Saturday, July 7, 2012

What Works For Us: favorite baby stuff (0-3 months)

Even though I try hard to keep our lives simple and uncluttered, I'm kind of a baby gear freak... shopping for baby stuff is WAY more fun than clothes shopping or any other shopping for me :) These are products that I found especially useful the first 3 months, and I still use them all today! Later on, I'm planning on doing posts about products I found most useful from 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months.
(If you click on the images, they will take you to the product pages on Amazon).


Helpful baby products (0-3 months, and beyond)

Thermometer


We have this Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer.

Newborns are not good at regulating their body temperatures, and they can easily get too cold. They can become overly warm if you wrap them up too much, though. Also, one of the most tell-tale signs of an illness in an infant is a spike in temperature. You don’t want to be without a thermometer if you wake in the middle of the night to a sick baby. The same goes for infant Tylenol (acetaminophen).
I probably checked Jude’s temperature multiple times a day the first week or so. He is a hot-bodied little fellow and it was just reassuring to me to be able to check that his temperature was in the right range (97 – 100 F or 36-38 C). I still use it frequently, just to rule out the chance that he might be sick if he’s overly tired or fussy.

Nail clippers
We have this Summer Infant Nail Clipper Set.

I literally have had to clip Jude’s fingernails every 3-4 days since he was born. They grow like weeds! I have about three pairs of baby fingernail clippers, because they easily get lost around the house.

Baby bath sling/seat
 We have this Summer Infant Mother's Touch Deluxe Baby Bather.

This thing is super useful, especially for tiny babies that still have their umbilical cord stumps and can’t be submerged in water. We would just set Judah in this little seat and wash him down with a washcloth. After his umbilical cord came off, we put the seat in the big bathtub and filled it with water and he loved to relax in it. We used it until he was about 2 and ½ months old, and now we just put him straight in the big tub with an inch or two of water at the bottom and he goes crazy splashing and kicking. I still keep the seat in the bathroom, though. It’s very useful to set him in while running the bath etc. Always keep baby within reach, because it doesn’t have any straps!

Aden & Anais muslin blankets
 
We have these Aden & Anais Jungle Jam blankets.

These things have been lifesavers – I’ve used them for everything. Nursing cover, swaddling blanket, car seat/stroller cover, burp cloth... you name it. They are Judah’s favorite blankets. When he’s going to sleep he likes to pull his blanket up to his face and nuzzle into it. The A&A blankets are the only ones I am comfortable with him doing this, because they are so light and breathable. At the same time though, they keep him at the perfect temperature whether the environment is hot or cold. They’re pretty much miracle blankets. In the middle of this blazing Texas summer they are literally the only blankets that will work.
One thing to note – A&A makes two versions of their blankets. Some of them (the ones sold at Target and Babies R Us) are 44x44 inches, while others are 47x47 inches. I ordered mine on Amazon and accidentally got the 44x44 inch ones at first. I decided to send them back and get the 47x47 inch ones. I’m so glad I did – it doesn’t seem like that much of a difference, but the bigger ones are so much easier to swaddle with. Especially if you have a big baby like I do!

Bouncy seat/Swing
We have this Graco Soothe & Swaddle Baby Bouncer.

We got Judah a bouncy seat before he was born, and we were like “Eh, he doesn’t need a bouncy seat AND a swing”… so we didn’t get a swing. Famous last words. We totally should have gotten him a swing. He does love his bouncy seat, especially when he was a sleepy newborn (0-6 weeks old), but as he’s gotten older the battery-operated vibrations aren’t enough – he wants to be BOUNCED, thank you very much. Which means one of us has to sit there and bounce the seat with our foot… soooo it doesn’t really give us much of a break.
Every time he tried a swing, though (his buddy Caleb has one), he was content to sit and swing for hours, whether asleep or awake. By the time we realized we should have gotten him one, he was already 2 months old and rapidly getting too big for a swing (like I’ve mentioned, we have a chunk of a baby). Ah well, we’ll [definitely!] get one for the next babe!

Snuza Halo
Snuza Halo Baby Movement Monitor


This little device saved me from many wakeful nights of watching Jude to make sure he was still breathing. I think if I had to pick one thing out of this 0-3 month product list, it would be the Snuza. It’s a little movement monitor that slides onto the waistband of a baby’s diaper, and senses the movement of him breathing. If the baby doesn’t move for 15 seconds, it vibrates to wake them up and remind them to breathe. If there’s still no movement after 20 seconds, the monitor alarms and wakes up the parents.
It put my heart & mind at ease and let me sleep while he was sleeping, which is ESSENTIAL during those first few weeks/months. I was so nervous to fall asleep while Judah was sleeping because, heaven forbid, what if he stopped breathing and I wasn’t there to help him?! And without sleep, a mama becomes less and less able to cope with life… especially life with a brand new baby.
One of the two downsides to this breathing monitor is that you can’t really use it until the umbilical cord has healed and fallen off, because when it’s clipped onto the diaper it reaches up to the belly button area. Judah’s fell off after less than a week, so it wasn’t a big deal. That first week is such a hazy (but magical!) blur anyways, I’m not sure I would have had the sense to clip the monitor on Judah every time I fell asleep. I started using it as soon as I could, and I slept so much more soundly.
The other downside is that it doesn’t work very well with cloth diapers. The only two times I had false alarms with it was when it was clipped onto a cloth diaper on Judah and had fallen off. We’ve always used disposable diapers (these eco-friendly and chemical free ones from the Honest Company, more on that another time) at night, though, so it works for us. And at the moment we’re actually using disposables full time until he’s a bit older and they’re less bulky on him.
There are other baby movement monitors like the Angelcare one, which is a mat that you put under the baby's mattress. This would allow you to use it from birth, without waiting for the baby's umbilical cord to fall off. But the downside is that once the baby is semi-mobile, he could roll off the mat. The Snuza moves with the baby, and it's also much more portable because it's so small. We can take it everywhere with us - wherever Judah might take a nap, I can just clip it onto his diaper.

