OK, I’ve got a hot cup of coffee, a baby sleeping soundly in his cot, and probably about 30 minutes to write this post – if I’m lucky. So, I’m just going to skip my usual lengthy preamble, and get right to telling you about our essential baby items for Max at 5-6 months, starting off with…
A high chair
Seriously, though: it’s been over a month now, and I STILL can’t get over the fact that he’s sitting in a CHAIR, people. A CHAIR. STOP GROWING SO FAST, BABY, I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS.
So, we actually hadn’t intended to buy a high chair at 5 months, which means we gave this one literally no thought at all: we just got a phone call from my mum one day saying she was in IKEA, and their Antilop high chair was on sale for, like, £9, or something similarly ridiculous, and did we want one? Honestly, that chair is only £14 full-price, so I’m not sure why I got quite so excited about this, but I guess my sale-shopping instinct must have kicked in or something, because the next thing I knew, I was yelling, “GO! GO! GET TWO! GET TO THE REGISTER BEFORE THEY CHANGE THEIR MIND!”
So, they did get two (One of their house and one for hours: calm down, we’re not planning another Max…), and they also got the little padded insert that you can buy for it, but which isn’t on the website, for some reason.
As I said, we hadn’t started weaning yet, so high chairs weren’t even on our radar at that point, but honestly, it was a complete game-changer. Max was already able to sit up with a bit of support by then (He’s now sitting up completely unaided: STOP GROWING, BABY!), and, even before we started weaning, we found the high chair super-handy, just as a safe place for us to put him down for a few minutes, and let him play with his toys on the tray, while we enjoyed a rare few minutes hands-free. Because it’s so lightweight, it’s really easy to just pick it up and move it around the ground floor, and we’ve also taken it out into the garden quite a few times, again, just as a safe place to let him play, so we don’t have to hold him every second of the day.
(And, of course, once we started weaning, it was even MORE handy, it goes without saying…)
Obviously this is the only chair we’ve used, other than ones in restaurants, etc (Which quite often turn out to be IKEA Antilops, anyway…), so I’ve nothing to compare it to, but, I dunno, I’m kind of guessing a high chair is a high chair, really? (Unless, of course, it’s this one, which is the one I ACTUALLY wanted, but which Terry vetoed, because he was all, “No, Amber, we’re not spending £129 on a high chair, when we can get one for a tenner from IKEA.” And he wouldn’t even take my impassioned plea that the other one would totally go better with our kitchen chairs into consideration! Seriously, where’s the “blowing smoke out of my nose” emoji when you need it?)
So, we got the high chair, and once we had the high chair, we all, “WINTER IS COMING!” Except, by “winter”, we meant, “weaning”, and by “weaning”, we meant, “a huge amount of mess.” So we also stocked up on these:
(Also pictured: Matchstick Monkey, Sophie le Giraffe, Nuby Wacky Teether and The Activity Panel from Hell, which tells your baby a story about a fox who falls down a well, and then tricks a passing donkey into coming down to help him, only to jump on the donkey’s back and escape. “Always remember,” intones the creepy voice of the fox, as he makes his escape, “Never trust the advice of a man in difficulty!” So, great life lesson there, I guess? Like, “Never try to help someone in need, Max, because they’re probably just a cunning trickster waiting to trap you down a well!” As for the donkey, meanwhile, well, I’m going to have assume things didn’t end well for him there, huh? GOD.)
(It also has a little plastic flower which, when pulled, says, “Please! Pick me! A little flower!” On the one hand, we only have to repeat this phrase once to Max – in an American accent, natch – and he’s in hysterics, but on the other hand, I now fall asleep muttering, “Please! Pick me! A little flower! Please! Pick me! A little flower! Please! Pick me! A little flower!” so, yeah, there’s that.)
(WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO BE TALKING ABOUT HERE? WAS IT BIBS? I BET IT WAS BIBS, WASN’T IT? BECAUSE IT ALWAYS IS WITH US NOW, ISN’T IT?”)
As you’ll know if you’ve been reading previous instalment of Max’s Must-Haves, Max now has a bib collection to rival Khloe Kardashian’s shoe collection. Honestly, if we buy any more, I’m going to have to just hand over my dressing room to them, but, the fact is, we WILL buy more, because we live in constant hope that the NEXT bib we buy will be the one to solve all of our spit-up problems, and reduce the laundry backlog from 3 loads a day to maybe just two.
So far, these plastic Baby Bjorn numbers have been the ones that have come closest to doing that. They’re designed for babies who are eating solids, but we started using them before that, and actually found them a useful weapon in the War Against Reflux, because, basically, instead of the milk he spits up just soaking through his clothes, it now gathers in the lip of the bib, like a little milk lake or something. Yeah, it’s totally gross, and I absolutely HATE these bibs because of it, but, well, we’re 6 months into parenthood now, so we’re pretty much past caring about gross (Last week, Max started to make one of his characteristic, “I’m about to throw-up” sounds, and Terry just casually reached out one hand and caught the vomit in it. It was oddly beautiful.), and I can’t deny, these have definitely kept Max much drier than anything else we’ve tried. Once we started weaning, they also saved many an item of clothing from the bin, because, let me tell you, food spit-up is NOT like milk spit-up. No, it is not. Which brings me to my next recommendation for this particular stage of life…
I’m not specifically recommending this particular brand of stain remover, you understand – I mean, it’s not like I’ve conducted an exhaustive study of the stuff or anything – it’s just that this was the one we had on hand, and, well, it works. Most of the time, anyway. We HAVE lost a few sleepsuits (RIP, faithful soldiers…) to the scourge of the spit-up stain, but, for the most part, as long as I remember to spray this on the stains before they go in the wash, we’re good. From the scenes of carnage I’ve witnessed so far at the dinner table, I suspect there will be a LOT of stain remover in our near future. Ahem.
This one probably deserves a longer post (And a better image – whoops!) than I have time to write today, but it’s now three full days since I started writing this one, and that feels more like three years in New Parent Time, so…
We bought a video monitor before Max was even born, but it has a cute habit of just dropping the connection to my phone whenever it feels like it, so, now that Max is napping in his cot during the day, we also got this. This monitor actually comes with a mattress sensor which is designed to detect the baby’s every movement, but it’s so good at detecting sound that we haven’t felt the need to use that yet (And I’m not sure how well it would work with his Sleepyhead, anyway). This guy kicks in the second – and I do mean the SPLIT SECOND – Max makes even the slightest sound, so it’s been providing me with a lot of reassurance that he’s OK, although, I have to admit, I’d much prefer to have the video version than just the audio one. We do still use a video monitor, too (And replaced the one that kept dropping the connection, obviously…), but I’m not going to recommend it here, purely because it’s another one that connects to my phone, rather than to a separate monitor. I’d initially thought that would be the best solution for us, because I’m never without my phone, but, in retrospect, no, Amber, because that means I CAN’T ACTUALLY USE MY PHONE while the baby’s asleep, and seriously, what’s was I even THINKING?
There is a version of this monitor that comes with video rather than just audio: I haven’t tried it, so obviously take this recommendation with a giant pinch of salt, but, if I were able to go back in time and do things differently, I suspect that’s the one I’d have bought instead. (I’d also have bought this dress before it sold out in my size. This has absolutely nothing to do with essential baby items, obviously, it’s just something I’m planning to complain about for the rest of my life, so I might as well get started, no?)