So, I did a pretty damn good job with minimagpie’s registry.
I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back because nearly everything I purchased has been well-used and well-designed–even items that weren’t particularly helpful early on have grown increasingly so (though, here is a list of the items I found most useful in the first few weeks). One thing my angel mother has engrained in me (more newborn parenting tips from her–a mother of five!–here) is the refrain: “it’s probably just a phase.” Whether I’m telling her about a new sleep pattern or nursing habit, my mom will gently remind me that it’s all fungible at this stage of life. New patterns can come and go within a day or two. It’s all a phase. The same mantra goes for gear: mini has grown increasingly fond of her 4Moms swing, and her Boppy lounger is less-used. She loved her Baby K’Tan for a solid couple of weeks and then started to fuss whenever I put her in it. Now we’re back to using it. (Though, I kind of also want the Solly Baby Wrap, which nearly all of my fellow mama friends own and love. Is it ridiculous to buy two baby carrier wraps? Yes, yes it is, Magpie. Right?) So, the bottom line is, I’ve learned to reintroduce items a few times before marking them as “useless.” The only thing that I can think of that I bought and never used is her Boppy nursing pillow. It did not work for me and I gave up on thinking I needed a nursing pillow — even though many, many people recommended the My Breast Friend pillow as an alternative. I just use plain old pillows for positioning. Well, and I use the Boppy to prop mini up and read to her in bed in the mornings. Case in point:
That said, mini is now hurtling towards three months of age (!!!) How did this happen??? As an aside, I always thought it was odd how so many parents lamented the rapid growth of their babies. Inside, I always wondered: “Won’t I be relieved and excited for each new life stage to appear? To observe new changes? To see them engage more and do new things?”
But, now I get it.
It’s the clothes that kill me: there’s something unavoidably nostalgia-inducing about folding up a pair of leggings she’ll never fit into again and putting them away in a storage box. You stand there, thinking about when you first put her squirmy little legs into those leggings, and can’t believe there’s just no going back to that size. And the rapidfire succession of these moments of “moving on” keeps her growth top of mind.
Someone once told me that she thought people that live in environments with all four seasons are more nostalgic, because they’re more aware of the passage of time–they notice the first chill in the air in September, and then the leaves turning, and then the first snow, and then the first day of warmth in April, and on and on–and can’t help but think of the passing time, highlighted by the evanescence of each season. Her thought was that you keep time differently–.you observe the markers of time’s passing more keenly–than you would if you lived in, say, Orlando, FL or San Diego, CA, where the weather is always sunny and warm. I don’t know how true this theory is, but it comes to mind now as a convenient explanation as to why I feel more nostalgic about mini’s growth than I thought I would: I’m hyper-aware of it, because the clothes keep telling me that story.
Still, I’m trying to channel my Dad, who, as I elaborated upon here, is more of the “just keep swimming / no looking back” mentality.
At any rate, as we charge towards three months, I’ve been doing a new batch of research on items appropriate for the 3-6 month old and have some new candidates for purchase:
Pick No. 1: The Infant Seat.
A LOT of moms told me I’d need the Bumbo baby seat once mini could hold her head up. She’s not there yet, but I see it coming down the pike. This little seat is apparently a godsend for feeding her those first bites of food / for giving her a new place to hang out and enjoy her newfound neck strength. However, the reviews on Amazon are lukewarm–a lot of complaints about the positioning of the buckles and the fact that the baby’s legs sorta get stuck to the seat and that it can only be used for a few weeks since babies outgrow it so quickly. I am instead going to go with the similar, but more highly reviewed, Ingenuity 2-in-1 Seat ($39). Apparently, this seat can be used for longer owing to a removable foam insert for infants. It also comes with a tray, whereas you need to order one separately with the Bumbo.
Pick No. 2: The Travel Bassinet.
