As a new parent, the thing that constantly amazes me is that there’s no requirements for it. As in, any adult who times sex to ovulation and wants to keep the ensuing pregnancy is allowed to do it. So even if there are times where in your head you still feel like an awkward 15 year old, they will let you be a parent. And I walk around with Baby B sometimes and wonder if someone will come up to me and say, “Excuse me, but are you allowed to have that baby? Is she even yours?” Right now, nobody is going to be saying that because my friends and coworkers are telling me that B is my “mini-me” – she’s got the same crinkly eyes and smile, and her hair is starting to come in red. So obviously we are twins. But the point is that you’re just allowed to have a baby. It may not be as easy for everyone as it was for me (and believe me, I’m surprised about that too), but if you can do it, they’re yours.
Now, it turns out that babies need a lot of stuff. Probably not as much stuff as our society tends to heap on them, but there are certain things. A bassinet at the beginning. A crib for later. Diapers and wipes. Clothes. A car seat and stroller. And some cloths to clean up all the spit-up an drool. Theoretically, you could just be done there. But haha, we are not. She has a whole room of stuff, and thankfully there’s still space in that room for us to walk around comfortably, and it could theoretically still serve as a guest room for the next couple months until she grows out of her bassinet.
In any case, she’s reached an age, and I’ve reached a point where I know the things that I’ve liked using with her so far, and which were meh. So here’s my 0-4 month list:
Sprout Apps – Baby+ and Pregnancy+
I don’t remember where I learned about these apps, but I do know that I was looking for an app to use during my pregnancy to see what stage Baby was at each week and where I could keep track of things like doctors appointments and my pre-baby to-do list. The one that I used and loved was called Pregnancy+ by Sprout, and it turns out the same developers also created a baby app as well called Baby+. I feel like I’m able to keep track of all the new mommy things that anyone could ever want to track. I get made fun of for the fact that we have a record of nearly every diaper our baby girl has ever made, but it’s important to look at patterns and see how she’s doing. When a baby loses weight early on, they want to make sure her milk input is good and the diaper output is comparable. And this app allows you to do both. I love the home page which gives you a glance at everything going on – when she was last changed, when she ate, when I pumped, but also gives you tips and information based on where your baby should be in development. They’ve got a period-tracker app too, but I don’t use that one, and don’t know enough to recommend it or not.
This recommendation I feel could be controversial? The Snoo is a bassinet, but it’s got a built-in swaddle/wrap thing, and senses when your baby is fussing/kicking and will change the way that it rocks/plays white noise in order to soothe the baby back to sleep. That’s right – robot bassinet…which costs a lot of money. When I first heard about it, I was totally skeptical and am pretty sure I scoffed aloud. And then when I read Bringing Up Bebe, I was surprised at how I connected to the sleep philosophy. I did actually do some research, and read a bunch of scientific articles on the topic of baby sleep, and it turns out, this bassinet aligns perfectly with so much of the philosophy that I was now on board with. And when there was a big New Year sale which dropped the price of the bassinet by half, I was on board. The Boy finally pushed me over the top by saying that even if we only used it for 3 months, the price worked out to something like $7 per night. And that’s $7 for a decent night of sleep compared to the cost of an overnight nurse for the baby. Or just not sleeping, which isn’t really an option for sanity in my case. And guys – she sleeps SO well in here, and we are now past 4 months. It’s possible that she’s just a good sleeper, but I think the Snoo had a lot to do with training her to sleep well, because now she can sleep at night in non-Snoo locations as well. It’s even got a weaning mode so that when we start preparing to move her to her room and the crib, it won’t be as harsh of a transition. Yay Snoo!
While generally I don’t subscribe to most of the tenents of attachment parenting, the one thing from that movement that I can really get on board with is the baby-wearing part. I know that the 5 yards of fabric can be intimidating to a lot of people, and it can feel unwieldy to try and figure out how to wrap it all up so that it becomes a baby carrier that you feel safe using, but there are LOTS of videos and tutorials out there, and once you get the hang of it, it’s SO good. It took me a couple weeks before I started using it with Baby B, and when I did it was life changing. The number of texts I sent to the Boy about how thrilled I was to use both hands at once, and to be able to do things like cook for myself – it was all a miracle. I think babies can get used to anything, so if you want to try using a wrap, it’s important to introduce it early on so that it’s not this strange thing later if you’ve delayed using it. I also like that both of the ones I have (which – they’re all the same. Choose a cheaper one with good reviews, and you’ll be totally ok) are machine washable, so even if she spits up on it, we can just pop it in the wash and everything is good.
