Yesterday, I posted the first part of our baby essentials; you can find that post here. Today I’m posting the second installment of things I would recommend to new parents. I plan to update this as Shepherd grows older, but this is a list of what we have used often and enjoyed in the three months since Shepherd’s birth.
1. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash. I love the light smell of this smell and wash. The fact that breastfed babies’ poop is water-soluble, combined with the fact that you don’t need to bathe newborns and infants every day, means a little bit of this goes a long way. I used the SkinDeep database to try and keep as many harsh chemicals away from Shepherd’s skin as possible.
2. Diaper Genie Elite. It does what it says it does. I miiiight have gone with Diaper Dekor instead, but really, no complaints. Also, register for the refills! They are nice to have a stock of.
3. American Red Cross finger nail clipper with magnifying glass. The magnifying glass on this clipper is genius. Shepherd’s paper-thin nails were impossible to deal with until I found this nail clipper.
4. Pampers Swaddlers. These are the diapers we brought home from the hospital, and these have been my preferred brand so far. I love the wetness indicator on the bottom, because hey, it’s the small things that make a difference when you’re exhausted, slightly delirious and madly in love with a tiny little thing! We also use Target’s up and up brand, but they are bunchier and not as absorbent. I wish we could cloth diaper, as I have heard many great things about modern cloth diapering methods, but it just isn’t feasible with our current situation. I am currently kicking myself and wishing I had registered for more diapers; you can always not unpack boxes and return them if you don’t use them before your baby changes size. I registered for a box of wipe refills and still have several left.
5. Fisher-Price rainforest gym. We call this Shepherd’s playground. I actually didn’t register for anything like this because it was bulky and huge, but my mom got it for Shepherd and he has enjoyed the music and the mobile. It will occupy him in moments when we can’t hold him. We also use it for tummy time, although he likes a blanket on the floor just as much.
6. My Little Snugabunny bouncer. We registered for and received this bouncer from my grandma, and it has been put to use! I am fortunate Shepherd was agreeable to the bouncer; we had opened it and thrown away the packaging before he even arrived, so there was no returning it. The bouncer has several music options (that always seem to get stuck in my head) and a volume control, along with a vibration option. It does not swing, and in order to bounce, you must push it or the baby must make it bounce. Shepherd has always been able to make the bouncer bounce to some degree by kicking his legs. I am sure he would have enjoyed a nicer swing more, but this works, and it’s not as big as a giant swing. It is worth noting that he is entranced by the two birds on the swing, even moreso than all of the “friends” he has on his playground.
7. Baby Sophie. We recieved the original Sophie as well as Baby Sophie, but we have used only the Baby Sophie at this point. I put it in Shepherd’s hands and he can put it up to his mouth. It’s a little smaller, so he can handle it better than regular Sophie. I am sure it will be put to good use as he gains more motor skills and begins teething. Also, I just really like how cute all of Vulli’s products are!
8. Bedtime for Bear, among other story books. We received several stuffed animals and toys for Shepherd, but aside from rattles, he hasn’t displayed any interest yet. For now, we are loving how interested he is in the books we read to him every night. Of course, bright colors and contrast draw him in, but he is happy to listen to me read articles from magazines, our insurance statements out loud, blogs from Google reader, etc. I am just trying to expose him to language as much as possible, no matter how silly I sound reading insurance jargon in several accents. Maybe he’s meant to be an actuary? Either way, I would say reading (almost anything!) to babies from the minute they’re born is just a great habit to get in to. I scored a bunch of Golden Books at Goodwill for $5 along with gently used, beautifully illustrated children’s books for next-to-nothing, and I am eager to utilize our library for children’s lit, too.
