We're launching a new feature where all the blogger bees will chime in on a question of the day in one post. Since this is a question that comes up frequently on the boards, I thought we'd start with,
What is your one can't live without baby product?
Child: Baby Stroller 10.5 months
1) I have just a few favorite baby items that I absolutely love, but the one we could not live without is our white noise machine. We had the Moms on Call email consultant service when Baby S was born and their #1 tip to help a baby sleep is LOUD white noise and a TIGHT swaddle. We've been blessed with an amazing sleeper (9+ hours starting at 3 weeks old) and we give lots of credit to the white noise machine. We have the Marpac which is a simple, no-frills, adult white noise machine. There's no timer, which is great since Baby Stroller wakes up as soon as the timer shuts off on his travel sleep sheep that we have for his car seat. When we lost power for 2 days recently, our sleep seriously suffered!
Children: Charlie 34 Months, Olive 12 Months
1) The one baby product I couldn't live without is a white noise machine. We've been using one every night since Charlie was 4 1/2 months old when he started sleeping through the night, and since Olive grew out of her sleepy newborn phase around 3 months old. White noise muffles the outside sounds of the city and the inside sounds of doorbells, cleaning, and talking so the kids don't get awakened early from their slumber. One summer, our next door neighbor built a backyard patio right next to Charlie's room. Miraculously he was able to sleep through all the construction because of our trusty white noise machine. We use a Marpac sound machine at home, but we also have a White Noise app on our iphones that we always use when we travel. I think it serves as a sleep cue they're familiar with, and it helps them sleep better in an unfamiliar place. Now that we have two kids, a white noise machine is even more essential in our small apartment, otherwise the kids would constantly be waking each other up! We have one in each of their rooms, and when we're entertaining, we turn on the white noise app as well! When you're a mom to two young kids, you never want your kids to be awakened early from their sleep!
Child: Baby H, 6 1/2 months
2) It's really hard picking an absolute favorite thing because, as I've learned so far with parenthood, something that doesn't work today could be a lifesaver tomorrow! Babies are always changing, as are their likes and needs. But one thing that we have been using religiously since our first week at home is our NoseFrida Snot Sucker! Parenthood is glamorous, right? It's so weird to use at first, but once we realized how helpful and useful it is we quickly got over being grossed out by it. Compared to the traditional bulb nasal aspirator, the Snot Sucker gets so much out of their little noses! Baby H was pretty sniffly when we came home from the hospital. Both Mr. H and I came down with a little cold and we think Baby H may have caught it. We used the aspirator at first and it did basically nothing. As soon as we started using the Snot Sucker, we realized just how congested she had been! It was an easy solution and so helpful. And, because we started using at at such a young age, Baby H loves it! When she sees me get it out she just sits still and waits for me to use it. No fussing, no crying. We make sure we don't overuse it, as her little nose can get irritated, but it's definitely something we use on a regular basis to keep Baby H breathing easy!
Ms. Fairy Wings
Child: Tobin, 12 months
3) My little guy has been going through some big attachment swings, and as a single mom there are days when I wouldn't get out the door without the help of my go-to Ergo carrier. Tobin wakes up and likes to be held. And I like holding him. But our mornings tend to be hectic and the only way I can feed us both breakfast, dress him and get ready for work, is if I put him in the Ergo wrap for most of the morning. In the mornings he's feeling sleepy and just wants to cuddle. I put him the Ergo facing me and wear him on my chest as I move though our morning routine. I also like the Ergo to carrier him in and out of day care, leaving my hands free to swipe the security card, carry his food and bottles for the day, and bring in his bag of extra clothes.
