Thursday, January 24, 2013

wrapping up babyhood

While sometimes Margot still is a baby more and more she's becoming a toddler. I have very mixed feelings about this transition. As I think is true with all parents you always love the age/stage they are entering. It's fun, new and amazing to see your child learn and grow. But it's also really hard for me to say good bye to having a baby. And since Chris and I may not have another child this might be the only baby stage we go through. But there are good things about this transition too...hello 12 hours stretches of sleep!!! Another nice perk is less baby gear. I wish I could say all of the baby gear is gone for good but alas it's mostly just in our garage. Hopefully this summer we will do another massive overhaul of the garage and we can pass on, get rid of and sell some of it. But I wanted to do a post on what we found we really needed Margot's first year. This will be an obnoxiously long post partly for my own record keeping and partly for those of you reading who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. Unless that's you feel free to skip over this one.

Tiny Baby Margot: Remembering tiny baby Margot a few things stand out, exhaustion, holding her all the time, swaddling and excruciating nipple pain. I did an exhaustive product review at three months which you can find here. Month's later here are the things that still stand out:
  • ergo with infant insert: I wore Margot for hours each day this thing was a must
  • swaddle me infant swaddlers: when we finally did get Margot into her own bed these were a must
  • activity gym: this was one of the few ways we could set Margot down and she used it pretty consistently from 2 months-5.5/6 months
  • bouncy seat: Margot only tolerated this for short periods of time but it was the only way showers happened
  • medela pump in style breast pump: I HATED pumping but it was necessary and since I nursed Margot until she was just over a year I did a lot of pumping
  • medela bottles, snow flow nipples
  • boppy pillow: with removable slip cover and a spare cover, for those really early months when you spend 1/2 your time nursing these are great
  • lots of soft cotton footed pj's or sleep n' plays: while I loved dressing Margot up when we were at hope she mostly wore these
  • lots and lots of short sleeve white onsies: especially since Margot was a winter baby she wore these under everything and while she slept in the bed with us she slept in them too
  • lots of soft hats and warm blankets: again winter baby
  • Graco snug and ride travel system (car seat/stroller): we are actually still using this car seat although we are about ready to move her to her big one. I like this car seat stroller a lot for us. I think a car seat that snaps out of the base is a must and this one is easy and affordable with very high safety ratings. However, we almost never use the stroller we usually just use the ergo. If I used a stroller a lot I would definitely upgrade the stroller.
  • For me as a new mom: soft comfy nursing tanks, I like the motherhood maternity ones which I got at Macy's, APNO medicated nipple cream, medela disposable nursing pads, a really nice soft comfy cotton robe that you feel somewhat pretty in
Big Baby Margot: This was when things started to get fun. There were toys, first foods, it was summer, we played outside although I seem to remember there was still a lot of not sleeping and pumping. At this point we were still using the ergo, car seat/stroller and breast pump. We had retired bouncy seat, activity gym, boppy, infant inserts on both ergo and car seat.
  • Antilop high chair with tray: we love love love this high chair. Not only that but all the grandparents also have this high chair for when Margot is over and they all love it too. And what's not to love. It's cute, modern, colorful (ours is red), 25 dollars and easy to clean. We still use it and we still LOVE IT!
  • board books: oh Margot can't get enough of board books. This started pretty much as soon as she could sit on her own and look at them and it's still probably her favorite toy. At this age though the smaller shorter ones were key as her attention span was shorter and smaller books were easier for her to maneuver
  • stacking toys: about the time she could sit up that was all she wanted to do and so her toys of choice really changed too. Stacking toys, blocks, magnetic toys and rattles were big hits.
  • teething toys: Margot was big on Sophie, also bright teething rings, toy key ring and this funny rubber rattle I called Gerald
  • basket to sort toys: once Margot could sit up she loved to simply move her toys around and sort them so a basket or two of toys kept her entertained for a long time
  • cute bibs: this was the stage where she had to wear a bib constantly. Simply cotton bibs in lots of colors were my favorite. We got a pack of 10 at babies r us and there was always one to match her outfit
  • mini chopper: as Margot started to eat solids I made most of her baby food and my mini chopper (an attachment to my immersion blender) was great for mashing up her food
  • Ella's kitchen organic baby food: this has been our favorite brand of store bought baby food
  • exersaucer and Johnny jump up: both of these were handy. My Mom kept the exersaucer at her house to use during the day and I kept the jump up in my room for when I was getting ready for work. However I think we could have gotten by without them and Margot never was in them for very long periods of time.
