Last week I asked five wonderful mommas to share their lists of must-haves for the first year of motherhood. I meant to post all their responses in one week, but life happened. Today we are continuing that series with a list of baby products from the lovely Sarah H. Sarah has been reading my blog since…the beginning of time, maybe? She and I have very similar families and we have loved watching each of them grow over the years together via the internets. Isn’t technology grand????
Hello MC readers! I know for the last several days you’ve been reading reviews from some wonderful Moms about great baby products. The majority of the gear reviewed this week are things I own and love myself! Being the mother of a two year old daughter and a two week old son I’ve decided to focus on items that make your life with an infant easier. And who couldn’t use that? The second time around it’s all about streamlining, saving time, and being more efficient. Things that help me multitask or spend more quality time with my family are key.
So here we go:
1. Baby ESP. This is an app that you can download for android or iphones. We’ve used this app for both of our babies so far and really love it! In the beginning the pediatrician recommends tracking how many diapers (pee and poop) your baby has as well as how often the baby is nursing and for how long on each side (or how many ounces of pumped milk or formula they are eating). They give you this paper log to fill out in the hospital but it’s cumbersome and who wants to find a pen at 1am? My husband and I have found this app MUCH more useful. Not only can you enter in eating, sleeping, and voiding, you can enter in baths, outfit changes, medication reminders (for you and baby!), appointment reminders, and anything else you may want to keep track of. It’s easily customizable to your family. My husband and I especially love this because you can easily see all the “data” in a summary format for the day or in graph form for a time period of your choice (week, month, etc). This makes it wonderful for us nerds out there and for quickly sharing info with a physician or caregiver.
Later on you can easily identify if your baby is on a certain schedule, or help to get them on a sleep or feeding schedule. You’re able to have a number of profiles so it’s great for multiples as well. You don’t need an internet connection to enter data so it can be used anywhere. I even have a widget on my phone that tells me how long it’s been since the last feeding and which side I should start on next. It’s great for sleep deprived Mommy brain!
There’s a free trial version but I recommend purchasing it for $5 per phone. Yes, per phone. You can sync the data so if you’re away and your husband or Mom is with your baby they can enter the information on their phone and you can easily see how long it’s been since he slept, ate, had a diaper change, etc.
2. Baby K’tan: This is a baby carrier/sling/wrap and I LOVE it for newborns and babies under 6 months old. With my daughter I barely used it and when I did it was more of a novelty- “Look I’m wearing my baby!” In turn she never really loved being worn. For the second time around I got this out the day I came home from the hospital with my son. I was outside enjoying the flowers with my daughter and I had both of my hands free! I have worn him every day since. He loves it and falls right to sleep. It’s been a necessity to get anything done. I can eat my dinner, do laundry, make meals, do light cleaning and play with my daughter all while wearing my newborn. This carrier is just cotton- no buckles or straps and can ball up and be thrown in a diaper bag or storage basket of a stroller.
It’s also great if you want to take a very little baby out without people trying to touch and look at him. For example, we went to Chick-fil-A when he was 9 days old for Cow Appreciation Day and I wore him in the Baby K’tan and I was able to eat my meal and no one paid him any attention. Other moms were there in our VERY crowded Chick-fil-A with huge strollers trying to find a place to “park” or were standing the entire time swaying and holding their infant and not able to eat. This fixes all of those issues!
The carrier does go up to 35 pounds and your baby can be worn in multiple positions. Unfortunately my back can only handle a baby to about 16 or 17 pounds in this so we have a Beco Soleil for later, which offers more back support. My one con is with it being cotton and a tight fit it gets HOT- for both you and baby but the company has addressed this issue and now offers a mesh/cotton mix for summer and outdoor use.
3. Amazon Mom/ Subscribe and Save: I work 40 hours a week and sing in the praise band at my church and I’m a member of the Session (governing body) of my church. My husband works 40 hours a week and is a volunteer EMT “on the side.” We are busy people and I just hate to use any of our “free” evening or weekend time shopping! Other than groceries I try to buy everything online and my usual place of choice is Amazon. If you become an Amazon Mom you save 20% on diapers and wipes and they are delivered right to your door step on a schedule with free two day shipping! In over 2 years I have NEVER once run out of diapers or wipes. For the first 19 months of my daughters life we lived in an apartment on the third floor–no way could I carry her and a huge box of diapers up the stairs.
