Whenever I was pregnant with Hattie I spent a LOT of time scouring the internet hunting down baby gear, anxiously worrying that I would choose the wrong product. Reviews are SO helpful in this day and age, which is what I spent most of my time reading. I made some great choices along the way, and some not so great ones as well. I have revisited my gear hunt from time to time as I needed to update an item that just wasn’t doing the job, or realized that I really needed to add to our baby heaven. I have made a list of MY personal top 11 favorites, and I hope that they can help any of you who are planning on welcoming littles into the world soon, or who just need a real opinion on popular items. There is a lot of baby “crap” out there that is just trendy, or “in” right now. You won’t find that on here, no nonsense, just real stuff that really works. Some of it is cheap, some of it is not, but it has served its purpose exceptionally well for us. The following suggestions are for real life mommies with real life babies living in the real world. Enjoy!
1. Get the grass! Boon Grass, that is. I ordered mine from Amazon.com, because I’m addicted to the free 2 day shipping perk, but if you would like to see it in person, Target carries both green, and white Boon grass. I have the green grass, and I can honestly say that it has been wonderful!!! I used a regular white rack from Wal-Mart before, but it wasn’t so pleasing to the eyes and not everything would fit correctly (i.e. pump parts). The Boon grass can accommodate pretty much any type of nipple, membrane, flange, bottle, and pacifier that you can think of. I line the bottom with paper towels to collect the water when it drains, and change them out once a week or so. I also throw the “grass” part into the dishwasher occasionally for a deep clean but I have yet to notice any build up of scum etc. on the grass. It even dries my icing tips, and little parts for my kitchenware items with ease. I don’t use many bottles, since Hattie nurses the majority of the time, but if you do, there are little flowers with pistons, and twigs that are sold by Boon that fit into the grass and can hold nipples and rings and things of this nature.
2. Ergo carrier. I knew that I wanted the option of wearing Hattie once she was born, so I started out with a large wrap, similar to a Moby wrap, but I could never seem to get it tight enough, and Hattie never seemed comfortable either. I also tried a sling, similar to the ones that you can get for free (only pay shipping) on sevenslings.com, but it’s as if I was too small framed for the sling. I have seen women wear both types of carriers very comfortably, but it never worked for me. I also used a BabyBjorn. It was much more supportive, which I liked, but since Hattie is getting bigger it hurts my back so much after just a few minutes! I finally dove in and bought the Ergo baby. It is amazing!!!! I cannot give this carrier enough fanfare to do it justice. It puts the weight of the baby on your hips instead of bearing down miserably on your shoulders. If you wear it on your front the baby has to face you, which is what most of the people who have a problem with the Ergo complain of, but this is to help prevent hip dysplasia, since their little bones and ligaments are so susceptible. You can carry the baby on your back with this carrier, and they can face forward when in this position (after 6 months of age the risk of hip dysplasia greatly decreases, coincidentally your baby is most likely ready to attempt a back carry at this stage as well). I have the sport edition, because the shoulder straps are a bit more padded, and because I wanted red :). You can find the Ergo at Target, Amazon, I’ve seen it once at T.J. Maxx, and on baby sites like albeebaby, diapers.com, etc. If you have time to wait, keep an eye out for a deal or a sale, they don’t come along often, but if they do, swipe one up!
3. The Baby Signing Bible. Signing with your baby may totally be out of your realm of comfort, but it has proven to be an excellent thing for Hattie and I. We use it mainly for meals, and she tells me if she wants more, if she is all finished, or if she wants cheese (she loves cheese). This is something that you can start with your baby at any age but repetition is key and you may find that life is a little easier when you know what baby wants.
