Friday, October 3, 2014

Changes for a second baby

I am pretty good at nesting. Although it's been nearly 9 months since my most recent nesting experience, I thought I'd share some of the physical preparations we made for welcoming a second child. These changes were more specific than what we needed to do for our first child's arrival. We already had a nursery and most of our baby gear, so we tried to plan ahead for a few other ways that we could smooth the transition to a two-kid household.

Investing in a double stroller
I could write a whole post about this, though I probably won't ever get to it. We searched for a reasonably sized tandem-style double stroller. The options in this realm are pretty limiting. I'd eyed some other lady's Phil and Teds double stroller a few times, but we ultimately decided we didn't like the way that the second seat seemed quite small and the second kid would always look like an afterthought in that tucked-away seat. So, we opted for the City Select.

We love the flexibility of the City Select because it's really a (large-ish) single stroller that can be easily converted into a double. There are about 10 different ways you can configure the seats. The seats are easy to remove and adjust.

The biggest drawback of the City Select? It's incredibly bulky when the infant car seat is attached. Even though I know in my mind that the stroller is quite safe, I always felt like it was going to tip over when we had the infant adaptor attached. Thankfully, those days are short lived, and a little before he turned 6 months old we put Adam in the second upright seat.

We kept Adam facing toward us for the first couple months he was in the upright seat, but we recently switched him to forward-facing, and now he seems to enjoy the ride more. Natalie mostly likes to face forward, too, in the seat furthest from the handle, but for the sake of novelty she sometimes likes to recline backward.

Fixing cloth diapers
I knew the elastic in our Bum Genius 4.0 diapers were busted. Thankfully, I stumbled upon this post about getting diapers ready for a second child. The author had such success with the company Tinkle Traps (ugh, horrible name for a great company) so it seemed like the perfect endorsement for me.

I got a quote for $3.15 per diaper to replace the elastic around the legs and on the back. This seemed quite reasonable to me, seeing as a local seamstress quoted me at $25 per diaper (the new diapers cost $17.95, so, no). I had 20 diapers I wanted fixed, as I decided to keep 4 of the newer diapers that didn't need immediate replacement as possible underwear covers during potty-training time. I paid for shipping to Ohio, and I added insurance least the precious commodity get lost in the mail. The invoice I received from Tinkle Traps was for $74.30, which included return shipping. So, all in I spent less than $90 to get 20 diapers back to working order. Fixing 20 diapers for the cost of 5 new diapers seemed like a worthwhile investment, and so far it has paid off.

The diaper repair, though, didn't end there. Unfortunately, once we started using the diapers on Adam we discovered they were all leaking. After much trial and error and many clothing changes I called Cotton Babies, the makers of Bum Genius diapers. After we determined that the diaper shells themselves contained no damage, the customer service rep recommended that we stuff the diapers with more liner located near the front of the shell. A couple days of that trick proved we still hadn't uncovered the culprit, which I then correctly determined was the liner itself.

Because our Bum Genius liners hadn't made it to over two years of use without flaking out on us, I did a little research on liner materials. I had heard a lot about hemp, and being hopeful that sort of liner could also stay dry at night (it does not, at least not for us), I invested in two types of inserts from Geffen Baby: a 12-pack of Quick Absorbers Plus (made from hemp and cotton jersey) and a 12-pack of Super Absorbers Plus (made from hemp and cotton fleece). When I purchased them this meant I was paying another $120 to rejuvenate our old cloth diapers.

Now the cloth diapers are working perfectly (except at night) and I'm happy to be putting fewer disposable diapers in the landfill. Cloth diapering is still more expensive than most advocates claim it to be, but it ultimately still works with our lifestyle.

Separating clothes into outfits
In the early days after Adam's arrival, Matt would usually be the one getting Natalie dressed, and as any mom knows, when the dad dresses the daughter he usually gets an A for effort, a sideways look, and then the daughter gets a prompt clothing change. To my husband's credit, he's not a female, and our daughter's clothing choices contain many clashing patterns and color combinations.

So, to save everyone time and take the guesswork out of dressing our daughter, I started folding Natalie's clothes into outfits. Instead of having a drawer full of shirts and another full of shorts and skirts, Natalie can easily pick out a matching outfit. I am sure she'll rebel against this system soon enough, but lately it's been making our lives a tiny bit easier. I don't have to do this with Adam's clothes yet because he has more flexibility when it comes to potential shirt and pant combos.

A better Dust Buster
The original Dust Buster we had from when we first got married bit the...dust, so we knew we wanted a reliable, hand-held vacuum in the kitchen for all the inevitable extra mess a second kid would bring. Now that Adam is eating solid foods three times a day, we are definitely getting our money's worth from this contraption: Black & Decker Platinum BDH2000FL 20-Volt Max Lithium Ion Flex Vacuum. It's much more costly than a standard Dust Buster, but its amazing suction makes it well worth it.

Faux booster seat
Although Natalie will still happily sit in the amazing Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair, we figured it would be time to pass it along to Adam, and we didn't want to invest in a second high chair. Instead of getting an actual booster seat, which I had been considering, I decided instead to get Nat a faux booster seat -- an outdoor seat cushion which not only lifts her up an extra couple inches but also has the added bonus of being waterproof and easy to wipe down.

Right now she just has a regular placemat at her seat, but I am getting really close to investing in a second Stokke Table Top.

It's the most ridiculously priced piece of baby gear that we own, but it contains messes so well that it might be worth it (plus, we use it as a craft placemat, and for that it is amazing as well).

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