I realized that while my kids were busy outfitting their house for their first baby, that I, too, would want to get ready for our first grandchild. Reasoning that if you make visiting your house or cottage with the baby easy, your kids will want to visit more often. As it has been 30 years since there was a baby in this house, I knew that my must have list must need updating. So I called my friends who had recently had their first grandkids. Fortunately, their collective advice has proven stellar and cost conscious so here’s the combined wisdom of the Omas, Nonas, Bubbys and Grandmas I know. My granddaughter is now 18 months and we’ve been well equipped.
Sleeping arrangements: Crib or playard?
I was googling cribs like crazy for both the house and cottage and after consulting with two seasoned recent grandmothers, decided on a sturdy playard instead. The advantage is that you can pack it up and put it in a closet when it is not in use. We bought the very stable 4Mom’s Breeze and we use it at the cottage in the summer and at our home in the winter. The baby has no trouble falling asleep in it and it will work for at least two years, or until she can sleep in a bed. Pack and play is the easiest way to go.
The best high chair at the best value is from Ikea. The ANTILOP High chair with removable tray fits in any décor, is easy to clean and can be had for under $20. We bought three (home, cottage and Aunt’s) and could not be happier. The safety straps work great. On the rare occasion that one of the three is not available, the kids pull theirs apart and put it in the trunk. You don’t even need to get a travel high chair as this one comes apart so easily.
My daughter-in-law who has her black belt in baby shopping, brought me a plastic bib with a front pocket that cleans perfectly and easy to use and clean sippy cup. For some reason, our granddaughter never used a bottle so the sippy cup has been great for water. She does know how to “cheers” with this cup, though. These are all I have needed for the first year and a half.
My sister-in-law Kim has the best visiting baby toy system. She has two large dollar store storage containers and puts all of the age appropriate toys in each bin. I use a large wicker basket at the cottage that I put in the living room on the coffee table lower shelf. When our granddaughter comes over she goes straight to “her” toy basket and in it I have heaped all of her books (many are handed down from other children) toys, dolls and stuffies. You would be surprised how many of your friends would be happy to hand down their grandchildren’s toys as they get older.
I wanted to buy a stand up toy that my granddaughter could use at our place. My daughter thought a kitchen too gender specific, so I bought a V-Tech Magic Star Learning table. It was easy to assemble; all I had to do was put the legs on and it is bilingual. There are so many learning activities on this table and simple with a couple of batteries. When our little angel comes to visit, we say “where is your office” and she goes right to it.
Now that you’re equipped and have a safe and stimulating place for your grandbaby to visit, all you have to do is enjoy your new grandchild.