Thursday, April 19, 2012

I really love my...

Giant Penguin...

A few weeks ago Ben and I were in a store and I was letting him cruise the baby section on his own two feet. He happened upon a giant penguin. He grabbed the penguin, which is wider and almost as tall as he is and pulled it close. He gave it a huge hug and tried to cart it around the store with him. I was amused. Ben doesn't really love stuffed animals and trying to find a comfort object (other than those that are permanently attached to me) has proved impossible. He thought that the giant penguin was perfect. I decided not to purchase the penguin that day and thought I'd try to get him to attach to one of the many stuffed animals already at home.

A few days later I was chatting about Ben's penguin love with my dear friend and running partner, Cat. She mentioned that one of her boys had the very same penguin and thought she would check to see if he would give it to Ben since it was sitting in his closet.

On Sunday she brought the penguin by and Ben is smitten. He carries it around, tackles it to the floor and likes to hold it while we are nursing--my lap is very full!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baby Stuff...

A couple of my friends are pregnant and as we were talking about baby things I started thinking about the baby gear that I loved and what worked well for us. When I was pregnant with Ben, my dear friend Megan gave me so many helpful tips that I took to heart and am now passing on.

Essential (for us) Gear--

Carseat--our pick: Chicco KeyFit 30
Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base
We first purchased a Graco Snugride only to find that it would not fit in the backseat of our Mazda 3. Rather than buying a new car, which we considered, we instead searched for a different seat. I really wanted an infant carrier since Ben was born in the winter and I wanted something I could take in and out of the car easily. The Chicco KeyFit was perfect. Ben used it until he was nine months old. The fabric was easy to wash, the installation a breeze and it comes with removable inserts for when the babies are tiny.

Cloth Diapers--our pick--FuzziBunz One Size
FuzziBunz® One Size Pocket Diaper in Apple Green

There a about a MILLION choices for cloth diapers. After doing a little bit of research (mostly asking friends what they used) I settled on Fuzzibunz one size. I love that the elastics adjust around the legs giving the diaper a trim fit. We haven't had any trouble with our diapers and though we have the occasional leak, Ben is diaper rash free and has a cute bottom. Other friends have had a lot of success with BumGenius and Rumparoos as well, but I like simplicity so I stuck with the FB and never looked back. We have 26.

Wet Bags:
Munchkin Baby Wet Bag - Asst
Not only great for wet cloth diapers but wonderful for dirty clothes, wet swimsuits, etc. We have a couple of wet bags that I stick in the diaper bag whenever we go anywhere.

Stroller--our pick--Bob Revolution
BOB Revolution CE Single Stroller
I LOVE this stroller. I wanted this stroller before I even had a baby. It has not disappointed over the past 14 months. My generous friends at work gifted the stroller to us along with the weather shield accessory. I use the stroller for walking and running. We purchased the carseat adapter so I could use it from the time Ben was born. It is a bit big for errands but I am so spoiled by its smooth ride that I haven't purchased a smaller umbrella stroller. If I am going to be in and out of a lot of stores (like at the mall or in shops around town) I just strap Ben in the baby carrier and leave the stroller at home.

Baby Carrier--Our Pick: Beco Butterfly II
Beco Baby Carrier (Butterfly 2)- Paige
Originally I was going to get an Ergo baby carrier, but Andrew saw an add for the Beco when we were in one our final prenatal appointments. After going back and forth from one to the other we settled on the Beco. I love that it has an inner "harness" system so putting Ben on is like putting on a backpack. It came with an infant insert that we used when Ben was less than 15 pounds and took out when he was bigger. It has a sleeping hood to cover his head when he wants to nap. He loves this carrier. It is comfortable on both the front and back and he will use it for many more months to come. I've even nursed with him in the carrier.

Breast Pump--Our Choice: Lansinoh Affinity

Lansinoh Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump
Knowing that I only really needed to pump for about ten weeks, I wanted a pump that worked well but didn't feel I needed the top of the line model. Megan recommended this pump after she learned in her breastfeeding class that it has the same motor as the more expensive Ameda. I didn't have a single problem with the pump and used it twice a day. At only around $100 it was truly a bargain. I also only used the storage bottles for Ben's bottles because both Dr. Brown's and Playtex nipples slid easily in the tops.

A Comfy Chair: I am not in love with the chair I have in Ben's room so next baby, I want one that is awesome. For the first weeks I felt like my butt was glued to the chair so having something that is cozy is wonderful.

Spout Cover: Has saved Ben's noggin from many bumps and bruises in the bath.

Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat
Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat
We didn't even bother buying a high chair because we knew we were moving and we didn't want to haul it around. This booster seat has worked great from the time Ben has begun sitting up to eat solids. At around $30 it is a steal and will serve him well as he gets bigger

Vibrating/Bouncy Seat:
This item saved our lives in the early days. We think Ben had a little bit of reflux and the only way he would sleep was sitting up at an angle. We took our bouncy seat everywhere and it received tons of use. When he was tiny and I needed a shower I stuck the chair in the bathroom, strapped Ben in and knew he was safe.

Clothing Essentials for Newborns--Our Top Picks--Side snap t-shirts, zip up sleepers, sleep sacks
Side snap t-shirts-in a baby class we took, the instructor recommended these and in the first few wiggly weeks they were awesome. I didn't worry about using mittens to cover Ben's hands because they were attached to Ben's hands. The t-shirts side snap so they don't have to go over the baby's head and they don't go over the diaper making changes a breeze.

Gerber Baby Care Long Sleeve Side Snap Shirts 2-Pack
Zip-up sleepers--Carter's brand were our favorites because they wore really well. Ben lived in these during the day for a few weeks as they were so easy to change. I still don't understand why sleepers for newborns have snaps--the babies are so scrunched up!

Sleep Sacs--At night Ben wore a side snap t-shirt and a sleep sack which made nights a lot easier when he pooped for the millionth time.

Non-Essentials but things that were nice to have:
A wipes warmer: It might seem silly and when I first opened one at a shower I wondered if I would use it at all. Having a baby in the middle of winter, I loved my wipes warmer. Once I switched to using flannel reusable wipes, I started storing the solution in the warmer and it stays nice and warm.

Kindle or Ipad: Andrew gave me a Kindle Fire for Christmas and I wish I had it the entire time Ben was alive. It fits in the palm of my hand, I can read while I am nursing and Ben doesn't even notice it is there. In the early weeks of Ben's life when I felt like I was struggling to stay awake it would have been a nice addition to help keep me awake.

I'm sure there are other things I loved and as I think of them I'll add them on!