My Favorite Baby Products (6-8 Months)

8 months! With summer ending and back to school, 8 months snook up reaaaaal quick! The last two months were full of so many firsts, it’s hard to keep track some days.

Luckily, we’ve done a decent job at rotating her toys to always keep things a little fresh. Although I did just order her a few new things that I have a feeling will be making my next guide of favorite things, so stay tuned! As always, most of these items are things we use daily and have made all the difference for us!

Our Favorites

  • Honeybear Cups– Recommended by pretty much any SLP or OT you may come across, these Honey Bear Cups aid in transition from bottle and straw drinking. We transitioned from the sippy cup to this at around 7 months and what a difference! Technically, the straw helps in developing tongue, cheek and lip muscles that will continue to help in future drinking and eating skills! This pack was great because it came with 3 cups and multiple straws!
  • High Chair-You probably already know how obsessed I am with this high chair alternative. We already have enough clunky baby stuff all over the house. The last thing I wanted was a bulky high chair. We also often eat at our kitchen counter or are usually standing around it, so for us this was a no brainer! It’s so easy to put together and clean up. We even took it with us to our house in North Carolina!
  • Play Mat– As soon as Sprinkle became mobile, it was time to get her a softer surface for our tiled floors. I can’t tell you how many times she’s bumped her head, oops. I love that you can pick and choose how many tiles you use and it comes with a great plastic carrying case. We also took this mat with us to North Carolina, which is where Sprinkle started crawling!
  • Play Pen– I think it was a matter of 2 days after we got home that we ordered a play pen for this baby on the loose. It’s probably the one item I hate the absolute most because it now dominates our living room, but such is this season of life, huh?!
  • Suction Toy Holder– This was a Kinactive Kid recommendation and I can’t say enough great things about it. This toy holder suctions to *some* surfaces. Unfortunately, not our wood dining room table, but that’s ok because she loves playing with the toy holder strings too!
  • Herobility Bottles– When I was pregnant, I ordered the Babylist bottle kit that provides 4 different bottles for baby to try! I used to be a die hard fan of the nano bottles. They even made a prior list, but with all the issues we’ve had with starting to do bottle feeds, the nano wasn’t cutting it. I brought out this bottle and what a difference! They’re not super easy to find in person, but I was able to order a few from their website. I also think they’re so cute!
  • Lev Baby PJ’s-I’ve been obsessed with Lev Baby for quite some time now! I love her original prints, but the fabric is just BEYOND! Because they use bamboo for the fabric, it makes everything so soft and so breathable, which is amazing for Miami weather. They actually just released some new Halloween prints and I already ordered Sprinkle a little PJ! Added bonus, use my code LIVELOVEFINDS15 for a discount!
  • Zoe Travel Stroller While I love my Nuna stroller and still use daily, it takes up SO much room in our trunk. Since we were driving to North Carolina, we needed something much smaller and compact. The Zoe Travel stroller came highly recommended by some mama friends I super trust! They were right! It is SO light, you can open and close it up with one hand and folds up teeny tiny! For the price point, you can’t beat!
  • Babytrend Jogger– To be fair, I haven’t spent too much time with this stroller, BUT if you’re a casual “runner” like me, for $98, this is a great jogger stroller! Very basic, but again, I’m a casual “runner” and this won’t be our all the time stroller! Thats my Nuna!

Sprinkle Update

Before updating this, I took a look at my last update. I loved reading that we were starting to give her actual pieces of food. Now we can’t get Sprinkle away from the food! We recently took her out of state on her first road trip and after 14 hours in a car, we got to North Carolina and she started crawling! Little babe is ALL over the place and has her hands in everything! Seeing her little personality coming through more and more everyday is such a treat!

Weaning

With summer coming to an end, we decided to finish it off at my family’s cabin in North Carolina. We typically go every year with Thomas and Joel’s family. Last year we didn’t get to visit with Covid, but this year we did…and we had a special visitor along for the ride!

To say I was nervous about Annabelle’s first big trip would be the understatement of the century. I was most nervous about the 14 hour drive we would have to the house and back of course. I shouldn’t have stressed that though, because she rocked it! What I wasn’t prepared for was her complete refusal to breastfeed.

