A Mom’s Ultimate Two Kids Gear Guide, Part 1: Preparing to Add Another Baby to the Family
Jessica and Samantha here again with more must have gear for your growing family. Adding a second child to the family is an adventure but can also be an overwhelming prospect and having the right gear for the job can definitely make your life as a two-kid family easier. To help you make this transition as easy as possible, we scoured the baby and toddler products out on the market to find the best and most necessary gear to make balancing two kids as easy and stylish as can be.
Need more baby gear help? We have you covered! We tackled the new baby phase with Lady and the Blog’s A New Mom’s Ultimate Baby Gear Guides Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V and made the transition to toddlerhood with A New Mom’s Ultimate Toddler Gear Guides Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV. Now it’s time to double down and add a new little one to the family and tackle the must have gear to make life with two kids as fun, functional, simple and stylish as possible.
OUR FAVORITE DOUBLE STROLLER: UPPAbaby G-Link Double Umbrella Stroller
The first piece of gear you need when adding another child to the family is a double stroller. Normally this is where we would recommend our favorite double stroller for day-to-day use and our favorite for travel but we have discovered the perfect double stroller that’s functional enough to meet your every day needs but is lightweight enough and folds compactly enough to make traveling a breeze. So here is our number one all around double stroller recommendation: the UPPAbaby G-Link double umbrella stroller.
We’ve covered UPPAbaby products many times before and with good reason; they are incredibly well made, functional and durable strollers and car seats that never disappoint, and the new G-Link double umbrella stroller is no exception. UPPAbaby bills the G-Link as “breeze through with two” and I’m happy to report that it does give such an incredibly easy breezy ride with amazing maneuverability that you’ll almost forget it’s a double stroller. The G-Link has an infant support system that includes a fully reclined seat combined with an infant head support, mesh foot barrier and adjustable foot rest which means that it is suitable from birth up to 50 pounds and can hold a combined weight of 100 pounds! I love that this stroller starts at birth with no additional accessories to buy so you can start strolling with two right from the start without needing another stroller for the early infant months.
Some other notable features include the independently reclining seats, independently adjustable foot rests and independently extending sunshades with SPF 50+ so you can tailor each side of the stroller to each child’s needs at any given moment. The entire stroller is remarkable lightweight at 25 pounds and stands while folded for easy storage. I was also amazed at how quickly and easily the stroller folded up in one single movement which is an indispensable feature when wrangling two kiddos and not a feature that a lot of other double strollers can replicate.
Another feature that I loved about the G-Link stroller is that it rolls perfectly even if only one child is in the stroller. There are plenty of times when one kiddo wants out of the stroller and with many competitors to the G-Link the stroller becomes difficult to push without the balance of two kiddos on board. However, I tested the G-Link with just my toddler and was amazed that there was no difference in how smoothly it pushed and navigated curbs and bumps. The UPPAbaby G-Link stroller comes in three colors and retails for $499.99 to $529.99 depending on color.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The G-Link stroller is everything we’ve come to love about UPPAbaby gear: incredibly durable and functional, easy to maneuver, very user friendly, easy to clean and gets the job done. As a bonus, their amazing customer service lets me purchase with confidence knowing that if I have an issue UPPAbaby stands behind their products.
OUR FAVORITE STROLLER ACCESSORY: UPPAbaby G-Link Travel Bag
So now you’ve got the perfect stroller, what happens when it’s time to take your stroller on the road? Have no fear, UPPAbaby has got you covered with their amazing Travel Bag made especially for the UPPAbaby G-Link stroller. The Travel Bag is made out of durable luggage grade nylon and includes two carry straps that can be worn over the should or on your back like a backpack. The Travel Bag completely covers your stroller, including the wheels so the whole stroller is protected while in transit and an external luggage tag window so it’s easy to identify your stroller at your destination. Best of all, the bag rolls up incredibly small for easy storage while not in use!
One of the best features of the UPPAbaby Travel Bag is their TravelSafe program that guarantees your G-Link during air travel. When you register your travel bag online UPPAbaby will cover any damaged caused to your stroller during air travel for the first two years when your stroller is under warranty. The UPPAbaby Travel Bag for the G-Link retails for $99.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Anything that makes travel easier is a huge win, especially when traveling with two kids and this bag ensures that your beloved stroller arrives at your destination ready for adventure. As an added bonus, UPPAbaby puts a picture of the stroller inside the bag in the correct position so it’s easy to see at a glance how to get the stroller in the bag quickly and easily.
