Category Archives: Cranky Living

Cranky Baby Essentials Guide Part Six:
Out and About With Your Baby

Posted by: Maggie

As we prepare for baby number two, we’ve pulled out all our baby gear and reviewed all the registry recommendation lists to make sure we have everything we will need. In the process, we’ve reminded ourselves of what was the most useful to us and what we thought we’d need, but didn’t really use. So, I’ve put together this guide to share our knowledge with all the parents-to-be out there. I’ve split it into several categories of baby items and within each I’m sharing the “Must Haves,” “Nice to Haves,” and items that you can “Skip.” I hope you find this useful in prepping for your new baby!

MUST HAVES

Stroller – Like a lot of other baby gear there are soooo many different choices of strollers out there. When it comes to choosing what stroller is right for you, you’ll want to consider a few different factors: cost, function, and style. Strollers range in cost from $75 to $1,500. So you’ll first want to set a budget for yourself and then take a look at the variety of strollers in that price range. Don’t worry, no matter what your budget is you should be able to find a stroller that meets your needs.  Once you determine how much you want to spend you’ll want to want to consider how you’re going to use your stroller. Do you need a stroller for walking, jogging, on sidewalks, on rougher terrain? And lastly you’ll want to choose a stroller that suits your personal style.

Last time around we were generously gifted with one of the coolest, most multi-functional, stylish and expensive strollers, the Bugaboo Cameleon. However, if you’re a regular Cranky reader you may remember that it was lost/stolen the last time we moved. Well, we did get reimbursed for it by the apartment management, but we never did replace it because by that time Eleanor rarely used it. She was never a fan of being strapped into a stroller and once she could walk, she pretty much refused, so we just saved the money and used it for other things.

Bugaboos are awesome for the high-end strollers and I highly recommend them. If you want something mid-range, I hear very good things about the Bumbleride Flyer and Queen B as well as the Inglesina 2011 Zippy Ergonomic Stroller.

In the lower price range I’ve heard excellent things about Maclaren and Uppa Baby strollers.

For now we don’t have the money for a new stroller, and haven’t really decided which one we like best (we’re leaning toward the Bumbleride Flyer), so we’ve just got a Graco SnugRider, which is just a frame on which we can snap the car seat. We think this is all we’ll need for the first couple months until baby has the muscles to sit upright.

Car Seat – Unlike choosing a stroller, the only thing that matters when you select a car seat is safety. I’ll admit that I have not done any current research, but I urge you to do that research yourself. I recommend looking into the Consumer Reports Car Seat Buying Guide and reading the Car Seat Safety info from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

We will be reusing the infant car seat we used for Eleanor, since it has not reached it’s expiration date yet. When we were shopping for Eleanor, we chose the Graco SnugRide with EPS, because, at the time it was the only car seat that passed a crash test at 65 mph. Living in L.A. we spend a lot of time on the freeway and therefore a lot of time driving at least 65, so we figured that was the safest seat for us. But I have not looked to see how more current car seats have been performing in crash tests.

Diaper Bag – This one is all about style and functionality. You’ll want one that has a lot of pockets and fits your personal style. And this is another thing that you can get a decent one at any price range. It’s all about you, your style and how much you want to spend. I’ve already shared my super gorgeous Cake bag in my New Baby Favorites post. Other high end bags that I love are all of Kate Spade’s diaper bag line. On the mid range Petunia Pickle Bottom bags are super cute and functional. On the lower end I love the Jonathan Adler for Skip Hop bags.

NICE TO HAVES

Car Seat Mirror – I always liked being able to see Eleanor in my rear view mirror while we drove, and since infant seats face the rear you’ll need a mirror to see baby.

Shade – A window shade can be helpful for blocking harsh sun from baby’s eyes. But honestly, we’ve tried a bunch of different kinds and they either don’t stay put or don’t cover enough of the window. I recommend looking into having your car windows tinted if you can afford it. I’ve always assumed that it would be expensive to do, but I just heard that it should only cost around $100-200, which is worth it to me.

SKIP

I couldn’t really think of anything that is recommended for getting out with baby that you don’t need. If there are any you can think of please feel free to comment below!

In case you missed it…

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART ONE: Dress Your Baby

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART TWO: Get Your Baby to Sleep

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART THREE: Feed Your Baby

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART FOUR: Clean Your Baby

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART FIVE: Play With Your Baby

UP NEXT…Part Seven: For Mom & Dad

Cranky Baby Essentials Guide Part Five:
Play With Your Baby

Posted by: Maggie

As we prepare for baby number two, we’ve pulled out all our baby gear and reviewed all the registry recommendation lists to make sure we have everything we will need. In the process, we’ve reminded ourselves of what was the most useful to us and what we thought we’d need, but didn’t really use. So, I’ve put together this guide to share our knowledge with all the parents-to-be out there. I’ve split it into several categories of baby items and within each I’m sharing the “Must Haves,” “Nice to Haves,” and items that you can “Skip.” I hope you find this useful in prepping for your new baby!

