OK so I'm back. Albeit a couple days late but whateva. So this is going to be a (long) list of must have's, and things that worked for me as a first time Mom. There is so much Baby gear (aka JUNK) out there, it's hard not to get overwhelmed. Just hoping if somebody googles something and it brings them to me I can be a help :) I try not to push things onto friends who are pregnant but it's hard not to want to share all your wisdom! But I also need to remember that just because Hailey was a baby who could not go to sleep unless swaddled, with a bink on her tummy, not every baby is like that! OK here goes nothin.........
Swaddle Blankets. Now I'm totally gonna throw my Mom under the bus on this one, but when we were shopping a few weeks before Hailey got here I asked her what she thought of blankets made spaficially for swaddling and she looked at me like I had 3 foreheads. She was all oh just use a blanket it's a no brainer. Then the spawn of Hercules was born (aka my daughter). This girl could bust out of the tightest best swaddle in the world. The nurses were amazed by her strength. This kept us awake for many hours many nights. If only I had gone w/ my gut (honestly like the 1 thing my Mom was wrong on. But I digress, listen to your Mother's they know EVERYTHING!) it would have saved us much heartache. I got the kiddopotamus swaddle blankets when Hailey was like 4 months old and she slept in them for every nap and every single night until she was like 10 months. It was amazing and I was scared to transition her out of them!
Moby Wrap. GREATEST thing ever invented. I had a Target gift card from my shower and had been researching slings for months and decided to order this totally blind. BEST. THING. EVER. Having Nannied/babysat for years I HATED the Bjorn things and knew they would hurt my back and shoulders. While I won't lie and say I didn't start to ache after wearing the moby for long periods of time it was night and day with the Moby vs. any other sling. Hailey LOVED it. My grumpy high maintenance Baby who literally took hours to get to sleep would be asleep with in minutes of me putting her in here. I used the hold seen in the picture to the left, and she LOVED it. I would vacuum, load/unload the dishwasher, do laundry, sit on the computer, grocery shop, and she would snooze away! LOVED it! They are a little hard to find, like I said I bought mine at Target.com but they do sell them in target stores!! You can also get them online at Babiesrus.com and I was able to find them by the diaper bags a couple weeks ago at my store in Omaha so not sure if they are in all Babies R Us national or not!
Boppy. Basically if you plan on feeding your child you must have one of these. I don't care what brand, where you get it, what cover or how many you have you HAVE. TO. HAVE. ONE. PERIOD. I see these women trying to nurse on tv w/out them straining forward hurting their backs. This makes nursing SO easy! And for months I pumped and gave Hailey a bottle and I would just pop her in here and she would lay and drink. She snoozed in this thing for I don't even know how many hours when she was a wee Baby. So great. I got mine at Wal-mart for less then $20 and love it.
Carters clothes. I am OBSESSED w/ all carters clothes to say the least. I could spend HUNDREDS in that store I swear. Anytime I get some extra $ even MY birthday $ I am trying to figure out how to get there and buy Hailey some clothes! They clean up amazingly, never fade, never stretch, and I find they fit exactly true to their size. It's hard w/ Baby clothes trying to figure out what will fit your kid when, and I always go by weight and Carters is the only brand accurate. LOVE THEM! Their onesies, pants everything! You can sign up online to get coupons emailed and mailed to you and I highly recommend that. I have never once bought anything there w/out a coupon. I am also highly privileged to live in a town where we have 2 outlet stores and pretty much the whole entire store is always 40-70% off. So glorious!
MiPump by First Years. So I know there is a big debate about formula/breast. For me there was no choice, breast ONLY. We got some samples of formula and tried to give it to Hay twice and twice she gagged and puked on it. HA! That's my Girl! Due to her being MSPI (Milk,soy, protein intolerance) she would have had to have formula that costs over $20 for one of the little cans. Yeah not gonna happen when MY milk was free! So I bit the bullet and bought a somewhat expensive breast pump to help us. Not the Granddaddy of Pumps but still NOT cheap. It was an extremely good investment because my Pretty Girl put this Momma through Breast Feeding HELL. We honestly had just about every single feeding problem that can come arise. Our LC (Lactation Consultant) was in awe of how much trouble we had(which is a whole nother post in itself). I finally made the decision to stop feeding her myself and exclusively pump after she was 6 months old. So for the other 5 1/2 months I pumped every 3 hours day and night. Yes I had to set an alarm and wake up every 3 hours at night to pump. :( While it was no fun my girl grew into a hefty lil chunk due to only her Momma's milk and NO formula. I'm pretty proud of myself! All that to say I had a love/hate relationship w/ my pump. I was NOT sad to pack it up in April and be done. But it helped me nourish my girl in a way that I alone could not.
While I had problems and ended up going through 3 pumps, I only paid for the first one and the other 2 were sent completely free from the company. They were amazing to work with and I was totally happy. Looking back I probably should have bought the Granddaddy of pumps but I didn't know how much I was going to use it at the time. So I say if your going to breast feed at all no matter how long I think investing in a good pump is a wise decision, if you don't get your $'s worth out of it you can always sell it (craigslist, garage sale, friend/family member) or loan it out to a friend/family member and they can get your $'s worth out of it!
Bumbo Chair and Tray. Now while this is certainly not a necessity but a fun thing to have I LOVED our bumbo chair. I most certainly would not pay the $40 retail price tag to have one, you can find them ALL over on craigslist. I got ours for $5 cuz the ladies little girl colored w/ marker on the back and no amount of scrubbing (even w/ my bff magic eraser) will take it off. But I digress. Hailey LOVED it. One of our cousins bought me the tray and it is awesome. She could eat puffs in it when she was older, play with rattles and toys when she was little, and would even sit in it on the couch and watch tv w/ us. We even took it w/ us to Michigan last summer because it's so small it fit well in the trunk w/out taking up much space and it was awesome for meals instead of dragging along a huge high/booster chair. It has been an awesome thing to plop on the table and let her eat in it no matter where we go! It really is an awesome thing to have around and I don't know how our parents survived w/out neat things like this!
