1. Chicco Cortina travel system (stroller, carseat, and base)
- This carseat has been wonderful! Let's start with the base. I've had to battle putting the old school carseat bases in the car with those straps that you have to squeeze the hooks on and off and pull the straps as tight as you can. And then getting them out to switch them was even more of a process--and it always resulted in me being hot, sweaty, and aggravated. And I could never seem to get them tight enough. This carseat doesn't have all that nonsense. It's hook are formed like seat belt clasps--you just guide it toward the hook and it clamps itself. To get it off is just as simple--you push the red release button and it's off! So much easier than digging in to those seats searching for that dad burn bar to clip on, all the while holding open the hook on the seat...ugh. Just clasp those on and pull one strap to tighten both straps equally. It also has a level built into it with simple squeeze adjustable height.
- The seat itself is just pretty :) And it's not too heavy. And like most other carseats of this day and age, it has the pull cord to loosen the straps uniformly, as well as the ability to snap and click into the base and the stroller.
- The stroller is phenomenal. It's lightweight; it handles well on most all terrains (it even has real shocks...ha!); it's easy to handle--folding, unfolding, and storing, one handle pull to do both; it stands on its own when it's folded. We love it.
- Many retailers carry them, just not in all of the colors they offer. Target, Babies R Us, and Buy Buy Baby to name a few.
2. Fisher Price's Rock and Play
- This little gem is wonderful! It served as her bed the first five months. We can easily move it to anywhere in the house (including the bathroom while I took a shower--surprisingly, she took some of her best naps in there!) and it also folds up easily to take on trips with us. She still sleeps in it for naps sometimes and is currently sleeping in it at night because she's congested. It's tilted and deep so the can snuggle in and not lie flat. The slant helps with reflux as they won't choke if they spit up. It's legs are curved so when they wiggle, the rock themselves (or you can gently nudge them and rock them). It's also the perfect place for me to lay her for her to take her bottle now that she can hold it. If I lay her on the floor, she gets distracted and starts rolling around and playing instead of eating. We love this little thing!
- We found ours at Target.
3. Stock up on diapers!
- If you have family and friends willing to host a diaper shower for you, don't turn them down! I used to think diapers were kind of a boring gift--they didn't require any thought, they weren't fun nursery decor or cute outfits. But boy oh boy--now I think they're the best gift ever! We were incredibly blessed to have a shower in which several of the guests bought us diapers (along with incredible parents who continue to shower us with a box here and there). They are a huge cost to add in to all of the other baby expenses, and being able not to have to worry about them just yet has been a HUGE help.
- My favorite diapers are Pampers Swaddlers. We've also used some other types of Pampers and like them too, just not as much as the swaddlers. They fit her the best and I love having that indicator line. We also tried several different fits of Huggies. They're ok, but they are smaller and they don't fit as well. Also, when she started sleeping through the night--if she went to bed in a Huggies diaper, it had leaked all over her by the next morning. We've never had that problem with Pampers. We also tried the Parent Choice (Walmart brand) ones, but they broke out her bottom and didn't hold much. So for the money we saved on the actual box, we were spending because we had to change diapers constantly. So Pampers are our choice--swaddlers are our first choice.
- Oh, and use the points codes! Pampers and Huggies both have codes that give you certain numbers of points based on what the product is. You can use those points to "buy" different items in their rewards center.
4. Baby Swing
- Oh this thing is a lifesaver. For about a month and a half, this is the only place she would sleep. And when you're that exhausted, you don't care where they are as long as they're sleeping. Even still, at seven months, that's a place we can put her that she'll stay content for quite some time. She still takes a lot of her naps in it even though we've transitioned to the crib at night. We were blessed and lucky enough to get a hand-me-down that my mom had at her house from keeping my sister's kids. However, we would have bought one if we had to--they are just that great. I'm not sure what we're going to do when she outgrows it--which will be soon!
- We have the aquarium one shown below and it works well. Swings both directions, has a mobile that spins, has lights and music.
5. Bumbo Chair
- These have become quite popular and I'm sure many of you have seen them and know what they are now. They're a great tool to teach infants how to sit up. They suck their little butts down in them so it's difficult for them to get out of them. They also have a high back so they offer support for even small tots. I use mine to feed AJ now so that she stays still and focused (for the most part...). They are easy to clean and can be used outside, in the tub, and in restaurants. Great little tools.
- They can be found just about anywhere that sells baby things: Walmart, Target, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby
6. Colic Calm
- AKA the miracle drug. By far, the BEST tummy medicine I have found. It looks incredibly disgusting (it's black), but it works and it works fast. When we were fighting all of AJ's tummy issues and trying new formulas, this is the only stuff that even touched her pain. She calmed down almost instantly. It's expensive, but I'll tell ya, it is totally worth it. When you have a screaming baby, almost any price is worth it to provide relief--for your child and yourself!