And now...Our 14 month Old Margot: Most of the items from above are packed away now. Exception still being car seat/stroller, Ergo and high chair. At 14 months here are the things we use everyday.
  • sippy cups, baby utensils and dishes: Margot wants to mimic us in every way, especially eating. She has her own set of pretty plastic dishes (from ikea), baby utensils and a plethora of sippy cups and she likes to use them. When she's done eating she very politely hands me her plate so I can take it away. She drinks milk, water and homemade chicken broth from her sippy cup and is completely done with bottles.
  • Toys: I feel like this stage is all about the toys. She loves wooden puzzles, blocks, large Lego's and stacking toys. We love Melissa and Doug toys and she has a Noah's ark they make which is one of her favorites right now. She really likes her rocking moose. She has a toy grocery cart at my Mom's which she pushes around the house with her toys inside and she has plastic food that goes with it that she likes to play with. She is starting to color with crayons and so far doing very well not eating them:) She also likes to play with dolls and this might be the cutest thing ever. She gets a doll and she rocks it, hugs it and in once case where the doll has a bottle she pretends to feed the doll a bottle.
  • books: She still loves board books and is showing a lot more interest in regular picture books as well. She can sit through much longer stories now which is nice.
  • outerwear: now that she's really too big to keep under a blanket a warm coat is a must. During Thanksgiving weekend we were able to go to the Columbia employee store where my inlaws generously bought her a Columbia brand baby fleece coat that we love and a warmer Columbia omni heat coat. We have lots of cute winter hats and a firm rule about keeping them on when we are outside. We also have a couple of pairs of mittens, which to my delight she is very good about wearing. We are still trying to figure out the best shoes for this age. She has a pair of Minnetonka moccasins which she wears most days. I need to go get her another pair of shoes that she can walk outside in.
  • convertable car seat: we are about to move Margot into this car seat. I've been holding off because I love being able to easily transfer her to her crib when she's fallen asleep in the car. Also the weather has been so nasty and I like being able to keep her snuggled up in her seat when I bring her to and from. Technically she still fits in her Graco but we are getting close to the limit and will probably move her up in the next month or so. This Britax is a little spendy :( but has such high safety ratings and product reviews that it was a pretty clear choice.
Stuff that didn't work for us:
  • Bjorn: initially we had both the Bjorn and the ergo but after about three months the Bjorn just didn't work. I like the front facing feature but it just killed my back and it never felt as secure
  • swing: I know for some families the swing is a life saver but Margot never took to the swing and it was just big and bulky
  • baby bath tub: I only used this for about 6 weeks and even then I think a towel at the bottom of the sink is just as easy
  • bumbo: I just never got one and I really didn't miss it
  • nursing covers: I had one, it never really worked for us and I just used a large blanket
  • pacifier: Again I know this is a must for some families but we never used one and the few times we tried Margot would have none of it!
If I were to do it again:
  • We started out using Johnson's baby products but have since switched to the brand baby carrots. I didn't discover this brand until Margot was 4-5 months old but now I much prefer it. And their diaper ointment is amazing!
  • Nicer camera: before Margot was born upgrading our camera just wasn't an option. However for Christmas this year we did get a DSLR and the difference in quality is astonishing. Looking back I wish we'd been able to get one of these cameras before she was born
  • video monitor: we never got a monitor because we live in a tiny house and we could always hear Margot fine, plus she slept in our room until she was 5 months old. However I think I would reconsider if we had another kid. Once we started sleep training it would have been really nice to be able to see if she was sitting/standing in her crib or lying down. So many times I went in because I thought she was standing and couldnt' figure out how to lay back down when really she was laying down and my going in only derailed her going back to sleep on her own
  • co-sleeper: we opted for a very pretty cradle. I love it, it's beautify but Margot didn't sleep in it until she was 3 months old and then we only used it for two months. I think she would have done much better with a co-sleeper attached to the bed. I think that would have allowed us to move her into her own bed much quicker and easier.
Disclaimer: obviously these are just the things that worked for us and our baby. Each family/baby is different. But I find it so helpful to read what worked for people and I know it helped me create our registry. Plus in the event we do have another baby it will be nice for me to know I have an exhaustive list out there somewhere since it's so easy to forget.

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