This is a post about baby crap type stuff so feel free to move along to other activities if this is of zero interest to you. But even though there are already 9 zillion similar posts floating around on the internet (and I probably bookmarked them all), I really find them helpful so wanted to contribute to the vast library on this subject. Also because I expended too much time out of my life reading Amazon reviews on all this stuff, so hopefully this digest can spare someone else that drudgery.
Update: I’m so glad this post has become helpful for so many! I wrote this when our first was a baby– we now have a second who has now herself grown into a toddler, so I feel even more confident in my recommendations here. I’m going to make some updates having now been through two babyhoods.
I knew I didn’t want to get a ton of baby stuff– 1. Our house is small 2. Ain’t nobody got disposable income for that and 3. Clutter is the fastest way to take me from Peaceful Zen Mother to Raging Psycho Hyena Dina Lohan Mother. So these were all very deliberate investments chosen because they brought maximum utility to the table. Ignore every list and infographic and idiotic Baby Center article that lists out 800 things you need. I think if I only had these 6-7 things I would have survived fine.
Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper
This was exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to avoid, but if you make one bulky item investment beyond a crib, let it be this. I wanted to veto this for redundancy, since we already had a crib, and babies sleep in cribs right? No, seriously, we came home from the hospital and this is what I thought you did to put a baby to bed:
1. Dress baby in outfit called “sleeper”
2. Place baby in crib
LOL TIMES INFINITY FOREVER.
Here’s something I didn’t know: newborns don’t freaking like cribs. And you won’t be ready to be that far away from them anyway in the beginning. Buy the newborn sleeper, put it on your side of the bed, it makes baby happy, and happy baby sleeps. It’s cozy and reminiscent of your uterus, if your uterus was furry and had rabbit ears.
First off, a note on bouncers/swingers/rockers/sleepers/saucers/jumpers/whatevers. My good friend who is expecting asked me what the heck the difference was between all of these pieces of “gear” and I have no freaking clue. I just know people must have bigger living rooms than me. What I loved was this extremely small and low tech device called the Boppy Lounge. SO easy and painless, weighs nothing, takes up hardly any space, you can plop it in whatever room you’re in. Seriously so easy and low fuss.
Now, baby grows out of this after a few months. For months 5-10ish, we had an Exersaucer. Total space hog which was annoying, but both my babies loved it and would happily bounce around for 20 minutes while I scurried around doing kitchen crap.
I love this wrap. I used this probably every day with both my babies until they grew out of it around 6 months. It seems to fly under the wrap radar (is there a wrap radar?) but the smaller amount of reviewers seemed much happier with it than its competitors. Everyone has the Moby, but have you noticed a lot of people seem to not like the Moby? While wearing this, I’ve even had two strangers approach me and vent about the Moby. The K’Tan’s slogan is “a wrap without all the wrapping” which was very enticing. The gist is that you buy it in your shirt size, so there’s not any wrapping or tying, it already fits you. It takes up about as much space as a scarf, so it’s so easy to throw in the car, or your purse, or hang in a closet to store. Both my babies have loved this thing and would nap for 2-3 hours in it.
Another thing I wanted to veto for redundancy but am glad I got. The Ergo is a backpack-style carrier so critical for doing more high impact stuff like longer walking commitments, or walking with the dog. It holds the baby much more securely and absorbs a lot more shock. It’s also adjustable so baby daddies can wear it. It is comfortable and distributes the weight very well. Like, magically well. My one grievance with this item is that as it comes in the box, it’s only for babies 12 pounds and up. To carry your teeny baby you need to buy this BS “infant insert” which is $30 and actually doesn’t work that well.But once they grow into it, it’s amazing and one billion percent worth the wait. My two babies have seriously lived in this thing (and it shows zero sign of wear). So just use the wrap for months 0-6 and then let the Ergo take it from there.
