We’ve written in the past about baby gear you can skip (Swarm: Baby Gear: Buy or Skip, Mrs. Polish, Mrs. Tea, Mrs. Owl Part 1, Mrs. Owl Part 2). Here are some baby gear items that our bloggers can’t live without!
Since so many of our must-have baby gear overlap, we’ve put all of our guides here in one post:
These are the items that I couldn’t live without through two babies!
1) Boppy - At 23 months, I still use my Boppy daily! It has truly made breastfeeding infinitely easier for me. I loved my Boppy so much that I even purchased a travel Boppy when we went to the Philippines last year. It definitely made holding a lap infant on 8 flights much more comfortable.
2) double stroller - We tried a buggy board, but a double stroller was a must for us with two kids so that they could nap on all day outings. Charlie also always wanted to sit, so the buggy board didn’t really work out for us. Our Combi Double Sport stroller has served our needs very well!
3) baby gate - We’ve always had stairs (and a slippery, spiral staircase in our current apartment), so a baby gate was a must for us. This is actually probably our single most used baby item since we still open and close it multiple times a day.
4) Sleep sacks - Charlie slept in a sleep sack from 4 months until he was just over 2, when he figured out how to climb out of his crib while wearing his sleep sack. Olive has been in sleep sacks since she was 4 months old too (she’s 23 months old now), and since she’s a much more cautious baby than Charlie was, I suspect that she will remain in her crib much longer than he did. I love sleep sacks because I never had to worry about loose blankets covering their faces when they were really young, whether or not they were warm enough, and they were a sleep cue as part of our nap and bedtime routine (Olive loves putting on her sleep sack because she knows it’s time to sleep). Now that Charlie doesn’t use a sleep sack, he always kicks off his blankets so we have to dress him in warm jammies.
5) double electric breast pump - Because I exclusively pumped with Charlie, there was no way I would have been able to do it without a double electric breast pump, a hands-free pumping bra, extra pump parts, and milk storage bags. I also needed a pump with Olive in the days immediately after she was born because she had an extended stay at the hospital while I stayed at a nearby hotel. A double electric pump was also crucial to building up my supply with both kids, and as a working mom I needed to pump enough milk so that other caretakers could feed Olive. Without a pump, there’s no way Charlie and Olive could have received exclusive breast milk, so I’m very thankful for their existence.
7) swaddle blanket - Though we only used the swaddle blanket for the first couple of months, they helped Charlie and Olive sleep much longer stretches which was invaluable in those newborn days. We tried lots of swaddle blankets, and even though they were eventually able to break out of it, the Swaddleme was my favorite.
8) Aden & Anais swaddle blankets - I know everyone says they love these blankets, and at first I didn’t know what was so special about them, but we still use them all the time! They are the perfect swaddle for the newborn days before babies can break out of swaddles. I used to swaddle Olive in a Swaddleme and then an Aden & Anais blanket during the cold winter when she was born. I’ve used it as a nursing cover, blanket, stroller shade. And both kids love these blankets — Olive uses it as one of her loveys. The breathable fabric just gets softer and softer with each wash, and almost 4 years and 2 kids later they are still in great condition.
9) baby bathtub - I think bathing Charlie and Olive as babies wouldn’t have been impossible without a baby bathtub, but it definitely would have been much more difficult. Charlie stopped using the baby bathtub around 8 months, but Olive used it much longer since she was much later to hit all her physical milestones.
10) baby wipes - We use baby wipes for everything — from cleaning surfaces to wiping messy hands and faces. Lately I love these waterwipes because they are made with 99% water and grapefruit seed extract, so no harmful chemicals.
11) sippy cups - Once they’re around 1 1/2, kids can start drinking from a regular cup, but it can be messy and they may need your help. I love sippy cups because the kids can carry their water around without spilling it, and I think it helps them drink more especially when we’re out and about.
12) glider - We have a big comfy glider, and we’ve used it every single day since Charlie was born for feeding, reading, and snuggling sick babies. I slept in this glider with Olive many, many a nights because she wasn’t a great sleeper until 16 months when we sleep trained. A comfy chair in the nursery is a must in my book!
