Tag Archives: baby gear

Preparing for baby 2

I’m now 29 weeks pregnant, and officially into the third trimester. In the beginning of my pregnancy, everyone told me I would be amazed at how different pregnancy would be the second time. That hasn’t really been the case for me. I’m struggling with the same aches and pains, nausea, and extreme exhaustion (only this time, I’m anemic, too. Ugh.)

The only big difference for me this time? The time and energy I have to devote to preparing for baby. I wasn’t working for most of my pregnancy with Judah. For half of my pregnancy, Tony was in the process of job hunting, so he wasn’t working either, so I didn’t even really have to take care of myself! I napped, relaxed, and researched baby stuff on the Internet all day while Tony waited on me. Sigh. Those were the days.

This time, Tony is gone most of the day, and I’m doing the very physical (and exhausting) work of caring for our active, strong-willed 2-year-old. I’ve continued to teach part-time through most of the pregnancy, and I will do so (online) right up until the baby is born and beyond. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had time to think about nesting. There’s no chance I’m getting any cleaning or organizing done while Judah is awake, and I’m face planting on my bed within 10 minutes of his bedtime

Now that I’m in the third trimester, the urge to nest has hit me hard. I look around my house, and all I see are to-do lists. I have plenty of plans — but energy and time and motivation are still limited. I’m trying to be realistic about what I can get done.

Preschool is starting in early August for Judah, so I will have three mornings a week to catch up as long as my pregnancy continues to be free of complication (fingers crossed!). For now, I’m trying to prioritize what needs to get done.


The great thing about a second child who is the same gender as the first with a relatively close birthday (Judah was born in late November; his brother is due in late September) is that we have a ton of clothes that will likely fit him. I saved everything that was in good shape. We won’t need to buy any clothes, but I do have to get the newborn and 0-3 months clothes out of storage, make sure they’re clean and ready to go, and revamp our clothing storage system. I want to replace Judah’s huge dresser with two smaller ones, stain treat and store the clothing Judah has outgrown (he still has winter stuff in his drawers — eep), and of course, stock baby brother’s drawers with hand-me-downs.

Sleeping Arrangements

arm's reach cosleeperI will be using the same Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper bassinet that Judah slept in for the first 6 months. Our house is a 3-bedroom, and I’d like to keep a guest room available for family for as long as possible, so I’m resisting the urge to turn our guest room into a full-blown nursery. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to do in there. I will set up a crib, but I’ll probably just leave the guest bed in there, too, since baby won’t need the room all night for another 6 months. It’s been a while since we had visitors, so the room has become an embarrassing depository for old toys and things that don’t have another place. I need to clear it out, clean out the closet (which has served as random storage since we moved in), and make the room functional as both a place to store the baby things and a guest room. We also need to buy a new crib since Judah’s was manufactured before the crib regulations changed, and he pretty much destroyed it by chewing on it (teething rails are on my to-buy list this time).


We’ll be cloth diapering for at least the first 12 months again. The beauty of cloth diapering is that pretty much everything can be reused. My diapers are clean and ready to go. I couldn’t resist buying some new covers when Cotton Babies had a seconds sale (50% off for diaper covers with minor imperfections!) So we’re hopefully all set. See this post for more information on my cloth diaper recommendations.

Car seat

britax b-safeThis is the biggest purchase we need to make, and I’m dragging my feet about it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get an infant seat carrier or skip straight to a convertible car seat. We had the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant seat for Judah, and I loved it, but it’s so pricey! I can’t reuse that seat because it was involved in a minor car accident, and the manufacturer says their seats are unsafe after any collision, so we’ll need a new seat for this baby. I also didn’t need the high weight limit, because Judah moved into the convertible at 9 months and well under 20 pounds. Even as small as he was, I didn’t use the seat as a carrier for longer than a few weeks, because the whole thing was just too heavy and I preferred my Baby K’Tan and later my Ergobaby carrier. Even in the winter, I just jumped in the backseat, secured him in the carrier, and wrapped us both up in my old maternity coat. It was so much easier than hauling that giant seat around.

