Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until After I Had A Baby

Registering for what I’d need after my baby arrived was a daunting task. I did way more research than necessary and stressed myself out in the process. There were 5 things I had no idea how much I’d need until after I met the little guy! Be sure to check out all 5 posts in this series before completing your registry or buying your next baby gift!

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Baby Wrap or Carrier. Sometimes babies want to be held nonstop. Maybe he’s sick or tired or cranky or just loves you a little extra and wants to show it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hold and snuggle babies! I especially love to hold my own baby. Sometimes though, I also want to get up from the rocking chair or give my back a break from the alternating one arm hip hold. When he was small, I loved my Organic Boba wrap for that. I recently bought a Lenny Lamb toddler carrier and am in heaven again. I have found both the wrap and carrier are great for breastfeeding too. Not only do I love to wear my baby around the house, but I also wear my baby for stroller-less errands! Bakery? Babywear! Grocery store with the whole cart available for food? Babywear! And, the majority of love I have for babywearing is about the snuggle, what I can accomplish while we snuggle is just an added bonus! Update- now that Baby #2 has arrived, I have fallen IN LOVE with Tula’s new Free to Grow Soft Structured Carrier. I needed a SSC to use until my little guy was big enough for my Lenny Toddler and this was the perfect solution. It adjusts to fit newborns and at 15 months- he’s still comfortable!

The OTHER 4 things I didn’t know I needed are here!

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Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something through one of these links, a small percentage goes back to help support my work on this site. Thanks for your support.

Playpen. As soon as my little guy became mobile, my days became a game of chase and lift, and my nights re-babyproofing and worrying. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him for a second. I was spending very little time playing with him, because I was so busy saving him from EVERYTHING… the rock that came out of the bottom of someone’s shoe, the inside of the entertainment cabinet, the doggy door… While this playpen may take up half of my living room, and definitely doesn’t match anything… it’s AMAZING!!! It has given me peace of mind and a chance to play again. My little guys knows that’s where his toys are, so when you carry him near it, he kicks his feet, reaches for it and squeals. When we are in the playpen, we can relax knowing that everything is safe. I can even check my email, make a cup of coffee and on occasion… use the bathroom alone!

The OTHER 4 things I didn’t know I needed are here!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter so you don’t miss the other 4 posts in the Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby series!

 Ours is by North States and it's called the Super Yard. It should be called Peace of Mind.
Ours is by North States and it’s called the Super Yard. It should be called Peace of Mind.

Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something through one of these links, a small percentage goes back to help support my work on this site. Thanks for your support.

Smaller Convertible Car Seat. I expected that the car seat carrier combination that was so awkward to carry for 7 months, and sent me to the chiropractor more than once was the worst car seat drama I’d face. For months I looked forward to getting rid of that back breaking seat. I could not have been more wrong. We bought, tried to fit, and returned THREE convertible car seats because in their rear facing position, I’d either have to (somehow) drive with my knees up to my chin or never EVER have a passenger, not even my husband- as long as my little guy was rear facing. It’s important to note, I do not drive a Smart Car or even a compact car. What we did figure out though- is that getting a car seat with an ‘angler’ makes all the difference. This is a plastic base (sort of) that allows to you to change the pitch of the seat without reinstalling it. Genius!

The OTHER 4 things I didn’t know I needed are here!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter so you don’t miss the other 4 posts in the Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby series!

 This is the  Graco Extend2Fit  that we ended up keeping. We love it!
This is the Graco Extend2Fit that we ended up keeping. We love it!

Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby

Cuticle Scissors. Thank you to my friend Anne. The first time I almost ruined my son’s life was when I clipped the tip of his pudgy little baby finger with the baby nail clippers. The nail clippers came with our thermometer, another pair with our baby first aid kit and another with some bottles. You’d think that means they are the best way to cut a baby’s claws… I mean nails. I swore I’d never cut them again. He wore adorable baby mittens. Eventually though I started worrying about the impact of the mittens on his self esteem and social development if I sent him to kindergarten in them. Anne recommended I try cuticle scissors. What makes these THE ANSWER is that you can see with your own eyes what is between the two sharp pieces of metal. You can also slide them around into just the right position. If you’re giving someone a baby gift that comes with baby nail clippers, rip it open and replace them with cuticle scissors and a note! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter so that you don’t miss the other 4 Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby posts!

Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something through one of these links, a small percentage goes back to help support my work on this site. Thanks for your support.

Portable Highchair. I was at a cookout a few weeks ago and watched my friend Kyle’s baby eat in her caio! baby portable highchair. About a week later, the same one, in the same olive green color, was on my front step- thank you Amazon. I didn’t know that I couldn’t live without a portable highchair until my husband and I talked all the way home from that cook out about ALL of its potential uses. We are not big campers, and we do not attend more cook outs than most people. We do however go to people’s homes who do not currently have a highchair aged child. And we hold and feed our son, who prefers to feed himself. This chair folds up like a camping chair. There is room for that in your trunk.

