In the past months we have had friends who are expecting their first child and we frequently get asked what the top baby items are that we couldn’t do without. After rattling it off a few times, I thought I would share here in case you want to learn from our experience. Everyone is unique of course, so take take ’em or leave ’em. It’s funny, I wrote out my list and then asked David his. Besides number six, every single one was the same!
- Electric Kettle: This may sound like an odd choice, but not only are Electric Kettles great for coffee (which you will need A LOT of those first few months) but, you can use the piping hot water to sanitize your bottles, nipples, spoons and cups, which you will be doing A LOT of too. We found this saves us from having to get one of those pricey, bulky steamers and once we are done with bottles we can go back to using it the way we always did.
- La-Z-Boy: you will be spending copious amounts of time sitting and rocking and playing and feeding and more and more and more rocking so make sure this is where you splurge. We didn’t go bananas on a lot of items honestly but this was definitenly an investment that has a huge return. Oddly enough, we went with a brand that I was surprised I liked so much: La-Z-Boy. Seriously. They don’t make the one we have anymore, but this one is closest to ours. We have it in the color Brown Sugar and it’s very modern looking – not the old granny kind that you are thinking in your head. Like I said, the chair is a splurge, but you will be so happy you have one you won’t know what you ever did without it.
- Skip-Hop Pronto! Changing Station: I remember the first time I changed Lila “in the field” and had to use this wonderful product. I was astonished that the public restroom didn’t have a Koala Bear changing station. You will come to find that a ton of places you use to frequent do not have these, which is why the Pronto! is so critical to bring with you everywhere you go. Also, be sure you have an extra onesie inside the pocket because blow-outs can happen anywhere, at anytime. I feel like I should add a Mwahahahaha at the end of that sentence.
- Joovy Room 2 and Exersaucer: I put these two as one since they are for the same purpose. By the end of her fourth month Lila was no longer a motionless blob but a crawling, rolling fireball that if you put her down for one moment and turned around she was g.o.n.e. gone. While I like to supervise as much as I can, there are times when you need them in a secure place to take care of something in the house. Joovy, or as we playfully call it “baby prison,” and the Exersaucer are blessings for those “oh crap” moments. If I’m trying to get a workout in downstairs, I pop in my 20 minute Jillian Michaels (see #7) and place Lila in the Exersaucer so we can both get our workout on. I feel great after the workout and so does she! Let me mention though that I only let Lila stay in her Exersaucer for 20 minutes total and the Joovy is for a five minute errand break that I just can’t do holding her (plus, it’s great when we visit the grandparents). There has been a lot of studies saying leaving children under one in the Exersaucer for long periods of time can impede standing and walking and besides, I just like being with her so much that I don’t like to leave her alone that often!
5. NoseFrida: I recall my friend who had a baby around the same time Lila was born, texting me in the middle of the night when both our daughters had RSV and all it said was, “do you have a NoseFrida?” I thought she had finally joined me in the “losing it” phase as that word made no sense to me. And then, after she explained to me how it worked, all I could think was “ewwww!” But to this day when Lila is stuffy we still go “NOSEFRIDA!” like we are in the middle of a scene from ER. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, removes snot like this brilliant contraption does. Get two for good measure, you’ll thank me later. Don’t believe me? Check out this mom Jessica talking about the NoseFrida, complete with a demonstration!
6. IKEA Spoons & Bibs: we have been feeding Lila solid foods since four months (she’s now eight months if you can believe it) and we tried a myriad of spoon/bib combos but when we got the IKEA versions we knew these were the big winners. The spoons are small, plastic and the bowl of the spoon is upturned so the baby can receive the food easier. The bibs are plastic but machine washable, which you will find oddly enough that most plastic bibs are not. Who makes a baby product that is not machine washable? So weird. Spoon feeding a baby is never a totally clean experience so make sure you have the right gear!
7. A Workout Plan: Whatever you do and heed my words on this, take time for yourself. Trust me, you are going to be a better, more clear-headed and calm momma if you carve out just a little time to just be you. As I mentioned earlier, I put Lila in the Exersaucer and do my 20 minute workout with Jillian Michaels DVD (love that woman!). When we have the funds, I go to Pure Barre. God bless this intense workout. It’s 55 minutes of shall I say awesome dance-style torture. You can walk out a little sweaty but still get dressed and head back to work without a shower. It’s hand down my favorite workout and worth all of the sweat and soreness.
