Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Baby Essentials.

Hi friends,  it seems like a lot of my friends are getting pregnant and I wanted to share a registry list that came from my friend Tara. Tara was so thorough in compiling this list that I felt selfish hoarding her insight. If you are expecting, I hope this helps! I have added my two cents in red.


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The following is a list of baby items that worked really well for me, or that came highly recommended. I keep adding to the list and passing it on as I learn new things. Registering is overwhelming, so it is always helpful to have a little guidance to get you through the rows of seemingly identical products.

FEEDING

1) First of all, my breastfeeding soap box. Breastfeeding is hard - especially for the first month. That's partially why everyone is so emphatic about it - because it is really, really hard for many people. IF you decide to breastfeed, please give yourself the freedom to decide at any point that it's not working for you. It DOES get easier, but it is exhausting. I dropped an F-bomb every time Hudson latched on for the first three weeks. Then, we both adjusted and we kept it up until 8 months. One day, he just decided he was done! He was too busy to slow down to nurse. That was another hard transition, but I've heard it's easier if they stop it on their own.
IF you decide to do it, here's what helped me:
  • Occasionally attending a local "breastfeeding support group" (at A Woman's Place in Tallahassee) really helped. There's a lactation consultant on site, and you can see how much baby is getting at each feeding. And you feel like maybe your breasts aren't so weird after all because you see a lot of weird ones. :)
  • On day 7, I had my first pump-and-bottlefeed day, and it was a glorious break. I incorporated them regularly. Plus, I really liked knowing exactly how much he was eating.
  • Spring for a GOOD pump. I like the Medela Swing in Style. (Two months of bf will pay for the pump vs. formula feeding).
  • If you don't get a hands-free pump, go for the pumping bustier so your hands can be free. It looks weird, but it's great. 
  • Also - you should invest in a waterproof mattress for YOUR bed, if you don't have one already. Your breasts will leak, your baby will pee...a million things will try to defy the integrity of your mattress.
  • Even if you exclusively BF, I was told to give your baby a bottle by the time they are 3 weeks old so they get used to eating from both. I loved this advice because other people could feed Reid and he was not exclusively dependent on me. Introduce it early so they learn to take it.
2) IKEA's Antilop High Chair - $20. It got great reviews, it's easy to clean, and it is easily disassembled. LOVE it. One of the best purchases I've made. Feeding is a mess and I suggest a high chair that does not have a stitch of fabric on it.
3) BOTTLES - I recommend maybe getting 1-2 of several different brands but NOT investing in anything until you see what kind the baby likes. Save some giftcards for this. We went with Dr. Brown's, and he likes them, but there are SO many pieces. I'm a little weary. :) Also, an assortment of pacifiers, if you can get your baby to try it. Also, a bottle warmer (especially one that sanitizes the pacifiers).
4) BOTTLE GEAR - Get a bottle cleaner that has a suction cup end so it stays up, and the Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack which holds everything easily.
5) NURSING BRAS - I bought them at Target for $20, and they worked well for me. The one I paid $40 for, I never wore because it was kind of grandma-ish. Nursing camis - also at Target - are very helpful.
6) BREAST PADS -Use Lasinoh. Also, Soothies came highly recommended by another friend, especially for the first week. I am that friend! Soothies saved my life that first week. 
7) BOPPY - I like this over My BrestFriend because it can be used to prop him up before he can roll over, and I used it for a long time after he was done breastfeeding just to snuggle with him. However, I know many people who love My BrestFriend. Both are helpful for feeding.
8) BUMBO - We liked this, but my little linebacker pushed up out of this, so it had a short run at our house. I've seen others use it for a nice long time.
9) CLOTH DIAPERS - get the thin ones, and they dry easily and can be used to clean up messes in a pinch (This is not an endorsement for cloth diapers instead of disposable. Just to use the cloth diapers as easy clean-up cloths. Although cloth diapers are a much cheaper alternative over the long haul...I don't trust myself to stay on top of the laundry.)
10) Splat Mat - Our dining room table is over a big rug, and Hudson was ruining it when we started feeding him in the high chair. This has saved us. 
11.) Plastic Bib- easy for cleaning, just don't put them in the dryer like I did. They melt. 


SLEEPING/PLAYING
1) LAMB SWING - someone gave us this, and Hudson slept in it for the first 4 months. It was like a beautiful drug. We bought another one and took it to our babysitter's - that's how crucial we thought it was. You can usually find this, or a similar one, for $50-$60 on consignment.  Reid hated the swing. H-A-T-E-D it. We packed it up and hopefully the next child will like it.
2) GRACO JUMPER -This is the second jumper we bought him, and he LOVES it. Goes crazy in it. You can usually find it at baby consignment stores for $10-$15. NOTE: Pay attention to your door frames before purchasing. Thick, high molding will not work. (Right, Ash?) :) It sounds so pretentious, the molding on our house was too high for the jumper. Luckily, the molding on the addition upstairs was small enough.
3) MESH BUMPERS - I got paranoid about using real bumpers, so I bought some mesh ones. They're not as pretty, but they do the job, and I sleep better knowing he's less likely to suffocate.
4) Anything that will be an extra set of arms for you will be golden. The bumbo, the lamb swing, the jumper, a playmat, the pack n play - all are lifesavers. Hudson also liked this bouncer for about 2 months, and then he got too antsy for it. Still totally worth it because it gave me a break. :)
5) Let me say the Pack n Play again. It's what you will probably use until your baby is in a big kid bed. Crucial. We used the Arms Reach co-sleeper for the first 6 weeks. He was right by my bed and it seemed like a little luxury to not have to get up to feed him.
6) I am addicted to my video monitor - I just NEED to know that, if he's crying, that he's okay. It also helps to see whether he's laying down or standing up - which helps me see how long I need to be strong. It helps me not check on him incessantly. That being said, we got the Summer Infant video monitor ($170-ish) and it gets a lot of feedback from our wireless router and I couldn't sleep at night because of the static. We now use two monitors simultaneously - our video monitor and the Sony BabyCall (which we love because it has a "voice-activated" feature and is otherwise silent). I would recommend getting a video monitor that mentions that it doesn't interfere with wireless routers. In thinking about baby #2, I'd also recommend one that has an expandable system so you can add rooms. In total: video, low interference from wifi, expandable. (Samsung has a good one.). We have the Motorola monitor and I've loved it.
7) I have some friends who swear by the Nap Nanny. We didn't have one, but I've heard wonderful things about it! I kind of want to take on nap on that right now.
8) When Hudson got a little older, we got this (the other side is a mirror) and put it in his crib. He still loves it!
9) No great advice on cribs, but you'll need one. :)
10) Swaddle blankets and/or Velcro swaddle blankets.  The Velcro ones are much easier to secure and are great for keeping kids in lockdown so they don’t startle themselves awake.
11) Sound machine and blackout curtains