MUST HAVES

I want to preface this by saying that nothing in this category is truly a “Must Have.” Babies have been getting along for millions of years without these things to entertain them, so the musts I list here are really just our favorite things to have for baby.

Tummy Time Mat – For the first few weeks baby will pretty much just eat and sleep, but in time they will have longer and longer periods of wakefulness and you’ll want to entertain them and help their little brains and muscles develop. Pediatricians recommend that babies spend at least 30 minutes a day on their tummies to get them to start to use their arm, leg, and neck muscles. We used a Boppy Tummy Play Pad for tummy time. The mini Boppy helps them feel more comfortable and supported while they get used to being on their tummies and the attachable toys give them something to play with.

Activity Gym – When Eleanor wasn’t in tummy time and we wanted her entertained for 15-20 minutes we used the Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym. Eleanor loved it! There are a variety of different toys that hang from it and are attached to the mat, it also plays music and rainforest sounds and has little slowly changing colored lights in the top that baby can watch while lying on their back. This usually kept her entertained discovering sights, sounds and practicing grabbing and manipulating objects.

Rattles – It’s great to have something for baby to play with to distract them while getting dressed or having their diaper changed.  We like small soft rattles with handles like this Panda Rattle. When Eleanor was bigger and stronger she loved this multi-colored ball thing with soft plastic tubes and a rattle center.

NICE TO HAVES

Papasan Seat – Some babies are soothed by these vibrating chairs. We have the Fisher Price Baby Papasan Infant Seat. Eleanor never really cared for it, but it was great to have a place to buckle her in while I took a shower or cooked dinner. I’d just bring her in the bathroom or kitchen with me, put her on the floor in the chair and then talk to her while I went about my business. She wasn’t really interested in the music or vibration from the chair, but as long as I talked to her she was entertained.

Stuffed Animals – Stuffed animals can be great after a couple of months to give baby something soft to grab onto. Eleanor had a little stuffed bunny and some other little blanket loveys that she loved to hold onto.

SKIP

Playards – Unless you’ll be traveling, baby will be playing upstairs, or once they are crawling if there dangers in your home, I don’t think a Playard is necessary. Chances are you won’t be leaving baby unattended, so there’s no good reason they can’t just be left on the ground instead of being penned up. This is another piece of superfluous baby gear I don’t think you should waste your money on.

Exersaucers, Jumpers, and Baby Seats – I hesitated in writing this because I know that this is a bit of a controversial subject. A lot of parents love their exersaucers, jumpers and baby seats (like the Bumbo Seat) for keeping their babies happy and entertained, and they balk at those that claim they are bad for baby.

I agree that with moderate use these aren’t going to harm a baby. However, Pediatricians do not recommend their use. While being used in moderation (no more than 20 minutes a day) they won’t impede a baby’s physical development, they do not encourage proper development because they force a baby to sit, stand, and walk before they are developmentally able or ready to. If you don’t put a baby in one of these toys and instead give them plenty of time on the floor, especially on their tummies, they will use all their time developing the muscles they need to lift their heads, roll over, sit independently, crawl, pull-up to standing and eventually walk.

So, although they probably don’t hurt a baby, they certainly don’t help the baby at all, and only serve as a minor way to distract baby for a few minutes a day. And to me that makes them a complete waste of money and space.

In case you missed it…

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART ONE: Dress Your Baby

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART TWO: Get Your Baby to Sleep

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART THREE: Feed Your Baby

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART FOUR: Clean Your Baby

UP NEXT…Part Six: Out and About With Your Baby

Cranky Baby Essentials Guide Part Four:
Clean Your Baby

Posted by: Maggie

As we prepare for baby number two, we’ve pulled out all our baby gear and reviewed all the registry recommendation lists to make sure we have everything we will need. In the process, we’ve reminded ourselves of what was the most useful to us and what we thought we’d need, but didn’t really use. So, I’ve put together this guide to share our knowledge with all the parents-to-be out there. I’ve split it into several categories of baby items and within each I’m sharing the “Must Haves,” “Nice to Haves,” and items that you can “Skip.” I hope you find this useful in prepping for your new baby!

MUST HAVES

Changing Pad & Covers – Soon your life will revolve around pee & poop. In the beginning your baby will go through about 10 diapers a day and sometimes more. So, you’ll need a comfy place to change all those diapers. I recommend a changing pad with curved sides like the Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad, because it cradles the baby while being changed and helps to keep them from rolling over (until they’re bigger and want to have changing table wrestling matches with you). You can put it on top of a dresser or other piece of furniture you have (see Changing Tables in the Nice to Have section below).

