Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mommy Must Haves for Babies

Being pregnant with my sixth blessing, other Mommies tend to ask if I have any recommendations for them.  With Mother's Day around the corner I thought I would share  a few Mommy Must Haves that I have come to love and depend on.




222a by hugabub.com, on Flickr

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I am a firm believer in baby wearing.  It makes life so much easier when you can snuggle your little one close and get a few things accomplished around the house, or even just go for a walk.  Nab yourself a carrier of some sort and allow your hands to be free! :)  We use a Moby wrap as well as an Ergo.  Both have saved my back and my sanity and by having multiple carriers I have flexibility.
By using a carrier I am able to go on a long walk, vacuum, do dishes and laundry, play in my garden, grocery shop with both hands, bring the kids to the park, and have many other adventures.  Both the Moby and the Ergo come in a variety of colors/designs from something neutral to something whimsical so you can express your personality while showing off your sweet bundle.



For Sleeping:

I have found the joy in swaddling my babies. Swaddled newborns sleep better and I found it hard to wrap my baby up like a burrito in a receiving blanket.  I just could not wrap my squriming little monkey tight enough . Then I came across these swaddle blankets and now I own five.  They are WONDERFUL.  The velcro helps the blanket stay nice and secure during bedtime which means baby sleeps longer and stays at a constant temperature without becoming unwrapped in the middle of the night.  The fleece ones are a bit too warm for summer babies but work well for winter if you live in a cooler climate.   The Swaddleme blanket keeps baby snug by using velcro so your little wiggle worm cannot squirm free of the confines of her cocoon. Our babies have enjoyed being snug and will sleep longer which means, Momma can sleep longer too.

Adri Atlantis, 2 days old by t r e v y, on Flickr

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White noise of some sort is welcome by all in our home. We downloaded Ocean Waves from Itunes for our Ipod.  My kids have always needed a bit of noise while they sleep and something as simple as a sound machine has been a lifesaver for us.

Cloth Diapering:


Fuzzi Bunz Diapers was our first experience with cloth diapers when our second son arrived.  We have been cloth diapering for over seven years now and we still love it.  Our Fuzzi Bunz lasted through three babies before I decided to switch to cotton prefolds and wool covers.  The FB's were in such  excellent condition (even after washing daily for years) that I was able to sell them at a decent price and use part of that money to buy our current diaper system.  For someone just entering the cloth diaper world I would highly recommend a pocket diaper such as Fuzzi Bunz.  They are easy to use and are very close to disposable diapers in their style/ease.

Fuzzi Bunz has excellent customer service as well.  There were a few times we received a defective diaper and all we had to do was contact the company, mail the defective diaper back and they replaced them as well as sending us free inserts/wipes.

We purchased our FB's through  Kelly's Closet... the service has been wonderful and the prices are the best around.  It may look like a lot of money up front but when you consider how much it costs to use disposables (around $3,000 from birth to potty training including disposable wipes) it saves you thousands to buy cloth.

We made the switch to prefolds and wool covers because we wanted pure cotton on our babies skin. We go through Green Mountain Diapers for our cotton prefolds and buy Disana covers via amazon.

Both Kelly's Closet and Green Mountain Diapers have excellent customer service and a wealth of information on their sites to encourage you in your diapering journey as well as wonderful FAQ to help you along the way.  If you have any questions I would be more than happy to share with your our cloth diapering journey.  Just zip me an email by clicking "email me" in the sidebar or post a comment below with your question(s).

Natalie & Fluff Stash by moohaha, on Flickr

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Ever since the beginning of our cloth diapering journey we have been using Charlies Soap.  It is great for cloth diapers and you can use it for all of your laundering needs.  We purchase a 32 lb bucket and it lasts us almost 2 years.  We use it for all of our laundry and wash 3 loads a day.  A little goes a LONG way.  We have children with sensitive skin so this laundry soap has been a perfect fit for our family and leaves my laundry fresh and clean without harsh chemicals.


Another nice investment when using cloth is a diaper sprayer.  This little gadget hooks right up to your toilet and works like the sprayer in your kitchen sink that you use for your dishes.  The sprayer comes in handy to knock off the ickies into the toilet, especially once baby starts on solid foods.


For Nursing:
 My nursing pillow is invaluable to me... these wonderful inventions really help with comfort while bonding with your sweet babe.  I bring mine to the hospital when I go into labor so I can have it after birth and it stays with me at all times until my little one is weaned.

My Brest Friend nursing pillow is my  bedside companion.  I used to be a die hard Boppy fan until I discovered this sturdy pillow.  With the Boppy I had to prop pillows all around me while using it so my boys could get a proper latch.  With the Brest Friend it is made of foam so it is not super squishy and it has raised bumps for baby's head to make for a comfortable latch.  The pillow also has a plastic buckle so you can fasten it securely behind you and my favorite part... it has lumbar support.  For those of us with ferocious nursers it is nice to have that extra support for our backs when we spend half of our day nursing those first few months. If your baby spits up a lot consider purchasing an extra slipcover.

The Bebe au Lait nursing cover is one of my favorite purchases as a breast feeding Momma.  Not only is it beautiful to use but it is practical and such a security saver.  When I nursed the boys I would cover up with a blanket and they would tug it off... since the Bebe au Lait cover is placed around your neck and is secured with a D-ring, the kiddos cannot yank it off.  Plus there is a rigid, plastic curve at the top of the cover so air can reach your baby and you can peek on your precious one while nursing.  That little piece of plastic is what makes Bebe Au Lait stand out from other nursing covers I have seen... it is great to be able to look in on baby PLUS it keeps your little one from getting all sweaty.
The nursing cover has been especially wonderful to have when out in public and I have received many compliments on it.  There are a variety of fabric choices from funky to feminine and the material is top quality.  There are also terry cloth pockets sewn on the inside of the cover for you to stash a pacifier, burp rag, or nursing pads.


