Bootsy is now nine months old (look at those teeth!), which means he’s been out for as long as he’ve been in. I, for one, refuse to believe it. In my mind, he’s still a tiny, snuggly, helpless newborn. He, on the other hand, has a fondness for lasagna, wants to be walking more than anything else, and is pretty much ready to move out next week. Having a second baby, nearly five years after my first, was a learning experience. I felt like I had forgotten so much hard-won wisdom. On the other hand (and don’t all second time moms say this?) I was much more relaxed with Bootsy than I was with the Nuni. I stepped away from the parenting articles and books and shoulds and “did yous” and was much happier for it. (As an aside, this parenting article by JJ Keith at HuffPo was maybe the best one I read, ever. You should read it. Especially if you’re in the pregnancy and infancy trenches).
One of the main differences of mamadom, round 2, is that I didn’t buy everything in sight because I thought I needed it. The Nuni in utero got a fully decorated and fully stocked nursery. I learned my lesson when Bootsy came along, though, and we started minimally. Bootsy gets changed on the bed (we’ve only had to change the sheets twice as a result of underdeployed washcloths) and sleeps in a pack and play (it works at home AND on the road), but here are a few innovations in baby gear that have impressed me this time around that I wanted to share with you. (Note: Links are affiliate links, but all the recommendations come from my own sweet self.)
The Nuni liked to be swaddled, but Bootsy NEEDED to be swaddled. He was fascinated by the world from day 1 and got overstimulated as a result. Which led to crying. A lot of crying. He needed the classic swaddle and rock and shush, and boy had a mean startle reflex. We baby burritoed him with all sorts of swaddling blankets, but he started busting out of his swaddle almost instantly. Woombie to the rescue. It’s a swaddle you can zip and it is entirely impossible to bust out of. It’s stretchy material, so the baby doesn’t feel too constrained, but it keeps them from startling awake. A lifesaver. It’s become my go-to baby gift.
This was a repeat purchase from Kid 1, because we loved it so much. As I mentioned, Bootsy got overstimulated easily, and responded well to shushing. This little lamb, which makes a soothing ocean noise, did the shushing for me. He goes to sleep with it every night and now he has that golden ticket of parenting: SLEEP ASSOCIATIONS. He hears the ocean sounds and thinks “Bedtime.” I will take Sleep Associations for $25, Alex.
First time mamas take note: You will need to put the baby down. There are probably not many places in your house in which you can safely do so. (Hint: the sofa, the floor, the dining table can all be problematic.) Sure, you’ve got the crib (or pack and play) but you probably do not spend 100% of your time in the nursery. I saw this at a girlfriend’s house and I thought it was genius. Baby can be strapped in. Baby can sleep in there. Baby can rock happily and goo while you cook dinner. It can be easily moved from room to room or folded and stashed in a closet. (We also got this Toy Bar to attach to it – hours of babytainment.)
This was a gift. We used it for two months, but it was a mighty important two months. They make swings that plug in now! I don’t know why it took them this long (these did NOT exist when the Nuni was a baby) but it seems like a marvelous development. No D batteries required!
Baby carriers are awesome/necessary if you are a) grocery shopping b) traveling c) chasing an older kid d) going anyplace with stairs where a stroller suddenly becomes the GIANT PAIN IN THE REAR END. I know everyone gets a Bjorn but they suck. They aren’t comfortable to wear, and they are bad for the baby’s hips. I bought my Ergo when the Nuni was about the age that Bootsy is now, and I loved it through her toddlerhood and I love it for him now. Very comfortable to wear, very secure front or back. (I also bought a (used) Beco Butterfly II 2 Baby Carrier and I slightly preferred it when he was tiny. It has a higher body for more head support and has a built in infant insert, but I definitely prefer the Ergo for older babies.)
Baby food pouches are kind of a genius invention that is also new since the Nuni was wee. They are an especially genius invention for Bootsy, who REFUSES to eat from a spoon. Seriously, little man puts his hands in it and smears everything everywhere and it’s a huge mess. We tend to give him chunkier foods he can pick up himself, but for an easy grab and go or for more liquidy stuff it’s all about the pouch. However, those pouches are EXPENSIVE (over $1 a pop). And they’re not so great for the environment. Enter the Squooshi. They have a heavy duty ziploc style zipper, so you can fill them and close them. Buy (or make) bulk applesauce. Fill them with yogurt. Throw dinner in the food processor and then into a pouch. It’s a whole new world of baby food. They’re not cheap, but if your kid is a pouch addict, they pay for themselves. (The caps get lost ridiculously easily though – you can buy replacement caps or just use the caps from those pouches you’ve bought because they fit just fine.
If you have any genius baby product recommendations, I’d love to hear about them! After all, I’m only 9 months in.