Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mommy Must Haves - Newborn

I've had a newborn for a little over a month now, and I want to share with you what I consider a must have.  I plan on creating a separate list for breastfeeding must haves, and exclusive pumping must haves, because I have some opinions about those as well.

As always, every baby, and every mommy, is different.  My words are not gospel.  But if you're filling your registry and you're not really sure what to put on it, these are things I think will enhance those first weeks with your baby.  This list is not all-inclusive, and it does not go in any particular order.

1.  Medela Pump In Style Advanced ($139 for the starter kit; $299.99-$359.99)

Whether you are breastfeeding or exclusively pumping, this pump is a must have (if you are planning on purchasing a pump, anyway).  There are several other options on the market, but I have been extremely happy with mine.  My little guy had a hard time latching, so presently we are exclusively pumping and this pump has made that bearable.

2.  My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow (about $20-$60; varies by type and cover)

If you are breastfeeding, you need this pillow.  I do like my Boppy for other reasons (see #3), but as a nursing pillow, the Breast Friend is hands down the most functional option on the market.  Both the lactation consultant at the hospital I delivered at, as well as the one at my pediatrician, use the Breast Friend.


2.  Dr. Brown's Options Wide Neck Bottles (price varies by size and quantity)

Breast milk or formula, these bottles are phenomenal.  They are so great in fact that I am willing to wash twice as many bottles now that I' not feeding directly from my Medela storage bottles.  These make such a difference with my gassy, fussy baby, I don't want to try anything else.  I opted for the Wide Neck and Options version because of the removeable vent and new Sippy Spouts adapter to allow the bottles to grow with my son from newborn to toddler.  I love these bottles so much in fact that I purchase the various kits (depending on the mommy's need) as baby shower gifts!

Added 8/1/17: Sippy Spouts are now offered for the classic options bottles as well now, so I actually have some of both and like both!

This photo shows items 1, 2, 3, 5 and technically 12.

3.  Boppy Nursing Pillow ($30-$50)

Like I said before, I was not crazy about nursing with the Boppy.  My "tiny" baby (6 pounds 4 ounces at his lowest weight) felt like he was going to slip between me and the pillow if I moved the wrong way.  However, I do love the Boppy for propping my little dude up to bottle feed him while I pump in the middle of the night, and for all of the other amazing things it can do with baby based on his age.  Keep in mind if you do prop baby up on the pillow as a newborn, you have to keep an eye on his neck.  If his chin is hitting his chest, you need to re-position him to prevent suffocation.  This is true of any surface you put baby on.

4.  Swings or Bouncers (price varies by brand and model)

My boyfriend picked this as his must have choice.  We personally have the Fisher-Price My Little Snugapuppy Cradle 'n Swing, and absolutely love it.  You can rotate the swing in different directions, it has various speeds, multiple music options, and a mobile to keep baby's attention (as his eyes develop).  When the baby would not let us put him down anywhere, the swing was our only escape.  Thank you, Fisher Price.

5.  Sleepers  (any brand, whatever you can afford)

My personal favorites are Carter's for their consistent quality and cute designs, but if Carter's is too pricey, and you can't catch them on a sale, get whatever you can.  Sleepers are the best thing to happen to your newborn life.  The baby is cozy and happy, you can easily open them to change his or her diaper; everyone wins.  My son pretty much lived in sleepers the first month of his life; then it got warm and it was romper season for all of the same reasons.  But seriously, he had no fat on his tiny little body, and the sleepers kept him from being cold and bitter all the time.

6.  Pack 'n Play (again, whatever you can afford)

We personally were gifted a Graco Pack 'n Play Playard Quick Connect Portable Napper with Bassinet in Teddy from my Mother-in-law.  We originally wanted this particular pack and play because we were tight on space, and it had the bassinet for while our son was a newborn, as well as the changer.  Then we were planning on using the main part of the pack and play with a mattress as his crib until we moved into our house (he would be about a year old at that time).  However, we ended up moving into a two bedroom and got a crib and changing table.  Do we use either at this time?  Nope.  Our son hasn't even touched his crib.  He refuses to lay alone on flat surfaces (despite swaddling, etc, etc).  We'll get there eventually, but for now, we've been using his pack and play in our bedroom.

7.  Baby Blanket ($10+)

One of the very first gifts we were given for the baby was a blanket with his name embroidered on it.  I had no idea how necessary this blanket was going to be!  We have this particular blanket, and it measures 30 x 40 inches.  We use this blanket to wrap up the baby, to cover him on the way to the car, to cover the carseat, in the stroller, etc.  It's the right size as well to grow into his toddler years as well.  I had no idea how much we would use it, but I'm telling you to trust me on this one.