Child: Aliya, 16 months
3) I probably could list 10 or so "could not live without" items so this is a challenge! One item I definitely could not have lived without is our Ergo Baby Performance Carrier. I wore Aliya so much in the early days; sometimes I would even walk around the neighborhood with her in the Infant Insert (she was probably only about 9 lbs. at the time) because it was much easier for me to strap her on than to unfold the snap-and-go stroller, lift the car seat onto the stroller, and then buckle her in (plus she hated going into her car seat as a newborn). Any time we went out, I would wear her and she would be completely content, often napping on me. I didn't realize there were different types of Ergos - I had just ordered the Performance Carrier on Amazon because it was the first one I saw - but apparently this one is thinner and more breathable, so the baby doesn't get too hot when you're wearing him/her. It is so easy to use too! I didn't even bother trying the Moby or other similar wraps, honestly because I didn't think I'd be able to figure out all the different ties/holds and I was afraid I'd do it wrong and drop the baby! The Ergo is just 2 snaps - one around the waist and one around the shoulders - easy. And Aliya LOVED it.
Children: Toddler Girl 32 Months, Wonder Baby 9 Months
3) I couldn't live without my Ergo baby carrier. It has gotten so much use with both my children and still looks brand new! Toddler Girl spent time in it regularly from 4 months until 2 years. We used it whenever we were out and about (we didn't have a stroller for the first year), and for lots of hiking. Wonder Baby has used it even more, as we started with her at 5 days old using the infant insert. Wonder Baby is such a terrible napper (and our house is so much noisier this time around) that she has had one of her daily naps in the ergo for at least 5 of her 9 months. I also wear her a lot when we're out, with Toddler Girl in the stroller for longer outings, and she sometimes just hangs out on my back when she's having a cranky day, leaving my hands free to work. I do get a tired back from wearing her so much, so it's great that I've had such an ergonomic carrier.
Children: Little Jacks 2.5 years old, Jack Jack 8 months.
3) The one baby product that our family can't live without is baby wearing. With both our girls we have baby-worn extensively. When the girls were tiny we used a soft woven wrap (like a Moby). We chose one called Lovey Duds, because it was attactive, light, soft, and exceedingly comfortable. Once the girls hit about 14-16 lbs, we switched to the Ergo. We actually have more than one. One fits Mr. Jacks' broad frame comfortably, while one has a cute Petunia Picklebottom design and is fitted to me. We love babywearing for its role in promoting bonding and providing what Mr. Jacks calls a "hands-free babyset." It has allowed us to cook countless dinners with a fussy baby, provide naps for babies on the move, and allowed Mr. Jacks to be a productive WAHD for over 2 years. I believe that baby wearing has made a significant contribution to helping our girls become well-adjusted, confident children and I just don't know what we would do without it!
Mrs. Cat in the Cradle
Child: Miss Kitten, 3 Months
4) So far my cannot live without product is a manual breast pump. Miss Kitten is currently waking up once a night, and only feeds off of one side before falling back asleep. Instead of dealing with engorgement or having to hook up my electric dual pump at 3 or 4 am, the manual one is so very convenient. I can easily operate it using one hand, so I can feed her and pump the other breast at the same time. The big plus there is that because of the letdown I experience due to her feeding, I definitely collect more milk (a quick 3-4 ounces per session)! The model I own is easy to clean, and small enough to fit into a diaper bag if I need to take it anywhere. I was initially leery about spending another 25 dollars on a pump when I have a big electric one, but it has really been worth the investment! The fact that it only takes me on average 15 minutes to feed, pump, put the baby back in her crib, and take the milk downstairs to the fridge allows me to sleep more, and better sleep with an infant is priceless!
Mrs. High Heels
Child: Noelle 22 Months
5) The one baby product I can't live without is our Summer Infant Day + Night Baby Monitor. We've used it from Day 1 and it is still going strong. The baby monitor provides us peace of mind in so many ways that just "listening" through a door can't offer. When she was younger, it helped us determine whether or not we needed to go in and comfort her, or if she was just making sleeping noises/whimpers. Nowadays, we no longer go to Noelle right when she wakes up, and she can easily play in her crib for another hour or so. We like to peek at what she's up to through the baby monitor, and often find her singing lullabies to her lovey and blankie (which she so affectionately named "Mimi"). Other times she's just there "talking" to her Hello Kitty humidifier, or trying to name the different colors on her polka-dot bed sheet. The big question on my mind now that Baby #2 is on the way is whether or not to buy a second baby monitor because we're not ready to give up Noelle's baby monitor quite yet, and plan to keep it around for quite a few more years. I love seeing the things she does when she thinks no one's looking.
