In response to my post about Eight Baby Products I Wish I Had The First Time, I wanted to do one on 10 things I did have and loved. I’ll also start working on one that covers the things I disliked, so stay tuned!
Keep in mind that these are my personal opinions. You may dislike these items, this is just my own experience. I have included links with each in case you’re interested in purchasing. Some of these linked items are the exact style I had, while others are just similar, but they’re basically the same.
1. The Belly Book
This is more pregnancy related, but I was in love with this book. It could be because I am a devout scrapbooker and love documenting life in general, but this book was a lot of fun for me. I enjoy going back and reading about what I was experiencing with Zoey. If you want a pregnancy journal, I recommend this one for sure. It’s called The Belly Book because it has places for you to do weekly belly shots if you choose, as well as places for ultrasound pics. I didn’t do weekly belly shots, but I did do them quite often and it’s fun to go back and reminisce!
2. HALO Sleep Sack
This was the absolute perfect replacement for a blanket until Zoey was old enough for one. She hated being swaddled after we got her home from NICU. She liked to stretch her arms and legs out as far as she could (she still sleeps like this). In an effort to keep our preemie happy, we used these sleep sacks and they were a life saver. When she got old enough to start rolling over, the sleep sacks made it difficult for her to do so in bed. I could rest comfortably knowing that she was warm enough at night without any worries of suffocation. Simply using footie pajamas works the same for some mommas, but for us, I felt more comfortable with this in the beginning because I was so worried about her rolling over on her face. She had enough trouble with remembering to breathe correctly, which is what kept her in NICU for so long, so I wanted to do everything I could to lower our risk for SIDS.
3. Summer Infant SwaddleMe
We used this in NICU more than at home, but it was incredibly helpful. In NICU, she had to keep her body temp within a very specific range because preemies are known to struggle with maintaining body heat. We would swaddle her in the traditional flannel receiving blanket, then place her inside this SwaddleMe. After we got her home, we’d bypass the receiving blanket and only use the SwaddleMe. This lasted until she was about 6 weeks old, then she was totally over being swaddled, but while we used it, it was so incredibly helpful and easy. I recommend this if you have a baby that is due in colder months! It’s so snuggly and comfy. We didn’t get as much use out of it as I would have liked.
4. Space-Saver Booster Seat
This is by far the best investment item we have and it wasn’t even that expensive! Zoey started using this as early as four months old – we’d just use a blanket to stuff her in and keep her sitting upright. She still uses it today at nearly four years old as a booster seat. This is so much better than a high chair for a few reasons: 1. You can travel with it, meaning if you need to go on vacation or to grandma’s, this can easily come with you. 2. It truly is a space saver. High chairs aren’t practical for very long. Before you know it, your baby will want to sit at the table with everyone else, and while a high chair can be scooted relatively close to the table, it’s not the same and the kid will be on to you before you know it. 3. It’s inexpensive. 4. It is a practical replacement for both a Bumbo seat (which I’ll talk about in another post) and a high chair. You just attach it to a normal chair at your table. WIN!
5. Battery-Powered Nasal Aspirator
This was so incredibly helpful! Zoey was a snotty kid. She wasn’t sickly, just bad allergies and always had something coming out of somewhere (enjoy that visual). We struggled getting anything out with the bulb the hospital gave us so I purchased one of these when she was about six months old and was floored at the sheer amount of mucus that filled the little vial. At first, she hated it, of course. It’s understandable. She grew to be fine with it before long though. It was pretty nasty to clean out, but it was still well worth the investment. We would often use a saline spray to help break up the mucus, then use this to suck everything out! Some people thought we were weird for using this thing on our baby, but we got the last laugh when they were the ones struggling to use the bulb and taking twice as long to get the boogers out! The thing is, you want to get everything out as quickly as possible… this makes that possible!
6. Haberman Bottle | Medela Special Needs Feeder
These aren’t for everyone, but they were incredibly helpful for us and I think a lot of newborns need these and people don’t even realize it, especially newborns with reflux. This is a special feeder for babies who need extra slow flow. When Zoey was born, she struggled a lot to coordinate her breathing, which in turn meant that she would turn blue on me while nursing or bottle feeding. She couldn’t use a regular bottle for the first 6 weeks of her life, so we had to rely on the Haberman in between nursing sessions and it helped us so much. She had reflux, so the Dr. Brown’s bottles were just way too fast for her in the beginning. Even with the slowest flow nipple they had available… she would drown. The second best bottle was the Soothie in terms of slow flow, but this was her BFF in the early weeks of her life. The flow is slow… incredibly slow. We held onto these just in case we need them for future babies!
7. Diaper Bag w/ Stroller Clips
Having stroller clips on the diaper bag kept the stroller’s undercarriage space freed up for other things, especially if we were out shopping or went somewhere like the zoo where we’d want to pack a lunch to take with us. These clips allowed the bag to hang in front of me so I could easily access anything Zoey needed without having to awkwardly dig underneath the stroller. We used it on the shopping cart at the grocery store, too, so Zoey could sit in the front of the cart while I filled the back and undercarriage with groceries. Another reason I liked the clips is it kept me from having to just carry/wear the bag constantly, which can get annoying and uncomfortable if you’re doing a lot of walking. I did love this style of bag and my husband did, too. But alas, having those clips made this the best bag for our needs in the long run!
8. Shopping Cart Cover
Some people say these are usless. I beg to differ. I think the mistake some moms make is buying one that is overly complicated with all sorts of snaps, closures, toys, etc. If you’re going to get a cart cover, which I do recommend, get one that is stretchy and just pulls over the seat with a ring for just one or two toys. Keep it simple. I purchased mine off Etsy and it’s reversible. The girl I bought it from was gracious enough to allow me to pick out the fabric I wanted, ship it to her, then she just charged me for labor. Zoey loved it so much, she’d sometimes use her blanket as a pillow and just lean over for a little nap while I shopped. She truly was the best baby…
9. Milestone Calendar
Some moms say they never actually used theirs. Me? You know I did. And I saved it. It now lives in the back of her massive baby scrapbook so I can go back and look at when she tried her first foods, when she got her first tooth, when she first crawled… it’s so nice to look over it as well as have an instant glace at her entire first year of life. I’m so glad I had this and yes, I will do the same amount of documenting for our next baby. Especially since I’m having to wait so long for him/her to set up camp in my uterus…
10. Pack N Play
This is another one of those items that I found way more practical than others. The pack ‘n play has a newborn bassinet that you can attach to it as well as the ability to have a raised bed and lowered bed. Zoey didn’t care for the curve of the bassinet when we got her home after being so used to sleeping on her back straight in NICU, so we removed it and she slept in the raised bed in our room until she was about four months old. It had a changing station attached to it with storage for diapers and everything. Once she moved into her crib in her room, I used the pack ‘n play for when she needed somewhere safe to be while I showered if my husband wasn’t home. I could set the pack ‘n play right outside the bathroom door and leave the door open so I could hear her, but I always felt like she was safe and contained. This was a lot more practical for us than a bassinet, which yields very limited use. Plus, we were able to take it with us on vacation a few times so she had her own place to sleep when we weren’t comfortable with bed sharing. She used the pack ‘n play until she was about 18 months old, so I felt like we got great use out of it, between using it for sleeping and for a play pin.
That’s it, moms! These are some of my favorite items from when Zoey was little. What were your favorite items?