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Baby, How To, Motherhood, Parenthood

How to Choose the Best Carseat

This post contains affiliate links.  If you choose to use these links, I may receive a small commission for connecting you to the source.  You can read my full disclosure, here.

Parenting is full of really confusing choices!  One of those choices is choosing the best car seat for your growing baby.  It pretty much ranks up there as just as confusing as creating a baby registry (wayyyy too many choices!).  Before Avary was born, we chose to buy a travel system that included an infant car seat carrier that would attach to the stroller.  I do not regret that decision at all because we got so much use out of it!  However, as Avary has been creeping up on turning one, I began to realize that she was getting much too big for her infant seat and it was time to move up.  I had no idea where to start in looking for a convertible carseat!  So I did a bit of research, talked to other moms, and began formulating a list of potential seats.

The most important thing to remember when shopping around for car seats is that each car seat on the market has gone through the same rigorous crash testing and has met the federal safety standards.  While some seats may perform better in tests, the difference in price comes into play for reasons like, comfort, convenience, ease-of-use, style, quality, and brand/name.  Because of this, you will find that there are recommended car seats ranging in price from $39 up to $500!

What I recommend in helping you make a decision is to write out a list of your needs and must-haves for a seat.  Include things like:

  • Rear-facing and forward-facing: Do you want to do extended rear-facing?  How long will your little one fit?  What is the weight and height limit for forward-facing?  Will you have to buy another convertible seat when they meet the limits?
  • Size, dimensions & compatibility with your vehicle:  Get the measurements of the car seat and the vehicle you will be placing it in.  Will it fit comfortably?  Does your vehicle have LATCH anchors or will you be using a seat belt?  Will you have more than one car seat side by side and will they fit?
  • Ease of use:  Is the car seat easy for you to use?  If you will be transferring it between vehicles, is it light enough for you to carry on your own?  Do you prefer a “rapid-release” style?  Is it easy to anchor?  Are the straps easy to tighten and loosen?
  • Durability and washable:  Do you want a seat cover that can easily be taken off and thrown in the washer?  Is the fabric durable if you can only spot-clean?
  • Comfort for baby:  Is the seat comfortable for your little one?  Is there enough head support?  How much padding do you want?  What material is the padding made of (too hot, too thin, etc.)?  Does the seat have different modes for recline?  Will baby be able to sleep comfortably in it?
  • Safety and construction of the seat:  Is there adequate side-impact protection?  What materials is the seat made of?  How did it rank in crash tests?
  • Cost:  How much are you willing to spend?  Is the seat within your price range?  Will the seat last through toddlerhood or will you have to upgrade again?

Once you go through that list, you can better determine which seat is right for your little one and your family.  I strongly encourage you to research on sites like Car Seats for the Littles (list of recommended seats, car seat safety laws, recalls, and resources), Consumer Reports (ratings, recommendations, crash test results and comparisons) and The Car Seat Blog (reviews, ratings, comparisons and information).  You will be able to find all the information you could ever need!


After going through all the research and information, we decided to purchase the Graco MySize 65.  It met all the criteria we were looking for, we found it on sale on Amazon, and we got Amazon Prime free shipping-so we paid just under $150!  We are very happy with our choice, and I think Avary is too! 🙂


Here are a few popular, top-rated car seats:
*affiliate links*

Chicco Nextfit

Britax Marathon

Graco Extend2Fit

Graco Contender 65

Britax ClickTight Advocate

Graco 4Ever All-in-One


Happy car seat shopping, friends!!  And remember, do what’s best for your family!

Baby, Favorites

4-5 Month Favorites for Baby

*This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you choose to use these links, I may get a small commission for connecting you to the source.  I only share links to products I love and use, and that I believe will benefit you.  Thanks for supporting my little growing nest.*


It’s time for another favorites post!  I decided to combine months 4 and 5 because not much changed between them, and the products we were using were relatively the same.  Avary did change a lot during these months, though!  I think the biggest change was that she started sitting up independently!  This definitely changed the way she played.  My little baby does not want to be a little baby, so any products and toys that allow her to play independently or be a “big girl,” she loves.

Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, Lilla.  When we were registering for baby items when I was pregnant, I knew I wanted a travel system because of the convenience of them.  I also wanted something that was safe, good quality, but also affordable.  We love our Chicco travel system, and we purchased it in the Lilla print, which is gray with small little polka dots.  I think it is cute and definitely neutral enough to reuse for another baby.  Around 4 months, we started going on walks daily because the weather was gorgeous (not to mention Avary loves walks!), and I love love love my Chicco stroller!  It can be really windy where we live since we are by the ocean and the Chicco system is so adjustable, I can cover Avary completely with the canopies.  This is also great when she is napping!  If you’re looking for a travel system with a base, car seat and stroller–I highly recommend!


Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder.  Avary started teething at 4 months old (crazy, I know!).  As a mama, when your baby starts teething, you really feel at a loss for how to help them!  I didn’t feel comfortable just pumping Tylenol into her-especially during the day-so I looked up some natural ways to help relieve her pain.  We had frozen teethers on hand, but she didn’t seem to like them.  I don’t think she liked holding that cold, frozen thing in her hand (poor baby!).  Nursing typically solved all problems, but while she was teething, the sucking was painful for her little gums!  I found the idea to make “breastmilk pops,” and she loved it!  All I did was freeze some breastmilk in an ice cube tray, pop it out and put it in our Munchkin fresh food feeder.  It helped to numb her gums and also gave her the comfort of mama’s milk!  The gripped ring on the feeder was large enough for her little hands to hold onto, so it was perfect. Look out for an upcoming post all about my baby teething essentials!

Baby Einstein Activity Jumper.  I couldn’t wait to try out Avary’s jumper with her!  I know a lot of babies love to bounce, and I was hoping she would, too.  Not only because it would help mama get another task or two done, but it is just so darn cute seeing a baby bounce away!!  Avary loves her Baby Einstein jumper, and it entertains her for quite some time.


Fisher Price Shape Sorter Blocks.  Around 5 months old, we really started to notice that Avary was getting bored with her toys.  She just needed something new and a little more challenging!  We bought her this little block (super inexpensive!) and she loves it!  She obviously doesn’t know how to actually sort them-she will figure that out later-but she loves picking up the bucket and dumping them all out.  Also, we will stake them all up for her and she likes to knock them down.  These have definitely been one of her favorite toys lately.

Taggies blanket.  When we started transitioning Avary out of being swaddled (somewhere near the beginning of 4 months), we knew we wanted to replace the security of swaddling with a “lovey” item.  Someone had given us this blanket as a baby shower gift so we tried this first.  She LOVES it!  She loves having something soft to hold onto when she is falling asleep, and she loves rubbing the silky fabric tags.


Fisher Price Smart Stages Laugh & Learn Puppy.  Avary loves this thing!  I don’t know if it is the fact that it sings (she loves music) or if it is the face (she loves toys/dolls with faces), but she laughs every single time we get it out.  It is also fun watching her try to find all the different buttons to press to play the music.

sean (1)


3 Month Favorites for Baby

three month

*This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you choose to use these links, I may get a small commission for connecting you to the source.  I only share links to products I love and use, and that I believe will benefit you.  Thanks for supporting my little growing nest.*


It’s that time–another favorites post!  I have to admit, when Avary turned 3 months old, everything started changing!  Developmentally she was doing so much more, she was more awake and alert, and I think the biggest change was that she finally wanted to play!  My list of favorites this month features a lot of items for an active, playful baby.

Bumbo.  We started putting Avary in her Bumbo seat when she turned 3 months old.  She had great head and neck control and always wanted to be sitting up so she could see what was going on.  I put her in the Bumbo under her play gym so she could grab her toys, on the bathroom floor while I showered, while I cooked dinner, outside while we had a picnic. . . I love our Bumbo, and I’m sure I will keep using it for awhile longer!


Infantino play gym.  I was so excited when I got to take out Avary’s Infantino play gym!  I couldn’t wait to watch her explore and enjoy her toys.  I loved this play mat because it was easy to set up, take down, and wash.  Also, I loved that it came in girly colors!  Avary would spend quite a bit of a time on this playmat batting at the toys.

