Here, Have Some Wine.

It is no secret that dealing with a pregnant or new mom’s hormones can be…challenging.  Not only is it challenging for her partner, but it’s tough on her too.  She’s well aware that at times she’s riding Ozzy’s crazy train, but despite her best efforts, she just can’t seem to get off of it.  And if you’re not careful, that train will surely run you over.

Who knew you could experience extreme joy, frustration, irritability, and happiness all at the same exact time?  Maybe it’s the fact that all she was able to make to eat that day was a peanut butter sandwich, a pack of fruit snacks, and some milk she chugged straight out of the carton.  Maybe it’s because her period finally came back, and she is absolutely certain that this is what will kill her (was it always this bad??).  Maybe her pregnant belly is now preventing her from tying her own shoes, and you found her rolling on the ground trying to find a position that allows her to reach the laces before she dares to ask for help.  Maybe it’s because of that damn “because the day I became yours, you became mine” Carter’s commercial that seems to play on repeat while catching up on her shows.  Maybe it’s because she didn’t sleep all night, as she laid there convinced that every breath you took while peacefully dreaming was a deliberate attempt at annoying her.  Maybe its because she took out the trash, only to realize it’s two days early.  Or maybe it’s because she was grocery shopping and her sneeze made her simultaneously pee herself a little bit in the middle of the store.  (None of this EVER happened to me, just so we’re clear).

Whatever the reason that set her off, she needs you to be the calm during her hormone storm.  Which, as you can imagine, is a very delicate feat.  So, here is your fool-proof, works every time, don’t stray from this chart, guide.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are welcome.  (Chocolate and hugs are also encouraged).

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Car Seat Add-On Must

Its an image you never want to think about.  Getting into a car accident with your precious baby in the backseat.  Chances are it won’t happen, but the reality is we just never know.  Better to be prepared than not.

If you were to ever get in a wreck and become unconscious (or whoever it is driving the car), your baby would not be able to relay important information to a police officer or firefighter arriving at the scene.  When rescue workers go to get your child out of the vehicle, have that vital information visible for them.  Not only will it be incredibly helpful for the first responders, but when able, they will leave the baby in the car seat when taken to the hospital and it will be helpful for medical staff as well.

I’ve seen these online for purchase, but it seemed too simple to not type up yourself.  Doesn’t need to be fancy.  The information I included (add more to fit your personal needs), are:

  • Child’s name 
  • Child’s Date of Birth 
  • Address
  • Both Parents’ Names and Phone Numbers 
  • Emergency Contact and Phone Number 
  • Doctor’s Name and Phone Number
  • Any known allergies or medications taken by any family member 

I printed it off on blue paper so it stands out a little bit better, and put it on BOTH sides of the car seat with clear packaging tape.

Hopefully this information won’t be needed, but in the event of a crash I don’t want to take my chances!

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Below is a link to a sample sticker you can purchase online.

http://www.cafepress.com/mf/30993617/carseatorg-emergency-information_sticker?utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=321730555&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=sem-cpc-product-ads&utm_content=search-pla&productId=321730555

 

Have The Talks. Have Them Often.

  1. Pregnant
  2. Maternity Leave Set
  3. Baby Showers
  4. Classes
  5. Nursery Done
  6. Chose a Name
  7. Bag Packed
  8. Car Seat Safely in Place
  9. Mentally Prepared for Childbirth

You’ve checked them all, and you’re done preparing – baby just needs to get here! You and your partner are overwhelmed with anticipation as you patiently (or impatiently) wait to meet this incredible human you made together. You’ve spent all this time and care preparing the baby’s new environment and arrival, but often times what is perhaps the most important preparation gets overlooked – the relationship between you and your partner.  Embarking on the parenthood journey together will without a doubt give you a deeper love for your partner, and it is nothing short of remarkable to watch your partner transform into a mother or father.  But no matter how long you’ve been together or just how rock solid your relationship is before baby, parenthood changes so many dynamics between you that it becomes vital to be on the same page. The first days, weeks, and months of parenthood are a jam-packed roller-coaster ride of emotions, firsts, and adjustments.  The last thing you want is you and your partner having different ideas and expectations of what it all should look like.

So have the talks.  Have them early.  Have them over and over again.  Re-evaluate and have them one more time. And when you think its too late to have them, the time has passed and you’re already set in your ways – do yourself a favor and have them anyway.  

