Baby Gear with Baby #2 – The First 6 Months

BABY GEAR - the first 6 months - the second time around

Two years ago, when I was deep in the trenches of mothering our first baby girl, I wrote a post about the baby gear that helped us survive those first, fumbling 6 months.  Fast forward two years, and we’ve just barreled through the first six months with our second baby girl.  (She turned 8 months earlier this week!  Sob.)

Family of Four

Now that we have two babyhoods under our belts, I thought it might be useful to update anyone that’s interested about what gear still works for us, and what we’ve switched out.  Although every baby and every family is different, so just take my 2 cents for what they’re worth.  Ready?

on the go

On the Go:  We still love our Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat, and the Baby Jogger City Mini Single Stroller - they rock.  They are both super easy to use, and I swear the City Mini is the best single stroller out there.  It collapses with one hand and I can fling it in the back of my car with no trouble, and it also turns and rides great.  Before the girls could sit upright, we used an older version of this adapter that lets the car seat click into the stroller (genius).  We’ve added a push car that both girls love (and obviously wait to use it for a baby until he/she can reliably sit up on their own!).  I bought a double stroller off of a Facebook yard sale before our second baby was even born, but I really hate it – so we’ve never used a double stroller.  Usually the baby will be in a carrier – more about that below – while older sister is in the stroller/push car, or older sister walks while the baby is in the stroller/push car.  It’s worked for us so far.

stroller & car seat

I haven’t used the Moby Wrap this time around because a friend gave me the Baby K’tan, which was a big hit with Junior – I’m pretty sure she fell asleep each and every time I wore her in it.  I think the K’tan is also a lot more user-friendly than the Moby because you don’t have to wrap the long length of cloth around yourself – however, be aware that it comes in different sizes, so order accordingly.  I also ditched the Ergobaby because Junior acts like she’s been tortured whenever I put her in it – so we borrowed my sister’s Baby Bjorn and it’s worked really great.  I don’t think it’s nearly as comfortable to wear as the Ergo (it kinda hurts my back and shoulders), but hey, you’ve gotta do what works for your kid.

baby carriers

chow time

Chow Time:  We’ve ditched pretty much everything in this category, except for the Rubbermaid container for large batches of formula.  We had a million types of bottles (but primarily these Medela ones) and the mismatched sets were driving me crazy, so I switched them out for these incredibly cheap ones - and I love them.  They don’t leak, they come with travel lids, and they’re affordable enough that you can buy new ones whenever you feel like it (and they’re still BPA-free).

As for the drying rack and the bottle brush, we now only wash our bottles in the dishwasher so both of those accessories have become obsolete.  It’s been liberating and I highly recommend it (revolutionary, I know).  :)  Also, with a second kid, a feeding timer has gone out the window!

Both of our daughters drank formula as infants, and I naively assumed that the same formula that worked for our first would work for our second.  I stocked up . . . and it didn’t agree with our second daughter at all so I was left with tons of unusable formula (luckily I was able to sell it to someone else that needed it).  Of course, it took us a long while to figure out that the formula was the problem (with lots of crying and an unhappy baby), and even longer to find a formula that worked.  Moral of the story – don’t buy formula in bulk until you know what works for your particular kid, and if your infant is unhappy it might just be because of what he/she is eating.

play time

Play Time:  The Exersaucer is still a huge hit the second time around, and so was the bouncer.  No real changes there.  It looks like both of these products might have been discontinued (we got both of ours secondhand), but I’m sure similar products would have suited our babies just as well.

bouncer & exersaucer

changing

Changing:  We’ve gone all-Target, all the time in this area.  Target brand diapers, Target brand overnight diapers, and Target brand wipes.  I think they perform just as well as name brands, and they’re a lot cheaper.  We still use the mini-trashcan lined with plastic bags for diaper disposal, but we did switch to a Munchkin diaper pail for our older daughter (I’ll let you guess why).  We chose that brand over others simply because it came free with an especially large Babies ‘R Us purchase – but we’ve been really happy with it.

