Over the past year, we have tried out a myriad of items for baby-related use. So, as a courtesy to any parents-to-be out there, here are some of our favorites:
- Graco Snugride car seat/infant carrier – Indispensable. I know that some people get a convertible car seat from the beginning, but I am glad that we didn’t. We would have lost the carrier ability, which is a huge convenience and necessity, oftentimes. Gabriel learned to sleep in his car seat, so I would have him nap in it while away from home. This infant seat is for babies up to twenty-two pounds and twenty-nine inches in length. We were able to use ours for the first eleven months of Gabriel’s life.
- SwaddleMe – I think that this really did help Gabriel sleep for the first couple of months. It was easier/quicker for me than using a blanket, though Gabriel always managed to wiggle one of his hands out the top.
- bebePod – I bought a lightly-used seat for $15 (shipping included) on eBay, and it was well worth the money. We have used it as a “high chair” and portable high chair since Gabriel was about five months old.
- Ring Sling – We received this as a home-made gift from one of J.R.’s friends. It literally allowed us to successfully complete every shopping trip, as well as many other tasks for many months. Now that Gabriel is heavier, we use the stroller most of the time in place of when I would have used the sling.
- Graco glider stroller – It has everything that I would ever need in a stroller. The only real drawback is the fact that it is heavy, bulky, and not very compact. It has been one of our “favorites” because Gabriel rides in it for at least an hour a day most days. Also, our car seat snaps into this stroller, which was nice last summer and fall for taking walks (though we did not use this feature much).
- Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bouncer – This chair single-handedly allowed me to take many showers and eat lunch after lunch without holding Gabriel simultaneously. Whether the vibrations were on or not didn’t seem to make much difference to him. From the time that he was two weeks old, Gabriel would watch the starfish do somersaults and fishies blow bubbles and listen to the soothing music/sounds for at least fifteen minutes at a time. When he got older, Gabriel enjoyed kicking the hanging characters as well. He used this seat until he was about six months old. I believe that the newer model would probably work wonderfully as well.
- Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo – This became our favorite “give mommy a few minutes to accomplish something without holding Gabriel” toy after Gabriel outgrew the bouncer. We didn’t get the jumperoo until Gabriel was six months old, but he would have definitely been ready for it by five months. It was best during the phase when Gabriel could sit up, but not crawl yet. We think that he was frustrated with the fact that he could not move around on his own, and getting his jumping in helped a lot! As of this writing (Gabriel is eleven and a half months old), he enjoys the jumperoo still, though he does not use it nearly as often since he began crawling.
- Avent Isis – I used this breast pump every day for over five months. It has held up great, is relatively portable, and got the job done in general.
- Travel toys – This category included simple rattles, a fabric book, a beaded teething ring and Jacques the Peacock. Now that Gabriel is older, he looks at board books in the car usually. At any rate, the important fact here is that babies need something to occupy them on car rides so that their parent is better able to focus on driving, rather than the crying or screaming baby.
There you have it, a list of some of our favorite baby-related items over the past year. Some items were useful, some were necessary – though this list is in no way all-inclusive.