Stay at home mom | pros and cons | sahm | quitting work to stay home | parenting | baby | lifestyle | mom life | life lessons

One Year as a Stay at Home Mom: My Top 10 Likes and Dislikes of the SAHM-Life

It’s hard to believe, but last week marked an entire year since I became a stay at home mom. And, a year ago this week I started this blog!

It’s been a total adventure (with 42 blog posts to prove it), and I find myself wondering how this past year could have flown by so fast. (That’s not to say some days don’t seem incredibly long — because some days absolutely do seem like an eternity. 🙈)

During this past year, I’ve written a few posts specifically about what it’s been like since quitting my job to be a stay at home mom:

For this post, though, I thought it would be fun to do a “Top Ten” post about what I love (and don’t love as much) about being a sahm.

Baby K turns 16 months old this week, so that’s where we’re at right now. The good part is that he’s so active and playful right now, and we have so much fun together. The hard part is that he soaks up so much attention, and I constantly feel on “high alert” to make sure he’s not getting himself in a dangerous situation.

As Baby K gets older, I know that the good and not-so-great will change. But, with that said, here are “My Top 10 Likes and Dislikes of the SAHM-Life.” 

Likes:

1. I’ve gotten to be there for all of Baby K’s “firsts.”

2. I don’t have to choose between quality or quantity of time with Baby K. I get it all. And, because time does seem to move so fast now, I’m grateful that being a SAHM allows me to take the time to slow down and enjoy each moment.

3. I can usually spend our days in whatever way best matches Baby K’s mood that day: relaxed, or filled with outings, or a little of both.

4. I don’t have to try and balance outside work and family. Being able to get many of the household chores done during the day usually gives us the blessing of unhurried family time together on evenings and weekends.

5. Nap Time!! 😴 Accomplishing any one non-baby related task or goal during this time feels absolutely amazing.

Dislikes:

6. Breaks from the SAHM-life are rare. There is never a vacation day — even when you’re “on vacation.”

7. The constant learning curve as a first-time mom is ever-present, and I struggle with lack of confidence. There is something to be said for the type of confidence-building fulfillment that a job can provide.

8. The worry of: Am I doing enough for Baby K? — Is he learning well enough and getting enough socialization? Could I be doing more to help him reach developmental milestones? 😓

9. I feel self-imposed pressure to not be “just a mommy.” I worry about what I’ll do once it’s time to go back to work. How will future employers view my time off? And, how will it feel to start all over somewhere new?

10. Those rare days that Baby K just doesn’t want to take a nap. 😖

All in all, though, I’ve been so happy getting to spend all these days with Baby K. … Even with the worry and those days without a nap!

I know these early years with Baby K is time that’s truly irreplaceable, and I’m soaking up every moment. 😊

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one year old | baby progress report | baby milestones | toddler | motherhood | baby boy | new mom | 15 months old | finger foods | table foods | walking | crawling | standing | boy mom

15 Months of Baby K

“The world is as many times new as there are children in our lives.” — Robert Brault

This past month seems to have been a big one for Baby K, though I can’t really pinpoint specifically why. … I just feel like he is suddenly so much more aware of everything going on around him.

And, he is a total whirlwind of activity. This little guy doesn’t like to sit still much, unless he is cuddling in our lap for a story to be read to him. ==>Diaper changes have become a particularly hard part of the day, as he doesn’t want to stop his fun for something so boring. Songs and new-to-him objects have quit working to keep him laying still. 😦

He’s also become a little more snuggly with us (something I had missed from his newborn days), and he will give us lots of hugs. 🙂 But, this also means he’s a bit clingy with me and that can be hard some days when I just need a break. (As always, I try to remind myself that these “seasons” are short, and while parts of it are hard, there are things about this time I will miss dearly.)

My husband and I have both commented on how much Baby K’s personality is starting to shine, and how funny he can be. … And, in a nutshell, this has been a really cool month!

Here’s the rest of his 15-month progress report.

