Month: August 2019

Night Time Cloth Diapering Solutions

Night Time Cloth Diapering Solutions

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I love cloth diapers! You can read all about that here in my post about reasons to cloth diaper. One of the biggest challenges when cloth diapering is finding night time cloth diapering solutions.

During the day we change Little One’s diaper about every two hours. But at night, if he is sleeping, we are not waking him up! So with that being said, we have developed some methods to help cloth diapering at night. Here are some tips for making your night a little less stressful.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Check the Fit

If your Little One is experiencing leakage at night time, the first thing to do is check the fit. We have all of our night time diapers set to a size bigger then the day time diapers. The reason for this is my second tip…

Double stuff

Try double stuffing the diapers. We like to use two inserts of bamboo, one with the 4 pile and one of the 5 pile inserts. The smaller insert goes on top since it absorbs faster. We have tried triple stuffing but it just created to much bulk.

Change up the inserts

Some inserts absorb a larger amount at a faster rate than others. The selection out there includes bamboo, cotton, hemp and microfiber inserts. We personally use bamboo and they work just fine for us. But if you have a heavy wetter you may want to try cotton or hemp inserts. They are able to absorb more liquid. The microfiber inserts are able to absorb really fast but are not able to hold as much saturation.

Growth Spurts

So every once in a while Little One would be going through a growth spurt, which would cause the fit of the night time diapers to allow leakage. During these times I would try all the above tips…sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. In those times I just remind myself that it will be a short term phase. Normally it will resolve itself within two weeks.

Waterproof Mattress Pad

So if leaking happens, a waterproof mattress pad is a must! I definitely don’t want Little One to leak, but if he does I would like to be able to protect the mattress.

Change During the Night

If there is a transition period, changing diapers during the night could be a good option. This is especially true if your Little One is a heavy sleeper and you can change the diaper without him or her waking up. We were not blessed with a light sleeper, so this is not a possibility for us. When Little One was a newborn we were able to change him before feedings.

I hope these night time cloth diapering solutions will help you with your Little One. Let me know in the comments down below if you have any other tips or night time solutions!

Check out my post on Reasons To Cloth Diaper and my Cloth Diaper Routine.

Zero Waste Switch To Bar Shampoo

You all know by now that I’m all about reducing plastic waste in our home. One of the small but meaningful ways I have found to do this is switching to bar shampoo!

I made the switch last winter when I was at my wits end with my hair. At 6 months postpartum, I had lost my pregnancy hair and it was now falling out like crazy. I seriously didn’t know what to do. I even talked about it with my doctor and had some tests done. Fortunately, everything was normal. It can just be something that women go through during and after the pregnancy process…grrr!

Around that time I stumbled upon Chagrin Valley, the maker of a variety of natural personal care products, including shampoo bars. I was sold on the concept. I ditched the shampoo in the plastic packaging and haven’t looked back. The switch even had an impact on my postpartum hair problem and helped it make a comeback!

Picking The Shampoo

Chagrin Valley makes picking a shampoo easy for two reasons. The first is that you can do a search according to the specific issue you are having with your hair, as well as exclude products that you are allergic to (tree nuts free for me).

The second is that you can order sample sizes of all their shampoo products. I ordered 4 to start with and each one lasted me 6-8 weeks on medium length hair. The sample size gave me an opportunity to try them out and decide which one I liked the best. The different ingredients can have different effects on your hair so some trial and error is needed.

Making The Switch

When making the switch to shampoo bars there is a bit of an adjustment period. Everyone’s hair is different and will react differently. When first starting out you will want to do an apple cider rinse to help cleanse your hair of your previous shampoo. Chagrin Valley does sell rinses but it’s just an apple cider and water mix, which you can easily make yourself.

There are a couple of different styles to washing your hair when using a shampoo bar. Chagrin Valley’s website has a great help section that gives tips for different hair types. I found that rinsing my hair first, lathering my hands with the shampoo, then putting the lather in my hair from forehead to end works best for me. I also do an apple cider rinse every time because I found it works best with my fine hair.