It sounds like I’m sold on the convertible, but even though newborns technically will fit in those giant seats, I just feel like the snug fit of the infant seat is a safer bet when they’re tiny. So I’m leaning toward getting a more affordable, no frills infant seat and upgrading to the fancy convertible I want when he’s 9-12 months. Unfortunately, I’m not thrilled with the bare bones safety and usability ratings on most of the economy infant seats, so I’m leaning toward a middle-of-the-pack seat with excellent safety ratings that’s short on extra features (the Britax B-Safe seat, which currently sells for about $135). It’s about $50 less expensive than the KeyFit with similar safety and ease-of-use ratings.

britax marathon 70 g3Eventually, I’ll move him into the Britax Marathon 70 G3. Judah has the Britax Roundabout 55, which is a great seat for the price, and I love it. My only big complaint is that the entire seat has to be uninstalled and the straps have to be completely removed to adjust them or wash the seat cover. This is a huge pain if you have a really messy kid (or one who gags and pukes a lot, ahem). The Marathon is similar with a few extra features and upgrades, and an easy-to-remove cover and no rethread harness adjustments. (Like the Roundabout, it will allow baby to rear-face up to 40 pounds, which is very important now that rear-facing is recommended to at least 2 years old! We just turned Judah forward-facing at 2 years and 8 months, and we plan on rear facing as long as possible with his brother, too.)

I’m also considering a few new purchases for items I used heavily with Judah that were given to me secondhand. Most notably, I’d like to replace the swing that was given to me by my sister. It’s a 5- or 6-yearold Graco Cradle n Swing that has been used by four babies including Judah. It’s powered by an AC adapter instead of millions of batteries, so replacing it won’t be cheap, but with so little to buy, I think it might be a good investment. Plus I’ll be able to resell it for a good price when the baby outgrows it.

Beyond that, I just need to clean, clean, clean and organize. I usually run a pretty tight ship when it comes to tidiness, but I’m a crappy housekeeper when I’m pregnant. A lot of clutter and messiness has built up over the past 7 months (almost a year if you include my last pregnancy and miscarriage recovery). Plus, our 1970s ranch is small with very little storage. It’s going to take some serious purging and Tetris-style reorganizing to fit a whole new person and all his stuff into this house.

How did you prepare for your second (or third or fourth) baby?

*All product links are Amazon Associates links, which means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product after following my link.

All photos courtesy of Amazon.com.

Cloth diapers: reconsidering expensive pocket diapers

I’ve raved about inexpensive prefold diapers in the past, and I still think they’re a great entry into cloth diapering. They don’t require a huge financial investment, they’re easy to use, durable, and a snap to keep clean.

However. As many of you seasoned cloth diapering moms warned me, prefolds have become cumbersome as Judah is getting more mobile. I don’t think they’re interfering with his ability to move around (obviously), but I do wonder if they’re as comfortable for him now that he’s moving. And let’s be honest, wrestling a mobile baby into a prefold, Snappi, and cover while he twists and turns and moves is a lot harder than snapping him into a single diaper.

One other slightly TMI confession: I am not as wild about cloth diapers since we introduced solids. Prefolds were simple for an exclusively breastfed baby. Now not so much. I’ve tested some of the pockets I already have on hand, and I was amazed at how much easier it was to deal with solid waste with the fancy microfleece lining compared to the cotton prefolds that are folded to fit him. Let’s just say all those folds and creases make it a lot harder to dispose of the waste before washing. Moving on.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from prefold diapers. They have worked fabulously for me, and I will continue to keep them on hand and probably continue to use them under certain circumstances. I don’t regret buying them. I didn’t want to invest hundreds of dollars into a cloth diaper stash before I knew if it would work for us, and the initial investment to use pocket diapers full-time for a newborn who needs 10-12 diapers changes a day was just too much for me.

I’m just starting to wonder if I should add a few more pocket diapers to my stash to make things a little easier on all of us (and future babysitters). Now that we’re past the newborn phase of 12 diapers a day, I could probably make a dozen diapers last two days, especially if I had some prefolds on hand to fill in the gaps if he needs a few extra diaper changes on some days.