You definitely want to get a couple changing pad covers because there will be plenty of pee & poop accidents on the changing table, so you want to keep a clean one handy. I also recommend getting some extra Changing Pad liners, like these from Boppy. They lay on top of your changing pad cover and are easy just to drop in your hamper and put another one down without having to change the whole changing pad cover.

Diapers & Wipes – I’m going to skip the cloth vs. disposable discussion for now and just say that we went with disposables with Eleanor and will do the same this time. When Eleanor was a baby we tried both Pampers and Huggies and went with Huggies. Don’t ask me what it is, but I feel like Pampers have a funny scent to them that I just did not like. We really like the Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers with Huggies Natural Care Wipes.

A little tip: skip the “Jumbo” pack of 30 diapers, these will last you about 3 days. Always go for the big box of 100 or more. You’ll save money and trips to the store. We found that Target and Amazon have the best prices for diapers. And although we haven’t tried it out, Amazon has a subscription service with automatic monthly deliveries that give you additional discounts.

Diaper Disposal – If you go with disposable diapers, we like the Diaper Genie for trashing diapers and keeping odor to a minimum. We have the basic version, but the pricier version has the nice extra feature of a foot pedal opening. You’ll also want to keep refills on hand.

Diaper Cream – Diaper rashes will happen. Eleanor didn’t get any in her newborn months, but definitely had a few throughout her diaper wearing career.  For those, we liked Burt’s Bees Diaper Cream,  Boudreaux Butt Paste is another popular choice.

Baby Tub – Until baby’s umbilical stump falls off, you’ll want to stick with sponge baths. But after that, having a baby tub makes bath time easy and comfortable for baby. We made bath time part of our nightly calming down routine for Eleanor. We really like the Fisher Price Coral Reef Tub, because it grows with baby from newborn to toddler. It starts with a sling for your newborn and then you can remove it as baby gets bigger.

Bath Toiletries – You’ll want to get shampoos & lotions that are safe for a baby’s sensitive skin. We’re into harsh-chemical-free baby care, so we love the Burt’s Bees Baby Bee line of products

First Aid – We found that the health & safety kits that we were given contained a lot of things that we just didn’t need and never used. But there are a few important items that you will need and use often: Baby Nail Clippers & Files, a Nasal Aspirator, and a Rectal Thermometer.

NICE TO HAVES

Changing Table – You don’t absolutely need a changing table. You can always just put a changing pad on top of a dresser or other piece of furniture or get a dresser/changing table combo unit that has a hutch for your diapering supplies. But if you have the room for it, I really like having a changing table. They are great for storing diapers, wipes, toiletries, bibs, blankets, and all of the bigger baby stuff.

Hooded Towels – Here’s the thing about these: they are very cute and great to keep baby warm after coming out of the bath, but definitely not a necessity. Any towel will do. If you do get some baby towels, I prefer the ones where just the corner of the towel has the hood in it rather than more adorable ones where the hood is on the side of the towel and has extra eyes and ears and things. These super cute towels are impossible to fold neatly and compactly, which drives me crazy!

Humidifier – For colder and dryer months, a humidifier helps to keep baby from getting congested. We used to have the Graco 4 Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier. We really liked it, the tank was nice and big, and because its fan was pretty noisy it doubled as white noise. Its only drawback was that it was pretty big, so it took up a lot of room on Eleanor’s dresser. It broke in our last move and we haven’t replaced it yet. Because we’ve got the new Graco Sound Machine (see Part Two: Get Your Baby to Sleep), we’re considering getting a Crane Drop Shape Cool Humidifier, which has good reviews and a small footprint.

SKIP

Bath Toys – These are always fun, but one of those things you won’t need until baby is older and able to sit up in a tub. I’d wait on buying anything for now and when you do just get a few. They can quickly take over your bathroom.

Wipe Warmer – This is one of those things that I just don’t see the point of. To me, it’s just one more piece of superfluous baby gear that manufacturers try to convince you you’ll need. It will not hurt your baby to have a cold wipe on their bottom. While a warmer might be nice to make your baby more comfortable during a diaper change, I’ve also heard a lot of complaints about them. They’re one more thing you have to find an outlet to plug-in. They often dry out the top few wipes and burn the bottom few, so you end up wasting a lot of wipes. They are a warm wet place for bacteria/mold to grow. All that being said if you really want one, get one, but I just feel that there are better ways to spend your newborn budget.

In case you missed it…

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART ONE: Dress Your Baby

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART TWO: Get Your Baby to Sleep

CRANKY BABY ESSENTIALS GUIDE PART THREE: Feed Your Baby

UP NEXT…Part Five: Play With Your Baby

Page 2 of 712345...Last »