Thursday, December 15, 2011

How About Some Unsolicited Baby Shopping Advice From This Mom of Four Who Seems to Think She Knows It All. (I Don't By The Way).

Headed to the Holiday Party

Have I mentioned that my sister is pregnant? (I'm super excited.) (I think it's a girl.)

Anyway, she was asking me about registering for the baby shower this morning, which got me to thinking about all my favorite baby items. And how I have gone through so many things that were awful to get to the good stuff. So, I'm going to share with you the things I love. And a few of the items on my own wish list.*

Infant Car Seat:

For the infant option we have (and love) the Britax Chaperone. This seat is a new addition to our family. Our previous car seat (the Graco SnugRide) expired so we went on the hunt for something new. After discovering the rebound effect when installing my niece's SnugRide (I don't know how we didn't realize this with the first three kids?!), we decided to look for something safer.

I was hoping to find a seat that included a rear latch or tether, but apparently these options are not available in the United States (what the heck?!). So our next best option is a seat with a rebound bar. We looked at the Britax Chaperone and the Combi Shuttle. The Britax is bigger and heavier for about the same price, and I like that the rebound bar is incorporated into the base (less chance of getting baby legs tangled), so it's what we went with. And I love it. My only concern was that it wouldn't fit into our stroller, but it does. Perfectly!

Convertible Car Seats:

For the next step in car seats, we have the Britax Marathon. Again, safety. It just has great reviews. Also, it's a comfortable seat and my kids love them. We are huge proponents of the five point harness, so I love that these are good until seventy pounds. My only complaint is that they're wide, so we can't put three across the very back row of the minivan (although we can get three across the middle row).

The only seat I've come across that does fit three across the back row of a minivan is the Sunshine Radian, which thankfully is also very highly rated on safety, so it's what we will be upgrading to when the baby grows out of her infant seat. I can't give any personal testimony to the Sunshine Radian, as we don't own them yet, but I do love that it is styled more like a booster seat (perfect for the older boys) and that it is good for children up to eighty pounds (my kids will be rolling up to high school in these bad boys).

UPDATE:  This seat is now called the Diono Radian (links have been updated) - we have them and are very happy.  They are a little trickier to install than the Britax seats, but they are SOLID and the boys assure me they are very comfortable!


I cannot say enough good things about Combi strollers. We have the single stroller version as well as the side-by-side double version and we adore both. They are light and fold up tiny, BUT have all the bells and whistles that the giant Cadillac strollers (i.e. lays flat for sleeping, padded seat, front closes for infant use, under carriage storage, large sun shade). Also, it fits other brand infant car seats. This was my biggest concern when first purchasing, since it's a smaller stroller, but they fit fine. In fact, my five year old sits comfortably in the side-by-side when the baby is in her infant seat next to him. (Yes, my five year old still rides in a stroller on occasion. Feel free to judge me.)

Newborn Sleeping:

If you're going to be nursing, then you'll want the baby as close to your bed as humanly possible. Trust me. Minimize the amount of moving you need to do at night. I've done it with the baby across the room, and I've done it with the baby next to me. Not moving is so. much. better. I like a lot of pillows and blankets in the bed, so a co-sleeper doesn't work, fortunately though Graco makes the Bedroom Bassinet which is wonderful.

The Bedroom Bassinet is perfect height that allows me to have baby right up against the bed, but also provides enough protection that my blankets and whatnot won't fall in and smother her. The sun shade is great too because it allows me to watch television after she's gone to sleep without the flickering lights bothering her. Also, I can reach over and pluck her out with almost no effort. They also have the Travel Lite Crib which is very similar (and less expensive), but doesn't provide the storage below.

We are also huge (HUGE!) proponents of white noise. Baby is used to all kinds of noise in utero, so it helps them sleep. And you're probably not used to all the snorts and chortles of a new baby sleeping next to you, so it helps you sleep too. I know a lot of people recommend white noise machines, but we find a simple small fan near the baby's bassinet works great. Also, it's been shown that having a fan in the room reduces the incidence of SIDS. So, bonus.

Speaking of SIDS, I am completely paranoid. With my first three babies I would get up every hour or so and stick my finger under their nose to make sure actual breathing was happening. Not a great system. I learned after the fact about the AngelCare Monitor, and fully intended on getting one with baby number four... until I discovered the Snuza. It's so simple. Clip it onto the diaper and it monitors baby's breathing and movement. If something goes awry, the alarm goes off. Small, simple and easily portable. I do not miss my old system.

