I have to say that I think motherhood agrees with me. That’s why I’ve been away so long- I spend every waking minute that I’m home and not busy doing something else with my little boy. For someone who never wanted to get married or have kids, I really (and happily) failed at both of those stances.
My Kieran William is life, people. Check out this guy:
Granted, I’ve only been a mom a short time, but I have a few favorite items that I thought I’d share with everyone. Because you just never know who’s reading this and who might find something that saves them (literally or figuratively). I don’t know it all, I just know what’s worked for us. And if it worked for us, maybe it’ll work for you.
One thing I didn’t want to list individually (because there’s a few of them) were bottles. Kieran is mostly breast-fed, but I do supplement with formula (usually two bottles a day) and I also pump, so I needed bottles. We use Comotomo, Tommee Tippee and Philips Avent and he loves all of them. If you have a breast-fed baby who won’t take the bottle, or if you’re trying to get a baby back into breastfeeding, try one or all of these. The wide, soft nipples mimic the breast and will be easy for a breast-fed baby to take. Dr. Brown’s are great, but the small more traditional nipples can be confusing for a breast-fed baby. Just a tip from my experience; but it might not be true for all babies.
I found a bunch of things over the last 9 weeks that I find indispensable. Of course, we all need car seats and strollers and cribs and cradles. I don’t mean that stuff. I mean other stuff. The things you might not be thinking of if you’re 26 weeks pregnant and feeling horrible and stressed and worried an anxious and excited. The things you might not have gotten at your shower, but instead you got 6 million adorable onesies. That’s some of the stuff I wanna tell you about.
I swear I’m not turning this into a mommy blog. And I am far from all-knowing, I’m new at this thing. Just trying to help out some other moms-to-be. Here goes…
1. Aden + Anais muslin swaddles
These were something I didn’t realize I needed until about two weeks before I delivered. I had only purchased either fancy blankets or receiving-style blankets, and then after reading some blogs and articles I realized that I better go get my ass some muslin swaddles. And I did! Thankfully. You may think, “I do’t need those. My baby will sleep soundly immediately after coming home without the help of a silly muslin blanket.” And you’re most likely wrong. Swaddling was a must for us- I know a lot of babies don’t like it, but for us we did it from the hospital (we stopped using the hospital swaddles while we were still in there and used ones I bought from home, much cuter for photos and also softer) right up until now. There are tons of benefits to swaddling, from the “Happiest Baby” method (great for newbies and colicky babes) to the arms out method. Without being swaddled, our little guy won’t sleep in his cradle, he just likes to sleep in his little chair (see # 3). And that isn’t safe for overnight sleep. He flails around and screams without being swaddled… but if you swaddle him he’s quiet and goes to sleep pretty quickly. Also it controls the Moro reflex so he won’t wake himself up unintentionally and cry. Life saver for fussy or colicky babies too, I tell ya. Plus, unlike Woombies or SwaddleMe’s or other swaddles that are one trick ponies, you can use the muslin swaddles later as car seat or stroller covers in the warm weather, or as light blankets in the summer; in the crib (once baby is over 12 months) or on the couch or floor or even on the grass in the yard. I have six muslin ones and four cotton knit swaddles, but the muslin are far better for the DUDU wrap, FYI. That said, make sure you get other blankets too. Some heavy and some lighter regular receiving blankets. You’ll use them I promise.
Get it: Aden + Anais swaddles
2. Ergobaby Adapt carrier
LIFE FRICKIN’ SAVER. I know there are many carrier options, but I have this one so that’s what I’m going to address. All newbies go through periods where they don’t want you to put them down. They want to be cuddled and to hear/feel your heartbeat. Now, you can carry them around all day in your arms and get nothing done but sit on the couch or bed and watch Netflix (sounds good to me), and that’s fine for some days… but that isn’t realistic for every single day. With a carrier, you can do laundry, cook, eat, drink wine, empty and reload the dishwasher, wash the floors, make a bottle, warm a bottle, organize your underwear drawer, eat popcorn, blow dry your hair… you get the idea… all with bubs strapped to your chest. Usually sleeping soundly, because as soon as you strap ’em in, off to dreamland they go. Also great for walks and going places where strollers aren’t 100% practical. Again, there are lots of options here but for me I found the Ergo to be the easiest to get on and off with no help. No wrapping or tying needed. Easy to adjust. It’s also the one that had the coolest pattern – I have the black Keith Haring one– and colors. Yet another thing: the Adapt grows from newborn to infant to toddler with very few adjustments and no extra parts. It’s like a backpack for baby wearing. Pricier than some wraps and slings, yes, but also idiot proof. I need that. And yes, you can also breastfeed in it.
Totally worth the money! And there are tons of different Ergobaby’s too, for all different needs. I happen to like the Adapt because you can go from 7lbs. to 45lbs. with no added purchases and just a few adjustments, like I said.
Get it: Ergobaby Adapt carrier
3. Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker
Another life saver. And a very affordable one! Kieran naps in his rocker, babbles and giggles to himself and others in his rocker, watches TV in his rocker… he loves it. For the times when he isn’t in his Ergo, or my arms, and doesn’t mind being “independent”, this thing is genius. Yeah there’s tons of them, some with all different bells and whistles, but let me be honest- the baby sleeps in it. Sure, maybe sometimes they’re awake and they want to swat at the toys. But mostly, they’ll be sleeping. You don’t need a million things hanging off of it, or 26 different movements. This one vibrates. That’s it. And we took the toy bar off because it isn’t really needed right now. So if you’re looking for something to keep your nugget safe and amused while you’re, say, doing your nails while watching This Is Us, look no further. Also it has feet that fold up and the back adjusts to accommodate an older child who can use it as a rocking chair. Or just a fun regular chair.
