1-Year-Old Product Review

If there is ever a post you wish I would write please let me know! Sometimes I don’t think about stuff but then I hear a suggestion and realize it is an excellent idea. This post brought to you by instagram and the lovely ladies there who requested I talk about the stuff we use for Gabe now that he hasturned 1.

I had a really hard time trying to figure out what we could use/needed for Gabe’s birthday. I searched and searched the web for “toys for 1 year olds!” but the lists were small and it all really depends on where the kids are at developmentally. We also are still in an apartment, space is always a concern, and we don’t have a driveway or a personal garage to store wagons or scooters or what-have-you.

The last time I did this was for newborn stuff and I think between newborn and 1-years-old you can kind of wing it. Want a bumbo chair? Rock on. High chair? There are millions of options. (We have the Peg Perego Siesta. Pricier option, but I only plan on buying 1 for multiple children and this one doesn’t make me crazy.)We got a jump-a-roo thingy when Gabe was around 4-ish months to replace the mamaroo. It looks like this kind of, but we have an older model. I have an unofficial rule that there can only be 1 large plastic thing in my living room at any given time. Other toys can be scooted away or put in a toy organizer or whatever. So only 1 stationary-esque plastic-y thing.

So! For 1 year olds. The jump-a-roo thing was done for after we moved to Seattle. The move broke parts of it and Gabe was too mobile to want to be restrained in anything anymore. A couple weeks before his birthday we got him an activity table.


We got the “Bright Starts Having a Ball Get Rollin’ Activity Table” and it is so fun! It is not nearly as big as I thought it would be. It stands maybe 1.5 feet high and everything on it makes some sort of song or noise or teaches Gabe a color or letter, or animal name etc. The best part is that we can set it to Spanish to help him with his bilingual stuff. Honestly, I do prefer wooden toys and most of the things we have are wooden, imaginative play stuff. But this is really cool. The little sing songs don’t bother me and I can sit and play with him, even beyond his attention span, and I am totally entertained. We keep it in the middle of our living room rug and he can crawl over to it, pull himself up, push some buttons and dance away. Or he loves to shove random stuff into the ball hole and then I fish it out for him. I think we’ll get some excellent use out of it.

So Gabe is not yet walking and I think it is partially balance and partially he is faster at crawling, so I wanted to get a pushcart for him. He is totally content pushing a box around our living room, so I knew it didn’t need to be fancy, but I wanted to get something that was multi-use and not just for pushing, since he could walk any week now and then what would be the use? So we asked for the EverEarth Activity Walker for his birthday and it was the hit of the party.


Gabe scoots it all around, when he gets into a jam he now has learned how to readjust it or turn it around and he is a movin’ machine with his scooty scoot. Plus he loves the little mallet it comes with and whacks on the front stuff with reckless abandon. If your kid likes to push stuff around, I highly highly recommend adding this to your list.Β 

This is not a product, but an idea that works really well in our house. We have about 4 remotes and we barely even use 1. Some of them do actually do things, though, if the buttons are pushed. Some of them really won’t do anything. We’ve allocated 1 remote that is not in use as Gabe’s Remote. Because he is about all things he can’t have, goes after cell phones, and controllers, and remotes with gusto, it works pretty well to say, “nope, that one isn’t yours but look! Here is one you can play with!” So, if this is at all a possibility in your house, might be something to look into.

The bumbleride stroller is still my all time favoritest thing in the entire world. We recently got stopped by a pregnant couple wanting to pick our brain about it. I could have just kept talking and talking and talking.

For carseats we have upgraded to the Diono Radian RXT Convertible Carseat. Gabe grew out of his infant car seat so dang fast. And this option (with the additional “wedge” you can buy to assist with fitting it in the back seat of small cars) actually fits BETTER in our Yaris than the infant car seat did. I can scoot the passenger seat back to a normal space and my knees aren’t literally touching the dash.


It is a bummer that these car seats are such a pain to install into cars because it makes it annoying while traveling (Do we take it with? It is so fucking heavy!) and it means we always have to drive places if we are meeting up with friends/family instead of hitching a ride for convenience. But! This car seat will turn into a booster and will be the last car seat Gabe experiences. I’m glad we had the infant car seat while we did so we could bring it into the house or pop it onto the stroller, but I do see the added value of just buying 1 car seat from the beginning. Oh and remember how I HATED our Graco infant car seat? This one is so much easier to get Gabe into! The straps do not take a weird amount of force to latch and the whole set up is just a thousand times nicer. We could not be happier.

Another thing we’ve changed Β – our carrier. We initially had the Ergo with the newborn insert, but that thing was really hard for me to put on by myself. This is a case of you-don’t-know-what-you’re-missing-until-you-try-something-else. So Gabe was getting really frustrated in his carrier and never wanted to be in it because it only faced in. Around the time that he was maybe 3 or 4 months old I needed to travel with him alone and this ended up happening twice I think. I needed a way to get him, and me, and my other crap through the airport all by myself. We ended up getting a Lillebaby off Amazon because Gabe could be in 6 different positions, front back, side, out, in, and fetal for newborns.


Once we got it, it was like the heavens opened up – it was so easy to put on, there is a back support cushion thing, Gabe chews all over the front part, often falls asleep in it facing our or in, and now I evangelize it every chance I get. I don’t know if it is a body shape thing, or what – but this is up and away better than the Ergo. It is so perfectly padded and comfortable, I can’t get over it. I don’t think we’ll ever use the Ergo again moving forward, even with future newborns. This carrier is just too awesome.

