You've seen them. The lists are all over Pinterest. Girls saying that they have THE list of must-have baby items. I scoured those lists when registering for baby showers over a year ago, but as with anything else, I had to feel my way through the craziness that is life with baby and determine what really worked for us…this time…with this particular baby. Everyone will tell you they know what you just HAVE to have, but the truth is, you just have to fumble through and figure it out as you go. I'm pretty sure that is parenthood in a nutshell, right??
I like to think that Grant was perfectly designed by God for me…to challenge me and remind me I am not in control. The perfectionist in me had read every book, researched all that I could, planned ahead, stocked his nursery, and felt somewhat prepared with an arsenal of varied pacifiers, bottles, swaddles, diapers, wipes, you name it. And then our bundle of joy arrived…and very little of what I had worked. Frankly, some things still don't work for our little one. So after many Googles, asking around, trials and errors and gift card swipes…I have a list of items that I would most definitely use again. This list is more for me than anyone else, so that I can remember the things that worked for us the first time around. But maybe it can help you too!
Dohm--This is a really awesome sound machine. It plugs in…no batteries needed. And it sounds like a loud fan. We had a Sleep Sheep to start, and it would go off after either 23 minutes or 46 minutes. And our little love bug would wake up, without fail, each time the Sleep Sheep went silent. I read about the Dohm when looking for sleep solutions, and I have never regretted the purchase. I have a feeling Grant will sleep with this for a while--it allows us the freedom to make noise in the house while he is sleeping too!
Miracle Blanket--We received this at a shower, and I wasn't really sure what made it any different than any other swaddle…until my little love refused to sleep. We busted this sucker out the first week home from the hospital. It looks like a torture device, but it works. It swaddles each arm separately, and then the arms to the body. Even a baby Houdini couldn't bust out. Grant had colic pretty badly (meaning he cried most every waking hour of every day)…so we even used this throughout the day at times to help him cope.
Sleep Sack--This is what we transitioned to after the Miracle Blanket because our little friend was a VERY hot sleeper and had several skin issues that bothered him at night. This allowed us to put him in only a short-sleeved onesie underneath. He still sleeps in one and it keeps him at just the right temperature!
Lovie--The lovie really came into play when we started sleep training around 6 months. He needed something to cuddle with that smelled like Mommy and this did the trick! He has the elephant lovie from Pottery Barn, and it is so soft. He took to it very quickly!
Bibbity Bib--It catches at least SOME of the food that inevitably falls while self-feeding. And it's wipeable. Enough said.
Graco 4in1 Highchair--This high chair is a bit on the pricey side, but so worth it. The top part of the chair can pop off and be carried along on trips or dinner dates at a friend's. It's also very wipeable and has a single button release in the front (which helps when you inevitably have a baby in your arms!).
Medela Breast Pump with Bottles--I'm sure we all know this by now, but be sure to contact your insurance company about a breast pump. CIGNA completely covered the cost of my breast pump--the exact one I had researched and wanted. I received a couple of gift sets to match that included bottles and nipples, and I found that while our little guy took a bottle (only the first 4 months), he seemed to like the Medela bottles. Meaning, all of the other trial bottles I purchased are still sitting in his closet. I will likely start with these next time.
Jumperoo--This bought me a lot of time from 3-7 months or so. He LOVED it. I've seen a lot of different types of jumpers, but this bungee-typed one worked best for our little one who loved to bounce incessantly.
Activity Table--I tried out several in the store and decided on this one. He loves it.
Vtech Walker--SO many people have this. It truly is an awesome walker. He walks with it back and forth and back and forth…without tiring. Me, on the other hand???
Eucerin Eczema Relief Creme--If you have a baby with skin issues (eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, etc.), this is the best thing on the market. Trust me. We paid through the nose and tried them all. It is a very thick cream and moisturizes better than anything else out there. We continue to use it every day.
Aveeno Body Wash and Shampoo --Once we met with a pediatric dermatologist and got G's skin cleared up (we still use prescription ointments/oils on certain spots on a near daily basis), we primarily use this body wash because it seems to have little to no smell and does not further dry his skin. I do make sure to allow him play time in the bath BEFORE adding any soap to the water. I wash him right before getting him out so that he isn't sitting with the soap on his skin for long. Also be sure to put lotion on with the skin still moist. It really makes a difference!
Inflatable Bath Tub--This was GREAT when G outgrew the baby tub, but was not sitting independently enough to bathe in the big tub. A wonderful transition item, and it's great for travel too.
