This week at Kelly’s Korner her “Show Us Your Life” theme is designed to help those out there who are pregnant or who are trying to get pregnant and are planning and dreaming. The theme is what Baby Products can you not live without and which didn’t live up to the hype. Please keep in mind that Charlotte is only 19 weeks old so I don’t have experience yet with a lot of the products for older babies.
Products that we couldn’t live without
Charlotte still uses her activity gym every day. At first it was a place to put her with something to look at while I ran and did something but now she absolutely loves playing with it. We added a stroller toy that our cousin Abby gave her to the gym and she reaches and pulls on it and the other toys. She loves the bright colors and the star that lights up and sings.
Good Monitor (preferably a video monitor)
I know that the video monitor is a splurge but, for us, it has been worth all of the money. (This is a great gift to suggest if there is a group of people, like co-workers or family, that want to all go in on a present together.) This allows us to be confident that Charlotte is still safe while she’s sleeping without bothering her. It helps us determine what she’s crying about if she’s napping so that we can determine if she needs our help or if she’s just crying to cry. It just makes me feel more confident about how she is while we are in our own room. One tip though, make sure you get the monitor out and test it before you get rid of the receipt or packaging. Once we moved we had to get a new monitor because the one we were using in our old house wouldn’t work because this house has more walls between her nursery and our room.
Pack and Play
The pack and play is so nice. It’s easy to pack up when you go out of town and its great for those first nights of sleep. We got a smaller one also to keep in our room instead of a traditional bassinet (we were worried that our small dog would tip over a bassinet). Charlotte slept in the pack and play until she was 10 weeks old and she now sleeps in it when we go out of town. It’s a safe place to put her when you are doing something else and has turned in to a good changing place.
I’m not recommending the blankets made specifically for swaddling because I could never really get the hang of them. And some babies are never swaddled, but Charlotte has always slept better if she’s swaddled. We need to wean her off of the swaddle but even when I try now her naps get all interrupted when she’s not swaddled so we’re waiting another few weeks. I use blankets that my grandmother made for Charlotte. They are made from a really soft flannel and are big (about 35 inches square) so they are the perfect swaddle size!
Stroller and Car Seat Combo
We got a Chicco travel system and it was so nice when she was itty bitty to be able to just transport her seat between the car base and the stroller and inside. At this point she’s almost too heavy for us to keep her in the car seat when we take her inside but we’re still doing it.
Stuffed Animal to Measure Growth
This is, like everything, but I love having a stuffed animal to use to measure her growth each month. Some people use pieces of paper with the month and the date but I think you can really see the growth so much more if you’re showing them next to something that’s close to their size each month.
I feel like a chair dedicated to the baby is a necessity. Now that Charlotte is easily distracted when I feed her I think it helps that I feed in the same place each feeding and so there is nothing new to look at to distract her. It was also so nice at the beginning when she wasn’t sleeping and rocking was really the only thing to calm her down.
Charlotte slept in her swing for a few weeks when she was a newborn and we couldn’t have lived without it. She’s outgrown it now and we’re about to put it in the attic but it was so nice the first few months because she could nap in it and she loved reaching for the toys on the tray. It was a lifesaver when we were packing up to move because it kept her occupied and let us pack. Ours also had a sound machine on it which became a lifesaver. Charlotte has to have white noise on to sleep and having it on the swing allowed us to have the white noise on wherever in the house the swing was instead of porting the sound machine around the house.
Like I said, Charlotte sleeps with white noise on. It’s next to impossible to find a sound machine on the market now that has white noise but I think whatever sound you choose would work. This is one easy way of recreating your home environment when you travel. It also helps to block out noises like barking dogs while your baby is napping! 🙂
We love our Boppy and are still using it. She used to nap in it and now we usually only use it while we’re eating dinner but it still keeps her occupied and happy. It’s also easy to move around the house so she can sit in it while I’m doing dishes or something. The vibration helps soothe her and she loves the music.
This is a must have if you’re going to nurse. Make sure and take it to the hospital because it will really help as you’re learning. It really takes some of the pressure off of your lower back and arms while you’re feeding.