13) video monitor - This is another must have for me. It was invaluable during sleep training, and it’s so handy to see if the kids are just stirring (Charlie talks in his sleep) so we don’t go in their room and unnecessarily wake them up.
I haven’t included some popular must-haves like a high chair (both kids didn’t use it for very long before sitting in regular chairs at the table) and baby carriers (they did get a fair amount of use with Olive, but overall I wasn’t a big baby wearer).
W A G O N J R – 3 Y E A R S
L I L M I S S W A G O N – 1 3 M O N T H S
Having been a second time mom of a newborn baby, I have really been able to parse out the absolutely necessary from the nice-to-haves. With a baby and a toddler around, you really get down to the nitty-gritty because there is no space for all the extras (and no time to even use them!). So here’s my bare-bones list of my absolutely can’t-live-without baby gear. I’m not including things like bottles, diapers, or wipes because I think I could have lived with any kind of those. The items below are irreplaceable.
1) Boppy - This was my nursing pillow of choice (just couldn’t stomach even trying something with the word “Brest” in it, sorry) and we loved it for propping baby up for (supervised), naps, and baby photos. We had two with the fuzzy luxe covers– one for upstairs, one for downstairs.
3) Rock n Play - We didn’t use ours for long, but after using it for our second (very fussy) baby, I consider it a can’t-live-without. Or maybe can’t-sleep-without?
4) Baby bathtub - I hate filling the whole tub so Wagon Jr. took baths in the baby tub until past the age of 2! Then we went straight to stand-up showers.
5) Pump, several sets of pump parts, chest freezer, mini fridge - As an exclusive pumper, these items were a HUGE part of my life for the past year.
6) White noise - We use a humidifier.
8) Video monitor - I absolutely cannot live without this item.
9) Woombie - So much easier than any swaddle (just zip it up!).
10) Breathable bumpers - We have two very active sleepers, so I love these purely for the fact that it prevents them from getting their legs stuck (they both rest their feet on top of the bumpers!) and helps prevent their loveys from getting pushed through the bars.
11) Sleep sack - Wagon Jr. wore one every night until past the age of 3!
12) Baby gates - Stairs… ’nuff said.
13) High chair - My advice is to invest in one that you really love the look of because it’s gonna be a fixture in your kitchen for many, many years!
14) Glider - We don’t have a bed or sofa in the nursery, so I can’t even count the number of hours we’ve spent in our glider holding the baby in the middle of the night.
15) Stroller - Our babies hated being worn, so our stroller has been a faithful friend.
C H L O E - 2 1 M O N T H S
Chloe is nearing two years old, and there’s a lot of gear that we still use.
1) Pack n play - Chloe slept in a bassinet or the rock n play for the first few weeks, then we transitioned her to the Pack n Play before finally transitioning her to her crib at twelve weeks old. We’ve since been using the Pack n Play for travel, which has really come in handy! There are times where she still prefers co-sleeping, even at 21 months old, but we still pack our PNP along just in case.
2) Hooded Towels - Definitely still a favorite in this house! Chloe loves bath time, and at the mere mention of bath she runs to her drawer and gets a towel. She loves her hooded towels and we do, too.
3) Stroller/Travel System – A travel system worked best for us. We use our stroller all the time, and the carrier doubled as a car seat. Chloe outgrew the carseat/carrier around 6 months of age, and we transitioned her into a Britax Marathon car seat. I like that our stroller has a lot of underneath storage. There’s room to hold my diaper bag and other bags if we take her shopping with us. It folds easily and fits into the back of my SUV with ease.
4) Baby Monitor - We don’t have a fancy baby monitor, but we wanted something so we could hear her if we were downstairs or outside. What we have gets the job done, which is what we were looking for.
5) baby gates - We bought two different types of baby gates once Chloe started crawling, which was around 3/4 months (Early, I know!!). I bought cheap wooden ones from Target to prevent her from going into our kitchen and down the hallway, and we installed a sturdy swing gate at the top of our stairway as well.
