We celebrated Lydia’s first birthday at the beginning of the month with a picnic on the Mall during the cherry blossom kite festival. We’ve enjoyed the festival since we moved to DC (although some years the rain kept us from staying long) and this year I was thrilled to see that it could coincide with Lydia’s birthday party. She LOVED the kites … and her birthday treats (we caught her more than once grabbing the strawberry shortcake cookies, but hey, it was her day). She also loved wandering around, pointing at flying animals and shapes, dogs lazing on picnic blankets, and her brother and his friends. And as Mike and I took turns tagging along after her, I was struck by how she’s not a baby anymore. She’s most assuredly a toddler.
So the last couple weeks, I’ve been clearing out baby equipment that we no longer need, the Ergo last week, the baby bullet, bundleme, and jumperoo this week. As one does when one is spring cleaning, I got reflective and thought back to the items we considered indispensable. And since I know several people who are pregnant or recently had babies, I figured I’d share.
Ergo. I loved this baby carrier; Mike did not. But I think Mike was averse to baby carriers in general, not specifically this one. Because this one has great support. I tried a couple others, and none compared. We had the original version, not the 360, and I could wear each baby for hours at a time.
Footed pjs that zip. This is kind of a trivial one, but it is so much easier to zip pjs than button or snap them, especially in the middle of the night. I understand there are health reasons why snaps and buttons are practical, but absent those, zippers are the way to go.
Velcro miracle blanket. Another item that makes life in the wee hours of the morning a tad easier, this blanket offers a foolproof way to swaddle. You wrap it around your baby the same way every time and it’s secure. Little arms and legs can’t escape.
Noise machine. We are not brand loyal; in fact, we don’t love the one we’re using right now. (The weather sounds are not identifiable; they remind me more of static than rain or wind; however, the classical music is lovely.) And when we’re away from home, the noise app on our phones does the job. But music and nature sounds help both our kids get to sleep and stay asleep.
Playtex advanced ventaire bottles. We first tried Dr. Brown’s (a set was part of our buying spree the weekend after we got “the call” about Teddy), but we didn’t like the feel. So these were our second try, and we never looked back. We even saved them for Lydia, and when she finished with them (at the end of March), we gave them to a friend. We liked their angle and the gasket technology to prevent air from entering.
Dishwasher basket. And if you go with those bottles, you must have this basket. It makes cleaning said bottles a breeze. Otherwise, ensuring all those little parts are sanitized is such a hassle.
Jeep backpack diaper bag. We used a regular over-the-shoulder diaper bag for Teddy, but as someone that travels predominantly by bus and metro (including walking a lot), I hated it. It was so unwieldy. When we brought Lydia home, I searched online for a backpack option, and this is the one I decided on…and fell in love with. It’s fantastic. It has pockets for everything, and fits a ton. It’s perfect during the summer, when I’m carting around necessities for both kids. My only complaint is that the top crescent zipper sticks a lot, so I’m often unable to open that pocket one-handed. Small price to pay for an otherwise super convenient bag, though.
Brooklyn bamboo hooded baby towel. We received hooded towels as gifts when we brought Teddy home, but not when we brought Lydia home, so I purchased a three-pack of terry cloth towels. And quickly discovered again that you get what you pay for. They’re so thin, they don’t provide much warmth once they’ve absorbed the bath water. So back online I went in search of a plusher towel. This one had great reviews, and we concur. It’s thick and warm and long, so it’ll last a while. And I will probably order more for baby shower gifts.
Travel bath lily. I never liked the baby wash cloths or the animal mitts for washing. I never felt like I could get a good grip with them. But a mini bath lily, you can grasp without it scrunching up in your hand. And they suds up delightfully. Teddy, 4 1/2, can use it himself now to wash up. We did have to teach both children not to pull the fabric with their teeth, though.
LED nightlights. These are the best. They cast a soft glow, but it’s strong enough to see what you’re doing.
Formula dispenser. This is perfect for on-the-go. Pops into the diaper bag and pours out easily. We’ve made a bottle everywhere: in the car, on the bus, on the metro, in the middle of the sidewalk. The only tricky part is remembering how much formula you put in each compartment, if you’re switching from 4 oz to 6 oz.
Snack caterpillar. This particular one is much nicer than the one we have, but it works the same. Also, I’m seeing now that it’s called a “snack-a-pillar” — and we thought we were so clever with our nickname. It fits a decent amount of three kinds of snacks. Anything works, but dry foods maintain their texture/temperature best. We take this everywhere.
Noni cuddles bibs. Amazon suggested these to me as I was searching for a bib. And I decided to try them because they were listed as $15 — marked down from $40! Currently, they’re $14, so even cheaper. I have no idea if they actually retail elsewhere for $40 (I don’t know how Amazon works that way), but I figured for $15 for two, it couldn’t hurt to try. And I’m so glad I did. We love these bibs. They’re silicon and they clean so easily. The best part is there are no seams to catch crumbs or grow mold, which happened too often with the bibs we used with Teddy. My only complaint is that they could be wider, to offer more coverage.
Mesh for the crib. I was inspired to search for this because Lydia kept getting her legs stuck between the crib slats and waking up crying. This mesh took care of that. And it’s breathable, so no worrying about suffocation.