OUR FAVORITE CAR SEAT ACCESSORY: J.L. Childress Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag
Ideal for convertible car seats, when your little one upgrades from the infant car seat, the J.L. Childress Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag will take on the heavy lifting. Perfectly storing the car seat with full coverage and protection from scuffs and scratches, the travel bag is on wheels for easier transport. Complete with lockable dual zippers, detachable shoulder strap, and clear ID pocket with ID card, traveling is infinitely more convenient. The J.L. Childress Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag retails for $44.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The travel bag is crafted with a durable water-resistant material that protects the car seat from unwanted moisture, and roughhousing that may incur once you have checked your baggage.
OUR FAVORITE DIAPER BAG: Skip Hop Forma Pack & Go Diaper Tote
Packing to leave the house is always an adventure, and packing for two means you two sets of diapers and necessities to carry. Enter Skip Hop to save the day with their generously sized Forma Pack & Go Diaper Tote with plenty of room and handy pocket space to make being out and about with two kids as simple as possible. Since I end up carrying my diaper bag everywhere instead of a purse, a cute bag is a must for me and I love the color choices and quilted design of the Forma Diaper tote so I can still feel stylish even when schlepping two kids worth of gear.
Skip Hop also packs the Forma with plenty of perks to make your life easier. The insulated bag holds two full sized bottles, the front pocket is designed to perfectly fit the two removable zippered storage pouches, the cushioned changing pad has its own zippered pocket so it’s always quick and easy to grab, the bag includes two attached stroller straps so you don’t need to purchase extra stroller hooks and the 11 carefully placed pockets make it easy to keep the bag organized and your gear ready to grab at a moment’s notice. The Skip Hop Pack & Go Diaper Tote comes in black, peacock, berry, grey and retails for $70.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The Skip Hop Forma Diaper tote is big enough to pull diaper bag duty for two while still letting you look fashionable. Extra points to Skip Hop for all the helpful features like attached stroller straps and tons of pockets to make your life on the go even easier.
OUR FAVORITE TODDLER SLEEP SYSTEM: DockATot Grand
When a new baby is added to the family, one of the biggest challenges for toddlers is transitioning from a crib to a bigger bed and it can often lead to bedtime issues right when you are at your most sleep deprived. Enter the DockATot Grand to save the day! Designed for babies 9 months – 36 months, the DockATot Grand is a cushiony cocoon designed to make your big kid feel cozy and secure whether they are lounging around the house or learning to sleep in a new larger bed. The built-in air permeable bumpers act as bed rails to keep your big kid safe and help them feel secure in their new, larger bed and all materials are breathable, washable and hypoallergenic. The DockATot is also great for travel to keep your big kid cozy and in familiar surroundings when away from home in a foreign bed that may not be toddler safe on its own. The DockATot Grand retails for $290. DockATot also makes a Deluxe version for newborns up to 8 months old that retails for $185.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Anything that helps growing toddlers get a better night’s rest is a must have, especially for moms with a new baby who’s still getting the hang of sleeping through the night. DockATot helps big kids feel secure and cozy as they transition from being the baby to being the big kid.
OUR FAVORITE TODDLER SLEEP AID: Claessens’ Kids Kid’Sleep Globetrotter
A travel companion with a clear purpose, the Claessens’ Kids Kid’Sleep Globetrotter is the ingenious product that answers the question to “Is it time yet?” without having to say a word. Effective as a nightlight and sleep trainer for children as young as two years old, and an alarm clock for older ones, the Globetrotter gives a clear indication to toddlers when it is time for sleep and when it is time to rise. When the sleeping sheep is lit, kids know to stay in bed, and when the awake sheep in illuminated, it means it’s okay to get up and start the day. The Claessens’ Kids Kid’Sleep Globetrotter retails for $24.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This quiet and compact indicator eliminates all confusion for children, extending potential for more peaceful mornings, especially when there is a new baby. Older siblings can feel comforted by and grown up with their Globetrotter, while everyone may just end up feeling more well rested. Now if only there was a Claessens’ Kids Kid’Sleep to address the age old question of “Are We There Yet?”!
