You have SO much to do today. Laundry, cooking, errands, maybe even a shower? But wait. The baby. Where should you put the baby? Between the newborn stage and the toddler stage is the time when you wonder, What do I do with this little person all day long?
Look no further than the following ideas.
A generations-old practice that has spanned the globe and various cultures, babywearing has become a true lifestyle trend thanks to the emerging popularity of Facebook groups. It offers the best of both worlds: nonstop cuddles with your little one, plus you’re completely hands free!
There are many different options and brands of baby carrier, such as ring slings, wraps and soft structured carriers (also known as SSCs), which allow you to wear your baby both on your front and back. We suggest you find your local BabywearingInternational (BWI) group to fully explore your options and get free hands-on help from a certified Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE).
Prices for carriers range from $25 (EvenfloNatural Fit Soft Carrier) through thousands of dollars (rare handwoven wraps). With so many options available, it’s much easier to attend a totally free BWI meeting before you buy anything—try before you buy!
You can do virtually any activity around the house or out and about while babywearing, even shower! (Yes, water carriers are a thing.)
2.Pack ‘n Play
The old standard has been reimagined in recent years, offering far more usability than the classic square baby-container playpen. The Graco Pack ‘n Play, a best seller, provides three levels of usage: the top is convenient for teeny babies and diaper changes, the middle works for babies just before they start to roll over and become mobile and the lowest level can be used throughout toddlerhood.
Another version of the play yard is what is often affectionately referred to as a “baby jail” or “baby cage.” This type of play yard encloses baby in up to 18.5 square feet and is 26 inches high, perfect for a crawler through toddler. Throw a few safe toys in there and boom, baby heaven.
You can also try a Moses Basket—a beautiful option that requires supervision but is super chic and comforting for a newborn.
Prices for these play yards range from $50 through $300 and beyond.
Remember to frequently check on your little one when she is in her play yard, especially if you need to leave the room!
3. Baby pillows, props + seats
In addition to babywearing and an infant-friendly play yard, there are lots of options for your teeny ones. From birth, the Boppy Pillow (0 to 6 months), Boppy Newborn Lounger (up to 16 pounds), bouncer (0 to 9 months), and floor gym (from birth) are tried-and-true baby holders. When baby gets a little older, the Bumbo Floor Seat (3 to 9 months) can contain him as long as he has good head and neck control, and not for extended periods of time early on.
Prices vary greatly with each of these options, but in general they are fairly budget friendly.
Now the safety talk: it’s very important that you do not leave your infant unattended in any of these for any period of time. The Boppy Pillow and Lounger do not have a restraining device and baby can easily slide down. However, if you’re planning on folding laundry on the living room floor and have baby right next to you in arm’s reach, these are incredibly versatile devices. The Bumbo is only to be used on the floor, never ever on table, countertop or chair.
4. Activity centers
Once baby reaches four or five months and has good trunk strength, she’s ready to move on to the next level of entertainment: walker, floor jumper (up to 25 pounds), door jumper (up to 24 pounds), or activity center (up to 30 inches).
These can be a real pain to lug from room to room, so it may help to have one option in each room where you spend the bulk of your time (such as an activity center in the living room, door jumper in the kitchen, etc.).
The door jumper is your least expensive option, ranging from $20 to $50, while the others cost up to $150.
These devices are truly miracles for many mamas. You’re able to cook, clean and *gasp* maybe even take a shower while baby plays! Again, don’t leave her alone (but hey, the jumper or activity center may fit in your bathroom).
5. Out + about options
As always, babywearing is an incredibly versatile option inside our outside your home, but there are other choices, such as the ever-reliable stroller. A travel system stroller will take you from newborn through early childhood. A lightweight umbrella stroller is a great option for babies who can sit on their own through 3 years and is light enough to easily pull in and out of the car while running errands or on a trip to the mall. Active mamas will love a jogging stroller, many of which offer car seat compatibility and can hold kiddos up to 50 pounds.
There is nothing that makes a mom shudder more than the thought of their little angels touching or, even worse, chewing on a shopping cart. Agh! (On the plus side, immune system, activate?) Thankfully, baby gear geniuses have given us shopping cart covers. Some models allow you to secure baby’s pacifier or toys, entertaining him while you get your shopping done. Phew. Thank you, baby gear geniuses.
Strollers can be as inexpensive as $20 for an umbrella stroller, but can also go for many hundreds of dollars. It’s all about what brand, type, and look fit your lifestyle. Car seat covers range between as little as $10 to as much as $70.
Always remember to properly buckle your babies in their car seats, strollers and every other device. Double-check your buckling form with the Car Seat Lady.