4. Glider and Ottoman . One thing was for certain whenever I was creating Hattie’s nursery, I knew that I wanted some sort of rocker or glider. I scoured the baby specialty stores that were within driving distance, but I was unable to find anything to my liking. I found a brand that I loved, via Pinterest, called Little Castle Furniture. I was preparing to drop nearly $1,000 on a set when an internet search led me to Wal-Mart’s website. Lo and behold, this exact brand manufactures nursery sets especially for Wal-Mart under the name “Enchanted”. They are exclusively sold online, but you can order them through using their “site to store” method with free shipping, and merely pick it up at your local Wal-Mart (it even comes in a Little Castle box!) The only pitfall is that you do not get to visualize the piece in person before purchasing (returns are easy to do as well). I trusted my instincts, as well as all of the fabulous reviews, and chose the plush taupe set. My mother and father wanted this to be their gift to the baby, and it has been irreplaceable. I would choose this chair all over again a thousand times. I love my chair, and I sit in it every day to read to Hattie, to watch Hattie sleep, to nurse her, and I use it multiple times a night (no, she does not sleep all night yet….) to pacify and nurse baby girl as well. It is extremely comfortable, extremely high quality, and extremely beautiful. I still think that it was our biggest baby steal yet, and at less than half of the price of what I was about to pay. Love this chair.
5. A humidifier. Have you every woken up with a dry, scratchy throat in the winter and the only thing that you can think of to ease your pain is a sip of water? This is because your heater in your home is a very strong dehumidifier. It leaves the air that you breath very dry, in turn causing your throat and nose to become dry. Your mucous membranes actually acts as a protective barrier to your body, so whenever they are dried out in this manner, it allows the bacteria in the air a place to adhere and multiply. This in turn causes a yucky nasal drip, and cold like symptoms. It is so sad to watch a baby’s nose run to no avail. You can take preventative measures in the winter time by putting a humidifier on a shelf in your baby’s room, especially while they sleep. I let Hattie’s run all day so that the moisture content in the room stays level through the day and night. This allows their little lungs to breath in moisturized air as they dream sweet dreams, and helps to prevent snotty noses. Win win. You must follow the directions on the humidifier that you choose to buy however, and refill it on time, change the filters when needed, and clean it thoroughly on a regular basis, especially if it will maintain a full time position in their room during the colder months. Also make sure that you use a cool mist humidifier, not warm mist. Warm, moist places are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria to grow. Let’s not do that, shall we? I bought the one that I use in Hattie’s room at my local Wal-Mart. It is a Reli-On cool mist, and was about $25 when I purchased it. The filters are also sold at Wal-Mart. This specific humidifier does not have a visible vapor, and does not leave moisture on the surface that is sets on, which is great, since the humidifiers that I grew up with would soak everything in sight. (HOWEVER, If you or your child has a tight cough in their chest, putting a humidifier near their bed and allowing the moisture to soak them while they sleep has usually yielded great results for my siblings and I, so I refuse to knock the drenching humidifiers, as messy as they may be).
6. Vaseline. Never underestimate petroleum jelly. And buy the Wal-Mart brand it’s cheaper, I’m pretty sure every brand uses the same materials to make it. You know, petroleum. Maybe the name brand one is organic petroleum. Hehe. Moving on…. My mother always used vaseline on our bum’s when she would change our diapers, she said that our pediatrician swore by it. I picked up on this habit by helping my mom change my little brother or cousin’s diapers over the years, and naturally planned to use it for my baby as well. Common sense will tell you that vaseline will form a barrier against moisture on the skin, and that in itself is a huge help when it comes to diapering. I wipe a finger full on Hattie’s rear after a changing, and it keeps her skin from becoming irritated by the elements in her diaper. I also change her diaper very often throughout the day to keep her from lounging around in her own urine and feces, but I am assuming every parent/sitter does this as well, or at least I hope that they do! Hattie is almost 13 months old, and she only had one rash ever, when she was teething, and she literally had a reaction to her bowel movement 3 minutes after it was in her diaper. This vaseline works guys, just be diligent, and add it after every diaper change ESPECIALLY at night whenever they will spend more time in a wet diaper than normal. Some babies will have sensitive skin, and that is a different case scenario, the above advice is for babies with normal skin sensitivity. It works, trust me. And vaseline is way cheaper than Boudreaux’s . Like my nursing school teachers used to say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”..or “Prevention trumps treatment”, whichever floats your boat. If the vaseline fails, and you find yourself in a pinch with a painful looking rash, I have an excellent ointment that will make all of your dreams come true. I will post it in the near future.
