I think all mommy bloggers eventually do a "favorite baby things" post. I've finally gotten around to doing a "baby favorites" post myself... and it's a big one with six categories! I actually started this post months ago but never got around to finishing it but that has turned out to be a very good thing! I have now had almost nine months to use all of our baby gear and actually changed a few things from what I originally had listed. Everything you will see here are items that turned out to be amazingly helpful and/or has lasted the test of time.
Some of you are reading this post because, like I did, you are doing research as to what to buy and/or put on your registry for a baby. My lists will hopefully give you some good ideas by showing what I bought and love to use but remember that a lot of it is personal taste and that there are constantly new items coming out for babies every day.
NEWBORN SLEEPING FAVORITES
Cameron was sleeping 6 hrs straight at night by two months old, 8 hrs straight by three months, and 10 hrs straight by four months. This is what I used:
- The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp - I read the book before I realized there is also a movie of the book. Seriously, if you have a newborn, you must buy this movie and watch it. It's even available for download on iTunes. The techniques that Dr. Karp teaches are magic and I credit this knowledge for helping Cameron become the happy baby and awesome sleeper she is.
- Summer Infant By Your Side Sleeper - Cameron slept in this bassinet at night until she was four months old. We have a king-sized bed so there was plenty of room to put it between us on the bed. It's a great way to co-sleep with your baby but keeping them safe in their own space at the same time. It has a sturdy metal frame and mesh sides. Having Cameron right next to me at night made it super easy to get her for a feeding or to reach a hand in to calm her if needed.
- Twilight Turtle - This is an awesome night light for any age! It projects a starry sky (with real constellations) onto the ceiling. It has a plush body and a hard shell with four buttons: an on/off button and three buttons to change the color of the stars. I kept this on our bed by the bassinet to turn on if I needed to see Cameron in the middle of the night. It was much easier on the eyes than turning on my nightstand lamp. I think she'll love the stars when she gets a little older :)
- Cloud b Sound Machine Soother, Sleep Sheep - I knew we needed a sound machine after watching the Happiest Baby on the Block. This one looks like a stuffed animal, has four sound options, a volume control, and a velcro strap to attach it the the crib. Ours is attached to the outside of the crib and we still use it every night and every nap. We even take the removable sound box with us on vacations to give Cameron a familiar sound to help her sleep in strange environments.
- Aden + Anais 100% Cotton Muslin Swaddle Blankets - These are a little more expensive than other cotton swaddling blankets but they are so worth it! They are softer, stretchier, and larger than all of the other brands that I tried. Flat blankets were the best way to swaddle Cameron when she was a tiny newborn.
- Swaddleme Blanket - This is a swaddle sack with velcro closures. This worked great once she grew big enough for it to be snug. As she grew and got stronger, she started working her arms free and waking herself up. That's when we moved on to...
- Miracle Blanket - This is an awesome blanket that keeps the baby's arms pinned to his/her sides. There is only one size to this blanket so it didn't work well until Cameron grew into it (she was a tiny baby). Once it fit, it worked perfectly at keeping her swaddled (and asleep) all night long.
- Wearable Blanket - Once Cameron no longer needed swaddled, we switched to wearable blankets or sleep sacks. It is dangerous to have loose blankets in the crib. Wearable blankets are worn over sleepwear, leave plenty of room for movement, and move with the baby.
-----BABY NURSERY FAVORITES
- Playtex Diaper Genie Elite or other comparable diaper disposal pail - soiled diapers, even if they are only wet, get stinky! You need something to contain them and the smell. The Diaper Genie Elite is only about $30 so we got one for the nursery upstairs and one for downstairs too.
- Foscam FI8910W Pan & Tilt IP/Network Camera with Two-Way Audio and Night Vision or any video/audio baby monitor - The Foscam is not a baby monitor, it's a security camera, but it is awesome as a baby monitor! It mounts to the wall so it's obviously not portable but the video/audio feed can be viewed and controlled (we can move the camera) with our iPhones, iPad, and computer via our wireless internet. It has very clear video and infrared vision and you can set up audio and motion alarms.
- Summer Infant 4-sided Changing Pad - We did not buy a changing table. Instead, we have a changing station set up on top of a long dresser. Having a changing pad with four side makes Cameron seem more secure in it since there is nothing containing the changing pad itself.
- Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier - I honestly didn't use this very much at first but when Cameron got her first cold, I was so grateful that I had it! A humidifier is extremely helpful in helping babies breathe when they get sick under one year of age and you can't give them any medicine yet. It is also very useful if you have air conditioning or heat on in your house, both of which tend to dry out the air. This humidifier does not require a filter, emits cool water vapor, and is very quiet.
