It seems that the 6 month to 1 year time period marks a whole new world of baby stuff. Everything we had been using and loving sort of fell by the wayside, as Piper's growth and new abilities left us with different needs than before. The main difference is that around 6 months, babies start to eat, and sit up. This means...you have to feed them. And keep them from tipping over. And...well...that's about it. Thank goodness there is gear to help!
Here are some of our favs:
- Travel high chair - We have a regular Ikea high chair in the kitchen, but we found having one you can keep in the car to be super helpful. We've brought ours to picnics, friend's houses, and less than child friendly restaurants- so convenient! My one caution is that the design of ours doesn't work with all tables...if the table has a lip underneath, the c-clamps won't latch on properly. I've thought about trying other types (Like this one from Chicco?) to see if they're any better. But the general concept is pretty awesome (Plus we look for ours second hand, so we're only out $25 or so if it's not perfect). We actually use ours every day on the dining room table, so that we can keep the high chair in the kitchen for breakfast and snacks. (two “real” highchairs would be overkill, but not having to move either one is pretty convenient.)
- Baby food pouches (favorites are Plum and Earth’s best)- We started feeding Piper with mostly solid foods (vs. baby purees), and I toyed around with the idea of making my own baby food, but I’ve never really gotten my act together with it. My sister recommended these pouches before I was even pregnant, and now I have to say- HOW DID PEOPLE RAISE BABIES BEFORE THESE WERE INVENTED?!!?!?! Seriously....they’re my favorite thing. Piper will eat just about anything as long as it comes in a pouch (I mean, she’ll eat a lot of things anyway...but anything in a pouch). Plus she can hold them herself (she was able to do that from the jump. I guess she was born to eat) so I don’t have to hassle trying to force a spoon into her mouth. They’re easy to throw in my purse, and will keep her happy for the crucial 15 minutes before our food arrives at a restaurant. Downside? Price. I refuse to pay more than $1 a pop- so I wait for the 10 for $10 sale at Babies R Us, and stock up like a hoarder. (I'm thinking about trying out some reusable pouches and making my own concoctions? Something like these or these might work....)
- Dishwasher safe labels- Daycare requires everything to be labeled, so for the first few months that meant we were constantly writing on things with sharpies. (they say permanent, but daily use/dishwasher cycles really test a marker’s limits). My mom got these for me for Christmas, and they’ve been awesome. They stay on perfectly, and haven’t worn a bit over the last three months. Plus the daycare ladies think we’re the most organized, genius parents around, so that’s a bonus. Plus-plus, Piper somehow learned that the labels say her name, so when we point and ask her to “read” them, she says “Bie-bo!” (her adorable rendition of Piper...) Cutest ever. (I actually just ordered some more for baby #2- no...she's not named yet, we just went with "Bowden". Use code "referral" to save 20%!)
- Clear mat- It turns out babies are messy. When we first put Piper’s high chair in the dining room, we realized quickly we needed to protect the floor, or say goodbye to the rug. So for the first few weeks we laid trash bags down under her chair, but that wasn’t exactly the best option. We finally got out to the store to pick up this simple mat...the only version without licensed characters all over it. (Why do we need Mickey on our dropcloth?)
- Snack cup- When you become a mom you quickly become an expert in finding the one or two things that will keep your kid quiet and happy in emergencies. For some kids that’s a blanket, or a pacifier. For Piper? It’s food. She loves cheerios or “puffs” (basically expensive flavored cheerios), so being able to chuck this cup at her in the car saves us many a cranky ride. I won’t lie to you though- the lid doesn’t actually keep them contained...it pretty much just prevents them from spilling out if she tilts the cup. She manages to make her own mess by shoving her hand in, grabbing a fistful and yanking it back out, sending puffs flying everywhere. But she’s happy. So I am too. Even if there is puff dust all over my car.