6) Books - Sandra Boynton has been a staple in our household since the day Chloe was brought home from the hospital. Hands down, her favorite book is Moo, Baa, La La La and I’ve had that book memorized for nearly two years now. Another favorite is the Doggies book (sorry, I have to admit I’ve hidden this book…), and her book collection has significantly grown over the months. We love to read to her, and she loves to listen! As an infant, she loved softer books than small hardcover books. Now she likes books that help her associate words with pictures. It really helps with her vocabulary!
7) iPhone - This phone is my life-line. I never leave home without it. It takes such nice pictures that we’ve stopped carrying our digital camera around with us. We take lots of videos of her too, and have documented everything from her first smile, first laugh and first steps with our iPhones.
8) waterproof diaper bag - I still carry a diaper bag, and use the same Coach one that I bought nearly two years ago. It’s held up wonderfully and still looks brand new, and my purchasing criteria that it was sturdy, waterproof and made to last!
9) Exersaucer or similar vertical time toy - We have the Fisher Price Step n Play Piano and it’s been a hit since Chloe was three months old. It has a swivel seat that also slides back and forth. As an infant, she loved sitting in the seat and looking at herself in the mirror. As she gained control over her hands, she loved discovering the different sounds, textures and noises that the piano could make. When she got taller, and could reach the piano floor, she loved making piano sounds with her feet too! We removed the seat when she was able to walk on her own, and that’s when the real fun began. Now she’s 21 months old, and the piano has moved from our living room to her bedroom but it’s still one of her top ten favorite toys. I can say without a doubt that this is one toy that has grown with her!
10) Boppy - Our Boppy was absolutely essential when Chloe was a newborn. It helped me breastfeed then bottle feed, and my husband used it to bottle feed Chloe as well. As she got older, she liked to use it as a pillow and feed herself. At 21 months, she still likes to use it as a pillow when she lounges on the couch!
11) soft blankets - I don’t have a brand preference, as long as it’s soft and cuddly. We have lots and lots of soft blankets for Chloe, and they’re great for the cold winter months we have. I always keep two in the car just in case and she loves to snuggle with them at night, too.
12) diaper pail - We were both really skeptical about the Diaper Genie and didn’t think we’d need one, so we didn’t register for one. We got one as a gift anyway, and it’s certainly become our most used gear over the last 21 months. It held a lot of diapers in the newborn stage and at this point it doesn’t hold nearly as many, but it’s for sure been a blessing. We keep ours in the kitchen, and it absolutely disguises the smell of dirty diapers. Even at this stage of toddler hood, we empty the diaper genie on a weekly basis.
There were a lot of other items that I considered including on this list, but I wanted to stick to the items that we’ve exclusively used over the last (almost) two years. Our highchair, for instance, didn’t make the cut because it was only used for a short time. We moved to a booster seat last winter. Bottles didn’t make the cut either since we moved to sippy cups around the one year mark. Same with a baby bath tub – she outgrew that around six months, and has been splashing around in our tub with a safety mat ever since!
J A C O B I - 1 8 M O N T H S
I’m a minimalist when it comes to baby gear. Although I would love the latest and greatest baby gear, toys and gadgets, I was realistic about not only what we could afford but what we could fit in a 900 square foot apartment. While we were registering, we kept this in mind and hoping to get only what we were sure we needed, we kept our registry at less than 80 items. That still seemed like a lot, but it helped and in the end it meant that we spent less.
There are a lot of items I appreciated having, like a boppy, that I didn’t necessarily need because something else would have sufficed (in the case of a boppy, a pillow). I am also not including items such as diapers, carseat, and a crib as those seem to be pretty much a given in most cases.
1. Ikea shirt bibs - These were a little big once J started eating solids, but since he was completely eating food on his own by 9 months, he made huge messes and needed baths after every meal. These bibs cover him nearly completely and keep his clothes clean. I always make sure to pack one when we go out since it’s not entirely appropriate to strip him down to his diaper to eat as we do at home. They are super easy to wipe clean after a meal. And you cannot beat the price!
