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As a first-time mom-to-be, I remember walking into the closest big-box baby store to scope it out and get an idea of what to register for. That lasted all of 5 minutes. I was so overwhelmed, I’m sure I set a record for the fastest loop around the store and then I was out of there! There was So. Much. Stuff! Do I really need that? Can I live without it? What is that even for?
When registry time came around, I had a mom friend join us so she could give us some insight on things we needed and things we did not. But guess what? We still ended up with way more stuff than we actually needed.
Now, with Charlie, I have a much better idea of what we need and what we can live without. After all, this ain’t my first rodeo. So here’s my list of the top 5 items that we loved the first-go-round, that are making an appearance again:
Seriously, ya’ll. Swaddles have been a godsend for us with both girls. You see, babies are born with something called the “startle reflex.” This is when your baby can’t control their own movement very well and their hands/arms will shoot up while they’re sleeping and startle them awake. Swaddling baby prevents this. It keeps their arms secure so they’re not smacking themselves in the face while they sleep. That may sound uncomfortable, but baby just got evicted from some super close quarters, so that snugness is something they’re used to (and can be comforting).
I know they sell swaddle blankets for this purpose, but it never seemed to matter how tight we wrapped our little burrito, she always managed to bust out and wave her arms in the arm like she just didn’t care. So hubby and I invested in some swaddle sacks and loved them.
Hubby’s favorite is the SwaddleMe Original Swaddle. They have velcro closures and are made of lightweight, knit material, great for the heat of our desert. They also have a slit in the bum area that is super helpful for swaddling while baby is strapped into a bouncer/swing/etc. They’re machine washable and come in so many great prints. We love these!
A new discovery for me this time around was the Anna & Eve Swaddle Strap and I’m obsessed with it! The strap goes just around the chest area, so I don’t have to worry about if baby is too overdressed and will get too hot, like when they’re in a full-body sack. And I can change her diaper without unswaddling (which helps keep her sleepy during those middle of the night feedings). The other thing I love is the ease of use. There’s an inner strap that goes around baby’s chest (to keep the strap in place). Then the outer strap secures baby’s arms, one at a time. I super love this feature because with traditional swaddle sacks, you’re trying to hold down one arm, while holding tension on the swaddle, so you can pull tightly from the other direction to secure the other arm. It can feel like you need an extra set of hands to do it right and can lead to a too loose swaddle. This takes care of all of that. You swaddle the right arm, secure it down with a velcro closure, then swaddle and secure the left. They’re a bit pricy, but since they don’t really get pooped or peed on (since it’s just a chest strap) and it doesn’t get stretched out like a knit sack, I rarely need to wash it. So I only have 2. One size small and one size large. And that’s all I really feel like I need.
Did you know that it’s really loud inside your uterus? Like vacuum cleaner loud. So it can be disconcerting for a lot of babies to come on out into the world and then be expected to sleep in silence. A sound machine is a perfect remedy for this. We have this one from Homedics. I like it because it plugs in (no blowing through batteries), has a variety of sound choices (you’re going to want static/rain/ocean; white noise, not music or a lullaby), and has multiple timing options, including not using the timer at all. I highly recommending finding a sound machine without a timer (or one that you can choose not to use). A sound machine is not only useful for helping baby go to sleep, but keeping baby asleep too. If a baby wakes up in the middle of the night and hears that sweet, sweet white noise, they have a better chance of being able to put themselves back to sleep instead of waking Mommy and Daddy for help. I say “Yes, please!” to more sleep!
Hubby and I also this smaller Homedics machine for traveling. Helping baby sleep on-the-go is always a plus in my book!
So many people (my parents included) balk at the idea of the NoseFrida because they think it’s gross, but I swear that this thing is a lifesaver! It does have replaceable filters to keep anything from coming up to tube, so there’s no actual Yuck Factor. And because you’re using your own lung power as suction, it’s stronger than a bulb syringe and better at clearing out gunky noses. Plus, you can take it apart for easy cleaning, so you don’t have to worry about what’s growing inside of it. We’re still using this for my toddler, since she hasn’t quite got the hang of blowing her nose yet, so it’ll be in use in your house for a long time.
Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs
I have so much love for the Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs! We have like 8 of them. They’re contoured, so they’re a better fit for your shoulder and baby’s neck. They’re super absorbent, machine washable, and come in a ton of adorable prints! Plus, like the name says, they can be used as a bib. The have little snaps that snap behind baby’s neck to keep it in place. With all the fluids that come from baby’s mouth (milk/formula, spit-up, drool, oh the drool!), you can never have enough of these.
Muslin Swaddle Blankets
While traditional swaddle blankets aren’t my favorite for actually swaddling, they have a million other uses that still make them a worthy investment. I’ve used our Aden & Anais Muslin swaddle blankets as light blankets, ground cover for laying baby on the floor, a car seat cover, a pumping/nursing cover, I’ve even used them to protect her little legs from getting beat up when she kicks the tray on her swing. Totally multi-functional and available in tons of colors/patterns.
Well, there you have it. My list of my top 5 baby must-haves. I hope it’s helpful for all you moms/dads-to-be. And for you veterans of the baby world, what do you think? Did I miss anything? What were your absolute must-haves for baby? I’d love to hear from you!
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