Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top 10 Baby Items


When I had my first son, Seth, at the young age of 18, I was obviously not ready. I really thought I was set on everything I needed and I would be able to handle a baby with the limited items I had. The great thing about babies is that they really don't need a whole lot. They need love, patience, food, diapers, wipes, a place to sleep, car seat, and blankets. Everything else is basically optional. I had all of those things, and I made it work. He was healthy and happy, for which I am grateful.

When John and I decided to try to have a baby I had a new mindset. I waited a long time to have a second baby because I remember what a struggle it was with my first. This time I was older [26], I could afford more items, actually in a secure partnership with the father and mentally prepared for what was to come. Every month during my pregnancy I was researching [obsessing over] reviews and safety ratings for every single item we would be purchasing. Most moms do all of this craziness with their first baby, but with my first I was an irresponsible single teenager with no job or money and I was just grateful for any hand-me-down item I was gifted. Also, in 2005 I was not as saavy with Google, and I didn't have the ability to look items up on my smartphone while dragging my son and husband around Babies R Us for 3 hours. This time it was different, I was a total psycho.

The purpose of this post is to list my top baby items I recommend to moms that are able to get them. No, these items are not necessities, they are extra items that I wish I had with my first baby, in no particular order. This list should help any pregnant beauty, friends and family looking for that perfect baby gift or just help parents add some items to their baby registry.

1. Aden + Anais Blankets

These blankets are perfect for swaddling, they are soft and comfy and living in Atlanta with a newborn in the summer they were perfect. They are light, and cute and in a pinch can be used for so many things. I could use them for just about anything: burp rag, changing pad, draped over the stroller when baby is sleeping, the list goes on. I would actually suggest getting 2x packages of these things. I would use one per day when Kato was little, that way you can really use one per day and wash them all after about 6-8 days. I have also heard of some kids that are 3-4 years old dragging these blankets around because they still really like them, so money well spent. Oh, and they are about $35 for a 4 pack!

(Sierra visiting in Atlanta with Everly in the Moby Wrap)

2. Moby Wrap

I loved this wrap more than anything else when Kato was a newborn, and I still love it now! Kato is 23 lbs at 8 months old and this wrap is the only one I can wear for extended periods without my back aching for days after. Kato loved being wrapped up in the moby when he was a newborn, he was nestled up on my skin and in his favorite place. When they are litte newborns they sleep a lot, but Kato didn't always sleep well if I wasn't near him. We moved from our apartment to our house when Kato was 4 weeks old, and my husband had knee surgery when he was 6 weeks old. During that hectic time, I am so grateful for this wrap, I was able to unpack and take care of my husband while wearing Kato. Also, as he grows the moby still fits him and he enjoys being in it. Once you learn how to wrap this one, it's very easy. I thought it was complicated and was worried about that when I was pregnant, but after about 3 times of actually putting it on, you will be a pro, Youtube videos really helped me figure it out, since I'm not very good at reading instructions. On amazon you can buy this one from Amazon for about $35-$60 depending on your color choice, and if you are saavy with fabric you can find tutorials on how to make your own here.

3. PUJ Tub

This is definitely my favorite bathtime invention. It is so easy to set up (with one hand too!) and get baby in the water to clean. I love that I didn't have to bend over to give the baby a bath in the bath tub, which I can imagine would be extra helpful for moms that had c-sections. When you are done with bathtime, it is simple to drain and hang to dry, which I also loved. I used it until Kato turned 6 months and wanted to sit straight up on his own, we are currently still bathing him in the sink, except now I use this big sponge mat ($7) for him to sit on so he doesn't slide around, I'm actually not looking forward to bathing him in the bath tub. Both of these options are great for traveling to the grandparents as well, super easy to fit anywhere. This little gem costs about $45, which I admit is a little steep for a tub, but I really believe it is worth it! I was able to find one at Once Upon a Child for $12, it was in super good condition, what a great find!

4. Baby Leg Warmers

These are so fashionable, which I love, but even more so is that they are functional as well! They are basically baby leggings that come in any design you can think of! Why are they functional? Paired with a cute onsie they are easy to change diapers, in the summer if you are outside you can take them off, and when you go inside to the air conditioning you can put them back on. I love that they are made from many different retailers and in many different designs for girls and boys. Also, if you are a handy seamstress, or you know one, they are easy to make and there are tutorials on how to make them on many websites, I am definitely not a seamstress, so online shopping for them is the route I went, and I must say, they are downright addictive to buy. has a great selection. When Kato wears them he stops traffic, and my niece Everly has them and they are absolutely adorable on her as well in the girly designs. Now, the price varies on these things, I believe I bought each pair for around $7.99 - $12.00.

