Our son has reached the grand old age of 9 months old! I think it is safe to say that he has been a really easy going and adaptable baby these past 3 months. He has changed a lot; he is able to sit, crawl and stand. He eats 3 meals a day (as well as breast milk). He has three teeth. He has started to say ‘Mum’ and ‘Dada’. He has been on lots of hikes in Switzerland and Austria. He has been swimming everyday. He has been socialising more with other babies since lockdown ended. He has a great sense of humour. It has been a really great 3 months, and his personality has really come out; happy, sociable, stubborn, mischievous and curious.
Anyway, with all of these changes, we have bought more products to help us along the way. Maybe some of these suggestions will be useful for you and your little one!
Unfortunately with coronavirus we haven’t been able to go to any baby classes, but we have been making the most of our garden, the local parks and swimming pools with other baby friends.
What is it with babies and wanting to play with anything BUT their toys?! Having said that, there have been some toys that have kept him entertained for hours on end!
Moving toys – cars, balls, pull and push toys, etc. The more small parts that move, like wheels and cogs, the more interesting for the baby!
Baby board books where he can turn the pages himself.
Peek-a-boo – all day, everyday – It. Never. Grows. Old. Except it does drive you a bit loopy, but thankfully the smiles and laughter make you keep going!
Play gym mat – a soft area for him to crawl, roll, sit and play.
Swings at the park – He LOVES going on the baby swings in the park. He loves being pushed and laughs away for ages. However, the 9 months + tantrums have started – when we need to leave the park the tears flow! Thankfully he is easily distracted at this age so they are short lived!
Once a baby turns 6 months old, they can swim in any swimming pool – they are not so affected by the temperature. (Before this, they really need 34 degree heated pools.) Jack has been swimming in outdoor pools and in lakes. He loves the water and splashing around! He also likes to play in a paddling pool with other baby friends.
We bought this Intex snail paddling pool because it has a shade, which has been great!
Swimming nappies are also really important – especially in public pools! We love the Huggies Little Swimmers.
Baby swimming float to float around in bigger pools.
When swimming outdoors in the sun, it is important that the baby’s skin is fully protected – we bought an all in one bathing suit from John Lewis which has been great. But, remember to buy it a few sizes up because they can be tight (especially over a nappy) and difficult to put on. Jack has been wearing a 12-18 month size for this summer (while he is 6-10 months old) and he is an average sized baby.
A swim hat that covers their neck as well is also a must – although Jack has recently learnt how to pull it off, so he needs a lot of distractions to make him forget it is there!
We have been lucky that Jack loves food and will eat pretty much anything that we give him! As this weaning process has gone on we have learnt a few things that have made our lives easier.
Purchase a good book about weaning, with tips and recipe ideas. There is so much information on the internet and it is often conflicting so it is good to have a reference point that you can trust and rely on. My best friend bought us ‘Ella’s Kitchen: the First Foods Book’ which has been excellent and has answered all of my questions and provides lots of ideas and tips for the first 6 months of weaning and beyond! I have also heard good things about Joe Wick’s ‘Wean in 15’ book.
Bibs – we have used a variety of bibs, but we have found it easiest to use these small ‘dribble bibs’ because they are handy for when you are out and about and you can just chuck them in the wash after each meal. We have about 20 of them from gifts, etc and we use them all the time!
Blender – make sure you have a blender for your baby’s first food – gradually as they grow the food can be mashed with a fork and then eventually they can have bigger chunks. A blender is always useful though! You can purchase a blender that steams the food first and makes good portion sizes for babies, like this Philips Avent 2 in 1 baby food steam cooker and blender. Although a regular blender also does the job! Just be wary that babies hate the sound of a blender!
Small food containers – when I have made a batch of food it is good to put it into individual food containers so you can just grab one out of the fridge whenever you need it. The smallest ikea food containers have been great for these portion sizes.