Play mat/gym

We have this Infantino Vintage Boy play gym, and it is the perfect amount of colorful and classy. It has plenty of contrasting light and dark colors which babies are attracted to, but it isn’t obnoxiously “baby-ish”, if you know what I mean. Since he was just days old, Judah's attention has been captured by the colorful mat and the dangling toys. Now that he’s older he rolls all over the whole mat, and grabs the toys. He also LOVES to stare at himself in the mirror that comes with it. He has long conversations with himself! I love that it has stimulated his little mind from Day 1, and it still entertains him daily at almost 5 months of age.

Uppababy Vista stroller with bassinet

We love this stroller. It has a smooth ride and is extremely versatile. It comes with the infant bassinet and the older infant/toddler seat. Judah has slept in the bassinet since he was born (admittedly, at almost 5 months, he is getting rather too big for it… we have yet to come up with a better solution for him sleeping in our room… but more on that another time). It easily clicks in and out of the stroller frame. For the first two months or so, we kept the bassinet in the stroller frame in our bedroom, and it was handy to be able to push him around the house when he was sleeping. When he outgrew the sleepy newborn stage, we ended up just taking the bassinet out of the stroller frame and putting it on the end of our bed. Before you freak out and worry that it could fall off the bed – we have a massive footboard that safely holds it on J. That way we could have some more room in our bedroom, and start using the stroller with the seat to go on walks etc. The bassinet works fabulously as a co-sleeping device – it’s lightweight and easy to get Judah in an out of in the middle of the night from the foot of our bed.
Judah has this funny thing where he absolutely hates the air-conditioning or a fan blowing on him. He could be in a dead sleep and he’ll wake up crying if the air-conditioning kicks on. Luckily enough, the Uppababy bassinet has an extendable sun shade that can be pulled out to cover the whole thing - it works great to stop the air conditioning or a fan from blowing on him. Seriously, this thing has saved many naps and many a night’s sleep.
We also love our stroller seat. Technically it’s for use from 6 months and up, but we started putting Judah in it from about 2 months in the most horizontal recline position. It doesn’t recline totally flat, so it’s not suitable for newborns, but at 2 months Judah had good enough head control and we just wedged a couple of rolled blankets on either side of his body. Now at almost 5 months he rides in his stroller like a pro! It has an extendable sun shade as well, so we can always protect Judah no matter which way the sun is shining. The seat is reversible – it can face you or face away from you. The handle is adjustable to go higher or lower, which is great because I’m 5’4” and Thomas is 6’0”.
The stroller frame is lightweight but sturdy, and the basket is enormous – I can fit Judah’s diaper bag, my purse, camera, water bottles, swimming stuff and anything I could possibly ever need under there. The only thing I don’t like about the stroller is that it doesn’t come with a parent console with cup holders for water bottles (or coffee!). It is available to purchase separately, though.

Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat
Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base
We have this "Adventure" Keyfit 30 car seat & base.

When we were car seat shopping, I was looking for the best price & the best safety rating combined into one car seat. I found it with the Chicco Keyfit 30, and I’m so glad we picked this one. The car seat fabric and design are sturdy and high quality. It was between Chicco and Britax (because they had similar safety ratings), and we ended up choosing Chicco because Britax wouldn’t have been compatible with our Uppababy Vista car seat adaptor (which we didn’t even end up getting, as you’ll see below). We’ve loved everything about our Keyfit so far, though. The strap height is easy to adjust, the straps are easily loosened and tightened to get baby in and out, the cover is easy to remove and wash, the newborn support cushions hold a new baby snugly, it is incredibly easy to snap in and out of its base in the car, and most importantly Judah has always been happy to ride in it!

