Posts Tagged ‘baby gear’

Tips for Buying a Highchair

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

10-21-16-high-chair-option-1While some baby products regularly make the “didn’t need that” lists, a high chair proves one of the most enduring baby gadgets found in almost every home where a baby dwells. These days many are shaped and customized for more than just feeding in mind.

A few things to consider:

Do you want a chair that will last just until baby can sit at the table with you, or one that might transition well into the preschool years? Will you need a durable chair that will last multiple children or just to use every once in a while at grandma’s house?

Do you have a preference for wood or plastic? Plastic options tend to be less expensive, but wooden high chairs these days often boast the ability to multi-function over the years from baby seat to booster to full-size chair that can hold an adult’s weight that can pull up to any table, including an office desk.

Safety first!
Though listed third in this list safety is of upmost importance. Make sure there is a crotch post and five-point harness to ensure baby is fully secure. If the chair has wheels or reclining options, make sure they lock securely. Chairs also can meet specific standards of safety, noted by a ASTM sticker label.

Special features.
I’ve mentioned some mulit-functioning features already. We used our basic seat before baby was ready to eat as a way to, for short periods of time, play sitting up once she was stable enough to enjoy the view. If you need a chair to assist with bottle feeding, look for options that can slightly recline. Some, particularly wooden options, offer height adjustments to accommodate larger children.

Where will it be used?
If you need an on-the-go option consider a seat like Chicco’s hook-on seats that clip directly onto the most tables. If you plan to pull baby up to your table, do you have a standard height table or taller? Some high chairs are made to fit onto most dining chairs, like the Fisher Price Space Saver.

How much space?
Like the Chicco and Fisher Price options listed above there are small, space-saving options if you don’t have much room. Some designs are so sleek, like the Stokke Tripp Trapp, they can fit to the table and are versatile enough to be used as a seat in the office or stand as furniture in the corner of the living room. Note some high chairs may appear large and bulky, but easily fold to a small, manageable size that can easily stow away.

Is it easy to use/clean?
Babies and messes go hand in hand, especially for those years they sit in a high chair. You want a smooth surface that is easy to wipe down, and removable parts (like its tray and any cloth material) are particularly useful. Also test the various buckles and latches to ensure they work to your liking. A frustrating buckle will still be there day after day of use, so make sure you like the functionality of the design details.

New or Used.
The perks of a new chair mean you get the cleanest and possibly most innovative product to date. Used options often sell for very low prices on buy/sell/trade pages and in the online classifieds like Craigslist. Before buying used grab the model number and date (usually located on a sticker on the chair) and check online to ensure the chair was not recalled. Wash the material and wipe your chair down well. Good as new!

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

My Pregnancy: Week 31

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Week 31

Last week I took note of some our best investments in baby supplies. Bang for our personal buck, we used those items substantially in each child’s infancy. This list comprises the opposite. I could go on and on (and on…) about all the items we never needed but let’s stick with the big stuff. At this time in pregnancy, many families are putting together their registry. A few things we absolutely did not get our money’s value out of include:

Receiving blankets: To be fair I must disclose we use these daily still. I cut them into 9×9 squares and serged the edges. They serve as napkins and small, thin towels as hankies or for small daily messes. Our babes were born too big to swaddle in them and we prefer the muslin swaddle options due to softness and thinness (great in the warm south especially). I know some will cut these and use as cloth wipes for diaper time. Again, I found them inferior as they did not absorb water well and mostly slid poop across baby’s bum instead of cleaning it off.

Glider: We heard so many wonderful things about the glider. We spent an afternoon sitting in chair after chair at two different stores and invested in the more expensive glider with a higher back. At almost $400 I wish we’d just invested in a living room recliner. The gliding function seemed to wobble over time and was difficult to tighten. Once our first son was mobile the spindles on the glider proved more of a hazard for him to put his hands and fingers into, potentially causing harm. He was able to easily undo the latch that stabilized the chair still. The cushions also seemed flat far sooner than what our investment deserved. As a nursing mom and c-section mom, I did like having a footstool though.

Activity mat: I think these are hit or miss with babies. We tried using it with both boys because, well, someone spent a solid fifty bucks on it. It seemed rude to not try the toy in spite of the boys having no interest. I know other people love theirs for tummy time. We finally parted with it to another family interested in trying it out. We figure a blanket, a few small toys, and this baby’s brothers may be all the entertainment she needs while on the ground.