Tula baby carrier.  I am a big advocate of babywearing, I just love it so much!  When Avary was a tiny newborn, I loved using my Moby wrap because she could be all snuggled up against me, and she loved falling asleep that way.  As she got to this age, she didn’t want to sleep anymore–she wanted to look around and see what was going on!  I borrowed a friend’s Tula (when I took a flight with Avary by myself) and fell in love!  So I purchased one of my own, and I couldn’t be happier!  I loved the support it provided, it never hurt my back, and Avary loved being able to see everything!  Not to mention, the come in the cutest prints!  I also purchased the newborn insert; because, without it, Avary sat too low in the carrier.  I don’t regret spending the extra money on the insert because even now at 5 months old, she is only around 14 pounds and it just provides her more support and lets her see better.


O Ball.  At 3 months old, Avary was still working on hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, of course.  She always wanted to try to grasp and hold onto her toys.  We got her an O ball and she absolutely loved it! (still does)  The openings make it so easy for little, learning hands, and I could tell she felt so accomplished when she grabbed hold of it and could swing it around.  I actually think this toy helped develop her coordination to move on to grasping other things successfully.  I definitely recommend trying an O ball out–such an inexpensive toy that baby will love!


Bright Starts Lots of Links.  These were another one of Avary’s favorites.  We used these links all the time to entertain her.  We would strand several of them together and hang them from her carseat and it would entertain her the whole ride!  Most of the time she would fall asleep holding onto them (too cute!).  We also would use them to extend her toys hanging from her play gym to make them more in her grasp.  What else can I say?  They are cheap and loved!


Infantino Topsy Turvy Soft Foam Puzzle Mat.  Because we have hardwood floors, I knew I needed some kind of foam floor mat to cushion the area I was letting baby play.  These Infantino foam squares work perfect!  Avary rolls back and forth and does tummy time on them every day.  I think she likes how colorful they are, as well.


Lamaze Classic Discovery Book.  This crinkle book is seriously one of Avary’s must-haves!  It is a soft fabric book with crinkle pages, as well as a squeaky page and a rattle page.  It has lots of different fabrics and textures on it, and it is great for little, discovering hands!  I clip it on the carseat, take it in the diaper bag, put it on the bouncer–this little book really keeps Avary interested, engaged and happy!

These are the products that I loved during Avary’s third month of life.  What did you love, mommies??

sean (1)




Newborn Essentials

Newborn Essentials (2)

Newborn Essentials (4)

*This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you choose to use these links, I may get a small commission for connecting you to the source.  I only share links to products I love and use, and that I believe will benefit you.  Thanks for supporting my little growing nest.*

Before having Avary, I watched so many YouTube videos and read so many blogs trying to figure out what I would need for my baby girl when we brought her home.  What can I say, I like to be prepared!  And let’s be real, buying baby stuff is oh so fun!  So I decided to compile a list of my own essentials for the newborn phase.  These are just the things that I found myself using quite a bit in those first couple of weeks.  Check back on the blog, because I will be doing a series of Favorites each month for what I am loving for Avary!

Bringing home a new baby can be a little overwhelming, but these products made my life so much easier!

Boppy pillow.  A boppy pillow was definitely one of my must-haves for the newborn phase!  Since I breastfed Avary, the boppy really did come in handy for nursing sessions to help prop her up so she was more on my level to latch her.  Also, when Avary was really little, she didn’t like to lay down flat so I would use the boppy for naptimes.  I know this isn’t recommended, but it worked for us and helped her feel safe and enclosed.  Now that she is older, the boppy is great for tummy time, as well as around her body when she is sitting up.  Definitely a necessity for me!  You can find the adorable cover shown in the picture on Etsy at Iviebaby.

Gripe water.  I don’t know if this is common for all babies, but Avary was so gassy as a newborn.  She hiccuped all the time and had a gassy belly, too.  The Mommy’s Bliss gripe water worked like magic!  If she got hiccups, I could just give her a squirt of that and they would be gone.  I also loved that it was safe, natural, and made of organic products.

