Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mom: Essential Items Part 2

In my opinion, researching your baby products before you buy them is critical. Just because that swing or gadget looks fun to you, the adult who doesn't actually ride/play with it, doesn't mean it's fun for your baby.  I learned a long time ago the importance of reading customer reviews online.  So when it came time to create our baby registry, Chris and I read parent reviews of all of our selections (except one - and based on a previous blog post, I bet you can guess which product we forgot to review).

So, this post is tilted toward the big ticket items - all of the big baby gear.  First, I would highly recommend the Fisher Price Snug-A-Bunny swing.  Susan loved it!  However, at about 3.5 months of age, when she started doing crunches every time someone laid her on her back, the swing was done.  There are other swings, like the one that my parents bought secondhand, that are more conducive for older babies because they are more upright.  Susan couldn't use the one at my parents house until she was about 4.5 months old, but she can still swing in it now and loves to.  But I would still highly recommend this swing and, if you can find one that suits both newborns and older babies plus gets good reviews, then get that one.

Second, I would recommend the Fisher Price Rock and Play sleeper.  I know I spoke about it in an earlier post, but seriously, it only costs about $40 and YOU NEED ONE.  Trust me!  It is light, portable and a great place to put your newborn!  Susan slept in hers day and night for the first four weeks. We transititioned her to the crib at 4 weeks, but the rock and play was still essential after that.  We didn't put it up until later.  And we even brought it to the beach.  GET ONE!  (It is one of the most well-reviewed products I have ever seen).

Love it!

You can seriously take it anywhere!

We eventually bought two, one for upstairs and downstairs.
Next, I would recommend our travel system, or really any travel system.  We bought the Chicco Key Fit 35.  We bought it in pink (in hindsight, I wish we had bought gray or green but live and learn).  Gracco and Britax also make travel systems.  Travel systems are basically a carrier, a stroller and a car seat base.  You can order an extra base for your husband's car.  It is great because you simply put baby in the carrier and click the carrier into the base.  Once you reach your destination, you can unclick baby and click her into the stroller.  Or just carry her in the carrier.  You can use the carrier for babies up to 35 pounds. We stopped using ours a little sooner because Susan was outgrowing it in length.  She is a sturdy girl (99th perecent in height and weight).  But I would still recommend the system.  And even though we aren't using the carrier anymore, we love the stroller!  It is not too heavy for me, and it's very simple to open.
You can't tell, but she is snoozing on a picnic table at a rest area on the way to
Charleston while the rest of us ate lunch.

I can go anywhere, including Mama's office!

I would also recommend the BASIC Pack and Play.  We bought the $65 Gracco regular Pack 'n Play.  There are a lot of fancy pack-and-plays out there.  Feel free to buy one, but I wouldn't.  Susan used her Pack 'n Play in our bedroom for naps for a little while.  We put it up for a few months and have just gotten it back out to use as a corral pen because she is about to start crawling.

This is about to happen!

As far as high chairs go, we love our space saver high chair.  It fits into one of our kitchen chairs and doesn't take up any extra room in our kitchen.  Plus, it later converts to a booster seat. When we feed her at night, she gets to sit in her spot and eat while we eat our dinner.  It is great.  The tray is easy to clean, as is the chair cover.  And Susan really likes it.  Ours is a Fisher Price, I believe, but I know other brands make them.  Just be sure to read the reviews.

We have also bought a few big ticket toy items for Susan.  One we bought on eBay second hand.  It is the EvenFlo Exersaucer.  The original, not the new souped-up Exersaucer that is available now.  She loves it!  It is by far one of her favorite toys.  We don't let her spend too much time in it, but she does get to play some.  We also got the EvenFlo Jump-n-Go.  It is a doorway jumper and she gets such a kick out of it!  I would definitely recommend both of these products.
Fun times in my Exersaucer!

Just jumping around.  This has been great fun since we had to put the swing up.
I guess my biggest recommendation is to make sure you read customer reviews before you buy products or put them on your registry.  We didn't read the reviews of the Baby Bjorn.  We should have, because we ended up buying a Britax baby carrier.  Lesson learned.  Next time, I'll include my list of favorite smaller items.

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