For the last year, we have raised a baby boy. So crazy to actually say that. Year number one is almost in the books. I’m sure I will post a recap of the first year sometime next week. But for today and for all my mommy friends….. my FAVORITE MUST-HAVES. I can’t put them in order of importance, they are all equally important for the purpose they serve.
1. Video Baby Monitor–seriously, what would we have done without this thing? Jameson got RSV when he was 13 weeks old. RSV is a nasty respiratory infection that I don’t wish on anyone’s little people. Jameson wheezed and had all sorts of issues. Now he is prone to a chest cold any time he catches any bug. But, he’s a trooper. Anyway, we love the video monitor. We can check on our little man anytime we want. We can also spy on him when he’s sleeping or making crazy noises. The one we purchased allows you to zoom and pan. It’s so nice to be able to see everything that is going on in his crib. It’s also portable. We can do yard work and carry it around on our hip. We still get great reception outside. Summer Infant Monitor
2. Swaddle Blanket— word around is that swaddling is no longer recommended. Well, whatever. We finally figured out how to get Jameson to sleep comfortably when he was still little by swaddling. It was either that or hold him. Every single blanket we tried he would do a houdini and break out of, or it was so tight he would freak out! That was until we found this little gem. The Aden & Anais classic swaddle blanket. I HIGHLY recommend these. They are lightweight and huge. Our little guy was snug as a bug in a rug. No matter the temperature, I think they are perfect. There are a lot of swaddle blankets on the market. I think we tried them all or variations of them all. This is the ONLY one I would ever buy again. If you sign up for mom deal sites, they often run them on special. Target carries them so you can register as well.
3. Buttpaste!— sounds delish! Diaper rash. It will happen inevitably. Our munchkin got a crazy pooping stomach bug around 10 weeks. We tried a couple different ointments we received as shower gifts. Desitin, A&D ointment, Balmex, and Boudreaux’s ButtPaste. The ONLY one that worked was the butt paste. We still use it and have not gone back. Also this past summer, the beach+sand+diaper=the worst rash ever. The buttpaste healed him in a day. Get your little tushy some buttpaste!!
4. Ice Cube Trays— for the mom that wants to make baby food. Who knew that ice cube trays were portioned to 1 ounce of solid? We started making baby purees for our little one. It may be time consuming, but it is easy, saves money, and you know EXACTLY what goes into it. Once you puree, you portion the food into ice cube trays. Wrap the trays in plastic wrap and freeze. Finally, pop those little cubes out and put in a freezer ziplock bag. Then, when you want to feed, microwave the cubes and serve. 1 cup=1oz of food.
5. Strollers– Ok, so we may be out of the norm, but we have 3 strollers. One came with the travel system… Was extra nice when I wanted to go shopping and he was still in the carrier. Latch him in and go. Plus, in the winter, I could pull the cover over and keep him out of the elements and germs. Then, we got a jogging stroller…. it’s a Schwinn off craigslist (one of our favorite finds). We use this around the neighborhood, parks, downtown, festivals, etc. Basically anytime we plan to be outside. He seems the most comfortable in this one. Then we got an umbrella stroller from ToysRUs. It was $20 and we LOVE it. If we are just scooting into a store, it’s perfect. (As long as Im not buying a lot or I have a helper with me aka daddy) It weaves in and out of those little racks with ease. It’s also super small. Considering we have a Civic, we can use all the extra space we can get. The bigger the stroller, the less room to put the stuff you buy 🙂 We hit the outlet mall in the umbrella stroller. It was so nice not to have this big stroller in those little stores. The kiddo seems to like this one too because he is supported but can still see everything.
6. Skidders— Prewalker shoes. If you have seen our child, you know he’s a big boy. He’s not rolley polley, just solid. With this large size comes fat feet. Now, Fred Flinstone is walking and we had to hunt down shoes. When we are at home, he goes barefoot of course. But for outings where I know he will be able to play, we needed shoes to protect his feet. We looked everywhere for shoes to fit him. It was near impossible. I was SURE Robeez would fit, afterall, they are elastic. Wrong. The elastic was too tight around his fat foot. Alas, I found Skidders at Target. They are socks with rubber soles. They go on easily, he can’t take them off. I think they are amazing pre-walkers. We also bought him a pair of shoes from Stride Rite. At first, he would not wear them. Since wearing the Skidders more often, he got use to something on his feet. Now, he wants to wear shoes because he knows that he is going outside. If your kid has fat feet, or you need something for the in-between stage-try Skidders.
7. Cloth Diapers–We jumped on the “save the earth” bandwagon with cloth diapers. In general, they do save money and the planet. Washing diapers every day can be a pain (we didn’t buy the recommended 24), but I feel like they are cleaner when you wash them the day they get pooped on rather than 3 days later (ewww). We use Smartipants! We love them! The colors are nice. They work great (when you size them before you put them on). Once we figured out a routine, they were pretty simple. Also, this brand is significantly cheaper than the “popular” cloth diaper brands. Recently, the owners/designers have produced new fun colors. If you’re thinking about going cloth, check out their website and do a little research.
8. Infant Carrier/Travel System— we thought about buying one of the convertible car seats so we could use it for a while. The infant travel seats go up to 20 pounds. If your kid is like ours, he/she will hit that quick. BUT…. we did decide to go for the infant carrier and travel system with the stroller. We so miss that travel seat. We could go about a normal routine and tote the babe around anywhere. I don’t know how we would have eaten the first 2 months. I sure didn’t feel like cooking and I can’t imagine going out to eat and holding a baby the entire meal. The tricky part comes when your baby is too big for the carrier and cannot sit up in a high chair….. this too shall pass. If you are thinking about just getting a convertible, you should still get an infant seat-even if you have to borrow one.
9. BabyWise— I know you may have your opinions, so for the purpose of this blog…. this is my opinion and experience. We stuck to the babywise method of scheduling at about 80%. We did not do everything exactly “by the book.” However, we did “wake to feed” every 2 1/2-3 hours at first. We also used the feed, wake, sleep schedule. We delayed the “cry it out” sleep training method until somewhere in the 4th month. It took about a week to be successful, but we are so glad we did!! Overall, the concepts of this book help keep us sane, put all of us on the same schedule, produced a great sleeper (he has been sleeping from 7-7 since 6 months), and a happy baby!
10. A camera— As Chase Jarvis’ book proclaims… The Best Camera is The One That’s With You! I am so thankful for my iphone. I have been able to get some of our guy’s best moments this year. We also have a SLR and HD video cam–for the good stuff we plan to get. I would be so sad to think about all the silliness I would have missed without the camera on my phone. Keep your cameras close!
All this info and endorsements, someone ought to pay me for this. But, I’m not paid. Consider this a gift to all you newbies to motherhood 🙂