Developmental Milestones:

  • Weight/Height: Baby K weighed 23 lbs. and was 32.5 inches long at his 15-month appt. His weight increased by 0.5 pounds, but his percentile dropped from 70th to 52nd, so his calorie intake is something we need to keep an eye on.
  • Walking: Baby K began walking the week before his 1st birthday, and he’s on the go all of the time now. I’ve noticed that he runs a little bit now, and sometimes seems to gallop. His balance on uneven ground (like at the park) is getting better and better.
  • Climbing: Baby K hasn’t started climbing on furniture yet (thankfully!), but he does cautiously try getting up/down stairs and other small ledges. I’ll usually hold both of his hands to help him, unless I think it’s something he can do on his own. In those cases, I’ll let him try it first and stay nearby so that he can reach back for me to help him up/down if he wants.
  • Talking/Babbling and Gestures: I’ve still only clearly understood “mama” and “dada.” And, I think he may have been saying “door” a few times when he wants to go outside (he’d say “doh!” and point at the door). He babbles so much, though, and everything kind of sounds like “doh,” so I’m not sure.
    He will also point and jab at many things to communicate with us. A few of his favorites right now are pointing to the door when he wants us to open it; at the light/ceiling fan when he wants us to turn it on (or, one day also I noticed him jabbing at the wall near the light switch so that we would turn it on!); and to his shoes when he wants us to put them on him.
  • Receptive Language: Baby K is constantly surprising us with what he understands. One day, I realized I hadn’t changed his diaper in a little too long, and I said to myself out loud, “Mommy’s dropping the ball.” A moment later, Baby K walked over and picked up a little toy soccer ball and brought it to me. Ha! A few other examples are that he will spin around when asked to “spin,” and will sit down when it’s time to put on socks/shoes.
  • Sleep: Nightime sleep has remained consistent, sleeping through the night between 10 to 12 hours (with a few wake-ups here and there). For about the last week, though, he’s been throwing a fit when it’s bedtime. He does fall asleep pretty easily, though, after a bit of crying (until last night, when I had to resort to rocking him to sleep).
    Baby K has also dropped to taking one nap most days that lasts about two hours.
  • Teeth: Baby K has 8 teeth now — four on top and four on the bottom. He also has some molars about to pop through (and I wish they would hurry up!). I’ve never mentioned brushing teeth. Baby K is understandably resistant to his this, but we’re trying to be more consistent with using his baby tooth brush daily. I let him hold one while I brush with another. 😁

Favorite Activities and Toys:

At our 12-month wellness visit, our pediatrician (knowing that I’m a stay at home mom) suggested we get Baby K enrolled in some sort of scheduled/organized activity during the summer. So, I signed Baby K up for a weekly kids’ play program (for baby and parent) through our local park district that starts in June. He’ll be in a session with children ages 16-26 months, so he’ll be one of the youngest, and I’m both excited and nervous to see how that goes.

  • Reading Books: Baby K has started bringing us books to read to him, and he likes to hear the same story (and sometimes the same page) over and over again. He’ll point to things on the page, and we’ll tell him what it is. Or, we’ll ask him to find something on the page, and he’ll point to it. Here are a few of his current favorite books:

    What hasn’t been so easy lately is story time at the library. Baby K just won’t sit still for that, so we hadn’t been going. I tried it again this week, and he just wanted to walk around and play — so we had to leave the room early. My plan is to try it out again after our summer program is over, and see how he does.

  • Playing outside: Baby K still really enjoys being outside, and loves trips to the park. He especially loves walking around on the sidewalk and in the grass, exploring what he finds on his path, from rocks to wood chips to plants.
  • Dancing: For a few months now, Baby K has danced a little when he hears music and really likes the Fisher Price Dance & Move Beatbo toy. (this isn’t a sponsored post, Baby K just really enjoys this toy)
  • And, he also still likes little trucks and cars — anything that he can roll back and forth.
    img_2639.jpg

Meal Time

We’re serving all table foods now, letting Baby K eat on his own (for the most part). He’s also getting better at correctly eating from a spoon, but is still very messy. 🙂

In my 13-months post, I’d mentioned that he’d started being picky with his food, and would leave food uneaten or intentionally drop pieces on the floor. We still have a little bit of that going on at times, but I’ve stuck to following Ellyn Satter’s “Division of Responsibility,”  the gist of which is: (1) The parent is responsible for what, when, and where and (2) The child is responsible for how much and whether.

One thing we haven’t done yet is drop bottles. I still give his milk to him in a bottle. I try letting him drink small amounts of water out of a cup, and he does OK with that. But, he still spills a lot or will pour it out on his highchair tray.