- It's also homeopathic and all natural. Check our their website for more details.
- You can find it at CVS pharmacy.
7. Boogie Wipes
- These work so well for cleaning a wee ones face--and they smell so good! They are especially helpful for those snotty noses that most babies don't like to have messed with. AJ has never scoffed at a boogie wipe. They're gentle and they work.
- You can find them at Target.
8. Closet dividers
- These are small and may seem unimportant to some of you. But they are really helpful! All of those little bitty clothes start to run together pretty easily--especially after they've been worn and you go to put them back up. These are a simple way to help keep that closet and all those clothes organized by size, making it easier to find what you're looking for and put it back up.
- You can find them several places online, most stores that carry baby gear, or you can get crafty and make them yourself!
- We were able to borrow this one from my sister (the perks of having an older sibling who has kids before you are endless!) and I LOVE it! Bella is sitting up now so we could start making the transition to the bathtub. But as easy and convenient as this thing is, I haven't wanted to! It fits sideways in our sink so I can bathe her standing up--something my back and knees greatly love. With our little sprayer, bath time is so simple. Before her cord fell off and we were having to do sponge baths, I set it on a towel on the counter. It keeps her where I want her and gives her some support. It can also sit in the tub to give them a little water on their booties to help keep them warm. Plus it reclines to three different levels and folds up flat for easy storage and travel! I actually prefer to use it without the headrest--to me, it just gets in the way.
- You can find them at Target or Walmart.
10. Shutterfly books
- Or any other site that allows you to create your own photo book. I got several Shutterfly rewards from my registries that I just used them--and now I've used them several times over and have been pleased every time!
- The fist book I made was of a few maternity pictures, us in the hospital, and our first day home. I wanted to be able to have something of that special time and it would take up too much room in her baby book to give it the proper explanation I wanted to. It's something I already cherish and know it will only become more invaluable as the years go on. I also made smaller versions for the grandmas for Christmas.
- I plan to make one of these for each child we have. I also plan to use these as their yearly scrapbooks, making one for each child for each year of their life. It will be a great keepsake when they're grown. I'm only seven months in, and I already love looking back on the one of her birth. Below are a few example pages from the one I made when we had Arabella.
- Cook up several meals and freeze them--your baby will keep you busy and tired. Having meals cooked and ready to go will be a huge help.
- Don't refuse help. Don't allow people to smother you--you need time together as a new family. But don't let your pride get in the way either. Let people watch the baby while you nap. Let people cook for you. Let people clean your house. If they offer, be grateful and accept the help (as long as the person is a help not a stresser).
- Ask for help when you need it. Pride can be quite the obstacle. But you have your limits. Recognize them and ask for help when you've reached them. It's much better to do this that to wait too long and everyone be on the verge of a breakdown.
- Set up a routine as soon as you can. It will help you and your baby both if you know what's coming and what to expect. It can be flexible, by all means. Life isn't the same every day. But if you have a routine set up, you will more easily know what your baby is wanting and how to calm him/her. You'll also feel better knowing what your day holds every day.
- Don't keep your house quiet. Keep your voices the same level you would normally talk. Leave the TV on at its normal volume. If your baby gets used to sleeping in the quiet, that's the only way she'll sleep--and that can be difficult to accomplish sometimes. We keep a box fan going in her room at night. Everyone sleeps better with white noise, including babies and kids. And during her naps during the day, she doesn't wake up when someone talks or if the TV or radio gets turned on--she's used to noise. It makes me a lot less worrisome that she'll wake up if something out of the norm happens. It also means she's able to sleep when we're out and about--and on days filled with errands, that's huge.
- There's no such thing as too many pictures. Take them all day every day. They grow way too fast (I'm sure you've heard that somewhere before...). Document everything.
- Make sure your hubby helps out. He's a man and he'll try to get out of things; plus they're just wired really differently and sometimes they just don't recognize what needs to be done. Even if it's true that you do it better and quicker, make him learn and make him help. It'll make him a more involved and better daddy, and it will put less stress on your relationship with him.
- Remember that you're the mama. People all over will try to tell you what to do and what is wrong with your child. Most of the time it's with the best intention, but it doesn't always come well received. You know what's best for your baby. Set boundaries and don't doubt what you know about your own child.
- Laugh. Food will be spilled all over the floor, dog bones and toys will be chewed on, newly changed clothes will be spit up or peed on. Just laugh about it and move on. You're making memories.
- Love your baby the best way that you know how
Enjoy your wee ones! Hope this helps