Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby Stuff

Again, my apologies if you came here looking for knitting. My mind is obsessed with baby stuff. For the benefit of anyone who was clueless like me, I'm providing this review....

Apparently, bringing a baby home means bringing a lot of stuff home. And despite my hopes of keeping things to a minimum, the stuff keeps on coming. Our house is turning into a veritable Babies 'R Us showroom. So here's the baby stuff that we can't live without...

The iPhone.
I was a late adopter to the iPhone, because I was unwilling to switch wireless carriers. The last time I broke up with my cell phone company it involved making multiple trips to different branches and trying my best to be calm and reasonable. But ultimately, I showed up at one of their busiest stores while it was full of people and made a huge scene with lots of arguing and asking for managers. Rykert, the peacemaker, was mortified and began asking other patrons, "Who IS that woman and what is her problem?" But by the time we left, our contract was terminated and they actually owed me money. It wasn't pretty, but sometimes you have to use brute force. Once Verizon announced that they would be offering the iPhone, I just had to wait it out until my contract was up for renewal. I finally made the jump right after Scout was born.

You may be wondering how this is baby gear. During the first few weeks of Scout's life my butt seemed to be permanently glued to the glider in her room while I sat and fed her every few hours and just held and rocked her. Enter mother's little helper, the iPhone. Suddenly, I could text, surf the internet, play games, read books, read blogs, become addicted to Pinterest and on and on. Another benefit is that it has a better camera than my old phone. I had contemplated buying a point and shoot camera to carry with me when I didn't want to lug my DSLR, but the iPhone definitely replaces any need for a P&S camera. (You've seen lots of iPhone pics on here in the past few weeks.) I also found some very important baby apps as well. In the early days, I used a baby timer app to track when I fed her. I use Baby Geek to track her growth, development, and milestones. And the Baby White Noise app has proven to be useful in quieting her down on the go. I can seriously turn that app on, place the phone in her car seat, and she's almost always calmed down. And did I mention that I'm addicted to Pinterest (even if there app is unstable)?

The swing.

For my baby shower, my parents gifted me a MamaRoo. It's a really cool space age looking swingy device that mimics a tree swing, a car ride, a kangaroo, etc. It also has white noise and a place to plug in your iPod.

Scout in MamaRoo 05

From a design perspective, the MamaRoo is far superior to most of the baby gear on the market. Unfortunately, in the early days, it just didn't support her enough or move fast enough to calm her down or put her to sleep. When Scout was just a few weeks old, she would not let us put her down. So out of pure desperation, we headed to Target one night with a crying baby and bought the first swing we saw.

In the Swing 071611 04
Please ignore the crumpled blanket in the background. Sometimes Rykert or I sleep on the floor in there.

I'm not sure that it matters what swing she is in, she just loves to swing. I don't love this swing, because it has a ginormous footprint spanning nearly 4 feet. Out of desperation, we over-bought. But we had the space, and we like the fact that it swings either side to side or back and forth. Scout likes both. It's also a cradle swing so it lies completely back.

In the Swing 071611 01
This swing runs on batteries and plugs in to the wall, which I think is critical since we never have the right batteries on hand for anything. A couple of months later, and we are still using the swing on a daily basis, and often, it's the only place she'll nap. Now that she's older she also likes the MamaRoo but not for sleeping. Mostly just for chilling out.

Bouncy Seat
When I registered for baby stuff, I didn't even register for a bouncy seat. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Luckily, people are smarter than me, and I was gifted a bouncy seat at my shower.

Bouncy Seat 071611 01
We use this sucker everywhere, but mostly she sits in the kitchen and watches us cook meals or do dishes. While it's not something that will entertain her for a long time, it's been a lifesaver because sometimes you do have to set the baby down. It took me some time, but ultimately I realized that it matches our swing. Totally unplanned.
Bouncy Seat with Sheep 071611 01

Baby Carrier.

Beco trial.
I waxed on (and on) about this here. But having something that allows me to hold and carry Scout and be hands free has been really valuable at times. Particularly since she's not a great daytime napper.

Crib Mobile.
Scout hates her crib. At least at night. She really doesn't like sleeping flat on her back. I don't know why. Rather than fighting it, and with the blessing of her pediatrician, we've been letting her sleep in other locales. I'm going to admit that this is partially selfish, because in these other locales she generally sleeps like a champ. (There are many exceptions, however.) But in the interest of making her crib more inviting, I purchased this mobile.

Crib Mobile

This mobile has a music box, twirling animals, and a projector that shoots images on the canopy or onto the ceiling. The mobile also came with a remote control so when it stops you can sneak into the room and turn it back on from a distance. Rykert thinks it's a little trippy, and feels that she should be listening to Dark Side of the Moon while it twirls. While she still doesn't want to sleep in her crib, she does love to watch it, and it will keep her occupied. On a couple of occasions she also fell asleep on her own watching it. Of course it didn't last too long. It doesn't make her sleep in her crib, but it's Scout approved so we'll include it on this list.

Scout in crib 071611 08
I can read Scout's mind:
"I'll lay here and watch this while you're standing there, but don't even think about leaving me here overnight woman."
The glider.

Nursery - Chair Corner 02

I was completely on the fence about whether or not we would want a chair in her room. But in the end, I'm so thankful I bought it. We didn't buy a really expensive chair, but I don't think that matters. I literally spent days (and most nights) in that chair in the beginning when I was feeding her constantly. And we still use it multiple times a day to rock her to sleep, to feed her, or to keep each other company while she swings or gets changed.