 I also recommend grabbing a stack of Gerber prefold diapers.  They are a plain, white cotton that is nice and thick and are perfect to use as burp rags.  They are affordable and useful well after nursing, they make the best dust rags around!  :)  Or, you can use them as doublers for night time if you are cloth diapering your baby.

Nursing tank tops are a necessity for a new Mom. I have a rotation of five tank tops and I wear them underneath my shirts rather than by themselves as I am rather conservative when it comes to fashion.  The tank tops are comfortable and are easy to use one handed.  I wear these shirts every day while nursing and I wear them while I am pregnant since they are long and can cover my belly bump and keep it from being cold. They have stood the test of time and are definitely worth investing in.  It is hard to find a bra that fits AND is comfortable, especially once your milk comes in,  I have found that using the nursing tanks I do not need a bra underneath as they provide support and coverage. Plus it is  easy with the nursing tops to find one that fits and they are very easy to nurse in.

These tanks by Gilligan & O'Malley have proven to be of good quality as well as comfortable and stylish.  Mine lasted me about two years and I wore them daily.  I then upgraded to nursing tank tops from  GlamourMom.  These tanks are pricey so I wait until they go on sale but the support they give "the girls" is astounding and so far they have lasted me the past three years and i have worn them daily for that time.


A bottle of Lansinoh will quickly become your breast, I mean, best friend.  I used this cream profusely the first few weeks of nursing while my body became used to a little person being attached to me like a Hoover vacuum.  Lansinoh is made of lanolin (a.k.a. sheep sweat).  It is completely safe for Mom and baby and you do not need to remove it before nursing.  It is wonderfully soothing.  My reccomendation is to buy two tubes of this magical cream, one for your nightstand and one for the diaper bag.


Breast Pads.
Wish I had a wonderful brand to recommend.  I have yet to find ones that are 100% perfect, they tend to show through clothing at times.  However, I do prefer the cloth, washable ones over disposable.  I think cotton pads are more comfy and the fact that you can wash and reuse them is great.  I purchased mine off of ebay.  I bought 5 pairs for $10 including shipping.  They have worked well but are not always the most discreet.

Soothing gel pads are a life saver for those first few weeks with a newborn.  These disposable, cooling gel pads from Lansinoh are a must have when you begin nursing.  They are a bit of an investment but I only needed to use them the first two weeks while my body adjusted to having a little leech on it at all times.


Breast Pump:
 I have an Avent Isis and I love it.  I have had it since my first son was born, thirteen years ago, and it has worked great with all of my babies.  It is affordable, manual (the electric ones scare the bejeebers out of me), and has stood the test of time.  Not to mention it is comfortable, believe it or not.  :)  If you are a woman who has been blessed with a larger chest then you may want to invest in some inserts that attach right to your pump.  I use the inserts from  Pumpin' Pal,   They come in three different sizes and work beautifully for those times when you are engorged or just have gone up a size.  Having the inserts have saved me from much discomfort.  They are affordable and easy to use.


Bottles:
we use standard Gerber glass bottles.
 Nothing fancy, easy to clean/sterilize.


Baby Accessories:
I find that you do not really need a whole lot of accessories for babies.  I tend to bathe little babies in the sink or in a large bowl until they are able to use the tub.
Most play mats and marketed baby items are over stimulating for my kiddos so I just stick the basics... a blanket on the floor with a few toys scattered about.  You will find that kids enjoy playing with simple things the most anyway rather than noisy items.  With that being said, there are a few items that I have found I cannot be without.

A well made diaper bag:
This versatile bag by LL Bean holds enough necessities for a newborn and a toddler without being overly huge.  Plus, it comes in a variety of colors that do not scream "baby".  I am not a person who wants to tote around a diaper bag with the cow jumping over the moon.  I want something that is neutral and can serve a purpose outside of being a tote for diapers.  The LL Bean diaper bag is labeled as a "diaper bag" but can be easily used as a messenger bag as your  child grows.  Superb LL Bean quality, affordable price, stylish looks, and it meets all of my picky standards.  Definitely a keeper in my book.

portable high chair  is a wonderful item to have.  We had been given a very nice Eddie Bauer high chair but the thing was HUGE and hard to clean.  It was pretty to look at but that was about it.  we found that we got much more use out of our inexpensive, multi-colored portable high chair.  It was small, folded up so it was compact and easy to travel with, and plastic = very easy to clean.  It has done the job for the last decade so why mess with a good thing.


When our little ones are older I have found some kind of a play station invaluable.  I do not invest in a play mat or other accessories because they outgrow them so quickly but someone purchased an activity center for us when our second child was born and it was awesome.  It takes up space, which is the only downside, however it keeps baby in one spot while Momma is cooking and is well worth the money in my opinion.

A stroller/ car seat.
We have never used an umbrella stroller so I cannot vouch for them but a good, solid stroller is necessary when Momma wants to take a walk or do a small shopping trip.  When we had our first son we loved the Graco stroller (similar to the one in the link).  The infant car seat fits right inside of it and once they outgrow the car seat the stroller is still wonderful until they are old enough to walk by themselves.  Now that we have two stroller monkeys, we have a double stroller which is nice but it is not as easy to maneuver as the single stroller.  All in all, I find Graco to be the best brand for strollers/car seats.

What are some of your Mommy (or Daddy)  favorites outside of chocolate and a good book?  Please leave your ideas below in the comment section.

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