2. Natursutten Pacifier - In the early weeks J had a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep without nursing constantly. The only way I was able to get any sleep was if Mr. Pen or my family used this pacifier with J to keep him asleep. It was also the only thing other than a bottle that calmed him during car rides, and as a toddler it calms him during fits or crankiness. It’s been such a sanity-saver! I dread having to wean him from it.
3. Somewhere for him to eat – We have been using the Chicco hook-on chair which works great for us because he has always been able to eat with us at the table. The downside is that the chair itself is so huge that when he first started using it, we had to prop him up with blankets! I much preferred the Phil & Teds anywhere chair, however the clamp style didn’t work on our table since ours has a decorative apron on the underside. (You can read my full review comparing the two chairs here.) I have used a booster chair that sits on a dining chair and it works well also. It’s simple, cheap and easy and that’s most important. All we need is somewhere to contain him while he eats.
4. Breast Pump - I scored a great deal on a discontinued Medela Pump In Style model, but also had an Evenflo electric that worked great. I suppose I could have technically survived without a breast pump, but it sure helped in many, many ways. Firstly, I was able to leave for longer than 2-3 hours at a time if I needed to, which helped me keep my sanity as a new mom! Secondly, because J had such awful anxiety in the car, it allowed me to pump before we left or in the car in order to give him a bottle while we were driving to calm him down. Lastly, we had breast rejection issues due to thrush once J was about 4 months old, and pumping and giving him a bottle was the only way I could get him to eat for a whole weekend before he went off his strike.
5. Foscam - Because J started out napping on our bed, being able to see him sleeping/breathing was very important to Mr. Pen and me. As a first-time mother, I was constantly checking on him to see if he was okay. Even though he was sleeping with no pillows or blankets, I was paranoid! In addition, the camera came in handy while we sleep trained, or to see if he was awake or just making noises in his sleep. It saved us many times from going in to check on him, which would have just woken him up. The price for this camera can’t be beat! But do be warned: it does require someone moderately tech-savvy to install.
6. Maya Ring Sling and Beco Gemini Baby Carrier- I couldn’t choose between these two because they are both amazing for different reasons. For the first few months, it was a surefire way to get Jacobi to nap if I carried him in the ring sling. It was easy to pack in the diaper bag for when we went out, but as he got heavier the weight it put on my shoulder only made it possible for me to carry him in it for maybe an hour. He was still a little small for the Beco until he was about six months old, but as a toddler we love it the most. I can carry him in front or on my back and he loves both. He prefers it to riding in the grocery cart or stroller. If I had to choose between a baby carrier or a stroller, it would have been a carrier.
7. Rocking Chair - I consider myself quite frugal, but this was my other splurge item that I don’t regret for a second! I spent SO MUCH TIME in this chair during the early months. I learned to breastfeed in my chair, I held my son for all of his naps for his first 6 weeks in this chair, I have rocked him to sleep, soothed him while he’s been sick, read him books – this chair holds all of my fondest memories and continues to do so. It’s wide enough that he can sit next to me, it rocks and it swivels. In addition it is so comfortable; it was one of the only chairs that didn’t aggravate my sciatica while I was pregnant and post-partum.
8. Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets - Jacobi was definitely a baby that needed to be swaddled to sleep. Even if he hadn’t been swaddled for several months, these were so versatile in other ways! They are breathable, but still warm. I’ve used these as a nursing cover, burp cloths, stroller/carseat blankets (in both winter and summer), and playtime floor blanket. It was also the first blanket he slept with; his doctor okayed sleeping with them at 6 months because of how breathable the fabric is.
9. Mattress Topper - This item is a little unique to be on a baby essentials post, I know. J never liked sleeping on hard/firm surfaces. We tried to let him sleep in the Arm’s Reach Cosleeper (similar to a pack n play) from day one and he wouldn’t sleep longer than 15-20 minutes in it, but would easily sleep three hours on us or our bed (supervised, of course). That led to co-sleeping (which I don’t regret for one second!) for four months, and when it came time to transition him to his crib, he still wouldn’t sleep on the firm mattress. I found this organic topper that was firm/thin enough for safe sleeping, but cozy enough for comfort. It was one of our best splurges! I don’t regret it at all. I also love that I not only supported a small etsy business in the process, but knew that my child was sleeping on organic all-natural materials. In fact, if I could go back I would have just bought the crib mattress from them.
