Baby Gear Necessities: A Buying Guide

Baby gear necessities: a buying guide

*This is a rather long post, with my commentary and tips. If you’d like to skip straight down to all the necessities, click here.

When I was pregnant, I was constantly researching what I need to get for a baby. I spent months of time searching, talking to moms, and trying out products. This is the list of all the baby products we use all the time. We’re talking multiple times a day here. My recommendation is to go as neutral colored as you can – if you hope to have more than one baby. If not, or if you can’t resist the adorable pink floral and blue sport stars, go for the color! 🙂

The first few necessities have to do with the Five S’s. Google it. It’s basically a newborn baby guide to survival.

  1. aden + anais 3-Pack Classic Swaddling Cloths

aden + anais swaddle blankets These are great! They can be used to swaddle your baby (if you have the skills – YouTube it). They can be used as a blanket for the floor, as a nursing cover, as a car seat cover, as a burp cloth, as a blanket in general, or scrunched up as an sleep mask for a nap. Get lots.

If you don’t have the swaddle skills, get the following too: (even if you have the skills, you’ll want this too)

2. HALO Cotton SleepSack Swaddle

Halo Sleep sackThese come in cotton and fleece. They’re basically wearable blankets that can swaddle your baby with arms in or arms out. It’s magic.

Pro Tip: I recommend getting at least four of these. Two in cotton and two in fleece (per size). My baby liked to spit up at night after being swaddled. It was nice to have spares to swap him into.

3. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine with Night Light in White

Hatch Baby Rest Night light white noise machine I didn’t buy this off the bat, I went with a cheaper white noise machine and a salt lamp. While I love the salt lamp, after a few months, my white noise machine would require hitting to work. So I upgraded. This can be programmed to go on and off, with colors, and sounds. You can also control it with your phone. Finally, you can just touch the device to turn on or off. Brilliant.

Pro Tip: Have an orange light on (lowest setting) and a rain or white noise on a higher volume for overnight.

4. Pacifier

4a. FIRST: WubbaNub Pacifier

Wubbanub Pacifier These are adorable and practical! It’s a win-win. Let me count the ways I love the WubbaNub: 1) it’s a cute, 2) it’s easier to find when your baby throws drops it, 3) it’s a comfort both in sucking and in cuddling.

4b. THEN: Dr. Brown’s® Lovey Pacifier and Teether Holder

Dr. Brown's® Gerry the Giraffe Lovey Pacifier and Teether Holder I used the WubbaNubs for when my baby was a newborn until he got teeth (6 months). WubbaNub recommends to stop using when your baby has teeth – the rubber is soft. So, I upgraded B to the Dr. Brown’s version. This has loops with snaps on it to attach any pacifier. I attached the following:


Night Orthodontic Ages 6+ Months Pacifier

orthodontic pacifier These are great because they’re sturdier and they glow in the dark. Seriously, I watch my kid stand up, put his arm over the crib rail, and drop his pacifier/lovey to the floor. Then, he looks at the video monitor’s camera and smiles. This combo makes it easier to find in the dark 🙂

Pro Tip: buy all the pacifiers. The name of the game is survival.

5. Fisher Price Fisher-Price® Deluxe Newborn Auto Rock ‘n Play

rock 'n play Legally Fisher-Price says this wonderful thing is not intended for sleeping. Veteran moms of reflux babies know, it’s the only place your baby will likely sleep. If I could do it again, I would upgrade to the auto rocker with the infant insert. I would also buy this before we brought our baby home, instead of two miserable months later.


Continuing on the sleep thread…

6. Crib

Pottery Barn Madison Crib Eventually, your baby will be in a crib. I love our Pottery Barn Madison crib. It has multiple crib heights, converts to a toddler bed – with two guard rails! – and converts to a headboard. I love how it is: sturdy, beautiful, convertible, neutral (color and gender), and doesn’t look like a tiny baby prison.

7. Aden + Anais® Crib Sheet

muslin crib sheets You might be tempted by those beautiful bedding sets, don’t get them. Instead, get a muslin fitted crib sheet. For safety purposes, you can’t have anything in the crib with your baby except a fitted crib sheet. So, get these super soft ones that come in all the amazing prints!