At this age, though, I feel like I need to be more consistent with offering him a cup and move towards dropping the  bottles in favor of sippy or straw cups. We’ll see how smoothly that goes. 😉

Well, that’s it for Baby K’s 15-month post for now. If you’re interested in reading more, here are Baby K’s previous progress reports:

In the meantime, take care! 🙂

vacation with toddler | road trip | Madison, Wis., trip report | tips for traveling with a baby | toddler

Our Weekend in Madison, Wis. (and What It’s Really Like to Travel With a Toddler)

The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.” — J.K. Rowling

We’re back from our family vacation to Madison, Wis., and it was such a great city to visit with Baby K. We found a lot of neat places to visit.

As a couple, my husband and I loved to travel. And, while it’s not as easy with Baby K in tow, it’s important to me that we still get out and travel to places near and far.

We’re still too nervous about flying with our kiddo, so roadtrips have to do for now. 🚘🛣🤗

Madison, Wis., with Baby K

Getting to Madison from where we live is about a four-hour drive straight through, so not too far of a road trip from home. With a few leisurely stops along the way added in, it took us about seven hours total.

After we checked in at the hotel for our stay (the Best Western West Towne Suites), it was getting close to 5 p.m. So, we decided to find a place for an early dinner (a nearby Thai place called Sa-Bai Thong) and then head to Olbrich Botanical Gardens (where the gardens are open until 8 p.m.).

Dinner was a disaster for Baby K. I think after all that travel time in his car seat, he was just DONE with sitting. He started screaming and banging on the table, so after a few bites of our food and taking turns walking around with him, we asked for to-go boxes and left.

The gardens were the perfect answer to a less-than-relaxing dinner, though.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Along with some beautiful scenery and a refreshing walk, we got to see the impressive Thai Pavilion, which is only one of four located outside of Thailand. (The others are in Germany, Norway, and Hawaii.)

IMG_2447
~Thai Pavilion at Olbrich Botanical Gardens~

Baby K loved walking around the pavilion and Thai gardens. This visit to Olbrich was a great way to start our vacation and end our first evening in Madison. 🙂

Dane County Farmers Market • Madison Children’s Museum • Memorial Union Terrace

The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel (cooked-to-order pancakes and eggs, with fresh fruit!) and then headed to the Dane County Farmers Market.

The market is held on the streets surrounding the state capitol building, and, while it’s still a bit early in the season for many fruit or vegetable stands, we found plenty of stalls selling cheese curds, plants, and baked goods.

The market is THE thing to do in Madison on Saturday mornings, and there was plenty of people-watching to do and other sights and sounds that kept Baby K entertained.

We didn’t have too far to go for our second stop of the day: the Madison Children’s Museum. It’s located on a corner across from the capitol building, so we walked over at 9:30 a.m. when it opened.

IMG_2481
~Baby K at the Madison Children’s Museum~

Baby K had so much fun there, and especially loved the “water dome,” a little water room where he could splash in fountains.

Additionally, the views from the rooftop garden were a pleasant surprise and Baby K had a ton of fun exploring the garden path.

From the children’s museum, we decided to let Baby K nap in his stroller as we walked up State Street to the University of Madison. Our destination was the Memorial Union Terrace to enjoy the pretty view of Lake Mendota.

I’m so glad we made this stop, because the lake views were beautiful and it was fun to walk around the student union like we were college kids again. 😊

When Baby K woke up, we headed back to our car and then rested for awhile at the hotel. (It was only later that I realized we didn’t get ice cream from Babcock Hall, like I’d read so many recommendations to do. 😞 — I guess there’s always next time!🍦😋).

That afternoon, we had our leftover dinner for lunch (exciting, no, but it was delicious) and then headed to Hilldale Mall, a nice little outdoor shopping mall. My husband’s phone happened to be acting up while in Madison, so a visit to the Apple Store was in order for him, and Baby K and I enjoyed a stroll browsing the other shops.

Since we had a jam-packed day, we decided to have a relaxing night. We got dinner from the food court at a nearby mall (not so fancy, but much more relaxing than the previous night’s dinner fiasco 😂), and let Baby K run around and tire himself out at the mall play area.

Henry Vilas Zoo

The following morning, we went to the Henry Vilas Zoo. On the way there, we stopped at the cutest little chocolate shop and then Trader Joe’s (a treat, because we don’t have one locally).

Madison’s zoo was really impressive for its size, and we got to see quite a few animals, including giraffes, seals, otters, a rhino, camel, and polar bear.

After the zoo, it was time to head home with some wonderful memories! 😊

Like our first vacation with Baby K, traveling with a little one is a definite learning experience.

