OK, here's the rest of my baby must haves list. I noticed that this part of the list tends towards all things food related, which makes sense due to the fact that a baby eats a lot during that first year. So I guess that explains why I have a lot of must haves related to feeding that baby.
#5 Space-Saver High Chair
When we had the triplets, we bought three smaller high chairs to use for them once they could sit up and eat solid foods. Basically, this meant we had to get rid of our dining room table because the high chairs took up so much space. This left my husband and me to either eat our meals on our laps, or on a high chair tray ... neither was a really good option. So, needless to say, we were quite excited when the trips moved out of high chairs and into booster seats.
When Luke came along, I was not going to make the same space-eating mistake I did with the previous high chairs. So we went out and bought a space saver high chair.
This is a great investment. It is the size of a regular high chair from the seat on up, but it just straps on to one of your dining room chairs instead of taking up the additional space that a high chair normally does. It is very easy to take on and off the dining room chair as well in case you need to use the chair. Plus, it is very affordable, even cheaper than a normal high chair. An added bonus is that you could take it with you on a trip if you needed a high chair to go with you. I love it because the tray is very big and accomodates all the messes my little guy seems to make with his dinners.
#6 Wipe-Off Pocket Bibs
Looking at Luke's mess above points out my next must have, the wipe off pocket bib. Now these really aren't necessary until your baby has started eating actual pieces of solid food, not just strained baby food. For the purees, I just prefer to use a regular old cloth bib. Just buy a pack of cheap oversized cloth bibs and use those for when he/she is eating baby food purees. The purees stick better to cloth than to plastic bibs, which makes for easier containment of the mess.
Once you have moved on to letting him eat pieces of food, the wipe-off pocket bib is the way to go. I think Luke gets maybe 1 out of every 4 pieces of food actually into his mouth. The rest ends up in the pocket of his bib. This is great because when his tray is empty, we just dump out all the extra food pieces in his pocket and he starts all over again. We have tried many different kids of pocket bibs (like we did with the swaddles) and hav only found one that is really good. I have no idea what it is called, but here is the picture.
The best part about these bibs is that the pocket is a snap closure. Therefore, you can unsnap the pocket to clean it well. Plus, the snaps really help make it a well-defined pocket, something other bibs lack. Most bibs have a pocket that does not open well at all and food ends up in the lap instead of in the pocket, therefore negating the whole point of the pocket bib. The only place we've ever been able to find them is at K-Mart, so we stock up on them whenever we happen to go by the store. Trust me, these are the only way to go in terms of good, quality bibs that do the job of containing a mess.
Ok, all this talk about high chairs and bibs is conjuring up memories of the many food messes my kids have made. Think 18 month olds and spaghetti, ice cream cones, pudding ... you get the picture.
No matter how hard you try, of course their clothes are going to get stained and dirty. I tried a lot of things to try and get stains out of their clothes, but the only tried and true product that I turn to now is...
Yes, the long trusted household name of OxiClean. They actually make a powder version of this and a spot spray cleaner. I tried the spray for a while, but it wasn't great at getting out all stains. Plus, it was tough to use on a large stain. So now I just keep a bucket in the tub filled with about a gallon or two of water and a scoop of OxiClean. Whenever someone has a messy day, I just toss the clothing into the bucket and it soaks in there until the next load of laundry heads to the washer. The soaking makes a big difference and it gets virtually everything out. I have become a believer in this stuff!
#8 Self Feeders and Snack Traps
These are actually two separate things, but both are pretty cool contraptions that I discovered with the triplets.
Th item on the right is a self feeder. We got ours at Publix, but I'm sure Target, Walmart, and the like carry them as well. They are awesome. They're made for babies who are still too young to eat large chunks of food. You place food (usually fruits work the best) inside the little mesh part and the baby can suck and and chew the fruit through the mesh. Luke loves it because he gets to taste the fruit and the juices. Plus, it is great for teething babies if you use something a little harder like apples.
The item on the left is called a snack trap. It can be found a lot of places too. The idea behind this is that you can put snack items (Cheerios, Goldfish, etc.) inside the container and then it has a top that prevents the snacks from falling out if the container is dropped (which it will be ... 57 times a day). The lid allows the child to reach in and pull out the snack very easily. It did take my kids a little while to get used to these and figure them out, but once they did it was a life saver. It meant we could do snacks on the go if needed instead of sitting at a table. Sure it added to the Goldfish cracker count in my car, but it was worth it for the convenience.
Hopefully this was helpful to anyone wondering about those 15 million baby products floating around out there. It's fun for me to reminisce about the days when the triplets were just little babies and we were figuring all these things out. I hesitate to call myself a pro, but I do think I have gained a good bit of knowledge over the past 2 years of what does and doesn't work when it comes to baby products. If anyone has any cool baby products they know of that I should try, let me know. I love to try out all those neat and different items and see if they make my life easier!