Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Take It or Leave It?

So we're a year and change into this parenting thing, and I have a lot of friends having babies (a lot of them their firsts), so I thought I'd revisit my post about baby products from almost a year ago, since the kids have outgrown all those things and I'm now consigning/selling most of them.

So first of all, which of the things on that original list are we still using? The diaper caddy, we still use daily - and will till they're potty trained. I still use my ring sling sometimes - they now sit in it swing-style, with their legs hanging out, and it's pretty convenient. I also have an Ergo, which I love, but it's only useful if you have another adult to help you put it on.

I can sometimes manage to use it in a front carry, but most of the time I can't reach far enough behind my back to fasten the clip to keep it on. They're also pretty expensive - they show up infrequently at consignment stores, and I got mine pretty cheap on craigslist, but had to drive across town and then wash it half a dozen times to get a funny smell out.

That's actually all from the original list we still use - the Burt's Bees diaper ointment sometimes, but I tend to rotate through three or four types that we have on hand.

In the stages we've experienced since that post a year ago, we've found some products to be very much worth it, some not at all, and some worth it but for such a short time you're better off borrowing.

Worth it:

Cloth diapers. I could write a whole post on that, but really, Amalah's already done that for me (for real, that is pretty much the most comprehensive-yet-understandable-and-also-funny set of information about cloth diapering in the world). I guess the big difference for us is twins - but I don't think that's made it any harder. I don't even feel like we have that many more diapers/covers than she seems to. I wash every other day, hang out the covers to dry, hang out the diapers if it's sunny or toss them in the dryer if it's not, and it's all good. We do use disposables for nighttime, because we never could find a good cloth combination that wouldn't be soaked by morning, and didn't really have the dedication to invest in an entirely new system just for nighttime. We started out with two of the basic Newborn Packages from Nicki's Diapers, and ordered a couple of extra sets of bamboo prefolds  - and actually, looking at that link just now, I realized that we're still using the Small size. To be honest, we've stretched a lot of our covers way past when they were supposed to have been too small. As they've outgrown covers, we've bought more at our local-ish diaper store. We use about half and half covers/prefolds and pockets/prefolds. We don't really mess with the various specialized inserts that come with some of the pocket diapers - prefolds work fine for everything.

One thing that's been a complete life saver is our discovery of flushable diaper liners. They make it so much easier to be sure that everything solid goes into the toilet and doesn't end up clogging up the drain pipe of our washer.

Also worthwhile: the big plastic Rubbermaid bin that I repurposed from storage to use as a toy bin. No, it's not terribly cute, but it's so easy to clean up the play room. Just throw everything in, tuck it under a desk, and we're done. I'll probably replace it with a proper toy box some day, but one thing the kids like about it is that it's lightweight enough that they can push it around the room for whatever games they're making up.

Two other things in that photo that are great: good sturdy shutters for peek-a-boo, and the push toy that I picked up at a consignment store. I was sort of regretting getting the plastic noisy one instead of the fancy Melissa & Doug wooden one, but the 450th time one of them ran over the other's toes or mine, I was really glad I hadn't gotten the heavy one. And the music's not so bad. It gets them dancing every time.

We have 2 different high chairs, which are both worth it in different ways: we have the Ikea Blames chair, which is great-looking and easy to clean, but the tray is a pain in the rear to take off and put back on. We recently took the trays off altogether, though, and moved the chairs up to the table, and it's perfect for that. We also have the slightly older version of this Graco high chair, which is great as well - the tray is easy to get on and off, and when we moved them to the table, I took the legs off the chair entirely and now it's a nice booster on a regular kitchen chair. It's a little more complicated, with more straps and the cover and legs and things to keep track of, but in the end I like it as much as the Ikea one.

OMG look at those bald little heads!!!

What else do we love? Bean bag chairs, our play table, and our water table. Oh, and a set of simple musical instruments they got for their birthday - I think it's actually a couple of sets from a couple of different people, but anyway, all the musical instruments are a huge hit.

Leave it:

I'm trying to think of anything we had recommended to us or felt like we needed that ended up just not being that useful/fun. There's not much - I did spend too much money on breathable mesh crib bumpers, which seemed like a necessity at the time to keep the kids from sticking their legs out and getting stuck, but they're almost impossible to keep in place - they got scrunched down and messed up almost immediately. I can't think of much else, really.

Borrow it:

A Bumbo seat. Everybody knows somebody who has one sitting around taking up space because they can't sell them at the consignment store because they were recalled. They only use them for a month or two when they want to sit up but can't on their own yet, and they're not actually unsafe if you're using them correctly, so find that friend who has one in a closet, borrow it and get the free safety strap kit, and use it for the month or two that you need it. Then, bonus, when your friend has their next kid, the safety straps will be all ready for them.

(Or, you know, talk to my family.
I think we have about half a dozen
floating around by now.)

A baby bath tub. Another one that takes up space, and you'll use it for a little longer, but if a friend has kids the right age and has one to pass along, go for it. They're just so basic and so completely cleanable, there's really no reason to buy one new.

Yes, this is pretty much my favorite picture ever.
That's why it keeps showing up.
I'd better wrap this up because I think the kids are about done with their nap - please feel free to add your own recommendations (or anti-recommendations) in the comments!

Oops, one more to borrow: a shopping cart/high chair cover. I liked ours a lot for similar reasons to the Bumbo - they gave the kids a little extra support and cushion when they were aware enough to want out of their car seats, but not quite steady sitting up on their own yet. But that's such a short window of time, it's much better to borrow one or pick one up cheap at a consignment store.

And one last cutie. You're welcome.


  1. I used my Bumbo for my kids when I gave them haircuts until they were about 4. Put it on a kid size table (supervised of course) and it kept them in place and at a good height!

  2. Wow! Mine were only able to use them for a few months before they were too tight to be comfortable. I think if I got them in one now, I wouldn't be able to get them out.