I've been thinking of helpful things to tell some of my friends who are expecting lately and I decided to post them in a blog in case it helps anyone else out there. I was VERY thankful when my friend Johnna would send me emails about what she had learned along the way with her almost two-year-old (and many of these things may be from her, my friend Jessica or other friends who thankfully lent us lots of baby items or advice!).
Some of my most favorite must-have baby items & advice:
Baby Jogger City Mini - My #1 favorite item! I stressed about the stroller for a long time. This was my original choice after reading tons of reviews and websites. I wanted something light weight and easy to fold (you HAVE to watch the thing fold!) that turned and could be pushed with one hand easily. City mini does all those things. I went back to Buy Buy Baby at least 10 times and played with all their strollers just to be sure. The one aspect I didn't love about the City Mini was the storage basket underneath, its not huge. I was worried about it. After stressing over getting a larger stroller or one that doesn't fold as easy, I ended up going with the City Mini and am so glad I did. We of course got the infant car seat adapter, which works perfectly with our Peg Perego and a few other add-ons like a drink holder, a mommy-hook and the cooler (you know for all those picnics I go on).
- Dr. Brown's (or probably any kind) Microwave Sterilizer - this is so easy to throw everything in and stick it in the microwave. I don't know about you, but I don't run my dishwasher everyday and the thought of hand-washing pump, bottle, pacifiers, etc everyday makes me want to step on a nail. I just rinse things as we use them and when I have enough to fill up the basket throw them in. Its done in 6 minutes! (Which is just enough time for me to not forget that I need to get them out and pack things up for the next day, will come in handy when getting ready for work in the morning... if I had to get them out of the dishwasher I'd never remember all my items!)
Two tiered drying racks - definitely cleared up some counter space!
Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs (and pretty much everything they make)- these things are so fabulous, they actually snap so you can use them as a bib, but are big and super absorbent for burp cloths too!
- Mabel's Labels - LOVE these. My friend Jessica had these on the Dr. Brown's bottles she gave us and I ordered my own set for Noah. They are dishwasher AND microwave safe! We just received ours today and I'm very happy with them and the peace of mind that Noah won't be given any other baby's bottles at the sitters :). (Shipping takes a little while, so don't expect them to be in quickly.) I would love other items they have to see how they hold up too - like their clothing labels!
- Cooshee Diaper Changer - Again, thank you Jessica! No more changing sheets! And if you have changed a boy's diaper once or twice, you know their tendency to hose you down. I can't imagine changing a sheet at 3 am... no fun. When we have an accident I just wipe it down with a clorox wipe. Easy peasy. :)
- Baby Elephant Ears - these are great for all those things that baby doesn't quite fit in yet.
- Get a no-touch thermometer BEFORE the baby arrives. Lots of people may want to know his temp those first few days/weeks and its hard to get a wiggly baby's temp in his armpit and I'm not tough enough to stick it anywhere else. (That is the one we have and our doctor uses.)
- Breastfeeding - if pumping hurts, get a different size flange! I am still struggling with this a bit, but just ordered Pumpin' Pals Comfort Pack, so we'll see if these help. I've tried to research a good bit of how things are supposed to fit, but amazingly there aren't many pictures of what things are supposed to look like while pumping (don't worry I won't be doing that sort of review!)
- I have the Medela Pump & Style Advanced that my sister-in-law lent me, it works great. I don't have anything to compare it to, but it does the job and is very easy to cart around. It comes in the little black bag with plenty of room to toss in all your items, including a little cooler it comes with.
- Medela Hands-Free Pumping Bustier - I knew I wanted this straight from the hospital, one time of holding those things while trying to turn the machine on, off or to a different setting and I was done, I don't know how people pump without it!
- How to label breast milk in the fridge? Painter's tape and a sharpie! The tape doesn't leave behind any residue and stays on very well in the fridge. For the freezer I love the Lanisoh storage bags. Easy to label and zip up.
- Johnna told me a very helpful tip - if you are buying a convertible crib, go ahead and buy the converter kit. She found out that her crib was discontinued and couldn't find the kit when it was time to actually convert it.
- Something I wish I had gotten earlier - The Woombie - Noah hates to be swaddled, but didn't mind it when he was tiny. I think had we had this several weeks ago we could have transitioned to this from being swaddled, but still given him some room to wiggle. Currently he doesn't sleep well in his crib because he wakes himself up by smacking himself in the head or knocking his paci out, but he gets VERY angry if he's swaddled. We are using a swing that has a tilt to it because it keeps him snug but he can still move his hands/arms freely. (I think he really wants to be a stomach sleeper because anytime we do 'tummy time' he tucks his arms in and falls asleep! ha!) Another option - Peke Moe. (The Woombie didn't work for us because he still was very mad he couldn't flail his arms around :)
- Join Shutterfly if you haven't already. They have GREAT promotions. I just received a free photobook in the mail from them and got our birth announcements for a very good price and the quality was great! (Also, most of the baby marketing I've received in the mail has had promotion codes on them to use at Shutterfly, $20 off here, 15 free cards here... they all add up! That reminds me, sign up for all the free baby stuff you are offered including all the formula wesbites, they will send LOTS of coupons!)
Another good one - Pampers Gifts to Grow codes - you are using all those diapers and wipes, why not make them worth something?
Okay... is that enough information for one post? What is your can't-live-without baby item or advice? We'd all love to hear!