8. Quilted Mattress Protector Pad

Quilted Crib Mattress Protector Pad You’re going to want a waterproof mattress protector pad to go under your beautiful fitted sheet. Babies are messy. They spit up, they leak through diapers, sometimes they spill milk, all sorts of liquids happen. Protect your mattress. By the way, you need a mattress.

Pro Tip: Layer your crib bedding: (bottom to top): 1) mattress pad, 2) sheet, 3) mattress pad, 4) fitted sheet. This way, you can just strip the top two layers when you have a diaper leak or spit up. [more baby parenting tips here].


Moving on to feeding… (I will do a separate buying guide post on feeding gear to cover everything, this is just the NECESSITIES)

9. Collection & Storage Bottles -5oz 6ct

Medela collection bottles I originally got these to pump breast milk into. I definitely used these for pumping while I could. [See more about my breastfeeding journey here.] After we switched to formula, I found two new uses for these:

Pro Tips: fill a Medela bottle with the amount of water you need to make a bottle. Take a bottle (with powder formula in it) with you, mix the two, you have a bottle on-to-go for your baby or for nighttime feedings. [Check out this post of parenting baby tips.]

10. Comotomo 5-Ounce Baby Bottles in Green (2-Pack)

comotomo baby bottleWhether you plan to breastfeed or to formula feed, it’s a good idea to have bottles around. I HIGHLY recommend these bottles from Comotomo. When I was combo feeding, they were the easiest to switch from breast to bottle and back. Then, when we were solely formula feeding, they were the easiest for my baby to hold on his own. (They are slightly “squishy,” which makes it easier for little hands to hold onto.)  Also with formula feeding, these have a wide mouth, so it’s easy to pour formula and water into without spilling. Finally, they are so easy to clean. There are three parts total to these bottles. Your hand fits in all of them. It’s a breeze. They come in 5 oz and 8 oz sizes. In pink or green.

Pro Tip: Get green (again if you have more than one baby and end up with both sexes.) However, the pink is SO CUTE! I think you can buy the rings separately, so you can always get a few adorable pink ones for a little miss.

11. OXO Tot Bottle Brush with Stand

baby bottle brushThis brush is great. It’s super important to use a dedicated brush for all baby’s bottle parts. You don’t want the sponge you just used to wash the sink of the raw chicken germs to touch your baby’s bottles!!! So, get yourself a brush. I got green to match my bottles. It stands on it’s own so it can sit right by your sink – but separate from the gross grownup sponges.

It also has a nipple brush inside the handle. Honestly, I don’t use this, I just wash my hands (thoroughly in hot water with soap for AT LEAST 20 seconds) and use my fingers to clean the nipples. However, it’s nice to have for when my parents are on baby bottle duty.

12. Boon Lawn

Boon lawnOnce you clean those bottles, nipples, sippy cups, spoons, pacifiers, etc., you’re going to need some place to put them to dry. Enter the Boon Lawn. This comes in various sizes (get the lawn, you’ll have a ton of stuff to dry all the time). It also comes in neutral and beautiful white, or classic green. Yep, I chose the green. I also got two twigs – get those! And I got a smaller grass to travel. Now they have this cool setup: Boon TRIP Travel Drying Rack
Boon travel kit


Now onto travel gear.

13. Diaper Backpack – Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back Backpack

Ju-Ju-Be BRB diaper backpack Full disclosure: I didn’t get this backpack until recently. I went with a different cheaper one. While it works, I had some complaints. So, I treated myself to the Ju-Ju-Be BRB Backpack as a “congrats you lost the baby weight” gift. This thing has pockets upon pockets. The mommy pocket is divine. There is a separate cell phone pocket towards the top. Hello, genius! I could go on and on. I probably will do a separate post.

14. Car Seat – Chicco ‘KeyFit 30’ Infant Car Seat

Chicco keyfit 30 infant car seat This is not optional. You need a car seat. Your options are Infant vs Convertible. Go with the infant to start. Choose a light weight yet SAFE one – you’re going to be lugging it around with the baby.

Choose one with a base – if you will have a husband/parent/nanny/babysitter, etc driving your baby around frequently, buy a 2nd base.

Pro Tip: if you think you might want more than one kid, get a neutral color like black or grey. You’ll be carrying this in public and some parents get offended when people wrongly identify their baby as male or female.