We have just started using the jumper in the last few weeks but Charlotte is really enjoying it. It has so many fun toys all around it and she can spin around and play with them. It also allows her to jump which she LOVES to do! We went with the jumper instead of the exersaucer just because of Charlotte’s love of jumping on our lap. So far I think it’s been a good decision.
I’ve heard of some people who want to save money and so they don’t buy a changing pad and plan to just change the baby on their bed or something. I would recommend against this. We bought a regular dresser and then put the changing pad on top of it and it has been so nice for us. It’s nice to have a dedicated place to change her and when she has an accident while you’re changing her (believe me, it’s going to happen to you at least once!) it’s a lot easier to wash the changing pad cover than it is to wash all of your bedding. The changing pad’s also have sloped sides so when your baby starts getting squiggly it’s easier to keep them corralled!
This is also something that we’ve just started using but she enjoys sitting in it and playing with toys and it’s nice to have her at our level while we feed her instead of having to bend over and feed her.
Bottles and Pacifiers
For me bottles and paci’s are a lifesaver. I am nursing exclusively so we made sure to tell the hospital that Charlotte was to have NO bottles or pacifier’s while we were there so that they wouldn’t interfere with her learning to nurse. We didn’t introduce either until she was about 3 weeks old. But then we started giving her a paci when she was fussy and it helped calm her down. She still is kind of ambivalent about her paci which is how we would prefer it and we’re thinking of trying to wean it away in the next month or two but it has been nice so far. Also, bottles are the only way that I can get out even now! Make sure you let your husband or someone else give the first few bottles (I have still only given her one bottle) and I would say make sure you start early (as long as she is nursing well) so that she never really thinks that they’re “new”. It is so easy to pump and then have bottles on hand so that I can get out to the grocery store or a football game or, like tonight, dinner and a movie! It makes all the difference (or at least did for me!) to be able to get out as a couple and have some us time and know that Charlotte would eat great from a bottle while we were out. We use Nuk bottles and paci’s since the nipple on both of them are the same and they are made to promote nursing.
Items That We Haven’t Really Used
I know that this item will be controversial. I mean, a nursery doesn’t really feel complete unless you have cute bumpers on the crib, right?? I was so excited about our bumpers and got super cute ones but then I noticed when Charlotte was still sleeping in our room in the pack and play that a lot of nights she would end up with her face pressed up against the side of the pack and play. The pack and play was mesh so this wasn’t a problem but I began to worry about what would happen when we moved her to her crib and she turned sideways and tried to do the same thing. There wasn’t a lot of room in the middle of the crib and she loved turning sideways while she slept. So I spoke to our pediatrician and he concurred with my thoughts to remove the bumpers from the crib before moving Charlotte to the crib. I hated to do it because they are so cute, but not having them in the crib gives her so much more space to move around (and believe me, she definitely moves while she sleeps!) and I don’t have to worry about her suffocating in the bumpers. I know that it will be hard with our next child to not buy bumpers but, for us, they were a waste of money other than having them for cute pictures.
I can’t think of anything else that didn’t live up to the hype! I guess that’s good! For all you Mama’s-to-be out there please remember that what worked for us might not work for you. It’s going to be trial and error to figure out what is the best for you and your baby. Congratulations!
**Updated on 12/11/09: Probably a month or less after I wrote this post Charlotte started scooting around her crib more and more and it turned out that her favorite spot to sleep was with her head right up against the corner of the crib. The square edged, sharp corner! So I put one bumper back on hoping she would lay with her head against it. She then moved to her head against the bumper and the un-bumpered side. So I added back another bumper. Then she started getting to the other end of the crib so I put another side on. Then a few weeks later we heard her banging her head against the back of the crib and so the last bumper piece went back in the bed. I would have preferred to not put them in the crib but it turned out that for her safety she needed them. With our next child I will again take them out when they first go in the crib because I do feel like they could be a suffocation hazard when the babies don’t have total head control but we’ll add them back to the crib once they’re old enough to roll around the crib!