Favorite Baby Things: Take Two!

As a blogger who writes about parenting, I think of the questions I get asked the most is  — where did you get that?  From high chairs to strollers to sippy cups, parents are always searching for the best items to fit with both their family and their budget.

The thing about second babies is that they need much, much less.  In fact, I bought Graham almost nothing new prior to his birth.  But since his arrival I’ve found some new favorite things I didn’t use (or know about!) the first time around, and so I thought I’d share them with you guys.  It’s the holiday season, so maybe you’re looking for gift ideas for a new mom or dad in your life.  Or maybe you are a new parent yourself!  Either way, I hope it is useful. 

I’ve written plenty here (and on Babble!) before about some of our favorite baby and toddler goods.  This list includes one or two things we used last time that we’re still finding invaluable this time around.  But mostly, it’s all new to this second round of parenting a new baby.  Here are my favorite new items for babies (and parents!):

BABY CARRIERS

1.  Ergobaby Carrier & Infant Insert

This qualifies as both an old favorite and a new favorite.  I used the Original Ergobaby carrier with Cullen, and he practically lived in it.  I didn’t have the infant insert, so I used a handy blanket roll-up trick (that I demonstrated in this video) instead.  I figured it worked just as well!  Ignorance is bliss?

This time around, I was lucky enough to get to sample a number of different baby carriers for a roundup piece I did over on Babble.  This included the Organic Ergo with Infant Insert – Bundle of Joy.  Now that I’ve had a chance to actually use the infant insert, I love it! 

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While my blanket trick provided the needed boost under baby’s bum, the insert provides a lot of extra side and back padding that I was missing with Cullen.  I find that using the infant insert, I feel much more comfortable having Graham outside when it’s cold or windy, as he’s protected on all sides and snuggled down deep and cozy in the carrier.  I am sad that he’s almost outgrown it already!

2.  J.J. Cole Stretch Agility Carrier

This is another carrier I got to sample from the company, and I absolutely love it.  It is similar to a Moby Wrap in that it’s best as a newborn carrier and is made of stretchy, thin fabric that wraps around the baby.  But unlike the Moby, the Agility carrier has a supportive back panel sewn to two loops that wrap around the front, rather than a yard of bulky fabric that is confusing and hard to put on in public.

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Putting this on could not be easier, and Graham fits into it so snugly.  I love wearing it in the house when he is fussy, and I often throw it into my diaper bag to take with me in case I need to wear him during a play date or trip out of the house.  Love, love, love this.  (Bonus points for being much more affordable than some of the other carriers). 

CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES

Since Graham and Cullen were born in the exact same season (and luckily were similar sizes!), I didn’t really need to buy him any new clothes.  It is so nice to be able to reuse everything we already have!  But we did get some gifts from family and friends, and through that I discovered some new-to-me brands and products…

1.  Magnificent Baby Clothing & Accessories

I discovered this brand when I was in a Seattle baby boutique, looking for a “coming home” outfit for Graham to wear home from the hospital.  Moms – are you ready for this?  Instead of snaps or a zipper, the closures on the footies and onesies are actually MAGNETS.  I feel like you have to see it in action to understand how awesome it is – you literally just bring the two pieces of fabric together and it automatically closes itself tight.  Absolute genius.

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The fabric is soft and comes in adorable patterns and an assortment of different styles.  I bought these kite pajamas for Graham to wear home from the hospital, as well as the elephant set pictured above. 

2.  Zutano Baby Fleece Booties

Without a doubt this is the baby item I am asked most about these days.  My sister sent these to me as a welcome gift to Graham, and he wears them almost every day.  They are soft and warm and fit him perfectly.  Most importantly, they stay on his feet.  Any mother knows that finding socks or booties that do not slip off of baby feet is impossible.  These snap at the ankle and could not possibly fall off.  I love them!

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I have several friends who have picked up a pair after seeing Graham’s, and I already bought some myself as a gift to another new baby.  I will definitely be buying more of these in bigger sizes as he grows!

3.  Newborn Cloth Diapers

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I’m planning to use cloth diapers with Graham, as well as if we’re still using them for Cullen.  The answers are yes and yes, and I’m planning to write a separate post entirely on cloth diapering two kids.  But for the purposes of this post, I thought I’d mention that I’m trying out newborn cloth diapers this time around!

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Last time, I started cloth diapering Cullen around 12 weeks old, and I was using regular sized diapers (with snaps adjusted down to the smallest setting).  But I started Graham in cloth diapers almost immediately, since I have a small stash of newborn diapers on hand.  My favorite newborn diapers are the Charlie Banana Extra Small diapers, the Little Bee Co. Bitty Bee diapers, and the Bummis Tini Fit diapers.  So tiny and adorable!