Bonus Note on Babywearing In General…
I know wearing babies is, like, a thing– like something you do that’s annoying but you do it for the good of your baby– but I could not disagree more. The STROLLER is the annoying thing. It’s bulky and annoying and intimidating and has forty nine locks and levers and latches and takes up our entire entryway such that if it’s out and I open the door, it’s all OH HEY THERE WELCOME HOME SARAH IT’S ME THE STROLLER, just doing my stroller thing in your entryway, here let me roll over and bang my behemoth self into your shins. And I even got just the teeny tiny snap-and-go thing! I hate it. I think it secretly snickers and laughs at me in its stroller mind. After two babyhoods, the only time I use the stroller is for actual walks. For everything else– I’ve just worn the baby. Even with a preschooler holding my hand and a baby/toddler in the Ergo, I still breeze in and out of the car, through doorways, up and down stairs, around playground terrain. Yea you’re hauling around some extra weight, but it’s just worth it to make life easier and have access to both hands. Truly cannot say enough good things about the
Avent Steam Sterilizer
Not much to say here except it’s the germaphobe mother’s DREAM. It looks kind of annoying and complicated but it’s not– it’s just a dome that opens, you pour some water in and send it through the microwave. If you can type 4 minutes into your microwave you are smart enough to use it. Then you can sleep at night knowing your previously germ infested stuff (toys you pulled out of the dog’s mouth, pacifiers you found on the floor of the car, the bottle you accidentally left in your purse for 16 hours) is squeaky, steamy clean. Update: I actually didn’t use this very much for my second baby. I scaled back on my outside-the-home job with her so I didn’t end up pumping at all– and I realized the first time I had been mostly using this for pump and bottle pieces. It got a TON of use in that capacity, but when I didn’t have that need anymore, I didn’t really get it out. (The stereotype is absolutely true that you sanitize everything with your first but will hand whatever grubby gross crap back to your second– ha!) So if you are doing bottles and/or pumping I would say absolutely consider this, but if not, you definitely can do without.
Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets
Ooooohhh look a privileged white chick loves Aden & Anais stuff, shocking. Yea I know. Shut it. Listen. I had two separate women recommend these to me and I figured OK, cool, and then I saw they were $35 and I was like NEVERMIND I doubt they do anything different than the $9 ones. That is false. I was lucky to have been gifted two sets, and knowing now I would have bought them for myself anyway, cause they’re that good. They’re like 4 times bigger than the industry standard on regular swaddle blankets, so you don’t have to have good swaddling technique because you can just roll baby up in enough revolutions that it does the trick. They’re light and breathable so you don’t worry about overheating. They were absolutely the only thing that worked making the double swaddle (thanks Molly) once Frogson was big enough to bust out of the velcro swaddler. And swaddling is only like 8% of their utility. I use them as nursing covers. Tummy time mat. (There’s two less things you need!) Cute background for pictures. Bundling baby when he’s nude at a doctor’s appointment because if you try to do that with a regular size blanket, you will end up covering, like, one shoulder and you will feel like a Fail Mom. Their most terrific use in my mind is just general draping. (Boppy cover disgusting and covered in spit up and you’ve been meaning to launder it all week? Have to tear the cover off the changing pad at 3am due to a poo explosion? Want to throw baby on the bed but sheets are in the wash? DRAPE THAT MOFO.) Purchase these.
Swaddle Me (or any velcro swaddler)
This is more of just a PSA to make sure every chick who may have an infant someday is aware that YOU NEED A VELCRO SWADDLER. It’s federal law. I really think hospitals should check and make sure you have this the way they check car seats. I think the Miracle Blanket does the exact same thing, so get that, whatevs. I heard good things about both, so I sent Jeff to Babies R Us with both products written on a post it, and the latter was on sale so we became Swaddle Me loyalists. Velcro swaddler + Rock and Play Sleeper = YOUR NEWBORN WILL SLEEP FOR LIKE 4 HOURS. You should know that around 3-4 months, baby was big enough to get himself out of this and thus began the long, arduous swaddle transition. But up until that point baby was powerless against the velcro, and you will stand there watching them try to fidget out of it and you will say AHAHAHAHA RESISTANCE IS FUTILE, BABY! Your burrito self is stuck in there till 2am and I’M GOING DOWNSTAIRS TO WATCH THE BACHELOR, SUCKAH!
Happiest Baby on the Block
Ditto on this being just a PSA. I intended to read the book, but one day (back when I was sporting my big baby belly) a mom at the local coffee shop befriended me and told me there was a DVD of this. (Yes, I know, it was the Mommiest moment ever and I don’t blame you for eye-rolling). The DVD is awesome because it’s short, done totally by the doctor who wrote it, and you can see him demonstrate the actual moves which is very helpful. And it’s on TV so in theory it’s easier to make baby daddies watch it. And here, I will even give you the super digested version of the technique that we got the most use out of– loud white noise will calm your psycho newborn. Vacuum, hair dryer, oven vent fan, white noise app, AM radio static if you’re in the car, this video of which I’m personally responsible for approximately 100,000 of its views… it’s straight up baby magic and it blew my mind how well it worked on Frogson. If you don’t believe me, watch the video and you will see Dr. Karp soothe a roomful of newborns. Frogson had only a few Total Psycho Baby Moments (one being the afternoon after his first vaccines) and all that worked was combining all the techniques in a pitch black bathroom (swaddle, pacifier, hold-and-jiggle, hair dryer, boom goes the dynamite).
The end… hope this was helpful! What am I missing that worked for your kiddlet?
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