My husband and I have been married for two and a half years and have been together for twelve.  And eight months ago we were blessed with a beautiful daughter.  I am not a marriage counselor, I haven’t read any books on marriage and parenting, and I will never claim to be an expert on the topic.  How could I be? I’ve only got two years under my belt! I have, however, lived through the transition of “us two” becoming “us three” and through those experiences have some things you should consider talking about when making that transition yourself.

  • Money and Budget. If you don’t already have a budget for your home, now is the time. Get your finances in order and begin to anticipate what your new budget might look like.  Look into how much your average can of formula costs, and how long it typically lasts. If you plan to nurse, good news – its free!  How much does a normal box of diapers cost and how many boxes a month do you think you’ll need? How much do you think you’ll aim to spend each month on clothes and gear for baby? Are you going to start a college fund? How much do you think you’ll start out contributing each month? You obviously won’t be able to come up with an exact number, and even if you did, it will most definitely change several times.  But its good to be familiar with how much things cost so if you need to compensate the cost from somewhere else in your budget you can plan accordingly and not be upset with one another’s spending habits down the road.
  • Recovery and First Visitors.  Your beautiful baby is finally here and like you were, there are many friends and family that will be eager to meet your new bundle as well.  Talk about who you think will be wanting to visit, and when you’ll want them to come.  The mistake I made was not setting any boundaries and trying to accommodate every one else but myself.  For the first four months of my daughter’s life we had visitors every. single. weekend.  How incredibly blessed are we to have so many people want to meet her and be with us, but at the same time, you’re learning how to be new parents, you’re learning how to still make sure food gets made and minor cleaning happens, and your baby is only that little once.  You need time to be a family and learn how to do it all without always having to worry about accommodating others.  To avoid hurt feelings and awkward conversations after the fact, come up with a tentative visitor plan beforehand so everyone is on the same page.  In that tentative plan, make sure there is plenty of time for just you and your new little family.
  • Help at Home? If you plan to have help come stay with you for the first few days or weeks, maybe your mom, your partner’s mom, a friend, your grandma, or a sibling – whoever it is, talk about what you want their help to look like. Be specific.  The last thing you want is to be learning what your baby needs and have someone else keep unintentionally intruding on that time.  Those first days and weeks set the foundation for the relationship between you and your child, so make it sure it goes just how you want.  Do you want them to strictly help with cooking and cleaning? Do you want them to take a night feeding (sorry, nursing moms – not an option for you)? Do you only want their help only when you ask? Or do you want them to jump in wherever they see appropriate? Do you want their advice all the time? Or do you want freedom to learn on your own? Imagine what you’ll want from your help (after thanking your lucky stars you have someone willing to help), and talk to them beforehand about how you’d like it go.
  • Parenting Style.  Maybe you only have some vague ideas.  Maybe you only know what you don’t want to do.  Maybe you’re passionate about very specific attitudes and values of parenting.  Wherever you and your partner are at – talk about it openly and honestly.  Are you going to co-sleep? Are you going to allow some crying it out, or none at all? Do you feel passionately about breast-feeding or formula? Picture those types of decisions you’ll need to be making, and where you two can meet in the middle on them.  Your marriage will thank you for it.
  • For My Moms Planning to Breastfeed.  If you’re a mom that plans to at least try breast feeding, make sure your partner knows the reasons you want to do it and the benefits it provides for your baby.  Some dads feel “left-out” at first as the mother gets all the feeding bonding time, and what were once his favorite items to grab now belong temporarily to the baby.  For breast feeding to be successful and enjoyable you need to be supported, and making sure your partner knows the benefits will help your partner get through the adjustment and give you that support you need.
  • Future Work Plans.  What do you think it will look like once baby arrives? A year after baby? Five years after baby? Maybe you dream of being able to be a stay at home mom.  Maybe you want to work but your partner wants you to stay home.  Maybe financially someone will need to pick up the slack somewhere.  What is the ideal situation for both of you, and how can you both work to get there?
  • Sex.  Yes, sex.  Be on the same page.  How long after baby will it need to wait? How will you two deal if your hormones or recovery make you less than interested for a period of time? When are some times you can make time for each other in that way? Don’t let a new baby eliminate the intimacy between you and your partner.  Sex wasn’t always about pro-creating before baby, and it shouldn’t be after.  If all else fails, put it on the calendar.  You might scoff right now and think, “we will NEVER be that couple that has to put it on the calendar!”.  Ok.  🙂 Work schedules, sleep schedules, baby-free times, and times when you’re both out of a zombie-like state long enough to feel frisky are hard to line up perfectly.  Be aware when those times arise, and don’t think you’re ever too good to put it on the calendar.  However it may be – make it happen!
  • Division of Labor.  Ugh.  This one is tough.  And if you don’t talk about anything else, for the sake of your mental and emotional health, this might be the one to hit on.  You need to be very clear about how you two are going to split the workload of your home in a way that makes you both feel like you’re both carrying your weight. Right after baby its really easy to feel discontented or overwhelmed with your partner’s share of the workload. Its hard.  Both of your roles have changed overnight and what was once equilibrium for you is no more.  Who will do most of the cooking? Cleaning? Laundry? Bills? Who will be in charge of all the night wake-ups? Diaper changes? 5 a.m. wake up calls? The lines of communication have to stay open or misunderstandings and hurt feelings can arise quickly and easily.  If you’re a stay at home mom, these talks are especially important because your “work” often goes unmeasured.  If you have to have a c-section the division of labor will temporarily be weighted heavily on your partner during your recovery, so make sure they’re aware of this beforehand to ensure a smooth transition.

