Gear Up: A Month-by-Month Baby Product Guide

    It's been years since you geared up for your baby - now you want to help your kids gear up for theirs - and outfit your home for your grandbaby. The reviewers at Z Recommends fill you in on what's new, what's hot and what's the best buy.

    Gear Up at 7 months of Pregnancy
    Be a savvy grandparent There's no need for you to dig deep into the latest literature of parenting styles and strategies - new parents do best with well-timed input based on your wealth of experience, not your knowledge of the latest trends. The best thing soon-to-be grandparents can do while they wait for the new baby is learn how to fill this special role, and how to do it in a way that reflects the pressures and challenges new parents face in today's rapidly changing world. We recommend these two books - get started now!
    •    The Granny Diaries: An Opinionated How-To Guide. Funny, smart , and on-target, Adair Lara's instruction manual helps grandparents maintain perspective and revel in their new role. It's a quick read that won't teach you anything new about babies but will help you navigate your new relationship with your own kid.
    •    Buy Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds. The baby-product market has mushroomed in the past decade, and this book is a call to arms against aggressive marketing to parents and ever-younger audiences. Buy Buy Baby can help you figure out what Mom and Dad and their baby really need and what marketers have tricked you into thinking they need, and it can help caregivers and gift-givers identify priorities to regain control of their influence on young children. Read it, and then pass it on to the parents.

    Gear Up at 8 months of Pregnancy
    Get ready to "wear" your grandbaby Carrying or "wearing" an infant is one of the best ways for parents to get things done while bonding with their baby, and it can have the same benefit for grandparents. But what works for new moms and dads may be hard on your back. If you plan to be caring for your grandchild on any type of regular basis, consider investing in a soft-structured carrier. Much like a frame backpack, it offers better back support than softer carriers, slings or wraps by placing most of the baby’s weight on your hips rather than your shoulders. The Ergo carrier ( is a great choice. It features an optional insert for carrying newborns and a design that makes it possible to use through toddlerhood (should your back be so inclined). 

    Gear Up at 9 months of Pregnancy
    Babyproof your grandkid's home away from home For many grandparents, baby proofing is an afterthought, but if you hope to be favored babysitters, you'll want to install the latest basic safety devices. Doing so, even if the baby's only visiting for a couple of days, will allow you to make minimal adjustments to your  lifestyle and will also put the anxious new parents' minds at ease. Cabinet and drawer devices, safety gates and outlet covers will most likely be familiar devices from your own parenting years; more recent innovations include blind cord wind-up devices and covers to secure plugged-in cords. A variety of new outlet covers are designed to provide easier access for you when you need to plug something in, but none of them do it very well. A better route might be to combine the inexpensive standard outlet cover with the clever WedgEZ removal tool (, a simple, curved wedge that helps you pry off outlet covers. Keep one with a frequently used appliance, like a vacuum cleaner, or store it in a kitchen drawer. Just make sure that drawer has a safety latch!