As the birth of baby H2 gets closer, I've been thinking about things that we loved using with Marshall, and things we might want to try differently. Baby gear is tricky. There are so many blogs and websites about baby "necessities." What one parent tells you they just can't live without, another will tell you they didn't care for at all. What might soothe one baby might drive another crazy.
The things we hands down used the most were baby carriers. We have a wide variety, but the 3 favorites were the
Having Mars in a carrier helped him nap longer, settle down easier, and allowed us to get a break from holding him but still keep him close and feeling secure. He could nap and feel like he was being held while I washed laundry or mopped! Serious.Lifesaver. We didn't use a stroller much and having him in a carrier was way more convenient in crowed places like farmer's market, the fair, or even just Target. Have you ever tried maneuvering a stroller through a crowd? Not fun. He would never nap in the car or a stroller, but would fall asleep in a carrier (and stay asleep). The moby was the best when he was super tiny, and after that I preferred the Maya Wrap and Jerad liked the Ergo. At almost 15 months we still use both carriers regularly. Definitely a worth while investment.
Our goal when we were preparing for baby #1 was to not get too much "stuff." We had a small place, and the look of most brightly colored baby gear drives me batty. For the first 4 months of Marshall's life, I feel like there were only 3 things that we really needed.
I had never planned on giving our babies pacifiers. Me and my siblings never had them, and for some reason my family is just kind of anti-pacifier so that had rubbed off on me. I don't know why. Anyways, when Marshall was about 3 minutes old he was already sucking on his hands and the midwife made a comment that he was going to be a "pacifier baby." After acting like a human pacifier every 45 minutes for the first 2 days of his life, I sent Jerad on an emergency Target run for Soothies and we all lived happily ever after!
These were lifesavers. I took the advice of a friend and registered for 2 so that if one was in the laundry, we'd have a spare. I was a little doubtful at first because $32 for a blanket (that isn't even cute) seemed pretty ridiculous. Then during the first week when it because apparent that Marshall could break out of EVERY OTHER swaddling blanket known to man.... we were more than grateful to have these. Marshall was a great sleeper, as long as he was swaddled tight tight tight and this was the only blanket that would do the trick. I think I'll pick up another 2 of these because it would be nice to have spares. We used the others so much that one started getting holes on the seams!
This is like a natural Mylicon. When Marshall was almost a week old he started screaming and arching his back because of gas pains no matter how much we burped him or bicycled his lets. Our pediatrician recommended it and it made an immediate difference.
I'm convinced that these three things not only got us through the newborn stage, but helped us have an "easy" baby.
Things we liked but could live without:
This was okay (not great) great as a nursing pillow, but it was nice to prop the baby up in.
Aiden and Anais Blankets:
These are cool mostly because they're so big which makes them really versatile. Plus they have adorable patterns! We couldn't use them as swaddling blankets thanks to our little Houdini, but they made good stroller covers, nursing covers, or a barrier between the baby and the floor.
Things everyone told us we'd have to have but we totally didn't:
Never needed one. We bought the Tummy Tub and used it maybe 3 times? First of all, infants don't really get dirty. We gave Marshall his first bath at one week old, and after that one of us would just take him in the bath tub with us and let him float around. By 5 weeks we could bathe him in the sink, by 2 months he would lay on his tummy in the bottom of the shower when I showered, and as soon as he could sit up we would just put him in the tub with a few inches of water in the bottom. I never wished we had an infant tub.
We considered buying a cosleeper since everyone loves theirs but decided to wait until after he was born to see if we thought we'd need it. Mostly since our room was so small. The night he was born he slept in our bed and that setup ended up being what worked the best for us. It was also great because when we traveled we didn't have to haul a bed for him and he fell asleep easily because sleeping between us made it feel like "home."
We had a bouncy/vibrating chair but Marshall never really cared for it. It was useful for setting him in when I went outside to hang up the laundry. I could angle it so that he was in the shade and if I just laid him on a blanket he would fuss about the sun being in his eyes, but I wouldn't really call it a necessity and could have easily lived without it. Most people I know SWEAR by their bouncy chair so I'm thinking the next baby might get better use out of it?
Infant car seat:
We had a few reasons for not wanting a portable infant seat. First, I am small and have a hard time carrying a baby in a carseat. They're big and bulky, heavy, and awkward. It was so much easier to just throw him in a carrier, have him close, and be hands free! Jerad has a huge pet peeve about people who put their babies in the carseat then leave them there for hours because its "more convenient" to keep them parked in the seat than take them in and out for each errand. I know 2 people who's kids have had to wear those head shape correcting helmets because they spent too much time resting on their heads. And I get it... put the baby in the seat to go to the store, put the seat in the cart while you shop, leave the baby there when you get home cause they're napping. All of a sudden its been 3 or 4 hours.
The ONLY time I ever felt like it would have been nice to have a portable seat was when he was an infant and we'd go out to eat (which was rare). We would just lay him on a blanket on the booth or take turns holding him and that worked fine. After a few months he could sit propped up, and in what seemed like no time he could sit in a Bumbo or high chair. I still think going straight to a convertible carseat was the best option for us and we'll be doing the same with the next baby. Actually I think having two kids so close in age it would be impossible to use a portable seat this time. Marshall won't be old enough to reliably walk by my side, and if I was holding him and the new baby in a carseat I don't know how I could manage to deal with both babies and a purse/diaper bag let alone have a free hand to do anything else! I can wear them both in carriers at the same time and still have my hands.
When we're at home I realize that we won't be able to hold H2 as much as we did Marshall (which was pretty much 24/7)... since we'll also have to be taking care of Marshall. So I was thinking of getting a baby hammock.
Plus that way we could keep the baby out of his reach. I tried buying a swing when Marshall was about a month old but he never really cared for it so I ended up returning it. I like that you can adjust it to an opened or closed position, and it holds up to 44 lbs so we could even swing Marshall in it.
After 3 or 4 months these are the toys we got the most use out of:
This is basically a white noise machine inside of an adorable sheep. It has a timer. We used it for every nap and sleep time and after awhile all I had to do was turn it on and Mars would start yawning. We took at away around 9 months because he learned how to take out the noise part and mess with it and was so exciting it was keeping him up instead of helping him rest:) Now he has my old ipod.
Man, Marshall loved this thing! The shape is super easy for babies to hold and practice transferring from one hand to the other. The texture is good for biting and there is a small rattle inside so shaking it makes a nice little sound.
We got this at 4 months and I wish it had been sooner. Marshall LOVED it. Batting at the toys, shaking the bars... lots of entertainment. I wanted to make something similar because everything in the store had lights and sounds and animals and was an eyesore. I ended up getting this one on Amazon and was happy enough with the design.
There is one ridiculous pregnancy thing I want to buy for ME this time around:
A pregnancy body pillow. I know. Last time I saw these and scoffed. Then by the end I was trying to wedge 4-5 pillows around and under myself and really wishing I had one. So I'll be splurging this time for sure. Plus it looks like they take up a lot of room which means we'll actually get around to upgrading to a King sized bed and that will come in handy. Its going to be hard to fit 2 adults, an 18lb cat, a newborn, and occasionally a toddler all in a Queen sized bed!