8. Boon Lawn and Stem – These two make a lot of “must need” lists and for good reason. I recall having this fear when I first found out I was pregnant that our house would look like a baby store exploded all over it. Well, it does, but it is controlled chaos. If you think you are going to get out of your house changing in drastic ways when baby arrives, think again, and trust me, you really won’t care. I don’t know what we would do without our Boon Lawn and Tulip as it at least keeps the bottle/nipple/spoon clutter under control in our kitchen. Plus, it’s super modern and cute to boot.
9. Halo Sleep Sack: want your baby to start sleeping through the night? Get two of these right away so in case there is a night accident and you don’t have time to wash the first one, you have a backup. Lila is a defiant one. I have no idea where she gets that from (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and will kick off any blankets we put on her. Enter the Halo Sleep Sack that keeps her perfectly covered throughout the night and shifts with her so she doesn’t turn into a cranky baby at 3:00 a.m. because she’s suddenly cold.
(9) Bumbo – If you want your baby to learn how to sit up straight, this is the ticket. I remember when we first put her in the Bumbo she slumped over and hated it. In about two weeks of practice she was sitting up straight, eating and playing with her books. Seriously, just get one.
10. Sleep Sheep – I’ll never forget one night we had the Sleep Sheep turned on to the “whale” sounds and we could hear Lila going “oooooh” along with the whales. Just thinking about that makes me grin from ear to ear. She loves this thing and we can hear a whimper over the monitor when it turns off. I like the Sleep Sheep because it gives an auditory signal to her that it’s time for bed. It actually is important to have a pretty traditional ritual with your baby when you go to sleep. We always dim the lights, close the curtains, put her in her sleep sack, turn on the Sleep Sheep and then give her a bottle and read Good Night Moon. Usually, she’s out like a light until the next morning, unless she’s learned something new that day and then watch out as it takes a bit longer for her to settle down. She learned to clap the other day and my god, like one of those little monkey toys with the clanging symbols that’s all she wanted to do. While adorable, by 8:30 p.m. David and I both were wondering if she was ever going to pass out. She finally did, but what did she do the moment she woke up? Clap, clap, clap. Such a cutie.
A few extra odds and ends for you!
- Walgreen’s iPhone App: You can tell the moment Lila entered our lives by looking at the photo steam on our iPhones. I have never taken so many pictures or videos in my life. Thank goodness for this app or I would never be able to delete them! I use this a lot and since it’s so cost effective, I order three sets of each so I can send copies to the grandparents. Oh child, don’t you ever forget the grandparents.
- Earth Mama Nipple Butter: If you aren’t comfortable talking about breastfeeding and all that jazz, honey, get ready because there’s nothing to be bashful about. If you do plan on breastfeeding (or not, that’s your choice and this is a total judge free zone since I only made it three months), I found this stuff to be like sweet nectar from the gods to help with soreness and tenderness.
- Incontinence Pads: My mother-in-law suggested these and at first I didn’t get it. Cue an explosive diaper all over our pretty green changing pad and walls and I definitely “got it” – thanks Nanna! Also, when diaper rash occurs, the best thing you can do for the baby is open air, which means no diaper for a good 10 – 20 minutes. We placed Lila in the Joovy with a bunch of these pads to give her enough room and voila! a dash of Desitin later and the rash was gone.
- Bigger diapers and clothes: Do yourself a favor and buy ahead in this department. For example, Lila is eight months and wearing a size three diaper but we have size fours on deck and 12-18 month clothes ready to go. You are going to need them one day anyway, but, for those “oh crap” moments where you realize you need a bigger diaper and you are so exhausted you don’t think you can do one other thing, let alone get in the car and drive to the store? You’ll be giving yourself a pat on the back for this one.
- Batteries: We really didn’t have a lot of batteries around the house when it was just the two us, now when we are at the store, we check the battery endcaps for sales and deals. You will randomly need a ton of them, so just buy a load of AAA and AA and call it a day.