Other popular items that weren’t essentials for me: baby bathtub, stroller, bouncer, exersaucer, and swing. I had/have most of these but they were either nice to have but not essential or just taking up space for us. And living in a small apartment, space is precious!
L I T T L E C O N F E T T I – 1 5 M O N T H S
While it’s tough to narrow down a giant list of all of the gear needed for a tiny little person who will become a giant presence in your life, here are the top 11 items that helped us survive our first year of parenthood. Not at all surprisingly, most of them surround sleep, not only because it’s the one thing during Little C’s first year that I worried most about (and couldn’t seem to get enough of myself). And when it comes to feeding, it seems like every baby and every family is so different – some moms live by the pump, some never use it, some babies will take any bottle while others are picky and force their mothers to experiment with a zillion of them before settling into a comfortable feeding routine. With that, here are 10 items (plus a bonus toy) that got us through Little C’s first year:
1) Breathable Bumper – As soon as we dropped the swaddle, Little C started squirming and wiggling across his crib. Within a week, he had his legs stuck through his crib slats, and by the end of the week, it was happening every time he spent more than 20 minutes sleeping in his crib. Before C was born, I was stringently anti-bumper (and not only that, it is illegal to sell them in Chicago) due to SIDS risk, but this bumper – it saved my sanity. An extra added bonus was that Little C ended up using the strings of the bumper to help him fall asleep, and have become his outside-the-box lovey.
2) Portable High Chair - While we have a full size high chair, I love using this portable high chair at Little C’s grandparents’ homes. If we didn’t have a bar-height dining room set, this would have been the only high chair we purchased (which would have been awesome, since it is extremely affordable at only $30!). It straps securely to the chair, has multiple trays, has a cover if you want to just take the whole tray and pop it in the fridge, takes up almost no space and weighs nearly nothing.
3) Video Monitor – Some people say that the video feature of the monitors these days is overrated, but I LOVE it. Probably too much. In C’s early babyhood, I think I overutilized it, and didn’t give him enough freedom to soothe himself between sleep cycles. Once I realized that I could keep an eye on him and let him work things out himself a bit, he became a much better self-soother and sleeper. Now, in late babyhood/early toddlerhood, we hover in the slow transition off of two naps, and being able to see whether he is sleeping or playing is extremely helpful.
4) Swing – My mother insisted that we needed a swing on the day we brought Little C home from the hospital, and I’m glad she made sure that happened. We didn’t want to have too many “baby containing devices” since we’re in an apartment with only so much available space, but the swing was our magical sleep inducing machine. While it wasn’t so portable between rooms, it was a great investment, not only for sleep, but for C’s entertainment. We used it every single day from birth to six months when I finally forced myself to encourage C to nap in his crib.
5) Rock N Play – This is a funny one because many in the Hellobee community swear by this for baby sleep purposes, but Little C never slept a wink in the rock n play. However, this became one of our most used baby items that we still use to this day. First, with a fifty pound dog, I was always afraid to put Little C on the floor unless I was hovering right next to him, because in those first months of Little C’s life, our puppy had no idea how to properly coexist with a tiny baby in the house. I liked the rock n play because Little C could sit in there with a toy or two without it lulling him to sleep. The other use that we found for the RNP (and still use it for) is at bath time. Since Mr. Confetti is not around at bedtime, I give Little C his baths solo, and I love being able to drape the towel across it and just plop C in there to wrap him up and dry him off.
6) Ergo - My only regret with the Ergo is that I didn’t get comfortable using it sooner. I have several carriers (I also have a Moby and a Baby Bjorn), but the Ergo is my favorite. Both Mr. Confetti and I comfortably use it, and we love the convenience for strapping on Little C to take the puppy around the block. Since he is now creeping up on 25 pounds, we only use it for shorter walks now, but we used to use it more than we even used our strollers.