Travel Sleeping:

When baby is little, the Bedroom Bassinet is great for travel sleeping because it folds up just like a traditional Pack 'N Play, but as kiddo gets bigger you're going to want another alternative. Like... a traditional Pack 'N Play. Seriously, it's a great buy. My kids have all slept in them until age three when we traveled.

My only suggestion for improvement is to purchase a mattress, as they are not soft surfaces. I can say from experience that my kids sleep much better with the added mattress.


There is no better blanket or swaddler than the Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blankets. They're big, light, breathable, soft, and amazing. I have about ten. And I want more.

Swings and Seats:

As much as you love your baby. And you will love your baby. You are going to want to put her down. You've carried her for nine months, you deserve a break. I have three newborn 'seating' options: the swing, the bouncer, and the rocker. Each one is deserving of accolades. Baby girl swoons and scorns each one on varying occasions. I am very glad to have all three.

The swing we're using, is the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle 'n Swing. It's borrowed, but oh how I wish it were mine. If we have more kids I will buy my own. It's amaaaaaazing.

Our rocker is the Fisher-Price Infant-To-Toddler Rocker. It gets a lot of use here because the big boys like to flip it to rocker position and sit there while they watch television. (Yes, my kids watch television. Continue to judge.)

My beloved bouncer is sadly no longer on the market. This Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer is very similar though.


Pacifiers. Get one of every size and shape. You don't know which they will like, but at 3 am when sissy's been fussing for two hours straight, you'll be darn glad you bought a smorgasbord to try. My little one actually prefers different pacifiers throughout the day. She's a hot mess like that.

Mylicon. There will be gas. You will want this.

UPDATE: Apparently the Mylicon brand doesn't exist anymore, but Little Tummys has one with the same active ingredient (simethicone).  You will want thisssssss.


Dr. Smith's. Best diaper cream ever. I know, it's expensive. But it lasts a long time and it really really really works.

Baby Clothes:

I am a firm (FIRM!) believer in jammies for pretty much the first six (maybe nine?) months of life. Make it easy on yourself and comfortable for baby by just getting a truckload of footie pajamas. Not kidding. My personal favorites are the ones with buttons or zippers up only one leg, that way you can do it in the dark (or half asleep) and not totally screw up.


I know there are legions of moms who swear by Medela breast pumps, but I'm just not one of them. I've had the Avent Twin Electric Breast Pump and the Medela Freestyle Double Breast Pump. The Medela is solidly good, but the Avent is great. It's comfortable, super customizable, and considerably less expensive. Additionally, its parts are interchangeable with the hand pump which I also love.

Your lower back will thank you for the Boppy Pillow. Aside from nursing and bottle feeding, it's also great for another place to stash new baby. And it will come in handy again when she's learning to sit up and you want to help keep her from falling backward. But seriously, your back needs this pillow.

Diaper Bags:

I generally just carry a purse large enough to shove a few extra diapers in, but if you must have a diaper bag (and who am I kidding, of course we all need at least one diaper bag), I highly suggest the SkipHop bag. Lots of pockets, easy to clean fabric, and best of all it has special clips to attach to your stroller. Good stuff. Oh, and it's cute.


We have the Evenflo Snugli front and back carrier, and we genuinely like it. But, I won't lie to you. I'm seriously coveting the Ergo Baby Carrier. Seriously. Coveting. All the folks I know who have it say it is the most comfortable carrier ever and I love that it's rated up to eighty (eighty!!!) pounds. Can you imagine?

UPDATE:  I have officially DITCHED my Snugli carrier and have two (yes, TWO!) Ergo carriers.  They are *amazing* - no, seriously.  AH. MAZE. ING.

High Chair:

Check your vanity and sense of style at the door. Get whatever has the most bells and whistles on it. Much like the swing and bouncer, this will be one more place to park your kiddo while you try to get things done. Or maybe just have a glass of wine. Regardless, get something that is bright and colorful and entertaining. Trust me. I would tell you to get the one we have (it's pretty great), but unfortunately they no longer make it. If I were currently in the market for a high chair though, this Rainforest number by Fisher-Price would be at the top of my list.

*this post is just riddled with affiliate links.

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anymommy said...

Well done. Oh how I loved that ugly safari animals covered bouncy seat!!!

mom2nji said...

I want an Ergo soooo bad!

Ali said...

I love your list-- especially the pj recommendation. I always get a few packages of sleep n' plays for every shower I go to and can't stress enough how awesome they are!

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