Baby Gear- The Gear I Chose

Things I can't live without (or "The gear I chose"):

1.) All-in-one convertible car seat:
As mentioned in Baby Gear: Part I, we opted for the convertible car seat.  It was tricky at first to get the hang of getting Smooch in and out, mainly because we have a 2-door hatchback, so space is extremely limited.  But we found a rhythm pretty quickly, and she even helps me out now by positioning her hands to come out of the straps.  I'm really happy with it, and it has suited our lifestyle perfectly.  Even when she falls asleep in the car, she has learned to transfer to my arms for the walk up to our door, and then into her bed, without a lot of fuss on most occasions.  Its not always perfect, but it works for us.  I'm a firm believer in the Babywise concept of welcoming the little one into your family lifestyle, not making her the centre of your universe, where everything revolves around her.  We are a family that travels a lot, and has need to be in and out of the house and car on a regular basis, and she has adapted to this lifestyle beautifully.  (P.S. the brand we chose is the Evenflo Symphony 65. )

2.) Moses basket:
I used a Moses basket for my daughter for the first 2 1/2 months, until she became too long for it.  It was so handy because I could put it anywhere... ... and I did.  During the day, I put it in the living room where we were, so that she would get used to sleeping with things going on.  And at night, I put it right into her crib, so she would be used to sleeping in her crib.  I brought it to church with us, and she slept in the back of the sanctuary during the service, I could put it in the corner of the room wherever I was, and she would sleep comfortably.  I really believe this set the groundwork for learning to sleep through distractions.  Even now, when she is at the age where sleep is a little more tenuous, I can still put her down anywhere, and she will sleep.   I'm a huge fan of these little beds! 

3.) "My Brest Friend" nursing pillow:
When I was beginning the 'registering' process before Smooch came along, I just assumed I'd get a Boppy nursing pillow, since just about everyone I know has one.  I stumbled upon this pillow when looking at reviews online of Boppies & Jolly Jumper brand pillows.  3 or 4 different reviews mentioned that they had started with those popular brands, but ended up with the "My Brest Friend" and wished they had known about it at the beginning.  So I began researching it.  What I found its that it was designed by a team of mothers, babies, and lactation specialists who set out to create a pillow whose sole purpose is to answer all the needs of breast feeding mothers and babies.  It has a unique 'wrap-around' design that keeps the pillow in place throughout the entire feed, it has lumbar support for mom, to help improve posture during feeding, it has raised areas on both sides to help bring baby's head into the correct position for latching, and it is a firm, flat cushion to prevent baby from rolling during the feed.  They are a bit more expensive than the U-shaped pillows, but considering that they are used in most NIC units and by most lactation specialists, it is definitely worth the investment.

4.) Pack 'n' Play travel lite crib:
I love this little crib.  It is only about half the size of a standard pack 'n' play, and weighs less than 20 lbs.  By the time we got it, Smooch no longer needed the bassinet function, but we tried it out when we first got it, and it seems to have less flex in it compared to others that we tried, which is really good, since we sleep her on her tummy.  You want it to be as firm as possible.  I guess we'll find out for sure with baby #2.  :-)

Now, I really like my pack 'n' play, but if I had known about it before we bought ours, I probably would have gotten the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib instead.  My pack 'n' play, even though it is half the 'bed size,' is still the same size as a regular one, when folded up.  But the Baby Bjorn is half the weight and folds up to the size of a brief case. And it unfolds and is ready to use in 20 seconds flat! Seriously impressive.

Mine's black, but I LOVE this new print!
5.) Ergo Baby carrier:
I cannot say enough good things about this carrier.  It is worth its weight in gold!  When I worked as a nanny, throughout college, I used several other carriers -- namely the Snugli and the Baby Bjorn -- and I can say with confidence that they do not match the comfort (for both mommy and baby), ease of use, and dependability of the Ergo -- NOT EVEN CLOSE!   I went with the 'Sport' edition, because it has slightly longer strap adjustments, the hood has a little pocket to store it away, or it can be removed completely (and is the same colour as the pack, unlike the original),  it has venting for better temperature control, and its material is lightweight and fast-drying.  I found the carrier to be so easy to use and convenient for most activities that would normally use a stroller-- shopping at the mall (no narrow aisles to have to navigate!), grocery shopping (how do you push a stroller and a cart?), crowded places/ events (no need to worry about errant hands around baby, taking up too much space, etc), and the airport -- we got through security no problem, and getting on and off the plane was a breeze!  One of the things I love most about the Ergo over other brands, is that it can be used as front pack when baby is small, and converts to a backpack or side sling (for supporting a baby on your hip) when baby gets bigger.  Its weight limit suggests 40 lbs, but it is durability tested up to 90 lbs!  [could you imagine?!?!]  :-)

6.) Adjustable 'Umbrella' style stroller:
My mom found a steal at a garage sale.  She got us a Maclaren Triumph stroller.  Unlike most 'umbrella strollers,' it has a back that can recline with 'infinite' adjustment. And like most umbrella strollers, it is lightweight, and folds up to practically nothing.  It has an incredibly smooth ride, and is extremely durable.  I've even taken it 'off-roading' with relative success.  This is a really fantastic stroller.  And a good majority of the seating can come off for washing, as needed.  The hand grips are comfortable, and even a tall person like me has little trouble pushing behind it without kicking the wheels.  This has been a perfect accessory for our little family.

7.) Portable booster seat with tray:
This is what we got instead of a high chair.  When space is limited, like it is in our place, the last thing you need is a high chair, taking up more space.  This is great, because it takes up no more space than the chair it is sitting on.  Its extremely easy to clean, and does the trick for meals.  Also, it folds up nicely, so it really is quite portable.  

That's about it for me! 

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