We’ve had a few different types of baby gates between the 2 houses we’ve lived in since Big Brother was born. This is by far my favorite gate for a few reasons (1) it can be mounted with screws, assuring it is completely secure and (2) it can be painted or stained to match your woodwork (although that’s not required), (3) it is one of the cheaper baby gates on the market ($33.00 on Amazon). We have spindles on the ends of our staircases, so my handy husband just used a finishing nailer to mount a piece of wood to the spindle and then we mounted the gate to that piece of wood.
Another reason I love this gate is because Big Brother (at the age of 3) cannot even come close to being able to open it on his own. It frankly takes a little practice for even adults to open. And it was worth spending the time and effort to paint and install these correctly since they will be up for a long time!
I’m an advocate for putting the majority of chemicals and cleaning supplies up out of a child’s reach as a safety precaution. However, there are some things (like dishwashing detergent that goes under the sink at our house) that just aren’t practical. Even if items in the kitchen aren’t dangerous…I still don’t want my child playing in every single cabinet. We chose the install these latches on several of our kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It makes life easier. And I don’t spend hours fighting with my child when he disobeys my “off limits” warnings over and over again.
Once your baby has exceeded the maximum height and weight restrictions for the Infant Car Seat, you’ll need to buy yet another carseat. This is going to be your big ticket item. I typically am against endorsing a name-brand item, but I’ve found a few brands to be truly worth their value…Chicco for the Infant Carseat and Britax for the Convertible Carseat. Having been in an accident where our car was totaled and our children walked away without a scratch, I’ll sing Britax’s praises anyday. The carseat shown above is the carseat that we replaced our other two Britax carseats with after the accident (the insurance paid). Britax seats are expensive, there’s no doubt about that. But they’re worth it (in my opinion), especially if you have younger siblings to pass the carseat down to! Do you have to have a Britax seat? Absolutely not. Do I prefer them? Yes. With that being said, you’ll need to figure out which convertible carseat is best for your family.
I love our exersaucer. I bought it at a consignment sale right after Big Brother was born and it has been one of my favorite baby items. The reason? Because you can put your (mobile) baby into it, knowing that they can’t go anywhere. Of course I’m not suggesting you put your kid in it for hours on end, but for 15 minutes here and there while cooking dinner, it is priceless. Plus, it is entertaining for the wee one. :)
Want to know a secret that I’ve learned about babies??? They don’t really play with toys very much in the first 18 months of their life. A rattle here and a book there is about as much as you need for the first year or so. They’d rather interact with people or play with “real” stuff like remotes, pots and pans, etc. But around their first birthday, you’ll want to start encouraging your child to use blocks for cognitive and fine motor development. Your doctor might even ask you at checkups how many small blocks your child can stack anywhere from 18-24 months. I would suggest getting a set of these softer blocks that they can stack first and then getting smaller wooden blocks.
That’s my short list! What is your Mommy Must Have for 6-18 months?