I’ve been a parent for a whole 7 WEEKS now and obviously, I’m now an expert. BAHAHAHHAH. Oh, god. So far from it. I’ve done (and am still doing) SO much research on babies, childcare, parenting, sleep training, breastfeeding — it’s ridiculous. Before Lou was born, we did our research and bought what we considered the best gear. We’ll totally use this all the time! Funny how babies don’t care that something has over 1000 4-star reviews on Amazon.
But in these first 7 weeks, there have been some things that we do use all the time that I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again. In fact, for a couple of these things, I actually have gone and bought a 2nd (and 3rd) set.
1. Woombie // Lou has a strong startle reflex and will wake herself up with her flailing as-if-independent-from-her-body arms. She loves being swaddled, but no matter how tightly we swaddled her with regular swaddle blankets, she could always break out of them. Enter the Woombie. It zips up, so you don’t have to deal with folding blankets (although we did end up swaddling her loosely with a blanket over the Woombie for more warmth). It also zips from the bottom, which is nice for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
2. OXO Wipes Dispenser // You quickly learn that a lot of the steps to changing a diaper require that you do them with only one hand because your other hand is needed to hold your baby’s legs out of her own poop. The dispenser has a push top opening, keeps wipes moist, and lets you pull out single wipes at a time. It’s a simple concept, but when you’re changing 10+ diapers a day, the convenience is exponentially appreciated.
3. Spasilk Wrap Onesie // Most babies hate wearing clothes and love being naked. Lou was the complete opposite. She HATED being naked. This turned every diaper or clothing change into a mini meltdown for the first month or so. Those extra few seconds spent trying to pull a tiny neck hole over her giant 65-percentile head was not an option. These onesies were great because there were just 3 snap buttons down the front, so you could put it on like a jacket. I also really liked how the bottom snaps snapped across the belly instead of the crotch, which also made things a lot easier. This is what Lou wears every night to bed underneath her swaddle.
4. Art for Baby // We use this book during tummy time and Lou loves it. Babies love high-contrast black and white images and this book features art by contemporary artists, so it’s at least interesting for adults to look at too. Lou’s favorite is the Murakami flower. She stares at it for minutes (an eternity in baby-time!).
5. Zutano Booties // Babies are always missing one sock. These booties actually stay on. AND look good. They’re great as “shoes” for newborns when leaving the house. They look like little hightop moonboots. So cute.
6. Freemie Collection Cups // Pumping breastmilk is the worst. I never really knew what pumping entailed because I never really thought about it. Pumping breastmilk? It just comes out into a container, right? OMG NO. There are SO many steps and parts involved. You’re attached to a machine for 20 minutes with huge pieces of plastic attached to your boobs milking you like a cow. These 20 minutes aren’t including setup beforehand or cleanup afterwards. Then you have to deal with measuring and storing what you pumped into sterilized containers for freezing later. And the amount you pump for all that work is SO LITTLE! Sometimes as little as 1 ounce! And you do this MULTIPLE times a day. Pumping is THE WORST. These Freemie collection cups make pumping a LITTLE less annoying because you can stick them inside your shirt (and then connect them to your existing pump with your existing tubing). The traditional “horns” that come with most breast pumps are a lot bigger and require you take off your bra and use a hands-free bra if you don’t want to hold them up to your boobs. The Freemie cups are a lot more discrete. I could write a whole blog entry about pumping and using traditional flanges vs. Freemie cups….but I won’t….because most people don’t care….and I’m boring myself just thinking about it.
7. Circo Sleep-N-Play // Lou has quite the collection of stylish clothing hanging in her closet. She’s worn maybe 10% of them. However, she basically lives in these Circo Sleep-N-Play suits. As I mentioned, she hates taking off her clothes, so anything with too many buttons or multiple pieces is like an invitation for screaming. These are one piece and the Circo brand in particular features an inverted zipper that unzips from the bottom, which has proven to be PRICELESS for middle-of-the-night diaper changes because it allows the top portion of her clothes to remain closed. Also, they’re like less than $5 each at Target.
8. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets // I never realized how many items you need to cover your baby with. We have SO many different blankets of varying thickness for Lou and we use all of them! We use these muslin swaddle blankets every day for swaddling, for laying on top of the couch, for laying on top of her various seating apparatuses, for covering her in her stroller, for blocking rain and wind when we’re outside — so many uses! They’re lightweight, but are big enough that you can fold for extra thickness. I like this jeweled-colored set in particular for the pop of color amongst the mostly black/white/grey furniture and clothes I buy for her.
9. Ergo 360 // Baby-wearing has been a game-changer for us. Turns out, babies don’t always like to hang out by themselves. Play in your crib for 10 minutes while mama clears the dishwasher? Sit in your bouncy chair for 15 minutes while mama does a load of laundry? 2 minutes while mama goes to the bathroom?? NOPE NOT GONNA DO IT. Wearing your baby enables you to go about your day (somewhat) with the use of both arms, whereas before, you were confined to the couch or walking laps around your living room, baby in tow. I’ve tried wrap carriers like the K’Tan, Moby, and Boba, but ended up liking the Ergo the best. While the softer wrap carriers did feel more natural/comfortable, I preferred the structured feel of the Ergo better, at least for my purposes of getting stuff done around the house. In fact, Lou is sitting in the Ergo right now as I’m typing up this blog draft. With the wraps, while they were more comfortable for just hanging out or sitting on the couch, it was harder to do chores because after a while, they felt loose and more saggy feeling. I do still own both types, but I find myself reaching for the Ergo more. An added bonus is that Lou falls asleep in the carrier within 10 minutes, guaranteed. It’s my go-to way of sneaking in a nap!
So these are my 9 picks for theses first 7 weeks of baby’s life. Will be interesting to see what our little dictator chooses as her next 9 items of choice in the coming weeks.