Other Products

Chagrin Valley sells a bunch of other natural products, too. I recently started using their moisturizer and it is fabulous! While it’s not as zero waste as the shampoo bar, it comes in a glass container with a metal lid, which is acceptable.

You can find their products here on the Chagrin Valley website.

Chagrin Valley Moisturizer

Do think you could make the zero waste switch to bar shampoo? All of the options that Chagrin Valley provides makes it a really easy and seamless transition. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Next, check out my post on zero waste switch to felted soap here!

How To Find Stress-Free Kids Crafts

I have always loved crafting. As a kid I was doing projects literally every day! My mom had an in-home daycare and she did a fantastic job of facilitating fun craft projects focused on learning letters, science, animals, space, shapes, colors, the list goes on and on. I often reflect back on this time and now that I have my own Little One I think of how much work that must have been! Little One is not quite to the crafting stage yet and just thinking about it stresses me out a little bit. So in this post we explore a resource on how to find stress-free kids crafts.

That is why I was so happy to find Green Kid Crafts. They have taken the stress away from me having to figure out projects. They are a monthly subscription box that delivers age appropriate, education-focused, and Eco-friendly crafts right to your door step!

I don’t know about you but I am busy. Both my husband and I work, and between getting dinner ready, keeping the house semi clean, and trying to have quality time with Little One, it doesn’t leave much time for planning out craft projects.

Just so you know – read through to the end for a special offer!

**Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As a Green Kids Crafts associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you buy from them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart

The Contents

Green Kid Crafts offers both subscription packages or single purchase boxes for the kiddos. All the boxes contain 4-8 projects and are developed around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

The boxes range from ages 2 years to 10+ years. I wanted to try one even though Little One is still a bit young for the boxes. So I got one and did all the crafts myself…just kidding. But I did get one for my niece in the 10+ category and she loved it!

Why Green Kid Crafts

There are many subscription boxes out there, so why this one? I personally gravitated toward this box for a number of reasons:

First, they are very Eco-friendly, as I try to be with all my crafting. Green Kid Crafts is actually a carbon neutral company! There will be more on that below.

Second, there are multiple activities in each box. I have checked out some other subscription boxes, and while very cool they often offer one or two activities. Green Kid Crafts offer 4-8!

Third, every box focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math! The boxes are developed by child development experts, and you can click this link to read bios of the child development team. I think it is so important to know that the projects are thoughtfully created by a team of experts.

The Company

As my husband and I keep considering the types of consumers we want to be, it is really important that we know where we put our money. That’s why we support companies like Green Kid Crafts – they hold and implement so many of the values that my husband and I believe in, too.

Green Kid Crafts was started by a mom wanting to encourage learning, development and creativity in her own kids’ lives. Mom power! She is an environmental scientist committed to creating a product that has as little impact on the environment as possible. They also have a partnership with the CarbonFund, and, like I mentioned before, is a carbon neutral company.

They use 100% recycled materials for all of their packaging, as well as implement sustainability into the contents of their boxes.

Green Kid Crafts partners with One Tree Planted, and they plant one tree for every online order! Click below to find out more.

The Blog

The Green Kid Crafts website has a blog that is packed full of fun activities to do with your kiddos. You can easily do some projects at home by following their clear directions. So when you are wanting to plan projects, Green Kid Crafts makes it really easy. Just go check out their blog page and pick from all of the wonderful activities they have available.

Special Offer

For a limited time you can get 60% off your first STEAM box! By clicking this LINK here. I will also receive some credit when you use this LINK, so thank you in advance for helping keep Little Family on the Big Lake up and running.

Or you can click the Order Now button to check out Green Kid Crafts subscriptions boxes. And don’t forget to use the code SUMMER19 and receive 50% off your first order. I am not sure how long this sale is running.

But to get the 60% off use my special link!

See their site for full promo code details and terms and conditions.

I hope you like the Green Kid Crafts boxes as much as I do. Let me know if you got a subscription box and what you thought of it in the comments below!

Next, check out my post on how to make a felt vegetable garden.

Eco Friendly Rules to Live By

Eco Friendly Rule sot Live by

There is so much focus this day in age on the environment and becoming Eco friendly. But how exactly does one do that? While still learning about how to become more Eco friendly, my husband and I created our rules to live by to make our lives and home more Eco friendly.

All Products Must be Cruelty-Free

So this first one doesn’t have a direct correlation to more sustainable living but it is very important. Any product that comes into our home must be cruelty-free. There are so many reasons that cruelty-free is important. I could definitely go on a long rant, but I won’t at this time. But let’s list the top reason – no animals were made to suffer in the production of any of the products.

There is an indirect correlation to green living when purchasing cruelty-free products. Many of these products tend to be more Eco friendly just because they tend to use better natural ingredients.

I want to take a moment to note that it is really hard to find medications that are cruelty-free, but I wont stop looking. If we really need something for our health and well being we will use it, but we try to find a cruelty-free option if possible.

Thrift Or Garage Sale First

People are constantly cleaning out their homes and trying to find new homes for all of their stuff. I find the best deals at garage sales and thrift stores. I often search there first before I would consider purchasing something at a store. Reuse is a main principle of sustainable living because it isn’t contributing to the demand for new product.

Try DIY First

Try to make what you need before purchasing it ready made. This could be really complex like a piece of furniture to something simple like that pan of lasagna instead of the freezer section one. You develop skills as a craftsmen, as well as have a sense of pride in your creation!

Purchase Things That You Need

There is so much advertising out there trying to get you to purchase their products. It is really easy to just start buying random items. However, it is important to stop and think “Do I really need this?” In most cases, you don’t. While this is an Eco friendly rule it is also good for your budget.

Purchase Quality Over Quantity

When making a purchase, I often spend a little more on something I know is going to last over something that I will have to replace soon. So many things are designed cheap just to toss out later on. I try really hard to find things with long lifespans in order to reduce buying new again.

All Clothing Must be at Least 80% Cotton Or Other Natural Material

Have you ever heard of micro plastics? They are tiny pieces of plastic that have completely invaded our environment on every level. One of the main ways they enter our environment is from washing our plastic-based clothing, i.e. polyester. During the washing cycle, these materials shed tiny pieces of themselves and work their way into the air and water. By wearing clothing that is made from natural fibers, you will not be adding to the micro plastics via laundry.

Purchase The Plastic Free Alternative

There are so many plastic products out there, but there are a growing number of alternatives being put on the market. Instead of grabbing that plastic jar of pasta sauce, reach for the glass one. Instead of getting the plastic laundry bin, grab a wicker one. You might be surprised how many plastic alternatives there are out there. Try to reduce plastic when ever possible. Make simple swaps for things made with natural materials. That includes things made of wood, grasses, wicker, glass, and paper.

Grow It If You Can

While having a big garden is a dream of mine, it’s not a reality right now. But even growing my own herbs in the window sill can have a positive effect. A small action like this can reduce your plastic waste by not having to buy the fresh herbs from the grocery store or the dried herbs in the spice section. There is also all the energy that it takes to move the products to the store. By having it right at home you cut out all the transportation needed to get the product to its (usually far flung) destination.

Eco Friendly Rules to Live by
Walk/Bike Whenever You Can Instead Of Taking The Car

To cut down on emissions from the car, walk or bike whenever it’s possible. Public transportation is also a better option. Something that just breaks my heart every day is having to drive to work. I work just a couple of miles from my home and could easily bike, but I need my car for work so I have to bring it with. I wish I this wasn’t so. My husband drives 30 miles to work and we recently purchased him a new car that has a much higher MPG, so every little bit helps no matter your mode of transportation.

Say No To Single Use Items

Straws, plastic silverware, cling wrap, plastic bottles, produce bags, chip bags, the list goes on and on. It’s simple – say no to things that are used once and then thrown away!

VOTE

You have power in your vote! Make it known to your representatives that the environment is a priority. Support people who believe the same thing as you. Get out there and vote and encourage everyone you know to vote, too! There are many people who go out for the big elections (2020, for example) but voting on your more local positions are just as important. A perfect example of this is voting for city council members who would support and encourage green buildings and businesses in your town.

Hang Dry Clothes

Why turn on the dryer and use unneeded electricity or gas when you can hang dry clothing? Whether it’s outside or on a clothes line or racks inside, it is easy to air dry clothes. Now that we have our own home it is easy to have drying racks right there in the laundry room. Honestly, I have flashbacks to my college dorm room when my roommate and I shared a drying rack. It seemed like we always had it set up in a corner of our small shared room, but it worked well!

Use Renewable Energy Resources

Whenever possible, use renewable energy. An obvious way to do this is to have solar panels on or near your home. While great, they may not be feasible for every family. There are other ways to use solar, though. Try solar lights or investing in a solar garden through the electric company. Check out your community – you may be surprised what resources are out there.

Eco Friendly Rules to Live by
Reuse, Refuse, Recycle, Rot and Reduce

Know and use the five R’s. Reuse products, refuse single use items/plastics, recycle whatever you can, compost (rot) what you can (see my post about composting here), and reduce waste in whatever part of your lifestyle you can.

Make Your Own Cleaners

Instead of purchasing bottle after bottle of toxic cleaners, try making our own. They often work just as well, if not better, than the store bought products. They are also way cheaper.

So those are my Eco friendly rules to live by. My family and I are not perfect, but by following these guidelines it has helped us drastically reduce our waste and become more Eco conscious consumers and people.

What do you think of these Eco friendly rules to live by? Do have anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Eco Friendly Rules to Live By

Lutsen Fall Adventure

Lutsen Fall Adventure

I know it is still August, but fall is fast approaching the North Shore of Lake Superior (yay!). This area is gorgeous all year long, but fall is really when it shines. The trees are in the process of changing colors and are lit up in brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds. Things tend to slow down a bit, and there are less people visiting, which makes it the perfect time for a Lutsen fall adventure.

These are my top spots to take in along the amazing North Shore. This is the kind of list that would be different for everybody, so use this as a guide for more exploration!

Where to go

The small town of Lutsen is home to all season resorts and fun activities. In the summer it hosts hiking, canoeing, golfing, and alpine sliding, just to name a few. In the winter there are many different types of high quality cross country ski trails to traverse, as well as many ski and snowboarding runs spread out over several (small) mountains. There are also numerous resorts and restaurants open year round, as well.

Lutsen Mountains can be found 90 miles up the shore from Duluth, then a left off Hwy 61 up Ski Hill Road. On the way from Duluth you will pass through Two Harbors, Beaver Bay, Silver Bay and Tofte, among other small communities. Being a less than two-hour drive, this is an easy day trip from Duluth.

The Gondolas

Something you must do when visiting Lutsen Mountains is to take a trip in the gondolas up Moose Mountain. As someone who hates heights, I did find the thought of going up in the gondola a bit daunting. However, I found that during the ride up it was best for me to have my back to the cliff. Riding down was the opposite – it was best to be facing the cliff. What helped my anxiety the most was that the views were stunning. It really took my mind off the height. The gondolas are a really good size and can fit multiple people. Our group included myself, my husband and Little One in our hiking stroller.

Lutsen Fall Adventure
The Top of the Mountain

Upon departing off the gondolas at the top of Moose Mountain, the Summit Chalet has a restaurant and restrooms. The chalet has a delicious grill-style food service and has an amazing deck that looks out onto Lake Superior! 

There are also trails and awesome lookouts on top of the mountain to enjoy. Please note that we found that the stroller was very difficult to navigate in certain areas and we really would have been better off with a carrier back pack.

The Cost

The round trip gondola ride costs $24 per adult, children aged 6-15 is $16 (little ones 5 and under are free), and seniors 65+ are $20. I recommend checking the website, though, because of all the different passes and combos to choose from. I know that it can be a bit pricey for some adventures, but it really is worth it. There are ways to get to the top of the mountain (around 1000 feet above Lake Superior) via the Superior Hiking trail, so if hiking up mountains is your thing, give that a try instead!

You can find more information on their website https://www.lutsen.com/summer/summit-express-gondola/

There so many amazing places to witness the amazing fall views on the shores of Lake Superior. Generally speaking, the Lutsen Mountain experience is one of my favorite attractions along the North Shore. Have you been to Lutsen? Share your experience in the comments below!

Check out my post about Gooseberry Falls here!

Cloth Diaper Routine

Cloth Diaper Routine

There are so many questions when it comes to cloth diapering and a cloth diaper routine. Having cloth diapered for over a year now, I think my husband and I have worked out a pretty good system. So for the new parents out there, I thought I would share it for any of you thinking about setting up your cloth diapering station.

I included links for all the products that I love down below.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart.

The Set Up

So first things first: the set up. We currently have 32 cloth diapers. I have a combination of Alva Baby, Nora Nursery, Anma Baby, Bumgenius, and Mama Koala brands. We also use bamboo and charcoal bamboo inserts.

I have a diaper changing pad of the top of Little One’s dresser, which is secured. On the right side of the dresser I keep a laundry hamper. On the left side I keep a diaper bin with a lid, lined with a large wet bag. Next to that I have a normal lidded trash can and an extra plastic container to hold dirty diapers that need rinsing. On the top drawer of the dresser I keep the diapers, cloth wipes, and creams/lotions. We also keep a spray bottle containing water handy for the cloth wipes when the situation gets…poopy.

The Routine

When Little One was brand new we went through at least 12 diapers a day. Now that he is bigger we go through anywhere between 6-10 diapers in a day. Even though we go through less diapers now we still wash every two to three days.

We keep all diapers ready to go with the inserts in them and folded in half. Once the diaper is used we take out the insert and place both the insert and diaper in the pail with the wet bag.

Once we have reached two days and roughly half the diapers used we will wash them.

To wash the diaper, we first put the diapers in the machine by dumping the wet bag (including the wet bag itself) into the washer. So need to touch any diapers! We first put the diapers through a rinse cycle with no detergent . After the rinse cycle, we do a regular cycle with soap (we use the unscented soap from Costco). I want to mention here that I have tried a couple plant-based laundry soaps, but they didn’t clean effectively and left the diapers with a smell. Also of note, we do an extra hot rinse every 4-6 weeks after the normal cycles just to give the diapers a more thorough cleaning.

After washing, we separate the laundry and the inserts and wipes go into the dryer on medium heat. The covers move to a drying rack in Little One’s room. We found it was easier to dry the diapers in his room – just in case we ran out we could make a new one quickly.

Once everything is dry we assemble the diapers and put them back into the drawer. We often assemble diapers when Little One is playing on the floor, and often he tries to “help” by taking and throwing them on the floor!

Cloth Diaper Routine
The Poop

So the poop…we have to deal with the poop. When we find we have a messy diaper to deal with, the first thing we do is wet 2-4 wipes. Clean up your Little One, grab a fresh diaper, and toss the dirty diaper into the plastic bin next to the diaper pail. Remove the insert and place in the diaper bin. Place the lid back on and finish changing the diaper.

To clean the diaper, we dunk the diaper in the toilet to clean it off. Many people who cloth diaper use a sprayer to clean off the diapers, but I find that this method works for us well enough. Much of the time the #2 is solid and it just pops off. No biggie!

I will note that until little ones reach the age that they start solid food, the diapers don’t need to be cleaned in the toilet. They can go straight into the diaper pail.

My Special Cleaner

Naturally, sometimes the diapers will stain after so much exposure to poop. I have a special cleaner that I use for just this purpose. I have been wanting to do a post on it, but honestly we haven’t had a really stained diaper in quite a while…knock on wood!

My cleaner is simple – just a spray bottle with water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Spray this on the diaper and lay it in the sun for a couple of hours and, like magic, the stain disappears!

Cloth Diaper Routine

So that is our cloth diaper routine! To me it seems pretty easy and now second nature. At this point, it’s been ingrained into our system just like any other errand we do around the house.

Let me know what you think of the cloth diaper routine, and if you have any tips or questions. I would love to know if you cloth diaper and what your routine is! If you haven’t already, check out my reasons to try cloth diapering here.

Pact Apparel Review

Pact Apparel Review

It’s time for another product review! I have recently learned about Pact and have ordered my first clothing items from them. So in this post I thought I”d review Pact apparel in general, what I purchased, and the process.

I wanted to try Pact because they use 100% organic cotton and are fair trade factory certified. My husband and I have been making the switch to strictly purchasing things that are made with natural fibers and supporting companies that share in similar goals.

Read on and learn about my experience and observations!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains links to Pact. I am not currently an affiliate of Pact. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart

Variety

Pact has a great variety! It has clothing for not only women, but men and children, as well. Their style tends to be a bit more simple, classic, and minimalist, which is the type of clothes I prefer. I like to keep it simple. Pact also has tops, bottoms, and undergarments available. Considering all this, there is really something for everyone.

Pact also has linens, although I haven’t checked them out yet. I am excited to in the future when/if the need arises!

Cost

While I could probably find some better deals on cheaper clothes somewhere else, quality matters, and that is why I shop at Pact. They have a great quality product and their prices are not outrageous. I recently purchased a 2-pack of leggings for $40, which is decent (then again, it helped they were on sale!)

Pact also frequently has promo codes available in addition to sales.

Shipping

When I was checking out with my first purchase, there was an Eco shipping option available. It was so neat to see this, and of course I selected it. My order arrived within two weeks and it came in a 100% recyclable paper package. This was great, but the products inside the bag were still wrapped in plastic.

pact review
Comfort

I ordered leggings and they are so comfy! They have been great for both lounging around the house and for walking. The leggings are a bit long for me…but I am short so that was to be expected.

I would definitely recommend checking out Pact because they make a comfortable and affordable product in a sustainable way. You can click this link to check out their awesome selection. I hope you enjoyed my Pact apparel review and please let me know if you have gotten anything from this great company and what you thought of it!

What To Compost

We love composting, but it has definitely taken some trial and error to figure it out. One of the biggest challenges was learning what to compost.

You would be surprised how many non food related items can and should be composted. Check out our master list of composting items below.

Produce Products

Food scraps are what most people think of when the topic of composting comes up. Food scraps are referred to as the greens which are nitrogen-rich materials. They decompose quicker when cut up into small pieces.

  • Rinds of fruit
  • Pits and seeds (small)
  • Produce scraps
  • Peals
  • Green clippings (example tops of carrots)
what to compost
Animal Products
  • Egg shells
what to compost
Food Products
  • Ground coffee
  • Tea bags
  • Nuts
Household Products
  • Coffee filters
  • Paper
Yard Waste

The browns are carbon-rich materials that consist mainly of dried yard waste, such as leaves and grass clippings. In general there should be a ratio of 25-30 browns to 1 of the greens.

  • Grass clippings
  • Dried leaves
  • Dried weeds
  • Sawdust
  • Excess dirt
  • Dried pine needles
  • Natural fibers
  • Dried flowers
What to compost
Things to Avoid
  • Dairy products
  • Meat and bones
  • Fruit stickers
  • Hard pits (avocado pits, for example)
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Animal excrement
  • Oils

I hope that helps with what to compost in your bin! Let me know how your composting adventures go or if you have any questions.

Check out my post on how to make the most of composting.

6 Surprising Items You Need For Baby

6 Surprising items you need for baby

There are so many lists of recommended baby items out there. Honestly, some are better than others and some are full of things that you don’t really need. The following list is 6 surprising items you need for baby.. These are things I realized would’ve come in handy when Little One arrived so allow me to share…

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart.

Laundry Basket

The first item on our list of 6 surprising items you need for baby is extra laundry baskets. I recommend at least one, but the more the better. Somehow these tiny little bundles create so much laundry! You may have the best laundry system in the world but when that bundle arrives that system may very well go out the window.

We have plastic laundry baskets at home right now, but once these wear out I want to switch to wicker baskets. Mainly I like the more natural material of these baskets. I have made the decision to always try to get more Eco friendly materials. But if you already have something that works, use that to exhaustion instead of purchasing something new right away.

Cooler

I purchased two coolers when I went back to work after maternity leave. One was used to bring with me in my pumping bag and the other to send with Little One to day care. I needed something to put his bottles in to keep them cool on the drive. I purchased a small one (unfortunately it’s no longer available) for my pumping bag and this one for day care from Thirty-One.

This one or this one are also great coolers. I really like the small coolers for bottles because they are easy to fit into a bag and, for me, they fit the perfect number of bottles.

Mini Clip on Fan

This mini fan has come in handy so many times. We live in northern Minnesota but it does still get hot here. We use it in our vehicle, and with the rear facing car seat the air conditioner vents don’t cool off the car seat very well. So we invested in this fan which helps keeps Little One cool in his car seat during those hot summer days.

Hand Vacuum

Kids are messy…that’s not really news. So having a tool for quick clean up is so useful and convenient. A hand vacuum will turn into your best friend to help tackle those frequent messes!

Sheets

If you don’t already have an extra set or two of sheets for your own bed, now is the time to get them. At some point, your sweet angel baby will spit up, pee on, or have a blow out on your sheets. It’s gross but it happens, and it’s best to be prepared. We had just upgraded to a king bed before Little One arrived and didn’t get an extra set of sheets right away. We quickly found out that we needed an extra set for accidents.

So make sure you have an extra set ready to go so you are not scrambling like us. Learn from our mistakes – it’ll be worth it.

Bag Clips

I know – bag clips? But stay with me…they are so useful when walking in the stroller. We have been in many situations where we are walking with Little One and it is windy and the blankets are flying all over the place. The bag clips solve this problem! Clip the blankets down to the sides to keep Little One warm and the blankets now stay put.

We have also used the clips and light muslin blankets to help keep the sun out of baby’s eyes. I should take a minute to note that a blanket should not be draped all the way over a stroller or car seat when it is hot out. This creates a bit of an oven in the stroller and the baby is at risk of overheating.

To solve this we used a lightweight muslin blanket and made sure it was always clipped a certain way so there was still air flow into the stroller. We would stop and re-position the muslin as needed and checked Little One’s body temp to make sure he was not overheating.

Bonus Item

Wet Bag

Since a wet bag is technically a baby-related item, I’ll throw it in as a bonus because it is so useful. If you cloth diaper you will most likely be all over this one. However, if you aren’t planning on cloth diapering, these wet bags are still really useful. For example, they are great for sticking in the diaper bag and have handy when dirty clothes need to be changed (the polyester material helps reduce the smell). So if you have clothes that are messy from a blow out or anything else, slip the clothes in there and the mess will be contained. They are also great for wet clothes after the beach or pool!

I hope that you found my list of 6 surprising items you need for baby. Are there any other items that are non-baby related that you’ve found useful with your baby? Let me know in the comments below!