OK, so this is more specific to our circumstances, but we will be flying to DC at least twice (possibly 3x) in the next few weeks and, though my mom has a crib she purchased for her grandbabies that she keeps at home, we anticipate we’ll be visiting Mr. Magpie’s parents and other friends and may need to put mini down for a nap (slash give our arms a rest) at some point. Not exactly the prettiest piece of gear of purchased for mini, but this fold and go bassinet ($39) comes highly reviewed and folds up to lay flat and fit in a large suitcase. Genius. I also like the idea that I could bring it into our bedroom and lay it flat on the floor next to us wherever we go.
I’ll probably have to do another post about traveling with baby once we’ve done it a few times, but any tips are welcome! Right now our biggest debate is whether it’s worth it to bring her stroller base. We are definitely bringing her carseat, and it snaps right into the Bugaboo base, but we’ve heard horror stories about airlines mishandling the stroller base and I’m not about to buy a second $1000 stroller. And, she’s too little for umbrella strollers, so far as I can tell. The only options are:
- Buy the Bugaboo travel case, which is $169?!?!?!? (BLBLBLBLBLBL) and also is ENORMOUS. (Also, you have to take off the wheels of the stroller and store them separately. And, I have my doubts/questions as to whether the people at gate check will even let you gate check that monstrosity! According to reviews, it’s not typically a problem, but it looks like a royal pain in the ass.)
- Buy one of those lighter-weight nylon gate check bags (this one comes pretty highly reviewed and, I’ve confirmed, will fit the Bugaboo Cameleon), but I’ve heard that even the toughest of these withstand a lot of wear and tear, holes, etc. I AM planning on stowing mini’s carseat in one of these bags and feel OK about that because there’s less to destroy with the carseat, whereas I’m imagining someone chucking our stroller and ruining the suspension or something.
- Not bring a stroller at all.
So, we had to ask: do we really need the stroller? We could just bring the baby carriers (K’Tan and LilleBaby–we have both because the K’Tan can only be worn by me; they sell those in sizes, so Mr. Magpie could never fit into my size XS) and carseat and her travel bassinet and see how that goes. We don’t anticipate we’ll be doing a ton of walking/exploring anyway–we’re attending weddings and family reunions. But, I imagine it will be pretty amazing to have a stroller for the airports ALONE. I think I’d prefer to wheel her around in that and use it as a baggage cart at the same time, HA. But is it worth the hassle and potential for destruction? (Or, alternately, the cost of buying that freaking Bugaboo travel case–and subsequent bulkiness of the experience?)
Pick No. 3: The Baby Bath.
I have really loved mini’s Puj bathtub–it fits perfectly in our bathroom sink and is easy to clean and stow–but they’re only recommended for up to 6 months and mini is sort of already outgrowing it (!?) She’s pretty long for her age, and I’ve noticed that her legs are already almost dangling out the end! So, I’m already looking for the next stage bath tub. Most of my sources recommended just getting something inexpensive and plastic (easy to wipe down), and, of this lot, the Boon was the least offensive in design ($26). Boon also makes our bottle drying racks, and I think their design is exceptional for that product, so, I’m willing to give this a whirl. (The seeming crowd favorite, though, is this $16 First Years tub, which is pretty hideous. Not that the Boon is a work of art or anything…)
The other contender is this Skip Hop whale-shaped tub ($29), which, while cheesy, is also kind of cute in a kitschy way. It looks a tad bulky, though. I have liked this rinser by the same brand, which keeps water out of mini’s eyes when I’m washing her hair.
Pick No. 4: The Activity Center.
Oy, this is a bit of a hard one to stomach since these things are SO bulky and, generally, absolutely hideous looking, but I’ve also heard/read that many a mom go nuts over these–a convenient way to keep the babe busy while you’re showering/getting ready/making dinner. This Oribel center ($129) is at the top of my list because it can convert into a toddler table with chairs around it in the future, so it feels like a bit more of an investment, it collapses (ding ding ding ding!!!! can be crammed into a closet when company is around!!!), and is not as bad looking as the Evenflo Exersaucer ($67), which is sort of the industry standard–everyone has them and loves them. Have I been looking at baby stuff too long, or is the Oribel kind of Scandi cool looking in a weird way?
