A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff – Part Six (the travel edition)

We are currently in the middle of an eleven-day on-the-other-side-of-the-country trip to look at a prospective job (thus the lack of much blogging).  Our entire little family came and we flew out here, which majorly limited the amount of luggage we could bring for the trip.  There were however, several things we made sure to pack that have made our time away from home significantly easier and I thought I’d share them here.

A quality umbrella stroller: In figuring out how we would navigate airports with our three large suitcases, two car seats, assorted carry-ons and two little ones, Aaron and I went back and forth as to what to do with Cedar.  We knew Genoa would be in the Boba, but we needed somewhere for Cedar to ride as we juggled everything and rushed through airports.  We have a hardframe backpack that he often rides in for long hikes, but Aaron (understandably) didn’t want to have to deal with wearing that while loading our luggage.  And we have a good jogging stroller that Cedar rides in for walks at home, but it would be much too bulky to travel with.  In the end, we decided to just buy an umbrella stroller.  There were many different choices on Amazon (our go-to place for buying baby stuff), ranging from about $15 in price to several hundred.   We didn’t want to spend a ridiculous amount on it, but we also wanted to make sure that we didn’t get a super cheap one that fell apart in the middle of a mad dash to make a flight connection.  So we opted for the middle ground and went with this one.  And wow.  It pretty much saved the day when we flew out here, staying strong and sturdy even after being loaded down with a growing little boy, the diaper bag, Cedar’s Thomas the Train backpack and my “purse” full of several books and my computer.   It’s lightweight,  navigates large crowds well and folds up quite compactly within seconds (yes, I know I sound like a commercial!).  In short, we love it and it has already made traveling with toddlers much, much easier.

Portable highchair: Back in CA, we have quite a small house, and now that Genoa is eating more solids at the table with us, I wanted to get her a highchair that would fit more easily around our table than the big, bulky one we were borrowing from my in-laws.   We got this one that attaches to a normal kitchen chair and it has worked great at home in the past couple months that we’ve had it.  But the best part is, it folds up very compactly so we can pack it and bring it along traveling — which we’ve already done several times.  Just fold it up at home, tuck it into your bag, and when you need it, pull it out, attach it to a chair, and you have a highchair!  All ready for your baby to smear with yoghurt, just like at home!

KidCo Peapod Plus: The place we’re staying for these eleven days only has a king bed in it.  We’re borrowing a friend’s Pack-N-Play for Genoa to nap in and start the night out in (she is in bed with us for most of the night), but needed a place for Cedar to sleep.  He still moves around a lot at night so a blanket on the floor wouldn’t work very well for this extended period of time since he’d probably roll off it and wake himself up repeatedly.  Thankfully, Aaron randomly came across the Peapod Plus online and decided that we should just get one for Cedar.  The Peapod Plus is a small, kid-sized pop-up tent with a blow-up air mattress that all folds down very compactly.  And it has worked great while we’ve been here — the novelty of the tent makes going to bed in a new place very fun, the little air mattress makes the hard floors much nicer to sleep on, and the sides of the tent help to contain our very mobile sleeper.  The Peapods are rather spendy, but both Aaron and I felt like it would definitely be worth it to have for all the traveling we know we’ll continue to do.

Nature Babycare disposable diapers: I normally cloth diaper at home, and also when we’re out and about.  Up until now, we’re also have been able to cloth diaper on our extended trips, but this time it wasn’t going to work out for several reasons.  So what to do instead?!  After talking it over on Facebook with several other cloth diapering mama friends, I decided to get some non-chemical disposable diapers and cover them with our Blueberry Coveralls to help keep in the leaks that disposable diapers are prone to.  After reading several reviews, I went with the Nature Babycare brand and I’ve loved them so far.  Chlorine-free and made mostly from tree pulp instead of plastic, I didn’t mind them being up against my baby’s skin around the clock.  They absorb really well and while still don’t completely contain big messy diapers, the Coveralls help with that.  And I really like that the Size Four I got for Genoa fits so well, but can also be used for Cedar in a pinch since all this travel seemed to throw off his potty-training a bit.  So while I still love and prefer using cloth, I’m glad to know that there’s a good disposable option out there that I can use for travel instances like this.

