Information overload: the two words that come to mind when thinking about life prior to having our baby. The Internet is over-saturated with mom-blogs and lists of baby must-haves and it's so easy to get sucked in to it all. I wanted to create a list of the products we used most during our first month of having our daughter at home with us. But, first, here are two key pieces of advice while you're adding things to your baby registry or just out and about shopping:
Keep their clothing simple: I wish we would have known this before. For the first month (and I'm sure a couple more months to come), opt for comfy, cotton clothing. Babies sleep so often in that first month that they're basically just in pajamas all of the time anyways. You're only going to make yourself (and them) unhappy by having to do a ton of outfit changes every day or try to maneuver their tiny legs in and out of real pants during every diaper change (and there are A LOT). Buy sleepers... lots of them... and then have 2 nicer outfits that you can put them in when you go out to church, dinner, etc.
Don't exhaust your budget before your baby arrives: What I mean by this is that after baby arrives, you'll realize you need something you don't have. Or, you'll realize that the swaddle you bought doesn't quite work with your baby and you'll want to try something else. Don't exhaust your budget before you meet your child and leave room in your budget for trial and error.
Okay, on to the recommendations:
1 // Diaper Changing Pad // The Peanut Diaper Changer by Keekaroo
This was a major splurge, but one that I'd highly recommend making. The Peanut by Keekaroo is a modern twist on the diaper pad. The smooth, dura-soft material provides a surface that's super easy to wipe down when it needs a cleaning. No fabric cover to take off and wash every time your baby decides to pee mid-diaper change. Also, there's so much peace-of-mind knowing that bacteria isn't growing inside the pad itself. It may be double the cost of a conventional changing set-up, but it's well worth the money IMHO.
2 // Burp Rags // Gerber 3-Ply Cloth Diapers
I touched on these in my last post. These cloth diapers are good for practically anything. We bought three packs of these and don't regret it one bit. We always have plenty on hand and they're perfect for everything from catching puke to cleaning the dogs feet when it's muddy outside. Once we're done using them for our kiddo(s?), I'm looking forward to having them around the house to use as rags full-time.
3 // Bottle Maker // Baby Brezza Formula Pro
If you're a firm believer in paying more for convenience and ease, then look no further. The Baby Brezza is such a life saver. When your kiddo goes from 0-100 in 2 seconds flat when they're wanting to be fed, you'll be glad you spent some extra money on the Brezza. We call this our Baby Keurig and it's definitely earned the title. This machine can make a bottle in under 10 seconds and that includes making sure the water is at the correct temperature AND the formula is measured correctly. Not that making a bottle is rocket science, but if you want a full-proof way of making a bottle, and quickly at that, then you'll want to add this to your registry... and then buy it yourself when nobody gets it for you. ;)
When it came to the crib and mattress, we decided to go with an inexpensive (but safe) crib and a more expensive mattress since the mattress is what our daughter, Emerson, would actually be sleeping on. The crib we purchased is just the standard crib that Ikea sells, the Sniglar. It was perfect for us because it's a convertible crib that also matches the style of Emerson's nursery since it's wood.
The mattress we went with was the Lullaby Earth Breeze 2-Stage Mattress. We chose this mattress because of it's breathability, use of non-harmful chemicals, and firmness. Sure it's a little on the pricey side, but we weren't willing to be stingy when it came to where our kid was going to spend the majority of her day.
5 // Bottles // Philips Avent Natural Glass Bottles
Bottles... talk about overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of bottles and nipples to choose from. Do you go with plastic, glass, anti-colic, 4oz, 8oz... We ended up going with the Philips Avent Natural Glass Bottles and are using the anti-colic nipples that Philips sells, as well. So far so good! We love the glass bottles because of how natural they are. There's absolutely no concern with chemicals being dissolved off of them in the wash and just by using them over time. If we drink from glass containers, then I think our baby should, too. I think we ended up purchasing 4 sets of these bottles to ensure that we wouldn't have to wash them every single day. Usually I wash them by hand every day and then every other day run whatever is still dirty through the dishwasher with all of our other dirty dishes. We also opted for the 8oz. size so that we're not having to re-purchase bottles when her formula intake keeps increasing. "Buy once, cry once." as my husband says!
6 // Stroller // BOB Revolution Flex Jogging Stroller
The stroller. Kind of important. Also a hundred options.
We ended up purchasing the BOB Revolution Flex because of a few reasons. Number one, the tires are rubber... RUBBER!... what a concept! You'd be amazed at how many strollers have plastic wheels, it's crazy! We love going on walks and hikes and needed something durable and long-lasting. We read rave reviews about this stroller and, while it was near the top of our budget, it seemed like it'd be the perfect fit for our lifestyle. Plus, I love that with the purchase of a simple adapter we can click Emerson's carseat in to the stroller so that she's facing us while she's still an infant. So far, we've been super happy with this stroller. It's easy to fold up and set back up again and is really easy to maneuver around. My only complaint is that it's a little heavy when folded up - especially in those first few weeks after giving birth. Thank goodness for husbands!
7 // Diaper Bag // Skip Hop Duo Diaper Backpack
My number one requirement with the diaper bag was that it needed to be something that my husband wasn't embarrassed to be carrying around - in comes the diaper backpack (what a great invention!). This particular backpack has 3 exterior pockets and two spots on the sides for bottles, a water bottle for us, or both. The backpack is plenty large enough for everything from diaper needs to toys and blankets. We didn't shop around much for this because I knew when I saw it that it'd be perfect for us.