I’m very much on the fence with this purchase because–well, do we need it? And, is this one of those purchases where you’ve just got to buck up and buy the ugly one because the babe will love it? Case in point: we have the Fisher Price rainforest activity mat and mini LOVES it, so I’m glad we went with the bold cheesy one instead of one of those prettier wooden ones that might look cool but be less interesting to a 2-month old. The other contender is this Skip Hop variation ($119), which, like the Oribel, converts into a toddler table.
P.S. — If you’re in a similar boat, another alternative is one of these Fisher Price Jumperoos, which are apparently well loved by many-a-parent. But so bulky!!
Pick No. 5: The Drool Bib.
It’s come to my attention that mini will start teething at some point in the next few months, which means she will start drooling everywhere. I love these cute little bandana bibs ($10 each) for that purpose. I also love the styles and prints from Little Unicorn (2 for $16).
Pick No. 6: The Umbrella Stroller.
Around six months, mini can start using an umbrella stroller. I’ve had my eye on the MacLaren Triumph ($225). Even though the Amazon reviews aren’t RAVING for some reason, I’ve read many other reviews elsewhere that go nuts over this well-made, lightweight everyday stroller. Apparently it collapses with one hand, too. I’m also considering the MacLaren Mark II ($169), which is the even lighter weight little brother to the Triumph — it only weighs 7 lbs!!! — but has less bells and whistles than the Triumph. Still, I’ve in general given precedence to light weight when making decisions for everyday gear in the past (her carseat, the Nuna Pipa, and her stroller, the Bugaboo Cameleon, are among the lightest weight in their categories), and it’s done me right.
I also REALLY love the look of the BabyZen Yoyo ($420), which folds up to fit inside an airplane overhead bin (!!! — this would totally solve the airport dilemma outlined above) But, that price tag! It seems a little much for an umbrella.
Pick No. 7: The Convertible Carseat.
So, I still have some time before I need to get one of these–most babies outgrow their infant carseat around one year of age, though some bigger babes outgrow them sooner–but it’s on my radar as a big investment purchase coming down the pike. In my initial registry, I had chosen the Peg Perego ($349), which is still a top contender, but then I also learned about the Clek Foonf ($469). (Name is ridiculous, I realize.) People love this carseat for many reasons, but top among them is how long you can have your babe in a rear-facing position (which is the safest for them — but most convertibles have weight limits that mean you end up turning your child to a forward-facing position earlier than you need to with the Clek Foonf). I also dig the design, which looks sort of like something on a rocket ship. Very Jetsons-esque. (P.S. — Parents with multiple young children also love that these seats are super narrow — so narrow that you could fit three in a row in a backseat! YIKES!)
That’s all she wrote, folks, in the 3-6-month category. I will add a few other indispensables of late:
+I know babies aren’t supposed to be in the sun, like, ever, but since we’re headed into summer, I’m taking every precaution, including stocking up on hats and sunscreen. I’d read that you shouldn’t put sunblock on an infant under 6 months of age, but my pediatrician told me that if you are going to run the risk of sun exposure, to use a sunblock in small amounts with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in it. (Lucie’s List has a great post on all of this and the risks/controversies around sun exposure, if you’re interested.) I snagged a four pack of 2-oz tubes of Babyganics mineral based sunblock for $15, my reasoning being that I can then keep a tube in my bag, under the stroller, in the car, and in her nursery…basically, wherever I might need some at the last minute. This one also came recommended by my pediatrician.
+Lame, but I am still obsessing over these OXO wipes dispensers ($18). I now have one on every floor of the house. That weighted plate! Plus, they store a ton of wipes so I’m not constantly going around replenishing. I also got their travel dispenser.
+PSA: I tried to go cheap on the nursing pads and tested a different brand, but Lansinoh Ultra Soft are the only way to go. So soft, and they stick really well.
+Mini needs one of these once she starts teething. People go nuts over them. I received one as a gift at her shower but it’s somehow gone missing…