These next three are more like “Rules for Success” – the things that will keep your relationship afloat and happy when your partner seems to have forgotten those division of labor talks you just had. 🙂

  1. DON’T KEEP SCORE. It is not your job nor is it your partner’s job to keep score of who does more once baby arrives. There will be times you’re convinced that your 11:00 p.m., 2:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., and 5:00 a.m. wake-ups all definitely outweigh whatever your partner did that day.  (I mean you even cleaned the kitchen and got a good dinner in the crockpot when you got up after that night you just had!).  And there will be days where your partner works insanely long hours in a job that is less than fulfilling just to help make ends meet.  And they will surely feel like that outweighs whatever you had to do that day at home with the baby.  Stop.  Stop now.  Both of you.  Its a dangerous and unnecessary game that has no place within your marriage and parenting endeavors.  You will never know who wins – you’re comparing apples to oranges.  Nor should you ever want to know who wins.  If you’re both doing your best and you’re both doing what needs to be done (within reason of your division of labor you agreed to, of course), then that’s all that matters.  It’s not a game with a winner, its a “let’s both work hard to give our family the best home and future we can possibly give it”.
  2. A LITTLE APPRECIATION GOES A HELL OF A LONG WAY.  A note, a text message, an extra long hug with a heartfelt “thank you”, a note on the bathroom mirror written in lipstick, a “you wouldn’t believe how much she did last night!” in front of friends, an unexpected card on the kitchen table, or maybe just a smile and nod that says, “what would we do without you?”.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the gesture, the point is you make the gesture of appreciation and you do it often.  Adjusting to being a parent, a spouse, an employee, and maintaining all of your other pre-baby roles is challenging.  No two ways about it.  And when your partner shows they not only recognize but genuinely appreciate all that you do goes a hell of a long way.  Vocalize it and show it.  Often.  Sometimes that’s all your partner needs to re-fuel their tank when they’re running too close to empty.
  3. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WAS PRIORITY ONE BEFORE BABY, AND IT SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE AFTER.  Once your kids leave the nest and start lives of their own it is your partner who stays with you.  Yes it seems like forever down the road, and yes it seems like your new bundle is the only relationship that matters at the moment, but your partner and marriage need you too.  Don’t let their entire childhood go by before you realize you forgot about your marriage along the way.  Take the time for each other.  Focused, quality time on each other to talk about the things and do the things you used to do before baby.  It might be a 10 minute cup of coffee at the kitchen table while baby naps, but seize those moments when you can and make them count.  Today when my daughter was down for her morning nap I really should’ve been slapping on a little makeup and taming my hair so when she got up we could go run our errands.  Instead, I spent the whole nap snuggling with my husband. Simple lounging and laughing together. It was wonderful. Those moments are hard to find, and my hair and makeup could wait.  We are a priority, and we are committed to keeping it that way.

Be kind.  Be respectful.  Be honest.  Be open.  Be patient. Be a friend. Show appreciation and gratitude.  Be a great parent, but never forget to be a great partner.  

The Registry Motherload – A Must See!

For many first time moms (and even second or third time moms!) knowing what products you’ll need and can rely on for baby can be quite overwhelming.  We have so many choices available today, which gives us power as a consumer.  But as much as choice is a blessing – its also a curse.  How are you supposed to know what’s good and what’s not?! Have you read how different all reviews are?! And if you’re a first time mom, its hard knowing out of the million products what you’ll actually use and what will end up taking up space in a closet.

