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In Motherhood on
November 1, 2017

The 12 TOP TOYS for baby’s first year

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Since Landon just turned ONE (say what!?), I decided to compile a list of his favorite toys throughout the year. I know as a first time mom, I was always having to research what toys to buy Landon, that he would find fun but were educational at the same time. I ‘pinned’ a bunch of articles on ‘top toys for baby’s first year’, but I wanted to compile our own list of personal favorites to share with you all!

 

Some of Landon’s favorite first-year toys:

 

1 month – Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy 

This little toy was a hit. He loved the flashing lights and melodies of the music. Perfect size to take along on car rides or a stroll in the park.

2 months – Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat

This mat was by far one of Landon’s favorite things. He loved the jungle animals and all of the colors. The flowers on the mat are touchable and glow, so when baby begins to crawl they can push the buttons. When Landon was learning how to sit up, he would hold onto both sides of bars to balance himself. It was so cute!

3 months – Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother 

A year later and he still loves this thing. This aquarium slips over the side of the crib and baby can look at it when they go to bed. This toy makes soothing music and underwater sounds, while the fish & sea turtles swim from side to side. Highly recommend it!

4 months– Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Activity Home

This was Landon’s favorite toy. He still plays with it sometimes. When he got used to what this toy does, he was obsessed with opening and closing the blue door and spinning the rattle at the bottom to play the music. It was like clockwork, every morning he would go over to his house- spin the rattle and turn on the light. So cute.

5 months – Baby Einstein Activity Jumper

This jumper was great for L. He loved the colors and interactive toys hanging from the side. He used this jumper up until he was around 8/9 months and then didn’t want to be in it anymore. For the time he did use it, it was totally worth it. Afterwards, all he wanted to do was use it as a support for standing!

6 months – Little Tikes Rainmaker 

Landon was fascinated by the sound of the beads as you turn this shaker from side to side. This always seemed to entertain him and was easy to pack up on the go.

7 monthsBanana training toothbrush and teether

This was GREAT for teething. Landon still loves to suck and gnaw his teeth on this teether. Easy to clean and fits perfectly into babies little hands.

8 months – VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

All I can say is, AWESOME! The great part about this toy is that the top of it has an activity table- which is detachable, so baby can play with it on the floor as well. The activity table teaches sounds, numbers and words. We loved this walker so much!

9 months – Fisher Price – Dance & Move BeatBow Wow

Love this dancing, interactive dog. Every time we play this, Landon’s face lights up- he smiles from ear to ear. After a few times showing him, he learned to press the button himself to watch the puppy dance. He always tries to kiss the dog, I guess that means he likes him a lot 😉

10 months – Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Around The Town Learning Table

We just recently bought this table for Landon and really seemed to enjoy it! His favorite thing (no surprise) was the cell phone. He is obsessed with our phones, so he was ecstatic when he got one of his own 😉 It’s great for when baby starts to stand, because they walk around the table and play with all of the different learning tools. What I like about this toy is that there are 3 levels that you can change the table to, which allows for advanced learning (it even teaches baby some Spanish!)

11 months – EverEarth Garden Activity Cube

We were given this activity cube as a gift and what a great one at that! This cube has 6 sides, allowing for play on all angles, literally. Landon really enjoys playing with this cube, twirling around the little balls from side to side. This toy is not the cheapest, but is made by EverEarth and great quality and is totally worth the splurge.

12 monthsLittle Tikes Cozy Coupe

To be honest, I am writing this post before Landon has been able to try this little car out yet- however, I have heard great things about it! I mean, who hasn’t had one of these growing up? I know I did! I can’t wait to see him sit in the car- I know he will get a kick out of it, for sure!

What were your child’s favorite toys during their first year? Leave me a comment below!


Related post: 10 ‘must have’ items for your newborn baby

 

In Motherhood on
September 20, 2017

10 ‘must have’ items for your newborn baby

This post contains affiliate links

Getting through the first weeks with a newborn is not easy, as any mom out there would agree, but there have been many baby items that have it made it that much more bearable for us – and I wanted to share them with you! Keep in mind that these items are not uncommon, however are certainly ‘must haves’ for the new mommy and daddy. Don’t forget to add them to your baby registry!

 

Below are my recommendations for the top ten items that you “must have” for your newborn baby:

1. Medela Soft Shell bra inserts

These things were lifesavers for me. If you plan to breastfeed, these were the best recommendation I ever got. If you are breastfeeding, your nipples will get extremely sore and cracked – so sore to the point that you don’t want to wear a shirt or even shower! These shells make it a lot more tolerable. You insert them into your bra or cami and your nipple sits in a dome, so that it doesn’t touch anything. They are also great for when your milk supply comes in because it collects and catches any leakage (before your shirt gets soaked).

2. Kimono Tees

Your baby will love these! I would suggest getting a pack of 3, since you’ll use them quite frequently. They open and snap in the front, instead of having to put something over the baby’s head. These are great because while the baby’s umbilical cord is drying up, you don’t need to irritate it by putting a traditional onesie on. Our baby was comfy in his kimono and we had him wear it to bed every night until his cord fell off.

3. Breast pump

A breast pump is a must have item, even if just for back up. Your breasts become so engorged the first few weeks that you may need to pump after your baby eats, just to relieve the pain you feel. Whatever you pump, make sure to freeze for later!

4. Rock and play sleeper

This is great for when you need a break or baby needs a change of scenery. Ours rocks and vibrates, and Landon slept very well in it. It is compact and lightweight, making it so easy to pack and take with us when we went to visit family or when we dropped him off at daycare. 