White noise.

This is our most inventive baby gear solution. I'm not convinced it really matters if Scout has white noise, a fan, a swaddle, etc. when it comes to sleep. If she's tired and sitting semi-upright, she will sleep. For the first few weeks of her life, we had a lot of people in and out of our house, but when everyone left, our house became eerily quiet with just the three of us (and one of us being a part-time day sleeper), so I really felt like she needed some noise. Rather than buying a white noise machine (that I wasn't convinced would make a bit of difference), I downloaded some white noise onto an old iPod and used this little boombox thing that we already had. Instant white noise.

The White Noise

We noticed that whenever we went out to eat, Scout would chill out and immediately fall asleep to the gentle murmur of a crowded restaurant. This is particularly true of the mall food court. During those early days, most of our outings were to the mall because it was such a safe place for baby to have a meltdown which eased my anxiety: big family bathroom, nursing room, and lots of stay-at-home moms with screaming kids in the middle of the week. To mimic this murmur, Rykert downloaded some restaurant white noise and we started looping it in her room. Again, I'm not really sure if she cares or not. It's a French restaurant (oui,oui) and if you listen carefully, it sounds very French. Perhaps due to her in utero morning and afternoon commutes listening to NPR, NPR on low also seems to soothe her. I think it's that cadence that all NPR shows seem to have, especially This American Life.

Aden & Anais Blankets.

I love these things. Since day zero she's been swaddled in one of these nearly every night.
Baby 02

They are so soft and cozy yet light for summer. They can also be used to shade a stroller, as a nursing cover, a burp cloth, and on and on. These blankets are pretty much everywhere. They also make a heavier blanket, which I may look into for winter. Now that she's moving around a little in her sleep, I've started using the Aden & Anais sleep sacks rather than a swaddle (I purchased mine through a daily deal on Of course it's been so hot, that most nights she's just in a onesie.


I've been looking for fabric similar to these blankets. The closest that I've been able to find is the cotton voile on Spoonflower. I haven't ordered a sample yet, because the print options are overwhelming. Any thoughts on similar fabric?

Monthly Stickers

The interwebs abound with people taking monthly pictures of their babies, and I knew that I wanted to try to do the same. Before Scout was born, I ordered the monthly stickers from Etsy (search Etsy and you will find tons of variations). I didn't realize how fascinating it would be to see the differences.

Scout 1 month - chair 01 Scout 2 months - chair 01 Scout 3 months chair 02
I'm only 3 months in, and it's amazing. I.must.keep.doing.this. I have the pictures printed at work and people love to see her growth. I've also seen projects where people take weekly pictures. I think that would be a fun set of pictures to have, but I just couldn't commit to that. Too much pressure. As it is, it's hard enough to find the one morning a month where I'm home, there's decent light, and she's awake and patient.
There's still some baby gear that we are currently researching:
  • A Jogging Stroller. Rykert is a runner, and once Scout is big enough, he may want to push her along on runs. She has to be a minimum of 6 months, I think, but it will likely be closer to a year. But I do think it would be nice to have a jogging stroller for longer walks this fall, so we're currently doing research. The Bob strollers get rave reviews, but are definitely an investment. I feel like the stroller we pick will get used and abused over the next few years, so the Bob is probably the way to go.
  • A Highchair. We need to find a highchair to replace the bouncy seat solution in the kitchen. In the next couple of months she will be starting solids, but even before that it would be nice to have a chair that reclines a bit so she could use it now and join us in the kitchen. But I'm torn between a plastic chair she could use now with a dishwasher safe tray and reclining action? Or wait a few more months and use a vintage Jenny Lind style highchair that could be painted a funky color (I believe there's one at parent's I could steal) like this? Or wait a little longer and invest in a Stokke?
  • Toys. Scout is just starting to be interested in simple toys. We have a few, but it's hard to know what's a keeper at this point or if we need to find different items. So far the biggest hit has been a homemade crinkly toy I made.

Note: This is not a paid endorsement. All of these items were either purchased by us or given to us as gifts. I'm not getting anything out of this, and I'd tell you if it was. There's just a lot of baby crap on the market so I thought I'd share the things we've found to be helpful.

4 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Meagan said...

This highchair is by no means as cool or vintage as what you posted - but is extremely helpful if you don't want to add another piece of furniture. And if you are looking at something you could use now (that does recline), this is a relatively inexpensive option and then you can always get your Stokke (which of course I didn't even know what that was!) later... I'm sure you've seen it but it's the Space Saver - we use them all the time and they travel quite well which is important too. Here's the link

Aleta said...

I can definitely understand the value of the iPhone. I'm addicted to mine as well and I don't have children ;)

I've always thought those swings look neat, makes you want to be a kid again. My parents didn't have swings like that when I was a kid.... it was "take the baby for a car ride."

Visiting from SITS :)

Melissa said...

Haha. This is my first time reading your blog, but we actually have that exact same swing for our daughter Hannah and she LOVES it! I agree that it's pretty bulky and takes up space, but she loves sleeping in it and I love the different settings it has.

The Mamaroo swing is really expensive! Is it all it's cracked up to be?

Julie @ Pickles and I Scream said...

Just a tip on the swing napping: start getting her to nap somewhere other than the swing soon. We had the same issue and now that she's outgrown the swing, nap time is a huge battle.
We have a BOB and love it (it was a gift) the only thing I don't like about it is that it's huge - it won't fit into my little trunk and it takes up a lot of room to store.

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