Expert Tip: go get your car seat inspected by a certified professional. I 100% thought we nailed installing ours. Spoiler alert: we didn’t. In fact, 77% of people install car seats incorrectly. If you don’t install the car seat correctly, or use it properly, it won’t work correctly and protect your precious cargo (your baby).

15. Stroller – UPPAbaby 2017 VISTA Stroller

UPPAbaby Vista I actually have an older version of this I got on Craigslist. However, the new model is lighter, narrower (good thing), and has improved wheels. The thing I LOVE most about the VISTA stroller – it can become a double stroller or even tote around three kids! After having a different stroller, I can say, this thing glides. It’s a dream to push. It’s light. It’s sturdy. It has a huge storage basket. You can have your kid face you, face out, recline, straight up, there are so many ways to use this stroller!

Pro Tips: Get a stroller organizer. This stroller doesn’t have a cup holder – what?!?! I have this stroller organizer. Also, get clips to attach your diaper bag to the handle.

If you get the Chicco Keyfit or another brand car seat, you’re going to want to get an adapter to attach the car seat to the stroller. Or, you can get the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat and just click it into the stroller. I’ve heard good things about this car seat. If I were to do it all again, I would go all UPPAbaby.


Next category: bathing & dressing

16. Baby Bathtub – Summer Infant® Splish ‘n Splash Newborn to Toddler Bath Tub in Blue

baby bath tub You could just bathe your newborn in the kitchen sink, but I liked having this bathtub to put in the sink and then later in the adult bathtub. This grows with your baby. It’s basically three tubs in one.

Pro Tip: get some toys and get a bath toy holder <- I have this one.

17. Zippered Footie Pajamas

zippered footie pajamas My baby lives in footie pajamas. Babies nap so often, it’s really not worth it to change them into real clothes. Those are for special occasions and visitors. I love the ones that zip up, but there are also ones that snap. It’s a personal preference. Whatever you do, DO NOT get ones that have real buttons. If you get one of those as a gift, burn it. 3 am diaper blowout with buttons to figure out, nope. Don’t go there.

Pro Tip: Get as many with animals on the feet and/or butt as you can find. These will make you smile. My husband put it best when he said: “why do they even make baby pajamas without animals on the feet?”


Finally we’re at diapering!

18. Diapers

Pampers swaddlers diapers We used Pampers Swaddlers until B was in size 3. Then I switched to Baby Dry. [I don’t remember why…] Honestly, I do amazon subscribe and save for diapers. You can also subscribe and save at Target now too! [More baby tips here]. However, it’s a best practice to try out different diapers to see what fits your little one the best, which ones have the features you like, what price is acceptable to you, etc.

Pro Tip: Get more size 1 than newborn. Babies grow quickly.

19. Wipes

pampers sensitive baby wipes We’ve used Pampers Sensitive wipes since the beginning. When I ran out a couple times, I tried others. I did not like them as much as the Pampers Sensitive ones. These are strong!

Pro Tip: Baby wipes are your secret weapon. Use them for diaper changes (obviously). Use them for anything on everything. Spit up on the carpet? Check. Wine on the couch? Check. Poop on the car seat? Baby wipe it. Seriously, I will always have baby wipes in my house from now on.

20. Butt Paste

Boudreaux's butt paste I like this the best of diaper rash cream. It is thicker than others, so I find it easier to use. They have regular and maximum strength versions. Plus, the name is funny. Anything to make you smile during the dark days of survival. I also swear by A&D Ointment; especially for baby boys.

All the necessities:

Bennett is One!

We made it! I had my doubts, but here we are; my baby boy is one!

Cue all the tears.

I won’t lie, this year was the most difficult of my life. But, it was also the best, by far! We had our challenges, lots of sleepless nights, but SO many joys!

I made a little video highlighting our year. Warning: it’s 13 minutes long.

