Every time I read someone else’s essentials lists, I always get new ideas for “things that save your sanity” so I thought I’d add my own voice to this corner of the blogosphere. Also since this is all the baby book my little cutie is going to get, I thought this would be a fun way to document some of the items that have been our go-to essentials over the last few months. Here’s what we could not live without the first 3 months:
This is definitely our favorite baby item. We tried 3 other types of swaddles – the Aiden + Anais blankets, the SwaddleMe and the Halo SleepSack Swaddles – and Bo broke free of ALL of them. He wouldn’t sleep soundly unless he was swaddled but he was constantly sneaking an arm out and then waking himself up. After a frustrating attempt to re-swaddle him one night at 2 am when my sister was helping, she went on Amazon and bought a miracle blanket. And it really was the miracle that brought sleep to this household. He used it until he started sucking on his thumb, and then I switched back to the SwaddleMe so I could leave a hand out. Soon, we just dropped the swaddle all together and his sleep was fine. But we used the Miracle Blanket for every single nap and sleep for a solid 2.5 months and it was worth every dollar.
I had a few friends use these so I registered for them, and I was oh so happy I did. At first I thought I wouldn’t use them until he was old enough to hold on to the animals himself. However one night around 2 am during his first week (sense a theme?), after hunting on the floor in the dark for a paci Bo had spit out and shot across the room, I tore open the package and popped the wubba in and realized immediately what a genius product this is. The little stuffed animal made it heavy enough that when he spit it out, it stayed right on his chest. I could also reach backwards around the car seat and find it to pop back in. Around 2 months, he started holding on to it himself. The wubba was his best friend until suddenly one day, around 4 months, he lost interest in it and preferred to suck his hand. And that was the end of the reign of the wubbas!
I chalk it up to 9 months of in-utero dance trance but this baby loooooves motion. A rocking chair wouldn’t cut it to soothe this little guy back to sleep and so early on, I found myself sitting on an exercise ball bouncing, bouncing, bouncing him to sleep. I was a little afraid I’d be doing that for months and wondered how I would bounce a 20 pound baby, but just like everything else, he eventually grew out of needing to bounce to sleep and now the exercise ball hangs out in our playroom for me to work on my postpartum abs. One of these days.
Speaking of motion…. I had no idea how much we were going to use this thing. The first week when I nearly lost it at the pediatrician’s describing Bo’s adamant refusal to sleep in a crib – his eyes would pop open the second he felt his back touch the mattress – she encouraged me to try the swing. Two months later, she was encouraging me to try and wean him off the swing. That’s a post for another day (and we were eventually successful), but looking back I don’t regret for a minute that I created a little swing addict. Early on, Bo was napping for 2 hour stretches and quickly hit 6-8 hour stretches at night in the swing. Now that I know it is possible to wean a swing junkie off motion and get them to a crib, I’ll definitely pop baby #2 in the swing if it’s needed. Sleep’s a beautiful thing and this gave us hours and hours of it early on. (Also, I am so happy we bought the one with an ac adapter instead of batteries. I’d guess this thing was turned on an average of 14-16 hours per day.)
Hands free momma, content baby. I wanted a simple bouncer that I could put Bo in when I needed to cook dinner, or do the dishes, or you know… go pee, for Heaven’s sake. He was happy in this from the get-go and once he started grabbing, I added the toy bar to the front and he would sit contentedly in it for a good fifteen minutes. And in baby world, that’s a lifetime. It also folds up flat, the cover comes off to be washed and it’s easy on the eyes unlike most baby paraphenalia. I scored mine on ebay for super cheap, and I’d say it was a worthy investment for future babes. At 5 months, he’ll still sit in it for a few minutes if I need my hands free but prefers the entertainment of the exersaucer or jumper.
One of my friends lent me her activity gym and I was surprised how early on Bo was happy in it. At first, all he needed was the mirror and he would lay underneath and wiggle wiggle wiggle. I took down most of the toys when I realized he couldn’t see that far, and slowly added them back in as his vision improved and his coordination grew. He didn’t really start grabbing until 4 months, but he was happy to lay on the mat starting at a few weeks. I put a quilt down over it to make it softer and for easier clean up for spits up, and we ended up doing tummy time here most of the time too. We’ve been doing wiggle time for the first hour of our day since he was about 6 weeks old.
Babies are noisy sleepers. Being able to switch the monitor on and see that those little coos, grunts, and cries were coming from a still asleep baby was a lifesaver. (No cracking the door to check and risk waking him up!) I used it a lot when we were doing some, ahem, “sleep training” to check on him when his cries would just break my heart. It helped a lot to see that he was okay. Now, I just use it to spy on his angelic little self when he’s asleep. My mom calls it her favorite TV channel and I couldn’t agree more. (Jamie and Zac also talked us into upgrading to the one that pans back and forth. Now that he’s moving all over the crib, I understand why!)
For the sake of full disclosure, I own 3 carriers: the Ergo, a k’tan and a baby bjorn. And I use them all for different purposes. It’s extremely excessive, I know. At first, I only registered for the Ergo. A week or two into Bo’s life, I realized how often baby wearing would allow me to soothe a fussy baby and get stuff done but the Ergo isn’t particularly comfortable for a newborn. After some quick research, I decided to buy the K’tan off ebay as a cloth carrier and I ended up loving it. It’s very easy to put on, Bo seems comfortable in it (even now at 17 lbs), it’s easy to store and it’s washable. (A month ago, I also bought the baby bjorn off ebay but I’ll save that for my 3-6 month essentials post.) I carried him forwarding facing for the first 3 months and then flipped him around to face the world right around his 3 month birthday.
It’s amazing how many of these products he’s already basically outgrown – the swaddle, the wubbanub, and pretty much the babysitter – yet for the first couple months of his life, we used these things every single day! There’s obviously plenty of other day to day items we used, but these were some of our very favorites. It’s a little sad to see him outgrow things, but onwards and upwards! We’re usually putting one item into storage in the attic, just to be buying or retrieving another new item he’s ready for. For being such tiny humans, they sure use a lot of stuff!
(I think I’m supposed to tell you that I was not compensated for any of these items or asked to write them. I bought them all with own my pretty pennies or kind friends loaned them to me. I’ve included Amazon links for easy searching but I don’t get any kickback if you buy them. Disclaimer disclaimer blah blah blah.)