DIAPER BAG/TRAVEL
1) They sell these doggie bags for babies that clip on to your diaper bag - good for messy diapers when you're out and sectioning off messy clothes.
2) Waterproof pads - I use the fabric ones everywhere.
3) Car mirror - You will want to see baby's face when you're driving.
4) Ergobaby carrier - this is expensive, but it's amazing - and it goes up to 45 pounds. The Bjorn also comes highly recommended. I have the Bjorn and would recommend the Ergo. I also have the K'Tan, which was nice when Reid was small, but now it's too small for him.
5) To Go diaper changing pad - I do NOT recommend a cloth one of these. A vinyl one is fine, and it wipes clean. The cloth one ended up in the wash every other day. Terrible.
6) Aden & Anais blankets - thin and cute - LOVE THEM!
7) Robeez Shoes - when baby starts pulling off his or her socks, these are a must. They're soft, they keep the socks on, and baby can't get them off. The Target version seems to work well, too. In my opinion, shoes are wasted on babies until they're starting to walk. Their only purpose seemed to be keeping socks on during the colder months.
8) I also don't have great advice on a baby travel system. We have Chicco and we like it, but the mega-sized stroller was too much for our bitty cars. I love a removable infant carrier (vs. a stationary car seat like they get when they're older)...Lots of people I know love some higher-end strollers (BOBs, etc.) that they love! This one has done the trick for us. I might also look into some of the jogging stroller/infant carrier systems they have now. We use the Chicco KeyFit 30 with the caddy base. It's worked great for shopping trips or restaurants up until 6 months. Also, I love the Bob with this adapter for going on walks/runs (who am I kidding, I've ran once since I had him).
9) Diaper Champ lets you use any trash bag instead of purchasing refills for the Diaper Genie.

BOOKS
1) Happiest Baby on the Block
2) The Baby Whisperer
3) Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

MISCELLANEOUS
1) Fels Naptha - This is a stain removal bar that looks like soap - you can get it at Publix. It has gotten out most of the early stains - even after I washed the clothes once. (More difficult once we got to messy solid food.)
2) SCHYLLING TOYS - At the moment, I am in love with almost anything by this brand. I also like Melissa and Doug and Manhattan Toy
3) Rattle Ball
4) Sophie the Giraffe - As much as I hate that he likes a $30 squeaky toy, it has earned its weight in gold. Look, they are down to $18. I wish I invented this toy. Reid is obsessed as well, totally worth the money
5.) OXO candela night light. This provides a dim light when you remove the white lantern piece from the wall. It helps when you are trying to change a diaper in the middle of the night but don't want to flick the overhead light on.

EXTRA ADVICE:

1) If you go for Babies R Us, ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE PROPERLY LINKED YOUR REWARDS CARD TO YOUR REGISTRY. Apparently you can get some credit for everything people get you. We didn't, because we didn't realize this wasn't linked until after our last shower.
2) If you happen to end up having a C-section (mine really wasn't bad), ask the hospital for an abdominal binder before you leave the hospital. Insurance covered mine. It will help you get up and moving a lot faster. The ones you can buy off the street are around $100 and they slip around a lot more.
3) Go for sleepers with zippers! Also, two-piece pjs work well. If you have to change them in the middle of the night, and they're screaming and squirming, getting a zillion of those snaps together is almost impossible. Agreed, agreed, agreed!
4) They're always coming up with new inventions. I got this rock n'play sleeper for a friend recently, and she swears by it: Who knows - this might also go on my must-buy list for baby #2! 

Thanks Tara, this made my life a lot easier and I hope others find it helpful. I also recommend checking out Lucie's List. What have we left out? Please share your favorite items. 

2 comments:

the heller family said...

Love this list! Even on baby #3 there are still some items I didn't know about. I am a big fan of getting a pack n play with a built in cozy sleeper bassinet and skipping the bassinet and co sleeper since you will use the pack n play long term. I would also say borrow big baby gear like swings and exersaucer to find out if your child likes them before taking the plunge. No need for storing big items that don't get used. My girls hated the swing too!

Anonymous said...

FYI, the nap nanny has been implicated in 5 infant deaths - in the news now - might want to take that one off.

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20121206/nap-nanny-recall

Otherwise looks good!