12 months

Weight: 25 lbs 4 oz

Length: 32″

Size: 18 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: light brown

Sleeping: usually from 7 pm to 7 am. Typically without waking

Eating: He loves all the real food. We’re feeding B whatever we eat. Typical day’s eating:

  • Breakfast: egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches & blueberries with Dad
  • snack: cheerios
  • lunch: (previous meal’s leftovers) roasted chicken thigh, rainbow vegetables & brown rice
  • snack: whole milk yogurt
  • dinner: venison meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes

Milestones: BENNETT IS ONE

Memorable outings: trip to the Museum of the Bible with Grammie & Grampy
museum of the bible family trip

Likes: eating, dancing, climbing up the stairs [one of Mama’s biggest dislikes], speed crawling, smiling, “helping” with dishes and laundry, bath time, Kai

Dislikes: getting his diaper changed

Words/sounds: “dada,” “ahhh” “ohhh,” “mama,” “mom,” “hi,”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “B,” “Snickerdoodle,” “Mister Mister”

Funny moments: On his actual birthday, my parents were here, so we had a little celebration with Snickerdoodle Cupcakes from Fluffy Thoughts. After the fun, we let B open a couple presents. Then we were just hanging out, B shuffle-stepped from the ottoman/coffee table to Jimmy on the couch. Jimmy goes “did you see that?!?!” I was filming him so I go: “I’m video taping him so yes.” Once Jimmy informed me I filmed B taking a step, I burst out crying. Like full on sobbing. Clearly I was not ready for my baby to walk and I was definitely not ok with not being fully present at the moment. Looking back, we laugh now. But, I still don’t count that as fully walking. First official steps are yet to come.

Looking forward to:  B’s actual first steps. Any day now!

Photos This Month:

Baby Parenting Tips

Baby Parenting Tips & Hacks

Parenting is intimidating. Especially for first time parents. Here are some practical baby parenting tips I’ve found helpful.

baby parenting tip Boppy pillow uses

Boppy Pillow

This baby parenting tip is multi-use. Get a boppy pillow. This soft semi-circle can be used for: 1) nursing support, 2) elevating baby’s head for bottle feeding, 3) tummy time, 4) helping baby sit up, 5) a pillow for you for nap time.


baby parenting tip formula feeding tip

Medela Storage Bottles

This baby parenting tip is another multi-use AND it’s a lifesaver for to-go bottles. Medela storage and collection bottles can be used for their intended purpose: collecting pumped breast milk. And/or for formula feeding (or combo feeding) parents. We fill these with water and put powdered formula in a baby bottle. Keep these “prepped” bottles on the night stand for night feedings. Put these prepped bottles in your diaper bag for on-the-go feedings.

Layer Bedding

This is a baby parenting tip I read on another blog. It’s so simple, but so smart! On the bare mattress, you put a mattress protector, then a fitted crib sheet, then another mattress protector, and finally a last fitted crib sheet. This way you can strip the top two layers when your baby spits up or has a diaper leak. I would do anything to avoid making a crib at 3 am. You gotta lift up that mattress to get the protector on properly. Then again for the fitted sheet. Nope. Not doing it.

Baby Tracking App

baby parenting tip Glow baby tracking appAnything that helps new sleep-deprived parents remember details is definitely a baby parenting win! Using a baby tracking app makes knowing how long it’s been since your baby’s last feeding or last nap so much easier! I have been tracking Bennett’s bottle intake since day 1 with Glow Baby app. I currently track his sleep, solid foods, and measurements. I use to track every nursing session, every pumping session, and all diapers too. That was just in the beginning, while he was struggling to gain weight – actually he kept losing weight (so terrifying!) – and while I struggled through my short breastfeeding time. [read more about my passion for Fed is Best.] It was so helpful to pull up all the data with his pediatrician.

Now, it is helpful to see if he’s developing any patterns for sleeping. They say that happens… still waiting on that one…

baby parenting tip glow in the dark tape baby gate

Glow in the Dark Tape

We put baby gates at the top of each staircase. Baby is now protected from falling. Great. I soon saw a problem for us parents. Our nursery is right off the stairs. So, we didn’t want the lights on in the stairwell/hall all the time when B was sleeping. Ok, fine. However, I chose beautiful black gates. Naturally, they do not show up great in the dark. So, I hacked it! I took glow in the dark tape and put a bit around the top and bottom rungs. Now, when one of us comes up the stairs, we can see where the gate is so we don’t run into it. File this baby parenting tip as a safety win for parents (and siblings, dogs, grandparents, etc).

Amazon Baby Registry

This one is a tip you need to implement during pregnancy. Sign up for an Amazon baby registry. Here’s the main reason why: you get 20% off diapers if you subscribe and save. To be clear, I am still getting 20% off a box of diapers that arrives to my door every month. That alone is amazing. They also give you a welcome box of samples, other discounts, and you can add products from any store or website to your registry.

