Although we do not want unnecessary items to occupy our limited living space, I’d decided to buy a playpen for my daughter because we want her to sleep with us in our room, at least for the first month or so, and the mobility of a playpen makes this easy. In fact, she is almost 10 months now, and she is still sleeping in the playpen in our room.
At first, I was looking at the Nuna Sena Mini, which is a smaller version of the Nuna Sena that can accommodate children up to 18 months. I do not think a walking child will stay in a playpen, therefore, there’s no need to buy the big one. Just like most playpens in the market do, the Sena can be converted to a bassinet for newborns. It’s fairly priced at USD $199. I was going to buy it, until I saw the Guava Family Lotus Crib with the bassinet kit. It is slightly bigger, however, I like that there’s a side zipper that allows a child to crawl in and out. I’m planning to use this as a play space in the living room by putting a blanket or two on top of it to make it an enclosed area, like a teepee tent. I will post an update when I’m actually using it at such capacity. In fact, I just checked guavafamily.com and found out that they have a new accessory, Fun Shade, which provides coverage for the playpen. I”m just not going to spend another USD $36.95 when a large blanket may do the same job.
Anyhow, both the bassinet and playpen work very well so far. It’is easy to assemble. It is also small and light enough for travelling. I do want to point out that the rocking function of the bassinet didn’t work for me, because my daughter didn’t like it when she was a young infant.
The Lotus Crib with the bassinet kit costs USD $299. Their sheets are expensive (USD $20 each), and the sizes are not standard sizes, so you have to buy their sheets. I bought one sheet and asked my Mother-In-Law to make a few extras. She is a superb seamstress!
We live in an 850 square foot condo. We don’t want junks to occupy our living space. Therefore, we have limited furniture. We only have two dining chairs, we use folding chairs when we have guests. When I was looking for a high chair for my daughter, I was hoping to find a piece that she can use for a couple of years. Most high chairs in the market can be converted, so that it can be used from infant through toddler years. I ended up choosing the Stokke Tripp Trapp. The chair can be used from infancy through adulthood by adjusting the seat and foot rest positions. We need to buy her a chair when she gets older anyways, so we chose the Tripp Trapp. The chair costs only USD $249, but you will need to buy the baby set (USD $69) to secure a young baby, so, the entire thing will cost you USD $320. In my opinion, it does worth it because it will be a piece that you will use for 10+ years. The chair is well-made with good quality wood and it is available in a variety of colors. Also, the chair works very well on our wood flooring. Engraving is now available at stokke.com. It is complimentary. I wish it was available when I made my purchase.
I do not believe in baby walkers nor exersaucers, because typically developed babies learn how to walk naturally. In fact, research suggests that these tools do not help babies learn to walk. Prolonged use of an exersaucer actually does harm to babies’ developing legs. California Community Care Licensing already banned the use of exersaucers in child care facilities years ago. I’m not writing about walkers nor exersaucers, this is about a tool I recently saw online: Willa Walker, willawalker.com . It’s a tool that helps parents in assisting their toddlers to walk without bending their backs. It’s a very simple tool; a rod with two straps tided on each end, and a ring hooked to the other end of each strap for toddlers to hold when walking. It saves parents from bending their backs when holding their toddler’s hand while walking. It is not cheap; pre-sale at USD $29. I thought it was a smart tool and told my husband about it. However, he questioned, what if the child lets go and falls? That’s true, if you want to prevent your child from falling, I don’t think this is the right product for you. As I’m thinking whether or not I need something similar to save my back; if I believe that babies learn to walk naturally and on their own timeline, I don’t even need to hold my baby’s hand when she learns to walk, just let her fall, get up, and walk again!
I didn’t do research on my daughter’s first spoons; my sister-in-law bought it in Hong Kong. It was Nuk Soft Bite Spoons made out of silicone, BPA free, and made in France. The flexibility of the material makes feeding easier. When I was looking to buy these here in the States, just to have two more as spare, I couldn’t even find silicone feeding spoons that were made in USA. All were made in China, even the ones from Beaba. Anyhow, I finally found the Nuk ones I have on Jet.com, Walmart.com (sold by individual seller), and babyearth.com. I ended up buying it on ebay.com, sold by Baby Earth, for $8.90 a pair (includes shipping).
