Play YardsI felt like I had to have a play yard when I had Sasha. My mom bought me one. We used it a lot, too! It has a changing table insert and a cradle insert. It was just terribly handy! We even used it as a baby gate. It is the only large baby item we saved, sure we'd need it again with Spencer. Admittedly he isn't mobile yet, but I'm just not sure if we'll use it or not. Still, it (thankfully) stores fairly small so we'll just let it sit there behind the speaker until we either need it or don't.
Then there are play yard sheets. Wait, what? I didn't even know they made such a thing. Go figure. Apparently you need 2-3 of these things. I could see where they make it easier to clean up after messes, but... As you can see, I just used receiving blankets. They're definitely more versatile! I vote luxury. Play yard netting might be nice if you're going to have baby outside a lot, especially if you're in a mosquito zone. I don't feel a need to own one of these. If the mosquitoes are bad, I just keep my baby inside.
High ChairsYou gotta have some sort of high chair, right? Eventually, anyway. When my mom bought my play yard, there was a free shipping offer if we spent a little more. We added a booster seat. I had both kinds of seats with Tyler, but opted for just the booster seat with Sasha. It is so much more versatile and I love the idea of having baby at the table with the family rather than in a separate space.
Then you have the options (read: luxuries) of splat mats and high chair covers. The covers are great for using in restaurants and even in grocery carts. A blanket will seriously do in a pinch, but I would certainly call these convenient. We have one, but it spends most of the time bunched up under the seat in the truck. I'd forgotten about it until just now.
CarriersOh dear... this is my weakness! I have half a dozen different carriers myself! I made at least 2 of them, got some as hand-me-downs, 1 off of CraigsList, and the most recent one by doing a review on my blog. Here's the thing: I think every family should have at least one carrier, but I'm not talking about one of those big things with a handle. I mean a way to strap your baby to you so you can hold him/her and still have your hands free to get something done!
The trouble with this, however, is that not all carriers suit all parents and/or babies. Then there are a couple of different carrier categories for different stages. Perhaps I should open a carrier shop where you can trade them in or at least try them before purchasing!
You might want a framed carrier. We have a backpack with a frame that was great while camping with Sasha when she was very small! It will carry a baby up to 30 pounds so she could still ride in it right now, if we wanted to carry her that way. More than a framed carrier, I'd probably recommend a front or hip carrier. They're a little more comfortable and versatile, depending on the model. Right now, though (with a newborn), my #1 suggestion would be for a wrap. The only carrier I'm using with Spencer so far is my wrap, though I'm waiting for someone to return my ring sling.
We still have three more categories to go! Its a lot. Some stores do have freebies when you go to register, too. You might see that as a good thing or a bad thing (depending on your minimalist tendencies). Tune in next week to check out Toys / Gifts.
What is your favorite baby carrier?
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