7) Bathtub – This is another one that some people skip, but because Little C and I navigate bath time without another set of hands to help, I loved have the help of a tub. We started off using an adorable bath bucket, but truly found the tub to be far more functional.
8) Aden and Anais swaddle blankets – We used these for swaddling Little C for his first three months. Once we got the hang of it, both Mr. C and I found these easier to use than other shortcut swaddle velcro/zip options. The great thing was that not only did these serve as swaddles, but with a major spitter for a baby, they were the ultimate multi-purpose cloth for cleaning up unexpected yak, for tummy time, as a nursing cover, to shade him from the sun, and for comfort (we thought this would be C’s lovey for a long time, but it never truly stuck). We had at least a dozen of these in the house in rotation.
9) Aden and Anais sleep sack - Once we transitioned out of the swaddle, I didn’t know what to put him in at night. I picked up several options, and fell in love with our favorite swaddle’s older brother, the sleep sack. Same soft cozy fabric that only becomes cozier as it gets washed. Safe for sleeping, not too hot or cold, and Little C loves stroking the tag by his feet as he falls asleep. Now, the moment I pull out the sleep sack and begin to put it on, Little C immediately looks toward the crib and gets excited to climb in and sleep.
10) Continuous white noise – we registered for a Cloud B Sleep Sheep, and quickly realized that it was not a good fit for us. It turned off after 45 minutes, and as if on cue, Little C would rouse from his sleep cycle and be stuck in a silent room where the slightest noise seemed to disturb him. Rather than buying a new noise machine, we turned to something we already had in the house – an old iPod. I used track 6 from The Happiest Baby on the Block’s white noise CD, and made a playlist with 72 tracks of the same 15 minute track. The iPod stays plugged in to a cheap set of iPod speakers and is put to work for almost 15 hours a day. The great thing is that our iPhones have the same playlist on it, so if need be, we can play it in the car, or use it when we travel as well.
Bonus #11: Maraca – We bought one of these for a music class when Little C was 5 months old. He barely led it out of his little hand for the next seven months. Slept with it, ate with him, chewed on it, shook it, loved it. Somehow, in the past month, he has fallen out of love, but I will forever associate his babyhood with this darling mini maraca.
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ed. note: The posts below focus specifically on newborn gear/gear for babies under 6 months, but it’s interesting to see that most of the must-have products are the same.
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D R A K E - 3 Y E A R S
C H O C O L A T E B A B Y - 2 M O N T H S
Since it’s been a month since we welcomed another newborn into our home, I thought I would share our must haves that have helped us get through these early days. I am leaving out the obvious things like diapers, food, bassinet, clothes as I feel those are obvious.
1) Bathtub - I sometimes like to bathe both kids at the same time and save time. It’s nice to have a separate little tub for Juliet that I can place beside me on the outside of the tub so that when Drake is splashing around and getting water everywhere, I can still bathe Juliet safely.
2) Pacifier - Drakey loved his pacifier from day 1; Juliet not so much, but over time she has gotten better with it. While she doesn’t use it for long, it does seem to come in handy when we are rocking her to sleep. I’m glad she isn’t too attached as it’ll be easier to take away later on without a fight. But for now I still prefer her to use it since the rhythmic sucking helps her calm down enough to relax and allow her to drift off to sleep.
3) Mittens - Juliet’s nails are so sharp and since I’m an awful swaddler, her hands often come out of the swaddle scratching me and her in the process. I had a few pair of regular elastic mittens but she was able to remove them so easily I had to go out a buy another pair. The guavamitts have velcro to keep them on and while she has removed them in the past, it’s harder and takes longer. I wish I could swaddle better, but at least these save me from have scratches all over me.
4) Burp Cloths - Juliet seems to have some reflux issues. This is new for me as Drake rarely spit up. Because of this burp cloths have become our new best friend, as before we used them we were changing our shirts and sometimes our sheets a few more times than we liked. I also like burp cloths for when I leak as I breastfeed, as well as cleaning up Juliet after she had a particular bad spit up on herself.
