Today’s guest post is from one of my favorite international momma’s. Michelle is my sister’s lifelong best friend. I grew up with Michelle practically living at our house. To see her as a mom has been such a treat and pleasure. Michelle went backpacking in Australian after college, and while she was there she picked up all kinds of souvenirs… including a hunky Aussie husband! She now lives in Australia with her sweet husband, Max, and their newest addition, Lachlan. You can follow along on her Australian parenting adventures on her blog, “Our Life Down Unda.”
Hi MC friends! My name is Michelle and I sporadically blog over at Our Life Down Unda where I share the stories and adventures of my life as an American mom and wife living in Australia. I have known Katie and her family for almost my entire life, so when she asked me if I would do a guest post on her blog, I was super excited!
On the 3rd November 2012, Lachlan James entered the world I became a momma for the first time. And as any new mom or mom-to-be knows, the list of baby gear can seem endless and overwhelming. In an effort to help (or maybe just confuse you even more…) Kate has asked me to share a few of my personal baby and infant “must haves” for the new momma. Being that I am an American girl living down under, you might notice a mixture of both American and Australian products on my list; you know, just to keep you on your toes! It was hard to narrow this down to just 10, but below are a few of my personal favourite baby items (in no particular order).
1. Britax Travel System (B-Ready Stroller and B Safe Infant Car Seat): I absolutely love this stroller and car seat travel system combo! I loved having the ability to easily move the infant car seat in and out of the car, clip it into the stroller and go! The stroller is super easy to use, push and set up, the basket compartment holds an unbelievably large amount of stuff (the ladies at the grocery store are always shocked by how much I fit in there!) and both the Infant Car Seat and Stroller Seat can be positioned to face in or out in a matter of seconds. It also has the ability to add a second seat to accommodate two kiddos which means if you decided to have a second baby you won’t have to go out and buy another double stroller! The drawbacks: it is kind of wide and definitely on the expensive side. (Australian equivalent: Strider Plus)
2. On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo: Now I know this book and its ideas have some mixed reviews, but for us, this method worked amazingly! The parent directed feeding method helped my son stay full and happy, sleep through the night by 8 weeks old and give our day a very predictable routine and schedule. All of these things allowed us more freedom to get out of the house and do things because I knew exactly when he would need to eat and sleep. This book was such a huge help to me as a new momma and something I would recommend highly to friends and family. A “must have” in my opinion!
3. iBaby video monitor: Video monitors are defiantly not 100% necessary, but they are totally fun! We went with the iBaby because it runs from an app on your iphone so you can actually peek in your nursery from anywhere. Before you freak out… it is password protected so not just anyone can connect and see what is going on in your house. Another cool feature of this particular video monitor is the ability to adjust the camera angle right from your phone with a quick swipe of your finger. The downsides: you need an ipad or iphone to use it, if your wifi is slow then your video feed will be slow and it is pretty expensive.
4. Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddles: I used these muslin swaddles for pretty much everything when Lachlan was a small baby (swaddling, covering the pram when he was sleeping, etc). They are super cute, very soft and the perfect size for swaddling. You can see a video on how to swaddle with these exact wraps here if you are interested.
5. Aden and Anais Sleeping Bags: Baby sleeping bags/sacks…. the perfect way to keep blankets exactly where you want them, instead of over baby’s face, wrapped around their little bodies or crumpled in the corner of the crib. I started using these as soon as we weaned Lachlan off the swaddle. They are super soft, easy to clean, come in lots of different sizes and weights so that you can use them any time of the year and are roomie enough so that your little one can still move around and sleep comfortably.
6. Happy Baby Freezer Trays and Breville Wizz: I got these freezer trays from a friend of mine at my baby shower and ended up loving them! When Lachlan started eating solids at about 6 months, I decided to try my hand at making my own food. Turns out it is super easy and even kind of fun, to make your own food with this hand mixer and these freezer trays. I would recommend these two things to anyone who is thinking about trying to make their own baby food! And if you’re not sure where to start with making your own food, check out this post I wrote a few months ago to help get you started.
7. Babyhood Diva Glider and Ottoman: I originally picked out this glider because it was super comfy, the perfect size (not to big, not too small) and it reclined (awesome!). But then I happened to give birth to a baby who had a bit of a throwing up habit and was so, so thankful I had a glider that I could easily wipe down and clean. It was worth every penny in my opinion!
8. Medela Freestyle Breast pump: If you are planning on breastfeeding your baby, I would highly recommend this pump. It is easy to use and clean, is completely portable and small enough to carry around in your purse. While nothing will do as good of a job as your baby, this pump comes in as a close second. And if you live in the United States, check with your insurance company because they might even cover the cost of the pump!
9. Fisherprice Spacesaver Swing: There are so many infant swings on the market these days, but because we didn’t have a ton of room for a large, fancy swing, I went with this spacesaver swing instead and couldn’t have been happier. Even though it doesn’t have all of the fancy gadgets and gizmos, its size is what I really loved about it. It is small enough to pick up and move to any room of the house. Instead of having to bring everything to the room with the swing, I was able to bring the swing into whatever room I needed. It made it super easy to have a shower and keep an eye on Lachlan at the same time!
10. Bumbo Seat and Tray: I absolutely love our Bumbo seat and used it every single day from about 4 to 7 months. Before Lachlan was able to sit on his own, I would put him in the Bumbo and place it next to his activity mat so that he could play with some of the hanging toys from a different angle. I sat him in the Bumbo on the kitchen counter so that he could “help me” cook dinner. It is also the perfect size to use as a travel highchair when you are camping or away for the weekend. I have even used it as his highchair at home instead of buying a larger highchair early on. I know some people have trouble with their babies growing out of it too quickly, but for us it has been a “must have” for sure!
And that, Katie’s friends, is my top 10 “must haves” for babies, birth to 8 months.
** Be sure to see the Tried and True Baby Products from Day One! **