Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mama's Favorite Baby Items 0-6 Months

I've been meaning to write a post about my favorite baby items for a while now, but I keep forgetting.  It's like I'm sleep-deprived or something... Several of my close friends and family members have asked for advice when starting their baby registries lately, so I figured I'd share with all of you what I've shared with them. Honestly, there's not right or wrong answer when it comes to baby gear. A lot of it depends on your baby, personal taste/preferences, storage space, and budget. And just when you think you've thought of everything and have it all purchased and arranged (and rearranged) in the exact right place, baby comes! Then you spend the next several weeks and months rearranging/exchanging/adjusting to do what feels right. That's ok, it's called motherhood! But, while it's fresh on my mind, after doing it for the second time, here's a list of my favorite baby registry items and must-haves (according to us!). Mind you some of these have changed and been added this go-around. Every baby is so different!
Has it really been 6 months?!

Has it really been almost 3 YEARS?!

1. Diapers: I like Huggies for newborn because of the umbilical cut out.  After that Pampers (less bulky and seem to fit better) except for the nighttime diapers, we use Huggies.

2.  Serta perfect dream crib mattress - good SIDS rating, reasonably priced. (Not sure if this exact one is made still, but this seems to be the newer version of it.) Be sure to have a couple extra crib sheets and mattress covers.  While you're at it, get a waterproof cover for your own bed. Even though baby shouldn't be sleeping in it for awhile, between the chance of your water breaking, breast milk leaking, and future kiddo accidents, it's worth it to protect your mattress.

3. Chicco keyfit 30 infant car seat - highest safety rating out there, lightweight, and also great price!  We got this travel system and I liked it so much, we got the double stroller version now.  Invest in or register an extra car seat base.  It's worth it to have one in each car!  I know so many people who have used this car seat and never heard a complaint.  A friend if mine even used it along with a BOB jogging stroller and an infant seat adapter instead of buying the travel system.
little Squishy ready to come home!

our Chicco double stroller (in Butler colors, of course)

4. Graco MyRide 65 - a little ways down the road, but this is the upright car seat we have for Annalyn. Once they outgrow the infant seat, or you can start with this one if u want (comes with an insert for infants and can stay rear facing up to 40 lbs.)  We love this seat. Comfortable and great safety ratings.  The cup holders seem excessive but are really nice as they get older.
coolest toddler ever

5. Bottles/pacifiers - try a few, every baby is different and some are pickier than others.  Ditto to pacifiers.  Our favs were Dr. Browns and Born Free. Despite being breastfed, even Emma wasn't a big fan of the wide-mouth styles. We had no trouble going between traditional bottles and breastfeeding. Annalyn loved her pacifier, would take just about any style, but especially the big round ones. Her "pup-pups" as she called them, also known as WubbaNubs, were a lifesaver in getting her to sleep and self-soothe. She still sleeps with the little puppies, we just cut the paci's off.
Anna and her pup-pup

6. Graco Pack 'n Play - these are great for travel, but in the beginning we also like having it downstairs for the changing table part and occasionally to put her down for naps.  Get one with the changing table attachment, it's worth it!

7. Graco DuoDiner high chair - not as pretty and fashionable as the wooden ones, but so much more convenient! Easy to clean, baby stays in better, and doesn't outgrow as fast. (up until recently when Emma started using it, Annalyn was still sitting it in every time she had ice cream.  Somewhere along the way, it became known as her ice cream chair.)  This model can be put on a chair also as baby gets bigger to sit at the table with the family.  
I like to wheel them into the kitchen to watch me cook

8. Folding booster seat - These little fold up seats are good for travel, eating out, or going to friends houses.  We transitioned Annalyn to this at the dinner table instead of the high chair towards the end of my pregnancy so she wouldn't feel like baby was taking over her seat. I think ours is the Safety First brand from Target.

also includes a tray for when they're little

9. Baby Brezza - If you plan to make your baby food and want a handy little gadget to help, I loved the Brezza.  The Magic Bullet is handy, too, but the Brezza steams and purees all in one which was nice for the early foods.

10. Reusable baby food pouches - check my blog for an upcoming review of these (though I've done several individual posts, I'm hoping to do a summary soon), but my absolute favorite is the Sucup.

