*updated with winner, below!*
gear ye, gear ye!
As well as partnering with Tottini on this and other posts, I'm also a customer. Remember those hairclub for men ads? Yeah, that. The following post wasn't paid for, but Tottini did generously hook me up with some of my must-have gear items. (Noted, below.) Thanks, Tottini!
There are SO many things one needs when baby-rearing and even though this is my third pregnancy, I have little in the way of gear to show for hand-me-downs. I'm the opposite of a hoarder and tend to give everything away as soon as it's no longer in use, so I'm basically at square one as an expecting mom. Which is annoying but also kind of fun. Anyway! The following pieces are some of my must-have gear essentials for the soon-to-be newborn(s) in my life. Behold:
I happen to love this Baby Gym because it's cute without being obnoxious. One of the few of its kind in the Baby Gym department, which for whatever reason, insist on being hideous. I love that it's gender neutral and isn't PINK FOR GIRLS! or BLUE FOR BOYS! Instead it's just cute for everyone. Dig.
When Archer was a baby, I knew nothing of strollers. For the first few months I pushed around a massive Graco Travelsystem. That was massive. After a few months of knocking people over, we took the Graco to my parent's house to use as a spare and snagged ourselves a Maclaren. It folded up like an umbrella (hence the term, "umbrella stroller", had plenty of storage and we all lived happily ever after. This time around, we're rocking a Snap n' Go for the first few months and then we're going double Mac. Because, even though we're upgrading our wagon to a Minivan, six people and two dogs will BARELY fit in that beast so the most packable stroller is kind of a total must. Also, one of my besties has one for her (Irish) twins and claims it absolutely fits through doorways and hallways, which, again... very important.
And speaking of strollers, Snap n Go's are my #1 recommendation for the first six months:
The price is right and they're the most practical things that exist. I just ordered my double snap (via my search, Baby Trend is the only brand that makes them) and will use it exclusively in the beginning as not to be constantly pulling babes in and out of carseats. There are several fab "universal" carriers out there - make sure the one you order fits your carseat(s).
Anyone remember when Baby Monitors were just things you put by the crib to hear your baby cry from another room? Yeah, those were the days. Apparently, today, in the year 2011, monitors now double as television video-recorder-x-ray-vision-bomb-detectors. You know... just in case. The Safety First monitor is right up our WTF-is-all-that-really-necessary? alley. Besides, I'd rather spend the hundred-bucks saved on monitor devices and splurge on a really slick portable bed. Ahem... this:
I haven't purchased this because I don't think it's safe for twins. It definitely maxes out its capacity at one human child, but how awesome is it? Especially for those of us who do lots of traveling and/or like to keep baby close. I never liked porta-cribs because of their humungousness. This "nest" is ideal for those with smaller spaces or those looking for a travel bed for babies. (Nest is for newborns to nine-month-olds.)
I've only purchased ten of what I assume will be 78928312893 bottles, but Green to Grow are some of our favorites. They're cute and they were Fable's brand of choice when she was drinking out of a bottle. And by "was" I mean "is". Because sometimes a lady needs a bottle before nap time.
We bought ourselves two of these suckers because, A. they're totally adorable and B. uh... yeah, we're going to need them. In the words of Hal, "I don't mind spending a few extra bucks on a dry rack when it LOOKS LIKE GRASS HOW COOL IS THIS?" Bonus? When we're done using them to dry bottles, they can TOTALLY double as Barbie's (eco-friendly) backyard.
For the first time EVER we will be able to wash bottles in our dish washer which is very luxurious after living ten years (and two babies) without one so we bought a couple of these as well.
I used an electric pump ONCE and I haaaaaaaaaaaa(infinity a)ted it. Not only did I feel like a dairy cow, but it sucked. No pun intended. I remember calling my mom and being like, "Mom! I hate these! Nothing is even coming out and I feel like I'm hooked up to a machine and what is happening to my life!???" and she was like, "buy a manual pump! they work much better." So I did. With both babies I pumped with my own BARE HANDS and no electric sockets. Medela just happens to be my brand of choice. Highly recommended for those who don't have $500 to spend on a pump and/or prefer not to feel dairy-cowesque. Bonus: manual pumps are fantastic work-outs for lower arm enthusiasts.
I still have my Bebe Au Lait nursing cover from the days of nursing Fable (score!) and I love it. Highly recommended.
Baby Backpacks: Skip Hop, $20 each
Several of you commented on Fable's backpack when I posted about her first day of school. We purchased her penguin at a gift shop of a local museum but Tottini ALSO has them for sale, as well as the Owl & Fox (above) which I ordered for the twins to keep their things separate. Keeping a "baby pack" is really helpful for me. Beyond having a diaper bag (which I am still shopping around for) small backpacks I'm assuming will be ideal for twins with different needs, preferences in bottles, pacifiers, etc. This way I can keep their things separate (one backpack beneath each stroller seat). Plus, they're goddamn adorable.
Baby Carrier: Ergo Baby (organic) carrier, $145 c/o Tottini:
As well as pushing my babies in a Snap n Go + lightweight stroller for the first few months, I plan to wear one baby at a time as much as I can. This way, I can bond with the babies as individuals. I carried both Archer (Baby Bjorn) and Fable (Baby Hawk) on my bod for the first several months but have heard nothing but fantastic things about the Ergo and look forward to giving it a spin, soon. (ED: Don't forget the infant insert!)
Regardless of whether or not you plan to nurse, Boppy pillows are awesome. They're supportive, comfortable and easy to clean, wash, love. We have two and I keep envisioning the babies propped up in their Boppys staring at each other, reading each other's MINDSSSSS! There are also a million fabulous Etsy shops with Boppy covers to fit your taste and style. So buy bare now and deck it out later.
This identical bouncer was what Fable lived in her first six months. We didn't have a lot of room in our apartment, so we'd sit out on the patio and I'd write and she'd bounce and giggle and throw her rattle and I'd go chase it, pick it up, dust it off, give it back to her. We have one for now and will likely purchase a second, depending on how much either (or both) twins enjoy a good afternoon bounce. What I love about this bouncer? It's been passed around among friends and is still in amazing shape. Totally timeless and gender neutral and practical and yes.
Wait! There's more! Tottini has agreed to give one Baby Bjorn bouncer ($180 value) to a lucky GGC reader. To win? Tell me about your must-have baby GEAR items. I'll select one winner via random.org next Friday, August 5th. Good luck and thanks in advance for sharing! Still in baby shop mode, so it's super helpful to hear what gear is near and dear to you.
P.S. Shop Tottini now through September 31st and receive 10% of your total purchase by entering code: child10 at the register. Happy shopping!
Congrats to commenter #46, Kelly! And thanks to all for participating in the giveaway! Many more giveaways to come, stay tuned!