Baby Equipment

My son was born almost 10 months ago and in the months leading up to his arrival, my wife and I spent hours figuring out the best stuff that we would need. There are many types of lists out there, but here are the things that worked out well for us.

Britax B-Agile

This was the one purchase my wife let me have total say on. After reading reviews, the Britax B-Agile was the best solution in terms of cost and quality. You will want the full system as it comes with the stroller, carrier and base. The base is the most important piece of this. While you can use a seat belt to strap the carrier in, it is MUCH easier to drop it into the base, which stays in your car at all times. If you can, buy more bases and keep one in each car. The stroller itself is easy to maneuver, even with one hand. And you can fold the stroller quickly, also with one hand.

Britax Stroller Organizer

Unfortunately, the stroller doesn’t come with this. We bought it mostly because of the cup holders.

Motorola Baby Monitor

A baby monitor is nice to have. It gives you piece of mind to be able to glance at your baby. This one is a little expensive. There are options if you have a spare iPhone with apps that turn it into a streaming WiFi cam but having to open an app just to check on your baby is not as convenient as having a dedicated viewer.

Ollie Swaddle

Newborns love to be swaddled. The problem is that with the blankets most people use, they’re made of cotton which is not very strechable and unless you’re a master at swaddling, your baby can wiggle out of the blanket. The Ollie swaddle is great in helping keeping your babies arms tight against their bodies but the fabric is stretchable enough to let them wiggle.

Earmuffs for Babies

Babies don’t like loud noises. This can make it difficult to go out to noisy restaurants or keep baby sleeping on a plane. These things are awesome for blocking out noise. If you put them over your own ears, you can see for yourself how much noise they block out.

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

There are two types of diaper trash cans; ones where you use the manufacturer’s own bags and ones where you can use any trashbag. I’m all for using your own trashbags. I hate companies that charge a high price to use their own proprietary bags. Go with this one. You can use your own trashbags and it prevents your baby’s room from smelling like dirty diapers.

Udder Covers

I’m all for things that help you, your wife, and your baby have as close to a normal life as you had before. For moms that breastfeed, these are awesome for having your baby feed while you are out in public. My wife says the plastic “V” at the top of the cover is key for helping keep a “tent” open for your baby to breathe and for mom to keep an eye on him/her.

Joovy Hook On High Chair

Once your baby can sit up on their own, these are pretty cool. Most restaurant’s high chairs are dirty and who knows how old. This thing hooks on to a table and you plop your baby in.

Eco Gemini

Pushing a stroller can get cumbersome, especially for short trips to the grocery store. If you want to carry your baby around, this is the best way to do it. It is capable of forward and rear facing your baby. Easily adjustable and easy to put on. Also available in different prints.

4Moms Playard

Once you are up for it, this thing is the best playard, sleeper for traveling. Once our baby outgrew his co-sleeper, we upgraded to this. The co-sleeper was a pain in the butt to assemble and disassemble. When I saw the video for how this worked, I was sold. Literally one button push to set up, one strap to fold and store. As an engineer, this gets my approval.

Breville Immersion Blender

If you want to have total control of what your baby eats, you need to make your own baby food. To puree his food, we used this immersion blender. The advantage of an immersion blender over a standard blender is that you can take this to any pot and blend food in the pot. No need to have to pour contents into a blender. It’s very time consuming and intensive but making your own baby’s food is very satisfying.

OXO block set

Once you’ve made your own baby food, this is the best way to store it. Comes with trays that help keep them organized in your fridge or freezer.

Honest Company

For diapers and baby wipes, we signed up with The Honest Company. They pride themselves in using sustainable components and are free from chemicals, fragrances and allergens. They do a subscription service and my wife gets a kick out of picking the prints his diapers come in.

Having a newborn is very overwhelming but as cliche as it sounds, it’s the best thing ever. I can’t describe the feeling you get when your child smiles at you after you come home from work. Hopefully some of these items will help you with your child. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

When I’m Gone

Rafael Zoehler on what happened after his father passed away:

“Your dad asked me to give you this letter. He spent the whole week writing these, and he wants you read it. Be strong.” the nurse said, holding me.

The envelope read WHEN I’M GONE. I opened it.

A great, moving read. If you’ve got the time, read it.

Camping Trip 1986

Mario Koran wrote a short piece on being a parent.

They placed her on a table and handed me a scissors, which I think I used to cut the umbilical cord. A lot of that moment is lost in haze. But I do remember the first second I saw her: I recognized myself in her eyes. I knew immediately, on some primordial level, that she belonged to me. She was mine. There was no question.

This. My son looks exactly like me and I can relate to this on all levels.

I vividly and will always remember looking at my son as he lay on a towel, minutes after he was born. Nurses were tending to him, cleaning him off. I walked over to watch. I looked at him and I caught him gazing in my general direction. I started to breathe rapidly. I could feel my face start to scrunch as if to cry, but I wasn’t sad. I was extremely happy. One of those moments you’ll never forget.

Reflections On Parenthood

Jean Hsu on parenthood:

Having a child forces you to change in a lot of ways. Most of the time, people think of what you lose out on.

It’s so easy to commiserate, especially with fellow parents with small children, about sleep deprivation and temper tantrums that sometimes you lose sight of the wonder that new life brings. Alina is almost 2 years old now, so here are some positive reflections of being a parent.

I love this post. Everyone loves to point out the downsides of having to raise a child. No one talks about the upsides.

Being a better person
Having a small person see you as one of the few big people in their life just makes you want to be a better person. Everything I do—how I react in stressful situations, how I talk, how I act—is a template for how she will act. That is a tremendous amount of power, and I want to do a good job.

It makes me think more critically about what I’m doing with my life—I want the work I do to be impactful, to make the world a better place for her to grow up in. And I want to work hard and smart and be ambitious, so that that is her norm.

This has been the biggest one for me. I’ve cut down my swearing immensely. I won’t even use “stupid” or “dumb” in front of my step-child. I want to be a better person so she can be a better person.

The Kids Are Not All Right

Our control freak quest to provide the perfect childhood and produce the perfect child is backfiring. Or worse: It is just making our kids hurt themselves.

Nothing wrong with protecting your children, but you have to say no, let them explore on their own and let them fail every once in awhile.

Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?

 

When a college freshman received a C- on her first test, she literally had a meltdown in class. Sobbing, she texted her mother who called back, demanding to talk to the professor immediately (he, of course, declined). Another mother accompanied her child on a job interview, then wondered why he didn’t get the job.

A major employer reported that during a job interview, a potential employee told him that she would have his job within 18 months. It didn’t even cross her mind that he had worked 20 years to achieve his goal.

Sound crazy?

Yes. Yes it does.

Weekend Long Reads – October 11, 2014

The Elon Musk Interview on Mars Colonization

‘I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary,’ he told me, ‘in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, “Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left.”’

24 Surprising Things about Parenting in the United States

My family is appalled at the way my son behaves at the table. He can’t focus, he doesn’t finish his meal, he refuses to eat certain foods, etc. Here in the U.S., it is considered normal. In France, that’s considered rude. My family sometimes thinks my child is pretty spoiled and that I am a so-so parent.