3 1/2. Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing
I added this as 3 1/2 because of a few reasons. One, not all babies like vibration, and two, not all babies like swings/rocking. Kieran happens to love both, and my parents bought us this swing while he was in a 6-week hellacious growth spurt and purple crying for no reason. Swinging really calmed him down, and almost immediately put him to sleep, and we were all grateful. Now that he’s out of his growth spurt, for now anyway, he just enjoys the swinging and hanging out in it. I wasn’t planning on buying a swing at all, however this one is a great choice because its just what it says; compact. It’s not huge, doesn’t take up tons of room, and has two different sizes- regular and compact (smaller width). It also folds up easily so it doesn’t have to be out and open all the time, and it’s easy to bring from room to room. It has quite a range of speed and its useable up to 25/30 lbs. Kieran is obsessed with the two yellow and white balls that hang from the top (we have the ‘Linus’ color and pattern, but I’ve seen it in a pink flowered choice and a green one), and when he’s not cooing and smiling at them he falls right asleep to the rocking. Once he’s asleep, I usually turn off the swing so as not to kill the batteries, but if he gets fussy again (and isn’t hungry or wet) I can just turn it on again with one little scroll of the speed wheel. It’s perfect. Buy one.
Get it: Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing
4. Bamboobies nursing pads
This is self-explanatory, and only necessary if you’re breastfeeding. But let me just say I was someone who thought I didn’t need these. And I was wrong. Be ye not so stupid. Also- I’m not a big leaker (TMI I know) so they work perfectly for me. If you leak a LOT, try the overnight ones or buy disposable ones.
Get it: Bamboobies
Ok, so I’ve heard people say this thing is overrated. I disagree. It is the #1 shows gift for a reason. I had a c-section so I couldn’t comfortably use it for breastfeeding until I was healed, but once I was then it worked beautifully. The My Brest Friend is great but the Boppy doesn’t require any buckling or adjusting so in the middle of the night it’s easy to use when you’re in the dark or semi-dark trying to boob feed a small crying squirming creature. I found it easy to just throw it around my waist and let it support him as I sat up in bed and almost fell back asleep (but I didn’t, baby police!). Also, he uses it for tummy time, and I sit him in it and let him use it as a recliner on my bed when I’m doing things in there. It’s multi use. I like that. Jay also slept on it in the hospital on the couch in my room, for neck support, so there’s that.
Get it: Boppy pillow
These are genius. Again- there are a lot of options out there for pacifier holders. But I love the patterns on these. I also love the Sophie catcher. They’re affordable, adorable and fun. Too much fun. You’ll end up with a million (like me). But that’s okay, because you can attach them to pacifiers, toys and teethers. So you’ll get your moneys worth out of them. I even use them for Kieran’s Wubbanubs when he’s in his stroller so they don’t fall (see photo below). Side note- they also make wooden teethers that are awesome.
Get it: Pacicatchers
6. Skip Hop musical owl
There’s a few varieties of this as well, but I really love the minimalist vibe of the white/gray one my mother bought me. It matches our car seat/stroller which is gray (see above photo). It has a loop for hanging on the car seat, stroller, or the oh-shit bar in your car, but it also stands up on its own for use on a table or flat surface. It has songs plus white noise & nature sounds, and it has timers for 15, 30 or 60 minutes. It’s awesome and it never fails to put Kieran back to sleep if he wakes up cranky in his car seat.
Okay, this is probably controversial (like everything else in mommy world), because there are some people who are VEHEMENTLY against pacifiers. However, I am not, and I have a baby who soothes himself by sucking, so its useful. And since he doesn’t have hand/arm control yet, the Wubbanubs are great because they’re soft, cute and they keep the paci in his mouth. I love them. And the Philips Soothie was the first paci that Kieran got, in the hospital when he was under the bilirubin lights, so he favors them. Although he only uses them when he’s sleepy/falling asleep… I still think they’re great. They have tons of different stuffed animals- dogs, cats, giraffes, reindeer, bears, unicorns- so they’re perfect for any baby.
Get it: Wubbanub infant pacifier
8. JJ Cole BundleMe
This is one that I never would’ve thought of, and you can see it in the stroller picture above. A friend gave me this, she actually gave me two. She has three daughters- two of which are winter babies- and is “done” so gave me a ton of things of theirs to use for Kieran. Thankfully (for me) she didn’t find out the gender of any of them before having them, so everything was gender neutral, and the BundleMe’s were gray and brown. The BundleMe is hands down one of the best things she gave me. It keeps him warm and snuggly in his car seat both in the car and when we take him out and about. It’s easier than using a pile of blankets or draping a coat over him, and zips up and off really easily. I don’t have to bundle him up in sixteen layers and then strip him before buckling him in and then worry that he’s cold. It’s great. And there’s a few different styles- the original, a knit one, a down version, etc. They also come in a ton of different colors. If you live in a cold climate and have a winter baby, GET YOU A BUNDLE ME.
Get it: JJ Cole BundleMe