- Breathable Crib Bumper - In case you don't already know, padded baby bumpers are a suffocation hazard and are not recommended for use in cribs, even if they come with your bedding set. A breathable bumper is a safe alternative. It prevents limbs from getting stuck in the crib slats but allows air flow through it. The morning I found Cameron sleeping with her face pressed against the side of the crib, I knew that this was a good purchase! I customized it myself to match our nursery by adding coordinating ribbon around the top.
- Glider Rocker and Ottoman - I basically lived in our glider rocker for the first three weeks of Cameron's life while I recovered from my c-section. The smooth rocking motion is great for calming babies, even still at 9 months old! You can use it rock, feed, calm, cuddle, and read to your baby.
- Natural Crystal Salt Lamp - This was the very first thing that we bought for our nursery :) The large chunk of natural crystal salt (about 7" tall) is hallow in the center and a small light bulb is inserted inside. It gives off a beautiful soft warm glow which is perfect as a night light. Crystal salt lamps supposedly work as natural air purifiers, releasing negative ions that clears the air of allergens. Whether it actually does or doesn't, it's still a beautiful light.
- Adjustable Hanging Closet Rod - A hanging closet rod will double your space for hangable clothes. Hanging closet shelves are also a great way to add extra space and organization.
BABY BATH FAVORITES
I am proud of this group of items. We used all of these when Cameron was a newborn, still use them all now at 9 months, and will continue to use them all for many months more (most of them for years more). Talk about getting your money's worth!
- Munchkin Shampoo Rinser - This is a soft flexible cup with a big handle. I use it to pour water over Cameron to get her wet and to rinse off soap.
- Leachco Safer Bather Infant Bath Pad - This plush bath pillow is a great alternative to bath bath tubs. It absorbs water creating a warm, non-slip, soft surface for your baby to lay down on or to sit up on. Wring it out and hang to dry, machine wash occasionally when needed.
- Bath Kneeler - Trust me, you'll want something comfortable to kneel on next the tub. Any bath kneeler will do, there are many kinds available.
- Mommys Helper Safe-Er-Grip Drip Dry Portable Drying Rack - This drying rack suctions to the wall or side of the tub. I hang our rinse cup, the bath kneeler, and wet washcloths on it.
- Trend Lab Hooded Towels - These towels are large, thick, and well-made. They are great for babies and for small children. We have three of them and will be using them for years to come.
- Duckymeter Floating Bath Tub Thermometer - I actually started using this myself when I was pregnant and couldn't have the bath water too hot. It floats in the tub and displays the water temperature, lighting up blue, green, or red showing if the temp is too cold, just right, or too hot.
- Bouncy Chair - wait, what?! Let me explain, I do not use this in the bath tub! Bath time is a one parent deal in our house so the bouncy chair is vital. I spread a towel over the chair (toy bar removed) and Cameron sits waiting in it while I get her bath ready. Then I put her back in the chair after the bath, folding the towel around her, while I do a quick clean-up of the bath stuff. The chair is my extra set of arms :)
BABY BOTTLE FEEDING FAVORITES
Using the first two things on this list, I can make a warm bottle in 42 seconds flat... that's from start to finish and not rushing! I love all of these things because they make bottle feeding quick and easy.
- Baby Brezza Temperature Control Kettle - I love love LOVE this thing!!! It is an electric water kettle that keeps water at a bottle-perfect 98° all day. If you make the bottle with warm water, then you don't need to heat it. It saves so much time and hassle... especially when you have a hungry, crying baby waiting.
- Formula Dispensers - I have a few of these, different brands, and refill them every few days with perfectly measured formula powder. To make a bottle, I use the warm water from the Brezza Kettle and mix in a section of pre-measured formula. It is so super quick and easy that even the most sleep deprived parent could do it!
- Munchkin Dishwasher Basket - A dishwasher basket is a huge time saver! I washed all bottle parts by hand for months before getting one of these... why did I wait so long?! You can load it full of bottle parts, breast pump parts, pacifiers, mesh feeders, and toys.
- The First Years Spinning Drying Rack - This drying rack can hold a lot of things but doesn't take up much counter space. It has gotten used daily since Cameron was born. At first I used it to air dry my breast pump parts. Now I use it to air dry bottles, pacifiers, toys, etc.