Here are some tips we found to be helpful this trip:

  • Making a few stops along the way is very important for keeping our little guy happy throughout a long drive, giving him time out of his car seat. (One of the stops we made on the way to Madison was the cutest little playground at Palmer Park in Janesville, Wis. This park wasn’t too far off the highway, and the playground was the perfect place to give Baby K the chance to run off some energy after a long drive.)
IMG_2545
~Camden Playground in Palmer Park~
  • For the car ride, I kept a few small toys stashed in the backseat that we could give Baby K to keep him entertained when needed. Singing songs, playing Peek-a-Boo, and turning the overhead light off and on also kept him happily occupied for a good while.
  • Having a hotel suite with a bedroom separate from the sitting area really helped us all get good sleep. We set up our Pack n’ Play in the “living room,” and could keep lights on/watch TV in the bedroom after Baby K was asleep for the night. (We did have a harder time getting him to go to sleep each night than we normally do at home, though.)
  • Keeping a light schedule or short “wishlist” of things to do worked best for us. There were a few local breweries and art museums I would have loved to add to our days, but it would have been too much for our little guy. In the end, the ability to rest and stay on Baby K’s normal schedule helped keep our days relaxed and mostly fuss-free.

Now, it’s time to plan our next vacation!

In the meantime, take care. 😊

May 2018 Goals | April 2018 Goals | Strength | push-ups | attainable goals | new adventures | SAHM | stay at home mom | baby | newborn | mom goals | confidence | health | Motherhood

May 2018 Goal: New Adventures!

“Kids are curious, and if you don’t lose that, then everything is an adventure.” — Diane Greene

Making every day an adventure is my new goal for May. And, with Baby K’s curiosity as our guide, there shouldn’t be any trouble in accomplishing this goal! 🙂

This month seems like the perfect time to try some new adventures together: Baby K’s new one-nap schedule has added flexibility to our days, allowing for some longer outings in the morning. And, the nice weather makes me want to get outside and explore.

This month also marks a milestone birthday for me, and it’s the month of Mother’s Day. So! I thought it was a good time to focus on a purely fun goal. 😊

Each week this month, I want to try something we haven’t done before.

First up will be our first family road trip of the year to Madison, Wis.! My husband and I have never been, so it will be filled with exciting new experiences for all of us. 🚘

The following week, I plan to try a nature hike with my local MOMS Club. 🌳🌲🌾

I can’t wait to see what other new adventures the new month brings. (And, I’ll be sure to post all about our road trip!) 😊

Recap: April 2018 Goal (Strength)

My goal for April was to do 10 push-ups each day. And, I did it!! (I did forget a couple days, but for those days I easily added in a second set the next day).

I started this goal with the intention to improve, so this month I plan to continue with two sets of seven push-ups each day.

When looked at daily, I know it sounds like such a small goal. But, I like to focus on the net result: I did 300 push-ups this month! For me, that’s probably more in one month than I did all of last year combined! And, I truly believe there is no shame in making small improvements — no matter how small — that add up over time. 😊 💪🏼 🏆

In my previous goal post, I also mentioned that I was attending a self defense class with the MOMS Club. And, I’m so glad that I went!

In general, the class covered some basic ways to escape an attacker and the best areas of the body to target if someone tries to grab or attack you. While an ongoing class would be good to take to improve confidence and reaction time, I think this one-night class was really worthwhile to attend.

I’ve occasionally seen other self-defense seminars offered by local medical centers and other organizations, too, so I’ll keep an eye out for additional opportunities.

I’m curious to know about your monthly or annual goals! — we can root each other on!  And, do you have any adventures planned for this month? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, take care. 🙂

 

one year old | baby progress report | baby milestones | toddler | motherhood | baby boy | new mom | 14 months old | finger foods | table foods | walking | crawling | standing | boy mom

Baby K at 14 Months Old

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

Hi all!! I hope this post finds you well. 🙂

Baby K and I have been spending a lot of play time outside this week. It’s been sooooo nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. And, after such a long winter, I love the idea of taking many trips to the park and walks in the neighborhood in the coming weeks.

 

This week, Baby K also turned 14 months old! He’s been keeping us so busy with his growing curiosity and ability to get into more things! 🙂

There haven’t been too many changes since his last progress report for 13 months, but I thought I’d share a few updates below. For a much more detailed progress report and sample toddler meals, you can read all the details here.

