If you’ve been around these parts for any amount of time, then you’ve met my sister, Ginny. Ginny and I are only 14 months apart in age and, over the years, our friendship has grown incredibly close as we navigate marriage, family, and parenting together. As close as we are, though, Ginny and I raise our babies in slightly different ways that work best for our families. I am learning to love that about our friendship. She has some great perspectives and thoughts on parenting, and I’ve learned a lot from her about being a mom.
I can’t believe my little man is going to be a year old in just a few weeks! Kate asked me to write a post about all the baby items we’ve found useful. Most of you have probably seen most of these products if you’ve been hanging around MC because I get most of my advice from here, just like you! So between my sister and my bestie, Michelle (who posted this week, as well) most of my favorites have been covered, but I’ll try add my flavor as well.
1. On Becoming Babywise: I saw the backlash Michelle got for posting this, but I’m still putting it at the top of my list because we love this book. From the beginning it helped put John Michael and I on the same page for managing Tillman’s day. The book is controversial, but we found it was the right book for our family. First of all, I agree with the philosophy of the book. It talks about putting your marriage at the center of your family and teaching your child through your interactions with your spouse what a healthy, loving relationship looks like. I just love that. Secondly, we appreciated some guiding principles for establishing a routine with Tillman. Babywise helped us to read Tillman’s cues. We weren’t robotic in the books practices, if Tillman was hungry earlier than we expected, we fed him. If he was tired, we put him to bed. (Which, by the way, is what the books states, too.) It simply helped establish some guidelines for us. There were some parts of the book that didn’t personally work for us, like crying it out, so we just didn’t do that part of the book. But, it helped me find confidence in my intuition as a new mother and that is gold for a new mom. It may not be for everyone, but it worked for us. And at the end of the day if Tillman is happy and healthy than I don’t see what the fuss is all about?
Programming Note from Katie: This series of posts is not designed for people to argue about various methods or baby products. If you disagree with ideas posted in this series, then don’t use them. I deleted comments opposing Michelle’s viewpoint last week not because the comments were invalid or because I was trying to spin this post in any way, but because I asked these ladies to be honest in their products and I don’t want them to feel the wrath of that honesty. They are guests here, so let’s try to respect their viewpoints and opinions. Amen.
2. City Select Stroller by Baby Jogger: I love this stroller. LOVE IT. Like Katie, we knew we wanted to have two children close in age together. I saw the three strollers Kate & Chris have had to purchase to accommodate their growing family so when we became pregnant I started looking at double stroller options. (Have I mentioned I’m a planner? I plan ahead – way ahead.) My mom would remind me regularly that it was outrageously expensive, but for long-term planning I really saw the stroller as an investment. And, so far, it’s been a great investment! First of all, the compartment underneath was HUGE. That’s something Katie told me I had to have and she was TOTALLY right. Secondly, the seat can adjust to be front- or back- facing. When Tillman was little-bitty we would face him towards me. But now that he’s older, he wants to see out. I also had the carrier adapter so I could plop his carrier in the frame, too. It handles really well when steering with one hand and the front wheels lock for jogging (eliminating a need to buy yet another stroller for jogging). The downside is the cost and each accessory is sold separately.
3. Halo Sleep Sacks: Tillman LOVED to be swaddled when he was a baby. He really couldn’t sleep unless he was swaddled. He also is an active sleeper so he was constantly was breaking his swaddle. Enter the Halo Sleep Sack to save the day! It was easy to use and adjust. I also was a paranoid new mom about having a blanket in the crib with him so I would find myself checking on him constantly to see if he had broken the swaddle and then gotten the blanket over his face. So, once we switched him to the sleep sack, it really helped me relax to know he was cozy, warm and safe. When it was time to break him of the swaddle, I think it helped him having the same cozy feeling without his arms being swaddled. It helped the transition.