Leading up to the trip I had noticed that breastfeeding Annabelle wasn’t coming as easy as it once had. Just to be clear, breastfeeding in general is NOT easy. Annabelle was becoming more and more aware of her surroundings everyday and therefore becoming more and more distracted. Her nursing times were shorter, but I could also tell my supply wasn’t what it once was. Leading up to our trip, I occasionally found myself supplementing a nursing session with milk I had previously pumped.

On our way up, I could tell Annabelle was distracted while nursing, but who could blame her, everything was SO new. I figured in a day or two once she got into a groove, things would get back to “normal”. Heads up, I only brought about 15 oz of frozen milk with me in case things went south on our drive up! While I was hoping she’d get into a groove, she didn’t. Each session became more difficult, to the point that she was refusing my breast. This had never happened before. While I tried my best not to panic, my heart broke. Was she ready to wean? Was I not making enough for her? Was she missing our element and routines as much as I was? Not sure, but off to Walmart I went to buy formula and a manual hand pump because mama was starting to fill up.

My plan- pump as much as possible so that I could give her bottles of breast milk AND formula. Before heading to North Carolina we had tried a formula, solo, at home and Annabelle absolutely hated it. I’m talking she spit it out every single time I tried offering. This time around I picked a different formula and mixed it with some breast milk.

This was better, but Annabelle wasn’t thrilled. The only way she would down that bottle was when she was completely starved and didn’t really have a choice. This totally threw off our feeding schedules and had me all worried about her night sleep. Luckily, she would sleep through the night, but was waking up around 5:30 daily. This wasn’t good for my brain capacity in the slightest.

You guys know how much I love my routine and things to be planned. I decided not to plan much for this trip and let Joel take the lead. That will never happen again, hah! So between the lack of routine, lack of planning, and lack of nursing, mama struggled and struggled hard.

Don’t let the faces above fool you. This was our last full day in North Carolina and I was absolutely miserable. I was physically and mentally drained. To the point that while we were at lunch, I became extremely light headed and needed to head back to the cabin, rest and let out a good cry.

After some research and chatting with a few mama friends, I realized weaning was taking its physical and emotional toll on me. I didn’t have the luxury of gradually weaning last week and my body felt it.

I wanted to bring light to this because when I started breastfeeding I immersed myself in reading almost everything I could and also worked with a lactation consultant. I wanted to be as prepared as possible, but what no one prepares you for is weaning.

Weaning looks different for everyone, there’s no one way to do it and sometimes you’re in situations like I was where you don’t have a choice. But the more I looked for information, especially on the plethora of breastfeeding social media accounts, the more disappointed I became when I just wasn’t finding information.

Quite frankly, the emotional toll it took on me in just a few short days was scary. Talking about it helped, it helped being reassured that this was normal, but still challenging.

I’m lucky that once I got home, Annabelle was less distracted and more into nursing. But I also did have to come to terms with the fact that my supply wasn’t what it used to be and if I wanted Sprinkle Baby to sleep through the night, she was going to need a bottle.

So, I’ve started the weaning process. We’re tapping into the frozen milk and my emotions are running high. I wanted to breastfeed until she was one and then start tapping into my frozen milk, but we’re on a different ride now! Side note, I can’t tell you how many ounces of milk I’ve wasted thinking she wants more and then she refuses. Why do I bring it up, because wasting any drop of pumped milk stabs me right in the heart. Countless hours and late nights pumping to build up a freezer stash while baby girl was fast asleep. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, whoever said “don’t cry over spilt milk” has clearly never pumped before.

While I’m sad this part of the ride is coming to an end, I’m grateful that we’re back home and this isn’t something we need to stop cold turkey. I was lucky in that I wasn’t getting engorged, but I think at this point I would have preferred that over the mental load this all brought on. Being home and nursing again, within two days I noticed such a shift in my mood and overall how I felt physically.

Just gotta keep thinking, I’ve been lucky to have all this time with you my Sprinkle Baby!

Screen Time Behavior Chart

Such a hot topic right?! Screen time can be a source of frustration, relief, entertainment, anxiety, and the list goes on. I know for us, the impacts of Covid really changed the way we managed screen time in our home.

Up until before Covid, Thomas didn’t have a tablet, computer, laptop, etc. His source of screen time at our house was watching TV. Thomas is also never allowed access to a phone or screen while having dinner at home or out, thankfully this one hasn’t changed!

