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Little by Little: Gear for the Early Years

The first three years of your baby’s life are full of changes. Baby gets bigger every day, and sometimes its hard to keep up with what gear Baby needs. So, we’ve put together a list of our favorite gear essentials for years one, two, and three to help make things a little easier. You can find all these essentials on zulily today. 

YEAR 1

Summer Infant Dark Stain Bentwood Bassinet 

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This beautiful bassinet boasts multi-speed swaying motion and can play calming melodies and sounds. Its adjustable canopy will protect your little one from the light so they can drift off to dream land. 

Wifi Baby 3 Monitor & Nanny Cam by WIFIBABY 

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You can use the WiFi Baby 3 to check in on your little one from anywhere. The monitor features a free app for iPhones or iPads with true-color real time video and a unique MyWiFiBaby url that can be accessed from anywhere. The camera offers infrared night vision and 32 GB of memory. 

gDiapers Glacier Blue gPants

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gPants are a reusable diaper cover designed to pair with a disposable insert. Soft, colorful cotton combines with gentle stretch for an always comfortable, breathable and trim fit. 

Badger Basket Cherry Evolve Convertible High Chair 

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This convertible high chair easily and conveniently grows alongside little ones as they transition from high chair to booster chair. It requires no tools to adjust the seat and footrest positions, features a removable feeding tray, and has a five-point safety harness to help keep your little one secure. 

YEAR 2 

Summer Infant tan Custom Fit Gate 

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As your little ones start to crawl and walk, you’ll want to make sure they stay safe. This tan custom fit gate makes for the perfect protector from unsafe areas of the house.  

Clek Heart Shades Foonf Convertible Car Seat 

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Designed for three-across seating and to safely grow with kids, this convertible car seat starts rear-facing for littler ones and then flips to face forward. Its REACT safety system offers a deep headrest, an anti-rebound bar to help improve stability, and foam layers to absorb energy. An added bonus…its absolutely adorable! 

Bumpkins Hot Pink Circles Sleeved Bib 

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Featuring a fun print and a unique sleeved design for extra coverage, this bright basic protects Baby’s outfit from stray showers of strained peas or any other mealtime mess. With stretchy elastic cuffs, convenient ties in back and a soft, and waterproof build, it’s an attractive and durable way to stay stain-free.

Chewy Tubes Knobby Q Teething Ring 

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Fun to chew and easy on the gums, this easily gripped teething ring stimulates and soothes inflammation using safe, FDA-approved materials. Knobby Qs encourage early mouthing experiences that support the development of the muscles critical for mature speech production. 

YEAR 3

Onaroo Teach me Time Talking Alarm Clock and Night Light

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Teach tiny tots how to tell time with this all-in-one talking alarm clock and night light. Featuring an interactive teaching game and three LCD display modes, this clever clock glows green to let little ones know when to wake and includes interchangeable color bezels to match any room!

Evenflo Red Hayden Amp Booster Seat

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This booster seat boasts an adorable design, side cup holders, and arm rests. It ensures that every family road trip be completed in style…it’s a travel essential! 

Prince Lionheart City & Farm Reversible Playmat

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This two sided play mat’s soft foamy feel is gentle on your toddler’s elbows and knees, and its vivid scenery is perfect for hours of imaginative play. This is a great addition to any play room. 

Potty MD Potty Monkey

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Potty training will be anything but intimidating when this funny monkey’s hanging around. The Potty Monkey set comes with a timer, adults training books, a children’s storybook with encouraging narratives, and a plush monkey with his very own potty. 

the newbie: Car Seats

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


We don’t drive often because we live in a city, but when we do take road trips— to the “big” grocery store, upstate for the weekend, over to Grandma’s house—I would love for it to be a good experience for 17-month-old June.

So far, that’s not happening. We’ve had her seat facing backwards, as recommended, since her first drive. Lately, though, she’s bored and restricted just facing the car seat and a mirror—she wants more action. Because she’s now at the weight where we can face her forward, we did that last weekend for a two- hour drive to see friends.

At first, June loved it! She watched everything go by, asking her favorite question (“What’s that?!”) with glee and wonder. Then she fell asleep for an hour. Bliss. But the last half hour of the drive was… well, bad. She woke up, looked around for five minutes, and proceeded to vomit four times in 60 seconds.

We found a rest stop, used approximately 100 paper towels to clean her up and get her changed, and then kept the windows down and a bag at the ready while finishing our drive.

So… carsickness and the facing-forward change. Has anyone else dealt with this one? Any tips or tricks to offer?

