Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Baby Love: Mama's favorite baby items!


This post has been a long time coming, so forgive me for how delayed it is. I've had it drafted up for months now but haven't had the time, energy, or motivation to finish and get it published on the blog until now. These three tiny humans I care for have been getting in my way!

I wanted to share a few of my favorite baby items with everyone. No, I'm not new to this whole mom thing, but I am relatively new to the whole baby thing again. I mean, we have an age gap here of 10 and 6 years people. Things certainly have changed since the last time I had a baby, and I wanted to fill you in on some of my "new" favorite baby things this time around. I'm not rich and this isn't a sponsored post (I wasn't given any of these baby products to review). I had to purchase them all, which means they are pretty affordable. If you're looking for fancy, teched-out, extravagant baby items this is not the place to find them. Sorry- just real, practical baby stuff here! I'm going to try my best to not get all preachy and holier-than-thou when it comes to parenting tips and tricks because I hate when people do that to me. I know that everyone has their own beliefs and opinions when it comes to caring for their babies. I'm just trying to pass on a little friendly advice from one mom to another :) 

These are in no particular order, so let's just get started. (None of the links I'm providing to these products are affiliate links- just linking to the site or store from which I purchased them). 

Ergo Baby Carrier- $119.99 at Target. OK, total newbie here when it comes to baby wearing. When Ayden and Lily were little I didn't have one of these. Actually, I did, but it was a lot different. I'm not going to name any names or brands, but a lot of older styles baby carriers do not position the baby ergonomically correct and are often referred to as "crotch danglers." That's bad, and can actually cause harm to your baby (back, spine, & hips). I won't lecture here, but I love my Ergo because it's comfortable and safe for both myself and Harper. Plus, it can be used for a front or back carry, along with a hip carry too. The straps are super padded and it even has a little hood on it for baby too so she is protected from the sun, rain, and wind. I use my Ergo for shopping and I love to wear Harper around the house when I have chores to do or when she just need some extra love and cuddling. She loves the Ergo too! I've been told you can even nurse while wearing this thing, but I've yet to master that technique. Some other great options similar to this brand are Tula and Beco.

Moby Wrap- $44.99 at Target. Before I got my Ergo I was all about the Moby Wrap. The Moby is awesome for baby wearing too and is very versatile. I felt super comfortable putting Harper in it even as a newborn (they say 8+ pounds I believe). The Moby is super soft and stretchy and can be wrapped up in a number of different ways for different holds and carry positions. I used this more around 0-4 months and then switched to the Ergo. The Moby is great to wear your baby around the house, but I found it a little difficult to get it on and wrapped correctly when trying to carry her in public (like at the grocery store). 

Fisher-Price My Little SnugaMonkey Swing- $159.99 at Target. This swing is awesome. Seriously, a life saver for us! Harper has acid reflux and has had a hard time laying totally flat to sleep. She also loves movement (especially side to side motions) so this swing was a must for us. At $160 though it was a huge splurge for us. I have never before in my life spent that much on a baby swing! Let me tell you though, it was totally worth every penny. The number one selling point for us was that you can adjust the direction it swings- either front to back like a traditional swing, or you can turn it and it will go side to side. It can also lean completely back to a fully reclined position or can be propped up to more of a sitting position. It's super soft and plush so it's really comfortable for baby, and it has 6 different speeds on it. It also plays music and soothing sound and has a cute little monkey mobile for baby to look at. Oh, the best part? It can be plugged in! That's right- no batteries. Well, it has the option to use batteries, but for at home daily use it has the power cord, which is a huge money saver (and no more dead batteries!) If your baby is a swing lover like my little Harper then this swing would be perfect for you.

NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator- $15.49 at Target. This one is very new on my must-have list. The NoseFrida, AKA Snot Sucker, looks and sounds like it would be totally disgusting, but you know what? It works! Harper just had her first cold and has been super congested and stuffed up. I can never get those traditional nose sucker bulb thingies to do much of anything, so when my sister-in-law suggested this to me I sent my husband to Target immediately. It's got a tube with a disposable filter that goes from the little snot collector to your mouth (yep- to your mouth!) and you literally suck the snot out of your baby's nose. I know it sounds gross, but as moms we do all kinds of gross stuff, right? The snot isn't going to go into your mouth. I repeat, the snot is not going to go into your mouth. Everyone has asked me that...trust me, you're not going to be eating baby boogers. I found that using a baby nasal spray like Little Remedies Sterile Saline Nasal Mist first helps a lot. I do 1 or 2 quick little sprays up each nostril and then vacuum them out with the NoseFrida and voila!  My baby can breath through her nose again and can now sleep peacefully. I so wish I had one of these when my other kids were younger. Life changing! Get yourself a snot sucker. And spend $3.99 on the 20 pack of extra disposable filters...because, ew. 