I have a BumGenius 4.0, a FuzziBunz Hemp Organic, a BumGenius all-in-one, and a SmartiPants pocket diaper. I like all of the pocket diapers a lot, but I haven’t used them enough to develop a preference.

I wanted to get opinions from my cloth diapering readers: do you have a preference for a certain pocket diaper? Which works best for toddlers? Judah is slim and small for his age (10th percentile for weight, 50th for height at his last appointment three months ago), so I suspect he will stay that way for the foreseeable future. He’s probably around 18 pounds now, so I don’t think fit will be a problem for a while. We hope to use cloth until he potty trains, so I want to make sure they diapers I buy now will fit a 3-year-old if necessary.

I like the idea of FuzziBunz hemp diapers, because they’re made from organic, natural materials. But they’re more expensive. I’ve also developed some brand loyalty toward Cotton Babies products. My favorite covers are Flips and Econobums, so I’m thinking I’ll be just as happy with the BumGenius. So I’m torn. Tell me what you think!

5 non-essential baby products I use every day

I remember when I first started shopping for baby things, I was so overwhelmed. There are so many baby products on the market, and sadly, so much of it is totally and completely useless. Almost every expecting mother finds herself asking the question, “What do I really need?”

Aside from the obvious essentials like diapers, clothing, and a car seat, the truth is there isn’t much you really need. But almost four months into motherhood, I’ve discovered a few items that have made my life a whole lot easier. I’d like to share them with you now.

For the record, I’m not being compensated in any way to endorse these products. All of these items I either bought for myself or were gifted to me by generous friends. These reviews are completely unsolicited by the manufacturers, and all opinions are my own.

Baby K’Tan

There are about a million different infant carriers and slings. It may seem like all of them work the same way, but the truth is, they don’t. Some of them aren’t very baby-friendly, and many of them aren’t very mom-friendly. They can be difficult to use, constricting for baby, and a lot of moms abandon them early on.

My friend Kacie loved her Baby K’Tan carrier, and generously gifted me with one of my own before Judah was born. The K’Tan is incredibly simple to use compared to other wraps. It takes me about a minute to get Judah into it, and I can do it while sitting in the backseat of the car. There’s no complicated wrapping involved. It’s made of two loops of fabric, so there aren’t yards and yards of excess fabric to get in your way.

He absolutely loves to be carried in it, and he’s typically fast asleep within 10 minutes. I don’t think either one of us would be a fan of a bulky stroller. The K’Tan keeps him close to me, and it keeps my hands free.

Arms Reach co-sleeper

Before Judah was born, my sister gave me a bedside bassinet that she never used for my nephew. I tried to put Judah in it the first two nights after we came home from the hospital, and it was a nightmare. He hated the thing, and it was too tall for me to comfort him from the bed. I also had to stand up to pick him up every time he woke me to eat. He was using a bili-blanket to treat his jaundice, and keeping him swaddled in it was impossible. I was in and out of bed all night rewrapping the blanket around him.

My mom bought us a Close and Secure Sleeper* that worked great for the first 6 weeks. He was right in bed with us, but I was able to sleep soundly with him in his own space. Even though it was small, fitting it in a queen-sized bed with two adults was a squeeze, so it wasn’t very comfortable for us. He also grew out of it quickly.

I read rave reviews about the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper, a bassinet that attaches to the side of the bed. I ordered the Clear Vue mini bassinet model, and it has worked fabulously. If you’re breastfeeding, I absolutely recommend it. He sleeps right next to me, but he doesn’t take up space in the bed. This particular model has adjustable legs, which allowed us to tilt it a few inches to help with his reflux. Its weight limit is 23 pounds, so it will last longer than the typical bassinet with a 15- or 18-pound limit.

Cloud B Gentle Giraffe sound machine

During our endless struggle for better sleep, we discovered that Judah was soothed into sleep by white noise. My sister recommended the Cloud B Sleep Sheep*, but when I discovered there was an adorable giraffe* that matched his nursery’s jungle theme, I had to have that one. I named him Geoffrey.

There are four different sounds, including some jungle beats, a waterfall, and a sound that’s supposed to mimic mother’s heartbeat from the womb. He doesn’t really like any of the sounds except for the waterfall, but he loves it. A timer turns it off after 23 or 45 minutes, and a velcro strap attaches it to the side of the bassinet or crib. It comes with us where ever we go to help Judah fall asleep.