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff:
Part One: 0-6 Months
Part Two: 6-12 Months
Part Three: An Addendum
Part Four: An Addendum to the Addendum
Part Five: The Boba Baby Carrier 

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff – Part Five (the Boba Baby Carrier)

(Despite my hopes that I would quit adding addendums to this “guide“, here is yet another one!  I guess this will just be an open-ended series then, since I’m sure there’s more helpful things that I will find as I continue my mothering journey.)

Boba Baby Carrier: Last fall I shared about how I finally got over my pride of only using wraps as baby carriers and how I had been blessed with the gift of an Ergo.  I loved my Ergo and was so thankful for its versatility and ease of use as a soft-structured carrier compared to a wrap (though I still do love my wraps for the newborn days).  However, as Genoa got bigger, it started to get rather uncomfortable to wear her sometimes as she loves to lean!  At about eight months old, the top of the Ergo came only to the middle of her back or so which meant that it was very easy for her to lean to one side to see what I was doing, to watch Cedar more easily, etc.  Having to constantly readjust my weight for that was getting rather annoying and uncomfortable.  But that aside, I still loved how easy the Ergo was to use so I didn’t want to go back to wrapping a lot instead.  A babywearing friend mentioned the Boba Carrier to me and while I had heard of it before (it’s made by the same company that used to make my beloved Sleepy Wrap, which is now called the Boba Wrap), I didn’t know much.  I read some about it and immediately wanted to try one…it sounded like the perfect carrier to me.  Along with the back of the carrier being two to three inches taller than other soft-structured carriers, it’s designed to specifically hug your baby to you…two things that would be huge helps with a leaner like Genoa!

Long story short, I was able to buy a Boba Carrier after I sold my Girasol Big Sur wrap (it didn’t end up working out for us in our hot CA weather).  And wow.  I love it!  Even more than my Ergo (which I have since passed onto a dear friend) — though I was very thankful for it in its season of helping me learn to love soft-structured carriers.  The Boba’s “unique design” that hugs your baby to you isn’t just marketing hype.  Even in the first fifteen minutes of wearing Genoa on my back in the Boba, I could tell that she seemed a lot more secure and didn’t lean nearly as much…score!  And another added plus that I have yet to try out is that the 3G model can convert into an infant carrier without any extra inserts, etc.  That was always one thing that bugged me about the Ergo.  Unless you bought their insert (or stuffed blankets inside), you couldn’t use it very well until the baby was about five or six months old.  And even though in general I like wraps for the early months, there are times when a faster option would be nice.  Additional things I love would be the adorable bird print, how easy the chest/back strap is to adjust, three different pockets for small things and the shoulder strap holders (to clip in a purse or diaper bag strap).  In my opinion, it’s pretty much the best baby carrier ever!

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff:
Part One: 0-6 Months
Part Two: 6-12 Months
Part Three: An Addendum
Part Four: An Addendum to the Addendum
Part Six: The Travel Edition 

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff – Part Four (an addendum to the addendum)

Hopefully this will be the last addition to this series…you can only have so many addendums!  In the last part of this guide, I mentioned stuff that we’ve discovered since Genoa was born and yet this particular item slipped my mind.  I’m not sure how it could have since I use it pretty regularly, but I guess I’ll just blame it on mommy brain…

Nosefrida Snotsucker (Baby Nasal Aspirator) – I can’t remember where I first heard about this, but after I got over the initial grossness mental block, it sounded like a great idea!  I have always hated using bulb syringes to clear my babies’ noses and my babies have hated it even more.  And I never could get the hang of it very well either, so they were quite ineffective, but they were the only option I knew of to clear out those little noses.  But the Snotsucker is 100 times more effective!  Basically it’s a tube, with a filter in it, that you place up against the baby’s nose and suck those little boogers out.  Yes, it initially sounds disgusting, but with the filter and the length of the tube, there is really no way that your mouth would touch the snot.  And I was just blown away by how it works so well, every single time I’ve used it.  Genoa seems to get stuffy noses more than Cedar did (not from being sick…just from boogers), so she gets “desnufflized” pretty regularly.  After I drip some expressed breastmilk in her nose to soften everything, a couple sucks on the Nosefrida and everything is clear.  I love it!  Definitely something I think every mother should have…