14 Month Progress Report

  • Sleep: We seem to have officially transitioned to a one-nap schedule! Wake ups have been at 6 a.m., with a two hour nap starting at 11 a.m. He is getting really, really tired by bedtime at 6:30/7 p.m., though. Because of this, I want to slowly try to push his nap to start at around 12:30 p.m. We’ll see how it goes.
  • Gestures: Baby K loves to give flying kisses! He’s also shown that he can wave “bye-bye,” but doesn’t do that too often.
  • Communication: He is showing more and more that he knows what we’re telling him, and can follow “commands.” He’ll go to certain rooms when asked to. And, the other day I asked him “can you brush your hair?” because he was playing with his hair brush. And he brought the brush to his head, but just kind of bounced if off his head — he didn’t actually brush it. It’s been fun to discover all that he knows.
  • Play/Activities: He really likes to roam around at the park, and doesn’t pay much attention to the play equipment yet. I think he especially enjoys the freedom to wander. He’ll just walk around and look at sticks and the wood chips on the playground. Watching the older kids run and bounce around at the park makes me especially enjoy this time when Baby K wants to just take it slow.

Lately, I’ve also been thinking about creating more play space in our home for Baby K. I want to transform some space in our unfinished basement into a play area for him. I’ve been searching Pinterest for ideas, and am excited to have this project to work on.

If you have any playroom ideas, please let me know! I have a totally blank canvas to work with.

In the meantime, take care. 🙂

 

Grocery store trips with a toddler | toddler activities | stay at home mom | sahm | kids play ideas

Ways to Make the Grocery Store Fun for a Toddler

One of the ways that Baby K and I get out of the house each day is by running errands, including trips to the grocery store.

I tend to plan out several smaller trips to the grocery store throughout the week, rather than one big trip like I used to do pre-Baby K. This ensures we have something to do several days a week, and I think the shorter shopping trips help prevent Baby K from getting bored, too.

From his seat in the grocery cart, Baby K usually seems super interested in all the activities he sees going on around him. And, there are a few things that I like do during these visits to the grocery store to make sure it’s fun for him and a learning experience, too:

Check out the Floral Department

We always stop by the floral department to see the pretty flower and plant displays. Here, I can tell him the different colors we see and admire how pretty all the bouquets are.  These sections usually have balloons, too, so I like to show him how the balloon can be brought down and then float back up. Admittedly, though, it’s getting harder to convince Baby K that the balloons need to stay at the store.  

Grocery Trips With a Toddler
~ Baby K, the official banana holder ~

Name Fruits and Vegetables:

I like to point out and name the different fruits and vegetables for Baby K as we make our way though the produce section. Whatever we buy, I’ll let him hold if he wants to. For now, it seems he has decided that he is the official banana holder during our shopping trips. And, he takes this job seriously. We haven’t left a store in several weeks without buying at least one banana just so he can hold it as we do our shopping through the rest of the store.

Go See the Fish!

When we go to our local Meijer store, we always have to stop and see the fish tanks. I think this might be the only grocery store we have in town that has fish and aquarium equipment for sale. This has become our favorite stop of any at this store.

Grocery Store Trips with a Toddler
~ We Love Seeing the Fish ~

Browse the Bakery Cakes

Before we make our way to the cash registers, we usually also have to do a slow-stroll by the cake section at the bakery. It’s always fun to see the colorful designs and decorations of the cakes and other desserts on display. And, the bakery workers will always usually say “hi” to Baby K as we walk by.

For right now, I’m enjoying these relatively easy trips to the store with Baby K. As he is close to 14 months and becoming more and more aware of his independence, I do wonder when these trips will get harder.

If you have tips to share that help make grocery trips easier with a toddler, please share in the comments!

In the meantime, take care! 🙂

Baby necessities: A list of baby items that were essential during our baby's first year. | baby registry | newborn needs | newborn survival | baby gear | new mom

Our Top 10 First-Year Baby Necessities

 

A new baby is like the beginning of all things—wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” — Eda LeShan

I love this quote. ❤️

What it says is so true! I remember being so full of incredible hopes and dreams for my little one while I was pregnant. And, nothing could have prepared me for all these days of wonder that have followed once he was born. ✨

Creating a baby registry can be a big part of those magical feelings during pregnancy: you’re planning for the future ahead, full of hopes and dreams for your little one, and imaging what life will be like once they’re here. And, yes, that new life will include allll the baby “stuff.” Both cute and practical.

One of my very first posts for this blog was about what my husband and I found to be the absolute “Newborn Necessities” that we used those first few weeks home with Baby K.

