Grandma Gear

We are hashtag blessed/ prayer hands emoji to have family nearby who can help out with our son. There are a few items that we’ve found helpful to have as duplicates at my parents’ house- the only place he’s done overnights so far- instead of always packing up our whole house when we go for a visit. Your needs will vary depending on the length of time you’re away from your prime baby set up, but here’s what we’ve found helpful to have at my parents’ place.

Car Seat Base: if there’s someone other than you and your partner who will be regularly driving with the baby, you don’t have to purchase them a separate car seat. For infant car seats, you can purchase an additional base and install it for them. Convertible car seats used to be an absolute nightmare to move from one vehicle to another, but we have no complaints with ours. If we’re leaving our son overnight at my parents, we unbuckle the car seat from my backseat and put it in my moms, just in case they need to transport him anywhere. A good rule is: where the baby is, the car seat should be also.

Pack & Play: my mom found a great deal on a secondhand pack & play so has one, while we never bothered*. It’s been a lifesaver to throw him in that for naps when we’re there, especially now that he’s mobile and would pitch himself off any bed we try to lay him on. *I’ve had to borrow a friend’s for an overnight trip & now realize we totally should have gotten one, so will also be shopping secondhand for one we can take on out of town trips!

High Chair: definitely not a must have– our son would still eat just fine if sitting on my lap– but it’s super convenient that my parents have a high chair for mealtime so we don’t have to pack ours or keep a booster seat in the car. 

Nose Frida: this is highly specific to our situation, but our kid had terrible reflux which causes congestion. We used the Nose Frida multiple times a day in his first 4-5 months, so it made sense to keep a back up at my parents so we didn’t have to always remember to throw it in the diaper bag. If you have specific medical items that it would throw a wrench in your stay if forgotten, it doesn’t hurt to have back ups you can leave there (i.e. baby Tylenol!)

Formula: if you’re formula feeding, keep a tub of your brand at Grandma’s house. If you use a formula pitcher, transport it empty and then mix it upon arrival. I once tried to transport our full formula pitcher on a 45 minute drive. It spilled, and my car smelled like disgusting wet socks for a few days before I lifted the seats and really scrubbed it all out. 

Diapers & Wipes: we always travel with diapers and wipes in the diaper bag, but it’s nice knowing that my mom has a little changing area set up ready to go when we’re there visiting family. She’s also got plenty of extra bibs and burps rags.

Being Extra: our son is the first grandchild, so things can get a bit extra when it comes to making sure he’s surrounded by infant opulence. Once they saw how much he loves his baby swimming pool and canvas tree swing, his grandparents purchased duplicates to have at their house. His favorite toys include empty boxes and a toothbrush, so I’m confident he would survive without a pool at every residence, but it is nice for them to have many activity options when we leave him there for a needed night off.

Current Faves

My son is in the babbling, active, “this is so fun!” phase at 5.5 months right before he learns to crawl and upends our lives. Here’s some things that he’s recently been loving and/or have been super helpful as his parent. Again, not affiliate links because I just don’t care.

  • Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher– How you feed your baby is you + their doctor’s business. If it involves formula, I can’t recommend enough this pitcher. It saves so much time to make a bulk batch of food instead of mixing individual bottles, plus you can pour out just a bit at a time for a top off or refill instead of making a whole bottle. At first I was like, “Uhhh can I use a regular pitcher?” Which, you could, but this one has the ounces printed on the side for easy measuring + a special mixer handle that really gets the formula incorporated vs. a giant spoon or whatever you’d have to use if you just pull out the ol’ lemonade pitcher from the cupboard.
  • Jumperoo– Fairly certain I birthed a toddler instead of a cuddly, lazy infant. This kid has been trying to move since day one, so my parents gifted him this apparatus for Christmas, and it’s increasingly been a lifesaver since. The music buttons aren’t overly annoying (and have an off switch if you don’t agree with me!), and there’s 360 degrees of stuff he can put in his mouth, stare at, and spin. What I especially like about the one I linked over other exersaucers is that it’s suspended in the air so he can also fling himself back and forth horizontally instead of only vertically jumping up and down. For an already rough and tumble kid, he’s getting the feeling of being Crash Bandicoot while still safe and snug so I don’t have to be right there engaging with him.
  • Wonder Weeks app- New parents! Your baby develops in mental and sensory leaps, and The Wonder Weeks has all the info about them. I’m notoriously cheap and rarely pay for phone apps, but this is one I reference often and was definitely worth the one time price of $4.99. It’s uncannily spot on with whatever baby is going through at the time. Our sweet, cooing baby turned into a non-stop fuss machine last week, so I pulled out the app and sure enough, he’s smack in the middle of the “Fussy Phase” of his fifth leap. The Wonder Weeks info not only makes me feel like I’m not going insane (other babies around the world go through this phase, too! Put down the wine!) but it also helps my husband and I better relate to what’s changing in baby’s world. The app has suggestions for how you can help engage them in play to develop whatever it is they’re currently learning about the world.