Snappi diaper fastener

If you’re using prefold cloth diapers, there are all kinds of different ways to fold the diapers to avoid using pins or fasteners. I find that the Snappi fasteners* give me a snugger fit, which is really important in those first months when diapers can be particularly messy. My mom and Tony’s grandmother, who both used cloth diapers with pins, marvel at how easy it is for me to fasten Judah’s diapers without sticking myself or him.

Bumbo seat

I’ve only owned this thing for a day, but Judah already loves it. He’s been insisting on being held in a seated or standing position for the last few weeks, and it’s made it difficult for me to multi-task while holding him. The Bumbo seat* allows him to sit up straight without assistance even though he’s a couple months away from doing that on his own, and I’ve read that it aids in healthy development of the spine and posture.

What baby products have you found helpful?

Disclosure: Asterisks denote affiliate links. If you make a purchase through Amazon using my link, I earn a few cents.

Advice needed: Choosing an infant car seat for our tiny car

Thanks to the reviews in Baby Bargains (affiliate link), extensive research, and a visit to some baby stores to test them out, we’ve narrowed down our choices for infant car seats to two options.

We opted to choose an infant car seat instead of a rear-facing convertible that will last longer because we’d like to have the option to use the seat as an infant carrier. With the history of giant babies in our families, I doubt we’ll want to lug him around in an awkward 10-pound car seat for very long. But I think in the very beginning it will be handy to be able to lift him out of the car and carry him without uncovering him, especially since he’ll be born at the beginning of a very cold Midwestern winter.

A few weeks ago, we were pretty sure we were set on the Graco SnugRide 35 (affiliate link). It has an A-rating for safety and usability in Baby Bargains, and it’s a top seller. I like that it’s safe to use until the baby is 35 pounds or 32 inches, which means we should be able to get through most of his first year without replacing his car seat. We probably won’t be using it as a carrier for that long, but the longer I can use this seat, the better. I also like that it’s compatible with a wide range of stroller frames and other baby gear. We’re opting to skip the travel system and use a sling exclusively for at least the first few months, but I like having the option to get the stroller later if for some reason baby wearing just isn’t working for us.

We made this decision without ever seeing the car seats in person, though. So Saturday, we took a short trip to the nearest baby store (about 45 minutes away), and checked out our options.

We liked the SnugRide 35. But. For comparison, we also looked at another high-rated infant seat/carrier: the Chicco Keyfit 30 (affiliate link). The Keyfit has a weight limit of 30 pounds and a height guideline of 30 inches. It won’t last quite as long as the SnugRide, but I think the difference is negligible.

The biggest difference between the two is size of the actual seat. The Keyfit felt much lighter. I found out when we got home that the difference is only about a pound, but it felt much lighter than that. I’m guessing when you add a 10-15 pound baby to the seat, every pound counts.

More importantly, it was about 2-3 inches more compact than the SnugRide 35. It’s also safe to leave the handle up when the Keyfit is installed in the in-car base. The SnugRide 35 handle must be down in the locked position, which adds even more length to the seat.

We weren’t able to take the seats out to our car to test the fit. This is our main concern: we share a single vehicle, and it’s a Hyundai Accent. It’s a four-door, but it’s still a pretty small, sub-compact car. We’re concerned that the extra bulk and the handle on the SnugRide 35 might make for a tight squeeze in our backseat.

Tony much preferred the Keyfit. He said it felt lighter and easier to carry, and since he’ll likely be saddled with lugging the infant carrier more often than me, I’m inclined to let him choose. But I’m bothered by the compatibility issues with the Keyfit. We’d rather avoid getting a stroller frame for the infant carrier, but if the need arises, I like that the SnugRide offers so many options. Our options for the Keyfit are pretty limited.

Do any of you have any experience using the SnugRide 35 or the Chicco Keyfit 30 in a sub-compact car (particularly a Hyundai Accent)? Or do you have any feedback on either seat in general? I’m hoping your feedback will push us over the edge for either seat, because right now we’re torn.