My favorite items for baby #2

We are in that phase of life where many friends have recently had a baby, or are expecting a baby. Preparing for the second baby is in many ways easier, because you have the essential baby gear and feel like you kind of know to expect. However that second baby can feel like exponentially more work since you have a toddler to chase around (definitely not a linear relationship). I thought I’d share some items we found to be the most helpful during the transition from one child to two.

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1. Nursery camera – we use this in lieu of a video baby monitor. We have a baby monitor we use for sound and temperature, then we use this Foscam to see what they are up to in their cribs. There’s an app you download onto your smartphone and can access from anywhere. Of course, we use it a lot at home, but it’s also nice to be able to see if they are napping while we are at work.

2. Baby Carrier – two words: hands free. Grocery shopping, family walks, playing at the park, getting through the airport, etc. I like the Boba 4G because it is super comfy, comes with an infant insert and sunshade, has handy pockets, and even has a little strap that snaps to secure your diaper ba

3.  Backpack diaper bag – because you will need both arms for wrangling infant car seats, holding toddler’s hand, etc. Bonus points for one that’s not ugly. I used to clip my diaper bag onto the cart/stroller, but found with a sit and stand stroller (see #6 below) that the diaper bag would hit Noah in the face if I clipped it on the handlebar. So having a bag that could convert to a backpack became a must. I love this Petunia Pickle Bottom bag more than words can say. It doesn’t show dirt, has a pretty quilted texture, and holds a ton of stuff. The backpack straps slip inside a pocket when not in use so it just looks like a cute tote bag. It stands up by itself when you set it down. I could go on and on.

4. Baby swing – Because you won’t have the time or energy to carry baby #2 around all hours of the day. A swing will free up your arms (see a theme here?). We would swaddle Harper and put her in the swing with a pacifier when she would get fussy. It usually helped her fall asleep, and we would then turn it off to save batteries and also give her more restful sleep. Lifesaver.

5.  Sit ‘n Stand stroller – this Joovy stroller is the lightest double stroller on the market. It has a Universal car seat adapter so you can plop the infant car seat right in it. Your older child will love being able to sit, stand, and hop on and off when they want. The back bench also converts to a seat if you just want a tandem double stroller. When the baby gets older you can snap on the snack tray in place of the car seat adapter. The huge canopy  and parent console are also convenient. Not to mention it’s also a total bargain for a double stroller.

6. White noise machine – I could quote Happiest Baby on the Block and talk about the benefits of white noise to recreate the womb for a newborn, but the reality is you need to mask noise while baby sleeps. This isn’t always easy when you have a toddler running wild through the house. The Dohme white sound machine is nice because instead of playing a recording on a loop, it just sounds like a fan. You can adjust it to be louder or softer.

Honorable mentions: We have used this sleep book as a guide with both kids, who now both nap well and sleep soundly at night (*knock on wood*). I also got good use out of my nursing cover since we were out and about a lot more with the second baby. And I know the Boppy pillow makes it onto every baby gear list out there, but for good reason. What can’t you use that thing for?

I hope this list can be of some use to mamas out there expecting their second baby. And for mamas of more than one I’d love to hear: what items you found most helpful?

Harper’s 1st birthday

Last weekend we celebrated our sweet little Harper’s first birthday and also had her baby dedication. Blake’s parents, brother and sister-in-law came from Kansas. My parents, aunt and uncle were also there. We also had some friends and neighbors join us as well. That day I felt like everything was as it should be – our home was full of family and friends, our bellies were full of good food, and our hearts were overflowing with love. Cheesy as that may sound, it was true and I could not have been happier.

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suddenlyinspired | pink gold black twinkle little star birthday party dessert table

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My mom did an amazing job decorating the cakes. I sent her some Pinterest pictures, and she totally nailed it.

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I had fun decorating the dessert table. The colors were pink, gold, and black, with a star theme.

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I also couldn’t resist making a little party hat and decorating the chalkboard.

bday hattwinkle twinkle little star you've grown so much and come so far birthday chalkboard

Sunday morning was church and Harper’s baby dedication. I had to write down the words I wanted to say because I get nervous talking in front of people and was feeling emotional about everything. I feel like ever since having kids I cry at the drop of a hat. Blake totally winged his portion of it, and he did great. That sums up a lot of our relationship – me diligently planning and he breezing through effortlessly. It used to drive me nuts when we were in college, but I’ve come to appreciate how good he is at life. Our church family has been so supportive and really lifted us up in a time of need when Harper was born prematurely. It was a special moment to stand before them and dedicate our child and reflect on God’s grace.

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Good things. Then after church we headed to Five Guys to stuff our faces.

Tomorrow

Now begins our new adventure. The start of life at home for Harper. Tomorrow we get to bring our baby girl home after 60 days in the NICU. Even though she will be home in our arms a month earlier than her due date, it has been two months too long. All at once we are feeling impatient to get her home, but unprepared to have her home. It’s a complex mix of emotions. We have been waiting for this moment for what seems like a lifetime (her lifetime at least), and yet now that it’s happening we don’t feel quite ready. After seeing a highly trained team of neonatologists, NICU nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, and physical therapists give round the clock medical care to our baby, who are we to take her home?

It feels like a graduation. It’s a moment we’ve been eagerly awaiting for so long, but now that it’s here we feel nervous, excited, and sad. Nervous about what happens next. Nervous about Harper’s future and our skills as parents. Excited for the moment we’ve been longing for since our daughter was born. Excited to finally be at home with both our kids instead of having to split our time between them. Excited to get on with life and leave this frightening experience behind us. Sad to leave behind the nurses and therapists that became part of our daily life. Sad that things are changing just when we got used to them. Sad that this isn’t the jubilant homecoming of the healthy full term baby we had expected, but instead bringing home a baby with fragile lungs and immune system who will still need to be on oxygen for several weeks.

These thoughts have been running through our minds the past few days. Slowly, the anxiety is melting away and being replaced by eager anticipation. A friend of mine posted a quote on Facebook the day I went into labor. It stuck with me.

“Sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.” – Shauna Niequist

This may not be the ending we had imagined for ourselves when we found out we were expecting baby #2, but it’s a beautiful ending nonetheless. God has been at work in our lives and in our hearts throughout this journey. This has been a humbling experience that has truly taught us to put our daughter’s life in his hands. We can look forward to tomorrow with peace in our hearts.

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