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.)
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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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? ;)
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: 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: 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.
What baby gear made parenting easier for you?