Since I was still taking time off from blogging when I first had my baby, I wanted to go back and share some of my favorite things from when Evan was first born. As I have mentioned here several times before, our apartment here in Hawaii is pretty small. We tried to keep our baby gear pretty simple, but I did have a few things that I absolutely loved and made my life so much easier. Some of these things helped me keep my sanity as a new mom too!
All photos are linked to a website where you can learn more about the product or buy it directly. And no, none of this post is sponsored. These are my honest opinions!
Chicco Keyfit 30 Magic Carseat
When we were looking for car seats, I was mostly inclined toward the Britax brand. Their seats are so nice! Before we could purchase one though, we had a family friend give us their Chicco car seat and we figured we were set. Less than two weeks before my due date, however, we went to get the car seat inspected and were told it was missing the infant inserts we needed. There wasn’t enough time to order just the inserts, so we decided it would be easiest just to buy the whole thing brand new. When we got to Babies R Us, they didn’t have the Britax car seat I originally wanted in stock, so I decided to look at the Chicco ones instead because I had heard awesome things about the Keyfit 30. I kind of liked they Keyfit 30, but I hated how small the canopy was. Then I saw the Keyfit 30 Magic and I was sold! The canopy is large, shades well, and my favorite feature–it zips open to expose a mesh panel to help with ventilation and air circulation. It’s perfect here in Hawaii! It also comes with a nice foot muff (which we haven’t ever had a need for, but I’m sure I would have loved if we lived somewhere cold). Plus, Chicco products are always highly rated, so I felt like Evan would be very safe in this car seat…which is the whole point!
Side note: I have used Graco car seats as well, and I do not like them. The one I used was a bit of an older model, but I really didn’t like the way the straps tightened and felt like the canopy was too small. My personal preference is for Chicco or Britax.
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
This nursing pillow saved my life. Breastfeeding, at the beginning, was super hard. I sat up crying so many nights because I just couldn’t figure out how to help Evan latch on in a way that didn’t make me want to scream. It took a few months (and a few meetings with a lactation consultant) to figure out the latch issue, but this pillow helped me so much. For the first few weeks, I was borrowing my friend’s Boppy pillow, and though it helped, it wasn’t quite cutting it. The pillow would always somehow slide away from my body and Evan would slip down and roll into the crevice between the pillow and myself. When I finally got this pillow, I felt like Evan stayed in a much better and more supported position for breastfeeding. The flat surface helped him to stay where he needed to while still giving me support, and I loved how it wrapped around behind me too because it both prevented the pillow from sliding away and also supported my back as well. The snap closure was nice because I could quietly take off the pillow without waking Evan up if he had fallen asleep, and the pocket on the side was a convenient way to keep extra Lanolin cream, my nipple shield (for the short time I was using it to help with latching), and a burp cloth just in case I needed it. They also make a deluxe version of this pillow, but I found that the regular one worked just fine for me! I definitely recommend it–don’t go without a good nursing pillow!
Lansinoh Breast Pads
So…nursing breasts leak. There is just no way around it. I tried several different brands of breast pads, but I liked the Lansinoh brand the best. No nursing pad is attractive, but I found these ones to be super absorbent and discrete enough that I didn’t look like a teenager who stuffed her bra with tissues. They were also nice and soft, which is a godsend with cracked or sore nipples.
A close runner up were the Medela brand breast pads. Nice because they were slightly rounded, but sometimes they looked a little too pointed…if you know what I mean.
My Little SnugaMonkey Deluxe Bouncer
I think this was Evan’s favorite thing. I know a lot of people love swings for their baby, but because of our limited space we didn’t have the real estate for something so big. We figured the bouncer was a nice compromise, and someplace we could put Evan down that wasn’t his crib. At first he just kind of sat there, but in the early months it was nice and cozy and sometimes the only way we could get him to nap (he seemed to have a touch of reflux and I think the upright position helped him feel more comfortable). He also was completely enamored with the monkeys hanging over him, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to just stare intently and just smile at them all the time. As he got a little older and discovered that he could bounce…this kid went to town. Oh my goodness. He LOVED it. He would just bounce for what seemed like hours on end. This was by far our most used and best purchase that we made. Eventually when he started sitting up he would just try and lean over and play with the buttons and grab the monkeys, so sadly we retired it…but a bouncer has now become a staple on my baby needs list.
