When you have a baby, you are inundated with lots of “useful” things that have one purpose — the portable changing pad, the nursing cover-up and more. I suggest instead buying multi-functional items that will work for the long-term when you can.
Those little baby months go by fast, and the baby gear goes out the door before you know it. The baby swing/bassinet/jumper/play mat/bouncer you spent hours researching? You’ll be lucky to get a year of use out of them, tops — even with two kids. I speak from experience.
Today’s hint is one of those products that is portable and multifunctional — it truly goes with you, and grows with you: the RestoPresto. It’s a lightweight, compact pouch that unfolds into a soft, water-repellent fabric piece. The snaps enable you to configure it numerous ways, including these five (and be sure to enter to win a RestoPresto, along with a branded carabiner, mini-stakes and luggage tag, below).
- Nursing cover-up: There are tons of cute nursing cover-ups out there. But what will you do with them when they’re no longer needed? The RestoPresto could easily be used as a nursing cover up. Bonus: It’s UPF 50+.
- Portable diaper changing pad: You can use the RestoPresto on the ground, on a bench, on a changing table, either single layer or doubled up for extra cushioning. Conveniently, it can be clipped to the outside of a bag or stroller with the included carabiner.
- Stroller blanket or shade: The RestoPresto can be used as a lightweight blanket or stroller drape to keep your munchkin warm or the sun away. You can play with anchoring the loops that appear at all four corners for coverage on windy days.
- Sit-upon: I’ve whipped out the RestoPresto at museums, beaches, outdoor concerts, arts festivals, playgrounds, sporting events and more. Anywhere you want a layer between you and the ground (or bench, transit seat, etc.), it’s super handy to have one of these along (or a parachute or shower curtain). The included mini-stakes make it easy to anchor the open mat to the ground on a windy day. (Note: If you have a toddler/preschooler, these stakes are similar to golf tees, and have sharp points. You may want to skip using them for a few years! You can easily weigh down the mat’s corners instead with water bottles, shoes or other heavy objects. I think these mini bean bags would be super-cute, super-safe weights.) You could easily share a RestoPresto with a child – I’d recommend adults each have their own. You can snap them together, too.
- Cover-up blanket or poncho: I had one of these products snapped around my shoulders recently at a waterfront outdoor concert with a stiff breeze. I’ve used it over my lap on a pirate cruise in Florida when the pirates handed out the squirt guns to the kids on board. There are many ways you could use it to help keep you and/or your kid warm and dry in a pinch.
The RestoPresto’s creator, Candi Obrentz, notes, “During research and development, the special fabric that was chosen for RestoPresto was kid-tested for softness and comfort! Also, I’m proud to say that it is designed, assembled and manufactured in the U.S.”
Having a portable, multipurpose piece like this is a huge help – one of those things you don’t really appreciate until you need it, and it’s there. I can fit this in my weekend “mom purse” easily, so it would certainly tuck into a diaper bag, backpack or car trunk.
On a related note, in general I recommend investing in quality, useful recreational gear that will age well over time — things like tents and camping equipment, foldable wagons for gear schlepping, folding chairs for camping or the beach (Hint Mama is a fan of these folding Kelty chairs) — things that you’ll come back to again and again. It’s worth it to pay a little more. I’ve never regretted buying our spacious six-person tent or our life- (and back-!) saving foldable wagon.
When you discover items that can go with you and grow with you as your kids get older – snap them up. You’ll be glad you did!
What portable and multifunctional product do you think parents should know about and why? Share your comments, and be sure to enter to win a RestoPresto, below.
Karen Witham, a mother of two children, spends her time on both sides of the Bay, working full-time as an editor and writer in San Francisco and living in Oakland. A transplant from the East Coast, she spent ten years living in Boston and also loves New York and most of all, Paris. Karen has a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from Emerson College. Connect with her on Twitter at @kewitham or on LinkedIn.
Karen went to high school with the inventor of RestoPresto (shout out to St. Pete High!). She bought all three of her RestoPrestos, really does keep them in her car and/or purse at all times and wasn’t compensated by RestoPresto for this post.