Infant Essentials

9 05 2014

It is amazing how fast time goes by when taking care of a three year old boy and his newborn brother! I can’t believe that First Mate is already four (almost five!) months old…And that it has been four months since my last post. Since we are not sailing at the moment, and have our boat docked at a marina, taking care of a newborn on a sailboat is not that much different than taking care of one in a very small apartment.

Before First Mate was born, I spent a lot of time thinking of items that a newborn/infant needs and then thinking about what can actually fit on the boat. When I checked out equipment/toys/stuff for our First Mate, they had to fulfill our list of criteria or prerequisites. These include:

  1. Being able to serve more than one purpose
  2. Being able to stow away easily
  3. And answering the question, “Do I really need this?”


At the end of the day I also weighed in, would I rather have an uncluttered boat, or does First Mate really need this item and having a cluttered boat is worth it?


So here is my list of items that I think that First Mate needs on a sailboat. Now I realize that trawlers, yachts and catamarans have more space and you may not need to think like I am. But we live on a 42 foot mono hull sailboat that is 13 feet at its widest point so space is the number one consideration with anything to do on this boat.


1. Fisher price rock n play sleeper


Portable and pack able is the name of the game here when stocking a sailboat with newborn/infant items. The fisher price rock n sleep is perfect for first mate to sleep in and hang out in. I love how the baby rests at an incline, the entire sleeper rocks, and it can fold up pretty compactly (and very easily). I purchased an older model at Target for $20 on clearance. The newer models have a vibrating option and music. There has been a lot of press about a recall due to mold in between the two bottom pieces of the sleeper. As long as you regularly wash the fabric piece and keep your eye on the bottom piece for mold, you will be ok. Fisher Price recommends cleaning the rocker with bleach, but I use a vinegar and hydrogen peroxide solution (the same solution I use for removing mold off the boat), and it works just fine.

I did have big plans for using a hammock for first mates sleeping solution. I presented my plans to Capt’n and he made a hammock for first mate. However, it was a lot bulkier than I had suggested in my plans and a lot more cumbersome to set up, so we don’t use it. But if you can make/buy a hammock, that would be a great sleeping option as well. First mate sleeps in the main cabin in the sailboat. We pull out the couch to make a full size bed and he sleep in the sleeper in the bed. So far so good.


2. Ingenuity convert me portable swing


I spent months looking for the perfect swing for first mate. The swing had to be durable, comfortable, and portable. Although this model may not be the perfect one out there, it certainly suits our needs. I love how this swing can lock and become a bouncer. Any item that serves multiple functions is great to have on a sailboat! I will say that I do get annoyed having to take out and put away the swing every time I want to use it. Maybe that is just highlighting my laziness more than anything. The swing/bouncer is lovely for when first mate is awake and doesn’t want to lie down in his sleeper, but when I.need to put him down somewhere.


3. Aiden and Anis muslin swaddle blankets


I love these blankets so much! I love the large size of the blankets.  I love the multifunctionality of these blankets. I use them for swaddling, for changing diapers, for nursing, and for laying on the ground when we are hanging out outside. I also love the breathability of these blankets. First mate loves to put blankets over his head. I don’t have to be too concerned when he decides to put these muslin blankets over his face because he can breathe through them. Now of course I don’t leave the blanket on his head, but at least I don’t have to be paranoid about it. There are probably many other brands of large muslin swaddle blankets, but Aiden and Anis are the only ones I own and can comment on.


4. Bumbo




What a great invention. The Bumbo is a great piece to add to your infant boat supplies. Yes it is a bit bulky, but it is still a manageable size. The Bumbo is great for an assisted sitter (that first mate is already!). It allows them to sit up and view the world from a different perspective, as well as strengthening their muscles. The Bumbo also offers a tray attachment that I am sure will be good to have once First Mate starts eating solid food. Bumbos are also fairly reasonably priced. I actually bought a used Bumbo at a thrift store for $5.00. It did not come with a seatbelt (all Bumbos come with seat belts now), but I was able to contact Bumbo and they sent me a seatbelt attachment free of charge.


5. Toys to hang from ceiling


I love being able to hang toys from the ceiling for First Mate to play with or look at. Hanging toys from the ceiling saves space, and you don’t have to buy a separate activity mat or mobile. And sailboats have many places to hang items (and in this case, toys).

6. Onesies and baby leggings


Maybe it is just my personality, living on a boat, or having two children, but I do not like dressing First Mate. It takes me ages and those are valuable minutes I could be doing other things. Also, living in Florida during the winter and spring months, the temperature can be 50 degrees at night and in the morning, and 90 degrees by afternoon. I for one do not want to change First Mate 10 times a day if I don’t have too. And now along comes onesies and baby leggings. I love these. You will see First Mate in them every day. I put leggings and socks on First Mate in the morning and at night time, and take them off during the day. It also makes for a sure easy diaper change because I don’t have to take any clothes off – I just have to unsnap the onesie. Perfect outfit for a sailing baby.

7. Hat and sunglasses


Imperative items for a sailing baby. Right now we have baby banz for First Mate. We also have about 10 different hats for First Mate. Some are baseball cap style, some are wide brimmed, some have clips that attach under the chin, some are waterproof. Basically, you can never have enough hats.

8. Baby carrier.


I have two: a Moby and an Ergo. I love both. I love the Moby as there are many different positions you can put your baby in. I love how it fits on my shoulders. I do not love how long it takes me to put on. I didn’t mind the five minutes of preparation when I had only one child, but with a three year old, five minutes seems like an eternity. I don’t always have the luxury of putting on the Moby, so my go to baby carrier has been the Ergo. Don’t get me wrong, I also love the Ergo. I love the ease of putting it on. I love the ease of putting First Mate in and out of the carrier. I love how you can put the baby on your back using the Ergo (but First Mate it too small for that right now). Having First Mate in a carrier is a must when getting on and off the boat. It is also really handy when I go out with Capt’n in Training to the park or for a walk with the dogs.

So here is my list of items that I love using for my newborn/infant while living on a sailboat. Enjoy!