5) Baby Monitor - Juliet sleeps in our bedroom in a bassinet. During the day I spend most of my time downstairs with Drake. After I nurse her and rock her to sleep, I like putting her back upstairs to sleep as Drake is noisy and wakes her up. Since we are a whole floor apart the monitor is imperative for me so I know when she wakes up. I like that it’s portable too since I sometimes go into the backyard with Drake and can take the monitor with me.
6) Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets- I know these are highly touted and on everyone’s must have lists but they really are worth the hype I feel. Juliet loves to be swaddled. She can be crying and screaming and as soon as you start swaddling her, she calms down immediately. Aden & Anais blankets are so large, it makes it easier to swaddle with them as I am a horrible swaddler (Mr. Chocolate on the other hand could teach a class on it). I also like that they are lighter and more breathable so she doesn’t get overheated, since she pretty much lives in a swaddle these days. They are so soft and the designs are fun and adorable. I know they can be pricey, but I wouldn’t be able to live without them (we have 6 and I think I want to buy a few more… that’s how much I love them).
7) Breastpump and Bottles - For now we are exclusively breastfeeding, but I never want to be without a pump just in case. I experienced mastitis three times when I was breastfeeding Drake and it was not fun at all. While we aren’t hitting any issues currently and I don’t perceive there to be any, I still like the insurance of a pump to remove milk in case something does change so I don’t get sick. I think at some point later down the road I might want to pump a session or two as well so Mr. Chocolate can get involved with feeding as well and I get a break. Also it comes in handy if I wake up engorged and Juliet is sleeping still to relieve some pressure. Just from doing that for a few minutes a few times I have created a nice little stash of about 10 bags which Mr. Chocolate’s mom has used a few times when I’ve gone out with just Drake.
8) Gas Drops - Juliet has a lot of gas issues. This is a new experience for me as Drakey never seemed to have much gas and I rarely even burped him, but he was fine. I give Juliet a dropper full before every feeding because if I don’t, she will often wake up screaming her head off in pain. It’s easier to try to head the problem off before she becomes too uncomfortable and we have an inconsolable baby on our hands.
9) Vaseline - One of the nurses in the hospital told us to use Vaseline in our diapers as a way to help make clean ups easier since the Vaseline provides a barrier between baby and the messes. We use it in every diaper and it does seem to help keep Juliet a little cleaner, and every bit counts in these situations.
10) Boppy - Besides using it for breastfeedin,g I like to prop Juliet in it when she is awake so she can sit up more to help her reflux as well as look around a little. I like that it surrounds her so she is safe and I can leave her in it on the bed for a few minutes so I can use the bathroom or just get a break from holding her. I also use it sometimes when we co-sleep as a barrier between us and Mr. Chocolate.
11) Bouncer and 12) Swing- I admit Juliet is actually not a big fan of either of these. She will only sit in them for brief stints before she gets upset unless she is asleep already. Still they are invaluable to me as sometimes I just have to put her down in order to help Drake, go to the bathroom, or just need a break. We keep the swing downstairs on the main level in a centrally located place and the bouncer floats around upstairs depending on where I need it at the time.
13) Snap and Go- I plan on eventually getting a double stroller (still researching) so I can go out with both kids, but for now I love having my Snap and Go. Most days I’m alone at home with both kids and it can get lonely and a little cabin feverish. Since I can’t go out to the mall or Target as I don’t have a stroller for 2, I’ve been taking them both out for walks around the neighborhood. It’s nice to be able to get out of the house and get some fresh air as well as give my arms a break from holding a baby all day. Also when she is fussy or hard to put down, the sunshine and motion help rock her down to sleep. Sometimes when Drake wants to play outside, I can keep her in it and push it back and forth so she sleeps and we can spend some time playing on the swing set or using chalk on the driveway.
I S A I A H - 6 M O N T H S
Over the past five months, the following baby gear have made our lives so much easier.
1) Travel Formula Dispenser - We buy formula at Sam’s Club, so this is super helpful instead of carrying the big tub everywhere we go.