5. Boppy Pillow

A simple idea really, a pillow that wraps around you keeping baby close to you while feeding him or letting him sleep on you while keeping you both very comfortable. This is a very optional item, I didn't use one with my first, I made it work with pillows I already had, but let me tell you, it really is a nice thing to have. I gave you the idea of a Boppy Pillow, but I know there are many different brands and styles for this U-shaped pillow. I am pretty certain any one will do just fine, so whichever one you pick I am sure you will like it. Kato is 8 months old now, and yet I am still using mine when I breastfeed him and I'm sitting up watching tv or whatever, he still falls asleep on it, and I still enjoy getting those cuddles with the little guy. I am sure it would be nice to have when bottle feeding too, keeps your arms a bit more free by supporting the baby. Also, as Kato was learning to sit up on his own I would put him in the center of it to help if he was to tip over, which I am sure his little head appreciates. For $39.99 on you can get the pillow and the pillow cover, both are machine washable and if you stick it in the dryer with a tennis ball it puffs it right up.

6. Nipple Shield (for the breastfeeding mommies)

I mentioned that I had my first son when I was 18 years old, and I had pretty much never been around babies much less be in charge of one. So when I was in the hospital and was nursing him, I was at a complete loss if I was doing it right. It hurt very badly the first 10 days, then it seemed to just stop hurting, in fact, I could barely even feel him when he was latched, it was great. Fast forward to Kato, I was older, and since Seth was such a champ at nursing I expected Kato would be as well. Wrong! In the hospital it hurt more than I can even articulate. When we got home it still hurt, after a few days at home and it was only getting more painful. I went to a lactation specialist and she confirmed what I already knew, Kato had a terrible and shallow latch. Every time I had to feed him I cringed (and cried) from the pain and seriously considered stopping breastfeeding altogether, so she advised me to try a nipple shield, holy moly it helped. I mean, sure, it was still painful but at least it took down the agony to a tolerable level. After using it for about 9 weeks (and trying to wean him from it once every couple weeks) we were able to stop using it, and never looked back, but it really got me passed the learning period. (side note: I also started pumping to escape his little mean mouth sometimes too, and I recommend everything Medela makes, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Medela products, and I got to know them very well). If only they made a dark colored nipple shield for nighttime use, it is nearly impossible to find the clear ones at 3 am! For about $12 this simple product saved my nipples from detaching completely, kidding, sort of! ;)

7. Baby Bjorn (Baby Carrier Active)

I bought the Bjorn because I liked that you can start using it when the baby is 8 lbs. and it is super easy to put on. There are a few different kinds of Bjorn carriers, I am specifically recommending this black/red one because of the added lumbar support. Kato is a really big fat baby, so I needed that extra support. I am really glad I bought it because I have used it so much. I liked that Kato felt secure in it and it had a great back support and evenly distributed his weight on my back. I like that I can bring it with me grocery shopping and as soon as Kato gets fussy in the shopping cart seat I can strap him in this and he is happy once again, I found one on Amazon for about $100.00. I actually purchased mine at a consignment baby store Other Mothers for about $30, it looked brand new!

8. Buggy Bagg

We have all seen the cart covers that babies sit in at restaurants and grocery stores, which are not only protecting the babies from communal surfaces but keeping the baby snug and comfortable. Once Kato was able to support himself in a cart,I loved grabbing my cart cover and putting him in it, he likes me being right in front of him while I shop, and when we use it for restaurant high chairs it helps Kato be more secure. Now, there are many different types of cart covers, I am recommending the one I have, which is the Buggy Bagg. It is the most padded one I could find, like sitting on a big pillow, it also comes with a pillow attached to it. It is super easy to set up with one hand, which is usually what you will find yourself with when the baby is in your other hand. It is more expensive than the ones you will find at Target, but it will be used for years, and it is so comfortable Kato has fallen asleep in it many times. I highly recommend this cart cover, it's just the best quality you can find, it goes for about $90 online brand new. I bought mine on Craigslist for $20 and it was in perfect condition.

9. Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano

The first toy we bought Kato was this really cool play mat, he was really little but he would lay on it and stare at it, and there is this cool little mirror that is angled right for his face and he could stare at it forever if I let him. Once he gained more control over his movements he loved kicking the piano keys and swatting at the animals hanging down. You can also move the mirror and animals that hang down to the floor for entertainment during tummy time. I also really like how he can still play with it sitting up at 8 months old since you can angle the piano keys as a table, it really is a toy that will entertain them for months. This toy is sold for about $50 but I have seen them at children's consignment stores for roughly $20 -- of course I saw those after I had already bought mine brand new, that's probably why I noticed them when I saw them.

10. Boon Grass Countertop Bottle Drying Rack

If you are bottle feeding it is nice to have a specific place to put all of the baby's bottle parts separated from the rest of the family's items. This rack is really cute, you can get green grass or white grass (for wintertime-- pretty cute idea!) and have it out to easily let your bottle items air dry in a cute environment. I liked that it doesn't look like some of the other drying racks I have seen that just look like clutter, and that it comes with accessories like the $5 white twig tree I bought to put the nipples and rings on. I bought mine at Target for about $15, and I'd say it's money well spent, I've had mine on my counter for 8 months and I still don't mind it taking up space on my counter, and I absolutely HATE any type of clutter on my counters.

So there you have it! My list is complete! Most of these items are for the first year you have a baby in the house, I hope you find some good deals on them, if you have any must-have items I have missed, please add them to the comments section!