Friday Favorites #3

This week I am loving:

  1. DIY fabric gate

    DIY-Custom-Fabric-Stair-Gate I’m going to attempt to make this fabric gate this weekend. I ordered supplies on I cannot wait to start. This will look so much better than my ironing board turned on its side. Hopefully it keeps the Little Man from climbing the stairs nonstop. If it doesn’t work, I’ll cave and buy a real gate…

  2. Being Employed Again

    Last week, I stopped by my old employer to say “hi” with Bennett. One thing led to another and they ended up offering me (part of) my old job but part-time and work-from-home. This is seriously a Godsend. I always dreamed of being a SAHM who worked from home part-time. Honestly, it’s a big reason I chose a career in communication/marketing. I am feeling so thankful and blessed right now!

  3. Miss Spa® Hydrate Facial Sheet Mask

    This winter my skin has been SO DRY! When I was at Target this week, I picked up one of these on impulse. I am SO glad I did. My face feels soft and heavenly now. Seriously for the first time all winter, I finally feel like my skin is actually moisturized.

  4. Bennett Comes Back to the Water Video

    B is obsessed with Kai’s water bowl right now. I realized I was singing that line from Moana every time he crawled to the bowl. So, I made a video on my iPhone. It makes me laugh every time I watch it!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! We’re going to be full on party prepping/cleaning/decorating. Stay tuned for a Bennett Winter ONEderland party post 🙂

Bennett is Eleven Monhts

Ahh where did my baby go????? It doesn’t help that he looks like a toddler…

My little man is almost one! I seriously cannot believe it. It feels like I blinked and then here we are, at a year. Don’t get me wrong, there were many times I doubted I’d survive (those first three months are ROUGH), but being Bennett’s mama is amazing!

11 months

Weight: 25 lbs

Length: really tall (whoops)

Size: 18 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: dirty blonde

Sleeping:  he typically sleeps through the night (HALLELUJAH, THANK YOU LORD!!!) sometimes he wakes for a bottle about an hour after going to bed.

Eating: formula bottles: 6 oz each feeding; lots of solid fruits, proteins, whatever we’re eating

Milestones: He has five teeth! Of course he won’t let me see the three on the top. Snickerdoodle. He was sick for the first time. He had a slight fever and a really runny nose for 12 hours. After he sneezed into my mouth and onto Gigi’s face, I was sick for 2.5 weeks and Gigi had to go to urgent care. I’m SO thankful Bennett has his Dad’s immune system.

First Christmas

Memorable outings: Meeting Santa

Bennett met Santa! #babysfirstchristmas #BennettWilliamRacine

A post shared by Ingrid (@ifracine) on

Likes: ALL THE FOOD! His favorite foods: blueberries, carrots, pears. Smiling 🙂

Chili Mac and cheese was a big hit tonight.

A post shared by Ingrid (@ifracine) on

Bath time. Jimmy discovered Bennett likes when you put his tub close to the faucet and leave the water running. Apparently it’s like a water park that way.

Bath baby Bennett

A post shared by Ingrid (@ifracine) on

Dislikes: staying still, getting his diaper changed, changing clothes, anyone looking at his teeth

Words/sounds: “dada,” “ahhh” “ohhh,” “mama,” “mom”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “B,” “Snickerdoodle,” “Mister Mister”

Funny moments: 

Those giggles though. 😍 My favorite 💙

A post shared by Ingrid (@ifracine) on

Looking forward to: first birthday! I am planning and preparing like crazy!!!!

Photos This Month:

Bennett is Ten Months

10 months

Weight: 24 lbs

Length: 30.5″

Size: 18 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: dirty blonde

Sleeping:  he typically sleeps from 7 pm to 5 am. Wakes to chug a bottle. Then back to sleep until 7 am.

Eating: formula bottles: 6 oz each feeding; lots of solid fruits, proteins, whatever we’re eating

Memorable outings: Two Thanksgivings! (Lunch with Daddy’s family, Dinner with Mommy’s family).

Likes: ALL THE FOOD! His favorite foods: blueberries, carrots, pears. Smiling 🙂

Dislikes: staying still, getting his diaper changed, changing clothes

Words/sounds: “dada,” “ahhh” “ohhh,” “mama,” “mom”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “B,” “Snickerdoodle,” “Mister Mister”

Funny moments: Bennett loves chili!

