I have had a rash of friends who have become pregnant, or just had babies. Some of them are first time parents, and some are second and thirds. It makes me wonder if I will think I know what I'm doing the next time around, or if I will feel as clueless as I did the first time.
So how about it? First time parents, have several kids, grandparents, single or childless? Are your babies new, or teenagers? I want to know your opinion.
Also, what were the products, tips, and tricks that you couldn't live without? What were your essentials?
I could probably think really hard and maybe come up with a big fat list, but I will just mention a few things.
- When I was pumping my milk, I loved Lansinoh breast milk bags. I had a few cheap moments when I used regular Ziplock bags, but those were shockingly thin and less sturdy than I wanted. We went through a lot of these bad boys.
- I loved our little "gym" that we got for Abby. She loved it and was always entertained by it. I finally put it away only about 6 months ago. If I get it out now for another baby to play with, she tries to lay on it and play with it some more. We have a rainforest that plays music and has subtle sounds, and soft colored lights; I don't think it matters what kind you get, but it helps entertain them, and I think it helped her to learn to reach and accomplish some developmental milestones. I have lost count how many times we have said to ourselves what a good buy that was.
- I loved my Boppy. It was great for breastfeeding, sure, but also for snuggling and playing in my lap afterwards, and when the baby is too little to go anywhere, it is so convenient to throw a blanket over it and let the baby hang out in the nook. We did tummy time quite a bit on the Boppy too. I bought this exact one (the cherries weren't my first choice, but that's what they had the day I went shopping) and found an extra cover at Kid 2 Kid for about $3. It was good to have an extra.
- I liked Huggies diapers better than Pampers, because Pampers have a smell designed to dilute the smell of poop; I'd sniff and try to determine if I needed to change her, or if she was still dry. I ended up associating that entire scent with poop and would catch a whiff of a clean diaper and think it smelled bad. It doesn't, of course, that's just me. Every baby's body is different, too, and may take well to a certain brand. My niece had skinny little legs and needed a diaper that would prevent her from leaking through there; Abby sent hers mostly up her back. I also prefer Huggies wipes over any other, too.
- Baby carrier. I wanted a Baby Bjorn but we got a far cheaper Infantino model, which nevertheless did the trick. It helped a lot on trips, or doing things around the house where it would be too tiresome to hold the baby in your arms for an extended period of time.
- We were given a little bassinet-sized pack and play that ended up being super useful during Abby's newborn days. She slept in it in our room before she was ready to be in her crib. We had it in our room for the nights, and we wheeled it out during the day. It is smaller, and a lot easier to maneuver than the regular size, which made it ideal for literally carting it everywhere around the house. Abby loved to break free from her swaddle and really stretch out, so we made the switch over to her crib in her own room around 3 months old. She slept through the night that first night in her crib, and never looked back. I still love that little pack and play, even though we stopped using it after only 3 months. We used the crap out of it, which would have made it totally worth its price, had we actually bought it!
- We found the Bumbo to be a lot more useful than we originally thought it would be. Our friends bought it for us complete with a removable tray, and that is what Abby ended up eating in/on until we finally bought a high chair months later. They advise up the wazoo to not put it on the table with your child in it, but I believe that is to avoid any legal troubles if your baby falls. We supervised her and fed her on the table every day. It was too hard on the floor to bend over all the time. For a solid 6 months, if you came over, you'd see the Bumbo on our table every second of the day.
- I really loved our car seat cover. I saw them everywhere a year or so before I got pregnant, and I thought it looked cute and I knew I wanted one someday. I found it far more practical than decorative. I loved being able to cover the car seat whenever I was out and have it muffle whatever noise was around us enough that she could sleep. It protected her from the sun, from light rain showers, germs, second hand smoke... if she was awake in her car seat and ready to sleep, I'd cover her up and rock the car seat with my foot and she'd be out in a few minutes. Love it.
So I'm asking to hear some of your advice. I know some people love to give it, and some people really hate to receive it, but I think it'll be fun to see what people have to say.
Parting question: Is Sophie the Giraffe really as great as everyone thinks she is? Does she replace the old classic teething ring? Is she sturdy, or a little flexible?