OUR FAVORITE TODDLER BEDROOM ACCESSORY: Toddle Lock
Delivering a solution to a very real problem for families with ladders, bunk beds, above ground pools, and playgrounds in their yards, Toddle Lock is an essential product to ensure peace of mind. As ladders are like magnets to toddlers who love to explore, when you have one in or around the home, you can’t take your eye off of them for a minute. Toddle Lock is a product that you can place over any ladder, completely eliminating any risk of falls or serious boo-boos. Whether your toddler has an older sibling with a bunk bed, or they’re curious about the above ground pool water but cannot swim unassisted, ladders pave the way for unspeakable hazards. Once Toddle Lock is placed over the ladder, toddlers realize there is no way to climb up, and will forget it altogether. Crisis averted! The Toddle Lock retails for $59.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Saving parents from getting rid of contraptions around their home that have a ladder, the Toddle Lock is a cost-effective way to have it both ways. Just click it into place, and know you’re covered. Toddle Lock comes in a variety of sizes and colors too, so it won’t get in the way of your décor style.
OUR FAVORITE BOUNCER: Skip Hop Uplift Multi-Level Baby Bouncer
One new challenge to having a new baby around the house is how to keep your excited toddler involved while keeping the baby safe and entertained which is why I was so excited to try out the new Skip Hop Uplift Bouncer. The Uplift Bouncer is a revolutionary twist on the conventional bouncer because it adjusts up to 34 inches with a convenient knob on the base which mean that baby is always close at hand whether you are sitting on the floor or on a chair or on the couch. As a bonus, the new baby is safely elevated off the floor when older siblings are engaged in enthusiastic play making baby safe and letting you breath a little easier as you manage life with two kids. This amazing design lets baby be engaged and part of family moments and gives new older siblings a little more leeway when learning how to safely play with and around the new baby.
In addition to its revolutionary features, the Uplift Bouncer also has all of the classic features parents know and love. The Uplift bouncer supports babies up to 25 pounds and includes a washable infant insert and removable washable fabric seat with 5-point harness so its easy to keep clean and keep even wiggly babies safe and secure. The Uplift plays two melodies and two soothing sound effects and includes a tuck-away toy bar and infant safe mirror toy so baby is sure to be entertained whenever you need an extra set of hands. As a wonderful bonus, the Uplift folds for storage so you can easily tuck it away when not in use. The Skip Hop Uplift Multi-Level Baby Bouncer retails for $150.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The baby gear gurus at Skip Hop have done it again finding a way to make even the classic bouncer more functional to accommodate a growing family. A must have to help keep your baby safe and engaged while your big kid adjusts to life and playtime with a new baby in the house.
OUR FAVORITE NURSING COVER: Skip Hop Grab & Go Hide & Chic Nursing Scarf
With my first son, we nursed out and on the go constantly but I always struggled to find a nursing cover that kept him comfortable while keeping me comfortably covered. Now that I am on to baby number two nursing on the go is an even bigger necessity so I am so excited that Skip Hop has gotten into the nursing cover game and created the answer to my nursing scarf prayers. My favorite feature on the new Hide & Chic Nursing Scarf is the mesh window with flexible borders that makes it easy to see down through the scarf to keep and eye on the baby and also lets fresh air into the scarf so my little one doesn’t get overheated or uncomfortable when catching a meal out on the go. I also love that the impossibly soft fabric is machine washable and has an adjustable toggle so the scarf can be configured several ways depending on how you are most comfortable nursing. The Skip Hop Grab & Go Hide & Chic Nursing Scarf comes in black and grey and retails for $30.
WHY WE LOVE IT: In the never-ending quest for the perfect nursing cover, Skip Hop has created the holy grail of functionality and fashion. The Hide & Chic Nursing scarf is the perfect way to comfortably feed your little one on the go or just accessorize over a stray spit-up stain.