- Dr. Brown's Deluxe Electric Bottle Steam Sterilizer - You need to sterilize bottles, breast pump parts, and pacifiers after you wash them for the first six months of your baby's life. There are inexpensive microwave sterilizers available. This sterilizer is electric and fits a ton of things in it! You pour water in using a provided measuring cup, arrange your items inside, turn it on, and walk away. It shuts off by itself when it is finished. We used this at least once every day (sometimes more) for six months.
- Bottle Brush - These brushes are very useful for cleaning the insides of bottles, breast pump parts, toys, etc. We have one that we only use for bottles and other baby items.
BABY ON-THE-GO FAVORITES
Cameron and I get out of the house a few times during the week. Here are the things that make our outings easy and stress-free.
- Ju-Ju-Be BFF Diaper Bag - Diaper bags are purely a personal taste and preference thing. You need to find one that is convenient and that you don't mind carrying around. Ju-Ju-Be bags come in many different styles and patterns and have a lot of great features. I was sold on the BFF after watching the video on their website and hearing great things about it from friends. The BFF has a handle, a removable shoulder strap, and removable backpack straps. It has plenty of room and numerous pockets for everything I need to travel with.
- Pacifier Leash - Whether you buy some or make your own, a pacifier leash will keep that binky from falling on the ground and needing cleaned, or worse yet... getting lost. I never leave home without one.
- Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station - I take this instead of the diaper bag on quick trips. It can hold diapers, wipes, and a few other small items.
- Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat and Liteway Plus Stroller - We bought the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat after seeing how easy it was so snap in and out of the base and the Keyfit Caddy stroller (which we used for 7 months). The Liteway Plus stroller is a new item that we recently bought to replace the Keyfit Caddy. The Liteway Plus is an umbrella stroller that is also a car seat carrier. It is so incredibly convenient, especially when we recently traveled through airports with the car seat and the stroller. It's great just for around town as well because you don't always have to unhook the baby from the carseat, you can just snap the seat into the stroller!
- Pacifier Wipes - These are super handy to keep in your diaper bag. Use them to safely disinfect pacifiers or toys when you are out and can't get to a sink.
- Pacifier Pod - This is a tiny pouch for keeping pacifier handy. It has a snap closure so that it can hook onto a car seat, diaper bag, stroller, purse, etc. Keep a clean extra pacifier in it at all times and it will be lifesaver if you are out and forgot one, lost one, or need a clean one!
- Thermos Nissan 16oz Stainless Steel Backpack Bottle - This is a great little thermos that holds enough water for two bottles and keeps the water warm all day. I fill it with warm water from our Brezza Kettle and can then quickly and easily make warm bottles when we are away from home. It fits in our diaper bag and cup holders perfectly.
- Formula Dispenser - This is also in my Bottle Feeding Favorite list. I always have some of these filled for daily use at home so when we are heading out, I grab one and throw it in the diaper bag.
- Summer Infant Snuzzler - This provides soft head and body support that can be used in car seats, strollers, bouncy seats, and infant swings. We use this specifically in our strollers to give Cameron a softer and more supportive seat to ride in. It was especially useful when she was tiny and needed the extra support to hold her in securely in place. We still use it now in our Bob stroller (it adjusts to grow with your child) to provide Cameron with a more comfortable ride.
NEW MOM FAVORITE SPLURGES
As a new mom, you will be exhausted and won't have the time to pamper yourself like you used to. Here are a few splurges that can make a huge difference in how you feel.
- Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System - Giving yourself a mini facial everyday in the shower will leave you feeling refreshed, no matter how little sleep you got the night before. Clarisonic can remove dirt and impurities, clear your pores and help them appear smaller, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
- Robe - I basically lived in a robe and pajamas from the day the baby was born in the hospital until months afterward. It's nice having something cozy to wrap yourself in while you are up all hours of the night with a new baby.
- Pajamas - We kept our house cool for the baby (and my hot flashes) so my little nighties where out of the question. Having new pretty pajamas will keep you comfortable and help you feel better about your post-baby body. Get loose pajama pants (or shorts) that won't dig into your still-swollen belly. A button down pajama shirt is easy access for breastfeeding and easy to put on and take off even if you are sore.
- Birchbox - I love to browse makeup and beauty items in stores but since I had a baby, I don't get to browse anything in stores very long anymore (unless she's napping!). I learned about Birchbox from fellow a mommy blogger, Keith&Angie, and I love it! For a $10 a month subscription (less if you subscribe for a year at once), you get a monthly box delivered containing beauty and lifestyle items customized to your profile. Some items are samples and some are full sized. It is such a treat to open every month - especially since some are expensive items I would never purchase just to try on my own. This is beauty browsing brought straight to my door :)
"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter,
nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier,
the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."