A conversation with Brandy Falcone, of Raleigh, North Carolina, mom of daughter Steele, fourteen months:
Laura: What is the best apparatus (stroller, carrier, bouncy seat, swing) that you received for your newborn? Basically, what did you use most in those first months and can you describe why you or your little one liked it?
Brandy: I had a C-section, so I couldn’t go up and down my stairs to change diapers and deal with nap time. The best thing I had was a Graco bassinet/pack and play. It had a bassinet that fit over the pack and play—with a changing table as well. We kept it in our living room until she was about six months old. Although we did make her nap in her crib, it was a great place to put her down if I needed to use the restroom or cook dinner. We always knew it was safe and she loved it. I think it made her feel comfortable and safe. We also traveled with it and it was great because she was used to it and didn’t mind sleeping in it. We still use the pack and play when we travel. She thinks it’s her second bed.
Laura: What bottle and pumping system do you use? Does it work well? Would you recommend it to others?
Brandy: We switched Steele from Avent to Dr. Browns bottles after we had a really hard time with gas. She took to them and loved them. We didn’t necessarily like cleaning them, but they definitely helped with her gas problem. She used them until she was almost one.
Laura: Is your stroller easy to fold and sturdy? What kind is it and would you recommend it to others?
Brandy: My stroller is good, but it’s not light and it’s not easy to fold at all. I have a Graco Ultralight with the infant seat. If I had to do it all over I would buy a Bugaboo stroller that allows you to flip the handle around so that you can push the baby without worrying about having the sun in her eyes. It also comes with a bassinet. I would also buy the Britax Boulevard car seat immediately and not worry about the baby carrier (if you buy the Bugaboo you will have something to take them into the store with anyway). The Boulevard is rated for 0 to 45 pounds, so you never have to buy another seat. Steele loves it, too. It’s got lots of padding and it has True Side Impact Protection (TSIP).
Laura: If you could buy one educational/developmental toy for a baby six to twelve months, what would it be?
Brandy: Steele loved the Baby Einstein lift the flap books when she was six+ months old. She really liked opening the flaps to see what was behind them. She has always loved books, though. Not really a toy person.
Laura: Did you prefer a sling or a front carrier like a bjorn? Why?
Brandy: I loved my front carrier. I bought a cheaper version of the Baby Bjorn (I think it was Nicole Miller) that worked just fine. I kept Steele in it while fixing dinner and doing some light house work. I also used it in the grocery store and at the mall. She really liked being up high like everyone else.