Exactly one year ago I was making a baby registry.
I was six months pregnant and dreaming about her little face, the nursery and all the other things that make up my life now (the real thing has proven harder but significantly better than my daydreams).
I spent hours registering. Pouring over options. Trying to guess what would be necessary and what wouldn’t. All of the items on this list won’t be necessary for everyone – but, in the early days of life with a baby who slept better with motion and needed lots of time with dad & mom well, they saved our lives.
When I say Evie lived in the Moby wrap for her first two months of life I mean she lived in it. We wore her all the time. I desperately bought the wrap late one night at Toys R’ Us (on one of my first babyless outings after she was born). It was the instant solution to us getting some sleep and, honestly, I loved wearing her – she’s still in it occasionally but, at eight months old, has a lot of exploring to do ;).
Added bonus: You’ll feel like a samurai warrior rapidly twirling the ends of the wrap around. Wrapping a baby in it 4-6 times a day means you will get impressively fast at it.
We brought Evie home on the first day of fall. Winter weather and, for once, snow came quickly and, as any mother can tell you, socks on a newborn are an oxymoron. Evie was given the sweetest pair of slippers (thanks Johnny & Ryan!) that she wore for next oh, six, months – she couldn’t kick them off and they kept her little toes warm. Win win.
These are hands down, without competition, always and forever my favorite baby blankets. We were given one at a baby shower before Evie was born (thanks, Whitney!) and I loved it so much it came to the hospital with us. They’re super soft, lightweight and oversized so I’ve used it as a swaddle, nursing cover, carseat cover and blanket.
This week I finally purchased a few more – that’s right, we went from owning one to owning four of these swaddles. I’m giddy.
When Evie was about three months old we realized that one of the biggest reasons she slept well in the swing was because it was elevated.
Enter the rock & play sleeper.
I wish I’d known about this from the get-go. It’s lightweight, portable (nice for switching her from our room to the nursery or for going on road-trips!) and it not only kept her elevated but snuggled her in on each side (something she’s always loved).
For a next baby I’ll skip the bassinet/cradle phase and just use this.
5) AlvaBaby Cloth Diapers
I’ve already written a pretty lengthy post about my love of these diapers. Affordable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly? Yes please. We’re going on four months of exclusively using them and they’re still holding up perfectly! They’re available from Amazon and the AlvaBaby website
Two cautions: I’ve heard from a few friends that they’ve seen pretty crazy price fluctuations in the Amazon listings for the diaper bundles (I’m guessing the bundles are being sold by a second-seller trying to make a profit) AND there are apparently some knock-off version of AlvaBaby diapers being sold (which is kind of funny since the Alvas are basically a knockoff of Bumgenius diapers. It’s like the six degrees of Bumgenius). The knockoff Alvas don’t have the AlvaBaby tag sewn on the side – if you order them and that’s missing, get your money back!
It sounds complicated but, if you can sort through the marketing and ordering annoyance that comes with ordering off-brand - you can get a good product for cheap!
As soon as she had some decent head-control (for Evie that was around 8 weeks old) she was ready to SEE EVERYTHING. We carted this little chair everywhere – restaurants, small group, vacation, the kitchen counter, the dining room table, the bathroom counter, church.
At first she’d only be in it 5-10 minutes at a time but, as she got older, she’d sit in there for an hour or more watching me cook, get ready to go out, or playing with the attachable play tray. Personally I prefer to this to the Bumbo. It has a higher back which means she could use it earlier and it comes with the straps and playtray (so no extra cost for them)!
7) Swaddle blankets & Carseat blanket
Your need for these items will probably depend on the season and the size of your baby. Evie loved being swaddled – she instantly slept better when she was snuggled up in something (which was probably due to the fact that she weighed 7 lbs when we brought her home!).
At first we used the SwaddlePod ( pictured on the far left – I found a brand new one at a thrift store for $3.00!). I loved this blanket because there was no wrapping involved and it unzipped from the bottom which made nighttime diaper changes a lot easier.
When she got a little bigger (and a lot stronger) we switched to the Miracle Blanket (pictured in the middle). It was a little hefty in price BUT made the difference in her sleeping four hours or 45 minutes. So…worth it.
When Evie was about four months old and rolling everywhere we started the process of transitioning her out of the swaddle – we used a Zipadee-Zip (pictured on the far right – which I loved! It kept her safe and warm). She used that for about six weeks and it helped her adjust to sleeping in just her jammies. She’d been proudly swaddle free for almost two months now ;).
Also, a baby in the Zipadee-Zip attempting to pick things up is the cutest thing you’ll ever see.
Our carseat blanket was made for us by a dear friend (thanks, Marie)! It was perfect for the cold weather as it kept her warm and much more secure than trying to clip the buckles over a puffy snowsuit!
This picture cracks me up – she was grumpy because she wanted to eat but…her little furrowed brow. I can’t even handle it.
Yup. You read that right.
My little $17.00 coffee grinder that we got as a wedding gift has been the best tool in making baby food! It purees soft fruit or steamed veggies with liquid in about 30 seconds. I grind up whole rolled-oats with wheat germ to make for Evie instead of baby oatmeal and I use it chop of meat or cheese into smaller pieces for her. WONDERFUL.
Take that $60.00 Baby Bullet.
Since Evie spent a lot of time in the swing/carseat/rock & play we bought two head supports to prevent her getting a flat-spot on her head. Worked like a charm!
10) Nursing Pillow
I have to admit. I didn’t purchase a nursing pillow ahead of time and wouldn’t have afterwards unless a friend offered me her Boppy to try (thanks again, Kate!).
It saved my back. Seriously.
A nursing pillow for a baby who can’t support their own head is a must – it was also great as Evie was learning to sit up! We used the Boppy brand pillow but there are several good ones out there.
Honorable mention: The Boppy Lounger.
Evie actually slept in the Boppy lounger for a while (it fit perfectly in the cradle we were using). If I’d known about the Rock & Play Sleeper it would probably have served the same purpose but, another bonus of the lounger was that we could easily carry her around the house! Until she was strong enough to move on her own it made a cozy resting spot :).
So, that’s my list! There were a few other things we used but, for the most part, these have been the ten items that have helped us along over the past 8 months. I’m not being paid for any advertising or clicks – they just genuinely made this list because they were that valuable, haha.
What’s on your list?! :)