The OTHER 4 things I didn’t know I needed are here!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter so you don’t miss the other 4 posts in the Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby series!

 This  caio! baby portable high chair  is amazing. Get one for someone who doesn't know they need it. It's a game changer!
This caio! baby portable high chair is amazing. Get one for someone who doesn’t know they need it. It’s a game changer!

5 Secrets to a Freezer Full of Homemade Baby Food

Stock your Baby Food Toolbox: Wax paper, Freezer Bags, Cutting Board, Canning Jars, Sharpie Marker, Nail Polish Remover

Flash Freeze It! This is why I rarely have to chop up finger food on the spot! I cut up pears, cooked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and just about anything else my little guy will eat, into just the right size pieces for his little fingers. I lay them flat on a piece of wax paper and pop it in the freezer on a cutting board or a cookie sheet. After a couple of hours I transfer the frozen bite sized pieces into a freezer bag. There is almost always a quart size bag of sweet potato bites, another of frozen pear bites, and another of spinach omelet bites. Finger food… done!

Immersion Blender & 3 oz. Canning Jars: This is all I need to make ahead plenty of tasty purees. See an overripe banana on the counter? Puree it with an avocado and a few pieces of mango from the freezer! In just a few minutes you can fill 6-7 of those little canning jars to grab and go.

Sharpie & Nail Polish Remover: If you have a bottom drawer freezer like I do, it can be tricky to determine the contents of all of those little glass jars from above, especially when they are stacked. When I make and freeze oatmeal, I use a Sharpie to label the top with an O, and A for avocado smash. Later, a little nail polish remover will leave those covers sparkling and ready to be relabeled!

 This is what my freezer really looks like- no clean up for the camera. There's avocado smash, blueberry oatmeal, broccoli puree blocks, moon cakes, quinoa patties, pureed pear blocks, cut up pears and roll of homemade oatmeal cookie dough hiding underneath! 
This is what my freezer really looks like- no clean up for the camera. There’s avocado smash, blueberry oatmeal, broccoli puree blocks, moon cakes, quinoa patties, pureed pear blocks, cut up pears and roll of homemade oatmeal cookie dough hiding underneath! 

Plan Ahead: A little prior planning goes a long way. Some weeks, I’ll make one or two things each night after dinner. I might let the veggies steam while we eat, and puree them right in the water pan after. I can spoon them into the jars and they’ll be cool enough to freeze before bed. Other weeks, I’ll make a list and get it all done on Sunday morning.

Let Him Eat Cake

We have been really particular about what foods we feed our one year old. He loves to eat! He doesn’t turn anything down (unless he can see that watermelon is available, and not being shared with him). It just happens that none of the foods we’ve fed him (yet) include wheat or dairy, are made with sugar or are made by not us. It’s worked for us so far. It’s been fine.

As his first birthday approached though, I started to second guess what we’ve been doing. I mean every kid needs a cake to smash- right? A couple of weeks ago, my stomach started twisting a little as the question, “he’s going to have cake though, right?” was posed to me almost daily. In my mind, I started thinking maybe yes… Maybe we’ll just give him cake that day. Because… well, how could we not?

As the big day was approaching though, it occurred to me that we had not introduced ANY of the soon to be new ingredients to our little man yet… and we are usually quite purposeful about introducing new foods in isolation. There wasn’t enough time now, and honestly- I felt relieved.  It turns out I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of feeding him cake after all. At my house we talk a lot about the addictive nature of added sugar, and how precious this time is before our little guy is exposed. He will have sugar. He’s not going to live under a rock. But for now, I don’t want the taste of a sweet plum or a juicy piece of watermelon to have to compete with cake.

Here’s how I successfully avoided mom guilt- both the guilt I would have felt if I gave in to pressure to ‘let him eat cake’ and the guilt I would have felt if we sang Happy Birthday over a smoothie pop (which would have also been delicious;)! There was just something important about putting a candle in a kid-sized cake and singing. 

I followed my regular Moon Cake recipe and poured the batter into my (greased) two smallest round Corningware baking dishes. One is a 7oz. and the other 16oz. I baked them at 300 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.  After letting them cool, the Moon Cakes shrunk down a bit and pulled themselves away from the perimeter of the baking dishes.  I stacked them like cake, stuck a candle in them and voila! Baby friendly cake!

I whipped this the night before the big day… but would have liked to think up some kind of frosting. I toyed with our yummy avocado smash, but thought it would brown. What would you use to frost it?