9. Moby wrap. Let me first say this: I really didn’t like my Moby at first. It was an intimidating football field of fabric that I had to learn to manipulate, on my own, with a tiny baby. No thanks. But one day, at about one month, Shepherd was just inconsolable. He had entered the “witching hour” phase, which began around 4 p.m., and I needed to be able to use my hands but wanted to have him close to me so he wouldn’t cry. Kate, new mom and author of Elefantitas Alegres, linked to a wonderful how-to video that I watched over and over again until I felt comfortable using our Moby. Here is Kate’s post on her experience with the Moby, and here is the video about different Moby Wrap holds. Once I got the hang of it, I have loved having Shepherd close to me both to calm him down during his fussy times and to keep my hands free in times when I can’t easily hold him.
10. Boon Grass. This has come in very handy since Shepherd started using a bottle. I use it for all of my pumping stuff, too, and I love how fun and happy it looks on our countertop. There is also a larger version called “lawn.”
11. Playtex Ventaire. This is the only bottle Shepherd has taken so far. We have tried the Medela bottles that came with my pump, Tommy Tippee and Playtex Ventaire. I also bought a Dr. Brown’s bottle, but once he decided he liked Playtex, I stopped trying out other kinds. I plan on trying to introduce Dr. Brown’s sometime in the next couple of weeks. We did not register for any bottles because I wanted to buy them to “test” when Shepherd could take them. I wish we had registered for single bottles, but I am glad we didn’t get a lot that we didn’t use. My friend Jenny, a breastfeeding educator at MilkWorks in Lincoln, recommended the Playtex Ventaire based on a lot of studies on bottles that mimic breastfeeding most closely, and this has worked in our case. I am still interested in using glass bottles, and I will update this list based on our findings.
12. Motherlove More Milk Plus. When I started pumping to build up a milk supply for my return to work, I took More Milk Plus and it worked. I was wary to buy this after consulting with a lactation consultant, as she said there isn’t much hard evidence, but she said she has heard good things from other moms who have tried it and asked me to follow up with her if I ended up using it. Motherlove sells More Milk and More Milk Plus; the former does not have fenugreek and the latter does. The Mother’s Milk Plus says to expect a boost in supply in 24 hours; for me, it was even less. I am a believer, whether it was all in my mind or not.
13. The Nursing Mother’s Companion. A great book to read while embarking on the breastfeeding journey, though I wish I had read it once before Shepherd was born just to get acquainted with what could happen.
14. Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple cream. This stuff is great for the first few weeks when you and baby are learning how nursing works. I used it immediately after Shepherd was born and it helped a lot with the discomforts of nursing. An added bonus is that it is lanolin free, made with cocoa, and it doesn’t have to be wiped off before nursing like lanolins.
15. Bella Tunno Sassy Sack. I didn’t think I wanted a diaper bag, but after Shepherd’s first month we began doing some traveling, and it was nice to have his things quickly accessible and in a designated place. I use this while traveling and I also bring it to work during the week to keep all of my pumping supplies.
and now, for a few things that aren’t pictured:
16. Medela Pump in Style. I’m a big fan of the electric double pump. A lot of people hate pumping, and admittedly it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but I am glad I am able to continue provide milk even while the baby and I are separated, which makes the inconvenience worth it to me. The slightly scandalous-looking bustier is a must-have, too. It’s nice to have free hands and continue doing whatever you are doing.
17. Medela Harmony manual pump. I bought this pump in a pinch for times when I’m traveling and need to pump but don’t want to haul out the big guns. Manual pumping isn’t that bad; it just takes longer and gets tiring. Bonus? Arm workout.
18. Other pumping stuff: storage bags with adapter; storage containers; a small insulated bag; spare membranes and other parts. I would save gift cards for this stuff in case you find you have a need for it. I got our insulated bag from the hospital; we were sent home with a box full of formula, and the insulated cooler was included with it. I use it to transport milk back and forth, but anything insulated will do.
Phew! That’s seems like a lot, but it is all used regularly, if not multiple times a day! I actually have a few more suggestions, so I will post again tomorrow with a part three.
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