So over these very fast few months, I've conjured up a good list of favorite baby items. This would be my own personal "must-have" list, hind site being 20/20. But we all know every baby is different. And mommas, too. So I'm sure your list looks nothing like mine. But it's fun to share these things and see what other babies and mommas are into at different stages. This is a rather lengthy list of faves, so in case you're just breezing through here, I'll give you my top 5 baby items first...
I must credit my sweet friend, Pammy, for introducing me to this fabulous pillow. In my opinion, it puts the widely-loved Boppy to shame. I do have a Boppy - I registered for one anyway because I heard they're great for propping up baby (their original purpose actually), but I'm SO glad I held out and snagged one of these Bosom Baby pillows, too. First, they are HUGE - lots of room for baby, your elbows, and whatnot. Second, super soft and cushy (the Boppy is a lot harder). Third, V-shaped so they fit any size momma, whereas there is no way the Boppy does (though it claims to). It also serves more than one purpose - it makes a great pregnancy pillow. I also have the My Brest Friend pillow (which another friend recommended). That's a good one too, but totally different. For breastfeeding purposes, I rate these three as follows: #1 Bosom Baby, #2 Brest Friend, #3 Boppy. Note that the BB pillow is a little hard to find. Amazon carries it. Atlanta ladies, the women's shop at Northside Hospital carries them. BRU or BuyBuy Baby do not stock these - at least not last time I checked. I lucked up and caught mine off BabySteals.com for half price.
Thought I'd share this other Boppy brand product next since I just slammed their nursing pillow... ha! We actually have the Boppy brand changing pad covers (the tan one pictured above), which come with one of these white waterproof liners that just sit on top. And then Boppy sells extra liners in packs of three. Um, we have like 10 liners - we go through them like mad! I absolutely love them. I have to change the actual pad cover far less often. If Sam spits up or pees or poops while on his table, the pad takes the hit and we just swap it out. Now, sometimes a good pee-attack hits a 6-foot wide radius and you're screwed. But more often, it's just a quick liner change. LOVE these. Great for cribs and bassinets too when they're itty bitty. Only annoying thing is that the washing instructions say to not run them through the dryer. Um, yeah I totally do and they're fine. If they wear out faster, so be it.
Apparently babies either love or hate the swing. Well, Sam friggin LOVES it. And so do I. If I can't get him to go down in the crib, the swing is nearly fail-proof. Even if he fusses while I buckle him in, he ultimately succumbs to the rocking. But I especially love this model because the seat can be turned three ways. It can go back and forth like a traditional swing (facing either direction), or you can twist the seat to face you and it rocks from side to side like a hammock. We registered for this swing, but were also fortunate enough to get a hand-me-down swing for upstairs (so we'd have one on both floors). But if we hadn't, I totally would've put up the cash for a second one after learning how much Sam loved it. My parents also have one at their house - it's a must in our book!
These blankets are simply the best... huge (44"x44"), square (best for swaddling), and breathable (made of thin, muslin cotton). Sam always cuddles up with one in his swing. I have 13 of these total and I'm constantly going through them. I never leave the house without at least one. This brand has other great products too (I love the burpy bibs and the security blankets), but the blankets are my absolute favorite. I wish they made king size sheets out of this fabric. Seriously.
Sam and I have already put some serious mileage on our Baby Bjorn. He loves it. The first time I put him in it, he immediately relaxed and passed out. And he just now is able to face forward in it, which is super fun for him. I'm a big fan of baby-wearing (I also have the Moby Wrap and he likes that too, but I'm afraid he's going to protest it now that he can face forward in the Baby Bjorn). I don't like fooling with a car seat by myself... if I'm out shopping anywhere with a buggy, Sam is in the Baby Bjorn. Keeps my hands free and I don't have to worry about him because he's attached to me. Plus, convenience aside, "they" say it's better for baby not to be in the car seat ALL the time. And he's working on his neck muscles and such when I'm wearing him. So it's a home run no matter how you look at it. I wear it a good bit around the house too - Sam's a good little helper. Couldn't live without this thing! And the "active" style provides more back support than the original Baby Bjorn. I think that's the main difference.
Other Favorites (0-3 months)...
Carter's Keep Me Dry Pad - I have several "sheet saver" type products for the crib. This is the cheapest one I got and it beats the other fancy pants ones. The flannel like fabric kinda clings to the sheet, so it stays put. Love these. Just throw it over the crib sheet and you rarely need to change the actual sheet.
Bright Starts Ingenuity Automatic Bouncer - Sam's Mimi got him this! And boy are we glad because our boy loves it. It's a great way to read to him now too - when I'm using big picture books. He's so wiggly that it's often hard to keep hold of him and handle a book at the same time.
Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller - I knew I wanted to get a "snap-n-go" type stroller for the infant seat. We got the Chicco Keyfit 30 seat, so when I heard Chicco came out with its own version of the snap-n-go, I immediately registered for it. And it is awesome. I did not want a big travel system and I'm so glad I stuck with my gut here. The Keyfit Caddy is ridiculously easy. I can lift it out of the trunk with one hand and pop it open in seconds. And the storage basket underneath is huge. Like I-could-stuff-a-dead-body-in-there huge.
