4 Years Later – Baby Gear that Held Up!

After celebrating my daughter’s fourth birthday and son’s second birthday, I thought it would be fun to follow up and share what baby gear has withstood the test of time!  I’m editing my favorite baby gear list with comments in italics below.

  1.  Burp cloths…they go fast!!  Basic Gerber 3 ply diaper cloths can double as burp cloths.  Don’t go for thin ones…they don’t last!  We now use some cheap burp cloths as blankets for dolls or cleaning rags!  The good ones that were made for me could take a few more spit-ups!
  2. Onesies – plain white short sleeve ones can go under anything – anytime of year.  The side wrap shirts work great for when they are first born and have their belly button stump. I liked Carter’s brand better than Gerber. Gerber seemed to run small.  Target brand clothes seems to run small.  I really notice that Gymboree clothes seems to be a better quality and sizes are more generous, so we’ve gotten more wear out of that brand. 
  3. Sony Baby Call monitor – basic sound monitor around $40 Still working great today!
  4. Miracle blanket was great for swaddling. Swaddling really worked well for our kiddos, and it was easy to layer stuff over the swaddle, such as a blanket sleeper or other blankets.  We needed layers in Wisconsin winters! Packed away or passed along for another baby to use.
  5. Sleep sacks – just nice & easy for bed time and night time diaper changes.  We used these more when our babies grew out of being swaddled. Though they make larger sizes, we stopped using these as kids were closer to one.  They both love their blankets for snuggling!
  6. Pack N Play – we liked our Graco one – no canopy on top, but a rather basic model. Still in use as my 2 year old loves it!  He’s getting pretty big for it though, so it may be time for a sleeping bag.
  7. Feeding Medela Pump in Style breast pump and Medela bottles (both small & larger bottles for when they get older). I also used the Medela plastic storage bags for freezing breastmilk. Dr. Brown’s bottles are also nice.  Pump worked great for both kids.
  8. Easy to fold up strollerCity Mini.  I bought this when #1 was outgrowing her infant seat & basic wire frame stroller. I felt like I was going to throw out my back with some of the other strollers out there!!  The City Mini also has an attachment kit for using with the infant car seat (which we probably SHOULD have done from the start, but we didn’t know). We also ended up buying a cheap umbrella stroller for traveling and now a double Graco stroller. We probably have WAY too many strollers. We still use this stroller – mostly for my two year old, though sometimes the four year old will want a ride too. We also use the Graco DuoGlider, but it gets heavy with both kids riding in it.  It wasn’t very expensive, but it works! Using the wagon or just making the kids walk is nice too. Any way to burn off all of the energy they have is always good!
  9. Some playthings – activity mat for tummy time, baby vibrating seat, jumparoo, exersaucer.  You do not need all, nor will every baby like them all.  I shared with my sister (bouncer, swing) and ended up borrowing an exersaucer from a friend.  The vibrating seat or bouncers are great when they are really little.  I’d pop Baby O in it & bring her / him in the bathroom, so I could shower.  We did use the jump-a-roo some when they hit about 3 months old. Some other people also swear by a baby swing, but my babies didn’t really like them. We also put down quilts that we received as gifts & toys on the floor for tummy time. My son admittedly spent too much time in the Rock ‘N Play sleeper, and favored sleeping on the same side of his head (while on his back), and this contributed to the shape of his head – FLAT!  We spent $$$ on the Doc-Band helmet and therapy, so the growth could be properly controlled (trying to fill in the flat spots).  This may be a future blog post all in itself.  Bottom line – these seats can really mess up your baby’s head shape, so use in moderation!
  10. Boppy pillow & covers– great for nursing & propping baby up for tummy time / sitting on floor, etc. Loved it! Worked great for both kids.
  11. Baby Bjorn front carrier – I bought mine on Craig’s list for $15.  This carrier worked really well for us.  I had a sling style, but didn’t use that much the 2nd time around. Everything is a LOT cheaper second hand, so you may want to consider going that route post-baby shower(s). I remember making cookies with little brother napping in the Baby Bjorn while I decorated them with big sister.
  12. Bumpkins bibs – great to throw in laundry or clean when you’re washing dishes. Some of our 4 year old bibs are still around and are used – if I can get the kids to wear them!
  13. Playtex sippy cups, Nuby sippy cup with handles that detaches & converts to regular cup – The Nuby sippy has been chewed through, but the Playtex brand has lasted well.
  14. Sassy plates with covers have been nice – still being used!
  15. JuJu-Be Diaper Bag – I really liked the messenger bag style.  I forget what it was called…but it wasn’t the SUPER large one.  It has lasted almost 3 years now, so it was worth getting a nice one. One friend joked that it cost so much that it SHOULD have been able to change the baby’s diaper by itself. Ha ha! Check out bags in stores & see what they feel like.  You carry around your diaper bag a LOT, so make sure you like it.  This bag is DURABLE!  We still use it (though I also just throw a diaper and small wipes container in my own purse now that only one child is in diapers.
  16. High chair that straps onto regular chair (we had a Fisher Price reclining one for when she first started eating, but she grew out of it – a.k.a refused to sit in it, so we now have a Safety 1st seat from Target). We now use two basic booster seats with straps on our regular kitchen chairs.
  17. Car seats – we had the Graco infant seat, very highly rated, but can sure get heavy!! We bought the Brittax Roundabout Convertible Seat and Evenflo Titan Convertible seat.  The Evenflo is cheaper, but is okay.  The straps don’t get twisted in the Brittax one, so I’d recommend that one.
  18. Toys – both of my kids loved stacking cups (still do) and knocking them over. Shape sorters were a big hit too. We recently brought out baby toys when we had a baby visit, and they kids had fun playing with them again.  Rotating toys is the best advice!

Never really used / Didn’t last

  • Infant sleeping wedge (only used a few times)
  • Cute character cool mist humidifier (probably our fault for not cleaning it out well enough…got mold in it, so we pitched it for a basic Vick’s model that is easy to clean with an easy to replace filter)
  • Squirt bath toys – you cannot get all of the water out of these, so they end up getting gross & moldy
  • Baby washcloths – these were cheap and flimsy.  Many of them have fallen apart or have holes in them.  We should have just used our own wash cloths.

Is there anything else that you liked or really DIDN’T like?  Please share in the comments section.  Thanks for helping out new moms with your recommendations.

These related posts are good to check out too:

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Potty Training Essentials

I’ve recently read about blogging friends who are in the throes of potty training. I feel for you: Breadingwinning Mama and Worldly Girl Turned Mom. 

Though my daughter is almost 3.5, and we made it past the WORST accident ever, we still have issues from time to time!  Like this morning for instance, when she didn’t want to go right away in the morning JUST BECAUSE!  It didn’t end well, so she was reminded to try to listen to her body to avoid accidents.  AHH – a control-freak three-year old is a formidable opponent at times!

Here are five quick things that I consider Potty Training Essentials:

1. Multiple bath mats – the bath mat gets peed on constantly during potty training.  I was tired of our ONE bath mat getting soiled and having to wash it again and again.  One day there was a buy one, get one for $1 deal on bath mats, and my problem was solved – or at least I had a spare bath mat to rotate in while the other one was being cleaned.

2. Clean-up supplies – paper towels, old rags – just have them on hand everywhere! We have to worry about the 2nd floor, main floor, and basement, so having rags handy is a big help!

3. Carpet cleaner – We have a cat, who doesn’t get a lot of blog-love, and like any cat, she is prone to hacking up hairballs.  Our defense – Nature’s Miracle spray. Little did we know that this product would ALSO work wonders for our children’s accidents.  I also would NOT recommend having white carpeting in a child’s room, though Nature’s Miracle and table salt (for bloody noses) have done wonders in removing stains on that white carpeting.

4. Stain remover – You probably are well acquainted with your favorite stain remover if your child is now potty training.  We like Shout and Oxi-Clean.  I also consult my cleaning tips book or Pinterest for unique stain removal needs.

5. PATIENCE – This is the go-to parenting virtue.  I found potty training to be very frustrating until one day I finally told my daughter that SHE WAS IN CHARGE of going to the bathroom.  There are times that I still have to remind myself of this, when I see her doing a potty dance to hold it in. Ultimately, she doesn’t want to stop having fun to use the potty.  Sigh! Most days we are completely accident-free, though I need to rely on my patience for those remaining outliers like today.

Please share any additional potty training essentials or commiserate with parents in the potty training phase here!

On Being a Type A Parent

cat toilet training phase 2

would potty training my cat be any easier? (Photo credit: reallyboring)

There are times that being a Type A Parent sucks.

Remember, I’m an overachiever type that misses working outside of the home. And there are days – okay maybe only parts of days – when I feel like I’m failing miserably as a parent.

I try to remind myself that when your child is potty trained does NOT go on any college or job application.  I try to focus on the good things that my children ARE doing instead of focusing on what they are NOT doing.

Still with constant access to social media, I can read how other toddlers are faring with potty training.  I hear from other parents and my daughter’s doctor, “Don’t push it.  She may not be ready.”  AHH!!  I’m clearly ready, and my daughter is showing MULTIPLE signs of readiness too.  According to many age milestones, it seems that 3 is a fairly common age to start using the potty.

Maybe I’m pushing too much for me, and realizing that it’s not effective.  How can I turn off the goal-oriented part of me and just accept the here-and-now?  I bought pull-ups and overnight diapers back when there was snow on the ground, shortly after quitting my job, and MONTHS later we just started using them.  I left work thinking I could easily tackle potty training – like any other project on my to-do list.  I guess I was a bit overly optimistic in the face of yet another challenge of parenthood.  Well, at least there’s no performance review in our house.

I’ll go eat my own potty treats now.