I can’t believe that Sophie’s birthday has come and gone, we’re even six months past that and in a brand new year! Like, how!? Parenthood is always an adventure and the only thing you can count on is to expect the unexpected. haha!
I’m back with another installation of Our Favorite Baby Products series to share the items that helped make the past six months of life with our toddler-baby (“taby”) easier.
If you missed our favorites from previous age groups, you can find them here:
0–3 Months // 3–6 Months // 6–9 Months // 9–12 Months
Still in a crib and we’re holding on as long as we can! 🙌🏼 APA says to keep your little one in a crib as close to 3 years old as possible and for our peace of mind we’re going to comply! Haha (the idea of Sophie being able to get out of bed and get into anything unsupervised gives me so much anxiety 🤣)
At 18 months we started to let Sophie sleep with her “cozy cozy” blanket and she’s been absolutely loving snuggling with it for naps and at night. We’re still putting her in a sleep sack for actual warmth, but starting to introduce the idea of a blanket in bed, which has been pretty cute.
We also spent nearly three weeks in New England for the holidays, which threw off Sophie’s sleep routine and then we came home and have been in the process of moving into a new home so both of those things have really disrupted her sleep. At this point it seems like sleep regressions are pretty common throughout childhood, but I wouldn’t say that they get any easier… you just have to power through and take each day at a time.
I’m not sure how I didn’t know these were a thing, but OMG they have been so clutch since Sophie has grown (along with her bladder size). Since Sophie sleeps an average of 10+ hrs overnight these diapers have really become necessary for us. Soph was waking up every morning totally soaked through her pajamas and sleep sack so we switched to overnight diapers for her last diaper of the night and then tried to cut back on the volume of liquids she was getting before bed — the combination seems to have helped! No more wet jammies!
There are so many of these Montessori standing towers available that I don’t really think that you can go wrong with whichever one you choose. It’s all about finding the design that suits your needs best. The towers are designed for (you guessed it!) toddlers to “help” parents in the kitchen when preparing meals (which I have heard can be helpful for getting little ones familiar with foods, therefore making them less picky eaters), for baking together or even doing other play activities!
We ended up going with the Little Big Playroom Sit & Stand Tower because it also converts into a little seat and table combo which gives Sophie her own little space for craft activities (and maybe even for snacks / meals as we eventually graduate from her high chair)! I got another Gathre mat to put underneath it when it’s unfolded into the table configuration to catch any spills and it’s been a great setup so far!
QUICK TODDLER MEAL IDEAS
Sophie has been eating solids for a while now and we’ve only continued with that (however, she currently doesn’t want to eat “mushy” things like applesauce, guacamole, and smoothies… haha). When we first started transitioning Sophie from formula to “real food” I was so intimidated — there were so many things that she couldn’t eat or that had to be prepared in a safe way that I was overwhelmed trying to come up with meals for her three times a day! I wouldn’t say that I have the healthiest eating habits even for myself (for example, sometimes I have something like apple slices with a glob of peanut butter for a meal) so making sure Sophie was getting three balanced dishes a day was a lot of new responsibility for someone who doesn’t do much cooking.
For my sanity, I started to create a system of “fall back” meals and keeping certain staples on hand in case whatever my husband and I are eating wasn’t baby-friendly (like salads). I am also not a master chef so I wanted options that would be quick and easy. Here are some of my favorite go-to finger food options:
(with or without a protein of your choosing)
I would totally keep smoothie / fruit pouches on hand if Sophie would eat them because they’re a super easy snack option, especially on-the-go! Maybe when Sophie gets a little older she’ll be interested in them and won’t be so “mush” averse.
These are just a few options to have in your fridge / pantry so that you don’t feel panicky about having to figure out a meal since you’ll always have at least a couple of options. My husband and I often share our meals with Sophie so she actually has a more diverse and balanced diet beyond just these suggestions, but the meal ideas that I mentioned have ingredients that are easy to keep on hand and because most of them are quick to make they work well in a pinch. Lastly, I love that most of these food items have fairly decent shelf lives so you actually have time to use them before they expire.
Additionally, I recommend having Once Upon A Farm meal pouches in the freezer which are incredibly helpful for those busy / generally exhausted days or for when you just haven’t had time to get to the grocery store. I wrote a full review here if you’d like a bit more detail on our experience!
If you’re looking for even more meal ideas, I found this article to be helpful and I really enjoy following these accounts for meal recipes and inspiration: @yummytoddlerfood, @solidstarts, @feedinglittles, @mytoddlerskitchen, @my.little.food.critic.
We phased out bottles (😭) and switched over to straw sippy cups only (these are our favorite no-spill sippies), but I know that Sophie also needs to learn to drink from an open cup. Until we moved we hadn’t been working on that skill and to be quite honest I haven’t been pushing it enough so Sophie hasn’t quite mastered it yet, but just like anything else I know it will come with time and practice.
We’ve really liked these training cups so far, but I’ve linked even more options that we’ve heard great things about!