So, I consulted my Momtourage.  A group of 37 smart, resourceful, and savvy women who are first time moms like myself with children around 1 year old and under.  True warriors in yoga pants. 🙂 We shared and discussed all of our absolute must-have items – the things that made our life as new moms that much easier.

We are not product experts, we have not tried every product out there, this is not a comprehensive list, and we realize every mom and baby is different – these just worked for us and I hope you find some use in it! 🙂

The first thing I want to talk about is the baby registry itself.  Instead of going to a few select stores and registering for only their items, a few of us used Babylist and absolutely LOVED it.  On Babylist you can register for any item, from any store, as long as it can be found online.  All items, all on ONE website.  Its free, organized, and is set up like a normal registry.  It shows the price of certain items at different stores so buyers can get the best price, and you can put a message under each item explaining what you’ll be using it for.  I had items from Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon, IKEA, Etsy (decorate that nursery exactly how you want it!), and other independent websites.  Babylist now even has its own smart phone app so items can be added anywhere, anytime.  Oh and did I mention its FREE? (I am not a paid endorser of Babylist – but Natalie, if you’re reading this – I’m open to talking about it!).

http://babyli.st/

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Their new mobile app

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Now that you’ve got the website to use, below I’ve complied our list into easy to use categories.  And yes, I even linked some of the items for you with a description or how we used it if necessary.  Pretty awesome, right?

GEAR

  • The overwhelming favorite here was the Rock n Play.  Used as a bassinet by many for the first few months – LOVED by all. The Summer Infant Napper was another favorite!

http://www.target.com/p/fisher-price-rock-n-play-sleeper-my-little-snugabunny/-/A-13868677?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C13868677&CPNG=Baby&kpid=13868677&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=13868677&gclid=CJ-X-M_XvLoCFSgSMwodg10AnA

http://www.summerinfant.com/nursery/nursery-furniture/bassinets/restingup-napper

  • A wrap or carrier of some sort.  Many of us have either the K’Tan or the Ergo.  Great with newborns for skin to skin, closeness, and getting stuff done around the house when all they want is to be with you.  They offer different positions for carrying as baby grows.  A must.  Personally, we also use the Bjorn a lot now that Tayler is bigger.  Feels more structured and sturdy.
  • Many of us found use in a pack n play.  Us c-section moms especially loved the ones that had the changing table on top. The one I used is linked below and worked well for having downstairs (naps & changing table), and rarely needed for travel. One of our moms that travels all the time and has tried several different ones HIGHLY recommends the Bjorn pack n play. Super light, no bars, and very soft and comfy! A little pricey, but if you’re on the go all the time – worth it. Also linked below.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15991496

http://www.amazon.com/BABYBJORN-Travel-Crib-Light-Blue/dp/B000XDYLEK

  • An overwhelming amount of our moms use the Chicco Keyfit 30 travel system.  All of them love it and would highly recommend it.  All Britax car seats are also recommended – a little pricier, but worth it in safety and construction.

http://www.chiccoshop.com/gear/travel-systems/cortina-keyfit-30-travel-system—fuego/05060796970070.html?cgid=gear_travel_systems#gclid=CNTJ44GtvboCFeY-MgodAgYAFA&selected=bcKK6iaagYFgwaaac9PXhYxHls&start=4&cgid=gear_travel_systems

  • If you’re a runner or an outdoor enthusiast and you know you’ll be logging lots of miles once mom and baby are ready, the BOB joggers (especially with the infant attachment) are the heavy favorite.

http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryurId=4394061&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2254197&sr=1&origkw=bob%20strollers

  • The Britax B Agile stroller was another favorite.

http://www.britaxusa.com/strollers/b-agile

  • If your budget is a little tighter on the car seat/stroller/jogger situation, I would recommend the Baby Trend travel system I got.  We loved both the car seat and the jogger!

http://www.diapers.com/p/baby-trend-velocity-travel-jogger-system-volcano-587826?site=CA&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc_D&utm_term=BT-091&utm_campaign=GooglePLA&CAWELAID=1490188368&utm_content=pla&ca_sku=BT-091&ca_gpa=pla&ca_kw={keyword}