Oh!  A friend also recommended these disposable changing pad liners, and we ultimately switched to these cheaper ones.  They’re great because you can just toss them if they get dirty and you don’t have anything extra to wash.

let's sleep

Let’s Sleep:  Based on the recommendation from a friend, we tried out the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play when Junior was very little – this girl absolutely HATED sleeping flat on her back, and refused to do so.  You can imagine how fun that was.  I’m sure people have different opinions on the Rock ‘n Play, so do your research and do what works for you, but it was a lifesaver for us for about 3 months because it allowed our baby to happily sleep on an incline.  (At this point, she’s been in her crib for many months now and it’s working out fine.)  Oh, and Junior also really disliked swaddling – so we didn’t really do it this time.  Who knew the second baby could be different from the first?  ;)

rock n play

We still really, really love our Motorola video monitor (linked to the newer model) – but with a fairly major caveat.  Apparently the monitor (the handheld part with the screen that allows you to view the baby, as opposed to the camera) has a tendency to stop working – in our case, it stopped holding or accepting a charge.  This happened fairly gradually over 2.5 years, and it finally just went kaput.  This is a bummer because Motorola only offers a 1 year warranty, and monitors are only sold in conjunction with the camera – ugh.  I happened to find someone in customer support that took pity on me because we’d recently bought a second camera, but if that hadn’t happened we would have been out some pretty major bucks for a replacement.

Oh, and we’re still using our breathable bumper - no complaints there.

Finally, since we’re on the subject of sleep, I learned that when you have a baby that just won’t sleep or just won’t stop crying, you will do anything – all of those methods that you swore you would never use – you will try them all.  It was humbling to realize that “my way” isn’t the only way, and that different babies simply need different things.  Or, at least, that’s what I took from the experience!

rub-a-dub

Rub-a-Dub:  No changes, we still love the bath-sling-in-the-kitchen-sink (or bathtub) approach for little babes.  Our littlest is about to outgrow the whole sink-bath thing and I’m really going to miss it!

random tidbits

Random Tidbits:  Until Nutty (our first) was about 7 months old, the only cameras we had were the ones on our phones and a point-and-shoot.  We were gifted a fabulous Nikon D3200 DSLR for her first Christmas, and I’m really kicking myself for letting those first 7 months go by without a great camera.  The difference in picture quality is completely insane!  To us, it was an incredibly worthwhile upgrade, especially since those brief infant days are so precious and fleeting!  Oh well, we learned, and Baby #2 has benefited from it.  :)  We later added a 35mm lens, and I’m obsessed with it – it gives you those “blurry backgrounds” (aka “bokeh”) that really takes your photos up a notch.

Good Camera

What baby gear made parenting easier for you?

The Barn Door

If you’ve ever read a blog or browsed through Pinterest, no doubt you’ve seen at least one zillion barn doors – those suckers are everywhere.  And I totally get it – they look awesome!

However, I’ve been on the fence about the practicality of barn doors for a long time, since I don’t think they provide any real privacy – for instance, I secretly want to commit anyone to the looney bin if they’ve put a barn door on the entrance to their bathroom.  Know what I’m saying?

But then along came this flip, with the laundry room right off the kitchen.  For a few reasons, this space became the absolute perfect spot to try out a barn door.

    1. I wanted to include a breakfast bar in the kitchen, which made the walkway through to the den too narrow for cabinets
    2. A door swinging into the kitchen would majorly interfere with flow
    3. A door swinging into the laundry room (where there are 2 other doors) would be too chaotic, with the laundry room door even crashing into the door to the patio if they were both open at the same time
    4. Neither the kitchen nor the laundry room needed privacy – this barn door could really be just for looks and would have the added bonus of providing something cool to look at on that big empty wall

Final Kitchen Plan

(We ultimately added a powder bath to the laundry area, which isn’t reflected in the floor plan above.)

So bam, it was decided!

As you know, we decided to go with black hardware throughout this house, which turned out to be more difficult/pricier to find than anticipated.  However, I was able to track down matte black hardware for the barn door, and it was shockingly cheap!  You can scope it out here.  (Home Depot carries it as well, but oil-rubbed bronze was the closest they had to black.)

Once the hardware was installed and the door was hung, it didn’t look too shabby!

Barn Door

Or, at least, the top half didn’t look too shabby.  The bottom half . . . let’s just say capris aren’t a good look when it comes to doors.