Skip Hop diaper bag.  Probably one of my favorite newborn essentials was my diaper bag!  When I was looking for one, I knew I wanted one that was attractive, stylish and didn’t “look” like a diaper bag.  I love the Skip Hop products and when I saw their Chelsea downtown chic satchel in black, I had to have it.  It is made of a sturdy, wipeable material with faux leather and gold accents.  Honestly, it looks like a high-end bag.  I can fit everything I need for Avary and me in all the compartments, while not being big and bulky.

Aden + Anais swaddle blankets.  I originally purchased these organic swaddle blankets thinking I was actually going to swaddle Avary up in them, but I could never quite get the swaddling thing down!  Instead, I found these to be great for using as burp rags–because you can fold them several times over and they are thick, soft, and absorbent.  I also love using these for covering Avary up if we go on a walk in the stroller but it is still hot out.  The muslin is so breathable that I know she won’t get hot but it still blocks the sun and wind from hitting her.  These blankets have also become one of Avary’s favorite comfort items.  I don’t know if it is the feel of them, but she loves holding onto them when she gets sleepy.

Soothie pacifiers.  I was definitely that parent who said, “I am not giving my baby a pacifier for at least the whole first month of her life!”  But then, as we were getting ready to leave the hospital, Avary just kept crying and crying and rooting around–even though I had just been breastfeeding her.  I knew she just wanted to suck on something, and I felt terrible letting her cry the whole way home.  So I stuck a pacifier in her mouth and she was so happy!  She is not a big fan of her pacifier now, and only takes it right when she is falling asleep and then spits it out.

Halo sleep sacks.  As I said above, I never really got the hang of swaddling the baby with blankets, so we ended up using the Halo sleep sacks.  The newborn size sacks fit until she was about 3 months old.  I loved that her little legs were covered and the velrco made it so easy to get a perfect fit!  Avary loved being swaddled, but we just transitioned her to being unswaddled since she was rolling over.  Now, we still use the Halo sacks as her blanket and just keep her arms out.  I definitely think Avary feels safe and comfortable in her sleep sacks, and it signals bedtime.

Arm’s Reach Mini co-sleeper.  Mamas, I cannot tell you how much of a life-saver, sleep-giver, sanity-saver this co-sleeper was!  Before I had Avary, I researched pack n plays, bassinets, and co-sleepers to figure out what I would want her to sleep in when she was in our room.  I loved the idea of the Arm’s reach because it attaches securely right next to your bed and it keeps the baby right on your level so you can see them.  It made me feel like she was right next to me in the bed, but was safe in her own space.  Also, I got so much more sleep having her right there; I didn’t have to get out of bed, I just could reach over, pick her up, nurse her, and fall right back asleep.  LOVE LOVE LOVE our co-sleeper!

Moses basket.  When Avary was in that newborn phase where she slept nearly all day long, I wanted something I could put her in and move around the house with me.  I didn’t want to mess with moving vibrating seats or swings, so I would swaddle her up and lay her in her Moses basket.  It was the perfect mobile sleeping station, and she just looked oh so cute swaddled up in a basket!  The beautiful basket pictured is from Plum + Sparrow, a company that is part of the Fair Trade Federation, who gives back to the Africans who make these baskets (link is above, EIGHT).

Moby wrap.  Ever wonder how mamas can wash dishes, do laundry, vacuum, or get anything done around the house with a newborn??  They babywear!  I am a big advocate of babywearing; I love it, Avary loves it, and I think it is great for her development!  In those early days, I had Avary in the Moby wrap at least 10 times a day.  I loved cuddling her and snuggling her, but sometimes my arms would get tired or I needed to get something done, so I wrapped her up in the Moby and she would fall fast asleep.  Trust me, Mamas, you definitely want some kind of wrap, sling, or carrier for your little newborn–it will give you so much more freedom, and you can keep your babe close!

These were my essentials for when Avary was a newborn.  I know this list is subjective, and it just depends on your baby, but I hope it helps you new, expecting mamas when you are trying to figure out what you need.  Leave a comment below letting everyone know what your favorite newborn essentials were!