Clicking the infant carrier in was a handy feature, but the small plastic wheels only did great on very smooth concrete or in places like the mall, a place we visit about twice a year. Again, not very useful. Interested in returning to an active lifestyle we purchased the jogging stroller and never looked back. We found the larger wheels of the jogger worked great for durability and smoothness of ride on all services and at all speeds. Many joggers recline to accommodate a newborn baby or infant seat (beware of need to keep baby’s neck and head stable if using for jogging purposes in early months and know that not all joggers are newborn friendly).

More than one stroller: By 6 months in we had too many strollers. We had the very light-weight, inexpensive one to have in the car “just in case.” We literally never used it. We found ourselves gravitating to wearing baby instead. Then there was the stroller that worked specifically with the infant carrier.

Quilt/crib skirt/bumpers: The quilt hangs on the wall mostly for the consolation that we did not waste all of 100 dollars on this nursery package that served us no other use. Bumpers are dangerous. Just a few sheets are all we needed and a couple of different weight blankets.

Fancy gates: We have one gate that we used maybe 10 times in 4 years of parenting two children. We don’t have stairs or animals or things we need to prohibit our children from overall in our house which may be a factor for others. Instead of gates we made our home profoundly kid-friendly. We have few breakable items, all up high.Furniture is secure to the wall and child-friendly. If we need to corral a kiddo for any length of time we utilize the crib or swing for a couple of minutes.

Nosefrida: Maybe my kids just weren’t that sick. Maybe I’m heartless and don’t mind watching my kids feel discomfort. I never used any bulb sucker or any fancier version over the course of the first two children. That said, neither kiddo had more than the common cold until well over age one. Time will tell with #3.

Fancy baby bath and clothing: We were too focused on just making it through the night to worry with lotions, potions, bath thermometers, and cutesy bath rags. As we stayed mostly home for the first few weeks of life (months really), we had almost no need for outfits that involved jeans or shoes and mostly used onesies, shirts, and a few layette gowns. Beyond the 3 months size, we only needed one or two “special” outfits to make it through that first year.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and four. She enjoys the finer things in life, like compression socks and a full night’s rest.

My Pregnancy: Week 30

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Week 30We made a list this week of the few things we want to pick up before this baby arrives. With the first baby the list was quite long, filled with must-haves from all the top lists. With baby number two, our parents and a few friends purchased us a little something, and with baby number three we’ve spent almost nothing. As the stores are full of 30-week pregnant women finishing up their registries, I’ll offer our take on the a few of the things that were worth every penny and used all three babes. More importantly I’ll say why they worked for us. Next week I’ll take note of those things that just weren’t for us.

Crib and pack ‘n play: I’ve seen people put the crib on their list of useless items. Not the case for us! We’ve kept all the babes in our bedroom until they were sleeping through the night (8-10 weeks for us). The pack ‘n play served our purposes just fine and was clutch for numerous trips to grandparents, friends, hotels, and even outside. Co-sleeping works for many. I nursed at night but didn’t have space for baby in bed. I found I (and possibly baby) get better rest when baby is a few feet away in the crib. The crib also has kept each of our kids safe and comfy in their rooms until beyond age two, and I imagine this will be the same for baby three.

I am very excited and wish I’d known about it with the other babes. It’s small enough to go right by the couch, chair, or our bed (and comes with secure attachments). It also has a short, secure drop down side that I hope will ease the transitions for me as a c-section mama in those first weeks. With two older kids, I also appreciate the “mini” size and wheels that allow me to safely move her to a quiet space in our house with ease for nap time.

Swing: The rock ‘n play and other gadgets are also on the market now but we pulled out our trusty old Graco swing from 2011 that only swings in one direction for all three babies. It’s an oldie and a goodie for a reason in this house and includes a vibrating bouncer with the click of a button. Hubby loves to swing the babe manually (it also swings itself with motor) and as baby grows, the seat can be less reclined to offer a great view of the room. If I had an extra $150 perhaps I would prefer a model that didn’t have the classic swing style where my sons could possibly catch their arms but this is unlikely and was not an issue up to this point.

Cloth diapers: Two cloth diapers of ours have worn out but the rest (in a moderately large stash of 60) made it from previous babes to this last one. We use disposables sometimes but, especially those exclusively breastfed six months, enjoy the ease of washing cloth. We even invested in some smaller diapers (either size small/one or newborns that fit to 15 pounds) and used them plenty even on our babes born nine and ten pounds at birth.

Carriers: We used a wrap for those first few months and look forward to using it again to keep our sanity especially in the evening hours as the house bustles with dinner and bedtime routines. After much research I chose a CatBird pikkolo soft structured carrier in 2011 and it will see us through baby three. Once babe had head stable we came to prefer the structured carrier for all carrying.