  • A play mat for those first developing months.  A soft pad to lay on with vibrant colors, textures, and toys to reach for.  A soft place to practice tummy time, coordination, and eye and brain development.  There are so many of these that would do the job just fine, but many of us have the Baby Einstein, and can vouch for its quality.  Some of us also loved the Kick and Play Piano.  Grows with baby from laying down to sitting up and so much fun!

http://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/Baby-Einstein-Caterpillar-and-Friends-Play-Gym/1018500469?Keyword=baby+einstein+play+mat

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11835073&prodFindSrc=search&cp=

  • An exersaucer.  Once baby is able to hold up their head easily, its a great place for baby to play and learn and strengthen core and neck muscles while giving you the assurance of knowing where they are.  Among other things!  Like the play mat, there are several great options out there but our group can vouch for the Baby Einstein (are we keeping them in business?).

http://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/Baby-Einstein-Musical-Motion-Activity-Jumper/1041868966?Keyword=baby+einstein+exersaucer

FEEDING

  • The heavy favorite here is the Medela Pump in Style double electric breast pump.  This is an area to splurge if you plan to breast feed for awhile.  Especially if you plan on working and pumping.  All LOVE this pump.

http://www.toysrus.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=medela%20pump%20in%20style&origkw=medela+pump+in+style&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2254197&sr=1

  • Bottles can really vary depending on the needs of your baby, but a favorite is Dr. Browns.  Those bottles also hook onto the Medela Pump in Style listed above.  A double bonus! Several of us used Avent bottles and love those as well.

http://www.buybuybaby.com/store/search/search.jsp?view=grid&_dyncharset=UTF-8&Keyword=dr%20browns

http://www.buybuybaby.com/store/search/search.jsp?view=grid&_dyncharset=UTF-8&Keyword=avent%20bottles

  • Gerber cloth diapers! Not used as cloth diapers, but as burp cloths/every day clean up cloths.  I bought two ten packs and use them all, all the time.  They absorb well and wash up nicely.  A must for all those messes!

http://www.meijer.com/s/gerber-10-pack-flat-fold-cloth-diapers-white/_/R-187422

  • Tommee Tippee Bibs.  Their neckline is unmatched – absorbs everything! Great for excess drool and messy eaters!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3918119&cp=&parentPage=search

  • My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow.  We decided it wasn’t necessarily a “MUST”, but many nursing women get a pillow and this was our favorite.  Unlike the Boppy, it goes around your entire waist to help ensure correct posture while nursing, which keeps you relaxed and breast feeding a success.

http://www.toysrus.com/buy/feeding/nursing-pillows-stools/my-brest-friend-deluxe-wearable-nursing-pillow-green-2574807

  • Fresh Food Feeders.  We’ve found these to be more helpful when those pesky teeth begin to pop through, but you can put fruits, veggies, or ice chips in them for baby to gnaw on.  Our babies LOVE THEM!!!

http://www.target.com/p/munchkin-fresh-food-feeder-2pk/-/A-13991507

  • A high chair.  We had two favorites.  Moms loved the OXO high chair – modern, comfortable, versatile, and grows with baby till 5 years of age.  A little pricey, but worth it.  If you’re like me and don’t have any extra room in your kitchen for another chair, I went with the Space Saver.  It can recline in three positions for infants, and turns into a booster to grow with baby as well.  Stick it on top of an existing chair and you’re set! (Plus, can’t beat that price!).

http://www.oxo.com/p-1043-sprout-high-chair-taupe-birch.aspx

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11981516&cp=&parentPage=search

  • Lansinoh Products.  If you’re planning on breast feeding, a must.  We used the lanolin, breast pads, and gel pad soothers.  Loved them all! Keep your milk makers happy while adjusting to nursing!

http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=20384276&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2254197&sr=1&origkw=lansinoh

BATH

  • Burt’s Baby Bee entire line! Shampoo, lotion, diaper cream, etc!

http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=12982889&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2254197&sr=1&origkw=burts%20bees

  • Blooming Bath for those first few months.  It turns any sink into a soft and cozy bath for baby.  Hang it up when done!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=24793736&gcsct=0ChMIiPj4u8HCugIVjvfnCh2tZAAAEAA

  • PUJ tub 

http://www.target.com/p/puj-tub-soft-foldable-infant-bath-tub/-/A-13963897?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C12103187&CPNG=Baby&kpid=12103187&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=12103187&gclid=CMiKytLiw7oCFcZFMgodXmoAUg