Oh, it also has nature sounds, music, and vibrations, but we didn’t really use them much. He did seem to like the nature sounds, but was pretty much indifferent to the vibrations and music. It was nice to have sometimes, though.
Soothie and Mam Pacifiers
Since I was dead set on breastfeeding and was already having a hard time with it, I decided to not give Evan a pacifier until he was a month old. When we did introduce a pacifier, we used the Soothie’s and he loved them. They didn’t cause any issue with his latch, which I was really happy about. He also really loved the WubbaNub pacifier that he got for Christmas. You should definitely check them out! It’s a small stuffed animal attached to the end of a Soothie pacifier. As he got older, probably around four months, we decided to try a few different brands, including Nuk, First Years Gumdrop pacifiers, and a few generic brands, but other than the Soothie, the only pacifier he liked was the Mam brand. These seemed to stay in his mouth the best and be the most satisfying for him, so we stuck with them.
For the first month and a half to two months, Evan positively hated being swaddled. Eventually it got to the point where he kept waking himself up and we decided to try the swaddle again. The first night we wrapped him up he slept for 10 hours straight. Needless to say, we were sold on the swaddle. Swaddling is truly an art-form, so I really appreciated these swaddling blankets because I really couldn’t do it wrong and it was always effective. Evan couldn’t really wiggle out, he was nice and cozy, and I didn’t have to worry that my poorly wrapped swaddle might unwrap in the middle of the night causing him to wake up and become a risk factor for SIDS. Eventually we stared swaddling him with one arm out, and then both, and now we just use a regular swaddle blanket to just give him a little feeling of familiarity and security. I recently realized that Summer Infant has wrap-sacks and wearable blankets too which I would love to try!
This was my favorite carrier from newborn to about 4 months. I didn’t have one until Evan was about a month and a half old, but I think I really would have loved this for when he was still all scrunched up and brand new. This wrap is super comfortable to wear and Evan always seemed to be nice and cozy when I carried him in it. It has a bit of a learning curve to it regarding how to tie it properly, but there are so many YouTube videos with easy to follow instructions that it didn’t take me long at all to master it. When I was considering a wrap (because Evan was still too small for the Ergo we received and we didn’t want to purchase the infant insert) I was also looking into the Baby K’tan, but I went with the Moby because it’s a one size fits all kind of deal (which means hubby and I could both use it), and the Baby K’tan is sized. I also chose the Moby over the K’tan because even though the K’tan was available in a mesh-like breathable fabric, reviews said that it tended to slip and not be as secure. I figured if I had to get the regular material anyway, I might as well go with the Moby and have my husband be able to use it as well.
I used my Moby carrier while travelling across the country (Hawaii to North Carolina and back) on all of my flights and it was so easy to use and so comfortable to sit in for that long. Evan was all snuggled up and barely made a peep the whole time! But more about flying with babies in another post…
The Ergo has always been my husband’s favorite carrier (he could never really get the hang of the Moby, haha) and my go-to carrier from about 4 or 5 months on. I love it because it is so structured and really evenly distributes Evan’s weight, giving me lots of support while I carry him around. I prefer to carry him in front, but my husband has used it for both front and back carry and says it is really comfortable both ways. I really like the way it also supports Evan’s hips and how it cradles him so that he isn’t hunched over. It’s just a great carrier all around. Plus, it has a roomy zip pocket, a smaller slip pocket, and a snap up hood so I can cover Evan’s head if I’m trying to get him to nap (which, ps…works every time). Within the last week or so I heard that Ergobaby just came out with a new line of carriers which allow you to carry baby in 4 positions, if I’m not mistaken. They look really cool! I’ll probably look into them when it’s time for baby number two.
Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym
We lucked out and got this from our neighbors when they were moving, so I didn’t realize that these are kind of pricey until I just looked it up to find the picture! There are a ton of tummy time mats out there, but what I liked about this one is that the purple attachment that holds it together at the top also rotates and makes the bars move back and forth. Evan really loved to watch the planets and stars move around, and eventually when he was big enough he enjoyed swatting and grabbing at the little plush characters. Parts of the floor mat are crinkle-y sounding (is crinkley not a word?) and Evan loved to discover which parts of the mat made noise and which didn’t. We got a ton of use out of it, and even now though we retired most of it, he still loves to play with the plush characters and the rubber star. We just detached them and added them to his toy bin. Hopefully we can keep them all together, but if not I’m sure we can eventually we can find another play gym when the need arises.