Sophie is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of the beginning of October 2022 so we’re feeling a lot less stressed about taking her out in public. This was especially important to us because she can’t wear a mask yet. We know she’s going to get sick and can’t avoid that completely (there’s something to be said for boosting immunity by occasionally getting sick so that your body learns how to fight off illness!), but if we can prevent a severe reaction to a serious illness we’re going to do it.
That said, Sophie caught a cold at the end of October (we suspect during Halloween festivities) and having a humidifier in her room really seemed to help loosen up her congestion. I linked it along with our other favorite baby cold remedies in the widget below (snuggles not included 😉).
POTTY TRAINING PREP
Sophie is beginning to show a few signs of being ready for potty training so I’m trying to get ahead of this milestone by making sure that we’re prepared with both information and also with appropriate gear sooner than later. For Sophie’s privacy I won’t be elaborating on our actual experience beyond sharing general knowledge and product information, but I hope that sharing these resources and what products we used is helpful for your potty training journey!
Holy moly — toddlers are a curious and active bunch! And who knew there were so many dangerous things in a house!?! 😩 I have touched on the safety precautions we have taken in previous posts, but we have REALLY had to ramp things up because Sophie just wants to explore everything and find out how it all works. While I adore that curiosity, I do not appreciate the potential of hurting herself. Below are the items we’ve had to implement in our new house (in addition to anchoring all heavy furniture) to make sure that Sophie stays safe while being able to live [somewhat] free-range.
We bought even more of the outlet covers that we had for our first house.
I can confidently say that Cabinet Locks have probably been the most important safety precaution we’ve taken. That’s not to say that the other precautions aren’t important, but there are just soooo many cabinets in the house that provide the potential for mischief.
Door Knob Covers // Door Lever Lock for all doors to places she shouldn’t be going (like down the stairs into the garage) and Pinch Guards for frequently used doors (such as her bedroom and the playroom).
Door Key Pins, just in case Sophie somehow manages to lock herself in a room. The likelihood of this is pretty low, but I’d rather be prepared than scrambling to find a hair pin.
We’ve actually removed the knobs on our range to prevent Sophie from turning on our gas stovetop. We keep one knob handy (but secured) for when we want to use the stovetop and the rest are currently living in a basket on the top shelf of the pantry. That said, if our range didn’t have that capability, we would absolutely have installed Stove Knob Covers. Most stove knobs come off for safety reasons, but in case yours don’t or you’d simply rather not remove them, these are options worth considering!
We finally signed up for a Lovevery subscription and I can’t wait to share more about it. I have a full review in the works (which I will link here when it’s ready), but my quick summary is that we love it and can’t recommend it enough.
We recently purchased a sensory play table for Sophie and we love it so much, but I’ve also been heavily considering grabbing this sand table (that closes up into a little picnic table!) for Sophie to use in our outdoor patio space. Not only is it pretty, but we like that it can be used for both play and eating!
I put together a post rounding up Indoor Play Equipment for Inclement Weather because outdoor play isn’t always an option… we get a lot of rainy (and, unfortunately, smoky summer) days around here, so this has been a large part of our baby / toddler survival!
That said, there just isn’t a replacement for proper outdoor play — fresh air, sunshine (hopefully), getting to stretch their legs / move their bodies / get that pent-up energy out, and getting to explore the world around them! We have loved the ideas from the @1000HoursOutside movement and encourage you to check it out too.
REFERENCE / EDUCATION
Whoa — Sophie becoming a toddler has been a transition for all of us! Our sweet little baby is now aware of and navigating all of the big feelings she is having and as parents we are learning how to help her manage them (while still maintaining parental control). This kind of parenting isn’t how my husband and I grew up so we’re definitely learning as well… while simultaneously un-learning the methods used while we were growing up (No shame to our parents! They didn’t have the same information available to them and they did their best!).
I find that I save the advice from these sources all the time and generally enjoy following them for all things toddler! @BigLittleFeelings has been one of our favorite resources! But we also appreciate the guidance from @DrSiggie and from @TheMomPsychologist.
Just to reiterate the section above regarding toddler meal recipes and inspiration, I love to follow: @yummytoddlerfood, @solidstarts, @feedinglittles, @mytoddlerskitchen, @my.little.food.critic. I found this article to be helpful too!
I also bought Susie (of Busy Toddler)’s Playing Preschool Course because (1) it helps me come up with activities to do with Sophie when she is craving something new, and (2) because it’s literally preparing her for [eventually] going to preschool.
And, as always, WhatToExpect provides great insights for every stage of motherhood.
I still can’t believe that we’re moving soon! I’m extremely excited, but also overwhelmed with everything we have to do to make it happen (while juggling life with our little one!) and feeling a bit emotional about leaving our first home. I’m basically riding a hormonal rollercoaster lately. haha
I hope you’re having a great 2023 so far!
We’ve got this, friends.
Sending hugs —