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the newbie: A New Babysitter

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


One issue I regularly have is that I have to wait for my husband to get home before I can head out. By the time he gets home, I’m meeting friends for dinner at 8pm or later… and that’s just too close to my bedtime for my liking!

So recently I met a college student who lives nearby and babysits for some of our neighbors. She’s lovely, very sweet and seems good with kids.

But Miss June is not having it.

My 17-month-old cries, screams and holds so tightly to my legs that the babysitter and I both have to work to pry her off. It’s very hard to leave and I find myself worrying about her until my husband gets home and texts me that all is well.

I know that she’s likely in a big ‘separation anxiety’ phase, and maybe it’s just a matter of getting her used to the new babysitter (she has a regular daytime sitter whom she takes to easily). I guess I’d just like some reassurance that it’s okay to leave her now and then with a babysitter. And that this phase will pass.

Is it? Will it? Any tips for making the transition easier?

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the newbie: Winter-Wear (or Not to Wear!)

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


I have a very serious question: How the heck do you get winter gear to stay on a 16-month-old?

Maintaining possession of June’s mittens and hat when we go for a stroll is tougher than keeping track of Barbie’s tiny shoe sets. She flings them off, dropping them on the sidewalk while gleefully shouting “All done!” when clearly we are still walking and it is (very cold outside.

So far I have managed not to lose any pieces, but she’s often without hat or gloves outside, and she definitely gets cold. Even the snap-on hats don’t work. They make her crazy and she eventually gets them off after some tugging.

I’ve thought about disciplining her and forcing her to wear gloves and hat, though that involves near constant attention and struggling from me as we walk. Should just let her be cold and figure out that these items are there to keep her comfortable?

Any advice or magic solutions?

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the newbie: Food Drama

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


Baby June has been a good eater since she started solids, mostly chomping away happily at whatever we put on her tray. Berries, pasta, eggs with spinach… even Chicken Tikka Masala has gone down with ease.

Until now.

Suddenly she’s refusing lots of dishes, seemingly at random. One day at lunch she’ll try a bite of macaroni and then thrown the rest of the bowl on the floor. The next night at dinner, she’ll ignore everything but her water and maybe a piece of banana.

I’m not sure if it’s her taste buds developing or stubbornness or what… but it’s vexing. I try to keep my calm Mom-face on while I worry and (honestly) get annoyed on the inside.

Our doctor has told us not to offer her a buffet of choices, but try to stick to what we’ve given her and move along to the next snacktime or mealtime if she refuses to eat. I’ve mostly done that, but it’s hard not to offer her options when she’s fussy.

Any other parents have a way to handle this that they can share?

Shopping for My Girl

By Allison Slater Tate, who can also be found blogging at allisonslatertate.com/


When my first baby was a boy, my husband breathed a sigh of relief – not because he didn’t want a girl, but because he was under the (somewhat mistaken) assumption that I would spend less money buying clothes for a baby boy than I would for a baby girl.

I swear I’m not a completely shallow person, but I love me some shopping. I can’t help it. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink… much. But shopping is cathartic for me. I try to window shop, or the Internet equivalent, most of the time. I try to be practical. But I admit it: I do love shopping. Since having kids, I love shopping for my kids. My poor, frugal husband has had to accept this fact.

As we proceeded to have baby boy number two and then baby boy number three, he believed he was largely in the clear. As much as I did and still do enjoy shopping for my boys, I was forced to pare down my shopping habit and embrace the concept of hand-me- downs. I mean, I’m not completely ridiculous. Ahem.

Tracy Hougham PhotographyBut then it happened: our last baby, born in April 2012, was a girl. Lucy.

Game on.

My husband’s saving grace is that this baby is my fourth and not my first. I am now at a point in my life when I appreciate less STUFF – less laundry, less clothing, fewer toys. I have six mouths to feed now. We are staring down four college tuitions. I’m ready to be pickier about my shopping habit. I still enjoy shopping just as much, but now I am ready to find things I love and can afford.

[My girl Lucy photographed here by Tracy Hougham Photography. Find more here: tracyhougham.com]

I was familiar with zulily before I had Lucy. I bought a few gifts – I love the personalized plates, for instance – and I had bought the boys several super cute T shirts that stood out from the pack of usual boy clothes fare (stripes, stripes, and a side of stripes). But after Lucy was born, zulily became my playground.

For years, I had pressed my nose against the store windows, both virtual and real, staring longingly at the dresses, the tights, the bows, the little ruffled bottoms and the bloomers and the tulle skirts that only belonged to the girl side of the aisle. I dreamed about tiny ballerinas, fairy gardens, and mary janes. I memorized the names of the girl brands I loved – Baby Nay, Baby Lulu, Jelly the Pug, Trumpette, Mud Pie, Kissy Kissy.

