First year baby gear picks after 3 kids, part two

8 June 2023

It’s only taken me the approximate gestation time of a human baby to produce part two of this mini series, but who’s counting?! Ha! Because I know you all have been waiting with bated breath, here’s the second half of my final baby gear round-up: what we loved, what stood the test of time (and three kids), and what we loved so much we repurchased.

If you’re approaching this phase of life, I hope you’ll find our experience an encouraging reminder that babies don’t need much gear to be happy and healthy. Yes, there are some things that are incredibly helpful, but perhaps fewer than you might think. With that being said, here are a few that made the cut for us – some I’d consider true necessities, and others, fun extras.

Quick note for those who might be new: we have three kids, and the span from the oldest to youngest is 5.5 years. Here’s part one, covering gear for sleeping, on the go, and eating!

Health and Hygiene

Diapers + wipes | We used Up & Up brand for the entirety of June’s diaper career and they were fantastic. Then Target apparently changed something about the construction between our first and second babies, and we had terrible issues with leaks for Shep. We switched to Kirkland, the Costco brand, until he was six months, when we switched back to Up & Up for convenience and price. We did the same for Annie. Throughout, we used Water Wipes, which are the absolute best – they’re literally just water and some fruit extracts and they never pill or tear. We get ours at Target or Amazon.

Nose Frida | Our children all hated the infamous snot sucker, and yours probably will, too, but sometimes it’s just the only thing that’s going to get the gunk out of their tiny noses.

Hooded bath towel | Each of our kids got an animal-themed hooded towel as a gift, and though they’re not strictly necessary, they’re awfully cute. The hood and smaller size does make them easier to wrap up and hold while slippery.

Body wash | The scent of this shampoo/body wash will always bring me back to the first few months with each of our babies, which is sweet. We also use this one, and both are truly tear-free – I can rub bubbles all over their faces with no consequence :)

Changing pad | We had a standard changing pad with a cloth cover for our first two babies and switched to this one for Annie. I liked it, but in hindsight I am truly appalled I ever considered buying the Keekaroo version, which is pretty much exactly the same but twice as expensive. This is an excellent item to buy secondhand if possible.

The Puj tub | Again with the absurdly expensive baby items – but this foldable bathtub really is a lifesaver for the first few months of baths. Babies are almost incomprehensibly small, slippery, and floppy at the beginning, and it made us feel so much better to have them somewhere safe, comfortable, non-slippery, and within easy reach (instead of bending over a tub) in those early days. This is another excellent item to borrow or buy secondhand.

Bath toys | There are lots of fun bath toys out there, but the favorites in our household have always been stadium cups, this set of foam letters, and tiny animals.

I’d skip: a diaper pail, a wipes warmer, a diaper cream spatula, and baby washcloths (regular ones are fine).

For Fun

Stuffed animals | Jelly Cats are the softest and sweetest stuffies, hands-down. I love their little expressions and how they’re the perfect size to fit in little hands. They’re sold in many boutiques, so this is an item I love to buy at my favorite independent stores.

Crinkle book | Babies are absolutely fascinated by the sound these books make. Ours helped us log many miles on road trips.

Action stackers | These blocks are not the most attractive, but all of our kids LOVED them. They were recommended by June’s physical therapist, and they’re great for catching a baby’s attention.

O-ball | These lightweight balls are my final toy recommendation. Since they’re so easy to grasp, it’s possible for even little babies to grab them and produce noise, which they find delightful.

Board books | Of course. I’ve got plenty of recommendations for you here!

For Mama

Underwear and nursing/pumping bra | A generous friend gifted me these before Annie was born and what a delight – a major step up from what I used with my first two. I particularly recommend the undies if you have a c-section!

Nursing pads | An absolute must-have if you’re breastfeeding. I used the same set with all three – you throw them in the wash and use them over and over and over.

Nap dress | I kid you not, this dress was worn 2-3 times a week in the last months of pregnancy and the first months of Annie’s life. The perfect late-pregnancy, post-partum, easy-breezy summer outfit and for me, worth the expense.

Maternity pajamas | Even though I snagged these in a Black Friday sale, it initially felt overly-indulgent to buy something so expensive that I would wear for such a brief season. I quickly realized, however, it was SUCH a joy to slip into something comfy and well-fitting after days of highly questionable outfits that were just barely holding it together. And you can wear them even when you’re not pregnant, so really, just go ahead and do it :)

I’d love to hear any of your favorites in these categories, or a popular item you did without! :)

P.S. My five must-have baby registry items and favorites from the first six weeks and the cost of our first year with a baby.

June 2023 goals

2 June 2023

Earlier this week, a child riding an electronic scooter was hit by a car and killed in the neighborhood next to ours. We pass through the intersection where it happened every day we ride our bikes to school. While this is not the opening note I usually strike in these monthly updates, it’s been on my mind, and it felt like what I needed to write about today.

