Simply Family

Life with a toddler- Beating toy boredom

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Beating toy boredom with a toddler

My simple swap method

Bonus** it cuts down on clutter too!

I know that I am not the only mom who has accumulated an over abundance of toys overflowing out of bins and shoved into corners.  Where did all of this stuff come from anyway??

However, despite the massive amounts of toys, my toddler seemed to be bored with almost every single one.  I was fed up with seeing all of the clutter, and I was not about to go buy more toys just to keep my child occupied.

That’s when I started to rotate my daughter’s toys.

I keep one basket full of small toys and one larger toy out.  The bin has things like shaker toys, plush toys, puzzles, and cars.  The larger toy is usually a ride on or walk behind toy.  EVERYTHING else gets put away in a closet or moved to our basement.

Then, when our toddler seems to be bored with her toys, we swap the toys.  I move her current bin of toys to the basement and bring a new bin of toys up.  It’s like Christmas morning everytime that we do it!  Her eyes get wide when she discovers that there are new toys out.

This method also helps us to get more creative with play.  It has taught us that we don’t always need toys out to have fun.  We sing, dance, play peakaboo, and get outside whenever we can.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for your little ones!

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Simply Family

What I used during my first 3 months at home with a newborn…and what didn’t I use

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10 Things that I used during my first 3 months at home with a newborn…and 5 things I didn’t.

Every baby is different, but these are the items that I feel like added the most (and least) value to my home in the early months with a baby.

*Disclosure- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on purchase.


Must haves:

1. Velco swaddles- If you have been preparing to bring home baby you have probably read that swaddling babies can help keep them feeling snug and secure.  You are probably also aware of all of the safe sleep recommendations (alone, on their back, in a crib), so this means no cozy blankets.  Velco swaddles solve both of these issues.  They make swaddling (arms in or out) super easy, and they also act as a wearable blanket.

This is a must have in my book, but don’t go overboard.  Get one (maybe two) in a small infant size…your baby will grow out of it so quickly.  My little one is about to turn 1 year old and she has graduated out of swaddles, but still sleeps in a sleep sack.

Halo SleepSack Swaddle

2. Boppy lounger-  This little pillow was a life saver.  It allowed me to have a soft, clean, supported place to set my newborn down wherever we were at.  It is not practical to have a bouncy seat or swing in every room of your house, but let’s face it, you are going to want that baby sitting right next to you at all times.  That includes places like the kitchen and the bathroom (or even when you travel to visit family for the day).  Just be sure not to put the pillow up on a high surface since even little babies can wiggle and roll.  Honestly, I plopped this pillow right on the floor in my kitchen when I was making lunches or in the bathroom while I snuck a quick shower.

3. Bassinet-  Like a lot of new moms, I was determined to do everything just right!  This included following safe sleep guidelines.  This encourages that baby share your room, but not your bed.  Room sharing is also nice in those early months when you are waking up 2-3 times through the night for feedings.

There are so many great bassinets on the market that you will be able to find one that fits your needs.  Again, don’t go overboard with cost.  If your baby is anything like mine, she will be outgrown the bassinet in just a few short months and graduate to a crib.

One of my big concerns with room sharing was that we have curious cats that also sleep in our room and love to cuddle close to people.  I searched until I found a safe bassinet that would prevent our animals from climbing in to be with the baby.

4. Baby Carrier–  I was the mom that wanted to be able to do things around the house, but also never set my child down.  A baby carrier was an absolute must.  I would give up all the other things on this list just for my baby carrier.  It made my life that easy, and still does.  I use the baby carrier as I did simply chores around the house.    I use the baby carrier to prevent tired arms as I soothe a fussy baby who wants to be held and walked around.  I use the baby carrier if we are going out in a crowded public place.

That’s right, I use my baby carrier instead of a big bulky over-loaded stroller.  We put everything that we need in a back pack that my husband carriers and I put the baby in her carrier.  It is so much easier to navigate crowds this way.  It also prevents strangers from coming up to her and touching her. Plus, now that she is 22+ pounds; I can consider it my work out for the day 😊

5. Car seat/ nursing cover- When our little one was a newborn, I used this anytime we were in public with her in her car seat (grocery shopping, docs office, etc).  You would be surprised how many strangers think it is okay to walk up and touch your baby’s toes or pinch their little cheeks.  I was not okay with this.  The car seat cover was a physical barrier.  People didn’t even try.  Plus, it helped keep the bright overhead lights in stores from shining right in her eyes, which meant she was more likely to enjoy a nice little slumber while we shopped.

6. Waterproof changing pad liners-  These were the perfect thing in my diaper bag and also baby care stations around the house.  Even when you are quick during diaper changes, messes still happen.  Putting one of these down before diaper changes makes it so that you don’t have to worry.  It also acts as a clean surface to plop the baby on for diaper changes no matter where you’re at.  We only have one actual changing table in the house and it is in the nursery at the top of the stairs.  I was not (and still don’t) going to walk up the stairs for every diaper change (thinking back though…maybe the baby weight would have come off quicker if I did….oh well!).  The water proof pads turned my living room rug or couch into a changing table instantly.

