March 21, 2010

5 baby things

In honor of the 14 bajillion pregnant friends and family members I have right now (including a niece who is due ANY DAY), here are a few baby things that I absolutely love or I absolutely couldn't live without. Sometimes both.

If you ask enough people, you'll get 100 different recommendations on strollers, travel systems, toys, car seats, etc. And every single person will try and sell you the one that they have as if they earn some sort of commission on it. The bottom line is buy what's right for you. But my biggest piece of advice is to be sure you really look into a product and choose one that is well-made, and not just super cute.

1. Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe

We received two or three floor gyms as gifts before Jack was born and we were happy with them all. When Jack was about 5 months old, Kyle's mom found the Tiny Love one on clearance at Meijer. Jack didn't play with it much because he was in the beginning stages of crawling, but he still did get some use out of it.

Ben, however, has spent more time on this floor gym than I can calculate. The best part is that babies can lay on their backs, tummies, or sit up and find things to do on this mat. The dangling animals can be moved to different heights and locations around the mat, so if you want your child to kick them or grab them, or reach for them while sitting up, you can hang them accordingly. I have yet to find a play mat that I think is as great as this one.

It does have an area on the mat that babies can touch and it lights up and plays music, but once the batteries ran out we didn't replace them. It was nice, but not our favorite feature of the mat.

2. Grass Roots Drying Rack

I bought this from Target a few weeks ago and considered it a splurge. We did need a drying rack, but probably could have saved $10 and bought a different one. But I decided to go ahead and get it because it was a small enough splurge to not break the bank but a big enough splurge ($15) to make it fun.

But this thing is more than just pretty. It's functional, too! I can get SO MANY bottles and accessories on this thing. I love it.

3. Bumbleride Indie Twin Stroller

For most people, this stroller would be considered a HUGE splurge. And it was. But when you consider that the boys come to work with us for 12 hours a day all summer, and get pushed around the camp's dirt roads in a stroller all summer, a sturdy, well made, double stroller was essential.

We bought our 2009 model used on ebay and it came with LOTS of accessories that would have cost us in excess of $1000 purchase new separately, so we felt like we got a pretty good deal.

My requirements were many for a double stroller . . . side by side, able to hold a car seat carrier on one side, able to fit through a standard doorway, plenty of storage, good shade coverage, air filled tires, decent shock absorption, easy to fold up. This has all of them.

We now own 5 strollers. Oh yeah, we're THOSE people. We have this travel system (in green & gray . . . the colors aren't available on amazon, but they are in Babies "R" Us) and are still thrilled with it 2 1/2 years later. We have this umbrella stroller (in red) and this double umbrella stroller. We also have this jogging stroller that we used quite a bit with Jack at camp and for walks at home. It's held up very well.

When I was pregnant with Jack I saw a special on the Today Show about how many strollers some parents have and I was all like, "That's ridiculous." Sigh. I'm one of them now. But we really do use them all.

No really . . . we do.

4. Pilates Ball

I swear to you, a pilates ball will do what no rocking chair can do for putting a baby to sleep. When Jack was about a week old, he would sleep and one of us had the idea to bounce on it and . . . voila! Life was never the same. And Ben . . . if we bounced for about 30 seconds, he was out. It can work baby magic.

Plus, with a little practice, you can work on strengthening your core at the same time.

My only caution to new moms is to let dad bounce with the baby until after your six-week check-up. Let's just say that it caused issues for me the first time around.

5.The Happiest Baby on the Block

We had this book with Jack, but didn't really get a chance to read it. I did, however, reada bout 30 other books . . . I'll share those with you another time. With Ben, I found it and had a chance to go through it. It's a great book.

I spent a lot of the last 6 months thinking, "I SO wish I had read this when I had Jack." Great tips for keeping your baby happy, helping him to sleep and reducing fussiness.

I highly recommend it.


Melanie Eccles said...

I feel like I may have just said this on another one of your posts, but oh well...I really appreciate these advice posts you've done recently. In thinking ahead to a family I've tried to compile a list of items/tips people have shared and this is great stuff.

And speaking of the pilates ball, I just saw Bob from Biggest Loser recommend using one of those in place of an office/desk chair--to increase core strength/stability. I love that idea. And I mentioned your advice on the bouncing to Kevin and he was so excited he wants to go buy each of us one right now. :)

Smith Family Blog said...

Thanks for the advice on the playmat- we've had several, and I haven't like any of them... and I think the new baby will deserve SOMETHING new of his/her own. Oh wait, maybe that new vehicle we will need to accomadate 3 car seats will count... :)