Child: Emmett, 10.5 months old
6) I wish I could write about our white noise machine too, but don't want to be redundant. Seriously though, how do other babies sleep without one?
Our must-have baby item are Emmett's Cotton On baby bibs. Em's been a water fountain ever since he was 5 months old. I'd like to blame it on teething, but sometimes? Sometimes he just drools. He drools when he's teething, when he's eating, when he's thinking, when he's sleeping, when he's smiling, when he's crying, when he's bathing...you get the point. And truth be told, I hate bibs. I love buying cute shirts and jackets and little scarves for Emmett and getting him all dressed up. Throwing a bib on top of a perfectly styled ensemble can be a killjoy for a fashion-conscious mama.
Since Emmett is what you'd call a heavy-duty drooler, an average bib wouldn't do the trick. His drool soaked through his bibs and onto his shirts and caused little baby rashes that broke my heart. I bought the 10-pack from Babies R' Us, and the ones with the water-resistant plastic back, and none of them fit the bill for our LO. I was tempted to buy the Aden & Anais ones because they seemed so awesome when I saw other moms use them (and cute to boot), but never loved them enough to purchase any for Emmett.
Cue: Cotton On baby bibs. I was given two of these as a gift from a mama friend and I've never looked back. They are thick and super-absorbent and insanely cute (stripes & dots, grey, etc.). And they're HUGE - great coverage. We use about 1 a day and that's all we need. Because I'm a little obsessed, I have 10 in rotation for him, but I probably only really needed about 5. And best of all? Emmett's received a ton of compliments on his bibs & hasn't gotten any irritation or rashes.
Children: Denali 11, Dylan 9, Olivia 13 months
7) The one baby product I couldn't live without is Robeez baby shoes. They are the only shoes that actually stay on my kiddos' feet. Plus Dylan and now Olivia, suffer from FFS (Fat Feet Syndrome) so it's really hard to find shoes that you can even get their feet into. If the shoes do finally go on, they are too long and so they trip over them. Not with Robeez; they fit and stay on any size foot.
Mrs. Jump Rope
Child: Chloe, 12 months
8) The one baby product I couldn't live without is a boppy. It's excellent for nursing and bottle feeding baby. I took mine with me to the hospital, since I was having a c-section, and knew that it would help alleviate pressure on my incision and help me hold Chloe to nurse. It worked wonderfully, and I used it for the first few months of her life. My husband used it to bottle feed Chloe for about six months or so. By that time, Chloe was able to hold a bottle on her own. She associated the boppy with her bottle, and would lie down on her boppy to feed herself! She's a little over a year old, and still drinks her milk while lying on the boppy. In addition to helping feed her, it was a wonderful tool to help support her head as a newborn. Chloe was very attentive and curious from the start, and loved looking around and seeing everything around her. As an infant, we'd let her rest in the boppy (supervised, of course!) while she'd look about the room. It's small enough that we can take it with us, but we did buy a second one to keep at my mom's house so I had less to pack with me every time we went to visit.
Child: Lil' CB, 3 years, 2 months
9) Honestly, as silly as it might sound, our can't-live-without baby product is Lil' CB's lovey. When he was still living in Korea with his foster family, we sent Lil' CB a stuffed animal that resembled our dog (similar to this one, but a black lab). We thought it might be a fun way to make a connection with our family and the pictures we had sent of us and our pup. By the time Lil' CB came home at 15 months, he had had the stuffed dog for about 3 months and became very fond of it. As he settled into his new home and with his new family, his stuffed pup, known affectionately as Mini, became his transitional object. Mini helped comfort Lil' CB during his times of grieving and also as he transitioned to new situations, such as daycare or vacations. At 3 years-old, Mini is still very much a part of Lil' CB's life and has recently helped him on his first day at preschool and at his first sleepover at my parents' house without us. In fact, we have 2 Minis -- O.G., or, Home Mini and Travel Mini. Not a day goes by when Lil' CB doesn't need Mini to fall asleep or to just hang out around him!