Once Covid hit, the amount of time we spent at home drastically changed and so did our sources of entertainment. Thomas got his first laptop, now has a desk with a computer, and the biggest change, he could now play Minecraft on Joel’s X-Box. YAY…not LOL. Over the last year and a half we’ve tried different ways of handling screen time such as allowing free access, timed access, taking away screen time for problem behaviors, giving extra time for the behaviors we want to see more of, etc. But lately it felt like we were taking away more time than giving. For those interested, Thomas was losing screen time for talking back.

We needed to revamp things, lucky (or maybe unlucky haha) Thomas’s stepmom (ME) is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. This definitely is not his first rodeo with a behavior chart. So off to work I went. I knew what we needed was to create a system in which Thomas was completing things independently, without us nagging (which led to the talking back) and earning the things he wanted through a little hard work. In turn, he gets lots of behavior specific verbal praise, and everyone is a little happier!

This past weekend we introduced the new chart to Thomas and I can’t begin to say what a success it was, there were a few kinks, but let’s go over below!

In short, the chart shows a “menu of tasks” that once Thomas completes a task he earns a designated amount of screen time for that task. Thomas has two choices, save up the screen time to use all at one time, or break up his time throughout the day.

I love that this addresses a few different things. First and foremost, motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic in that he’s working for these video games. I always point out to parents of clients, we ALL work for things that motivate us. You wouldn’t go to work if you were only getting paid $2 a week, but say you’re getting paid $5k a week, you may be a bit more motivated to go, right?! This leads to intrinsic because Thomas has always had a deep desire to please, the look on his face when he had completed his tasks around, especially some new ones, he was so excited to tell us and help! He was also excited because he saw how happy we were! The goal of ALL behavior charts should be that the child is completing desired tasks and therefore creating POSITIVE experiences while getting access to the desired outcome therefore increasing the likelihood that this behavior will happen again in the future and later on with no chart needed! Second, this chart helps with math and time management. All weekend I could see Thomas calculating what tasks he could do to earn the time and “budgeting” that time.

I shared this chart on my Instagram stories over the weekend and to say it was HOT is an understatement! I had so many requests for it so today, I’m sharing it with you!

How to use this chart:

  1. Edit list to your needs, you can choose to include child in this process by allowing them to suggest tasks they can do around the house. In the downloadable file, everything you should edit is in red!
  2. Review with the chart with your child, numerous times, daily, so everyone is on the same page!
  3. I like to laminate so you can write on daily with a dry erase marker!
  4. Keep track of the time! Laminating the chart and using a dry erase marker to cross of tasks and write down times is SUPER helpful! This was the kink we experienced day 1. Thank goodness Thomas never lies (almost to a fault) and keeps EXCELLENT track of time!
  5. Hang list in an eye level, easy place to see for everyone!

Behavior Chart Download

Be sure to download ASAP as it won’t be a freebie for too long!

My Favorite Baby Products (4-6 Months)

It feels like just yesterday I was doing my post on our favorite products from months two to four and now were at six months?! HOW?! We’ll be celebrating this girl all week! Can you imagine her first birthday?! I can because I’m already planning, haha!

Annabelle has changed so much in these last two months and as a result so have some of our favorite things. A few of these products I really swear by because I’ve seen how they’ve helped her to reach milestones like sitting independently.