When he wants to get my attention or is frustrated at me (aka I take away the remote) he says “mom!”

I think he likes the venison chili #BennettWilliamRacine

A post shared by Ingrid (@ifracine) on

Looking forward to: first birthday!

Photos This Month:

Bennett is Eight Months

Bennett is Eight Months!

Last month I said I liked this stage better. This month, it holds true. Every month is better than the last!

This month’s highlights include: First word = “dada.” He’s crawling!!!! Cutting two teeth, pulling himself up to standing (with help from furniture) — LOTS happened this month

We’re continuing to introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables. So far, he’s liked everything. I think he’ll take after his dad and be a good eater 🙂

Typical Day:

7 am wake up & bottle

9 am nap for Ingrid & Bennett in their own rooms

10 am – 5 pm bottles on demand, naps every 1.5 – two hours; in this time, errands/I try to squeeze in a workout/lots of playing

5:30 pm bath

7 pm put Bennett down

7 pm dinner & Ingrid & Jimmy hang out time

B wakes up once a night for a bottle – Ingrid gives him and then sleeps until 7 am

Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 8 months

Weight:  (didn’t weigh him, fails)

Length: ” he’s bigger than big duck!

Size: 12 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: dirty blonde

Sleeping:  he typically sleeps from 7 pm to 5 am. Wakes to chug a bottle. Then back to sleep until 7 am.

Eating: formula bottles: 6 oz each feeding; lots of pureed food; some solids

Milestones: 1) crawling, 2) pulling up to stand, 3) sitting independently, 4) has two teeth, 5) first word =”dada”

Memorable outings: first trip to Blacksburg

Likes: ALL THE FOOD! Seriously this kid wants real food

Dislikes: staying still, getting his diaper changed, changing clothes

Words/sounds: “dada,” “pagne” [champagne’s nickname], “ahhh” “ohhh”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “B,” “Snickerdoodle”

Interesting Facts: Bennett said his first word in the car while I was driving him to the cottage for a weekend trip. He said “dada.” He then proceeded to say it all day and night the rest of the weekend.

Funny moments: While in Blacksburg, my dad, Kurt, and Lizzy got sprayed by a skunk (long story), but B slept through the whole thing. I smelled it, thought a skunk was in our room coming after my baby, and proceeded to crawl around looking for it, but not turning on the lights at around 2 am.

Looking forward to: first steps (kind of)

Photos This Month:

Friday Favorites #2

1. College Football Returns!

If you know me, you know I LOVE college football! I mean, this was our pregnancy announcement photo:

I am SO excited for this season. I can’t wait to have Bennett watch games with us.

2. Glow App

I have been tracking Bennett’s bottle intake since day 1 with Glow Baby. I also currently track his sleep, solid foods, and measurements. I used to track every nursing session, every pumping session, and all diapers too. That was just in the beginning while he was struggling to gain weight (actually he kept losing weight – so terrifying!) and while I struggled through my short breastfeeding time. It was so helpful to pull up all the data with his pediatrician.

Glow baby tracking app
Tracking everything – yellow = nursing, blue = pee diaper, brown = poop diaper, orange = pumping, yellow bottle = bottle
Glow baby tracking sleep app
Now I track sleep (blueish purple), bottles & solids

3. TV stand makeover

I got our tv stand my sophomore year in college from Walmart. Needless to say, it was time for a change. Also, I wanted to baby proof all the electronics so B didn’t follow in my footsteps and put crayons in the VCR (Blu-Ray now). I love it!

tv stand makeover
TV stand from Target

4. NutriBullet

Jimmy got me the NutriBullet for Christmas. I love it! As I’m trying to lose the baby weight, I am drinking a green protein smoothie for breakfast or lunch each day. Currently I am loving this combo: 50% filled with kale, spinach & swiss chard; a few pieces of pineapple, a few pieces of mango, soy natural flavored protein powder; coconut water; chia seeds on top. Delicious!

Friday Favorites

A few bloggers I follow list things they’re loving every week. I thought it was a great idea. So, here’s my first “Friday Favorites.”