Changing table: A lot of people will say it’s not necessary and that may be the case for you too. You can change a baby anywhere really (and you probably will!). We like the changing table because it offers storage for cloth diapers and baby things. It also is at a great height for daddy whose injury-prone back can’t just plop on the floor with little effort.  We still use it in spite of not really having a babe in diapers to change toddler’s clothes. It also stores two toy bins on the bottom shelf. The only thing I may have preferred over the changing table would be a dresser that could also serve as a changing table space. We already had a dresser and did not have the money to invest in this more expensive piece of furniture, so the changing table has served us well for multiple children.

Simple monitor: Also not necessary, especially as we live in a home about 1000 square feet. I liked the monitor though because it allowed me to pick up on early cues of a waking baby instead of waiting until baby was yelling or crying loudly for me. We bought the most basic monitor as the bells and whistles of video and other perks were unnecessary for our purposes.

Nursing support pillow: I invested in a new pillow this third time around as the two previous babes flattened our previous pillow out a bit. This one also has an additional inch or two of height and support. I found the nursing pillow critical in those first few months with a c-section. As I am taller, I also found myself hunched over midnight hour after midnight hour without it. Once we hit 3ish months I found I could sit more relaxed to nurse without it, but the pillow was crutch to our nursing success in those early months.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and three. She enjoys the finer things in life, like compression socks and a full night’s rest.

My Pregnancy: Week 17

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

We were first pregnant in the spring of 2011. Just the other evening hubby and I were noticing a few things that have changed in such a short period of time. These musings are not so much an all-encompassing list of trends so much as a reminder to you, mama—the parenting world is always coming up with some new gadget, technology, or trend. Whether you buy into the newest thing or pass it by, know your awesomeness is timeless.

Baby GearScreen Shot 2015-11-22 at 4.05.38 PM

Baby gear is getting cooler; it is also becoming more fantastical. There are pack ‘n plays that open with the touch of a single button. I find this entirely unnecessary, but I am impressed by the cool new swings that now swivel and move in a circular motion, among other things. The baby rocker has been all the rage lately, many touting the Rock ‘n Play to be the sleep solution for those babes particularly eager to fight his or her zzzz’s. We’ll probably keep our old-style swing that goes just one way (and turns into a vibrating-optional bouncer!), but I may or may not have spent an hour looking at the reviews and picking out which model I prefer in the new rocker.

The mini-crib and bassinet have gotten a few updates, making some models more co-sleeping friendly than just a few years ago. For example, swivel sleeper designs are getting a big push in mommy circles. As I’ve had two C-sections and will soon have another, this design is enticing but we’re opting to save our pennies (a lot of them) by using what we already have. I could justify buying into a few of these new updates but turns out timeless classics, like the old-school swing, are timeless for a reason.

My Pregnancy Week 17Gender Reveal Parties

I’m going to go out on a limb and just say I don’t quite get the practice of “gender reveals,” or more accurately, sex reveal announcements and parties. I think my observation here is how trendy having a baby has become. In random daydreams I wonder if the baby industry saw how lucrative the wedding industry was and found a way to amplify everything. Then social media magnified things even more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to hear someone else’s exciting news, but I also think this intensified anticipation about baby-ness contributes to the intensity of being pregnant.

After we found out the sex of each child, we called our parents and then texted or emailed our siblings and a few friends. That is way less stressful and low-key to me than a party, a photo shoot, or being surprised in front of a lot of people.  This may mostly reflect my style. I’m more introverted and subtle when it comes to my personal life (not so much when it comes to, for example, social justice issues). Whether the doctor tells me or I cut a cake, whether it’s at 14, 20, or 40 weeks—in all of the scenarios it’s an exciting, surprising moment.

We all have different ways of communicating things, and I appreciate that others enjoy the creativity and planning involved in sex reveal announcements.  Some have waited so long to be expecting that everything is worth celebrating! Continue on! It is, though, one example of how babies have become a trendy, share-worthy business lately.


Other eco-friendly, attachment parenting, what-have-you “trends,” like cloth diapering, might also fit into this category. I remember I was the first with a Moby, Baby Bjorn still only had the original, slim-seated model, and many of the popular brands—like Boba, Beco, and Ergo—had only their most basic styles. Tula was just a city in Russia. Baby wearing and other such things are more mainstream, seen much more often (though this may not be the case everywhere).  This last trend is one I’m definitely on board with!

Annie is a mom of a two- and three-year-old who finally is enjoying the full spectrum of food again. Hurrah and huzzah!