Barn Door

We ran into this issue because I wanted the doorway into the laundry room to mimic the size and shape of the doorway leading outside (those two doors line up).  But since a barn door needs to completely cover the doorway when it’s closed, the door needed to be much taller than a standard door.  (The door also needed to be wider, but we just brought the sides of the doorway in a bit and your eye can’t tell at all.)

The solution was to add a strip of wood to the bottom of the door so that it didn’t look highwater – it also allowed the door to hang low enough to reach the slide at the bottom, which keeps the door from swinging back and forth when you’re sliding it open and closed.

You can see how that turned out below – keep in mind that it’s only been primed in this photo, so the addition of the wood in the finished look is actually much less noticeable (although not completely seamless).

Barn Door

What do you guys think about barn doors?  Would you ever put one in your house?

Our Go-To Hardware Resource

Brought to you by Build.com.

Can we talk about the master bathroom for a minute?

I’ve been running hot and cold with this bathroom (plumbing pun not intended) since we started the project.

When I first saw the size of the master bath . . . cold.

10th Flip - Before

Once my glorious mother figured out how to expand the master bathroom by taking in a hall closet and part of the hallway . . . hot.

demo, framing & plumbing

After we landed on the design for the master bath . . . hotter still.

master bathroom white oak

When Ikea dashed my dreams for the master vanity . . . ice cold.

no vanity

When Ikea made my vanity dreams come true . . . hot.

008 - Copy

When the vanity was installed but the bathroom wasn’t yet complete . . . lukewarm.

004

Once the master bathroom was completed . . . hot hot hot.

master bathroom

Suffice it to say, the master bathroom has been a bit of a roller coaster.

But.  BUT!!!  I’ve had a little trick up my sleeve that has made the whole process a bit easier.  Let me explain.

One aspect of flipping houses that takes up A LOT of our time is finding trusted resources – trades that we can count on, products that are both pretty and functional, and retailers that make us want to keep coming back for more.

It’s harder than you might think.  (Oh, the stories I could tell…)

So when we find a resource that exceeds our expectations, we tend to latch on and never let go (similar to my reaction to the chips & dip table at a party).  That’s been the case with Build.com.  In case you’re not familiar with them, Build.com sells pretty much everything you need to complete your renovation, from hardware to plumbing parts to pretty lighting to tools.

We first discovered them back in 2010 when we were working on our 2nd flip.  We were still big-time flipping newbies back then – I was running around town, hitting up every store I could find, desperately searching for fixtures that weren’t hideous.  I was having a hard time, and wasting a lot of time, to say the least.  Finally, I went searching online for new (and better) options.  Jackpot.

For 5 years (and 9 flips) now, Build.com has been my go-to source for hardware and plumbing fixtures.  And when I say “go-to”, I mean that we’ve bought practically every single knob, pull, shower head, shower valve, hand towel ring and faucet from them.  That’s alot (like in the high-five-digits alot).

We obviously love the products and ridiculous selection that Build.com carries, but dealing with the actual company is pretty great as well.  When you call their customer service line you get – gasp! – an actual person.  Each product page tells you exactly how many pieces of that product they have in stock (so you know before you fall in love with something whether they have the amount that you need), whether a product is backordered, and when the product is expected to ship.  When you’re working on tight timelines, having all of that info at your fingertips is priceless.

Build.com

They also have free shipping on orders over $49, which is a threshold that’s almost impossible not to meet when you’re dealing with home improvement, am I right?  I love that perk (I hate paying for shipping).

But I digress.  Back to the master bathroom.  I had grand visions for this house, and I pushed myself the furthest out of my comfort zone with the master bath – thankfully, my trusty source carried the more modern hardware I was craving (like the gigantic drawer pulls and the sleek door levers), and in the matte black finish I wanted that can be pretty hard to find.  That gave me one less thing to worry about while I was busy fretting that the whole design would turn out to be a complete disaster.  Score!

Do you have a secret weapon for taking some of the stress out of a renovation?

You might have noticed that I don’t normally do sponsored posts, but I’m such a fan of Build.com that I was excited to tell you guys about them.  Build.com provided a portion of the hardware for this flip, we paid for the vast majority on our own, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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