Baby 411 - My favorite go-to reference book. I have several books and this is by far my favorite! Plus it's funny and entertaining. I've already bought two other copies for friends.
"The Merry Goes 'Round" by Jewel - Sam loves him some tunes. So much so that he's been known to wail in between tracks. We constantly have music going in the nursery. This new CD by Jewel is one of our favorites! I must say, the first track called "Sammy the Spider" sold me. But the whole thing is awesome and something adults can actually enjoy too. I love Jewel anyway, so it was a no brainer for me to get her children's CD's (Sam also has the lullaby one). Another one we love is the Rockabye Baby CD with classic rock tunes made lullabies. So fun! Sam's awesome Auntie Jenn hooked him up with that one.
Mirrors - Sam has this particular one for the car, but mirrors in general are a BIG hit right now. Particularly in his play gym, Sam spends a good 30 minutes or so several times a day just staring into the mirror giggling and cooing at himself. Highly entertaining, apparently. I'm constantly moving his gym mirror back and forth from the crib. I'm sure I'll eventually break down and get one just for the crib!
Sleep Sheep - A sweet friend told me I'd need this and she was right! We have both the regular size and travel sizes of this item. It's a stuffed sheep that velcros onto a crib or bassinet or whatever and plays several different white noises on a timer. Sam's favorite (or Mom's really - because it puts him in a trance!) is the Ocean noise. We have an ocean noise on his regular white noise maker, but it's not as good. We have kept the travel sheep on his car seat until he started daycare (today) - so now the mini one is on his crib at school.
The Jesus Storybook Bible - I cannot fully explain the awesomeness of this book. Just get it for yourself and you will see! I had no previous knowledge of it - we received it as a gift and I am so grateful now that Sam and I have been digging into it. It basically walks through the entire Bible, in short-story or chapter form - showing that the Bible is one big story, where every little story along the way whispers Jesus' name. OMG... like I seriously cried when I read about Adam and Eve. It is SO well written, so beautifully illustrated (every page is full of color from edge to edge), and honestly - forget kids... if you want a better understanding of the Bible in general, get this book. Yes, it's written in a very simple way that appeals to children, but it's not watered down. I adore this book. I know Sam and I are going to wear it out!
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes - I told you Sam loves his tunes. This is a great little inexpensive toy that plays several songs at the press of a button. A lot of the music on baby toys is very grainy and makes you cringe a bit - but the sound quality on this little gadget is actually really great. And Sam loves it. It has little lights that blink in sync with the songs.
Munchkin Portable Nightlight - This was a big help in the very early days when there were several night feedings and Sam was still in the bassinet. Great little portable nightlight that goes off automatically after 30 minutes. I think it was also soothing to Sam as he was falling back asleep after a feeding.
Plain white onesies - I love all the fun baby clothes, but really... is there anything cuter than a baby in a plain white onesie? I make sure I have a set of these in short sleeve and long sleeve at every stage. Carter's bodysuits are my favorite but Gerber onesies are OK too (just know their sizing runs WAY small).
Tummy Tub - This product has probably brought about the most laughs of anything we have. Sam looks so friggin hilarious in this thing. It's simply an upright tub for baby, so they are always in water and don't get cold. We either bathe him in this or just on a body sponge (also pictured) in the regular tub.
Tiny Love Take Along Mobile - Another great recommendation from my friend Pammy. We never did get a full size mobile for Sam. But once he started getting into his crib toys and play gym, I thought he'd enjoy a mobile. So I decided to try this mini travel one, and he loves it! It is awesome because you don't have to wind it like you do a lot of mobiles. It just has a simple on/off switch and runs for a good 30 or 40 minutes. But the coolest part is, it attaches to almost anything. And the top pieces comes off and will strap to a car seat or stroller. He's become such a big fan, that we sent it off to daycare with him today and I just hopped on Amazon and ordered a second one. Love it!
Dr. Brown's Bottles - We initially tried several recommended brands of baby bottles to see what Sam preferred. Honestly, that boy loves to suck anything so I'm pretty confident he'd do fine with any of them. But Dr. Brown's won out in the end. The original size (not the wide-neck) have smaller nipples, whereas the other bottles we tried (Avent and Playtex) had honkin' huge nipples. Sam seemed to have a little bit of an easier time with the Dr. Brown's bottles. But what swayed me in the end was the fact that Dr. Brown's bottles fit on my breast pump. None of the others did, so that sold me. Now that Sam has moved past the 4oz bottles, I can still use them to pump and store breast milk. Win, win.
Skip Hop Diaper Bags - I have several bags that I rotate and two of them are Skip Hop. The best feature of their bags? The stroller attachment straps. So anytime I know I'm going to be using the stroller, I make sure I carry one of my Skip Hop bags. Love it! Very affordable and they come in a huge selection of fun styles and prints. The green messenger style pictured is my personal fave!
Phew! The funny thing is, now that we've passed the 3-month mark, we can already see Sam's interests and needs changing. Can't wait to see what our next round of favorites are! Stay tuned...