5. Muslin Swaddle blankets

These come in so many awesome patterns and are so soft. We swaddled Landon every night before he went to bed, for the first month or so. We found him getting the best sleep when he was swaddled. The tighter the swaddle, the better they tend to sleep – but remember, not too tight!

6. Pampers Swaddlers

One word, amazing. These newborn diapers have a strip that runs down the front of the diaper that lets you know if your baby has peed or not. The strip is yellow and will turn blue when saturated with urine. It is an easy way to know when to change the diaper at a quick glance.

7. Lulyboo Baby Lounger

This portable baby lounger is a God-send. We took it with us anytime we left the house to go visit friends/family. It is a pack-and-go (it folds up into a backpack for convenient travel) bassinet that is fun and engaging and keeps baby comfy and safe when you leave the house. We purchased the Lulyboo Baby Lounger To Go and love it. It is good for the first three months or until your baby outgrows it.

8. Baby Mittens

You wouldn’t believe how long your babies nails can get, even right after they are born – you may even need to give your baby a manicure right when you get home like we did. Mittens are important to have on hand as babies tend to scratch their faces in their sleep or while moving around.

9. Binky

We were very hesitant to use a binky at first, but it really helped soothe Landon when we were changing or bathing him. We don’t encourage him to use it all the time, however it is better than him sucking on his fingers. We asked our doctor and he eased our fears by saying it can help with the hiccups and even reduces the risk of SIDS. If you are concerned or on the fence, check with your pediatrician and make the right decision for your family. Also, make sure to buy the 0-6m size, which is much smaller and fits the newborn face better.

10. Micro Steam Bags

These are great, affordable sterilizing bags that you can use up to 20 times per use. You just insert water, the items you want to clean, and then microwave for 1-3 minutes depending on your microwave wattage. It’s simple and easy and makes the whole sterilizing process 10x easier!

I know a lot of these items seem so obvious, but they really were lifesavers for us! I would love to hear what some of you seasoned moms have to say about products or items you think are your favorite ‘must have’ items. Make sure to leave me a comment below!

 

This post was first seen on Society Letters here.


If you liked this post you may also like these other related posts written by Jess:

BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS FOR THE NEW MOM

MUST-HAVE ‘PUMPING ESSENTIALS’ FOR BREASTFEEDING MOMS

In Budgeting, Motherhood on
August 16, 2017

How to financially prepare for your new baby

There’s so many questions when preparing to have your first baby, as my husband and I quickly found out. You can predict some extra (and unexpected) costs when it comes to adding a new addition to your family, some of which may end up being a burden on your finances. I’m here to help give you some practical advice on how to plan your finances as a new mom-to-be, as well as advise you on what to prepare ahead of time so you can save a few bucks during your pregnancy. 

One of our biggest money savers when having Landon has been shopping secondhand for nursery furniture. Have you ever looked at the prices of crib sets? A full nursery set can cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000. The dresser alone costs more than an adult dresser! If you’re having your first baby, I understand your wanting to have everything new. That’s totally fine (I’m right there with ya), but I would recommend re-furnishing secondhand items if you are open to the idea. My husband and I purchased a used bar table and after some planning, my husband extended the top part to make it into a baby changing table. It was a $30 find and only took a little labor, some new paint and cheap sandpaper to give it that rustic look we all lust after. We also purchased a secondhand dresser, which we re-painted to match our nursery. There are so many apps, websites and FB groups to use when it comes to finding some cool second hand stuff. We like to use the app Close5, which is where we found our second-hand purchases!

Another great way to save on pregnancy costs, such as copays or blood work is by signing up for a health spending account through your job. If you are planning ahead or thinking of starting a family, be sure to look into this option. An HSA account is a pre-tax account used to pay for eligible medical care expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance plan. If you can stash some money away into an account like this, you should have enough money to cover anything that the insurance doesn’t end up paying. My job offers a similar service, called a Flex Spending Account, where my company actually gives me money to keep healthy by going for routine physicals, dental exams, joining a gym, etc. They basically give out around $500 of free money in incentives to keep myself and my family healthy! It ends up saving insurance money in the long run, so look into what your job offers such as this.

Another piece of practical and pretty obvious advice would be to get to know your personal insurance plan. Do your research and shop around for the right insurance option for you and your family. Check into how much your deductible is and what you will need to pay out of pocket. By knowing your deductible ahead of time, you can anticipate the cost of your delivery and hospital stay. Another great perk of having insurance is that most companies (if not all), cover the cost of a breast pump. When you are in your third trimester you can get a script from your doctor which you can then submit to your insurance and in return receive a free breast bump — often times they will even deliver it to your local Target store. Breastfeeding is another way to save tons of money on milk and is beneficial to your baby’s health.

Finally, be prepared to save. Understand that taking your three-month maternity leave that you will not be paid at 100 percent of your current salary. Most moms only make up to 60% of their normal salary during this time. The best case scenario would be preparing ahead of time and putting aside some money every month to account for this loss of income. I didn’t do my research before I became pregnant, so I was unaware that you weren’t paid your full salary during maternity leave. We always have our savings, but didn’t set aside any extra money for this time. If you could have a special account set up beforehand, you will be better prepared financially and not blindsided by your lessened salary. If you are returning to work full-time after your pregnancy, keep in mind the cost of childcare and set up a plan for aftercare once the baby is born. Compare prices of local day cares or see if a close family member could watch your little one on the days you have to work.

There are so many money saving tips out there, but it can still feel overwhelming as you try and prepare for your first baby. Don’t let your pregnancy get ahead of your bank and make sure your savings are set before your kiddo arrives. 

Feel free to leave me a comment below with your best kept money secrets!

 

This post was written by Jess but first seen on Society Letters here

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