I also used these pads for our diaper free time during the day.  Take the diaper off and lay baby on the pad.  If she pees, which she will, just pop it in the wash.

**NOTE: I would do this right after cleaning out a poopy diaper, which meant less of a risk of poop without a diaper on.  I tried to give my little one some fresh air on her bum for at least a few minutes a day to help keep diaper rash away (she’s almost 1 and hasn’t had a rash yet!).  This gets a lot harder to do once baby is on the move, so enjoy the contained mess on a water proof pad while you can!

7. White noise machine (or some kind of noise/ music player)-  Our house is NOT quiet.  At first, that was not a problem.  Our little one could sleep through just about anything, but as she approached the 1-2 month mark, our sleep routine took a bit more work.  A white noise machine is something that we added in.  We used it mostly for night time sleep, but it was the perfect soothing sound to keep the baby asleep.

This is the one that we were given at our baby shower.  It was portable and held a nice long charge.  That meant we could easily take it with us when we needed to have nap time out of the house.

The next 3 ideas are must have if you are planning to breastfeed

8. Reusable nursing pads- When I started breast feeding, I was blessed (kind of a curse) with an oversupply.  I felt like I was leaking all of the time and constantly tossing my disposible pads and putting new on.  Plus, the sticky backing seems to stick to everything except the inside of your nursing bra.  *Mom fail alert–I even accidently shoved one of the disposible ones back into my bra after a sleep deprived nighttime feeding; only to find at the next feeding that the sticky side was adhered to my tender cracked nipple. OUCHHH. After that, I ordered a few reusable pads and I am glad that I did.  They have lasted me an entire year of breast feeding, and no more worrying about the sticky side getting stuck where it is not supposed to stick.

9. A supportive nursing bra (or two)-  Do this before you have your baby!  Chances are, your pre-pregnancy bras are already too small and uncomfortable.  Do your self a favor and head to your nearest maternity store (we have a Motherhood Maternity near us).  When you get there, let the ladies measure you for the best size and fit.  I started wearing my ‘nursing’ bras way before I went into labor because they were the only thing that fit me properly.

I know that there are lots of DIY hacks to make your own nursing bras, but to me, this one was worth the splurge.  Breastfeeding is hard enough at the beginning and you will have your boobs out 10-15 times a day depending on your baby.  Make things easier on yourself…get the bra!

10. Nursing pillow- A nursing pillow serves so many purposes.  First, they are a great support to help you get into a good nursing position without killing your back.  Second, they can be used as a place to prop baby for a rest.  It also works as a way to give your baby a whole new elevated view during tummy time.

Don’t bother!

1. Fancy baby body wash and lotions-  We did not use any of our ‘baby’ body washes and lotions.  Our baby had such sensitive skin (especially as a newborn).  Our peds doc suggested aquaphor and that is what we have been using.  We use aquaphor body wash and aquaphor protectant ointment.  The ointment works on dry patches, red eczema patches, and even as a diaper area protectant.

2. Lots of newborn diapers and outfits-  We spent 1-2 weeks in newborn sized diapers and less than a month in newborn clothing.  We spent a bit more time in size 1 diapers and 3 month sized clothing, but we quickly outgrew that as well.  Babies grow so fast at the beginning.  Our little one started to slow growth down around 6 months so feel free to stock up with 6 month and larger items and diapers.

  • For example- My little one is 11 months old and we have been in size 3 diapers for almost 4 months now.  We still have room to go until they are too small.

3. Special seats to help baby sit-  There is such a small time frame when these seats can be used.  You can’t use them when the baby is super little because they need to be able to support their head before placing them in these seats.  A month or so after babies gain good head control, they begin to work on sitting up independently.  Why waste the money.  Prop baby up with some pillows if you want to have them sit before they are big enough.  Just watch that your little one doesn’t slouch down into the pillows and block the mouth and nose.

4. Shoes- Your infant does not need shoes.  There are plenty of cute socks out there.  Plus socks are way cheaper than shoes.

  • My little one wore her first pair of shoes at 9.5 months old, before that we just used socks.  She had no need for shoes before this, and we actually could have waited for her first pair of shoes until closer to 11 months when she started walking around more outside (with help).  From what I have read, babies actually learn to walk better in bare feet.  So to us, we just use shoes when her feet need to be protected or warm- like when we go outside.

5. Toys- (at least not right away)  I was so worried when we brought our little one home that she would get bored if we didn’t have any toys.  Well, newborns don’t know what toys are, they can’t see very well, and absoultely everything is new to them.  Simply showing baby a soft pillow or a cold water bottle will be just as stimulating as baby toys.  Young babies see high contrast patterns in black, white, and red best.  Find some high contrast objects and make them work as toys.