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff:
Part One: 0-6 Months
Part Two: 6-12 Months
Part Three: An Addendum
Part Five: The Boba Baby Carrier
Part Six: The Travel Edition 

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff – Part Three (an addendum)

About a year ago (almost exactly), I put together a two-part post on baby stuff that I had discovered and really liked since Cedar was born. Part One was on stuff for 0-6 months and Part Two was on stuff for 6-12 months.  Cedar was only about ten months old at the time and a certain friend, who shall remain nameless, mocked teased me about posting a list that went past how old my baby was, especially if I found anything else I really liked before Cedar was past twelve months old.  With that in mind, I would like to clarify that the majority of the stuff in this addendum has been stuff that I’ve discovered and really liked since having Genoa.  So there! *smile* Though we ended up not buying much more for a second baby, there definitely have been a few things that have come in very handy when juggling two little ones.

Ergo: I’ve long been a wrap girl, and for the newborn days, that is still definitely my preferred mode of babywearing. However, for most of the families I’m around, they all love their Ergos.  So for a long time, I was very against ever getting an Ergo since that’s what everybody else had (yes, that’s immature).  But, during my pregnancy with Genoa, God worked on my heart and broke me of that pride, and so I asked for one for Genoa’s baby shower.  Several of my friends went together and got me this lovely green one…and after a few weeks, I was hooked.  Like I said, I still prefer wraps for the newborn days, and my Bali Breeze wrap is still the coolest babywearing item for our hot, hot summers, but especially as Genoa gets older, I find myself reaching for my Ergo more and more.  It’s just so fast to put on compared to wraps, which is a good thing as you’re trying to keep track of a busy toddler while you put on the baby.  I especially appreciated its versatility during a recent shopping trip to IKEA.  Genoa started out in it, but after awhile wanted to get out so she could face front for awhile.  I was able to just unbuckle the top strap and leave it fastened around my waist, ready for whenever she wanted to cuddle back in it again.  It was so much nicer than having to figure out where you’re going to put several yards of fabric while shopping.  So, yeah, I’m very glad that I finally got over my pride in this regard…as I now am happily joining the ranks of Ergo-lovers.

BabyLegs: For the past couple years, I’ve heard of BabyLegs on different natural baby stuff sites.  They sounded cute and convenient, but I was never a big fan of legwarmers on boys so I didn’t try to find any when Cedar was little.  I had kind of forgotten about them until about a month ago when my mother-in-law gave Genoa some…and they were great!  Not only do they look absolutely adorable on her chubby little legs, but they’re so much easier to deal with when changing diapers.  Also, as the seasons change, we have cold mornings that warm up a lot by the afternoon and the BabyLegs make it much easier to layer warmth and not have to go through several outfits during the day.  I also recently used them on Genoa’s arms to protect them from the sun during a trip to the beach (it wouldn’t have worked that well if it had been a hot day, but it was breezy and cooler).  They can definitely be pricey, but I’ve found a couple at a local children’s store that were majorly marked-down.  I also know of several mamas who made their own out of clearance knee highs and the like.

Bouncy seat: Before I had Cedar, I was of the hard-core babywearing mindset that you should always wear your baby and never use any kind of “baby-holder” (YAY for all-or-nothing personalities!).  After Cedar was born, that mindset wasn’t too hard to maintain.  It was winter and so I cozily wore in him the Sleepy Wrap (now called the Boba Wrap) most of the time, and I loved it.  When he got old enough to enjoy playing with toys, he would spend a little time on a blanket on the floor.  And when I got pregnant with Genoa and it wasn’t as comfortable to wear him so much, by that time he preferred being down so he could explore anyway.  But then I had Genoa.  She lived in the Sleepy Wrap for about the first six weeks, but then we started to move into our intense CA summers and wearing her for any prolonged period of time was very hot for both of us (even with the gauze wrap).  That, and, as thankful as I am to be able to wear her when I need to deal with Cedar, it honestly is much easier to change his diaper, help him onto the potty, etc. when I’m not wearing Genoa.   So…at my husband’s suggestion, I had to swallow my pride yet again…and we bought a bouncy seat.  !!!  One of those supposedly horrible “baby-holders”.  And it’s actually been really nice to have.   Having a place to put her while I’m doing something with Cedar is convenient and she really enjoys it.  And, at least in regard to her big brother, it’s a lot safer when they “play together” because I don’t have to worry about Cedar accidentally falling on top of her, etc.  I’m still a big fan of babywearing and use it often, but I’ve just tempered it a little with what works best for our family.

Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer: In the past several years, we’ve had kind of a sad history in regard to thermometers. My parents gave us a nice one when got married (as part of an inside joke), but for some reason it never worked very well.  Several came home with us from the NICU and there’s always been one in each birthing kit.  But those always end up stopping working after a couple uses.  We’re not sick very often, but especially with babies, I wanted to make sure to have a thermometer that consistently worked (novel concept!).  After reading many different Amazon reviews, I finally ended up going with the Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer.  I didn’t really get a chance to test it out until after Genoa was born.  Because I had tested positive for Group B Strep and hadn’t used the antibiotics during labour, we needed to monitor Genoa very closely for the first couple of days to make sure that she didn’t show any signs of infection.  I took her temperature with pretty much every diaper change for awhile and that thermometer was great.  It only took a couple seconds (and for some reason, it always calmed Genoa down when she was upset because she was getting her diaper changed) and was very accurate.  It’s been used pretty regularly since then and has continued to work great.  I’m very thankful we finally found a thermometer that liked our family!

Graham Gardens’ Tailfeathers Zinc Cream: I mentioned this cream in my post on cloth diapering, but it bears mention here too. In short, this stuff is amazing!  It has helped heal every single rash I’ve put it on…even when other creams couldn’t do it.  And, one of my favourite features…it comes in a tub so you can get every last bit out (and control how much you use), something that never happens with the stuff that comes in a tube.  Love this stuff!

Hyland’s Colic Tablets and Chamomilla Tablets: I’m planning on doing a post soon on natural teething remedies since it’s something that I’ve had lots of experience with in the last year and a half.  But I thought I’d mention two remedies here that I think every mom should have on hand.  Hyland’s Colic Tablets are great for when the baby’s stomach is full of air from nursing too fast, etc.  We’ve also found them pretty effective for teething pain too, if you don’t have other options available.  And I started using Hyland’s Chamomilla Tablets after the FDA took the Teething Tablets off the market (don’t get me started on that though!).  Chamomilla is the main “ingredient” in the Teething Tablets (and in the Colic ones too) and seems to work pretty well for teething pain and the general irritability associated with teething.

Sippy cup update: Not that any of you were particularly interested in our sippy cup saga, but I’ve found a couple other good toddler cups that I thought I’d briefly share about.  We loved the Thermos sippy cup we bought for Cedar, but after about a year or so, it started to get moldy in places that we couldn’t clean. I’m all for buidling kids’ immune systems, but I didn’t really want Cedar regularly drinking out of something with black mold in it!  We ended up getting Thermos’ next size up from his old one and taking the inside valve out of it.  Because of that, it’s no longer leak-proof, but it also is much easier to clean.  And then, on a friend‘s suggestion, we also tried the EIO Glass Kids Cup.  If a toddler has been used to a normal sippy cup that regulates water flow a bit more, this one is a little hard to get used to (there’s no valve at all, just a slit for water to come out of), but Cedar is getting the hang of it.  We especially love that one for smoothies since it’s very easy to clean and the thicker nature of the smoothie slows down the flow a little bit.

Well, there you have it!  Some new baby things we’ve discovered since having two.  Do share some of your favourites as well…

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff:
Part One: 0-6 Months
Part Two: 6-12 Months
Part Four: An Addendum to the Addendum
Part Five: The Boba Baby Carrier
Part Six: The Travel Edition 

