The Baby Gear You Need

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Comfy Front Pack for Hot Days

It's June and it's HOT!  So how do you carry your baby in his front pack, so you're both comfortable?  First, you have to start with the right front pack. 

My top pick for these hot summer days is the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Air.  This baby carrier is light enough so the two of you don't burn up in each other's body heat thanks to the soft and breathable mesh material of which it's made up.  The Bjorn Air has the same features you've grown to know and love with the traditional Baby Bjorn, such as the ability to completely open the front, allowing you to easily remove your sleeping baby.  This one also folds up into a pouch for easy storage -- it'll easily fit in your diaper bag! 

And how about sun coverage?  Although I haven't come across a product that is designed to go along with front carriers to block your little one from the sun, I always uses a light towel or burp cloth and draped it over my baby's head.  Of course a hat serves the same purpose and looks a lot cuter, but being sun-paranoid as I am, I tried to cover little arms and legs too.  Do any of you have sun coverage ideas?  I've always found I get the best ideas from other parents! 

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful, loving, and hardworking Dads out there!  I hope you're having a great day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Something You Don't Need...

Preparing for the arrival of a new baby can be overwhelming.  Between LaMaze classes, heartburn, nesting, and researching baby gear, this can easily become a time of stress and discomfort.  Don't let that happen to you!  When it comes to the stuff you'll need for Baby, start with the basics, then work your way out.  (It's like the proper order in which to use your silverware...think Jack at Rose's table on the Titanic.  Oh how easily I can get off topic!) 

So back to the baby.  Once you've got your car seat (first priority), your crib or bassinet (more on my thoughts on that in a later post), and possibly a stroller, you can start to expand your baby gear repertoire.  When I was pregnant, I went a bit overboard and bought way too much "stuff" and wasted a lot of time and money.  And now that we have kids, we have neither time nor money, so I'm here to help you now!

Here's my first post on what not to buy: anything that you have to pay for that helps prop your baby up for tummytime.  I bought a cute little lily pad-shaped blanket, with a miniature pillow that the baby was supposed to lay on and play with his toys.  Unfortunately, he spent much more time either simply on the floor or blanket, both of which we already had!  Oh, and don't waste your money on any blankets either, you'll get more than you could ever need at your baby shower!  If your baby hates tummytime, as many babies do, you can help him by simply rolling a small towel and propping it under his chest and draping his arms over it.  Then choose some exciting, bold-colored toys or a mirror for him to play with and look at while he develops head and muscle control. 

It's really that simple.  Don't get sucked into buying every cute baby item you see.  I know it's hard to pass up the cuteness, but in the long run, you'll thank me. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sex and the City Stroller Revived!

With all the hype about the new "Sex and the City 2" movie, I couldn't help but write about the Bugaboo Frog stroller.  You remember it from the original HBO episodes, the one Miranda stylishly pushed around New York City!?  Shortly after thousands of moms saw the Frog in "Sex and the City", it became immensely popular.  Well, it still is - and for good reason. 

The Bugaboo Frog is a different-looking, different-acting stroller that leaves other "regular" strollers in the dust!  It turns on a dime and is a breeze to push, even through bumpy terrain (like the streets of NYC?!).  The Frog converts to face forwards, backwards, and acts as a bassinet for babies.  The seat reclines and the stroller accommodates many different brands of infant car seats to convert into a complete travel system, including Peg Perego and Graco.  All this and it only weighs about 20 pounds!  Get it - like a frog changes from a tadpole into a polliwog into a frog?  (sigh)  Not my first choice of names for a high-end, classy stroller, but whatever works, right?

Anyway, if you're a stylish mom, or just a City wanna-be, the Bugaboo Frog may just be the stroller for you.

Bugaboo Frog Stroller - Red

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Many Car Seats Do I Need?

How many car seats do I need for just one baby?!  Ahh, a common question among new parents.  Since there are numerous different types of car seats - infant car seats, convertible car seats, combination car seats, booster car seats, etc. - each catering to a different weight, length, size, shape, and age of baby, it's very confusing at first to determine what you'll need and how many to buy. 

I recommend starting out with one basic infant car seat and two bases.  The infant car seat is portable, which means you can take the whole shebang - car seat and baby - out of the car and into your stroller or shopping cart or house without having to disturb - or God forbid, wake up - your sleeping baby!  I liked having two bases however, because we kept one base in my car and one base in my husband's car.  That way, we could use either car without having to re-install the car seat itself.  This saved us a lot of time and hassle.  (Installing a car seat isn't difficult, but it is kind of a pain, especially when you have a million other things you need to be doing and your baby is crying...) 

Once your baby outgrows the length/weight restrictions on his or her infant car seat, then it's time to move on to a convertible car seat.  Purchase seat #2.  Although a newborn baby can technically ride safely in a rear-facing convertible car seat from the beginning (assuming he or she is not a preemie), I like the convenience of the infant car seat so much, it's totally worth using it until your baby's at least one year old.  So, it's on to the convertible car seat.  This seat will last you longer...usually until your child is about four years old or at least 40 pounds.  We wound up buying one really nice, comfortable convertible car seat for our son to use in my car - and one, cheaper "travel car seat" to use in Dad's car or to take with us on vacation.  That way, if it was damaged at all in transit, no big deal. 

After the convertible car seat comes the real big-kid seat - the booster car seat!  Booster seats should be used from about the ages of 4 to 8, but it all depends on the model of your booster car seat and the height and weight of your child.  Depending on what kind you get, booster seats are relatively small and easy to install, so you could get by with just buying one. 

Yep, all-in-all, you'll probably average buying at least four car seats for your one child over the course of eight years.  It sounds crazy, but it's obviously in your child's best interest.  As alway, safety first!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's with this LATCH system thing anyway?

Ah, the joys of learning baby gear lingo!  As you delve into the world of researching car seats, you will quickly come across the term "LATCH".  It's a term that's as casually used in the baby gear world as "OMG" is used in the texting teen world.  ...but maybe we're not ready for that yet. 

Anyway, LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  Basically, it's two small metal bars hidden between the backrest and cushion of your back seats that makes installing car seats a breeze.  Only cars made after September 2002 have them however, so if yours' is of the older variety, either skip this article or consider buying a new car!  My dad's car doesn't have the LATCH system and believe me, it's such a pain to install the car seats when we are visiting him.  It makes me appreciate those little metal bars in our car!  Instead of using your vehicle's seat belt, car seats attach to two anchor bars installed in the lower seatback.  The LATCH system will save you from having to thread the seatbelt through that impossibly small and never-ending tunnel that your hand and arm can't quite fit through to the other side.  True, you can safely and effectively install a car seat without the LATCH system, but I always feel my car seats aren't quite as snug to the seat as when using the LATCH.  There always seems to be a bit more wiggle room in the car seat when I've threaded the seatbelt through myself. 

So when you're searching for a new car seat, you will undoubtedly come across this LATCH term.  Don't worry about making sure the car seat you're considering has it - they all do.  It's just a matter of if your car has it - and as long as your car was made post-September 2002, it does too. 

I hope this helps!