In that post, I mentioned how vital the Graco swing and SwaddleMe swaddles and By Your Side sleeper were. (I also remembered to mention coffee and TV, but regrettably failed to mention how much the help from both of our families meant to us, too! 🤦🏻‍♀️)

Now that Baby K is one, I’ve been thinking about all the baby “stuff” that we found to be the most useful throughout his first year (again, in addition to all the help, love, and support from family and friends 💕).

And, I’ve also been thinking about some of the lessons about baby gear that we learned along the way.

For the following list, I tried to narrow it down to the things we either used constantly or that saved us from frustration. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

First-Year Necessities

1. Travel System — I’m not sure if the particular travel system we have is still being sold in stores (Graco FastAction Sport LX in Austin), but we love it! I’m especially glad that we went with a travel system option so that we could take Baby K out of the car in his car seat, and snap it right into the stroller. I’d originally been on the fence about just starting out with a convertible car seat. But, the travel system has made life sooo easy! I’ll miss having that convenience of his infant seat, as Baby K has recently outgrown it and we switched to the convertible car seat (also a Graco).

baby gear | travel system | baby's first year
~ Baby K travels in style at the zoo ~

2. Backseat Mirror – This is something that could so easily be taken for granted because it’s not one of those major baby purchases. But, the backseat mirror is something I use daily and am so glad to have it. I like being able to glance back while I’m driving to make sure Baby K is doing OK. And, I’ve spent my fair share of driving around for an extra little bit after noticing that he’s fallen asleep for a nap.

3. Window-Cling Sun Shades — This is another one of those smaller baby purchases, but they keep Baby K (and mama!) happy by keeping the sun out of his eyes and direct sun exposure at a minimum. And, the cling style is nice because I don’t have to worry about them coming loose and hitting Baby K if we ever need to stop short (or, I forget about them, and accidentally roll the window down!)  🙂

4. Pack n Play — We’ve used this so much! We used the bassinet part as Baby K’s crib in our room until he was about six months old. After that, I’ve used it daily as a play pen for when I take a shower in the morning. We also used it as a crib in the hotel during our first family vacation, and we’ll use it again for travel next month.

5. Summer Infant Wide View Baby Monitor — We didn’t start using this until Baby K moved into his own room to sleep at night, at around 6 months old, but we use it daily now during his naps and at night.

6. Burp Cloths — We used sooooo many burp cloths — my advice is to just stock up on those! And the bigger they are, the better to help avoid clothing changes for yourself! I bought a few handmade burp cloths at a local craft market. At the time, I just thought they were crazy cute. But, they provided one of my favorite memories of when Baby K started seeing things more clearly: After a bottle and burp, he would focus in on the pictures on the burp cloths and smile so big at them.

baby gear | burp cloths | baby's first year
~ Baby K’s Handmade Burp Cloths ~

7. Decorative Bins and Baskets — All of Baby K’s baby stuff has taken over our house! So, having some nice looking storage bins and baskets has been vital! We have several of them throughout the house that keep all the baby stuff organized and within reach.

8. Target Cartwheel/Meijer mPerks Phone AppsAlllllll the baby stuff adds up (from diapers and wipes to sippy cups), and these apps have helped us save A TON of money with exclusive coupons and savings.

9. Portable Changing Mat — We honestly haven’t used our portable changing mat too many times while out and about, but I’m so glad to have it when we do need it. It’s nice to have something I know is clean to lay down for Baby K when I need to change him away from home.

10. Lightweight Umbrella Stroller — We use an umbrella stroller for walks about the neighborhood, and for when we’re going places we know will be crowded and therefore need something more compact than our full-size travel system stroller. We initially registered for and received a really small and basic umbrella stroller. And, during the first use I immediately knew I didn’t like it: The handles were too short, the barely-there sunshade was pointless, and, there was zero storage for bringing along a blanket, water, snacks, etc. So, we just recently bought a better lightweight stroller that has a great canopy that fully extends, a small under-storage basket, and a cup-holder. And, it reclines! This is an item that I wish I would have done more research on the first time around.

In addition to the list above, I’ve also previously wrote about a few other items we have loved having during Baby K’s first year. You can read all about Baby K’s baby play mat here, and his teething toys and push toys here. I’d definitely include all of those items with this list of first-year necessities.

I’m interested to hear other parents’ experiences, too. Is there anything you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, take care. 🙂