OUR FAVORITE HIGH CHAIR FOR INFANTS OR TODDLERS: The First Years Mickey Mouse Helping Hands Feeding Activity Set
Feeding one child is hard enough but keeping both your baby and toddler safe and engaged at mealtime is a full time job but with The First Years Mickey Mouse Helping Hands Feeding Activity Set you magically feel like you have an extra set of hands and what mom couldn’t use that? The Helping Hands Feeding Activity Set has straps so it quickly and easily attaches to most adult chairs so there’s no extra bulky high chair to add to your already gear-filled apartment. The Helping Hands Feeding Activity Set has a three point harness to keep your little one secure and adjustable height so your little one can be up to the table and engaged in the action and the three position tray is dishwasher safe which is magic to any mom’s ears. The Helping Hands Feeding Activity Set also comes with three toys to keep little ones entertained: a roller ball, a rattle and a Mickey Mouse spring hand. As a great added bonus there’s storage for wipes and bibs on the back of the seat! The First Years Mickey Mouse Helping Hands Feeding Activity Set retails for $39.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Easy to set up, easy to adjust and guaranteed to keep your little one entertained at mealtime, the First Years Helping Hands Feeding Activity Set is a must have for mealtimes. As a bonus, the fact that it attaches to a regular chair means it’s a major space saver for apartments already stuffed with baby gear.
OUR FAVORITE TODDLER MEALTIME ACCESSORY: Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Training Chopsticks
Mealtime with toddlers can sometimes be a chore but with Skip Hop’s new Zoo Little Kid Training Chopsticks mealtime can be fun again as your little one exercises their fine motor skills while learning how to use chopsticks. The chopsticks come with silicone toppers in fun zoo animals to help little hands hold the chopsticks in the correct position. The chopsticks themselves are dishwasher safe and BPA free and have a non-slip grip to make the learning process frustration free. When your toddler masters the fundamentals of chopsticks, the sticks themselves can be removed and used like traditional chopsticks and the silicone topper becomes a chopstick rest. The Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Training Chopsticks come in ladybug, owl and bee and retail for $7 each set.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters but these adorable chopsticks make mealtime fun and make a game out of eating which can get even the fussiest of toddlers to eat that last green bean. As a bonus they are working on fine motor skills while finishing their meal!
OUR FAVORITE BATH TOY: Yookidoo Submarine Spray Station
Making bathing time full of sublime fun, the Yookidoo Submarine Spray Station is an in-bath entertainment system for toddlers. The battery operated submarine draws water from the tub streams through the shower head, all at the press of a button. Water flow can be directed into the water activity center to generate a chain reaction of surprising water effects. Toddlers can’t get enough of the influence water will have on a pair of googly eyes, jet sprinklers, rotating water gauges, spinning propellers, and more! The Yookidoo Submarine Spray Station retails for $29.95
WHY WE LOVE IT: Great for toddlers with a lot of hair, the shower head serves as a great function for washing up. Controlled by both a button on the showerhead that works as you hold it down, and by an on/off constant flow button, this cute station is surprisingly handy for parents, and stores easily against the shower wall.
OUR FAVORITE INFANT DEVELOPMENT TOY: Lamaze Munching Max
Lamaze never ceases to amaze me with the new animals they come up with to add to their menagerie and their new Munching Max is no exception. This colorful chipmunk engages your baby’s vision, auditory and motor skills with an added entertaining twist: when you pull the clip Max starts to vibrate and munch away at his acorn which is sure to entertain babies and toddlers alike. Like all great Lamaze toys, Max has an attached clip so he’s easy to hook onto a diaper bag or stroller for entertaining acorn munching fun on the go. The Lamaze Munching Max retails for $15.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Lamaze’s new Munching Max is as adorable as he is entertaining. The best part of this toy is that my toddler loves to pull the loop to make the squirrel “munch” so instead of two kids to entertain this toy gets my older kid to entertain my younger one!
OUR FAVORITE TODDLER DEVELOPMENT TOY: Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar
I have been waiting for Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar ever since it was first announced last year and I am so excited that my toddler and I finally had a chance to take it out for a spin. This amazing new toy from Fisher-Price teaches young children the fundamentals of coding by breaking it down into simple, hands-on directions that you input into your Code-a-pillar using a series of snap together segments. Through the creation of different instruction sequences that your child programs in, they are learning important skills of experimentation, problem solving, planning, sequencing and critical thinking.