Indispensable Baby Items

There’s only a billion lists already in existence of things to put on your registry, so I figured the Internet could use one more. Much like the pregnancy resources post, I’ll edit this one as I think of more things, and your comments are welcome on what your baby has loved since mine is a diva and doesn’t care for most of the things we were told he would. Below is what, three months post-baby, we’re glad we ended up getting or have used way more than we expected.

  • Boppy Lounger: Every parent I asked said to get the Boppy Lounger instead of the regular Boppy, and they were right. (Boppy Lounger is a place to put them vs. Boppy is a breastfeeding pillow thing that’s supposed to wrap around you.) I actually purchased this item very late into my pregnancy because I had a registry discount to use. I was very, “I’m a chill mom and don’t need things and can totally put my baby on the couch or floor, why would he need a special pillow?” Turns out babies don’t really love being put on the floor! You need a supportive place to put them. Even at three months, as he’s getting kinda long for it, we’re sucking every last day of life out of this Boppy. I almost wish we’d have gotten two so we weren’t carrying it up and down the stairs with us, depending on where the baby was lounger (champagne problems.)
  • Nose Frida: We have a congested kid. Due to reflux + winter + genetics, this baby is not short on snot. I first used the Nose Frida about a week after he came home from the hospital, and we haven’t put it down since. You probably won’t use it 2-3 times a day, but we do & have started buying the replacement filters in bulk. If you have at least a two parent household, one of you will likely become the Frida parent (me) and one of you will be either grossed out by it or a very dainty sucker (husband.) Always use the spray saline first– it does help loosen nose gunk to make it easier to remove– and if you burn through that bottle as fast as we did, your pediatrician should have some free saline tubes to give you. Pro tip if you have to use it as much as we do: wait for baby to sneeze, then pounce on that as your golden Frida opportunity.
  • Some type of swaddle. My kingdom for a simple swaddle solution out of the gate!! You can absolutely swaddle baby in a blanket– ask the nurses to show you before you leave the hospital– but it’s 2021, honey, and the world has better solutions (and you’ll be less likely to be awake in the middle of the night wondering if they’ve suffocated themselves in the blanket if you get a wearable one.) If you have friends who have babies- ask to borrow some swaddles to see what works for your kid. Our kid is the world’s youngest Cirque de Soleil performer and can get out of absolutely anything. We thought Velcro swaddles would be a solution, but he was absolutely irate to be so pinned down (but only at night! sometimes they worked during naps?) But then he came back around and they became a magic sleep solution for a couple weeks during his third month?? There is no one perfect solution for every baby, so be prepared for some trial & error.
  • Musical mobile: I forget why I was on the fence about getting a mobile (as any expecting parent reading this already knows, there IS such a thing as too much research– I’m sure I fell down some dark web rabbit hole about Illuminati mobiles.) We ended up registering for this one from Target because I thought it’d look cute in his dino-themed room. It absolutely doesn’t help our kid go to sleep, but it does buy me 10-15 minutes of alone time when I can lay him in the crib and he’s fascinated by it. I would recommend getting a moving musical one for maximum distraction effect and not one of those twee Pinterest ones you overpay someone to make with branches from their backyard.

None of the above links are affiliate links because I’m too lazy to even figure out how to do that.