Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh, you didn't ask for my advice?

Now that we have been living with Cameron for more than two months, I have taken note of the things we can't live without in order to keep me sane. I thought I would pass my advice along to future parents. It was a challenge for me to build my registry and I had two sisters to give me advice! What else am I missing from my list that you would recommend? How about as the baby ages?

  • Prefold cloth diapers - I can't say enough about how useful these are. 3 packs are not too many! I use them for everything: extra protection on the changing pad or boppy, wiping up spit up or drool, or as a makeshift breastfeeding cover or bib. I also use one under her head while she sleeps in case she spits up. It is such a pain to change crib sheets!

  • Boppy - I have two, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. I use it for all of Cameron's feedings and sometimes put her in it for naps (when swaddled of course). She likes the "arms" around her while napping. If you haven't tried it yet for napping, I recommend it. Get the Boppy with a cover so you can throw it in the wash as needed.

  • Boppy pad liner - this is useful for changing pads. Cameron liked to pee as we were changing her diaper and we would have had to wash her changing pad frequently if not for this.

  • Bouncer - my "go to" device for keeping Cameron occupied while I'm doing things. It took her about two months to really enjoy the toy bar but the vibrations on the bouncer have always worked in soothing her.

  • Medela Pump & Save storage bags - I recommend these over the Lansinoh storage bags. I don't actually pump into them because the measurements aren't accurate but they stand up nicely (flat bottom) and work better once defrosted in staying upright.

  • Swaddling blankets - if you don't swaddle you should! Cameron is a little Houdini so I have to do the super swaddle but she wouldn't sleep half as well without it. We use two types of blankets for swaddling. The first is for nighttime and is the flannel blankets that my grandmother made for Cameron. The second I tend to use during the day and they are the waffle weave blankets. The waffle weave ones stretch easily and I can tie her up nice and tight. She will outgrow both of these blankets in terms of swaddling so I also have the Aden + Anais muslin blankets which are much larger.

  • Pacifiers - I never worried about nipple confusion and was more than happy to let Cameron have a pacifier in the hospital. However, Cameron wasn't good at holding on to the Soother brand, probably because of how it is shaped. Instead she likes the MAM button ones. We started with the 0+ months ones and have now moved on to the 2+ months ones. There is an actual difference! The 2+ ones have a wider base. I just picked up the Pacifier Keeper for use in the car and it's working great so far. Every baby is different so you may need to pick up a couple of brands to see what is right for your baby.

  • Cradle swing - I love this product for soothing Cameron to sleep. Our version is shaped in such a way that we can put her in it swaddled and be able to easily move her to her crib after she's fallen asleep. Cameron also loves the mirror and will often fall asleep looking at herself.

  • Bath pillow - based on my sister's experience with Finn, I decided to go with the Safer Bather over a plastic infant bath tub. I probably use a bit more water than if I just used a small tub but I like that it's soft and it is easy to move Cameron around to get her clean. Once I'm done I can hang it up in the shower to dry before her next bath. I have thrown it in the washer if it starts to smell a little and it cleans up great. Word of advice though, put it in the washer by itself or it will collect lint.

  • Tubside Kneeler & Step Stool - let's face it, tile floors are hard, even when covered by a rug. I came across this product and snapped it up. I love the pockets and the fact that as I lean over the tub there is padding for the side too.

  • Playmat - when Cameron gets over stimulated by the bouncer toybar I often move her over to her playmat. I received the Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe but really, any of them are good. I also picked up other toys to hang off the bars. I'm told that mine comes apart and can be washed but I haven't had to do that yet.

  • Bottle drying rack - we got the Dr. Brown's one mostly because that's they brand we use for bottles but we only use one of the two levels it comes with. I would probably go with this one instead.

  • Dishwasher basket - we don't use this much yet since Cameron only gets one bottle a day but I have a feeling it will be very much in use once she starts daycare and we are at 3-4 bottles a day. The Prince Lionheart one fits well in the top or bottom of the dishwasher and holds a fair amount of bottle parts.

  • Pack and play - I have this permanently set up downstairs. I used it for naps initially when I was trying to get Cameron to distinguish night from day. But now she is napping in her crib so I use it primarily for it's changing table feature. We have two floors so it is critical to have a separate changing table downstairs. It breaks down fairly compactly and it much easier to transport than a regular crib. If you get the Pack and Play, make sure you get the one that has the bassinet and changing table features.

  • Diaper Champ - I call out the brand on this one because the Diaper Champ takes regular garbage bags. Some other brands require you to buy their bags which can be a pain.

  • Cleaning agent and bucket - Cameron is the queen of diaper blowouts. My favorite was the time she as feeding and pooped through her clothes, mine and on the Boppy. Good times. If we didn't have a cheap plastic bucket and some variation of OxyClean (whatever is on sale at BJs) we would be throwing out a lot of clothes. I use the cheap 5 gallon bucket you can find at any home improvement store and keep in next to the washing machine. Fill it up with some hot water, add the cleaner and clothes and they can wait until the next time I do laundry. No need to wash right away!

  • Symphony-in-Motion mobile - similar to the toybar on the bouncer and the playmat it took about 6 weeks before Cameron started noticing and responding to the mobile. I like this brand in particular because the music plays for 15 minutes and the toys are big enough for her to see clearly.

  • Glider - we were fortunate to get a used glider and ottoman (also glides) from DH's brother and sister-in-law. This is critical for late night feedings, whether you breastfeed or not. I've also started using it when Cameron is fussy during naps to try and calm her down and put her back to sleep now that she naps in her crib upstairs. My ottoman has a nursing stool attached to it that I use frequently. Target sells a very reasonably priced glider and ottoman set.

  • Nursing stool - this could be useful for bottle fed babies as well. I find it gives me the leverage I need to prop Cameron's head up slightly and make feeding her more comfortable for me. Since I have the nursing stool on the ottoman I keep the stand alone one downstairs.

  • Breast pump - it was completely worth it to spend a significant amount of money on a breast pump, especially because I will return to work full time. I bought the Medela Pump In Style Advance and it has worked great for me. If you want to read my review of it, you can find it here.

Things you don't need to buy because you will get a million of them:

  • Bibs - lots of 4 or 5 piece outfits come with bibs. I think we have about 10 and that's on top of the ones we bought ourselves. So no need to register or buy any yourself. Once we start solid foods we will get some plastic ones.

  • Small burp clothes - similar issue to bibs. Plus I've already advised about using cloth diapers for this purpose.

  • Caps - we never really used caps on Cameron but if we needed to, we receive about 20 as gifts. Again, no need to register.


Donna said...

Your baby is far too good! I swear with my first baby I would never had the time and energy to put together long lists and blog! You are lucky and she is adorable!!!! (I have no other things to add or subtract, I am too tired as a mother of two).

Amanda said...

You reminded me about the tubside kneeler I registered for it and didn't receive, its the next thing to purchase. I love the diswasher baskets but still don't use my drying rack much especially now that I don't have pump parts to wash. I totally agree on the prefold diapers as burb cloths. The store bought burb cloths don't have enough surface area, a prefold can really catch/cleanup a spitter. Great advise for new moms, there are so many gadgets and gizmos that it's overwhelming.

I recommend a jumperoo or exersaucer as she gets older.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, for us out of the baby raising stage, there is way too much stuff out there. What in the world did our mother's use? There is lots of good stuff as you mentioned but mom's on a real tight budget, you could cut in half again. Your baby girl is beautiful!

Helen said...

my head hurts...thank god i can refer to all of this and you guys some day