Monday, August 5, 2013

The "Other" Baby Essentials: part 1

Anyone who has had a baby (or has shopped for a baby) knows that the amount of "stuff" you can buy for your baby can be extremely overwhelming. And many of us have bought or been gifted things that seemed like great ideas but then are never used. There are few things more frustrating than spending hard earned cash on things that add to the already mounting pile of clutter. So that's why I'm going to do a two part blog post about a few items that I felt were truly essential. (I'm calling this the "Other" Essentials because obviously things like a safe place for the baby to sleep, diapers (consider using cloth!), a car seat, perhaps a portable crib are more of the truly essential items.)

1) A diaper bag - When you first start going out with your little one, you're going to want to bring extra diapers, wipes, maybe a bottle and formula (depending on your feeding preferences), a change of clothes, maybe a pacifier... you get my point. And then when they get older, the kind of stuff changes but somehow the amount doesn't seem to get any less. I would highly recommend trying out a few different kinds of diaper bags before settling on the one you like. I got the diaper bag I've used for the past 5 years and through two kids from a second hand store. Honestly, I don't even like the looks of it but over the years I've bought other cuter diaper bags (I kept the tags on them) and did a side by side comparison as to the amount of "stuff" that I can get in and I always come back to my original. We travel to see family and friends on a fairly regular basis so I need to be able to pack a lot of diapers and wipes, snacks, sippy cups, bibs, books, games, sometimes a portable DVD player in mine so my situation may be a bit different than yours. But since you'll be using this bag on a daily basis, it doesn't hurt to purchase a few, fill them up with the stuff you think you'd most likely use, and see how it all fits. Just remember to keep your receipts!
My ugly, second hand diaper bag (by Andy B)

2) Rear facing mirror for the car - When your baby is still young he or she will need to be in a rear-facing car seat and being able to see your baby while driving or riding can be very reassuring. We've had three different mirrors between the two kids and quite frankly, most of them aren't very good - the reflective surface is all wavy like those Fun House mirrors and they aren't very easy to adjust. However, the Diono mirror we got for E is awesome! The reflective surface is amazing (just like a normal mirror) and it's incredibly adjustable. Plus, it seems like you could install it in any kind of car.
Baby mirror in action (and the reflection really is that clear)

3) Winter Bunting - If you have a baby (or a young child) in the winter months like we did, a warm bunting comes in really handy. A bunting is basically a snowsuit for babies but it has a hood, hand covers, and foot covers all attached so you don't have to scramble around trying to find these accessories as your trying to haul your baby, diaper bag, purse, car keys, cell phone... you get the picture We had a pink version of this one and not only was it super warm and soft, but it looked adorable on E.
I love the feet and the ears on the hood

4) Infant car seat cover - This is another item that is extremely helpful for winter babies. I recommend looking for a car seat cover that you install over the carrier with elastic (like a shower cap) because then you don't have any straps underneath your car seat that could potentially get in the way of the car seat locking into the base. And then easy peasy, you just zip this up around your baby and they'll be nice and warm without the extra bulk of a winter coat that could interfere with the seat belts being tight enough. Two things I really like about these covers is that they are water resistant with a fleece lining, and there is a space for their head to poke out but can be zipped closed if needed. It looks like the main difference between the Deluxe version and the Arctic version is the Arctic version has an attached blanket for swaddling around the baby inside the carrier.
Staying warm in style

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