Throughout my pregnancy, I did a decent job of posting my thought process and research on the baby things we purchased. Now it's time to analyze what we have.
Our living room looked like this for a long time. Covered in things!
|Can you spot two babies?|
The sheer amount of baby stuff available, and even the amount we have, is overwhelming. Some of these things are amazing while others are big busts. Now it's time to evaluate our heroes and our duds.
Our number one best buy for baby entertainment is:
BabyBjorn BabySitter Balance: The boys both adore this chair and love that they can bounce themselves and control their own environment. We use them for everything! Sitting to get nails cut, sleeping at night, napping in the day, putting babies down for a moment, a place to play while I make dinner, a place to take a bottle. Or a first straw sippy cup.
This is one of the few things we have two of. Our first chair was borrowed (pictured above center) and once we saw how much both boys loved it we went and bought a second one. When we had to return the borrowed chair, we bought another one. Because we NEED two of these. We also have a Fisher Price SnugaMonkey bouncer. It's super cute. But, neither boy cares for it.
Seriously. This Chair is Amazing. If you buy nothing else for your child, buy this chair. If only because it's adorable when they learn to rock themselves!
Other Entertainment Gear (0-6 months):
Swings: We own A LOT of swings. We started with the fancy MamaRoo from 4Moms. This is the Cadillac of swings (pictured back left of photo - under the butterfly photo). The boys didn't start to like this swing at all until about 4 months. For the first few months they screamed every time they were put in it and I called this product a big bust. Now at 6 months it is a great place for an afternoon snooze when crib naps just won't happen. Since we only owned the MamaRoo we thought our infants just didn't like swings, so imagine our surprise when Davy giggled and laughed himself to sleep in the old swing at my mom's house! We bought two old style swings at consignment sales (green swing top right and blue swing top center) and both were well liked. The blue swing has been handy because it folds down small to travel. The green swing stopped working after we owned it a week so we picked up another big old style swing (not picture) at another consignment sale. That swing and the green swing (which Casey fixed) now live in the office so the boys can rest and relax while Daddy works and Mommy rests on the weekends. Since we bought all three swings inexpensively at consignment sales we are hoping to recoup most of our money when we sell them.
Playmats: Again, we have multiples. We have a cheap Infantino Twist and Fold, a nice Skip Hop playmat, and a consignment store plastic version that makes a lot of noise. My recommendation: go cheap. The only difference between the cheap Infantino one and the more expensive Skip Hop one is the aesthetics and since the living room is covered in baby anyway the more adult patterned Skip Hop playmat doesn't make a difference. The loud consignment plastic play space (red arch to right of blue swing) is really handy and I wish things like it were still made. Since the arch isn't attached to anything you can move it over the baby rather than having to slide the baby under. Sounds like a small thing, but when you have two babies in your arms its so nice! Also, every time the boys pull on the center toy the puppy bobs its head and sings a song. They quickly learned the cause and effect and now love to lay under it. This has entertained from 3 months until now and hasn't lost any of it's allure for the boys. Because the puppy that makes noise is so loved, we strapped a carrier toy bar (similar to linked but we have an older version) to one of the playmats so both boys could have noise and songs while they played.
Standing Toys: Both boys love to stand and we have four standing toys. The Johnny Jump Up hooks to a door frame to let the baby jump. Both boys like hanging out there, with direct sight lines to the kitchen and living room, but neither has figured out it is a place to jump. We have an old exersaucer, make and model unknown, that really gets the job done and keeps the boys happy. We also have the Baby Einstein Jumperoo (which was recalled this week because babies can hit themselves in the face. And an adult chipped a tooth in a springy toy) which the boys love. Our fourth standing toy is a NeuroSmith Cube, which is a large block they can stand next to and explore zippers, buttons, and shapes while it plays different music. We just got this out of the closet this week and they are still a bit young to enjoy it.
Small Toys: I'm actually not going to write anything on small toys because everything I know and love about small toys, we learned from Nancy Holtzman at Isis Parenting and she has an awesome blog post on teething and mouthing toys by age and stage. If you are on twitter you really should be following @NancyHoltzman and if you are a new mom not on twitter, you should create a twitter account so you can follow @NancyHoltzman. For serious. She's that awesome. Our favorite toys: oball rattles, Sophie the giraffe, Sassy floor mirror, winkel, wubbanubs (have become toys as they've gotten older!), and JellyCat soft books (I'm not linking so you will use the links on Nancy's page to support Isis Parenting!). The boys also really love the Fisher Price Musical Dinosaur and will sit and watch the balls pop and listen to the little tune.
My last must have item for Mommy entertaining:
I am CONSTANTLY down on the ground with the babies. I nurse sitting on the ground (so it is easier to pick up and put down if they nurse for different amounts of time). I play on the ground. I entertain during tummy time. I sing songs. I play games. I am down with the boys on their level. And it's not comfortable. And our sofa isn't against a wall so I can't lean on it without it moving. So I bought a Stadium Chair to put on the floor. It's amazing. Casey made fun of the purchase, but now I catch him sitting in it!