2) Rock and Play - Isaiah still sleeps in this because the incline helps with his reflux. He loves it so much that I actually bought another to use while I’m babysitting.
3) Video Monitor - Now that he’s in his own room, the monitor is priceless.
4) Bottle drying rack - I hadn’t had an issue with our dishwasher leaving things wet before we started washing bottles. This helps get things contained to one place and out of the dishwasher.
5) Infantino Carrier - I used this a lot for grocery shopping, library browsing, and little league baseball watching. He got heavy quickly though, so I lean on the stroller as much as possible.
6) Kick n’ Play Piano Gym - Isaiah loves tummy time, so this has also been used for naps. He loves the lights and music.
7) Diaper Caddy - This is great because I can take diapering items easily into a different room with me without gathering what I think I need and then forgetting something.
8) Bouncer - This is his TV chair. He watches one episode of Sesame Street a day (two if I’m sleepy). Also, it has become his potty chair. He poops as soon as I sit him in it. It washes easily.
9) Swaddles - Isaiah loved being swaddled. We still use these with his arms out.
10) Jeep Stroller - I might have died without this. I love everything about this stroller, but sometimes wish it were a bit more compact. It’s hard to get around in some stores, and can be a bit clunky.
11) Dishwasher Basket - Perfect for keeping bottle parts contained while washing.
1. Camera - Our biggest pre-LL purchase was this camera. It takes really great pictures on automatic, and Mr. L and I are looking forward to taking some classes to venture into the manual settings a bit more. We both have a basic understanding, but when LL is doing something cute I don’t want to miss a shot trying to play around with settings. I love that this camera is small so we can take it everywhere.
3. Halo Swaddle Sleep Sack - We tried just about every commercial swaddle blanket out there and this one was the only one that held in LL’s arms.
4. Aden and Anias Dream Blanket - I am completely obsessed with this blanket. It is impossibly soft (in a luxurious way, not a baby fleece way) and heavy yet breathable. I love it so much (and so does LL) that I am now breaking the rules and letting him sleep with it. The weight of it helps him sleep better, and it is so cozy. I wish they came in grown up sizes. If/when I get pregnant with baby lion #2, this will be my first purchase for him/her. Seriously, I can not stop talking about how much I love this blanket. (ed. note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies under 1 year of age sleep with nothing in their cribs.)
5. Stroller/Infant Carrier Car Seat - I am so glad we went the infant carrier route. We were out and about a lot with LL and used this a ton! I don’t know what I would have done without it.
6. Pump - We had to supplement with breast milk until LL was able to fully breastfeed, and I continued using bottles afterward. This was a necessity.
7. Swing - The savior of nap time…I love this thing.
8. Nipple Shield - I wouldn’t have been able to breastfeed without this, although at 4.5 months I was finally able to pack it up! I was not sad to see it go, but I am thankful I had it when I needed it.
9. iPad - Ok…I could live without this one, but after having it, I don’t want to!
10. iPod Dock/iPod - This is our method of playing white noise and music. I created a playlist of 5 songs I like enough to hear every night at bedtime, and they are followed by 12 hours of crashing waves. All I have to do is hit play before I sit down at LL’s last feeding.
11. Baby Bathtub- Love the hammock attachment!
12. Pumping Bra - I cannot imagine trying to double pump without one of these.
13. Boba Wrap - Stretchy and cozy, this worked well with LL, especially when he was very small.
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Other bloggers have also previously shared their Must Have Newborn Gear in the following posts:
- Top 10 Adopted Newborn Essentials by Mrs. Jacks
- Mrs. Markers’ Newborn Essentials & The Essentials: 6 Month Edition by Mrs. Markers
- Twin Newborn Essentials by Mrs. Blue
- Newborn Essentials by Mrs. Tea
- Newborn Essentials by Mrs. Hopscotch
- Month One Survival Gear by Mrs. Chalk
- The Essentials: Newborn Edition by Mrs. Tic Tac Toe
- Baby Gear: My Top 10 by Mrs. Yoyo
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What is some baby gear you can’t live without?