only complaint I have is the bruises I keep giving myself on my legs folding it up.  That isn't the stroller's fault, but my clumsy nature.  Plus, I bruise easy.  We also discovered the second time around that taking the seat off to fold it and put in the car is million times easier than leaving it on.  DOH!  I can say that with the canopy on M's seat and the infant seat in the top position, we do have to be careful when we click in E's seat as sometimes the canopy on the stroller seat gets in the way.  Otherwise, it is pure love.  We scored ours on sale one Black Friday from the site in the link above and I got the second seat and adaptor on sale from Amazon a year later.

Summer Infant tub~
Originally, we had a collapsible infant tub with M, but it leaked something awful and we quickly ditched it to buy this tub.  It's still amazing the second time around and E has never once cried during bath time.  He loves it and my back loves the base that snaps on the tub to make it easier to reach when it's in your adult tub.  The base later can be used as a step stool.

Columbia diaper bag~
It's man enough for A.R. and large enough to carry what we need for toddler and newborn.  It lasted through Miss M and I think we might be retiring it after E as sadly the cooler section has come unstitched slightly.  I think I can fix it for now with my trusty sewing skills.  Plus, I've been tainted seeing the Skip Hop diaper bag videos and how they attach to strollers.  I will say we were clueless about diaper bags before E was born and didn't even register for one.  A shower guest (thank you Nilda!) gave us this bag stuffed with goodies and we were in love.  A.R. liked it because it wasn't pink (we have it in black) or girly and I liked it because it was practical.

Medela PISA metro bag breast pump~
I have to admit that should I have to buy another pump someday I probably would lean away from a Medela and go with either an Ameda or a Hygeia.  That said, I do also have to admit that my PISA has carried me faithfully through two little ones so far.  I was part of the recall back in 2010 and had my original pump replaced, but alas this pump does it's job and it does it well so far the second time around.  It isn't light or exactly quiet but it works and gives me peace of mind.  I would consider a Freestyle if I were to buy another Medela just because lugging the PISA back and forth to work is a PITA (large and heavy).  I do like the look of the bag itself and I bought this pump because it wasn't attached to the bag...I wanted a pump I could go anywhere with and that wasn't tied down to a bag.  I do think the bag will last through another year of pumping at work, but only time will tell with that.

Lansinoh Lanolin~
Lather on from the first nursing onward and you'll never regret it.  I actually didn't even finish the tube I bought for this go round as I only needed the soothing lanolin for about a week postpartum.  Either way, this is my go to nipple cream and always will be.

Summer Infant Video monitor~
We have an older model of the monitor in the link above, so our handheld doesn't have video on it, but I'd still spend the money on a video monitor all over again.  We have two stories in our house and this monitor has given us such peace of mind.  I love that I can look at baby sleeping before going to bed each night and not have to physically go into the nursery and risk waking baby.  We have the camera mounted on a wall in our nursery.  My only complaint would be that the batteries last such a short time on the hand held monitor that we usually just keep it plugged in.

Activity mat~
I don't believe the one we have is still sold in stores, but there are several that replicate it exactly (just in a different theme).  E and M both LOVED this mat and it's gotten great use with both of them.

My random mom thoughts on other "must have" baby items that maybe aren't such a necessity...

Many moms swear by special swaddle blankets (i.e. Swaddlemes) and sleep sacks, but we've never purchased either nor used them. I find them over priced and unnecessary. We swaddled both babies using regular blankets or the receiving blankets we got from the hospital and it worked just fine at no extra expense for the short time they actually liked the swaddle. Of course both of our little ones weren't swaddled past a week old. They HATED it!

After the swaddle days, I just dress them in sleepers to sleep and cover with a regular blanket at night (which E always kicks off- just like his Dad!). M never was mobile in her sleep until almost a year old and E isn't mobile yet, so I have yet to worry about a blanket being a danger to them while sleeping. If E moves a lot in his sleep I'd reconsider using a blanket, but I wouldn't feel right with him in a sleep sack at that point either.

We also don't use noise machines as we want them to get used to the regular noises of the household. Each child does have a CD player with radio in their room to play lullabies or light music on if we want it.  I also don't own a diaper caddie (a small re-purposed basket works great downstairs and sits between our family room and kitchen), the letters spelling out my little one's name above the crib, and crib mobile.  We have a Bumbo, but use it sparingly (and yes, safely- before the recent recall that adds a seat belt and new warning label to it).  I wouldn't consider it a necessity.  We have the beloved Seahorse many moms rave about, but I also wouldn't consider it a must have...E and M could go either way with it.  M was never attached to hers and it NEVER put her to sleep.  She'd stay awake staring at it.  E likes to look at his, but isn't yet in his crib with it.