Chicco Keyfit Caddy

While the Uppababy Vista stroller does have a car seat adaptor available to purchase (so you could click your car seat straight into the frame), we decided to get the Chicco Keyfit Caddy instead. This way we don’t have to multi-purpose the Uppababy and have to keep collapsing it, switching out the car seat adaptor, bassinet, and stroller seat. While it is a fabulous stroller, it is quite large, and we prefer to keep it for when we go on walks or longer trips. The Keyfit Caddy is SO. EASY. to go places with and run quick errands – especially if Judah has fallen asleep in his car seat as he often does. The Caddy stays in the trunk of my car, and when we get somewhere I just pop it up (one-handed), click Judah’s Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat into it, and off we go. When we’re done, Judah’s carseat clicks right out of it and back into his car seat base in the car, and I collapse the caddy one-handed and put it back in the trunk. Judah is such a chunk that lugging him around in the car seat is getting impossible, so I’m very thankful that I always have my Caddy with me! However, if we are going on longer shopping trips or to the grocery store (and I don’t want to do battle with a stroller AND a grocery cart) I will also always have my baby carriers with me – see below!

Maya ring sling

We have this Maya Wrap Sling in Dark Khaki & Lemon Lime.

I’ve always known I wanted to “wear” my babies around. There are many studies showing the benefits of have a baby wrapped up close to your body – they cry less, are less likely to have colic and reflux, and are generally happier and more content. I had heard lots of good things about the Moby Wrap, but the yards and yards of fabric seemed too complicated to deal with as well as being much too HOT for Texas weather. So I looked into lighter options, and came up with the Maya ring sling. It’s made out of a linen/canvas type of material, which is much cooler than the stretchy jersey of the Moby Wrap. It’s also (in my opinion) MUCH easier to put on and get the baby in and out of, because you just adjust it by pulling the fabric through the rings to be tighter or looser. For tiny babies, you curl their legs up froggy-style and have them right against you tummy-to-tummy, tucked inside the fabric pouch. Now that Judah is older, he sits on my hip with his legs out on either side. I often wear him in the Maya sling at the grocery store – he loves to be carried on my hip and observe the world with great curiosity as I walk around.

Boba 3G (and why I chose it over the Ergo baby carrier)
Image of Carrier for Baby
(Picture from Boba website)
I have this Boba 3G carrier in Glacier (which looks like it's currently out of stock).

As Judah got bigger I realized I was going to need a more structured carrier to carry him around in for long periods. I did a lot of research (as I always do) and ended up choosing the Boba 3G carrier. It was down to that or the Ergo. I picked the Boba because it seemed more versatile to me. You don’t have to buy a separate infant insert to use it with newborns and smaller babies – it just clips up into a smaller pouch for the baby to ride in with their legs curled up froggy-style. By the time I got it, though, Judah was already big enough to use it “big boy” style with his legs splayed in a sitting position. But it’s nice to know that I will be able use the tiny infant capacity with future babies J
Both the Ergo and the Boba carriers hold the baby in the proper sitting position, with their knees parallel to their hips. Many other baby carriers (like the Baby Bjorn) allow the baby’s legs to dangle from the hip (“crotch danglers”), which is very bad for their spines. The Boba and the Ergo also ergonomically distribute the baby’s weight across your hips and shoulders – I can carry my chunky 18lb baby around for hours and not get a sore back. For me it came down to the fact that with the Boba I didn’t have to buy the extra infant insert, which also would have been hotter for the baby. They both work for babies & toddlers from 7-45 pounds, but all the research I’ve done says that the Boba has a higher fabric “back” that makes it easier to carry children as they get bigger. The only downside to the Boba is that it doesn’t have a “hip position” carry – but that doesn’t faze me because I use my Maya ring sling when I want to wear Judah on my hip.
Both Judah and I love the Boba – he rides in it happily on my front or on my back for hours at a time. He’s never fussy in it, and more often than not he falls fast asleep!

Motorola Baby Video Monitor

This thing is fabulous… although Judah sleeps with us during the night, he takes naps in his crib during the day. We have the camera set up by his crib, and I can carry the monitor around with me and keep an eye on him! We will get lots more use out of it for the next couple of years – I know having the video monitor on my bedside table will help put my mind at ease when he moves to his own room. You can use it in conjunction with the Snuza Halo movement monitor - if the Snuza alarmed, you would be able to hear it via this Motorola video/sound monitor. The camera rotates back and forth, and up and down, so you can pan around the whole room using the monitor as the controller. You can hear your baby, and if you press a button you can talk to your baby through the monitor. There are options to have it play lullabies too.  We think it’s pretty awesome J


Well, that's about it! Longest blog post ever, maybe! Hopefully it's helpful to someone out there...


4 comments:

  1. I use the same braun thermometer. It's very easy to use, but my doctor keeps on telling me that it's not that accurate. So, we purchased secondary rectal thermometer (it was part of a kit box).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just got a thermometer but it's not an ear one because those were so much more expensive. I think I might end up getting one though!

    I also really want to get a sling but the choices are just overwhelming! I'll have a look to see if the Maya one is available over here. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. i used to make fun of video monitors. i thought they were a sign of crazy parents.
    now that ramona is sleeping in the basement , I TOTALLY GET IT! we'll be buying one soon.

    love your updates and can't wait to meet your little one one day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a great list! I had some of these things (the A&A blankets and Snuza) but there were several that I didn't have. I'm adding them to my list of must-haves for baby #2!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! :)

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