The past six months, I have been a kid in a candy store. I have the sweetest baby girl, and I have had so much fun snuggling her and learning who she is. But I cannot deny that I have also had a ball dressing her. Thanks to zulily, I can afford to buy her some of the special things I used to covet: Hair bows. Smocked bishop dresses. Ruffled floral rompers. Lucy now has quite an impressive closet, stocked in a variety of sizes and colors and styles. I adore every single piece.

I still love baby boy clothes, and I find dressing my boys both a challenge and an adventure. I still hunt for the perfect witty T shirt, sweet corduroys, and fun hoodies for them. But now I have the baby girl I had started to believe I would never have… and the tiny hair bows and the ruffled bloomers never get boring. Neither does the precious baby they adorn.

Allison Profile


Find me on Twitter, @AllisonTate, and Facebook!

Read my latest posts at allisonslatertate.com

the newbie: Got Games?

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


It’s been raining a lot this fall, and now that June is 14 months old, I’m having to get more sophisticated in my entertainment efforts. She enjoys setting Pandora to “Call Me Maybe” radio and having dance parties in front of the mirror. She also loves tearing up a roll of toilet paper, piece by piece. I know I probably should take it away from her but it seems a small price to pay for half an hour of peace on an afternoon when we can’t get out to the park.

We also have a floor full of toys, animal flash cards and a music table, naturally. Usually a giant cardboard box is more appealing than any of that. The day when the diaper shipment comes is like a trip to Disney World—that box is huge!

But sometimes I feel like the court jester—trying everything to make the Queen laugh and laugh, and fearing her inevitable turn to the Cranky Dark Side.

I’d love to hear what other moms do to make their little ones happy on an indoor day.

the newbie: Ditching the Bottle

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


At the 12-month visit our doctor advised us to move to full-time sippy cup usage and get rid of bottles. I was excited to stop washing out bottles and dealing with all the various parts involved—big step! As for the transition, I thought, “No problem!” June’s been drinking water from a sippy for months now, so I figured she’d be comfortable with it.

Boy, was I wrong.

When it comes to milk, this girl wants bottle, bottle, bottle. She throws the sippy cup with milk in it, refusing to drink. I’ve started giving her a big smoothie so she gets enough milk, but having her drink milk on its own is a real struggle without the “baba.”

I think she got dependant on the bottle as a comfort object, and I know we should break her of that, but it’s proving hard. I wonder if it’s just a matter of making bottles disappear altogether, or a gradual process…

Has anyone else handled this transition in a way that worked well?

the newbie: Separation Anxiety

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


While June has had a lot of time with Grandma, her regular babysitter, and the other parents and babies in our apartment building, she’s starting to get a little clingy with me — even in familiar places! Last week we went to our usual appointment at the YMCA, where I drop her off in the childcare room and then get a workout in, and she clung to me in terror and screamed.

It seemed so strange — she knows this room and these babysitters. She usually sniffles a little bit but then gets distracted by all the great toys they have and the enthusiasm of the staff, not to mention the other kids, who mesmerize her. But this time, she cried and cried as I left the room. I felt awful, but I told myself that she would be fine. I was sure that I’d return to find her happily playing with the dollhouse or the cars.

No go. About 20 minutes into my Total Body Fitness class, one of the childcare providers came to get me to tell me that June was still crying. I put away my equipment and went to get her — she looked so fearful and worried that it broke my heart.

I know that separation anxiety is normal, and she’s almost 14 months old so maybe it’s just really taking hold of her now. Still, what’s the best way to deal with it? My instinct is that I need to continue to walk away and give her experiences where she has to work through this new fear, but that’s awfully hard to do!

Any advice?

the newbie: Food Play!

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


June is now over 13 months old and eating three meals a day, along with some whole milk. I have to admit that I’ve never been much of a cook, but suddenly it feels very important to be making balanced, nutritious meals for her (as opposed to heating up ravioli, which is what I do for myself if my husband isn’t home—he’s the chef in the family).

If the baby had it her way, she’d eat bananas 24/7 (the girl asks for “nana!” all the time). She eats berries, too, and even pomegranate seeds, so we’re okay for fruit, I think. Snacktime is like a fruit explosion!

I’ve found some ways to have her eat vegetables—spinach in scrambled eggs, pureed broccoli under the cheese in a pita pizza—but I’m definitely looking for new recipe ideas. I even got the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook, but I’m not sure how much I want to use purees; I’d definitely like her to try the full vegetables, but I don’t want her to spit them out (she tends to do that).

I would love to hear what other moms do for their kids to have them try new flavors, eat well and enjoy mealtimes.