11. Aden + Anais swaddles - I love these lightweight swaddling blankets and they come in lots of cute patterns.  Awesome for warmer weather, or layering. I also love the burp clothes that snap into a bib. Great for the diaper bag.

newborn Emma all swaddled up

now she uses them as soothie blankets

12. Sleepers that zip - get a few sleepers in each size that zip instead of snap. So much quicker/easier than snaps at those late night changes.

13. Newborn gowns - these are great right at first. Easy to change and manipulate over the umbilical cord. Also, they just scream baby :)
plus, easy access to those teeny, tiny, yummy baby feet!

14. Halo Sleep sacks - especially as baby gets bigger and is in the crib, these are the safest way to keep baby warm.  We kept Annalyn in them as long as possible to keep her from climbing out (added bonus!)

Peanut in a sleep sack, with some craaaazy bed head

15. Tommee Tippee milk bibs - they have a foam ring around the neck that catches milk before it goes in the dreaded neck wrinkle. Amazing.  Other than that, get some cute small bibs for the drool stages and some of the plastic lined ones for solid food stage.

16. Teething rings/toys - a few freezable ones are nice, and Sophie the giraffe is everyone's favorite. This stage comes quicker than you think, so best to be ready!

17. Socks in various sizes, I swear we always need socks. Try to resist too many newborn sized shoes - they never seem to keep them on anyway.

18. Baby carriers - these are a definite must-have for me!  The Moby wrap is awesome for newborns. Not only do they love it, but it frees your hands up and promotes lots of snuggles/bonding In the meantime.

newborn Anna in the Moby, watching some flag football

A similar carrier, the Baby K'tan is a mix of a wrap/sling. All the benefits of the Moby, but doesn't need to be wrapped (though you can always wrap the Moby before you leave the house).  The downside is that it's size specific so doesn't always work for both parents.  The Breeze version has a breathable mesh that makes it a lot cooler for summer.

The K'tan has several different ways to wear baby, which is another advantage.

The Baby Bjorn is a good basic carrier.  It's adjustable and super easy to use (this is Mike's favorite). Can face out or in which is nice for older babes.
the Bjorn is great for quick jobs, like making cupcakes

I also have an Ergo carrier - so much easier on the back as baby gets bigger, but it's a little more bulky.  Annalyn never liked it much, but I think it's somewhat bulky for newborns and by the time she was bigger it was summer and kind of too hot for it. It can be worn on your chest or back and has a special insert for newborns.
doesn't show the carrier very well, but how cute is this little Peanut peeking out of it?!

19. Diaper bag - the boxy backpack by Petunia Pickle Bottom is wonderful if you're looking to splurge a little.  It has a fold out changing pad and back pack straps in addition to a messenger style strap.   Vera Bradley also has some pretty cute ones and Skip Hop brand makes a lot of different sizes/styles that are very functional.

20. Sound machine - I recommend using this from the beginning, or at least once baby is in their own room.  We use an old iPod with an app called sleep pillow lite for Annalyn, but they also make some fun projector/sound machines too.

21. Rocker/glider - there's a wide range of prices here, but we chose towards the lower end and haven't had any complaints with it. It's the Stork Craft brand from Target.
believe it or not, this is actually Annalyn's room... PRE-BABY
how can I tell? well, there's no STUFF. No totes full of toys/books, no random articles of clothing, none of my mismatched shoes strewn about after being stomped around by a toddler.

22. Baby swing:  it doesn't really matter what kind, but I'd recommend getting one!  It's a lifesaver for a fussy baby and most of them love it.  It can buy you some time to get things done, which you will find is so crucial. One thing I wish we'd gotten is one with an option to be plugged in so you aren't constantly having to change the batteries.
Emma really likes the mobile on her swing

23. Jumper - again, not sure one is really better than another here, but the jumper was probably one of our best and most used shower gifts.  We finally had to take it away around 18 months but Anna was obsessed with it! Emma has already discovered the fun of jumping and chewing on all the little toys.

24. Infant Bouncer seats:  this is one you can totally skip on if u already have a swing, but we also have one of these and we use it a lot in the beginning when we just need to set baby down for awhile (like while eating/preparing dinner).

25. Activity mat:  these are all pretty similar, so just pick your favorite.  We have the one with the little piano on one side which was nice because it grew with baby. Annalyn still likes to play the piano while Emma bats at the dangling toys. These are good for tummy time and as baby gets older to explore.  Definitely get one with a mirror, babies love mirrors.  Or maybe my kids are just narcissists...

26. Rock 'n Play:  This is a new addition to our list, but the rock 'n play has been a lifesaver with Emma. She absolutely hates to sleep flat on her back and this keeps her at an incline, similar to her swing.

27. Planner/Day book - This sounds like of silly, but if you somehow make it through pregnancy without needing to make 14,502,239 lists/notes (I didn't, hence the planner), I can't imagine not having one with a new baby. I have one with a pocket in the front for important stuff (like coupons, appointment reminders, handing charts I've printed out), some to do list pages, and other notebook pages. We use it to make lists of things we want to purchase or look into.  We use it to track diapers and feedings in the beginning, and nap schedules as baby gets older. Any time I'm not with baby, I have Michael/Grandma/the babysitter write down everything from when she slept to what/when/how much she ate to when she got medicine. It's a lifesaver when we are constantly going between several caregivers, and it was key to getting our girls on schedules.

28. Baskets/totes:  Obviously, it's no secret - babies come with a lot of STUFF. Having something to help organize that stuff becomes an essential tool for helping you keep (some of) your sanity. Since our nursery is upstairs, we have baskets downstairs for diapers/wipes/burp clothes, as well as multiple baskets for organizing toys, books, and clothes.

29. Nursing stuff:
- Hygeia breastpump:  check with your insurance, most will cover one at no charge!  I got a brand new Hygeia Q pump and love it.  With Annalyn I had the Medela Freestyle which is hands free. It's a good pump, too, but I honestly like the Hygeia better if that's an option on your plan or if you're paying out of pocket. I bought a cheap hands-free pumping bra on Amazon and it works just as well. Hygeia also makes little orange adapter rings which allows the flanges to fit on Medela bottles (as well as other popular brands).

- My Brestfriend nursing pillowthis is a great pillow. I like it a lot better than the usual c-shaped ones.  The pocket is nice to keep lanolin, baby nail clippers, hair ties, etc.

- nipple shield:  the LC gave me this one in the hospital, and it's really helped prevent sore nipples and help with latch issues.  It's been a lifesaver for us, though some lactation consultants don't like them.  Up to you, but don't be afraid to try it if needed. Emma eventually decided she didn't need it around 2 months and we've had no trouble since.

-nursing camis:  this is all I wear lately. I like them so much better than the nursing bras. I bought a few of these in different colors from Target, and a friend let me borrow a couple of hers.  At home, I live in a nursing cami (with breast pads), an open front sweatshirt, and yoga pants. At least right at first, I'd recommend buying them a size up from your usual (I'm usually a medium, but the larges are a lot more comfortable for me now.)

- Lansinoh milk storage bags.  Some people use bottles for storage, but I think the bags are easier to store and reheat.

- Lansinoh or Nuk breast pads: I also have some reusable cloth ones, but I don't trust them as much, especially right at first. Until your body figures out that perfect supply/demand pattern, expect to have some leakage. They also make nighttime ones that are even more absorbant.

30. Favorite websites for purchasing:
- - can get some good deals on baby products, and they send 15-20% off coupons all the time.  I know we got our pack 'n play on a really good sale through this site.
- - obviously good for diapers/wipes (free two day shipping over $50, which is easy to add up to with diapers)
- Amazon prime - where we get our diapers/wipes. Usually cheaper then and prime members get free two day shipping, even on Sundays now.  Plus you can find just about everything else.
-Babies 'R Us and - both will send coupons and match each other's coupons.  They also have registry completion coupons for items not purchased on your registry so don't be afraid to register everything.
- eBay and Craigslist - don't be afraid to look here for some of the bigger items if you're ok with used items.  Usually don't recommend buying used car seats or older cribs for safety reasons though. But dressers, rockers, strollers, etc. you can find good deals sometimes.

Is anyone else completely overwhelmed yet?  Good, that's the first step in getting ready for parenthood! I tried to be as thorough as possible, but if there's something I missed, don't hesitate to ask. Like I've said before, my girls are very different already, so we've seen at least two sides of the baby spectrum and pretty recently gone through the newborn stage. Figured I should write it all down now before my sleep-deprived brain decides it's not essential to hang on to. Happy baby shopping!



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