My Top 10 Baby Items:
1. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light: We have the traditional Pack ‘N Play, but decided to get the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib prior to our Orlando trip. This travel crib is smaller, lighter, and ridiculously easy to assemble. There is actually an entertaining video on the Baby Bjorn Website showing how easy it is for a dad, sister, and grandmother to put together. The case is rectangular, so I was able to put the whole thing in my large suitcase and there was still plenty of room for all of Rylan’s clothes, toys, and other necessities. This just made it easier on us to carry everything because it was one less thing to carry (we also had the stroller, car seat, another large suitcase that Jared and I shared, diaper bag, purse, and backpack) and protected the crib a little more. This crib does not have all of the extra features of the Pack ‘N Play, such as a changing station, bassinet, music, etc., so the Pack ‘N Play or another brand of portable crib would still be helpful for at home or Grandma’s house. However, if you are just looking for something simple strictly for sleeping/napping on the go, the Baby Bjorn is the way to go.
2. Bath Luvē-This was an awesome gift from my mom- one of those things that you wouldn’t really think of until you are a mom yourself and are struggling to give your baby a bath. It is essentially a washcloth shaped like an animal that you wet and drape over your baby in the bathtub. It was designed by a mother to make bathtime more enjoyable for the baby since it keeps them warm. Rylan has always loved it, although now he is into playing with it and sucking on it. It is also great to cover up little boys so you don’t get squirted. You can buy them through the website or at Kohls.
3. Muslin Swaddle Blankets: There are two great muslin swaddle blanket brands: BambinoLand and Aden + Anais (I chose this link because most of the blankets are on sale). Muslin swaddle blankets have really taken over the swaddle blanket category because they are so large and breathable. The large size really allows you to get a tight swaddle that stays put, and the breathability helps so that the baby doesn’t get overheated (so nice for our warm southern California weather). Plus, the blankets are really versatile- they scrunch up really small to fit in your purse or diaper bag and can be used for everything from a nursing cover to a car seat drape for a sleeping baby. Once you try muslin swaddle blankets, believe me, you won’t go back. My only wish is that I found them sooner.
4. Muslin Sleeping Bags: Aden + Anais also has some really awesome cotton muslin sleeping bags. They are similar to the Halo SleepSacks, but made out of the same soft, gauzy cotton muslin that you’ve grown to love from the swaddle blankets. I love the idea of the sleeping bag because they keep babies warm while they are sleeping without the risk of blankets being kicked off or pulled over their faces. The breathable cotton muslin is again, perfect for our warm southern California nights. The Aden + Anais sleeping bags come in two weights: the classic sleeping bag is one layer of cotton muslin and the cozy sleeping bag is four layers for extra warmth.
Note: You may have noticed that as Aden + Anais blankets have become more popular, they have become available in more places. Target offers an “Aden +Anais for Target” set of four cotton muslin blankets. I have heard that these blankets are slightly smaller and may not be made out of as high a quality fabric as the blankets offered elsewhere. I ran into the same issue with the sleeping bags I bought at Kohls.com. I got a good price, but the sleeping bag just didn’t feel the same and ripped the second time Rylan wore it. It might have been a fluke, but he has others that he has been wearing for a couple months with no problems. Now, the cotton muslin blankets and sleeping bags aren’t cheap, and I am always one to look for the best price. However, for Aden+ Anais items, it seems that you get what you pay for, so I’d be wary of products with low prices (unless it is a sale of course).
5. Baby Carrier/Wrap: I have both the Ergo Baby Carrier and the Moby Wrap. I love them both and use them for different things. I used the Moby Wrap a little more when Rylan was smaller as he wasn’t big enough for the Ergo (though I know there are infant inserts). It is comfortable and secure, and Rylan would easily fall asleep in there. The way it wraps around your back and shoulders really distributes the weight so that it is not taxing on your back. It is a little daunting at first when you open the package and pull out this ridiculously long piece of fabric and say, “how the heck do I use this thing?” But, once you put it on once or twice it is not too bad. I think some people really get quick at putting it on, but I am still a little slow. And, if anyone knows how to put on the Moby without the fabric hanging all over the floor, please let me know! For these reasons, I also have the Ergo carrier. Although in a comparison of pure comfort, I would score the Moby slightly higher, the Ergo is still very comfortable and is easier for me to use. For occasions like grocery shopping or going through the airport when you need to be able to take the carrier on and off quickly, the Ergo is my preference. However, for around the house or a prolonged outing with help (again, to prevent the fabric from being pulled all over the ground) I’d choose the Moby. At the end of the day, both of the carriers allow me to comfortably carry Rylan and have my hands free. I know there are also other brands out there of both carriers and wraps. If you are looking for a carrier, I’d recommend that you look for one that has a hip belt, so that the weight falls on your hips and not your back. Babies are small, but they are certainly not light when you are carrying them for any length of time.