  • A cozy swaddle towel for those first few months.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=20222516&cp=&parentPage=search

NURSERY

  • Homedics Noisemaker.  Great price.  Great sounds.  Great night light.

http://www.target.com/p/mybaby-by-homedics-soundspa-lullaby-relaxation-machine/-/A-10707864

  • Diaper Genie.  Great price. Works well.  Gets the job done!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2437622&cp=2255957.2273443.3242082.2256288&parentPage=family

  • A great chair or glider.  We all have different ones, and for good reason.  Its a personal choice.  Splurge a little here.  You will spend a lot of time in it and you’ll be glad you chose well!
  • Baby Monitor.  The moms that have one without video said they wish they did, so if you’re able – get one with video.  It’ll keep you from getting up and peeking in all the time! There are two main monitors people loved, and while they do a lot of the same stuff, the difference is in how you envision using it and what aspects are important to you.  If you’ll have a lot of other people using the monitor, go with the Motorola MBP 36.  The moms LOVE IT.  I’m a stay at home mom, so we went with the Withings Smart Baby Monitor.  It turns your smartphone into the monitor and you can get live feed into your baby’s room from anywhere.  Literally.  Anywhere.  Think about how you’ll use it, and see what’ll work for you!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12369628&cp=2255957.2273447.12661883&parentPage=family

http://www.withings.com/en/babymonitor

HEALTH/SAFETY

  • The HEAVY favorite here is the NoseFrida aspirator.  When I registered I was freaked out by the mechanics of it, but the moms assured me no boogies can get in your mouth! When they are stuffy or sick you want something that gets the job done!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=22402086&prodFindSrc=search&cp=

  • A humidifier – most work just fine!
  • Nasal Saline drops or these swabs linked below

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4097822&cp=&parentPage=search

  • Safety Gates.  Most baby proofing items for outlets and cabinets are pretty cheap, but if your house will require a few gates for safety, I’d put them on the registry.  The good ones can be quite pricey and add up quickly if you’ll need a few!
  • Johnson Safety Swabs.  They are thick in the middle to prevent going in the ear too far.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4408082&cp=&parentPage=search

  • Diapers.  Between us all I think we’ve tried them all.  Seriously.  The general favorites are: Papers Swaddlers and Target brand Up and Up diapers.  After trying almost every kind of diaper, the Up and Ups are the only ones that could contain my daughters dirty explosions and overnight wetness.  They are my favorite, and friendlier on the bank account!
  • Some of our moms also really like Honest Company diapers and products as well as Baby Bear Shop.  Worth checking out if you want to go a more natural/organic route with your products!

https://www.honest.com/

http://www.babybearshop.com/

  • During the winter I swear by Babyganics Kissy Face Lip and Face Balm.  Only a few bucks, but it works great during the colder months for dry lips and faces!

http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/babyganics-kissy-face-lip-%26-face-balm-fragrance-free/ID=prod6153756-product

TRAVEL

  • JJ Cole Bundle Me. During the winter this is a MUST! It’s not safe to layer up baby in the carseat, so this allows you to keep baby warm safely.  It fits great, washes up great, and is oh so snuggly!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4282473&cp=2255957.2273447.2778340&parentPage=family

  • Go Pod.  A lifesaver! Super light, packs up quickly, and is great for travel! I even use it in my house when I need to “contain” her in different areas of the house!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11123395&cp=&parentPage=search

  • Ciao! Baby Highchair.  If you travel a lot or know grandma and grandpa’s house won’t have a high chair this is your answer.  Like the Go Pod it folds up like a normal chair and takes up very little space.  Vinyl top for easy clean up and normal straps for safety.  Awesome!

http://theportablehighchair.com/

CLOTHES/ACCESSORIES

  • Aden and Anais Swaddle blankets.  Lightweight, big, comfortable, and hold a good swaddle.  A little pricier than some swaddle blankets, but the extra few bucks is worth it.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=21079216&cp=&parentPage=search

  • Halo Sleep Sacks.  Especially the newborn swaddler one to start.  That thing will hold a swaddle for even the toughest of escape artists!  If I had to register over again, I would get at least one sack per size with what the weather will be like in mind per size.  They come in the thicker fleece, and the light and breezy cotton.  Carters also makes One Size sleep sacks that are a hit as well!