- Duck bath tub-In the beginning we used one of those plastic recliner type tubs, which was great, until Piper could sit up, and need a bit more room to stretch her legs. We could have just set her in the tub, but all that water for a little tyke was overkill. I loved how fast the duck would fill up, and how it kept her from slipping around in the tub. She loves that it quacks (she thinks it works if you hit him on the head...but I may have helped her out by pressing the sensor in his beak). It does take up half our bathroom closet (we left it inflated at all times) but he’s pretty cute, so I don’t mind.
- Bath Animals-They are about a million bath toys out there, but I love this set. They’re cute, quirky, and you can squirt each other with them. Piper’s not a huge bath lover, so distracting her with a monkey or two is a necessary step.
- Stacking Cup Set- She love playing with these (in and out of the bath) and they’re incredibly helpful when trying to wash shampoo out of her hair. We do have to keep an eye on her to make sure she’s not drinking the bath water though....Why is that so tempting for kids? Yuck.
- Night light- We originally had one of those “plug right into the wall” kind, but after a few months of bending behind the chair with a baby on my hip to turn it on (or poking the switch with my toe) I realized we needed a better option. I’m obsessed with this little mushroom. It has a cord to charge, but then you can sit it anywhere, and simply push the top to turn it on. Love.
- Diaper Genie Elite-We did without this “registry necessity” for the first half a year. But then? Piper began to eat solid food. And her semi-harmless baby poop turned into full out harmful human poop. Enter- Diaper Genie. I know people balk at the expensive custom refills- I was hesitant to get one, thinking we could save SO MUCH MONEY buy using a regular trash can with regular bags. But guess what? Regular trash cans, with regular bags stink. I’d need to be saving a lot of money to make that worth it. And then I’d probably spend it all on air freshener anyway. And now that we have one? I’ve barely noticed how much we have to change the bags (and by “we” I mean Dustin. He’s the poopsmith of the family). We’re certainly not bleeding out money on it. (P.s. Spring for the elite model. It’s got a foot pedal and the design greatly reduces how much you have to actually handle the dirty diapers. Worth the $5 upcharge)
- Alphabet mats-You know I tried to resist the primary colored explosion that seemed to be inevitable with kids. But then Piper started sitting, and it seemed weird, (and unsafe) to just plop her on the floor. So we bought a set of these puzzle piece mats and made a few dedicated “zones” around the house, where she could sit with her toys and be 5% safer if she tipped over (not sure they’re saving her life, but they do add a little bit of cushion at least...) Now that she’s running all over the house, we’ve kept them in her play corner as a landing pad for all of her toys.
- Maclaren Quest Sport Stroller - She loves this thing! Has never ever cried to get out of it. That my friends is as ringing of an endorsement as you’ll ever get. It’s light, it’s easy to maneuver, I wish it came with a cupholder or two....and there’s my review. Simple.
- Fenugreek-Alright, we’re getting down to the real nitty gritty here...But let’s be real. Pumping while working full time is a labor of love. Especially in the 6-12 month zone when the baby is starting to eat more food, and the desire to pump regularly begins to wane. (I mean, if that desire was ever truly there. For me, it was more of a necessary evil). I struggled a bit to keep up my supply as Piper grew, and my lactation consultant recommended Fenugreek capsules. You have to take like 9 a day, and they do make you smell a little like syrup...but that’s not all bad, right? I’m grateful for remedies like this that made it possible for me to nurse Pips for a full year. (A goal that was important to me. But to each her own, etc. etc. no judgy-face.)
- Hair bows- Just because everyone asks...Piper’s little felt bows are from the cutest little etsy shop (look for “newborn baby girls bitty hair clip felt bow collection”). Yes, you can make your own...but c’mon, support handmade, and spend the extra 15 minutes with your babe.
So there you have it: What got Piper (ok, us) through the second half of her inaugural year on earth. Anybody have things we missed out on? (Turns out we're going to get another shot at this whole baby thing!) I'd love to hear what worked for you!
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