When you are up late nights with the baby, you need something to do. For a while there I was reading long articles that I had saved up, but sometimes you need to do some mindless shopping as well. And who better to shop for than your new little bug? In any case, I spent a lot of time browsing the Carter’s website. I love their clothes in particular because they have stood up pretty well, and they fit Baby B nicely. They have a variety of styles, and best of all – they’re cheap. As in, you can get a bunch of stuff for not a lot of money. For summer I’ve been loving their rombers, and I’m always on the lookout for new styles of the bodysuit dresses, because anytime you can have baby wear one piece instead of many is going to be good. Some of the prints and styles are going to be girlier and more ridiculous than others, but they’ve got some really nice things, and it’s important to allow yourself to look at the items for BOTH genders. Because apparently little boys are the only ones who are allowed to like space and aliens, but they won’t arrest you for buying it for a little girl. They run sales all the time, so be sure to keep an eye out. Also – don’t buy snap up pajamas. They will be the bane of your existance in the middle of the night. Zippers are the way to go. You heard it here first.
Medela Pump In Style Advanced (but Lansinoh bags)
This is the pump that I got for free through my insurance, and I’m pretty impressed. Having borrowed the hospital grade one for a while, I know about suction levels, and this one is up there with the hospital grade pump. The only difference is that it’s a little noisier, but you get used to it. The pump-and-save bags for freezing breast milk are also nice, but I recently tried out the Lansinoh brand of bags, and I have to say I prefer those. They’re taller, which allows the milk to spread out more flat, which means that you can fit more of the bags together wherever you store them. I’ve got lots of the Medela bags to use for now, but as soon as those are used up, it’s on to Lansinoh for me!
Jujube B.F.F. Diaper Bag
If you want to go out into the world with your baby, you’ll need to carry a lot of stuff with you, including diapers. This was the diaper bag that I got, and I LOVE IT. I wanted something neutral so that the Boy wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen carrying it, but that was still stylish and functional since I would have it all the time. It’s got a changing pad that tucks into the back, and you can switch out the one strap for two so you can carry it like a messenger bag OR a backpack. There are lots (but not too many!) of pockets for things to store on the inside, and the main compartment is roomy and wonderful. I am also a big fan of the cell phone pocket, because your phone could easily get lost in there otherwise. Highly recommended.
Bananafish Electric Pump Tote Bag
Another bag that I have to carry with me all the time. Since I got my pump through insurance, I didn’t get the cool black tote that comes with the Pump in Style Advanced retail kit. But that meant I had the opportunity to choose my own pump bag. This one is again very roomy, with lots of pockets to put things. It has a great section where you can put the pump itself, and room for a little cooler to carry the bottles of milk you make. I love the little fold-down section which can hold a picture of your baby, since looking at your baby has been shown to increase milk supply. It is enormous, and adds more bulk to carry to work, but it’s super cute, and holds everything. So, I’m not going to complain.
Chicco Keyfit Stroller + Car Seat
We love the car seat and stroller set that we got. It was initially a little confusing to set up, and figuring out how to get the seat in and out of either the stroller or the base for the car was challenge, but once you get it, it’s so easy. I love how there is a reassuring double-click to listen for that tells you baby and seat are snapped in tightly. I’m super impressed by how small the stroller folds up, considering it’s full sized. We were also gifted a stroller frame by a couple whose baby had the same car seat and who grew out of it, and I’m excited to use the frame in the future for travelling. The stroller itself has great storage, and I’m excited that we’ll be able to use it for a long time.
The Pout Pout Fish
I would be a terrible librarian if I didn’t include at least one book on this list. This one was another gift, and Baby B LOVES it. I think it’s the rhyming words and repetition, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s a nice sing-song type of book which makes it easy to read. Plus, now I get to call her a pout-pout fish if she’s grumpy. And it turns out there are MORE of these books! Who knew? Not me!
I’ll probably be doing another of these posts when Baby Girl gets to be a little older, but so far, these are the things that we LOVE. We obviously have lots more baby things than this, but these are the ones that I would recommend without hesitation. If you’ve got a kiddo, what products did you love when they were little? And if you don’t…which one of the above surprised you the most?