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff – Part Two

Read Part One here

6-12 Months

Pack N Play: As much as we loved co-sleeping when Cedar was little, by the time he was about seven or eight months old, we ended up having to move him out of our bed and into his own bed in our library/guest room/office.  As he got older, he turned out to be a very light sleeper who would wake up and cry many times a night, stirred out of his slumber by Daddy or Mommy turning over in their sleep or something similar.  At first we had him in a crib that Aaron’s parents loaned us, but it was very large and bulky for our small house.  Also, and most importantly, the room where Cedar sleeps is also the guest room so whenever we would have overnight company, Aaron would have to completely take apart the crib in order to move it into our room for a night or two.  Not fun!  So we decided to just buy a Pack N Play (or playpen or playard or whatever you want to call them!), knowing that it would be much more suited to the size of our little house, it would be insanely easier to transport from room to room, and we could easily bring it along when we traveled.  Trying to find just a simple one without an attached bassinnet, or changing table, or Taj Mahal, proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be, but I finally ended up finding one.  Because it was going to be Cedar’s bed, we bought a mattress to put in it, but I don’t think we’ll bring that along when we travel.  Small, simple…and it works!  Though we’re still working on waking up several times a night, as a general thing we’re all getting much more sleep than we used to…YAY!

Sleep sack: Before Cedar was born, we were given an organic merino wool Disana sleep sack from some dear friends in New Zealand.  I was so excited to get it as I had seen the one that they had and loved the idea for whenever I would get married and have babies.  But when Cedar slept with us, he stayed very toasty from my body heat and our cozy down duvet, so the first time we used the sleep sack was when we went camping when he was about five or six months old.  It worked splendidly and he looked so cute!  We pulled it out again after he started sleeping in his Pack N Play and we never could keep his blankets on him.  The sleep sack was the perfect answer!  Not only did the layer of thick, cozy wool stay on him no matter how much he moved, on cold nights it helped (some) to keep his other blankets on him.  And contrary to popular belief, not all wool is itchy and merino wool is the softest, so he can just wear a long-sleeved onesie underneath the sleep sack.  Because of their ingenuity, sleep sacks in general are pretty popular baby items, but many of them are made of fleece.  I love fleece for certain things, but am not a fan of it for sleepwear as it doesn’t breathe and the baby can more easily overheat while sleeping.  Wool, on the other hand, helps to regulate your body temperature.

Potty seat: At some point I’m hoping to do an entire post on our experience with infant potty training, but for now, I’ll just mention something that made it much easier…Cedar’s potty seat.  We started potty-training Cedar when he was about six months old (kind of late for infant potty training) and having a potty seat to set his chubby bulk on instead of trying to balance him on the normal toilet seat was a life-saver!

“Real Food for Mother and Baby”: This is something else that I’m definitely planning on doing a separate post on so I’ll save most of my gushings for then.  Suffice to say, Nina Planck’s book Real Food for Mother and Baby is one of the best baby books I have ever read!  It was so helpful and reassuring when I was starting Cedar on solids.  And it made it all so simple…just feed your baby real food.  I recommend it to any mother!

Mesh feeder: When Cedar was around five months old, he started to really want to eat what we were eating.   However, he had no teeth yet so I was wary of giving him stuff that was too chunky since he didn’t really have any of way making the chunks smaller and more swallowable.  Enter the mesh feeder.  Fill the mesh bag with food of choice (we usually used fruit since it was easy for him to gum enough to make it come through the mesh…sometimes we put a piece of steak in there, he loved sucking all the juice and flavour out of it!).  Attach to handle.  Give to baby to enjoy gnawing on and banging on the table.  Whoever invented these is a genius!

Sippy cup: I have never liked sippy cups.  I’ve been to too many houses where they are everywhere, and I’ve seen too many kids so attached to them that they can’t drink out of a real cup.  I was determined that would not be my house and those would not be my kids.  But then, real life happened, and I discovered that maybe sippy cups do have their place.  Ever since he was four or five months old, Cedar has been able to drink out of my Nalgene and any normal cup (most babies can drink out of a cup from birth, we just didn’t try it with him earlier).  When he was nursing exclusively, that’s where he got his occasional novel sip of water.  But when he started eating more solids and not nursing very well when we were out (too much exciting stuff to look at), I wanted to make sure that he was getting enough fluids, especially in our hot California summers.  He could drink out of my Nalgene if he needed to, but that was slow and often too time-consuming for him to be interested long enough to get enough water.  And that’s when I broke down and decided to buy a sippy cup!  And mostly due to the fact that most of the sippy cups on Amazon won’t let you choose your colour, and I read too many reviews saying that people ended up with a pink one…this is the one we got (and it’s BPA- and phthalate-free…a definite must for something that Cedar would have in his mouth often!).  And it has worked great the last several months…and I’m now convinced that sippy cups do have their place – in moderation.

