Thursday, February 19, 2009

Calling All Veteran Moms

This afternoon I'm taking my sister to Babies R Us to help her complete her baby registry. I think we are going to be quite the sight at the store. Two seemingly twin sisters (we often get mistaken for twins even though we're three year apart) with matching swollen bellies. We didn't plan to get pregnant at the same time but it sure is fun. She is due with her first baby just a month, give or take, after me.

So this registry trip has got me to thinking about when I had William and which baby items I absolutely could not live without and which ones ended up being a bit of a waste. I'm going to list my top three in each category. But because every baby is different and every parent has a different style, I'd love to hear your top three. I'll pass the advice along so we have some differing opinions.


1. Bassinet

Realistically a newborn will only use this for the first three months of his/her life. That's a lot of space and a lot of money for three short months. William slept in his crib from day one and slept in our bed during some of those rougher nights. If you find that you really do want the baby in your room but not in your bed you can always use a Pack 'n' Play which is a must-have registry item. The Pack 'n' Plays of today's world come with an attaching bassinet option.

2. Bathtub

These plastic tubs can cost as much as $40 and for me it just wasn't worth it. The water got cold really fast and my baby outgrew it even faster. I much preferred the cheaper foam bath seat. This doo dad can usually be found for $5 or less. I liked it because it kept my baby warmer in the tub. I liked to extend bath time for as long as possible because he was so relaxed in there. It also worked as an anti-slip mat up until he was about 8-months-old and could sit up by himself without getting a mouthful of water.

3. Safety Accessories

I realize that I'm probably not going to get a lot of agreers on this one but I'm going to list it anyway. William is more than two years old now and so far we've done without gates, covers and cabinet locks. Part of it is probably our lifestyle. We live in a small house and because I stay at home with him full-time, he's never more than an eye glance away.

I know that some will say I'm naive and that accidents can happen in a split-second but for our family it worked out better for us to personally teach William his limits rather than having him live in a padded cell, so to speak. That being said, I may eat my own words down the road if I give birth to a child who is a bit more strong-willed than William has been.

Loved It!

1. Bouncy Seat

Can't we all agree on this one?! William lived in his bouncy seat until, well, until this started happening. It was the perfect device to keep him close to me while I went about my daily activities. 'Nuff said.

2. Breast Pump

Some might say I was a bit rigid about breastfeeding but I don't care. William never had so much as a sniffle until he was 9-months-old. And I credit a lot of that to breastfeeding. He only ever tasted formula once on a frustrating evening when he was crying inconsolably and I thought it was because I wasn't producing enough milk. That turned out not to be true. It was probably just a belly ache. Lesson learned.

After that wearisome night of crying I realized how easy it is for moms to give up on breastfeeding all together. Enter a quality breast pump. (And I do mean quality. Don't try to save a few bucks on this one. It will be worth it in the end.) Once William started to eat solids I noticed that my milk supply started to diminish. So I started to pump for about 10 minutes each evening before I went to bed. This kept my milk flowing and it also gave us a good stash of frozen breastmilk to use on date nights away, to mix in with his cereal and as a peace-of-mind backup on those occasions when I felt he wanted more to eat than I was providing. Even though a quality breast pump can cost almost $300 just think how much it saved on the cost of formula!

3. SwaddleDesigns Ultimate Receiving Blanket

In my humble opinion this is the best receiving blanket on the market. Babies love to be swaddled but I found that most of the receiving blankets I had were much too small to create the perfect swaddle after my baby was older than three months. The SwaddleDesigns blanket is 42" x 42"; huge in comparison to most blankets. For me it also doubled as a nursing cover if I were ever feeding in public. I also loved that this blanket washed up nice and still kept its soft and snuggly feel. So far I've only been able to find this blanket at Nordstrom's but if you know of other retailers that sell this brand, do tell!

Okay now it's your turn. You don't have to go into as much detail as I did. Just a quick list of your top threes!


  1. Yes

    1. Sleep Sack - didn't have this before (so obviously I have lived without it), but Mark and Maria gave John one. I love it. I don't use it for sleeping just for around the house when he needs a blanket and I don't want to always have to adjust it. You can get them with or without a swaddling feature. If you get the one with the swaddler, it can come off so if the baby doesn't like it there's no problem. The only problem with these is that there is no longevity.

    2. Crib Sized Waterproof Pad - I always have at least two sheets (usually three) on the crib with waterproof pads inbetween. This way I don't have to change the bedding in the middle of the night if there is a problem. I simply whip off the top layer and everyone is ready to go back to sleep.

    3. The little clip things for pacifiers.


    1. I agree completely on the safety stuff. Most of it is lame. Why not try to teach the kids to stay out of the cupboards, away from the outlets, not to touch the stove, leave the fridge alone...
    I toured a house one time that had locks on everything, EVERYTHING. The stove, drawers, refridgerator, cupboards, doors, door knobs, outlets, and the list goes on. How do you live like that?

    That's all I can think of.

  2. Thumbs down:

    1. Sorry, I have to disagree with you! My $300 breast pump unnecessarily recommended to me by a lactation consultant. He really only had a small problem with his latch, I used it ONCE to relieve engorgement with my son, and ONCE to relieve engorgement with my daughter. Not worth it, but maybe future babies will benefit somehow? By the way my son nursed until 21 months, still exclusively nursing my daughter at 7.5 months.

    2. Bottles, bottle sterilizer (see #1!)

    I only have two not useful things, I did TONS of research before I registered, also worked as a nanny for two families with babies so I knew what was good and what was not for the most party already.

    Thumbs up:

    1. Miracle Blanket (used for first four months for both kids)
    2. Safer Bather (instead of a baby tub until babies could sit up)
    3. Mini Cosleeper by Arm's Reach (used for first 6 months for both kiddos while hubby wasn't comfortable with a tiny one in bed with us)

  3. #1 - High quality sound machine! (Brookstone and BRU brands are too quiet, Marsona is a good brand)
    #1 - Kiddopatamus velco SwaddleMe Blanket
    #3 - Clorox wipes and antibacterial gel to set by the changing table :)

    Not so much: jumperoo and other large space hogs. I like having 2 bouncies - one for the master bathroom and one for the living room. When they start to crawl, you can put all that large bulky stuff away (which I'm loving now!) :)


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