1. Trader Joe’s Natural Facial Cleansing Pads

trader joes natural facial cleansing pads

One of my best friends introduced these to me on our annual girls’ lake weekend. I have recently been trying to use more natural products, while combating acne. (Seriously, I thought that was supposed to end after high school). These cleansing pads are great! They leave your skin a little tingly but overall clean well and work. Tea Tree Oil is great for fighting blemishes and all sorts of acne.

2. Thayer’s Original Witch Hazel

Thayers original witch hazel
Another skin care favorite, my sister-in-law said she started using witch hazel on her face and loved it. I immediately bought some and have to agree. It is soothing, minimizes pores, feels amazing.

3. Enlightened Ice Cream

enlightened triple chocolate ice cream

Switching gears, I cannot get enough of this ice cream! I’m currently loving the “Triple Chocolate” flavor, but I also love the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Those are the only two flavors I’ve tried (creature of habit), but I will venture out to other flavors because these are seriously amazing! They have more protein than normal ice cream and have fewer calories. I’ve definitely eaten a whole pint in one sitting. The Triple Chocolate has gooey fudge swirls that actually taste like fudge. Yum! I found it to be creamier than competitor Halo Top.

4. WubbaNub


Bennett doesn’t use his pacifiers a ton, but he does like them if he isn’t feeling 100%, needs to calm down, or is a little scared, like after shots or when falling asleep. We both loved the stuffed animal attached. Makes finding it under the crib 10000000x easier. The stuffed animal also becomes Bennett’s friend at night. I’m often watching him on the video baby monitor as he holds his elephant over his head “talking” to him. I imagine he’s sharing all about his day to his bestie before falling asleep. It is adorable!


Those are my current favorites this Friday.

Bennett is Six Months

Bennett is Six Months!

I am really loving this stage. Bennett is starting to get more of a personality every day. He’s so fun!

This month’s highlights include: Bennett getting baptized, me spending my first weekend away from him, and finally, he started solid foods.

Bennett’s baptism was beautiful and so special. Family and friends came out to St. James Catholic church and then to our house for a celebration. I didn’t take nearly enough pictures (especially of the decorations – I put gold cross confetti on every table). B wore a family heirloom gown and bonnet my Oma got in Ireland that three of my cousins wore for their baptisms. It was so special!

baby baptism
He looked like an angel <3

We started solids! We started with rice cereal, then introduced a new food every three days: sweet potatoes, followed by applesauce, then pears, then oatmeal, then bananas, then carrots finally avocado. He loved (in order of preference): 1) carrots, 2) pears, 3) applesauce, 4) oatmeal. He did not like the bananas or avocado. I think it’s a texture thing – he’s just not ready for non-puree yet.

Finally, my weekend away. I went on my annual girls lake weekend with my best friends to Smith Mountain Lake. It was so much fun! But, you guessed it, I missed B a lot. Jimmy did a great job solo Dad-ing. He even worked on Benny holding his own bottle while I was gone.

Typical Day:

7 am wake up & bottle

9 am nap for Ingrid & Bennett in their own rooms

10 am – 5 pm bottles on demand, naps every 1.5 – two hours; in this time, errands/I try to squeeze in a workout/lots of playing

5:30 pm bath

7 pm put Bennett down

7 pm dinner & Ingrid & Jimmy hang out time

B wakes up once a night for a bottle – Ingrid gives him and then sleeps until 7 am

Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 6 months

Weight: 20 lbs

Length: 28.25″

Size: 12 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: light brown

Sleeping:  he typically sleeps from 7 pm to 5:30 am. Wakes to chug a bottle. Then back to sleep until 7 am.

Eating: formula bottles: 6 oz each feeding; some solid foods (see above)

Milestones: “discovered” his feet; started solids; spent his first solo weekend with Daddy; got baptized

Memorable outings: his first vineyard trip

Bennett's first vineyard trip @chrysalisvineyards

A post shared by Ingrid (@ifracine) on

Likes: holding his feet, eating puréed carrots, rolling onto his tummy, getting his face cleaned, moving all the time

Dislikes: staying still, getting strapped in the car seat, not being able to crawl yet

Words/sounds: “a” “ahh” “ohhh” “mmhm”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “B”

Interesting Facts: B loves him some vegetables

Funny moments: Every time he takes a bite of a food, he makes a face, then remembers he likes it and gobbles it down

Looking forward to: introducing more solid foods – it’s so fun!

Photos This Month: