I loooooved baby gear posts when I was pregnant. Advice from real moms about what worked for their babies was like crack for me. Almost expensive as real crack too. Actually, I have no idea how much crack costs on the black market these days (or any past days, for that matter), but it seems like drug habits are pretty expensive, and baby stuff is DEFINITELY expensive, so. I am sticking with my analogy of crack to baby gear.
Here is where I give you the usual disclaimer about how all babies are different and what works for us may not work for you. But selfishly, this post is not really for or about you, it is actually about me saying a big fat thank you to the people who created or gifted us with these things, without which our quality of life over the past few months would have suffered. And also saying, hey, manufacturers, maybe lower your prices a little bit? Seriously, Momma needs to be able to afford formula (which is also probably more expensive than crack, I would be willing to bet).
We call this Miracle Blanket the baby strait jacket. And then we follow it up by calling it the most awesome thing ever. There is a reason that this is first on our list, and that is because we genuinely believe this sucker helps our butternut sleep better. In the hospital, there was this one pediatrician who could swaddle like nobody's business. In fact, when we mentioned this super tight swaddle to the nurses, they went, "Oh, Dr. So-and-So? Yeah, nobody can swaddle as well as him." Well, we certainly can't. We left the hospital without having honed our swaddling skills, and that was a mistake.
What was not a mistake was registering for a Miracle Blanket. It is like swaddling for dummies. Lay baby on blanket, tuck little flaps over arms to strap 'em in, tuck little legs in pocket, and then wrap wrap wrap. Don't be afraid to wrap tightly. Babies liked to be wrapped super tight, and I have not broken George yet. El Hub and my mother are total wusses and do not wrap him as tightly as I do, and George always manages to bust out, punch himself in the face, and wake up. That makes Momma sad.
Cloth diaper prefolds used as burp cloths
George's tummy woes mean that he spits up a lot. But I have been assured that all babies spit up, despite all those parents I have seen burping their babies without a burp cloth. Seriously people, isn't your baby going to explode all over you? Anyway, this was a cheap and handy route to make sure all rooms in our house have clean burp cloths handy. We started with four or five packs, and that was a good number for us with our laundering frequency.
George's tummy woes also mean he has to sit upright for 20 or 30 minutes after a feeding, and this Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker is the most upright seat in our house. I pop him in there and have that much time to pump, take a shower, prepare food, and do laundry. Or make goofy faces at him, which is what ends up happening at least half the time.
After George's belly has settled and he has had enough cuddle time (he is an independent kiddo, unafraid of whining until we put him down. Well. FINE, GEORGE, I DIDN'T WANT TO CUDDLE WITH YOU EITHER. *sob*), this is usually where he goes. It comes with a few toys, and has little holes through which you can hook your own toys for variety. He just loves this thing, and can happily stay here until he is ravenously hungry.
We have a few different carriers for a few different purposes. Our pouch is handy for quickly popping George in for a quick errand, like walking to the mailbox (I actually credit our pouch for helping to protect George since my hands were more free to break our fall). Our other favorite carrier is a Beco Butterfly II, which is very similar to the more well known Ergo soft-structured buckle carrier. The Beco is nice because there is a thin layer of material between you and the baby, but any carrier like this is great for longer days since the buckles distribute the weight more evenly across your hips and your back.
We thought George would stay in our room for the first few months, and that it would be especially convenient for breastfeeding for the first few months. Ha! Hahahaha! Oh, preconceived notions about parenthood, so funny and futile. The truth is, we were all waking one another up. We are all noisy sleepers, and none of us were sleeping well. We moved George into his nursery at five weeks and he promptly started sleeping longer and longer stretches of sleep. The only reason I could do this without anxiety was because of the Angelcare monitor. We tested it out enough to feel comfortable that it would alert us in case anything happened to George during the night.
Folding Bath Tub
We use the (and I say this fondly) el-cheapo Safety 1st Sink Snuggler Baby Bather, and it works great for us. There will be years of breaking our backs bending over the bathtub to bathe the baby, but for now this makes it easy for us to use our kitchen sink instead. It also stows away so it takes up very little space. Confession: George gets bathed more frequently since we purchased this item.
Want to do something wonderful for the new parents in your life? Bring them food. Preferably freezer and oven friendly food - so they can freeze it if they are fortunate enough to have an overabundance of food that day, or can throw it in the oven and ignore it while they tend to their bundle of joy.
In those early days, it is so difficult to take the time to think about feeding yourself rather than your baby. Thank you to every person who brought us food. El Hub and I agreed that this should be a requirement for anyone who wants to visit an adorable newborn - bring those tired parents some food. They will be so grateful. The generosity of people this kind and thoughtful only goes so far, so be sure to stock up on frozen food that can just be tossed in the oven for minimal attention required.
Baby Connect App
In those first few weeks of life, the pediatricians want parents tracking feedings and diaper output. This Baby Connect app made it ridiculously easy. El Hub and I both had it on our phones and were able to link our accounts so we could both input information about everything from stool color to naptimes. I still use it to track feedings and sleep.
Sometimes you will do ANYTHING to get your baby to sleep. White noise helps. The ocean waves setting on the Sleep Sheep is George's favorite, but I met a few mommies who swear by an app that is just a recording of a guy shushing over and over and over and over again. Which, if you have ever tried to do yourself, and I have, it is exhausting. So buy the Sleep Sheep. Or the app. Or an adult sound machine. Whatever it takes, dude.
Sometimes snaps are just too much work. And socks. Especially since babies are so skilled at losing socks. So just buy these footed zipper pajamas and have your baby wear them constantly. I promise, they will still be sooooooo cute without the super fancy outfits, and their feet will be warm too.
Well, this was a long list, but I honestly would not trade in any of these items. And spoiler alert to any real life friends who may be baking any buns in their ovens anytime soon, these are what I am likeliest to be gifting at future baby showers for years to come. Now to figure out what will help us survive the next few months of George's baby-hood.