Child: Little Y, 16 months
10) I've used and loved a lot of baby products, but one I still can't live without 16 months after giving birth is the BabySmart Cooshee Changer. It's made with anti-bacterial foam, and it wipes clean very quickly -- no need to constantly wash changing pad covers! I cannot even begin to tell you about the nasty stuff I have wiped off this thing (if you're a mom, surely you can imagine) and it's still in perfect condition. We keep the Cooshee on a dresser in Little Y's room, and it makes diaper changes a lot easier these days. That's not to say he LOVES diaper changes, but if I try to change him on the floor, I have to spend 5 minutes catching him and pinning him down. Also, he's tall for his age and his head and bum still fit on the Cooshee comfortably. I've heard that the Cooshee has been out of stock on Amazon for a while, but I love this so much that I would recommend calling BabySmart to order directly. If you can't do that, there are some similar products by Soft Gear and Keekaroo out now, too.
Mrs. Hide and Seek
Children: Paige 3, Noah 9 Months
11) The one baby product we couldn't live without is our sound machine as well (we use Brookstone's made for baby version in each child's room). We also couldn't live without the Jumperoo. It has brought endless joy to both kids before the walking stage. When they seem to be bored with all else, I just pop the baby in the Jumperoo and it's endless fun for the next little while. As a side bonus, I get to know they are in a safe place if I need to switch the laundry over or something, because they are the age-appropriate size for the seat. I can also get lunch made or help out my older child more easily with the Jumperoo around to help! I love it and will be sad when Noah outgrows it. He's on the last setting for his size, so our days with it are numbered. Boo hoooooo!
Children: Wagon Jr. 34 months, Lil Miss Wagon 3 months
12) The one baby product I can't live without is baby wipes! I know this is kind of a silly answer (kind of like saying you can't live without diapers... or clothes!), but we use baby wipes for anything and everything. We try not to use antibacterial products too much, so we carry baby wipes with us everywhere, even when we're not with the babies. We obviously use them for diaper changes, but also for wiping hands before and after meals, as a burp cloth when we've forgotten one, to wipe off toys or pacifiers, to wash faces, and to clean stains off of clothes (they work SO well for this)! Wagon Sr.'s biggest pet peeve is sticky fingers, so I know he would agree with me on this one. We buy wipes in bulk from Costco (our favorite kind! they don't fall apart!) and refill our favorite Skip Hop wipes case (which only requires one hand for use).
Children: Mavrick 28 Months, Sienna 6 Months
13) Seeing as I have two kids, I thought I would do one product each! Like Mrs. Bee, we can't live without our white noise machine. Mavrick has slept with sound since he was a baby and we still turn it on right before bed. A big reason for using it is that the kids' bedrooms are right next to the dining room. If we have guests over there's constant noise, and we don't want to disrupt their sleep. Can they sleep without it? Of course, but I worry less about noise when it's on.
The second product would have to be a Snap-n-go. When I had Mavrick, we would take out the big stroller every time to snap the car carrier it in; it was a hassle, heavy and just annoying. Then our next door neighbor gifted us a used Snap-n-go right before I gave birth to Sienna. At first I wasn't sure I would use it much since I already had a stroller that fit with the car carrier, but wow, that thing has to be the best invention ever -- lightweight, easy to store and quick! I loved it so much. Sure it doesn't last a long time... but for the time I did have it, it was heaven. I wish I knew about that thing when I had my first, as it would have reduced the amount of frustration I had towards my stroller. I strongly suggest going that route, and then using the bigger stroller once baby is big enough. Trust me you'll love it, and they are inexpensive too!
What is your #1 can't live without baby product?