8.  Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag ($65; though you can find them on sale!)

It is no coincidence that my best friend and I ended up getting the same diaper bag.  We also both ended up getting the Duo Double Diaper Bag as well (mine as an overnight bag, hers because she will eventually have another little one).  This was one of the few things my boyfriend expressed an opinion on.  I figured we would have some custom nerdy bag from Etsy, and I declined getting a Tokidoki x Jujube bag to avoid anything too girly; but instead we ended up with a neutral grey bag.  Neutral grey tends to be a theme with our baby purchases, so that Troy can apply his personality as he grows.  We can always add patches or buttons to the diaper bag, but you can't change the fabric it's made of.  Looks aside, this bag is very functional, and has room for everything we need.  I'm still making up my mind how exactly I want to stuff this thing, but having options is not a bad thing.

9.  Ubbi Diaper Pail ($69.99)

Ultimately I wanted to cloth diaper.  My boyfriend vetoed that idea, and since this is a partnership, we compromised with disposables.  I did a lot of research before committing to a pail.  I knew this was paramount for us because realistically, Troy will be in diapers for roughly two years, and I do not want the house smelling like dirty diapers during that time.  The Ubbi came up again and again as being a fantastic and functional product, so we made the investment.  I really like that I don't have to use special bags, because buying refills and all of the waste did not appeal to me.  The Ubbi has exceeded my expectations.  We haven't smelled stank booty once, and we are truly grateful for that.

10.  Graco 4Ever™ Extend2Fit® 4-in-1 Car Seat ($349.99)

This seat is designed to stay with baby from birth to big kid booster.  Accordingly, Graco produces the seats with materials that will not expire for ten years.  The Extend2Fit version of the 4Ever seat is a new model this year, so mine was just manufactured this January, and will stay with my baby until he is big enough to use a seatbelt.  We opted for the Extend2Fit version based on my boyfriend's height.  I am a short 5'3", but my boyfriend is around 6" tall.  We're assuming that when our little muffin catches up, he's going to be tall.  The Extend2Fit verison allows us to rear face longer; we can turn it when he reaches the correct weight, not when he runs out of leg room.

11.  Stroller or Baby Carrier (ideally both; varies by brand/style)

This is a must have if you plan to leave the house during the first two months, and aren't using a pumpkin seat (see #10).  Pumpkin seats allow you to just carry baby around in his or her seat, but the right stroller system also allows you to place your pumpkin seat in it and go.  I was not planning on getting a pumpkin seat, but will be using one in Ubers.  I just happened to get lucky that the stroller I put on my registry works with a series of seats (and the compatible seat I am getting is also being gifted now that my friend's son has outgrown it).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my son loves going to the mailbox in his stroller (we live in an apartment complex so it's a fun little walk).

With all of that said about the necessity of a stroller, and alternative is to have a baby carrier.  I have a wrap style carrier (the Boba Wrap) and it's what I use if I'm leaving the house with my boyfriend.  He'll be in charge of the diaper bag, so the stroller seems unnecessary for most outings.  However, if we're going to be outdoors for a while, or walking around in an open area that is going to be too hot for the carrier, I prefer the stroller.  For the grocery (which is the most common place I've been going in these early days), the Boba works perfectly for getting the babe to sleep through the whole trip.

I do also have an Infantino carrier I use around the house.  It's much easier to get on and off frequently with feeding the baby, pumping milk, changing diapers, etc.

Here's my little babe all snug in his Boba right during a family outing.

12.  Diaper Stash in Multiple Sizes (varies by brand and size)

I made a huge mistake in this department.  I was gifted a lot of diapers, both unopened and in the form of diaper cakes.  I thought we were all set, as the sizes were mostly size one, but there were also some twos and threes, and even a five.  I wanted to have at least one of each size so that as he grows, we're always prepared for the next size up.  We were expecting a big baby, so I didn't bother to get Newborn sized diapers.. then my son came three weeks early and got down to 6 pounds 4 ounces, and I was unprepared.  The hospital sent us home with nearly two full packs of diapers, so I ordered a big size from Amazon Prime or Prime Now the day we got home... and again later.. and when I ordered the next one, he had outgrown it before it arrived.  That box will go to my nephew that will arrive in just a few months.  I would rather be overstocked than run out of diapers, ever.

While you're scoping out the diaper deals during your pregnancy, pick up the value sizes of wipes when they go on sale, too.  I have so many wipes, but I'm also surprised by how quickly we go through them just from diaper changes.  You can certainly use reusable wipes, or even a wet washcloth in a pinch, but it's much easier to just not run out.

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