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles
As I mentioned before, Evan is exclusively breastfed, but I still wanted him to be able to take a bottle. About two weeks after his first pacifier (about 6 weeks old), we introduced a bottle, but used it only on occasion. Luckily, he didn’t have any issues switching back and forth between bottle and breast, which made it way easier on both of us when I unexpectedly had to return to work full time when he was 4 months old. To be honest, these were the only bottles we ever tried, but since Evan took to them like a champ I never felt any need to experiment with other brands. With the Tommee Tippees, he never had any issue with air bubbles or gas, and the bottle nipples caused no issue with his latch. There are several pieces to clean, but I feel like it’s worth it. Also, the bottles never leaked–even after being tossed around in my diaper bag. Awesome.
Honorable Mention Items
Babies mean burp cloths, and lots of them. My favorite ones were burp cloths that some friends made for me. Super soft and absorbent flannel was so nice to clean up both myself and baby, but also actually got the job done. All of the burp cloths I purchased were pretty much useless. If it’s pretty or cute and doesn’t soak up lots of spit-up milk…I have no use for it.
As far as diapers go, we preferred the Pampers Swaddlers when Evan was really little, but around the time that he graduated to size two diapers, we made the switch to Luvs. They worked just as well–if not better–and were less than half the price of the Pampers. It was a definite win/win situation. We tried Huggies when Evan was a newborn and they gave him a rash, so we never went back to them. We also tried the Pampers Baby Dry, which are supposedly very similar to Luvs, but I hated the chemical smell that they gave off every time he peed. For some reason they also had a tendency to leak. The Luvs have worked great for us. He has only really had one or two blowouts in them (which judging on the size of the blowout no diaper would have been able to contain it), and now that he is sleeping 12+ hours every night, occasionally they will leak. If anyone has any recommendations for awesome overnight diapers, I’d love to hear your suggestions!
I don’t really like my stroller. I ended up getting a Bugaboo Cameleon used off Craigslist because I found it for super cheap (for a Bugaboo, that is) and totally bought into the hype of the “name.” Well, I regret it. I wish I would have just taken the amount I paid for it used and invested in a brand new stroller of a different brand. The features I wanted were a large under-basket, able to accommodate a car seat, a large canopy, and a parent facing and outward facing seat. If I could repurchase, I would probably go with a Britax, Baby Jogger, or even the new Summer Infant strollers. Bugaboo just isn’t worth the hype. The under basket is huge, but really hard to access, the canopy is big, but doesn’t cover as far as I’d like (and it has no peekaboo window), and it is able to carry a car seat, but you have to have the somewhat bulky adapter. The only thing it does that I like it switch from parent to outward facing. Also, I find it to be really inconvenient that I have to break it down into two parts (three, if I’m using the car seat adapter) in order to fold it up and put it away. A two hand fold is hard enough, especially when you are trying to do it carrying a baby, but having to separate the parts first kills me. Plus, it is on the heavy side for strollers. All in all…I wouldn’t purchase again and certainly wouldn’t spend that ridiculous amount of money to buy it new.
Lastly, this one isn’t really an unfavorite, but rather…a lack of favorite. I never really found a baby bag that I liked. Mostly I have just ended up using different large purses that I already had. I did find a great Petunia Pickle Bottom bag, but it is a “weekender bag” or something like that and it is HUGE. It was awesome when I traveled and works fantastically for long day trips or for going to the beach, but as an every day bag it would be completely impractical. I really would love to find something that looks like a purse that is big enough to fit Evan’s things as well, that I could use both when I have him with me and when I don’t. If any of you have any awesome suggestions I am all ears!
Well, I think that about wraps it up! I clearly don’t know how to be concise, but oh well. I have a lot to say about the baby/mama things I love! If you know of products you think I (or Evan!) should try, let me know in the comments. I am always on the lookout for new things to make life just a little bit easier.
Thanks for being here!