4. Evenflo Bebek Bottles: I exclusively breastfed Tillman for the first 5 months, and I did a lot of research to find a bottle that would be as similar to nursing as possible. I knew we needed bottles for John Michael to help with feedings and also for when I went back to work. The first bottle feeding was when he was about a month old, I held my breath and waited for him to fight the bottle but low and behold he didn’t even seem to notice a difference (even though this reaction made me want to cry, “But don’t you want your MOMMA!?!”). John Michael loved these bottles because they were great for eliminating gas and colic without all the excessive parts that we saw with other brands. The only down side is that I’ve only been able to find them at Buy Buy Baby so I have to go there for more nipples, accessories, etc.
5. Boppy Pillow: This was so helpful when I was breastfeeding and to prop Tillman up on when I was getting ready. It would support Tillman well without laying him flat on his back after feeding which helped eliminate gas. Then it transitioned really well when Tillman was learning to sit up by himself. Just an overall great piece of baby equipment to have around the house. I was scared to go anywhere without it.
6. Huggies Diapers: I will admit, I’m completely biased because I work for Kimberly-Clark, but I absolutely stand by this product. Not only because the diapers fit Tillman great, but because I work for Kimberly-Clark I get to see the people behind the scenes that actually manufacturer these products – and let me tell you, they are salt of the earth people. The types of people that just make you feel good being around them. KCers work around the clock to deliver these products to your shelves and I couldn’t be prouder to support them by putting my baby in their diapers. (Funny story on brand loyalty: I also brought Poise with me to the hospital when I delivered Tillman for after labor recovery. I overestimated how many I would need so I now have packages of Poise that I try to give away to any female over the age of 50 that comes in our house.)
7. Rainforest Bath Center by Fisher Price: I remember when we were taking all the pre-baby classes at the hospital; the one thing I was really worried about was bath time. The thought of a wet, slippery baby just had me panicked. After Tillman arrived, and I was consumed with breastfeeding, John Michael took bath time as his special time with Tillman. To this day, JM gives Tillman his bath every night. And the day Tillman outgrew the Rainforest Bath Center, I thought JM’s world was crashing down around him. It was that important to him. It just made bath time fun and easy without stressing about safety issues with a wet baby. It has the infant insert and the tub for when the baby is a bit bigger. (Note: this is the only bath tub image I could find of Tillman without showing off his doodle. So, he may not look extremely happy here but at least his private’s are private.)
8. Medela Breastpump, Freestyle: Pumping sucks. I don’t know another way to put it. It’s cumbersome and annoying and inconvenient… but, it’s a necessary part of nursing especially if you’re going to be a working mom. So, if you’re going to do it, I highly recommend this pump. It was easy to discreetly tuck in my bag at work. And I also could use it anywhere in my house. While I was on maternity leave, I was breastfeeding and pumping which felt like I spent the majority of my time hooked up to something or someone. It was great to be able to pump while watching TV and not have to totally be consumed by breastfeeding.
9. Radio Flyer Red Wagon: Santa Claus brought this for Tillman when he was only a few months old. But, as soon as Tillman could sit up, we’ve used it constantly. Our neighborhood is extremely social, so we load Tillman in the wagon and walk around the ‘hood a few times a week. When he was little, we’d also sit him down in the bottom and put toys all around him like a mini play pin. We sat on our porch for hours like this and loved it.
10. Evenflo ExerSaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center Animal Plant: Hands down this was Tillman’s FAVORITE toy. Absolutely LOVED this bouncer. It makes a ton of sounds and has fun things for him to learn to grab. The accessories can also be easily removed for individual play. The only downside is that you’ll be singing “REEEEEEEED, YELLLLLLOW and BLUEEEEEEE” in your sleep for months.
To read more Tried and True Baby Products from other moms, click here. A very big thank you to all the mommas who participated in this series.
I have received lots of feedback requesting more and lots of emails from readers offering up their lists, too. I think I might continue this series in some format. If you are interested in participating, send me an email at email@example.com. Include a list of 7-10 tried and true baby products and a short little description of why you like each. No photos or links, please. Thank you!