These are just opinions, of course, but this is what’s worked for us so far. Please note that I took care to find photos (and product links) of the exact products that I really have, same patterns and all. You know… for authenticity’s sake.
Here they are in no particular order:
1) aden + anais muslin swaddle wraps
With a summer baby, you’ll want a blanket that shields from the air conditioner’s icy blast while still remaining lightweight enough to take out into the humidity. Somehow, this achieves both, plus it’s the perfect size for making those oh-so-helpful baby burritos. I never worried about her overheating in her footie pajamas when I swaddled with these, even while camping in the heat of July. I included the brand name only because these are the only ones that I’ve seen. Pricey, yes, but in my opinion they’re totally worth it.
I affectionately call this, “my nipple,” or, “my shield,” and have been known to say things like, “Eric, can you help me find my nipple? I left it on the coffee table and now it’s gone. I think the dog might have grabbed it.”
Without this little invention I can say with confidence that breastfeeding would not have worked for us. Two and a half months in and the girl is still using it. At first my lactation consultant blamed Molly’s failure to latch on her small mouth, but now I would say it’s more like laziness (the nipple shield makes it much easier for her). I know breastfeeding purists often scoff at these, and I understand why – it is unnnatural. But the beauty of the nipple shield is that it helps uncooperative babies get on the boob, and isn’t that the ultimate goal? In the hospital I was hooked up with my SNS tubes and sobbing because she wouldn’t eat. I was one mental breakdown away from totally giving up, despite how badly I wanted to breastfeed her. Finding this little device was like discovering the holy grail. It worked, it got her onto my boob, and we still got to enjoy the bonding and skin to skin contact. Should I be actively trying to wean her off of it? Yes. But going back to work has drained all my energy and at this point it’s easier to just give in and use it. It works for us for now, so I’m not messing with it.
My biggest complaint is the need to always have one on hand (God forbid I leave home without it), and how it’s kind of a pain in the ass to get it positioned just right when I’m feeding her on the run (in the Maya wrap, while walking around at a music festival, etc.). But since this is the only way I’ve ever breastfed, it was easy enough to adapt and get used to it. In other words…I have nothing to compare it to, so to me, it’s just normal. I’m sure breastfeeding sans shield will be a welcome surprise.
I actually have two of these that someone gave me (Thanks, Toni!). So one of them stays at home, and one stays at my sister’s house for when she’s there during the week. This thing is AWESOME. We use it for those times we need to put her down but we can’t put her on the floor or even on her boppy saucer thing because I’m always afraid the dogs will trample her (not on purpose, of course, but just because they don’t know any better). It keeps her out of harm’s way, yet it’s lightweight and easy to carry from room to room. I bring it in the bathroom with me to put her in while I’m showering when the two of us are home alone. We brought it camping and to the beach – it disassembles into several pieces and fits nicely into a tightly packed car. There is a recall due to a mold issue after washing the fabric insert, but so far we haven’t had to wash it at all, so I don’t even care. I know she will outgrow it soon, but for now this thing is essential.
I’m not ready for Molly to be in her crib yet, but co-sleeping is simply not an option with our tiny queen-sized bed (and the dog who still sleeps in it with us). I have the bassinet set up right next to my side of the bed, and even though Molly sleeps through the night, I wake up 3-4 times MINIMUM and throw my hand onto her chest to make sure she’s still breathing. Every single night. So yeah… it’s much easier to maintain this habit without having to get out of bed and creep into her room across the hall. For now, the bassinett is where it’s at.
5) Honest Company bath gel and lotion
All of our bath products were gifts, so I’ve had the luxury of trying out several different brands without spending any money. I love the smell of this one, and it’s organic, too.
Do pacifiers grow legs and walk away? Honestly. Molly isn’t really into the pacifier, but there are times when she needs it (and we need it), like when she’s overly tired and just can’t fall asleep or when she’s pissed off about being strapped into the car seat. Despite the fact that I’ve been doing a decent job of keeping the house clean (which I’m assuming will get much harder once she’s walking and strewing toys about), I always seem to lose pacis. It’s nice to know that there’s always one clipped to her carseat for emergencies.
7) Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra
I spent my first couple of days pumping without this, and now all I can think is, how silly! Someone at work insisted that I had to buy one so that I could at least keep myself entertained during pump sessions by going on my phone (not an option when you’re holding the suction thingies on both your boobs). So I went from staring at a wall for ten minutes during pump time to actually forgetting what I was doing and sometimes even going a minute or two past my set time! If you have to pump, this thing is 100% necessary. It’s $33, eligible for Amazon prime, and delivered to your doorstep. Done.
8) Britax B-Agile Travel System
Maybe I’m in a different tax bracket or something, but the majority of stroller recommendations on the blogs I’ve read have been wayyyyy out of my price range. What I needed was a good quality, middle of the road option that folded up easily. I also wanted a stroller/carseat combo, because it just seemed logical. We went into the store with no expectations or preferences and ended up picking out the one that the store associate recommended and pushed hard for. So far, I’m very pleased with it. Not an UPPAbaby… but I like it. And at less than $400 for the whole kit and caboodle, it doesn’t require a second mortgage. I call that a win. (Bonus: this was a baby shower gift, so for us, it was VERY affordable, haha).
9) Maya wrap
I’m all for discounts and savings and all, but here is something pricey (in my opinion) that was worth every friggin penny. I LOVE my Maya wrap. That’s not to discount the Moby… which is also pretty great… but as so many before me have pointed out, Moby is a pain in the ass to take on the go because it’s a little complicated to wrap and it drags on the ground while you’re getting it ready. I used the Moby a lot when I was on maternity leave and was just hanging out at home, vacuuming and stuff. The Maya is more versatile because you can just put it in your bag and – BONUS POINTS – it works well with breastfeeding. While we were on vacation at the beach, our morning trek to the ocean always coincided with Molly’s feeding time. But that was OK, because all I did was snuggle her in the Maya wrap and breastfeed while walking down the street. It was so awesome and convenient! I got my money’s worth during that week alone. Now, I throw it in my bag no matter where we’re going. I can be at a picnic and hold her and still have use of both hands, which is really invaluable when you’re trying to walk around with a plate of food AND a frosty beverage. It’s lightweight and easy enough to just add to the wash. Yes, I took a chance and got the cream colored fabric, because I thought it was pretty. So far it’s not too dirty, and wouldn’t you know it, spit up breastmilk blends right in. If you’re on the fence for a baby carrier that’s suitable for a newborn, my vote is Maya all the way.
That’s all I can think of for now! I’m sure this list will change, so expect to see another one in a few months.