Once you’re an Amazon Mom you can “subscribe” for other family essential items to be delivered on a schedule (every 1, 2, 3,4, or 6 months, etc). I think at one time we also had nursing pads, playtex bottle liners, medela pump and save bags, diaper genie refills, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and dishwashing detergent on our subscription. Before each order is mailed out you will get an email asking if you still want each item in your order–maybe you have plenty? If that’s the case, you just skip that item in your order and it will come on the next cycle. You can also add in an order if you need something before the next cycle. Amazon also has a free app for your phone, so all of this can be managed from anywhere!
I love Amazon so much that I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for two years, which means I get free two day shipping on everything for $79/year. I’ve learned that it’s quicker for me to place an order on my phone or computer than it is for me to try to run to the store during our busy week. Our baby registry was through Amazon as well. They have amazing customer service.
4. My Brest Friend: This is the best breastfeeding pillow out there and is the one recommended by lactation consultants. Nursing a baby without proper posture and back support can quickly lead to back and neck pain and a poor latch which can cause sore nipples and maybe even reduced milk supply. I nursed my daughter for 14 months and this pillow is just as wonderful for a newborn as it is an older baby. My favorite part? It has a pocket for a water bottle and snacks! It also easily fits around your waist if you’re sitting in a glider. They come in all kinds of prints and you don’t need to purchase additional covers.
5. American Baby Company Waterproof Quilted Sheet Saver: This is something so simple that makes a BIG difference. We use this over the sheet in the crib. The cover measures 14″ x 29″ and has ties that can be tied to the crib slats. It can be either placed under the baby’s head (for spit up) or under the baby’s bottom (for blowouts). When (not if) you have a mess in the middle of the night that you don’t want your baby sleeping on it’s SO much faster to just toss the sheet saver aside than to wrestle with a mattress and change a sheet at 3am. We don’t call this lazy, we call this efficient!
6. Gerber Zip Front Sleep N Plays: When it comes to quick diaper or outfit changes in the middle of the night you want simple and a zipper is much easier to do than a million snaps that you can never match up correctly the first time in the dark (or light!)
7. Medela Easy Expression Bustier: Being a Mom who works outside of the home I did a lot of pumping at work. Thankfully I have my own office because I pumped 3 to 4 times a day for 10 months. I have a Medela Pump In Style Advanced pump and with this bra I was able to continue typing up patient consult notes and answering my phone all while pumping.
8. Mustela PhysiObebe No Rinse Cleansing, Diaper Area & Face: Giving a newborn a bath can be quite the production. Sometimes you just want to “spot clean” or freshen them up quickly. This cleanser is soap-free and very gentle; specially made for the extra sensitive areas like the face and diaper area. You just pump a squirt or two onto a cotton round and wipe away the dirt or spit up or urine that your baby boy just sprayed all over his chest and ears- YES, ears! What can I say, I’m a new Mom to a boy. Mustela smells AMAZING and you don’t have to rinse it off–so all of this can be quickly done at any time.
9. Sleep: Obviously this is not something you can buy and some of us are better at it than others. I have had two summer babies meaning it doesn’t get dark until 9pm. If I ever want to try to get a nap during the day or evening I have to use a sleep mask and my favorite is: 40 Blinks Sleep Mask by Bucky. It’s light weight and really does block all the light out. Much cheaper than black out curtains.
My mind tends to race even when I’m sleep deprived and I have trouble going back to sleep after some night time feedings. Things I’ve used to help are Lavender Vanilla Tranquil Pillow Mist from Bath & Body Works and the NightWave. For the aromatherapy, just spray it on your pillow and it helps you nod off. The NightWave is for more serious sleeping issues and is basically a little blue pulsating light in a box that helps you fall asleep easily. It really helps to calm an active mind. The small box is on your floor and casts a blue light onto your wall or ceiling. The light gently ebbs and flows and you inhale and exhale in sync with the light. Eventually the light gets slower and you relax more and fall asleep in under 10 minutes. For real. I’m so happy to have this tool from the beginning this time instead of after 4 months of wandering around my house in the early morning for hours when the baby was only up for 20 minutes.
10. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp: At my job all of my patients are pregnant and when a new mom-to-be asks me what I recommend for a new baby I always bring up this book or video. The basic idea is that new babies want to feel like they’re back in the womb–this makes them feel warm, happy, and sleep longer. Karp goes through methods to quickly calm a crying baby and ways to help them sleep longer. Thanks to this book we’ve had great success with the miracle blanket (a type of swaddle blanket) and white noise.
Disclaimer: Every family and every parent is different. The above items are what have made my life easier with an infant. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned in hopes it helps another Mom or Dad. In no way am I saying what I did is best or works for everyone. The above are my opinions. Thank you.