Oh yeah, and last but not least, we also got a way bigger crib because Gabe just straight up grew out of his other, small crib. I think that if you had a normal (not consistently in the 99th % for all things growth-wise) child, they could have easily lasted a full year in the small crib, but no… not Gabe. It got to the point where he couldn’t roll over. And thanks to my mom (thank you moooooooom) after we moved up to Seattle we just never rebuilt the old little one (to be used for future small babies) and got hooked up with the pretty white crib we have now.


I don’t even know the name of the crib we bought. I just tired searching Β for it on babiesRus by photos and I really have no clue. It’s so funny because initially I was like “I want something stylish but not too stylish and I want it to be really affordable and it needs to be X size and blahblah” and now I’m like “kid is giant, must get crib we don’t hate.” So, voila!


I think those are the big ticket items so far. If anyone has questions about specifics, please leave them in comments (or email me! Always an options! betterinrealife at the gmails). And if any other parent has a favorite product for 1ish year olds, let me know as well.

18 thoughts on “1-Year-Old Product Review”

  1. your reviews are always so informative and super helpful! my husband and i are trying for a baby right now and i’ve been bookmarking all of your suggestions and reviews! ps. i love your blog and read all of your posts. someday if you write a book, i’ll be crazy pumped to buy/read that too!! πŸ™‚

    1. You are so very kind. I was thinking about this comment all day yesterday. I hope one day I CAN write a book that lots of people read and enjoy. Now just to figure out what to write about…. πŸ™‚

  2. I just spent 10 minutes describing your reviews to Alex and saying “this will be SO HELPFUL in the future!” So, it goes without saying, I greatly enjoy these reviews πŸ™‚

    1. With all of my awful typos!! I went in to fix them and realized it was live and then was too busy to work on it. Ahhh. But I fixed them now. πŸ™‚

  3. Thank you for this! I am bookmarking this post because I was just thinking about convertible seats for the future. The infant seat fits ok in my Civic, but I was terrified that a convertible seat would be too big for it. Your review reassures me that I’ll be able to fit at least the Diono Radian into my car.

    Also, I just went back to reread your newborn product review, so I have to comment on this – we have the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant seat, and I love it. It doesn’t have any of the issues you had with the Graco, and the newborn insert goes up to 11 pounds, I think we used it for the first 3 months of my daughter’s life. So, in case you need a newborn seat for future references, I recommend this one.

  4. Thank you for posting this! We also have a Yaris and the Graco infant seat, which takes up so much space, and our baby hates! Been looking at the Diono Radian, great to know it fits well, just not sure if we should get it now and switch at 4 months, or wait until she outgrows it.

    1. It does take up so much space! Arrgghh! The convertible car seats get better. I would wait until she grows out of it, just to get your money’s worth… unless you are fedup with our knees on the dash. And! Once the kid can face forward, it’s like a whole new space saving world out there! (I imagine!)

  5. Yay! Thank you! I should probably just start blogging again, but I’ll throw in some other reviews here for you (and readers). We have this jumper and I love that it will convert to an activity table. Also, all the toys have individual on/off switches, which I find nice for some reason. We are currently using the Babyhttp://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/Baby-Trend-reg-Flex-Loc-Infant-Car-Seat-in-Baltic/1040747743?Keyword=car+seats Trend Flex Loc car seat, which is still great at 7 months. Our guy is a bit of a peanut, though. I ordered the Lillebaby and I am so excited for it to arrive! We have memberships to our aquarium and Elliott hates facing in. It’s much harder to see the Lionfish and the sharks. I’m going to research the carseat some more for when we need to upgrade.

    Next post: baby clothes, please. I want half of Gabe’s wardrobe (and yours!)

    1. Ha! Well! For outfits… I have a few rules. If it comes in something other than blue, I always pick that option. It’s hard though, I feel like I have to try and retrain my brain to not just go with the easy lazy choice of grey/black/blue. It is just overwhelming common. Second rule: I only shop at Gymboree or Gap during sales and only shop in their sale sections if they do not have an overwhelming “40% off everything!” situation happening. Third rule: Target.

      And the special bonus: My parents buy an outfit for him every couple months from Costco. And we get some fun things from Kamel’s sister in Miami.

      As far as my clothes? HAHAHA. Thanks, but I feel like I barely have it together 99.9% of the time. πŸ™‚

      1. Lauren, try H&M! I buy ALL his clothing from there…and it’s super reasonable. He lives in their $4 sweat pants and $4 onesies…his high tops are from there too!

  6. Question from a person for whom babies just approached the far flung horizon…. could a newborn ride in this carseat? Or do you have to buy a newborn carseat and then buy another one???

    Lauren I love love your product reviews, also your approach of quality over quantity baby outlook!!!

  7. We just changed over to the Radian also! We LOVE it. It is so sturdy and yes, heavy…but I never used the infant carrier part of the infant seat, so it doesn’t make a difference to me. We’re gunna just keep on using it til he can’t use it anymore! Love the suggestion for the carrier–we needed one, and Weston is a tall kid, too!

  8. We LOVE our Diono, but we got a different model, the XT100 or something. I was sold once I realized it’s the LAST seat I ever need to buy. I feel the same though – it IS heavy and installing is a bear… curious if you just used it for your trip to Miami or not? We have a second seat in my mom’s car and we usually travel with that cheaper/lighter one.
    Also I am an Ergo diehard so I am intrigued by your carrier reviews. Will have to keep that in mind!
    We were also in the “only one plastic item at once” camp but now that he’s older, there’s no big item in the living room, yay! If you are looking ahead for new toys in a few months I’d recommend any musical instrument and any animal toys. Both seem to have a long life (going strong from 12-20mos). We love our Melissa & Doug barn and animals and then I grab any plastic animals when I see them out. Z loves to line them up in a parade and put them in and out of the barn.

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