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baby stuff!

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here is a list of all the baby stuff I have come to need, love, want, recommend/don’t recommend and can’t live without! I am planning on updating it as I use more things and Baby M grows up. I do realize a lot of this isn’t “green”! But I do try to limit chemical laden products, buy off of craigslist/garage sales when I can or borrow/share between friends. I also love consignment sales and shops. You can get tons of baby toys and gear for so cheap!!

It can be really overwhelming to register for baby stuff. I was in a panic!! I really recommend focusing on one thing at a time otherwise it gets really overwhelming and confusing! I read “baby bargains”, my friend Laura recommended it and lent it to me. (this is the newest edition). I just went chapter by chapter figuring things out. this was the best guide! I did researching online too. Did the bulk of my registry online at my own pace. the lists that BRU and BBB give you to register for are insane – no one needs all that stuff! I had to register at BRU but would have preferred BBB but the closest one is in NH. we also did an amazon registry mostly b/c you could add things from any store/website out there, it didn’t have to be on amazon via their universal add button. my registry.com is like that too. I also asked for gift certificates to our local cloth diaper store – Diaper Lab. All babies are different, so some things that work for a lot don’t always work for all babies 🙂

IN THE NURSERY

munire crib and dresser – from the baby furniture warehouse (this place is awesome!!!).  baby bargains highly recommended the warehouse, plus it was up the street and also other mama friends loved the place too. I read the crib section in the book over and over and over again. we didn’t go with the highest price or highest rated but we went for the best rated for what we could afford. I am very happy with our decision. I wasn’t sure about a convertible crib vs a regular crib but it seemed like all the cribs were convertible that we liked the look of. it’s actually kinda hard to find a non-convertible crib! So we did go ahead and buy the conversion rails and luckily at the time the warehouse was giving a free toddler rail with purchase. all we could fit in our tiny nursery was the crib and a simple 3 draw dresser. I love that the munire dresser is adult sized so it will be a long lasting piece plus for now it doubles as a changing table. this stuff is very well made! plus it is beautiful!!! the crib was $399 and the dresser $599 and my IL’s generously gifted it to us. they quoted I think 14 – 16 weeks when we ordered and it arrived exactly 14 weeks on the dot. I really wish I had a 4 draw dresser vs 3 drawer especially since the nursery doesn’t have a closet. I’ve been able to get creative with baskets on the shelf above the changing table and on the bookcase to hold more clothes! Lucky we have a boy, so no dresses to hang up, LOL!! I think it is really important to buy high/good quality furniture. this stuff takes on a beating!!! however it is holding up great! I have had friends buy stuff from BRU or elsewhere and wind up unhappy. (2013 – we recently purchased an inexpensive Graco Lauren crib which gets high ratings in baby bargains for the in laws house, haven’t used it or put it together yet…. so review coming soon!)

mattress – we have the Colgate Eco Classica 1 crib mattress. I got it based on baby bargains recommendation for the regular version of it but went with the eco option. I read a lot about foam vs coil and am very happy with my decision for foam. it seems comfortable and it is super light and easy for me to lift out of the crib to change the sheets etc! very important!!! Of course after time passed I learned of more organic/eco friendly options….. so they are out there! Wish I would have done a little more research on it and got something even safer and greener. UPDATE: at some point in 2013 the mattress seam on one side opened up! I think it may have gotten caught on the crib. I wrote to colgate and they sent me a BRAND NEW free of charge mattress. exactly the same one I had. They did not even want the damaged one in return. amazing customer service!

dutailier glider and ottoman – I picked out the style I liked at the warehouse, but registered for it at BRU. luckily our aunties pitched in and bought it for us. my only regret is that I picked the most basic model trying to save money. there were options for auto lock, recline, swivel, etc. I doubt I would ever use the swivel, maybe when Baby M was a newborn I may have used the recline, but then again I doubt it could recline in the space we have it in. However I do really want the auto lock. sometimes when Baby M is fast asleep and I try to get up the chair can really swing back and it would be nice to get up easily and feel more secure about it! I no longer use the ottoman but used it all the time up until about 5 months, but that is when I stopped nursing and I think I’d still be using it if I was and if I had space for it- we had to move it to accommodate the heat radiator. also when picking out fabrics and colors, I read a good piece of advice that said to pick something you wouldn’t mind having in a room other than the nursery, so years from now you could still use it. I love my glider and want one for every room of the house, LOL!

crib bedding – I stressed and stressed over this, even though some been there done that mama friends told me not to, and that it wasn’t needed but I couldn’t help it! BUT P.S. they were SO right!!!! you do not need a bedding set. I found a crib skirt I really loved because it was striped and had several colors in it that I wanted to incorporate in the nursery. I even chose the nursery paint color based on one of the stripes! It only came in a set though. I bought it anyway. Of the set the only thing I wound up using was the skirt. However once we had to lower the crib down because Baby M was standing (@7.5 months!) the skirt no longer fit in my convertible crib. so out if went. I don’t think any skirt would fit. I hated the sheet that came with the set, it was stiff. Also the blanket has never been used since babies can’t have blankets and it isn’t the best blanket out there, kinda rough. The bumpers I never intended to use in the crib since they aren’t safe but was thinking of making them into curtain valances but never got around to it. some friends say they use the bumpers in the toddler bed, so I may try that out down the road. Actually the valances wouldn’t have worked out anyway since he wound up needing room darkening curtains, which I got cheap at Target. anyway two years later, I wound up selling the entire bedding set and extra sheets I had at a consignment sale. I tried a few different sheets, including the baby gap organic ones that people raved about (which are no longer available!). I hated them! all the stupid stuff out there like the ultimate crib sheet,  sheet savers etc are a waste of money and totally unnecessary or don’t work! I had a breathable bumper but it was awful. it never stayed straight and Baby M quickly learned how to kick his feet above it, push it down and get his feet out the slats anyway, so out that went too. here is what works for bedding/blankets: the only sheets I found that I love are the Carter’s Easy-Fit Jersey Crib Fitted Sheets. they are super soft and stretchy which makes them comfy and easy to get on the mattress! I have 3 sheets but think it would be best to have 4. I like getting a few different colors and alternating them. also I stick to solid colors b/c I read that some babies see patterns on their sheets and like to pick at they colors/pictures and it keeps them awake. I totally buy into this b/c when we sit in the glider the crib blanket is there and he touches the circle pattern all the time. for safety it is key to get a sheet that has elastic all the way around, not just at the corners like adult sheets do. this prevents the sheet from slipping up and off causing safety issues. I learned that in the baby bargains book! the new aden + anais muslin sheets look and feel amazing! I think I will be looking into those down the road. UPDATE: 2013 I found organic sheets that are amazing! they are from magnolia organics on amazon. I love the baby blue color. they are super soft and stretchy and thick. wash and dry great. have elastic all the way around. PERFECT sheets! they come in several colors. I also have and love the Serta Organic Mattress Cover. I have two but would prefer 3. It says you can put it in the dryer but I don’t anymore because when you do the underside layer kind melts  a little or something and you have to pull apart the fabric. it is perfectly fine if you don’t dry it and it is the best fitting/easiest to put on cover I have found. Plus it really does prevent the mattress from getting wet! we had to get the trend lab crib wrap rail guard/covers since Baby M is quite the beaver. I wish we had them from the get go, b/c it wasn’t until a while in I realized he was eating the crib. ugh so now the beautiful crib has teeth marks on it! I tried a velcro rail cover from BRU and it did not fit well and he could get it off!! Laura lent me her crib rail cover and I wound up buying the matching side rail covers b/c once the main rail was covered the little beaver started eating the sides! I am very happy with them! they work great and are easy to take on and off and wash. (do not put in the dryer!) they come in several colors as well. 

changing table  – we just use the serta organic contour pad on top of the dresser. UPDATE 2013 – It has pretty much fallen apart. it is still usable of course with a cover but underneath all the stuffing is about to come out! I wrote to the company (La Jobi baby) and they claim that is normal wear and tear. totally functional and working but will be buying a new one whenever I have baby #2. after trial and error my favorite cover is the carter’s dot changing pad cover. I have 2 but 3 would be better. it is so soft! also light blue probably wasn’t the best color b/c poop gets on it once in a while! but I didn’t want another color 🙂 for the first few months I tried to put down boppy pad liners or those cheap gerber cloth diaper/burp rags (another thing people rave about but to this day I rarely use them for anything, but maybe my kid just doesn’t spit up a lot. if yours does you do most definitely need burp rags!) but they always got bunched up or the pee/poop went over them on to the table anyway, etc. and it was just one more thing to wash/worry about. I got a dish drying mat from the christmas tree shop for the part of the dresser that was exposed to protect the surface, you would never know its a dish drying mat! it’s really nice. then I keep my wipes box (filled with dry cloth wipes) and spray bottle on top of that. above the dresser/changing table I have a shelf with baskets from bed bath and beyond that hold more diapering items, nail clippers, hair brushes, lotions, thermometer and some clothes and other random things! I love baskets.

bookcase – we also got a small shelving unit that fit in the smallest most creative use of space in the room. and it fit nice little baskets to hold books (we registered for most of the popular titles. also a lot of people now are asking for books instead of cards) and extra clothes, also bath supplies, etc. also holds his Homedics SoundSpa Sound Machine, which is my favorite thing b/c it is the key to sleeping all night for him!!! we used to use the Cloud B On The Go Travel Size Plush Sound Machine – Giraffe in our room when he was sleeping there but it only stays on for 45 minutes and they key to sound machines is continuous uninterrupted white noise! we went to a sleep consultant at 5 months and a sound machine was her number one recommendation! a new recent addition for winter is the Crane cool mist humidifier. I got the elephant b/c it matched his room the best but there are several different ones. we also keep his ipod dock on there. it’s a nice one that lights up and changes colors which they don’t make anymore. he loves music!

video monitor – summer infant bestviewthere are a lot of monitors out there. I can not imagine not having this video monitor! I love it. I have several mama friends with summer infant  video monitors. I forget why I chose this particular one but I am very happy with it! I can’t imagine why anyone would buy an audio only monitor. we have also traveled with this monitor, it is so easy to set up and take down. also the zoom and pan feature are great!!! we actually bought an older model, not as nice as ours, but same brand off craigslist to keep at our cape house and it works great! just not as many features. however I didn’t realize that you can’t add an additional camera to it. so bummed!!!!!! don’t need it now but when we have #2 we will now need a new monitor. a few mama friends have this one and this one – which accommodates a second camera. not sure why I didn’t get that!!! But I will be eventually when I decide to have baby #2.

nursery paint – we went with benjamin moore natura paint. it coats weirdly so you wind up needing more paint than you normally would. the walls kinda suck it in. but it is awesome. no smell! and beautiful finish. ashen tan is the color.

nursery decor – we got a beautiful name wall decal and italian abc and numbers prints from etsy. etsy is addictive when it comes to cute decorative baby stuff!!!!!

BABY CLOTHES, SWADDLES, BLANKETS, ETC

clothes  – we didn’t register for clothes b/c we didn’t tell anyone whether we were having a boy or a girl. we also weren’t so sure about sizes and brands, etc. while pregnant I bought a few things here and there like basic onesies or things I found great deals on clearance at target. I am glad we didn’t receive a lot of clothes early on or buy a lot of clothes early on. Baby M was 7lbs 5oz when born and dropped down to 6lbs 7oz before going back up. But he gained weight really slowly. He was in newborn, 0-3 month and 3 month size forever! when he was born we received a lot of boyish clothes as gifts which were great!!!! however most people buy clothes for the next size up or so, and we really needed smaller stuff. Also we ran into receiving many outfits that were adorable but by the time they would fit him they weren’t seasonally appropriate. he had a lot of cute short/t-shirt sets that never fit him in the summer b/c they were too big 😦 the best clothes for a spring/summer/new baby are onesies! as well as the one piece zip up or button up pajama type outfits. also the one piece rompers that are like onesies but with shorts. all 3 make for quick diaper changes and quick clothing changes! I find even now that outfits that are pants/shirt require a onesie underneath too. so when it comes to changing a diaper you have to remove pants and unsnap the onesie. plus if the pants and onesie are wet in the diaper area you have to take the shirt off to deal with the onesie and the pants. one piece anything is the way to go!!!!!!!!! with snaps or zippers!!! I still keep Matteo in pajama like clothes almost all day sometimes! (bad mama!) I dress him up in real outfits only when we are going places. Clothing sizes are so weird too. A newborn size in one brand might be larger than the 0-3 size in another brand and vice versa. I tend to really like the carter’s clothes which run in NB, 3m, 6m, 9m and so on. their sizes are right on! quality is amazing too!!! Target brand circo NB stuff is significantly larger than carter’s NB. it is probably equivalent to carter’s 3m. Old Navy and Gap stuff is also great. However some things are sized 0-3 and 3-6 but then there is a big jump and things are 6 – 12 or 12 – 18 which is a big range! I love going to consignment sales and shops and getting clothes there! seriously kids clothes are so expensive and they were them for such a short time. I have gotten so many awesome expensive brands at consignment sales!

halo sleep sack swaddles and summer infant swaddleme‘s – as a one time labor and delivery nurse I consider myself and expert swaddler!! but Baby M definitely was a challenge. I really liked the halo sleep sack swaddle when Baby M needed to be swaddled which was all the time or he wouldn’t sleep! babies love to be swaddled. (we had to stop cold turkey when he started rolling all swaddled up – bad times!). however he could only be in the fleece ones – the cotton kind he just stretched himself right out of. the summer infant swaddleme’s didn’t work for us either, he got out of them but very early on he couldn’t and they were lighter than the halo ones since we could use the cotton version of it. he still sleeps in just the halo sleep sacks fleece and cotton. we have a few aden + anais sleep sacks but they are very light muslin and perfect for really hot days/nights. we also tried several of the other swaddle blankets (miracle blanket, woombie, swaddlepod, etc) he could get out of them or they made him mad. We even did “escape proof swaddling” for a while – just google around for the many you tube videos out there. Baby M needed to be swaddled to sleep well when he was a baby and it was hard to let go of it when he started rolling at 4 months, but safety comes first. he eventually adjusted to sleeping unswaddled but that was a very hard few weeks/maybe even months! (Update: even at 2 years old he is still sleeping in the halo sleep sacks! they prevent him from climbing out of the crib which he will do if not in his sleep sack!)

aden + anais 4 pack swaddle wraps – everyone raves about these. I am a master swaddler but my kid is a houdini. and muslin just does not stay secure in a wriggly baby. however I loved these blankets for a million other things. Nursing cover, tummy time, for in the car seat, for covering the car seat while he napped in the car seat attached to the snap n go, etc. so many uses. they are super soft and cute too and perfect for the summer. we got a lot of other beautiful blankets, some handmade with Baby M’s name on them. plus I actually went to a sewing class and made one for him too! they are great for throwing over the car seat or putting on the floor for play time, etc. we have enough blankets to last us for a while 🙂 so really there is no need to buy any blankets or register for a lot b/c people love to make them and buy them for you! also you can swipe some of the nice ones from the hospital.

baby mittens are scary and awful. we never had any nor did we intend to use them!! babies need to be able to get their hands to their mouths for comfort plus it’s important for breastfeeding. yes they will scratch their faces eventually but it is not a big deal! I did use the cuffs on some of the outfits he had mostly to keep his hands warm not for nail issues. I know A LOT of people love and use mittens, so I won’t judge!

OTHER “FURNITURE” (PACK N PLAYS, BOUNCERS, BASSINETS, ROCKERS, SWINGS, JUMPEROO, HIGHCHAIR, ETC!)

graco pack n play with newborn napper/changing table – we got it initially for the living room, so we had a “place” for the baby on both levels of the house. the newborn napper was just OK, Baby M would like it for brief periods of time. the changing table sucked! it always tilted/slanted down – made it impossible to change the baby! this was a common complaint I found out about after the fact. we just disconnected that part. I think/hope they have improved this feature!!!!  it also played music I think and had a vibrating feature, all of which I never used and disconnected. I liked that the mattress part could be brought higher up to what they called a bassinet height though he rarely slept in it in the living room. it was nice to not have to drop him all the way down. the pack n play could also have been used as a bassinet in our room I suppose and a lot of people do that! we also got a second pack n play with just the adjustable mattress for the cape house and Baby M sleeps there a lot since there isn’t a crib.  we also love how small it packs up to travel with. for a while we kept it filled with toys, like a giant toy box. some accessories for it are the pack n play changing table covers and graco quilted playard sheet, both are a total waste! the covers didn’t even fit the table right and were no better than just a burp rag laid on it, neither of which were helpful or needed since the table itself was awful! the quilted sheet basically falls apart in the wash and is in no way soft or comfortable feeling. I found the regular graco pack n play sheets acceptable, but there aren’t many alternatives. just wish they were softer. they are very thin.

fisher price rock n play sleeper – people RAVE about this and say their babies sleep in it next to their beds from day one and they actually have issues with transitioning them to their cribs. seriously people made this seem like a magic piece of equipment! I didn’t care for it. luckily we borrowed it from a friend. Baby M just never seemed comfortable in it – for sleep anyway. he would hang out in it from time to time while awake but it wasn’t his favorite thing. I did like that it folded up and was somewhat easy to transport. I used to bring it into the bathroom when I needed to take a shower but preferred the bouncer when I finally got one as it was smaller and easier to transport (you really don’t need both)!!

bassinet  – Baby M wound up sleeping in the bassinet part of his baby jogger city select stroller, first on the floor next to our bed, then on top of dining room chairs next to our bed. I was so not crazy about this set up, but since he mostly slept in bed with us than in the bassinet I guess it really didn’t matter. around 4 months I bought an actual bassinet off of craigslist (and resold it later) which was just OK and he slept in for a few weeks before moving to his crib. Next baby I am getting an arm’s reach co sleeper no matter what or just keeping the pack n play in our room next to the bed. either option would be great! I think the PNP would have gotten a lot more use that way, and I really wouldn’t use the stupid napper or changing table parts again. it would have been perfect in our room.

swings  – at first I had a travel/portable swing. Baby M hated it! I was so upset! So many mama’s swore having a swing was so important and how it was the only thing their babies would sleep in, etc! (and my kid was NOT sleeping!) turns out I just had the wrong swing (for my baby anyway). the fisher price my little lamb swing is the one that gets the most talk, but I went with a travel swing b/c it was smaller and wouldn’t take over my living room. well having a baby takes over the whole house 🙂 at around 1.5 months we got rid of the travel swing and got the fisher price snugabunny which is the little lamb swing except the newer version and it runs on batteries or can be plugged in (the lamb only does batteries). this thing was a life saver and I was sad to pack it away! finally Baby M started napping and I could put him down somewhere! loved that it could swing side to side or front and back (like an actual swing). never actually used it other than side to side which he loved! seriously changed my life. I think the lamb swing now has a newer version with a cord but I am not sure?

fisher price rainforest bouncer – we didn’t get a bouncer until about 3 months and I wish I had it sooner! it was the perfect thing to bring into the bathroom for when I needed to shower. it was great for travel to the cape also! best part it was $10 via craigslist.

jumperoo/exercauser – these are basically the same thing, though the exercauser has a plastic bottom and it is not meant for jumping. the jumperoo the babies feet hit the floor. there is also a type of jumperoo that hangs from a door frame, I don’t think I like that kind or would use it. we have a regular non door frame jumperoo. you don’t need both a jumperoo and exercauser. we borrowed ours from Laura, it’s the fisher price rainforest one. it is hands down one of the best things we have!!!! Baby M has been jumping away in it since he was 4 months old. it is a lifesaver!!!!!!!

other baby sitter type things – some people use the boppy pillow to help their babies learn to sit, also baby can lay/lounge on it. we used it at some classes and places that provided it (like yoga/sign language class,etc). I had gotten it as a gift for breastfeeding but hated it and returned it. but lots of friends/mamas love it for their little ones and can’t imagine life without it. the bumbo I think is another love it or hate it thing. Baby M was sitting unassisted at pretty much 4 months and had no tolerance/interest in sitting in the bumbo. we used it about a week or so, we borrowed it from Laura. I think it is probably great for babies that can not sit unassisted at an early age like Baby M could (which is a lot of babies, my kid is not normal, LOL!) but I hear there are a lot of drawbacks to using it and that it isn’t the safest, but I didn’t like it so I didn’t really research it.

playmat – a playmat is really great for tummy time or just laying and looking at fun things! we borrowed ours from Laura and it was great the first few months and I think it is an essential! now that Baby M is on the move we have these playmat squareswhich of course are useless b/c he doesn’t stay on them. a few mama’s I know have these boga babe blanket/playmat things for on the go and I love it! but I found out about it too late but would have loved to have it back when I would have used it.

highchair – I really didn’t want a big huge highchair. plus highchairs are pretty high up and I am short, I didn’t want to have to stand to feed Baby M. lazy I know, LOL. I have a lot of mama friends who love the fisher price space saver  which I almost got. But I went with the miSwivel instead (I have a different pattern). which is very similar but also can be a booster seat for when baby no longer needs the high chair. I am very happy with it! I love sitting with Baby M and feeding him at eye level. Also it is super easy to transport to other people’s houses! it is also super easy to clean! actually wound up getting a FP spacesaver via craigslist for the Cape house as I couldn’t find a miSwivel used. I really am not crazy about it! it is bigger/bulkier yet doesn’t seem to have as much space for the actual baby. Baby M looks cramped in it! it is also a huge pain to clean, too many crevices and crannies that crap gets stuck in. yuck. the cover is awful as well. I gave up on covers for both chairs a long time ago, just one more thing to wash, LOL! Highchairs are much easier to deal with and keep clean if you take the cover off 🙂 I did hear great things about the blossom high chair for a free standing chair and consider it. I also LOVE the look of the wood chairs like the Stokke or Svan.

CAR SEATS

chicco keyfit 30 and extra base for second car – it was the safest and highest rated car seat. I have no complaints. it is super easy to install. the extra base is great! you just leave each base installed in each car and snap the seat in and out. perfect for a sleeping baby!! a lot of mama friends went with the graco snugride which is from what I hear also a great seat. can’t go wrong with either one! there is a  new keyfit that  comes with a foot muff/cover, similar to a JJ Cole Bundle Me. which is an awesome idea and I wish we had that option. I tried to use the bundle me’s that luckily I borrowed. They are a waste pretty much. I did not feel safe using it in the car seat. I felt like they interfered with the tightness of the straps. any car seat manufacturer will say that putting anything between baby and the straps voids the warranty and can be dangerous! same goes for all the crazy inserts/strap covers, etc. the keyfit came with it’s own head insert and newborn insert and strap covers, so no need for extra items. plus if they come with the seat they have been tested for safety for use in that seat. NO AFTER MARKET PRODUCTS are safe! I did use the bundle me a few times on my stroller for walks when it was on the colder side, but even then I didn’t really like it. I recently found a gift I had received and never used which looks like  a fabric shower cap almost with a window cut out. it basically just goes over the car seat to protect baby but isn’t used while driving as it can be too hot. it doesn’t touch the car seat straps or anything and isn’t used while driving so it seems safe and useful! will have to try it out with #2.

britax boulevard convertible car seat – I read a lot about convertible car seats when I was pregnant even though we didn’t register for one or get one until later. we asked for the boulevard for Christmas. it really is the highest rated/one of the safest out there. I’ve read millions of reviews. we started using the boulevard in Jan 2012 and love it! Baby M seems so much happy in it and so comfortable. He is sitting more upright now, since the infant seat reclines a lot. And it fits surprisingly well in our honda civic hybrid! I can still fit in the passenger seat with him behind me and I am comfortable. I pull the drivers seat up way more than the passenger seat is up. the straps are ridiculously easy to maneuver which is super helpful! we got two to have in each of the cars. I can not imagine using a convertible set from the get go even though they say a 5lb baby can use it.  you don’t get the ease of being able to take it in and out from the base the way you can with an infant bucket seat.

STROLLERS

strollers are a REALLY difficult decision!!!! hands down best decision we ever made was to get a snap n go. I can’t imagine life without it. makes things SO much easier! it all came about because I had decided I wanted the Baby Jogger City Select Stroller. The reasons I wanted the city select was b/c it could seemingly do everything you could ever imagine needing. It had a car seat adaptor – so you could use it just like a snap n go (although the city select weighs a ton and the snap n go weighs like nothing). It had a bassinet which was so adorable for when baby was small and couldn’t ride in the regular seat yet. Loved that the regular seat could face you or face out, there aren’t very many strollers out there that let you have that option. It has a huge basket underneath, and adjustable handbar (great since I am 5 feet and Chris is 6 feet!). Has super strong tires and is able to manuever really well in pretty much any condition. Next added bonus was that you could add an additional full sized seat for a second kid! all the other strollers that did all of the above usually had a second seat option – however the second seat was significantly smaller than the first, (like the uppa baby vista) whereas the city select second seat is identical. So indentical in fact that we actually are using the second seat now instead of the “first” b/c we broke down the first seat to build the bassinet. We thought we were all set. Well the big issue we ran into was that we hated the car seat adaptor – the car seat just didn’t seem secure with it. though I have met and seen tons of moms using the chicco with the city select adaptor and they have no complaints!!!!! I think we could have possibly had the wrong one? or just didn’t give it enough time to figure it out?  we returned it. they make an adaptor just for the chicco. then they have an adaptor that is universal for several of the other brands of car seats. We had settled though on our car seat choice of the chicco keyfit and had already received it, so we werent’ going to change car seats at that point b/c of a stroller issue. I didn’t want to compromise on the car seat b/c I was very happy with that decision. So in stepped the snap n go for when we wanted to use the car seat, which was all the time! it is SO important to be able to take your sleeping newborn in it’s car seat into a store or whereever you are going! babies sleep alot! hence another reason you do not want to go with just a convertible car seat. the infant car seat is great for transporting a sleeping baby in to the house or store or anywhere! Chicco now makes it’s own version of the snap n go which looks awesome! the basket underneath is easier to access. For some reason the way the Chicco Keyfit fits in the snap n go it makes the basket pretty hard to access underneath. the snap n go has great cup holders though 🙂 pair the snap n go with a mommy hook and you are all set! we use our “big” stroller for walks around the lake, neighborhood and activities like the zoo, etc. occasionally for shopping – like at the mall, where there aren’t shopping carts or for before he could fit in carts.  for now our stroller is nice and rugged making it perfect for walks. If we do wind up having a second child close in age, I know this stroller is going to be a life saver!!!!!!!! though we will most definitely need the car seat adaptor at that point!!! UPDATE – as of 2012/2013 or so I started seeing the chicco attached to the city select with a different adaptor! I checked it out in person, it is different and new and looks like they fixed all the issues I had with it! Also after 2 years of struggling with issues closing the city select, the handles you lift to close it kept getting stuck, which I thought was normal and/or I was doing something wrong….. well I called baby jogger and they sent me a brand new stroller frame!!!!!!!!! I did wind up getting an umbrella stroller as well. I debated between the Maclaren Triumph and the Iglesina Swift. I found the swift at a yard sale for super cheap. it is perfect for when I don’t want to lug out the big stroller. it also was awesome for taking to the airport!

ON THE GO! 

cart cover – we have the balboa baby shopping cart cover – in a black and white print. it fits really securely on the shopping carts, which is great. I’ve seen some mom’s with cart covers that do not stay put and aren’t really working! this one does the job well. it can also be used as a restaurant highchair cover and so far has worked great for that too! been thinking it would be nice to have two of these, one for each car or try to find room in the diaper bag for it. the only trouble I run into with it is that it doesn’t fit the target carts as well as I would like, the target carts seem to be huge! it still works but sometimes will pop off. it really is handy though b/c Baby M loves to try to chew all the parts of the cart and this covers it so he isn’t chewing nasty germs. also it has a strap which is essential. Baby M loves to stand up in the shopping cart if he is not strapped in!!!!!! as he got older I eventually stopped using this as really he didn’t chew on the cart anymore and I didn’t care about him touching stuff, LOL. I actually sold it at a consignment sale and don’t forsee ever using one with baby #2.

baby carriers – I always new I wanted to be a babywearing mama. I have a moby wrap, which was awesome and quite the lifesaver when Baby M was a newborn. it was the only way I could settle him and get stuff done around the house!!! I don’t think it would have worked much for us after 4 months but I didn’t try it once switching to the ergo organic baby carrier. I tried to use the ergo when he was a baby with the newborn insert (borrowed from Laura) but he didn’t seem to like it and we had the moby so I didn’t bother with it. I LOVE the ergo! it is great for bringing him to wine tastings! (LOL) Also for carrying him around the house when I can’t leave him anywhere or he wants to be held. also great for walks and grocery shopping or tight spaces like consignment sales! it is great to use on your back as well! I have also heard great things about the Beco and boba brands. another mama friend lent us a baby bjorn. I liked the option of having him face out in it. He seemed to like that too but spent a lot of time looking down as well, which didn’t seem comfortable. the Bjorn HURTS!!!! Seriously most uncomfortable thing ever! I don’t know how anyone could use that thing. I only used it max 4 times – and it was only for brief periods of time (usually while vacuuming or mopping) b/c that was when Baby M would really love to face out and look down at what I was doing). after researching them more I found that they are very bad for baby b/c it doesn’t support their spine properly. many call them “crotch danglers”. also there is research and talk about how developmentally it is too overstimulating for a baby to be facing out and also it can cause hip dysplasia.

baby bags – I started out with the vera bradley diaper bag. got it on super discount as a retired print and had a $20 off coupon for my birthday month, so it cost like nothing. this is a great bag! it fit everything I needed, and I need a lot of space b/c of cloth diapers. However 2 things I wasn’t crazy about. the changing pad it comes with is too small, I find this to be the case with all baby bags. I got the infantino park place changing pad and play space instead. it is awesome, folds so small and fits great. more space for Baby M to lay on so no parts of him are touching the public changing tables. I have also heard great things about the patemm changing pad. looks interesting but maybe too big?! the second issue with the VB bag is that it is only a shoulder bag. I came to find out quickly that me and shoulder bags just don’t mix. It was forever sliding down my arm and falling off. not very helpful when you are lugging a huge baby in a heavy infant seat and groceries at the same time, etc! we also had gotten the skip hop black dash for Chris to use when he needed to (which was like never and it got promptly returned after sitting unused the first 2 months). Men do not need their own diaper bags!! they don’t use them. I now have the JuJuBe BFF bag and I adore it! sure it isn’t cheap (but hey it is cheaper than COACH!) This bag is amazing. I love that there is a pocket at the back that you can just slide things into. that pocket is for the changing pad but I put so many other things in there. The changing pad it comes with is cushy with memory foam, but I don’t use it. (see above). There are three options for carrying it – backpack, messenger and shoulder. This was the key important feature. I use it all 3 ways. it has a mommy pocket that easily fits my coach wristlet or by alissa clutch and lots of other stuff too! The way the main compartment opens up is awesome, b/c it lets you really access everything and see everything, a huge plus when changing a squirmy baby! there are tons of pockets and whatnot inside for ultimate organization. I wasn’t crazy about the color/print options available but I went with onyx blossoms and actually love it. I don’t have the skip hop pronto but kinda want one sometimes! I know some moms that have it and love it! essentially it is marketed b/c you can just toss it in ANY bag and then you have a “diaper” bag. not sure if it would work with cloth diapers?

BOTTLE FEEDING

Dr. Brown’s Bottles – I like these OK. don’t really have anything to compare them to. A lot of breastfeeding mama’s use them and a few mama’s I know recommended them so I went with them. I had no idea you have to buy different nipples for it as baby grows. this is the case with all bottles though! however at 8 months we were still on the 6 month nipple and never really went past that. the two extra parts this bottle has – the straw and vent aren’t a big deal but I don’t hand wash them, so I imagine if you did that might be an issue.  I got the standard size which is a good choice. the wide neck ones I feel may be an issue with fitting in most diaper bags bottle pockets. or in the cup holders on the snap n go stroller or your car, etc! I have both the 4 oz and 8 oz bottles but really think the 4 oz ones were a waste. too small! they worked for a while but it would have been better to just have more of the 8 oz ones. also the standard size (4 oz and 8 oz) fit the medela freestyle pump and maybe other breast pumps too! bonus. I also really like the travel caps, I put that on to shake up the bottle, then put in the straw/vent and nipple. the travel caps also come in handy for later on when transporting milk, etc even when baby no longer needs the nipple, etc. the little discs that you can put in for shaking are hard to get out and are annoying so I like the travel cap idea better! I actually threw away those discs not realizing they did something, I thought they were just part of the packaging! I like that these bottles are BPA free and made in the USA. there is a lot to bottlefeeding/formula feeding that I had to just jump into really quick when my breast milk supply practically vanished over night. if you are breastfeeding (or pumping) definitely plan on getting a few bottles maybe in a few different types just in case! we were lucky that we got this brand and they worked fine! I’ve heard of other breastfeeding babies not liking particular brands of bottles and Mama’s going crazy buying all different kinds.

Dr. Brown’s bottle brush or munchkin brand – I barely used the brush while bottlefeeding since I didn’t hand wash them,  but if you do hand wash you really need it! it comes in handy for other things too like cleaning sippy cups or klean kanteens. each bottle also comes with this tiny little brush for cleaning the vent and straw pieces. I love those little brushes and use them for all sorts of things! you can buy them separately too.

munchkin dishwasher baskets – I really liked these baskets. they hold all the parts well, plus I put other stuff in them like breast pump parts and sippy cup parts. I tried the Dr. Brown’s dishwasher baskets but they only hold parts for 3 bottles which is lame.

avent formula dispenser – I used this for going out. at first I kept the divider part out and just filled the whole thing up and carried a scooper in it that comes with the formula. But then when Baby M started to drink about the same amount all the time, I used the divider that way I just pop the little top open and pour it all in the bottle. it’s awesome! you can use it as a snack cup when done with formula. I keep trader joes o’s in it now.

warmers and sterilizers and all that crap – I know a lot of people think they need these but they really aren’t needed/necessary. we just use tap water and sterilizing isn’t something that is needed for healthy full term babies. plus it’s not a good idea to get baby used to nice warm formula because then what do you do when you are out and about?!  heating breast milk ins’t recommended as it can break down nutrients. you can place the bottle in a bowl of warm water if you need to. for when Baby M was still eating at night we would fill the bottles with water and keep them outside his door and fill with formula as needed. very easy!

bottle drying rack – I used one for a while just to keep everything contained and organized but once the bottles were on there out of the dishwasher they took forever to dry! they actually dry a thousand times faster just sitting on the counter right side up. so I just got a dish drying mat and everything stays on that.

BREASTFEEDING 

we were able to exclusively breastfeed for the first 4 months, then BF/supplemented with formula until 5.5 months before switching over to formula completely. serious milk supply issues from day 1. very hard situation which even I, a former labor and delivery nurse didn’t expect to deal with. hmmm maybe I should write a blog post about that. I could go on and on about herbs and supplements to increase milk supply!!! the average breastfeeding mama doesn’t have to worry about that stuff!!

some breastfeeding essentials:

lansinoh lanolin  – for sore nipples which are can happen anytime (helps to put it on before and after pumping). they can give you small free tubes of this at the hospital also.

soothies – grab some from hospital b/c they are expensive! they are great right out of the fridge)

APNO – (prescription cream if you have really sore nipples).

breast pump – (make sure you get the right size shields – the pump comes with medium, I needed to purchase the small which is separate). my insurance company covered the medela freestyle which was very wonderful but we had issues that warranted a prescription and needed a prescription to get it covered. (now with Obamacare I hear pumps are always covered by insurance but I think it differs by plan). if you plan on pumping a lot or are working and pumping a second set of parts would be helpful. and maybe a car power adapter.  MEDELA is the brand of pump at most hospitals and is the highest recommended! most mama’s have the medela PIS or PISA (pump in style advanced) which is the best standard pump out there! I had the medela freestyle which is smaller/more portable. there is debate on which has a stronger motor. if there is any issue establishing supply, etc it is best to rent a hospital grade pump like the medela symphony which costs thousands to buy but a lot less to rent (sometimes the rental is covered by insurance)!

hands free pumping bra – it is a lifesaver!!

pump cleaning items – medela sells several items like microwave sterilizer bags and quick clean wipes. which are helpful in a pinch. I always just put them in the dishwasher, which is great! they don’t “need” to be sterilized.  a little trick pumping moms know is to put all the parts – tubes, shields, membranes, etc in the fridge with the bottles of pumped milk, in like a container or lunch bag, etc. you don’t need to wash the parts in between each use! just wash everything at the end of the day. the medela pump in style is a cheaper but great alternative. medela is the brand hospitals use and there is a reason! they know what they are doing!!

reusable pads and/or disposable pads – to protect your clothes from lanolin stains or leaking (I had some plain organic cotton ones from BRU but I hear bamboobies are the best!)

nursing cover – (I didn’t like the one I had or the one I borrowed) I just used an aden + anais blanket which is what worked best for us, I rarely used a cover while nursing in public though and never had any issues!

nursing wear – you can not wear underwire bras while breastfeeding (can cause clogged ducts and infections!). so get some good nursing bras or tanks. I loved the tanks from target. you want something supportive but not constricting at all. sports bras can actually compress so much that it can decrease your milk supply. gillian o’malley nursing tanks from target ( these are the best and I lived in them! just wear a regular top over it and pull that up and then pull the tank clip part down – works perfect! and you are very covered!), motherhood maternity nursing nightgowns are nice for night time (I still wear them, they are super cute!).

Boppy pillows and the My Brest Friend pillow – TONS of people love them but I didn’t. I tried both and just didn’t find them helpful. the Boppy can be great for other things though from what I hear! you can use it for propping the baby up and tummy time, orfor even bottlefeeding, etc so don’t discount it if you aren’t breastfeeding.

milk freezer storage bags or trays – important if you plan to pump and store.

vitamin d – doctors will recommend vitamin d supplements for baby if you are exclusively breastfeeding. most docs recommend enfamil brand vitamin d which requires a huge dropper full of yucky medicine daily! a much better option are the carlson baby d drops. you literally put a tiny drop on your breast so baby gets it while feeding.

an excellent IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant) and a nursing mothers support group – seriously both are SO important!!!! good support and encouragement from people who know what they are talking about is essential to breastfeeding success!

take a breastfeeding class – during pregnancy and most offer them at the hospital after birth as well during your postpartum stay.

some great breastfeeding resources:

 The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Teresa Pitman

The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk by Diana West and Lisa Marasco

Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson.

KellyMom 

Dr. Jack Newman

Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher & Kathy Kendall-Tackett

So that’s what they’re for by Janet Tamaro

Breastfeeding with Comfort & Joy by Laura Keegan

The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too by Cate Colburn-Smith

BATHING

Bath Tub – it took me forever to find a tub I liked. I had registered for the Puj tub. I really loved the concept (I’m all about space saving) and reviews, but it didn’t fit in my sink. I got the summer infant fold away tub (again focusing on space saving issues) but even though it had a incline, Baby M always slid down it and it was hard to bathe him, not impossible, I just had to hold him with one hand and do everything else one handed. not ideal. I kept that tub and it works much better now that he is older as you can put the incline down. we keep it at the Cape house. Finally I got the fisher price whale tub. the little insert was perfect! it totally prevented Baby M from sliding down and freed up my hands. he loved this tub and kicked and splashed so much in it! we still use it now, without the insert and it’s inside our big bathroom tub. he moves all around in it, stands up, etc. no more laying down and lounging. I also love the little fish strainer cup it came with, Baby M has a ball playing with it and never gets bored of it. wish we had this tub from the beginning! also it is so fun to take a bath with your baby, so try it!!!!!!! no baby bath tub needed. the kitchen sink also works great when they can sit up! there are so many bath toys out there. I quickly found that anything with a hole or squirting feature can get nasty quick and are hard to clean, so those all got thrown out and not replaced! all kinds of cups are great as well as rubber duckies and books made for water, etc.

baby washcloths and towels – they all suck! the washcloths are all weird and get bunchy and are thin and not soft! so are the hooded towels. I like the hoods but really the towels are so thin and not absorbent enough! I’ve tried quite a few. I still have them and use them but I wish I had something else. (update – I finally decided to get rid of them and sold them at a consignment sale!) these specific baby towels are so thin and small. they don’t absorb water and are useless!!! I do have one towel from target that is nice and thick with a hood and the hood looks like a monkey’s face. but it wasn’t cheap, is big and it’s impossible to fold/store, so I just hang it. it’s like an actual real towel though, so it works! I actually wound up getting another large hooded frog one that is like a real towel in texture as well. I really want several of the Aacua Hooded Swaddle Towel by Maamam  but $40 for one towel?!?! that is just not going to happen. I’ve never seen one in person so it could be awful for all I know. the best washcloths are the regular adult ones from target that come like 10 to a stack and are super cheap! I have tons of them and want more. I use them for everything.

baby wash – we started out using california baby, it was awesome! don’t be deterred by the prices. the 8 oz baby wash lasted us 8 months!! I bought a new bottle and splurged on the 19 oz as it was more economical than having to eventually buy another 8 oz one down the road. plus I don’t need to tell you, since I am sure it’s been widespread on the news already, that the johnson and johnson’s stuff has toxic chemicals in it. not quite sure why they still use this stuff in hospitals. blech. California Baby did recently reformulate their ingredients and there has been quite the controversy about it. they added a questionable preservative and basically lied about it and tried to cover it up. I was using the old formula so once I ran out of the old formula I started trying some other brands.  I have tried the Weleda Calendula Baby Wash but I am not crazy about it. the Burts Bees smelled nice but it was too soapy and they are now owned by clorox. so far I am really liking the shea moisture baby. this blogger gives a nice review of it. plus it is just $9.99 a bottle at target. a little goes a long way and it smells amazing!!!!! this is a really good list of safe baby care products from safe mama. I am also in love with the eco-friendly baby/family products page on FB, she also has a website. I plan on trying out several of the baby and personal care items on her approved/best of the best list.

BABY CARE 

medicine kits or baby first aid kits or grooming kits, etc. don’t get one!!!! they are stupid and have too much stuff and usually most items are sub-par! get everything separate. (listed below)

vicks rectal thermometer  – this is the best! you can’t put it in too far and it is simple to use!

summer infant dr.  mom comb and brush set – I am sure any brush/comb will do but I liked this b/c it was simple and gender neutral. Baby M loves the brush! it must feel really soothing on his head or something! if I had a girl well I may have gotten something else, LOL 🙂 these eventually became to small for his thick hair and we started using a regular mens comb which works great!

summer infant dr mom nail clippers set – not really sure what you need the very large one for but I really like the small one. plus they match the comb set above, lol.

nail files – you can get regular nail files like you use for yourself to use when baby is super small and the nails are really soft. I never used one and didn’t need to. hospitals recommend nail files and usually give you one while there! I started using the nail clipper when he was 7 months. maybe he doesn’t have fast growing nails.

diaper creams –  we cloth diaper so most mainstream diaper creams aren’t safe for our diapers. but I did need to use desitin, vaseline and prescription creams with disposable diapers when Baby M had some serious rashes from his dairy intolerance (before we knew about it!). since I cloth diaper, my all time favorite diaper cream is Grandma El’s and it seriously clears up all kinds of rashes and is more natural/less toxic then all the desitin crap out there, so it can be used with disposable diapers too! I also like to use  coconut oil or CJs BUTTer. CJs has tons of different scents and is great as body lotion as well as diaper cream. Coconut oil can be used for thousands of things and is great to have!

baby detergents – dreft and the like are toxic and so bad for sensitive baby skin. that’s just what I know/believe but there is a lot of proof out there to back me up but so many people use it. we just use whatever we use on our own clothes which always is something dye/scent free and ecofriendly. there are lots of options out there! currently I am planning on experimenting with eco nuts. there are also a million detergents made just for cloth diapers which are also great for clothes (baby and adult) and are ecofriendly and great for sensitive skin but I really didn’t care for most of them.

lotions, sunscreen and stuff  – babies don’t really need them but sometimes you want to just massage your baby or make them smell yummy. sometimes their skin is dry and needs something. baby wash shouldn’t be used everyday, if you give baths everyday, to prevent drying out their skin. coconut oil is amazing and can be used for just about everything!! smells great and is healthy/chemical free! for massage class and at home massages we used Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Nourishing Baby Oil, smells divine. also great to have california baby calendula cream (“nature’s first aid”!) and the everyday lotion is really nice too! my love for california baby started with a sample kit.  (however they have since reformulated a lot of their products, see above baby wash section, so I am phased them out once I ran out of the old formula). his first summer he was still under 6 months old and sunscreen is not generally recommended for babies under 6 months. The next summer I bought the episencial sunscreen. I really liked it!! it came with their soothing cream, which I really LOVED. Baby M was getting a rough dry patchy rash on his upper arms from what I don’t know, but this is the only thing that cleared it up and I tried several other things first! so I bought a big tube of it. of course I have since learned there are safer options out there for lotions, etc. I stick to coconut oil because it works and is always safe! this summer (2013) I will be using badger sunscreen. I love this info on sunscreens this year: https://www.facebook.com/notes/eco-friendly-babyfamily-products-made-in-the-usa/sunscreen-spf-is-it-just-a-numbers-game/656768194338824 AND http://safemama.com/cheatsheets/sunscreen/

baby medicine – I think it’s really important to have at least infant tylenol (acetaminophen) on hand if you have anything! they are phasing out the separate infant and children’s kind to be just one kind for both infants and children to save on medication errors, finally! any brand is fine. doesn’t need to be tylenol – the generic name is acetaminophen. I also bought children’s ibuprofen to have, though you can not use that until baby is 6+ months. I did get this little remedies new parent survival kit only b/c it happened to be on sale for $9.99 not the regular $19.99 plus I had a 20 % off coupon. it is a waste to buy full price!!! I happened to be shopping for the gas drops and gripe water and this kit had both of them in it. while I wasn’t interested in the other items buying just the gas drops alone was $10 so I figured why not! even if I never use the other items which I imagine I might need possibly in the future anyway. But if it wasn’t on sale I would have just got the gas drops and gripe water. I also wanted to get the nose/saline drops. so the kit had all those things and was super cheap. lucky find! I don’t like to use medicines though and love to try natural/homeopathic options as well first. it’s also a good idea to have a baby syringe set. I registered for one and got it, I remember opening it! but couldn’t find it after that. however CVS will give you free syringes with prescriptions, but just in case you lose one/break it. also most medicines, like tylenol,come with their own dropper/syringe anyway that you should use.

nosefrida snot sucker – hands down my most favorite thing ever! seriously everyone needs one of these. nothing works better. take the bulb syringe from the hospital but those need replacing as you can’t clean them well and they get really gross inside. the bulb is no comparison to the snot sucker! I gave up on the little filters in the snot sucker b/c they are so wasteful. the gal at whole foods said they weren’t really needed. it would take a lot of snot and sucking for Baby M’s snot to make it all the way to the filter spot and since it’s empty all the way up the hose to my mouth, so I am not worried about it.

itzbeen baby care timer – OK so back when Baby M was born I didn’t have a cool grown up smart phone with apps and all that. (I do now!)  so I got this little itzbeen gadget and it was a lifesaver!!!! I loved that thing. it doubled as a little night light for when I was trying to check on Baby M. I kept track of feedings and diaper changes and what not. I found it super helpful.

pacifiers/loveys – Baby M has had a love/hate relationship with the pacifier! he initially loved the soothie one from the hospital and it fixed many a fussy moment. he used it once in a while. got him the wubbanub soothie so he had something to grab onto, he mostly just used it as a toy. he has two of them – both different monkeys. we tried a few other brands with no luck! he now uses his wubbanub for settling down for a nap, I let him have it while I rock him and then he is done with it before drifting to sleep, it never goes in the crib with him! he sometimes needs it for a diaper change when fussy. these are the only times he has any interest in it! he hasn’t gotten into a lovey yet – I have this angel dear one for him.

REQUIRED READING

Happiest Baby on the Block – definitely check out the 5 S’s promoted by Dr. Harvey Karp! basically just a routine of swaddling, sushing, sucking, swaying in the sidelying position. it really helped us and our fussy baby! I got the book, CD and DVD from the library. the CD tracks were great for white noise and the DVD really helped visually explain things better than the book could. I read A LOT of sleep books – too many to list. I found they all either said the same thing or contradicted each other. in the end it was just confusing and didn’t help! HBOTB was the only one that did! I also liked the Happiest Toddler on the Block!

SOLID FEEDING/SELF FEEDING/CUPS/BIBS

bibs – I never realized this would be difficult! I registered for and received some of those big plastic bibs, kinda like this. I thought they were the way to go. well they aren’t! they smell funny after a few days as you can never quite get them clean. and they don’t really work! the best way to go are those cheap cotton bibs that come in 10 packs. they work great and you just drop them in the wash! I get mine from target. but they sell them everywhere.

homemade baby food – see everything there is to know about making baby food at my blog post about it. you do NOT need to buy a special baby food maker.

sippy cups – these are a pain. we had the best luck with (after trying MANY!) the klean kanteen sippy which uses the avent hard spout sippy parts and an adaptor. I recently at age 2, got their new sippy spout which has less parts. He uses the klean kanteen for “milk”. For water we mainly use a straw cup. the reason I decided to try a straw cup was because of this great article over on the Isis site – How to Introduce a Straw Cup.  I have bought so many! I liked the playtex lil gripper straw trainer cup and the munchkin straw cups but hated that they were plastic. plus the munchkin ones got yucky and moldy! eventually I found the foogo thermos stainless steel straw cup which I love! “soft” spout cups I learned are no different/better than a bottle and yet just another thing you need to transition away from eventually, so why bother!

bowls – baby M has the skip hop zoo monkey bowl and dish. I wanted him to have something special to recognize for eating and it works! I use regular small pyrex glass bowls for heating up his frozen baby food cubes and then transfer it to his monkey bowl or just use the glass dish. he uses the bowl daily though for cold items as well. or I just throw food on the high chair tray 🙂 I am looking into switching to safer alternatives and getting rid of all plastic even though I only use bpa free plastics currently! looking into stainless steel dishes as well as more glass dishes. I like the kids plates from brinware for a glass option.

utensils – these spoons are great for food pouches and for traveling with food pouches, otherwise we just have two spoons from target I forget the brand but they are soft – kinda like these. I did just recently get him a toddler fork and spoon which are more adult like and he loves them. so cute!

MEMORY BOOK/FUN STUFF/KEEPSAKES 

Baby Book – my very good friend Laura gave me this amazing Baby Book from Ruby Love Baby. I love it so much! I made a mistake on a page that I just couldn’t deal with having that mistake, and was able to order a replacement page, which is awesome. I also love the pens she sells and the little envelopes that fit into the book to save things. I use the calendar the most! ordered the extra packs for the book too.

hand and feet impressions – when Baby M was 6 months old we had hand and feet impressions done and made into a plaque. Also got two Christmas ornaments as well. Tanya of Zinnia Designs does a great job and the impressions come out beautifully. Worth every penny!!!

ink pads – my friend Laura recommended these and they are great. I got black and blue but haven’t used the blue yet. Proudbody My Little Prints Baby Safe Ink Pad. Ruby Love (the baby book maker above) also sells these ink pads now on her etsy page.

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