Friday, October 31, 2014

One Mommas Guide to All Things Baby Gear

Hi all!  Following on the heels of my all things diaper post, I offer you my guide to baby stuff.  This started off as an e-mail to a friend who was heading to register for her first baby, and I decided to expand it to share with the rest of you.  I shouldn't have to say it, but yes yes...people feel strongly about baby gear (though perhaps not as strongly as they do about diapers...?!?!).  These are just my recommendations of things I have used and liked...feel free to disagree (nicely) or leave some of your favorite baby items in the comments.  I love to hear what others use.  So without further ado....

My Top Cannot-Do-Without Baby Items
  • Ergo Carrier
    1) Ergo carrier- I L.O.V.E mine and use it a ton for the first several years.  I wouldn't go so far as to say I could not parent without it, but I sure wouldn't want to! It is good from about 3 months til long after you'd need it. I can still carry my three year old in it. There is a newborn insert you can purchase, but I tend to like a Moby Wrap (well, my homemade knock off) better when they are itty bitties. 

    I know a lot of new moms register for a Baby Bjorn or Snuggli (like I did).  There are two reasons I have come to prefer the Ergo.  First, it puts the weight of the child on my hips rather than my neck and shoulders.  Second, it puts the baby's weight on his butt (he sits on his bottom with his legs splayed...which looks weird, but is comfy for a baby). The Bjorn hangs him straight down, putting all the pressure on his crotch. I know which one I would choose!
    SwaddleMe Blanket
    2) Swaddle blankets- We love the Halo Sleep Sacks (with the swaddling wings) or, cheaper and just as good, the Kiddopotamous SwaddleMe blankets. They both have velcro on them to keep the kid swaddled. All three of ours really loved the comfort of being swaddled...I know some people are against them because they can interfere with breastfeeding, but I never found that to be a problem, and I credit the swaddling with the fact that our babies were happy to sleep in their cribs most of the time.  Obviously, if you want them to sleep with you, swaddling probably isn't the best idea, but it worked really well for our needs.  Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp is an interesting book on calming fussy infants, and he suggests swaddling, so that is where we originally got the idea.  Not like swaddling is a new idea...hello Mary and Jesus!
    This kid would sleep anywhere swaddled...even in the middle of a room renovation!
    Blankie- any kind will do, but get two!

    3) BlankiesEach of my kids has two, identical blankets that they got the day they were born.  I start wrapping them up in them when I nurse them, and teach them to associate comfort, sleep and mama with these blankets.  When they are tired/upset/scared/away from home or mama, blankie goes a long way.  Wherever blankie is, sleep is not far behind.  And TRUST two and swap them out when you wash them so that they both wear equally.  You won't regret it!

    Much loved blankies
    Pack n Play
     4) Pack n Play- We use ours all the time, and wherever it is, my babies will generally sleep (especially if blankie is there, too). Our kids all slept in our room in the pack n play when they were tiny.  I would even set it up in the kitchen as a safe place for toddlers to play for a few minutes when I need to step away or pull something out of the oven.  They kind of liked being in there (where nobody steals their toys!)  It travels well, and you can pull it out when little people come to visit as well.  Doubles as a ball pit.
    Good for learning to stand up, too!
    Medela Pump in Style
    5) A good breast pump- Don't go with a cheap brand here. I have a Medela Pump in Style that I love.  I have done my very best to use it to death, and yet it pumps on.  They sell Medela parts at Target, which is handy.  Be sure that you get the right size really matters. And along these lines, be sure you find a good lactation consultant or breastfeeding group.  The first months can be incredibly hard and frustrating, so find some expert advice. It is worth persevering through, because after the first few months you'll have many months of happy, easy, free feeding ahead of you.  I think you'll forgive me if I forgo the personal picture of this item.  So onto the next...

    Britax Marathon Convertible Carseat
    6) A Great Convertible Carseat- this is one thing I wish I had registered for.  I got so caught up in choosing the infant carseat that I didn't realize that four months down the line my big ol' baby would outgrow it and I would be shelling out for the next step up.  I have tried several brands and I highly recommend Britax. Splurge on the convertible carseat- do not get a cheap will be wrestling with this thing for years...and what you don't pay in cash, you'll pay in frustration!
    See how happy she is that we bought a good brand?  Or is it because we bought a pink one?

    There are a million and one other things you can get for a baby, but these are my personal favorites.  If you see something you never knew you needed, probably don't.  Rubber duck bath thermometers, crib tents, toilet locks, diaper wipes warmers, electric nose suckers, 1000x magnifying nail clippers- all these can be nice, but they are not that important.  Stick to the basics, and then purchase things as needed...aka, register for giftcards!

    Also, don't forget to think about your needs.  Many people told me to take care of myself, which was frustrating because I felt like they were telling me I had to leave my baby and go out, which is tough to do at first. I have come to realize that little comfy pants, a really nice fitting nursing bra, yummy tea or coffee with frou frou creamer are all things that make me feel taken care of post-baby without needing to leave home.  Certainly get stuff for the baby, but don't forget a few things for yourself as well!

**This post contains no affiliate links, and I have not been compensated in any way for any of these opinions.  These are just things I have used and loved.  Lucky advertising!**

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