Every time your child re-arranges the segments the Code-a-pillar takes another path following the instructions and each segment lights up as the Code-a-pillar executes that segment’s “instructions”. Each Code-a-pillar comes with 1 motorized head, 1 sound segment, 3 straight segments, 2 right turns and 2 left turns to send your Code-a-pillar into countless different directions. This was a such a fun toy for my son and I do together and the look of amazement when the Code-a-pillar followed his directions was such a joy to watch. The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar retails for $50.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Not only does this toy teach fundamental critical thinking skills but it’s a lot of fun to play with too! I love working through the sequencing with my son and seeing the joy on his face when his coding “plan” goes into action. As a wonderful bonus, the brightly colored mobile caterpillar is great entertainment for younger children who aren’t old enough to learn coding but know an entertaining toy when they see it.
Visit Fisher-Price online to learn about the ultimate toddler toy that will both entertain your little one while teaching them important developmental skills or check them out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.
OUR FAVORITE INFANT TOY TO GET LITTLE KIDS AND BIG KIDS PLAYING TOGETHER: Lamaze Mix and Match Caterpillar
While older kids are engaged with coding caterpillars (see above) babies can get in on the action and have their own developmental and sensory caterpillar exploration with the Lamaze Mix and Match Caterpillar. The Mix and Match Caterpillar is made of eight separate segments that easily velcro together and each segment is a new sensory experience with knotted legs, bright patters, crinkle sounds and ribbons. In addition to being a great developmental toy for the new baby, this is also a fun toy for toddlers and a great way to engage them in bonding and play with the new baby as they help them explore and construct the caterpillar in all different configurations. I love that there are so many different sensory and development elements packed into one adorable package and this is the perfect toy to grab when you need entertainment on the go but have limited room. The Lamaze Mix and Match Caterpillar retails for $19.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This one little caterpillar provides a plethora of sensory exploration that will keep babies engaged and exploring for a long time. As an amazing bonus, big kids love this toy too and it’s a great way to engage them with their new siblings in play.
OUR FAVORITE IMAGINATION TOY: HABA At the Zoo Large Playset
Learn about animals at the zoo, both big and small with HABA’s At The Zoo Large Playset. The perfect precursor to a special outing a the (real) zoo, this kit includes a dozen wooden animals, a zookeeper, nature blocks, and a zoo building that holds it all together. Beautifully crafted, it is ideal for toddlers 18 months and older, and provides hours of imaginative play when both mom and toddler need it most. The HABA At the Zoo Large Playset retails for $54.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This set is the epitome of form and function. It is educational for youngsters as they learn about animals and nature, while it fosters independent play and clean up, in a neat, and easily transportable storage box that enhances the zoo scenery.
OUR FAVORITE TODDLER PRACTICAL SKILLS TOY: HABA Biofino Colorful Vegetable Mix
HABA’s Biofino play food line has created some of the most inspired products that mirror the real thing brilliantly. Perfect for the toddler who is learning to grasp utensils and the junior chef alike, the Biofino Colorful Vegetable Mix includes a plastic knife that actually slices a soft toy potato, carrot, and tomato. The Biofino Petit Fours is an adorable plush addition to any tea party, where delectable sweets may be served to the fanciest of guests! The HABA Biofino Colorful Vegetables Mix retails for $14.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A collection with boundless creative potential, it serves a very real occupational purpose for children as they learn from their environment, and acquire essential skills. Super adorable, we’ve found it has made positive effects on toddler attitudes about food and eating as well.
OUR FAVORITE NEW SIBLING TRANSITION TOY: HABA Baby Lea
If you’re looking to choose a baby doll for your toddler as you welcome a new baby into the family, look no further than HABA’s Baby Lea doll. Small and snuggly, Baby Lea is the perfect size for small hands, and smooth to the touch. Complete with a soft basket and blanket to keep her warm, toddlers experience a tremendous amount of pride as they tuck her in and care tenderly for their baby. The HABA Baby Lea retails for $30.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Not only are Baby Lea’s outfit, blanket, and basket reversible (so you can change up her look!), they’re also machine washable, so you can be sure they are able to withstand some of those inevitable toddler accidents, keeping role play and positive associations with the new sibling underway.
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Samples provided for review. Opinions expressed solely ours.