8 // Swaddles // SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
I had read tons about how beneficial swaddling your newborn could be for sleep, so of course we wanted to give it a shot. We registered for these SwaddleMe velcro swaddles and Emerson LOVED them for the first few weeks. After that amount of time, she decided she didn't like having her arms restricted, so we ditched the swaddles completely. For those first few weeks, though, they were a great investment. She wouldn't wake herself up with sudden movements and she'd sleep for about 3 hours at a time - something we, as new parents, really cherished and were grateful for.
9 // Outfits // Cat & Jack Footed Sleepers
If there is one thing I'd go back and tell myself months ago, it'd be to not buy ANY newborn clothes besides sleepers and side-snap tee's. These sleepers from Target's Cat & Jack line were (and still are) our absolute favorite. They're warm, come in super cute patterns, and zip from the bottom. Zipping from the bottom is great for two reasons: one, because it makes checking for diaper changes SUPER easy and two, because you don't have to worry about making sure the little zipper is down far enough to not cut in to their cute double chin! We have 6 of these sleepers at each age range so that we'll never be without a clean one. Cute outfits are great, but trust me when I say the last thing you will want to be worried about with a newborn is spending 5 minutes getting them dressed in the morning. They've got their whole life to wear cute, put-together outfits... enjoy having them in cute sleepers while you can get away with it!
10 // Diaper Pail // Any closed-lid trashcan will do!
If you take one point in to consideration from this post, let it be this one. PLEASE do not spend a fortune on a state-of-the-art diaper pail that needs scented liners, etc. We opted for a $25 stainless steel, step-to-open trashcan from Target and have been SO thrilled with this decision. It doesn't make our daughter's room stink (promise!) AND we're able to use the same trash bags for it that we use downstairs in our kitchen. How convenient is that?!
11 // Diaper Rash Cream // Young Living's Tender Tush
This diaper rash cream has been such a huge blessing. Thankfully, Emerson hasn't had hardly any diaper rash so far, but the little spots that she has had have gone away within hours thanks to this product. This gel is jam packed with so many wonderful essential oils (Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Lavender, Frankincense, and Bergamot just to name a FEW) that help support healthy skin. Not only do we not have to worry about nasty chemicals on our baby's skin, but this stuff smells absolutely amazing! If you're pregnant and we're friends, I can pretty much guarantee you'll be getting this as a gift from me.
12 // Bouncer // 4moms BounceRoo
We opted for this bouncer because of how small it was and the fact that we could easily put it on the floor, a table, or the couch. Heck, I think we've even put it in her crib a few times. This bouncer allows me to get more done during the day because of its three settings and three speeds. Emerson really likes the heartbeat rhythm best and only on the lowest setting. When it turns off automatically after a bit, she's usually just fine with sitting there with no movement. I also love that this bouncer moves with her natural movements, too. It's not in a locked position, so it allows her to create her own bouncing rhythm, too. It's a little on the pricey side as far as a classic bouncer goes, but it's worth it. My only recommendation and the only downfall is that you'll want to get the infant insert (an extra $30) if you're using it when your baby is a newborn. It's not required, but it definitely helps keep their head and neck supported.
13 // Noise Machine // Marpac's Dohm Machine
This natural white noise machine is the BEST. The machine circulates the air like a fan, but doesn't give off the wind that a fan does. The noise is very similar to that, too, and can easily adjust to fit what sort of sound/volume you're looking for. This machine is hard to explain, but trust me when I tell you that it's a great one. There's one simple switch that turns it on/off and then you just twist the top of the machine to get your desired setting. Super easy, super effective.
14 // Multi-use Cover // Milk Snob
I received this Milk Snob cover as a gift from one of my husband's co-workers and MAN was it a good one. I had planned on breastfeeding, so was looking forward to using this for covering up as well as a carseat cover. We solely use it for the carseat now, though, and really really really love it. REALLY. This cover has proven great for running in and out of the pediatrician's office and keeping germs at bay, it's been great on walks when it's slightly windy, and I've also been known to use it for wiping milk from my baby girl's face after a feeding if we're out and about and I forgot to take a burp rag out of her bag. I know there are a ton of different multi-use covers out there, but I just love all of the patterns that Milk Snob offers. Highly recommend!
15 // Play Yard // 4moms Breeze
When it comes to play yards, pack n plays, whatever you want to call them... I know there are hundreds of options to choose from. We really like the 4moms brand for their simplicity with their products. So, it was a no-brainer to at least consider their play yard when shopping for one. In the end, what sold us on this particular product was the ease in setup/teardown. We know we'll be traveling with it when Emerson's a little older, so we wanted something that we could setup/pack away with just one hand and in record time. We haven't gotten any use out of the bottom portion of this play yard yet, but we absolutely love the top part. I really like the fact that it has a large surface area and it's not split in half to offer diapering storage like a lot of pack n plays are. Because there's no storage up top (or below for that matter), we simply store diapers, wipes, etc. in a small basket under our coffee table which is 2 feet from the play yard. To that, we use the top portion for not just diaper changes when we're downstairs, but as a spot for Emerson to nap, too. I didn't think there'd be a need for an additional "crib" or diaper changing station, but we've both found it super conveneint to have.