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4.  Aden + Anais Bamboo Swaddle Blankets

I used these last time too, but they got so much use with Cullen that I needed new ones for Graham.  I know a lot of people register for and buy the traditional muslin swaddle blankets, but let me assure you – it’s all about the bamboo.  These are the softest, most cuddly blankets you have ever felt, and I use them for absolutely everything.  I keep one in my diaper bag, one on Graham’s boppy lounger, and one in his pack n play so they are always handy.  Cullen ended up eventually turning these into his security blankets because he loved them so much. 

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ODDS & ENDS

1.  Carseat Canopy

I don’t know if this is a new product, or just something I didn’t know about when Cullen was a baby.  But as soon as I saw my friend Christin’s, I knew I needed it too.  I spent the first week of Graham’s life draping big blankets over the top of his carseat whenever we were out.  It was cold and rainy outside, and I wanted to protect him from harsh air, as well as germs in places like the grocery store or pediatrician’s office.  But the blankets would blow open or fall off, and it was all just sort of clunky and clumsy.

This carseat canopy attaches to the carseat handle, and drapes a thick blanket over the front and back to provide perfect protection.  I leave it on there all the time, and it’s easy to just flip the front back when I need to access the seat or let Graham look around.  I bought one of these for my sister when her little guy arrived – perfect for New England winter!

2.  J.J.Cole Original BundleMe

Another carseat accessory!  We don’t get ridiculously cold temperatures here in Seattle (although it is freezing this week!), but it’s still plenty cold for being extra cautious with a newborn in the winter.  When Cullen was a baby, we just piled blankets on his carseat and kept him warm that way, but they often fell off and got dirty (or lost!) and I always worried about keeping him warm enough.

For Graham, I have the J.J.Cole Bundleme, and it has eliminated all of that stress and worry.  It fits snugly into my carseat, and there is a soft faux shearling lining that he cuddles into while we’re out riding around.  The top unzips all the way back so I can get him in easily, and then I fold it back onto his lap to keep him warm when we’re out.  I haven’t used it on anything but the carseat yet, but it can also be used in the stroller eventually!

Updated: Several of you left comments that the Bundleme is potentially unsafe to use in a carseat, so I wanted to make sure to update this so parents can make informed decisions!  I’ll be looking into this before we continue to use it (or we might just move it to the stroller!).  Thanks!

3.  Motorola MBP43-2 Video Monitor

I mentioned way back when in a pregnancy update that I was considering getting a new baby monitor, but I don’t think I ever shared what we decided.  As luck (?) would have it, our Angelcare monitor ended up dying on us (and then got recalled – scary!) so the decision was sort of made for us. 

We ended up choosing this Motorola video monitor package from BabiesRUs, that comes with one parent unit and two cameras.  We have one camera set up in Cullen’s room and the other in Graham’s, and we’re able to set our parent unit to a “scan” setting that pans between the two rooms every ten seconds.  Right now Graham is still sleeping in our room, so I mostly just use it for Cullen so far.  But I have had them both napping on a handful of (glorious) occasions where I’ve been able to use the scan feature – it seem to work perfectly!

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My favorite feature is that we can pan around the room – up, down, and side to side.  So if Cullen has moved out of the frame, I can actually move the camera to follow and find him and see what he’s doing.  Creepy and wonderful at the same time. 

4.  Britax B-Ready Stroller Adapter

A stroller adapter might seem like a weird thing to include here, but it’s worth mentioning since I’m really glad I have it!  I already shared all the details on our stroller in this post, so I won’t get into all of that again.  Eventually, once Graham is big enough to go into a regular stroller seat, we’ll use the second seat below so both kids can stroll together. 

But once we got home from the hospital I quickly realized that it would be really nice to have the option to put Graham’s carseat on the stroller as well.  The B-Ready has an attachment that allows you to put in infant seat down below the main stroller seat – perfect for tucking baby away since he can’t see much in there yet anyway. 

Most of the time when we are out, I plan to wear Graham in a baby carrier.  But there are times when it’s definitely more ideal to just leave him in the carseat, like quick trips, bad weather, or during naps.  I am really glad we have this option, even if we only use it for a few short months.

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So there you have it – all the latest and greatest baby gear that I am loving this second time around.  While it’s obviously very nice to be able to reuse so much of what we already had, it’s also fun to discover new things that can make life easier now that we’re juggling two.

This post includes some affiliate links that can potentially earn me a small commission, but I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned.  As always, thanks for supporting DG!