Our Favorites

  • Skip Hop Fox– I actually bought this for Annabelle when she was around 3 months, but over the course of the last month this has become one of her favorite toys. She always gets a smile on her face and she loves all the different textures and things to grab!
  • Fisher Price Sit Me Up-This “container” was SO incredibly helpful for introducing solids and helping Sprinkle to start sitting on her own. The chair is super portable and comes in so many different color options! It’s also super easy to wash and clean!
  • Haaka Teether– I am obsessed with this food feeder/teether and so is Sprinkle! You can put fruits, frozen fruits, and her favorite on those hard teething days is frozen cubes of breast milk! The teether comes with 3 different size feeders and an easy little carrying case! We use this everyday!
  • Leap Frog Learning Table– You already know how much I love following Kinactive Kids on instagram! Her tips are SO helpful and this table was one of them! The best is that the legs are removable, so we only use 2, to prop it up on the side which helps so much with sitting play or tummy time play!
  • Tissue Sensory Play Box– Truth be told, I couldn’t bring myself to get the Lovevery subscription. Instead I’ve taken a look at what’s in the boxes and have found my own similar versions! While this isn’t the exact tissue sensory box we have, (we have such a cute Eric Carle one, but it’s sold out!) Annabelle in the last week or so has really started to LOVE taking everything out and opening up the box!
  • Nanit Breathing Bands– As soon as Annabelle got more comfortable rolling over during her sleep, baby girl got a little TOO comfortable. This girl likes to straight up sleep flat on her face. If you have the Nanit monitor this is SO helpful if you have some anxiety about tummy sleeping like I’ve had! This band wraps around her tummy, on the outside of her PJ’s and the app tracks her breathing and alerts you if for any reason she stops. They do also offer a sleep sack that has the same feature, but she’s already out of her sleep sack so we went this route!
  • Aden + Anais Muslin Blankets– I can’t tell you how many swaddle blankets we have that we haven’t used, until now! Sprinkle hated being swaddled, but she LOVES these muslin blankets for nap time. She literally stuffs them in her mouth and falls asleep in about 5 minutes flat. She only uses them for on the go naps since I’m still not 100% comfortable with her having anything in the crib. But we love the Aden + Anais blankets and their burp cloths have always been our favorites too! Not to mention all the beautiful prints!
  • Moms on Call– If you’ve been around for a while, you know that Mom’s on Call has been my bible since week 2. Fun fact it was the only book I read in regards to pregnancy and preparing for a newborn. Their materials are so easy to read and helped me SO much in developing a routine and good sleep habits for Annabelle. This girl has been sleeping through the night, with a few hiccups since about 3.5-4 months! Our naps we sometimes struggle with still, BUT the great thing is that for the most part she’s never TOO miserable from lack of sleep.
  • I Love You Through and Through– If you’re a Miami local and a mom with littles, I highly encourage you to sign up for the Children’s Trust Book Club. Each month, from birth until 5 years old, they will send your child a free book! We’ve gotten a few great ones so far, but this one has taken the cake for me. No lie, I cried the first time I read it to her! So cute and Annabelle loves it too!

Sprinkle Update

Today we had our 6 month check up and developmentally she is doing fantastic! We’ve also gotten the all clear to try any foods, any textures, whatever she likes! Minus salt and empty calorie foods! We started solids at 4 months on the day and to date Sprinkle has tried so many different things, likes most things except for Quinoa. Mix anything with her favorite, carrots, and you’re good to go! We’ve started giving her some actual pieces of food for her to explore. So far she loves toast, but for most other things she’d prefer for Mama to feed her. Can’t say I blame her! It’s so fun to see all the new things she’s doing, like sitting by herself, looking for Cogsy when I tell her to look for him and opening her mouth when I say “ahh” for her vitamin D drops! The interaction aspect is SO fun!

Time is a Thief

Time is a thief. This line. This line is one I’ve thought of maybe every single day of this infant phase we’re in. Next week, we’ll have a 6 month old and it’s been a thought that’s been hard to stomach!

What’s hard is how quickly everything changes! Sure, watching Thomas grow up gave me a bit of insight to my his thief we call time, but as they grow older, the changes aren’t so quick. There are days I literally tell myself, don’t rush her to the next milestone, these days won’t be here forever. But are there days that feel extra long and extra hard that we want nothing more than to skip over a leap or two. Absolutely. I’ll say it loud and maybe not so proud, FU time.

It still feels like yesterday we were bringing our little Sprinkle home in her sushi onesie. What I also think about lately is that my original plan was to go back to work after just under 6 months. Almost a month after giving birth I had a talk with Joel and knew there was no way I could go back to work and give up being with Annabelle everyday. I miss working, I miss the day to day interaction with adults, and working with my kiddos, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to have this time and opportunity to be with her and get to see every moment. It’s also why I photograph and post almost everything. I don’t want to miss a thing! But pretty sure that transition won’t be any easier six months from now either.

I’ve thought about this concept of time in relation to childhood because this isn’t to say I haven’t felt the same way about Thomas growing up. But I missed Thomas as an infant. Infancy feels like its on hyperdrive compared to toddler years! There’s so many milestones in the first year, so many stepping stones to the bigger things later one. I always say, no stage is harder than another, they’re all so different with so many pros and cons to each. Although I am super partial to ages 3-4!