Bumkins SuperBibs: These were a recent discovery for us…and one that I wish I had found several months ago.  From gifts and random ones that came with clothing, Cedar had quite the collection of small to medium-sized cloth bibs.  They worked okay, but especially as he began to eat more and more solids, they just weren’t covering enough and I often would have to change his shirt or onesie after a meal even if he had had a bib on!  So I browsed some of my favourite online baby stores (i.e. the ones that sell cloth diapers) and found Bumkins SuperBibs.  Wipeable, washable, covered the entire front of the baby including their shoulders…sounded perfect.  So I ordered some from Amazon and quickly saw just how super they really are…we love them!

Well, that about sums it up…I keep trying to rack my brain to see if I’m forgetting anything, but I guess if I don’t think of it right away, it’s not that important in the long run!

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff:
Part One: 0-6 Months
Part Three: An Addendum
Part Four: An Addendum to the Addendum
Part Five: The Boba Baby Carrier
Part Six: The Travel Edition 

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff – Part One

I know that I’ve only been a mama for about ten months, so that doesn’t really qualify me as being an expert in what is necessary for a baby.  However, as I start thinking of preparing for this new little one, I’ve mentally gone over what I was glad I bought (or was given), what I wished I bought (which wasn’t really much) and what turned out to be unnecessary.  I thought I’d compile it all here for anyone who cares to know…and then, if any more friends ask me what I consider essential baby stuff, I can point them to this post and the following one (Part One is about stuff for babies age 0 to 6 months, and Part Two is for ages 6 to 12 months).

As the title indicates, I’m very much a minimalist and have a rather crunchy bent.  So if you’re looking for recommendations on baby swings and playmats (is that what those are called?) and other such paraphernalia, I have no experience with any of that stuff.  I’m not fundamentally against any of that, it just isn’t my style.

0-6 Months

Cloth diapers – When I was pregnant with Cedar, I spent a lot of my down time researching all the different kinds of cloth diapers…I was blown away by how many choices there are!  After thinking about it a lot, and trying to find the balance between simplicity, price and ease of use, I decided to go with Snappied prefolds covered by Thirsties Duos covers.  Prefolds are pretty basic as cloth diapers go and their uses outside of being diapers are endless (they make great nighttime nursing pads for the first couple  weeks, or months, after your milk comes in).  Though I was originally going to go with another diaper cover, I’m so glad we decided to use Duos!  They are a two-sized system (meaning you only have to buy two sizes to last you from birth to toddlerhood) which makes them a lot more economical than a lot of other covers which you end up having to buy three or four sizes by the time your baby is out of diapers.

Though I’m sure there are amazing cloth diaper mamas who can pull it off, I find it rather hard to Snappi a prefold on a baby in the front seat of the car, so we use GroBaby (now GroVia) one-size shells and snap-in soakers when we’re out and about and those work great.  I don’t think they’ll fit Cedar as long as the Size Two Duos will, but they work for now.  We used to use FuzziBunz one-size pocket diapers for nighttime, but lately Cedar has been having issues with raw spots, so we switched our nighttime diaper to a stay-dry doubler in the prefold/Duo combination and it’s been working great!

(June 2011 note: My diapering system has changed somewhat…a more updated explanation is found here.)

Wrap carrier – If I had to choose just one baby item to have (outside of clothes and diapers), it would be a wrap baby carrier.  Pretty much anything else I could make do without, but I found this indispensable with Cedar and I’m guessing it’ll be even more important with the second baby.  The first few months of Cedar’s life, he hated not being held and since I couldn’t sit and hold him all day, I wore him all day.  Wearing him was pretty much the only way I got anything done the first couple months of Cedar’s life.  We started out with a Sleepy Wrap (now called the Boba Wrap), a stretchy wrap carrier, which worked great when he was little.  However, after he was about four or five months old, he got really heavy to wear in a stretchy wrap and so big that it was hard to do much with him strapped to my front (back carries are not considered safe when done with a stretchy wrap).  After a while, we bought a Wrapsody Bali Breeze Freya wrap, a gauze wrap.  This worked great this past summer…it was much lighter than the Sleepy Wrap so therefore worked well with the intense heat of our central California summers, and since it was a gauze wrap and not stretchy, I could do back carries with it.  The Bali Breeze is a thinner wrap and therefore can get kind of “diggy” after long periods of carrying a 20+ lb. little boy in it.  As such, we recently got a Girasol Big Sur, a true woven wrap…and since it’s finally cooled down some, I’ve been able to try it a couple times and it works great!  Its thickness makes it a lot more comfortable to wear for long periods of time and it’s very supportive.

Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blankets: I don’t know where I first heard of Aden + Anais blankets, but I’m so glad that I did!  They sounded great, but I wasn’t sure if they were worth it since they’re kind of spendy for a baby blanket (at the time they were $44 for a package of four).  However, I decided to make them my one baby splurge and they’ve been used every day since Cedar was born…definitely worth every penny!  They’re amazing baby blankets…they’re originally intended for swaddling (and we used them for that all the time when Cedar was really little), but we use them for so much more. They’re quite large (four feet by four feet) so I love using them as nursing covers since they actually cover (and the material is very light and breathable). They’re also really absorbent so we used them to mop up spit-up all the time. And folded into fourths they make a great light blanket for when he’s napping. And now that he’s older, he loves to chew on them (especially the tags!) and doesn’t go to sleep without one.  We’re definitely planning on buying a set for the new baby as Cedar is quite attached to his and with two little ones, it’ll be good to have a couple extra.  I think you can order them through their web-site, but I ended up getting mine through Amazon since they were a tad bit cheaper…but looking at Amazon now, most of them are quite a bit cheaper and they have big selection of prints.

Bed-rail: After deciding that Cedar would sleep with us when he was little, I really wanted to get a bed rail.  My midwife said that Cedar should sleep between Aaron and I, but I wanted to be the one that got to sleep next to Aaron and in order to have Cedar on one side and me in the middle, we needed something that would keep him on the bed. We ended up getting this bed rail…and we loved it!  After looking at a bunch of other bed rails, I really liked that this one not only secured itself to the bed on the bottom of the mattress, but also on the top, so that way you don’t have to stuff towels and such in the crack between the bed rail and the mattress.  And we ended up being able to take it with us when we went traveling…just take it off the bed and attach it to whatever bed you’re staying in.  It’s sort of bulky to tote around, but not any more so than a playpen or something else for the baby to sleep in.

Convertible car seat: A car seat is an obvious baby thing to buy…and I’m not going to say much about ours, just that I’m so glad we got a convertible car seat.  A convertible car seat is a seat that can be used from infancy until booster seat age which means that you no longer need an infant car seat carrier.  We like this because 1) it’s cheaper and less stuff, and 2) both Aaron and I hate infant car seat carriers (and with a wrap, you don’t really need one!).

Backpack: One of Aaron’s mom’s sisters gave us her baby backpack (REI Piggyback) that she used with her son when he was little and we’ve found it really helpful for hiking and such, especially when it started to get warmer here…hiking on a warm day with a warm baby strapped to you in a wrap can be kind of sweltering!  And Aaron is much more comfortable wearing Cedar on his back than his front since he’s used to wearing backpacks.  I don’t know how much they cost, but if people want baby gift ideas, a couple different people could go in on it together.

Jogging stroller:  As a babywearing mama, at first I didn’t really want to have a stroller of any kind.  But then, my mother-in-law reminded me that a jogging stroller would probably come in handy as the baby got older and heavier and it got hotter here in central CA (i.e. you wouldn’t really want to strap a warm baby to you in the summer)…and she was right!  Several women went it together and got us this jogging stroller and it has been great to have in several situations.  As it warmed up, it was nice to put a quickly-growing-heavier Cedar in his stroller and take a walk.  And also, since our “yard” right now is just an expanse of dirt and rock, being able to put him in the stroller and let him sit and watch us work in the garden was very nice.  So it’s definitely not a necessity, but something that is very nice to have.

Well, that about sums it up for the stuff I think is “needed” for an infant.  Like I heard someone once say, pretty much all a baby needs is summed up in MOM, and that’s so true!  However, there are things that are very helpful to have around.

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff:
Part Two: 6-12 Months
Part Three: An Addendum
Part Four: An Addendum to the Addendum
Part Five: The Boba Baby Carrier
Part Six: The Travel Edition