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=18438226&cp=&parentPage=search

  • For the colder months, these two items below come highly recommended!

http://www.target.com/p/just-one-you-made-by-carter-s-newborn-little-bear-pram-white/-/A-14621766

http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=633872032&tid=onpl000000&kwid=1&ap=7&sem=true&mkwid=9spQvKX9_dc&adid=Cebqhpg+Nqf&pcrid=29466129575

  • Carters body suits.  Get a bunch of the plain long sleeve/short sleeve/sleeveless body suits for every day play and as undershirts for different outfits.  They save your cute clothes from diaper disasters, add an extra layer of warmth when its cold, and keeps their belly covered when wearing t-shirts (among other things!).  Great quality, great fit, great price.

http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-neutral-multi-pack/VM_111A046.html#start=12&cgid=carters-baby-girl-bodysuits

  • Onesie extenders! Keep your baby in some of your favorite bodysuits longer with a onesie extender.  These fit on Carters, Old Navy, Gap, etc.

http://www.onestepahead.com/Add-a-Size-Baby-Clothes-Extender-10-Pack-Onesie-Extender.pro

TOYS

  • You’ve seen Sophie the giraffe everywhere, and its for good reason.  Its the perfect developmental/teething toy.  Kids LOVE Sophie, and is worth the $20 (hard swallow, I know, its a lot for a little toy!).

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4233184&cp=&parentPage=search

  • Baby Einstein DVD’s.  Let me be clear when saying I am not encouraging you to just sit your child in front of the TV all the time.  BUT, these DVD’s are visual crack for most babies, and can bring them down from a tantrum or give you 27 minutes of uninterrupted time to get stuff done if needed.  I would start with Baby Mozart and Baby Beethoven, then move up as baby gets bigger.  These DVD’s are also very visually stimulating with different colors, movements, and sounds – all great for development!

http://www.toysrus.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=baby%20einstein%20dvd&origkw=baby+einstein+dvd&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2254197&sr=1

  • Edushape 6×6 foam playmat.  Ok so this one isn’t a “must”, but I love it for several reasons! Not only is it cute, but its a soft, large area that cushions the blow for the million spills and falls your baby will take as they learn to sit, crawl, and pull up (especially if you have all hardwoods or tile).  As they age, the mats can be taken apart and put into big blocks for fun.  And as they get even older, its just another tool to help learn letters and numbers.

http://www.amazon.com/Edushape-Edu-Tiles-Piece-Letters-Numbers/dp/B002FKAMLA

  • Winkel by Manhattan toys.  Some of our moms swear by Manhattan toys! This one is easy to practice grabbing and more importantly – gnaw on!

http://www.manhattantoy.com/p/winkel/shop-all-baby_manhattan-toy-baby?pp=24

  • A few of the pull-down toys for car seats, strollers, etc.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3504385&cp=&parentPage=search

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Wubbanub.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=10817008&mr:referralID=148e8b8f-42fe-11e3-a8bc-001b2166c62d&cagpspn=plab_8875262&camp=PLAPPC-_-PID8875262&KPID=8875262

  • Honest Company and iBaby Feed apps for smart phones (not something to register for, but something to consider!)
  • Baby Briefcase.  Keep all those important documents in one place! Fits right into a normal file cabinet as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Briefcase-Paperwork-Organizer-Periwinkle/dp/B001F8TLLU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383314618&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+briefcase

  • Pacifier Clips.  Oh, do these help!!

http://www.target.com/p/munchkin-pacifier-clip/-/A-13296333#prodSlot=medium_1_2&term=pacifier+clip

  • Atlas Band for recovery after baby

http://www.thebandspecialist.com/

WE HAVEN’T USED, BUT INTERESTED IN FOR NEXT TIME AROUND!

  • Milk Trays.  Eliminates frozen breast milk waste as you can store it in one ounce sticks to put in any bottle.

http://www.target.com/p/sensible-lines-milk-freezer-trays/-/A-12407152?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C12407152&CPNG=Baby&kpid=12407152&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=12407152&gclid=CO_C8Pfgw7oCFYgWMgodXj8AAA

  • The Woombie.

http://www.woombie.com/

  • Molar Muncher for teething.

http://www.molarmuncher.com/

  • Bath tub divider

http://www.jako-o.com/products-baby-practical-baby-things-bathroom-and-potty-bath-equipment-bathtub-divider–648239.html

Anddddd done! As I mentioned before, every mom and baby are different and everyone has different price points to work within.  Hopefully this list helped you get started, gave you some ideas, or at the very least gave you some things to consider.

Enjoy!