As we have worked on the timing of things throughout our day, I have discovered a few things that I simply would not be able to live without at this point in time. This stuff is old news for some of you, but new news for others, so I thought I would pass along my thoughts and input.
THINGS THAT I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT
Fis.her Pri.ce Oc.ean Won.ders Aquar.ium Sw.ing
I am totally about reuse and recycle, and saving money whenever possible, so I did not buy this swing new. I bought it for $20 at a yard sale. The little guy that it belonged to turned out to not enjoy swinging as much as his parents had hoped, and they ended up putting it in the attic after about 2 weeks. We set this up before Jenna was born, and thankfully, it was ready to go when we brought her home. We came home with a light blanket for her jaundice, and when we got home, I suddenly wondered what I was supposed to do with her when she was in the blanket; I couldn't leave her in the bassinet all day. So, we wrapped the light blanket around her and popped her into the swing. Magic. Pure magic. She loves to swing, and I love that she loves to swing. :-) We started putting the tray on a few weeks ago, and we have been clipping a chain of plastic links and a toy to it, and she's been going to town! The only thing I don't like about it...well, there are really two things... I hear the music in my sleep, even when it's not playing. But the main thing I didn't like is that once she was no longer wearing the light blanket in the swing, the lowest speed seemed to be just a little too fast until she hit about 10 pounds. We were tempted to weight it down a little bit, but it didn't seem to really bother her at all.
It is also worth mentioning that in addition to this swing, I picked up a full size Fis.her Pr.ice Papa.san cradle style sw.ing at a yard sale - also for $20. It looked like it had just been taken out of the box. At the time, we weren't sure what the babysitting situation was going to be, so we figured for $20, it would be good for the babysitter's or as a spare in case the first one broke. Identical frame shape and size. Identical controls. I pulled the papa.san swing out a few weeks ago to put in the bedroom when Jenna was staying up every night until 0300. I found that the seat tips back further/flatter than the Aquar.ium sw.ing. The furthest forward/upright seat setting on the Pap.asan swi.ng is the same as the most 'reclined' position on the Aquar.ium swing. I also found that the slowest movement setting on this swing is definitely slower than the slowest setting on the Aqu.arium swing. My conclusion...with the next little one(s), we will likely start with the Papa.san swing and then move to the Aquari.um swing around 3 months or so. The best part??? The Papa.san swing plays different music!!!
Fish.er Pri.ce Tak.e Alo.ng Swi.ng
This was another yard sale purchase - $10 - so it is purely by coincidence that this is the same theme as my big swing. This thing has also been a life saver. I take it with me to my office if she needs to be there for a few hours, we take it to the firehouse if we are going to be there for an extended period, and we take it with us if we are going somewhere to visit (grandparents, friends, etc) where there won't really be anywhere else for her to sleep or sit and be occupied. It doesn't have a try, but I have one of those little carseat toys (not this one but one like it) and I have using that to keep her occupied . The thing that I don't like about this swing is that the seat reclines pretty far back, and it's not adjustable. It's great for a newborn, but once they start wanting to sit up, it's all over. I anticipate that within the next 4-8 weeks, this will only work for us during nap time. It also plays the same music as the big swing. Ugh. Overall, a great product, but I am glad that I didn't pay $80-90 to buy it brand new. (We also have the Fish.er Pr.ice Oce.an Wond.ers crib aquarium...that plays the same music as the two swings...so if your little one finds it soothing, you are all set. Just be prepared to hear it all day in your head.)
Fish.er Pri.ce Rai.nfor.est Melo.dies and Ligh.ts Del.uxe G.ym
This was one of the only things that wasn't purchased off of our registry. After much debate, I decided to purchase it myself. I am soooo glad I did. Jenna will lay under this thing for 45-60 minutes at a pop and entertain herself. The 'blanket' on the bottom comes off and can be thrown in the washer, which is always a plus! I have no complaints about this thing!!! It's wonderful!!!
Not necessarily this brand, but just in general. For everything...the swing, the floor gym, the car seat, etc. I already bought a 28-pack, and plan to pick up more next time I'm out.
Ad.en and Ana.is Sw.addle Blan.kets
Swaddling is not for everyone, but it worked well for us. We still swaddle Jenna at night, but with her arms out now. I found these blankets when she started outgrowing her receiving blankets. They are a little pricey, but you can find them cheaper and/or on sale. They rock, and are worth every penny spent. The more I wash them the softer they get! Just love them!! My only recommendation is to keep them away from cats with claws intact.
I have long been unimpressed with the life of Energi.zer rechargeables. I looked around several years ago for rechargeable D batteries for the bike and elliptical in my office and found Ten.ergy batteries. (They can also be found through this site) I was skeptical, primarily because they aren't sold through too many venues, but they had good reviews, so I took a chance. Love them. Asked for C and D sizes for Christmas to use at home in all of the energy sucking devices that Jenna loves.
THINGS THAT HAVEN'T IMPRESSED ME TOO MUCH
My Gra.co tra.vel system. They are so popular, so we registered for a stroller/car seat combo. The plan was to use the stroller inside and get a jogging stroller to use for our long walks with the dogs. We should have just gotten the car seat separately and gotten a jogging stroller that accepts the car seat. I hate the Gra.co stroller. We don't use it that often...primarily if we are shopping somewhere without shopping carts or if we go somewhere that I cannot wear her or carry the carseat for a long period. The steering leaves quite a bit to be desired. The back axle is wider than the front...so if you manage to get through a tight space with the front, you still might not get the back through. It is very difficult to steer using just one hand. I think I am going to stick it out with this stroller until the next bambino arrives. At that point, I will probably get a double jogging stroller that will accept the car seat.