Philips Avent single electric breast pump- $119.99 on Amazon.com. I love this breast pump. The only thing that would make it better was if I would have gotten the double, but alas, a single will work (especially if you're cheap like me. The double was $199). My insurance got me another brand of pump and I absolutely hated it. It was uncomfortable and it hurt, even after my boobs had toughened up and were used to being devoured by a very hungry baby. Pumping shouldn't hurt. Out of desperation my husband (once again) ran out the retrieve me a pump and came back with this one. We didn't have $300+ to spend on a pump and this one was a great value for the price. It has 3 different speed settings and it has a soft, unique massage cushion to help stimulate milk flow. I am able to produce a lot of excess milk...I'm talking a LOT. The first few months I was having to pump 3-4 times every 24 hours just to relieve myself from being engorged or from getting clogs. I used (and still use) this pump a lot and it's done a great job. With just this little single pump I'm able to get a full 6oz in about 10 minutes. Plus, it's small, lightweight, and has the option to be battery powered for traveling. Oh, and it has a 2 year warranty, which means I'm pretty much covered for my entire breastfeeding duration. If you need a good quality pump that doesn't break the bank this one is a great option! Again, I just wish I would have gotten the double one, but a single will definitely work too.

Aden + Anais bamboo swaddle blankets- $45 for a 3 pack on Amazon.com. I fell in love with these adorable bamboo blankets 2 summers ago when my niece was about 6 months old, so it was no surprise when my sister showed up with two of them for me at the hospital when Harper was born. These lightweight blankets are 47x47 inches and are the perfect size for swaddling, and they get softer each time you wash them. I used these all the time when Harper was first born, even in the middle of summer in the middle of a heatwave. They are so lightweight and breathable that I was still able to swaddle her without overheating her. Even if your baby doesn't like being swaddled, they make perfect receiving blankets and double as a great nursing cover. 

Summer Infant SwaddleMe- $22.72 for a 2 pack on Amazon.com. This thing was a lifesaver for me when Harper learned how to bust out of the blanket-swaddle method. The SwaddleMe has a little pouch that the legs go into and then the arms are secured with "wings" that velcro over each other, holding them securely in place. It even has a little slit in the back that allows harness straps to fit through- meaning baby can be swaddled and still be secured safely in a swing or bouncer. I loved the SwaddleMe, until Harper (AKA Baby Houdini) learned how to break out of that one too. Which leads me to the next item...

Swaddle Me Strap- $32.50 on Amazon.com. OK, I just realized this is the third swaddle item on my list. Can you tell Harper loves to be swaddled? Actually, she's 7 months old now & still prefers to be swaddled for all of her sleeping. She will not sleep without her arms being swaddled, but she was too big to fit into the SwaddleMe blanket. The problem was that she was at the point where she could seriously break out of any swaddle in about 5 seconds flat (I watched her do it in two quick, fluid-like motions. The girl had a method!) After scouring the internet for an escape-proof swaddler I found the Swaddle Strap. I was not excited about paying $32.50 for this little strap thingy that is basically a glorified straight jacket for my baby. I thought it was too much. But this thing is actually amazing! We've been using it for 7 weeks now and I think she's only managed to free one arm on about five different occasions. She is crazy good at busting out! But the Swaddle Strap makes it very, very difficult- almost impossible. I love that it keeps her legs out because she loves to kick in her sleep. Just having her arms swaddled allows her the freedom to move her legs more, but not wake herself up by moving her arms. 

Cozy Cover- $17.89 on Amazon.com. If you have a little one in an infant seat during the winter months or in a cold climate you will definitely want to add this to your registry list. The Cozy Cover is sooooo convenient when it's cold and you're taking your baby with you. Trying to keep a little baby warm in a car seat with a blanket over her doesn't work well- the blanket is always being kicked off, falls off, drags on the ground, or gets pulled up over baby's face. The Cozy Cover eliminates the need for a blanket. It fits over the car seat (kind of like a shower cap), is fleece lined, and zips completely up and just leaves her little face peeking out. Everywhere I go I get people asking me where I got this nifty little cover because they think it's so ingenious...and it is! I'm actually going to be really sad when I have to switch her to a convertible car seat here soon because she won't be able snuggle up in her Cozy Cover. And if your car seat hooks on to a stroller like mine does it's also perfect for walks outside with baby even when it's chilly outside. Here's a tip too- check baby consignment stores for these. I have a great little shop right by my house and they had like 20 of these things! I got a pink one in perfect condition for $2. Two dollars, ya'll. 

So there you go. I'm sure I could go on with more of my favorites (Harper is pretty particular- ask anyone who's been around her for more than a couple of hours). If it weren't for all of these products I've mentioned I don't know what I would do!

What are some of your must-have baby items?
Any other suggestions for things I shouldn't be living without?

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