But here we are, almost 6 months later, out of the newborn phase and with a full on delicious baby. Almost 6 months and Annabelle sits by herself, is starting to eat food (already a foodie), sleeps through the night, looks for Cogs when you ask her, is not afraid to use her voice when needed and puts on the biggest smile when she sees her Papa and big brother!

To think that in this same amount of time I’ll have a one year old is daunting, also makes my eyes water every damn time. Stay tuned, soon next week I’ll be sharing my favorite products 4-6 months and before you know it we’ll be planning Sprinkle’s first birthday!

My Favorite Baby Products (2-4 Months)

Dutifully reporting that the endless research on baby products doesn’t stop after baby is born. BUT I am hoping to make the process a little easier for you by sharing our favorite products every few months! Birth-2 months was all about basics and necessities. But Sprinkle is changing, growing and doing something new everyday, Mama has to keep her entertained! The last two months have been all about tummy time and play and our favorite products reflect that!

Our Favorites

  • Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags– I can’t tell you what a lifesaver these have been. Are they great for the environment, no. Am I thrilled about that, no. But at 3 AM when I’m done pumping, unfortunatley, that is the last thing on my mind. I’ve already gone through 3 boxes of these!
  • Ergo Baby Omni 360 Carrier-When Annabelle was smaller, I loved the solly carrier, especially to be at home, but out and about the ergo carrier is AMAZING! Her weight is distributed perfectly and she never feels like too heavy of a load, at least not yet!
  • Tubby Todd All Over Ointment– We’re huge fans of Tubby Todd products! I was a little skeptical of this all over ointment, but I tried it on myself first after I got a small burn. The burn was completely healed in almost 2 days! I was SHOCKED! I’ve used this for little scratches Annabelle has given herself and it has even worked on the baby acne she occasionally gets! With this link, you’ll get 10% off your order!
  • Sloth Soft Rattle– I bought this toy as part of Annabelle’s Easter basket, but she has absolutely loved it! She’s a big fan on chewing on soft things so she’ll hold onto the teething side while mouthing the sloth, hah! But this toy comes with us everywhere we go becaues it’s definitely one of her favorites and one she’ll spend a little more time with!
  • Tummy Time Water Mat-It is no surprise that Annabelle is not the biggest fan of tummy time. We’ve tried so many different things and this water mat has definitely helped! She loves looking at all the different under sea images! If you don’t follow Kinactive_Kids on IG, you need to immediately! This is also a toy she recommends for tummy time!
  • Boppy Pillow-I never used this as a breastfeeding pillow, but instead it is what helped Annabelle the most with tummy time. Little by little we’ve been able to fade it out, but on days that she’s having a little more trouble we still use it! Kinactive_Kids also had a great tip to use this for early sitting by placing it in front of baby as baby sits against you! Annabelle loves this!
  • Nano Bottles– In my first favorite product post, I raved about the nano bottles, Nano actually reached out to gift us this bottle and she immediately took to it! It’s been our favorite bottle to use! I’ve also found that it’s the most accurate at measuring milk. I often use this to measure milk when I’m filling my storage bags at 3 am!
  • Large Exercise Ball– Another tummy time hack brought to you by Kinactive_Kids! She gives a great tutorial on how to safely and effectively use an exercise ball for a super engaging and productive tummy time! This was a game changer for us!
  • Baby Einstein Musical Toy– I swear this toy is crack for babies. One of my awesome mama friends, here’s looking at you Meredith, recommended this and could never thank her enough! This has been helpful during tummy time, while out and about, or during Annabelle’s fussier moments!
  • Otteroo– If you’ve seen my stories, Annabelle LOVES this thing. I will admit, the first few uses are pretty scary and it doesn’t look very comfy, but she loves floating around in the tub! She also lets off so much energy using this! They offer two different sizes, so just make sure you’re buying the correct one for your babe!

Sprinkle Update

Last week we had our four month check up with the pediatrician and she is continuing to do great! We got the OK to start solids and we immediately went home to give that a shot! So far we’ve introduced rice cereal, old fashioned oats, whole grain oatmeal cereal, and pears. Tomorrow we’ll be introducing squash! Sprinkle is sleeping through the night, but if you checked out yesterday’s stories, our naps have been MEH. But Mama is doing better at letting that go and making the best of up time!