6. Graco Snugrider Infant Car Seat Frame Stroller: I did quite a bit of stroller research while I was pregnant, and the consensus of many mommy websites and blogs was to go with a snap in car seat frame stroller instead of the full travel system that comes with the car seat, base, and stroller. The rationale was that the stroller that comes with the travel system is fairly large and bulky so you end up purchasing a different stroller for when they get older anyway. Therefore, you might as well just get the frame stroller, which is smaller, lighter, and easy to push around. I am so glad that we chose this route because the car seat frame stroller is really easy for me to handle, get in and out of the trunk, etc. We still love this stroller and still use it even now that Rylan is 7 months old. Many of the major car seat brands have car seat frame strollers, and some fit multiple brands- just check the description.
7. Breastfeeding Pillow: Most new mommies now have heard of the Boppy brand nursing pillow. It is a U-shaped pillow that fits around your waist for breastfeeding. The idea of the nursing pillow is simply wonderful and is so helpful, particularly in the first few months. Although the Boppy is really nice (I have one at my parents’ house), there are other brands out there. I have heard a lot of good things about My Brest Friend as it snaps around your waist to prevent it from sliding out. At home here, I have the Nesting Pillow by Blessed Nest. The filling is buckwheat hulls, so it conforms to the baby’s body like a bean bag. You can shape it for added height that a newborn needs. Also, the inside pillow is made of 100% organic cotton canvas from a US mill. I love it and have gotten so much use out of it. So, there are several great options, but regardless of which you choose, get multiple slipcovers- just trust me on that one 🙂
8. Video Monitor: This was something that we didn’t feel like we initially needed. We thought the traditional sound monitors would work just fine for letting us know when Rylan woke up. I mean, your baby is either asleep or awake, right? ………..Wrong! Watching Rylan on that tiny two-inch screen (which is black and white most of the time because it is dark in his room) is fascinating. He puts his little security blanket across his face, pulls his legs up and touches his feet, rolls to one side, pulls the blanket off his face, yawns, touches his feet again, and puts the blanket back across his face. Not always in that order, but you get the picture. The reason Jared initially got the video monitor for me was when we introduced the security blanket at four months and I didn’t like that he kept putting it over his face. It is only 12X12 inches and is designed for babies, but still… The monitor allows us to see when he falls asleep because sometimes he is awake for awhile but quiet. If the blanket is on his face, I go move it. I actually don’t do this much anymore because he is good at moving it around by himself. I did it quite often over the past two months, though. I guess we don’t actually “need” a video monitor, but we definitely love it. We have the Summer Infant color video monitor, but I’m sure the other brands are great, too.
9. Disposable Changing Pads: These are not fancy or complicated, but make life so much easier in certain situations, such as diaper changes in public restrooms. Now, I am thankful that most places do have changing stations these days. However, as you can imagine, some are cleaner than others. Some are spotless, and some are covered in a crusty layer of grime. I carry a reusable changing pad that I use most of the time, but I always keep a disposable one on hand just in case I know I’m not going to want to put the reusable one back in my purse. They also come in handy when you have a blow-out or expect a mess that you don’t want to get on anything else. Just fold everything up together and toss in the trash. The throw-away pads are generally larger than reusable ones, which is an added bonus. There are several different brands- you can find them at Babies R Us and Target, as well as Amazon of course.
10. Carter’s Cotton Sleep and Plays: Infant one-pieces/sleepers are nothing new, nor are they hard to find. They come in all different shapes and sizes, colors and fabrics. I can’t claim to have tried them all, but I have tried quite a few, and my favorites are the Carter’s cotton sleep and plays. They are soft, fit well as Rylan grows, inexpensive, and easy to find. Note: Carter’s also makes some polyester sleep and plays, but I do not care for the material as much- it is just not as breathable, soft, and stretchy. Also, some have snaps and some have zippers. If you can, go with the zippers. It’s nice not having to deal with matching up the snaps when you are changing the little one in the middle of the night.
Bonus: I found this product just as I was finishing up my post, but felt it was worth mentioning. The Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy is a strap that has various snaps that you can use to secure a toy, a teething ring, a sippy cup, or anything else you can think of to a car seat, stroller, or high chair. They are an inexpensive way to keep everything off the floor as babies conveniently have mastered the skills of dropping and throwing. Then you can easily rotate the toys as the straps will fit most anything that has a handle or circle to snap onto. The snaps aren’t super strong and the straps can be slightly long, so I wouldn’t leave a baby unattended, but for supervised play, they are a lifesaver.
What items are in your top 10? I’d love to hear from you about items that you love!