7. Baby Undersocks. These things are pretty awesome. When it is cold outside I worry about Hattie’s feet getting cold, or her legs catching a chill, especially when I carry her in my arms or in the Ergo, because it allows her pant legs to rise, and expose her skin. These babies are comfy and soft and warm, and breathable, and perfect. They are made out of bamboo, and are super soft (like Kickee Pants). They act as thermals and help you with your layering skills when it comes to keeping a baby warm. Plus, the attached socks are nice and cozy, and fit in shoes. I love these things. They will run you around $20, but I have wasted that much $$ in socks that just fall off of her feet.
8. This and This. You can buy the best car seat, and the cutest, most desirable and fashionable footsie pajamas, but God could care less about how much you paid, and whether you kept up with the latest baby trends or not. So many people in this world want to make sure their children have the best of everything, and every opportunity available to them. They have books about how to teach our children sign language, DVD’s to teach our babies to read at an impressively young age, and children who can recite Beyonce’s latest song from start to finish, complete with dance moves, but if you haven’t taught your child the Gospel, if you haven’t hidden it in their hearts, and made it a necessary, everyday thing in your home, you haven’t done your job. Some people may be offended by this statement, but it’s my blog, and my opinion is welcomed on my blog. God has entrusted our children to us to, they are not ours, they are his, and we are obligated to nourish their minds, bodies, and souls with the word of God. Children are sponges, harness all of the necessary tools to feed them the wonderful stories that God has given us to share. Educate yourself so that you are equipped to answer their questions, and make Jesus their friend. This is the most important baby gear you can arm yourself with. Bottles can dry on paper towels, and you probably have a chair that rocks somewhere in your house already. Everything else is lagniappe, but the word of God is irreplaceable. Make it a part of your home, for your children. It will save their lives.
9. Car Mirror. I know that these are becoming staples for most new moms, but goodness, aren’t they wonderful? During Hattie’s infancy months, I worried about her choking, or seizing when I could not see her…i.e. in the car, so this mirror allowed me to sneak a peak at her every so often to ensure she was safe and snoozing. It is also great for those times you hand your baby some raisins to keep her occupied on a long drive, and want to ensure that she doesn’t choke. The deadliest chokes are silent chokes, so visualizing your child while they are eating is absolutely necessary. This car mirror is a wonderful preventative tool, and also gives babies another baby to interact with and talk to while on the road…themselves of course!
10. Nose Frida. The grossest thing you will every love. Seriously. I hate when Hattie is congested, it’s disheartening, and the darn little bulb syringes do diddly squat. It takes about 20 sucks to get everything out, and by suck 5 Hattie is raising holy terror, so we never make it to 20, which means she never has a cleared nasal passage. womp womp. Once the Nose Frida entered our lives, breaths were a lot clearer. You literally stuck the tube into baby’s nose, and suck the snot out, trusting the filter between your mouth and the snot to do its job (which it does). I feel like I have enough power to suck her brains out at times, so yeah, its effective. If you really want an inspiration to throw out your bulb, read this feed, and this article too. I cleaned my bulb with hot soapy water, and put it right side up to allow gravity to drain every inch of water from it, but unless you can stick something into it to wipe it dry every time, it will eventually harvest mold.
11. Microwave sterilizer. I use the bags, but reusable containers are also offered. You can totally just use a pot and boiling water, but when I’m trying to up my milk supply and power pump for a few days, I want my pump parts sanitized quickly. I throw 2 oz of water in my bag, add in the parts and microwave for 1.5 minutes for instant sanitation. It’s wonderful. Just make sure you hang your bag upside down to dry, and throw it out after 20 uses or before if deemed necessary.
Now for a few of things on my wishlist for the next baby doll to come along:
–City Select Stroller It’s crazy how many ways you can set this stroller up. It can be a single stroller or a double stroller, so it’s really the only stroller that you will ever need!
Hope you and your bundle of joy get a little use out of some or any of these items! Send me a pic if you love them as much as I do!