Store cupboard/freezer essentials – it is always good to have bags of frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer so that you always have some available to quickly blend up some healthy food for your little one. Tuna in spring water is also a good store cupboard item to add protein to their meals. Another key item for us has been jars of Organix baby food – these have been super useful for days out and holidays. From 6 months old, babies can have snacks like Smelties or rice cakes, which helps them to practise chewing on something. Always follow the advice on the packaging and use your common sense to assess if your baby is ready for these. After 8 months, Jack has been enjoying eating a whole banana by himself (under our supervison) – this is a great snack – zero preparation, healthy and you can buy them everywhere!
Tommee Tippee Free Flow First Cup – Jack has never had formula milk or really drunk from a bottle (except when he was tiny and had some expressed milk) so he is not too interested in using a bottle to drink water. Water is not essential if you are still regularly feeding your baby, but during the hot summer in Geneva, Jack can sip some water from his sippy cup with some help from us.
Hauck Runner – we decided to buy an all terrain pushchair. This is by no means an essential purchase, but we found that we still wanted to go hiking and Jack will snooze in a pushchair nicely (as opposed to the hiking packpack, where it is far too interesting looking around to nap) so we can go out for the day with no problems and no over-tired, grumpy baby. This pushchair is quite bulky, but it folds up to go in most cars and it is fairly light weight, with decent storage underneath. It is also not too pricey!
Mountain Buggy Nano – why do we need yet another pushchair?! It’s a good question. I guess we don’t really. But, nevertheless we decided that we would like a small and lightweight pushchair that fits in overhead lockers. In Geneva you see a lot of YoYo pushchairs around. I have heard great things about these, but they are quite expensive for what they are. So we referred to Wirecutter and their ‘best travel strollers‘. (FYI this website is great if you want unbiased reviews of a whole range of products). We ended up getting their ‘top budget pick’ and we have been pleased with the purchase. It does what it says on the tin and we use it for trips abroad. It also takes up a lot less space and our son is comfortable sitting and sleeping in it! I really like how light it is and how easy it is to manoeuvre – I now use it all the time in the city and when travelling.
Ergobaby – we love this baby carrier and we have used it from birth and we still use it regularly now! It is handy to put under the pushchair at all times – often when we arrive somewhere, we leave the pushchair in a restaurant or hotel while we go hiking with Jack strapped into the ergobaby.
Intex Beach Buddies Baby Pool – recently we went on holiday and stayed somewhere where there was no bath – so we purchased a small paddling pool and put it in the bottom of the shower so that our son could have his regular bath before bed each evening. He loved it and it was very small and convenient to pack.
Pushchair spiral – Jack loves having a walk around in his pushchair and looking at the world going by, but sometimes he likes to play with something on the go – this spiral of toys that goes around the pushchair has been really handy because it doesn’t fall out and it is interesting enough to keep him occupied for a while. You can also tie it onto a cot or a car seat handle to keep them entertained on long journeys!
Picnic blanket – during the summer we carry this picnic blanket around with us under the pushchair at all times – it is so useful – wherever we are, we can sit comfortably and Jack has space to crawl safely or play with his toys or eat his snacks. We use it at the beach, in the garden and for picnics all the time!
Toothbrush and toothpaste – as soon as those first teeth come through, make sure you have a baby toothbrush and toothpaste, and get brushing from that day onwards!
Antidry Wash – since Jack started to crawl, he gets dry skin where his clothes have rubbed. We put this wash oil in his bath to help soothe the red patches. It also makes bubbles in the bath which he loves and it doesn’t dry out his skin like regular soap. After a bath we moisturise his skin with Dexeryl – a vaseline based moisturiser that is kind on their skin.
Parasol – Ok, so this is more to do with the time of year and you will need it with a baby whatever age they are once the sun is out (if you have a sunny garden). Being a Brit, the guaranteed hot Swiss summer has always been a novelty for me and I love it! However, with a baby, it can make things more difficult – mainly because we are always searching for shade! This 3x3m umbrella has been great this summer for shade at all times of the day!
Plug covers – why are plug sockets so interesting to babies?! Nevertheless, they are – make sure you get some covers for them! The same goes for wires from lamps, the TV, etc. Keep them tied up and inaccessible to little hands and mouths!
Jack has recently learnt how to open doors, cupboards and drawers – which has inevitably led him to trapping his hands and fingers in them! You can buy multi-latches from Ikea to prevent this happening.