The Nuk spoons are great, but they are not good for traveling because there’s no travel case. A case it quite helpful because it keeps things neat and clean. Using a napkin to wrap a dirty spoon doesn’t work well for me. Therefore, I bought the Oxo Tot On-The-Go Feeding Spoon for eating out. The spoon is not as good as the Nuk ones in terms of feeding, because it is a stainless steel spoon wrapped with silicone, so the spoon does not bend while feeding. However, cleanliness is more important for me when I’m on-the-go, so this is fine.
After reading gimmethegoodstuff.org, I picked the Babo Botanicals Oatmeal Calendula Moisturizing Baby Lotion. When my baby was about 6 months old, she had red and itchy rashes on her thighs; she had made it worse when she scratched. I sent pictures to our pediatrician, he said it was eczema. It wasn’t too serious of a case, therefore he prescribed no medication, he said to keep her skin moist and avoid daily baths because it will dry out her skin. I was consistent in putting the Babo Botanicals Lotion on her skin, the rashes went away in a few days. So, I recommend this product. I’ve also tried the Acure Organics Bare Baby Lotion, which is also recommended by gimmethegoodstuff.org, I do not like the smell. Though the lotion is fragrance-free, it does contain the smell of the ingredients. The Acure Organics All Better Balm is something that I would recommend for applying on the face. It works like Aquaphor, but it is USDA certified organic, therefore I felt much more comfortable when putting it on my daughter’s face, because she may eat it.
You can purchase the Babo Botanicals Oatmeal Calendula Moisturizing Baby Lotion from amazon.com; where I found it to be the cheapest. Acure Organics All Better Balm are harder to find online, I purchased my last tube from target.com. Whole Foods Market used to carry both products, but they no longer do.
When I was shopping for a full-size stroller, these were the brands/ models I had in mind:
- Nuna Mixx
- Stokke Scoot
- Uppababy Cruz
These are all priced at the mid-range (approximately USD$500), safe, and stylish strollers. All three are similar in terms of functionality, except that Stokke Scoot has a strap recline and doesn’t have the bumper bar option (at least when I bought mine in 2016). I ended up picking the Uppababy Cruz because:
- The Uppababy cruz is slightly lighter than the other two
- The back wheels of the Uppababy Cruz is smaller, so it appears to be less bulky.
All three strollers are considered full-sized strollers that offer full recline, a foot rest, and a fairly large basket for storage, so they are NOT compact as advertised. And I personally think it’s not easy to fold my Cruz when the seat is attached to the frame (I’m 5’4” and 115 lbs). It’s easier for me to separate the seat from the frame when stored in my trunk; and it pretty much occupies the entire trunk (I drive a Mercedes C300). It is easy attaching the seat to the frame. I do recommend the Cruz. If you are looking for a double stroller, you may consider the Uppababy Vista. It comes with a bassinet, which I do not need, and it has the capability of expanding into a double stroller. Of course, it’s bulkier because it’s made for two kids, and the price is almost doubled (around USD$900).
If you are looking for a travel stroller, I recommend the GB Pockit.
GB Pockit claims to be the smallest stroller in the world. I’m not 100% sure about that, but it is a very small when folded. It is lightweight, too. I was choosing between this and the Peg Perego Pliko Mini, which was made in Italy. It offers full recline and a foot rest, making it comfortable for your little one. However, I chose the GB Pockit, mainly because I already own an Uppababy Cruz, I need something truly compact for travel. I’ve used it when I brought my baby to the City, it was GREAT! It was super light and very easy to fold, which makes it easy to go on public transit or into restaurants. Please note that it requires two hands to fold the GB Pockit, if you travel alone, it can be a problem. You can get this stroller from babysden.com for only USD $149. Free shipping and sales tax applies only to NY State residents.
(Nuna Mixx vs Stokke Scoot vs Uppababy Cruz)
I used to buy Babyganics Wipes for my baby, because they are an okay product according to gimmethegoodstuff.org, and it’s reasonably priced. However, I recently purchased a box of WaterWipes (because it was only USD $15 for a box of 540 at amazon.com on that one day when I bought it) and am loving it! It’s purely water, it doesn’t sting at all on my broken skin, whereas Babyganics Wipes stings. I’m switching to WaterWipes. You can get it from amazon.com or target.com. Amazon will be a little cheaper if you are a Prime member and Subscribe & Save. But, check Amazon’s price frequently, because it does change.