Video Monitor--I think we all understand why you might want one of these.
Chicco Infant Seat and Stroller--Easy to use, install, and has great ratings. The pop-in option with the stroller base was quick, light, relatively cheap, and great for the early stroller days before he could sit up.
Baby Swing (one that plugs in)--I hear some babies love the swing, and some hate it. Grant fell into both categories depending on the day. But you will need places to safely lay the baby when trying to get anything done, and this provided enough music and swinging to calm him on some of his better days. It usually only worked in the morning hours when he was most willing to be soothed. By afternoon/evening, all bets were off!
Bouncer Seat--These don't last super long, but you just need places to put the baby down sometimes. And this is one way to do it! This one has music and vibrates, which I think lengthened the amount of time he would sit in it.
RockN'Play--This is another great item for putting baby down in. However, I will not rely on it as heavily the second time around. It's great because it keeps them snug and elevated (and vibrates!), but it sure does make the transition to the crib more difficult if you allow them to sleep in it consistently!
LUVS Diapers--When registering, I thought I just had to have Pampers Swaddlers, but someone had given us a pack of LUVS and I tried them. Virtually no smell when wet (Pampers smelled sour on Grant with the slightest bit of moisture), a better fit, and cheaper than most of the competition…we will start with these next time around.
Travel Diaper Trash Bags--Sometimes you are on the go…and there just isn't a good place to throw a smelly diaper away. These are VERY handy and deodorized.
Washable Changing Pad Liners--Diaper changing gets MESSY. These kept me from having to change the entire changing pad cover each time I changed a dirty diaper. I could just throw this little pad in the wash if it got dirty--no big deal.
OxyClean BABY Powder--You will have more pee/poop blowouts than you ever thought possible in those first months. Then come the baby food stains later on. I finally learned to just allow his clothes to soak in a sink or in the washer with this powder in the mix until I had a load of things to wash (which wasn't every very long--I have done more laundry than ever before in the last year). And trust me, this stuff works (if given adequate time to soak)!
Dreft Laundry Detergent--Whether your baby has sensitive skin or not, this stuff smells like a baby (and is gentle on skin). It's a win-win. We tried using other products, but I keep coming back to it. I use it on all of our clothing because even our clothing (if washed with other detergents) broke Grant out.
Wool Dryer Balls--I found that dryer sheets are half of the battle with sensitive skin. Even unscented dryer sheets leave a residue on clothing that can bother a baby's skin. We've decided to make the switch to dryer balls permanent around here…they get the job done!
Probiotic Drops (AKA Colic Drops)--These were suggested by our pediatrician when G cried all the time, and we are actually still using them to keep him regular, as pooping has been a struggle in the past. They are pricey, but we believe they work.
Hidden in My Heart Lullaby CD--Grant has always had a fairly strong opinion about the car/carseat. Meaning, he screamed near constantly when riding in the car for months. Even now, if he gets sleepy, or if he's just not in the mood for riding, he will scream. This lullaby CD (we've also used Praise Baby) is wonderfully soothing…we call it baby crack. I also don't find that I lose my mind when listening to it. And it's full of great scriptures too!
Pottery Barn Stroller Blanket--This was a great weight for use in the fall, winter, and spring. It is also the right size to drape over the carseat to block the sun, and great for draping over baby in the stroller.
Other things to have on hand…
Lysol disinfecting wipes (for shopping carts, restaurant tables, etc), portable Germ-X (helpful when you've changed a gross diaper on the go!), Lansinoh quilted breast pads (they are the BEST…I've tried them all!), a travel diaper changing pad (never know where you will have to change), ONE nursing cover (more than likely your baby will hate it anyway!), a Tide pen, an emergency stash of diapers, wipes, and clothing in the car (never know when you'll need it).
And these are a few items I will probably invest in the next time around…
1. Car Seat Cover--One that is light and breezy, but something that attaches to the carseat. A draped blanket works, but it is hard to really hold the handle while carrying the seat around.
2. On-the-Go Sound Machine--There were many times when I thought G might have slept longer in the car seat if he had a portable sound machine with him.
3. Solly Baby Wrap--I've heard great things about this one. G wasn't ever a fan of being "worn," but I would have gotten much more accomplished if he had been wrapped. I have the Ergo and a Moby, but this one seems a bit lighter and less complicated.
Why do creatures so small have SO much stuff?!?