First Years Infant to Toddler Booster Seat. So we have a lovely brand new ranch house, don't get me wrong I L O V E my house, but the one thing I gave up to have it was a nice big dinning room. So we have an eat-in kitchen which I don'treallylove. Sue me. So we knew there was no way we could have one of those stupid big bulky highchairs in our small eating area. I started looking at booster seats and the one I really wanted was over $60. I ended up finding this one at Target for less then $40 and I LOVE it! It reclines and Hailey started sitting at the table with us at about 3 months old. I have so many pictures of her in it cuz we love it so much and she LOVED to sit up like a big Girl w/ Momma an Daddy. I love the fabric and think it's so cute and fun. We ended up getting an all plastic one booster for our house and gave this one to my parents to use at their house. The reason for this is the fabric. Now that my girl is eating all big girl food she is a hot mess at meal times. I was washing the fabric 3 sometimes 4 times a week because it would get so nasty. But it would wash and dry beautifully and was a snap to get on and off. I even washed (bleached) the straps that held her in because she trashed those too. They came out a little cleaner and in great shape! I also love how easy the staps are to adjust, as our new seat takes an iron man to make them bigger/smaller. Such a pain! But this chair was super easy to use. I really do love it and would recommend this over any high chair and I LOVE how it just sits on any chair and is very sturdy and I always felt Hay was safe in it.
Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tables. Ah teething, all Mother's nightmares. While I won't lie and say that these tablets will magically turn your once precious sweet Baby that went into psycho screaming head BACK into sweet precious Baby, but they will help. I'll be honest and these don't touch molar pain for Hailey but they helped with the first couple teeth and would calm her down and ease her pain I believe. We do use Tylenol and Motrin but I always try these first to see if they bring relief. Not sure if people know this but using Baby Orajel can be very dangerous because if you use to much you can numb your Babies throat causing them to not be able to swallow and then they could choke, especially during nap time. Since the teething tablets are all natural and basically herbs they can not harm your Baby AT ALL and you could even give them 80 in a day w/out it hurting them. (obviously you don't want to do that and you should use common sense but still......)
Eucerin Aquaphor Baby Ointment. So my Girl was "blessed" to get her Momma's totally dry cracked skin and her Daddy's super duper ultra sensitive skin. Oh joy. I feel bad for the kid already. While normally it's fine and I can just use a regular old Johnson's lotion on her after bath this past winter was soooooooo biterally cold and dry her poor little cheeks, chin, and nose would get super red and crack. :( Broke my heart. So I asked my most favorite people in the world (the Pharmacist at Target) and they told me to get Aquaphor. This stuff is gross I won't lie. lol. It's basically like Vaseline just a little less greasy. But still GREASY. But my goodness I would put this on her little face and I would see a difference right away! It was especially great for right before bed when she couldn't rub it off w/ her hands. I now use it on her heat rash she has on her belly from her diaper and I noticed a HUGE difference. I would never use this as an all over lotion b/c it is so greasy and thick but it's great for problem areas and I even use it on my cracked heels a couple times and it was great!
Making your own Baby Food. OK so like breast feeding I know this isn't for everybody. But again w/ Hailey's food allergies I felt better about making her own food and knowing exactly what she was getting. I absolutely loved it. Call me psycho (wouldn't be the first time) but I had so much fun thinking of great new things to feed her. And my girl LOVES to eat. I would just bake (or not depending on what it was) and puree her food in the blender, poor it into the ice cube tray's, freeze it overnight and then dump it in a ziplock and store it in the freezer. Every morning while making breakfast I would pull out 8 cubes, 4 cubes of veggies and 4 fruits for 2 different meals during the day. It was kinda a pain to thaw them out but if I just left them out on the counter I would only have to nuke them. It was great! I honestly miss making it. It was SO much fun! If your having a Baby PLEASE let me make your Baby food! Ha. By the end of her Baby food eatin days I did have to buy new ice cube tray's cuz mine were cracked and broken but they are like a dollar for 3 at Walmart so no big deal to me. I also realize that for Mom's that work outside the home it might be an undertaking (breast feeding and making my own food would have NEVER happened had I not been a sahm sorry to say), so I understand but even if you make some of your own and buy jars of others it's better then nothing. I could make like 2 weeks worth of squash for Hailey for less then $3 where as jars are .50 for 1 feeding. So you do the math (cuz I SUCK at math), but it was a HUGE savings to our 1 income family! Consider it and if you have ANY questions or want help or want me to do it I would LOVE to! Just email me Tulip1513@Hotmail.com
OK I think that's it. It was lengthily sorry! But I wanted to keep track of these things somewhere!!! Oh also my 2 cents, don't bother buying a baby monitor. You will lose sleep b/c of the damn thing and trust me if your Baby wakes up you'll hear it. We used to joke before Hailey was born that if a tornado came through the house I wouldn't wake up. I could sleep through literally anything. But now? Hailey moves her hand and I'm across the house in her room checking her. Seriously. Although I must say there are days when Steve will tell me he hears her cry in her room, but I don't get woken up by her until 8:30. So see if I had the dumb monitor I would have lost an hour and a half of sleep, and so would she! She went right back to sleep just fine :) I have used it before when I go outside or we have guests and I don't want them woken up but otherwise I say trust your Momma instincts and you'll wake up when your Baby needs you no worries :)