First, a reminder: statistics show that the risk of a fatality when a car collides with a pedestrian is 5% when traveling 20 miles per hour. It increases to 45% at 30 miles per hour, and 85% at 40 miles per hour. This was a sobering, but helpful, reminder to me, and I’ve committed to driving at 20 mph through neighborhoods from now on.

Second, a reminder: change is possible. I was disheartened by those in our neighborhood Facebook group responding to statistics like the one above and pleas for drivers to slow down with comments like “they’ll fall on deaf ears” or “they won’t make a difference.” Sure, not everyone is going to be moved to action by a statistic, a Facebook post, or even a tragic accident – but some people will be. People change every. single. day. Change is possible. We must believe that.

Finally, a reminder: life is full of risks. In the first few hours of this close-to-home news, I struggled to know what to do with it. Surely an event as terrible as this would require something of me – some change in our behavior, some mitigation of risk, some further action that would keep my family safer. The hard truth is, though, we already wear our helmets. We already stop at stop signs. We already look for oncoming traffic.

So yes, I can and will drive even more slowly where I know children might dart out into the road. But we’ll also continue to play outside, and go for walks, and bike to school, and slowly but steadily allow our children more and more freedom – even when it scares me.

And with that, let’s wade together into the both/and. Here’s what’s ahead in June and a few other lighter things…

Our beautiful backyard hydrangeas! They have a tough time in the heat of summer, so this is their time to shine.

On my calendar:
— My friend and I are hopping back on our bikes to ride the complete American Tobacco Trail! We finished 30 miles in April due to a rain delay. Here’s hoping the last fifteen aren’t too tough…
— June’s last day of school. She and I are currently scheming decorations for our official dinner party.
— A backyard Jess Ray concert. If you’ve never listened to her music, do yourself a favor.

What I’m loving right now:
— We are somewhat far away from having a middle schooler, but this piece by Ashlee Gadd is a heart wrecker regardless. Read at your own risk. (Her writing is just so lovely.)
— I tried out Jen’s playlist at the last Articles Club and it was so enjoyed that a few ladies asked about it – yet it also faded beautifully into the background. A perfect dinner party mix!
— You know how when you make an Amazon return at Kohl’s they give you a coupon? Well, they sucked me in on my last visit and I ended up purchasing this dress. I think the silhouette and embroidery are so lovely!

As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!

What I read in May:
The Inheritance Games | Meh. Am I now too old for YA books? I thought this one was fine, but for me, it certainly didn’t live up to the glowing hype. The characters, writing, and plotting were all just… meh (and I found it really hard to remember which brother was which).
Carrie Soto is Back | This was my first Taylor Jenkins Reid novel and it was solidly enjoyable! Extra fun because I was taking tennis lessons while reading it. The descriptions of the matches suck you in, Carrie is a unique character (I rooted for her even though she’s a bit prickly), and the drama of the four Grand Slams unfolding kept me up past my bedtime. The only thing that annoyed me – and I admit this is a detail that would perhaps only annoy an English major – is that I thought the author used too few contractions, which made the dialogue feel overly-formal in a way that wasn’t consistent with the characters. Make of that what you will, ha!
Camp Girls | DNF. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have my own camp memories from growing up to draw on, but what I read of this book just felt like a mishmash of one woman’s reminiscing – almost like an extended inside joke – without a compelling through-line to draw me in.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow | Loved it and loved it and loved it. I’ve written in this post and other recent book reviews about characters that just didn’t compel me; nothing could be further from the truth with this one. Sadie, Sam, and Marx were such complete, sympathetic characters. I raced through this book, wanting to know what happened to them next (but also not wanting it to end!). There WAS a devastating turn of events about 3/4 of the way through that made me want to hurl the book against the wall, but the theme of immortality woven through was fascinating and masterfully done. And, like every other review I’ve read, it must be said that I neither know nor care a thing about video games and still found this book completely engrossing.
Every Summer After | Meh. This book suffered from following directly after Tomorrow and Tomorrow, which I know is unfair, but it just paled in comparison. The characters seemed underdeveloped and the plot felt contrived and predictable. It was also a bit racier than I was expecting, and it definitely didn’t make me sob.

My reading list for 2023! I’m 14 / 24 so far.

Revisiting my May goals:
Edit Annie in April (It turned out so fun! Sweet Annie’s third-child energy is strong and it shows in her movie :))
Organize our master bath cabinets
(Done! This area offered an especially great excuse to get rid of things we don’t use anymore, which is always satisfying.)
Organize our loft
Send invites for the book swap (Done! I asked my friend Bethany to cohost with me and I’m very excited about the details we’ve dreamed up, including decor and prizes from this shop and this shop.)

June goals:
— Settle into our summer rhythm
— Film June in June
— Paint our master bath cabinets
— Clean out June’s room (with her help!)
— Plan thoughtfully for our time in Connecticut and Maine
— Complete final prep for and enjoy the book swap
— Update our budget tracking (we’ve gotten way behind in logging expenses, so taking this on this month!)

I’d love to hear: what’s a recent (or not) book you panned but everyone else seemed to love? :)

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