Tuesday, August 7, 2012

baby stuff we love

This is not a must have list, it is not even a list of necessary items, these are just things that we have found to be really handy.  It's hard to buy stuff for your first baby because you have no idea what you will actually use (other than the obvious things like clothes, diapers, car seat, stroller etc.) and there's just way too much out there.  Every family will love different things and will have different needs, this is our list, and it just so happens that it came out to being 10 items.  Our top 10:

We have used these blankets more than any others, they are so versatile.  They were great for swaddling in the early days, burp cloths, to cover up while breast feeding, wiping up messes and much more.  They are huge and a really good weight.  We got a lot of other receiving blankets that we didn't use at all because these have just been so handy.  We have 5 of them so there is always at least one clean one around when we need it. 

I can't tell you how dubious I was about going the cloth diaper route, I couldn't imagine it would be easy or convenient, but actually it is amazing and I'm so glad we went for it.  We have 15 of the Bum Genius 4.0 one size diapers and we LOVE them, all three of us.  A lot of research went into this decision and it's all too much to put in this post but we definitely made the right choice with these dipes.  We still use disposables, especially when out for the day or when travelling, or when we are just lazy, we didn't want to be too crazy about it.  Maya has been wearing them since she was 6 weeks and they should fit her until she is potty trained  (around 2 years hopefully!), they should work for any subsequent babies, they wash so well and look as good as new after 7 months of use, they are so easy to clean and care for and so far she has not had a single blowout with them.  Wow right?  They have saved us a lot of money too, especially because we were given all of them as gifts, thank you very much!  They are not for everyone, but they are great for us.

We didn't get one of these until Maya was about 2 months old, so we lived without it for a while, but it has been really nice to have mainly so she can sit in the kitchen while we cook, in the bathroom while we shower (if necessary), in the laundry room while we fold clothes, outside while we hang out clothes and so on.  The one we have is just a basic bouncer with a rocking function and a music function which we never use because she doesn't seem to notice it.  It has been more useful than the bumbo we have because she can be strapped in and she couldn't sit up in the bumbo until she was around 4 months.  I imagined that she would fall asleep in this but she never has, it's just a good alternative to laying on the floor all day for those months before she could sit and it's nice to be able to strap her in when we need to now that she can roll across the room!

Of all the baby stuff we got I have to say these are among the top most wonderful things ever.  Maya was one of those babies who loved to be swaddled and wouldn't sleep unless she was--in fact we didn't stop swaddling her until 4 months.  These are great because they have velcro so baby is nice and secure and can't wiggle out in the middle of the night to wake herself up (which means you can rest easier and the terror of night time is reduced substantially).  I just think they're great, great great great.

Another excellent invention.  I don't actually know what I would do without these.  I have three in different colors and wear them all of the time.  These are great for me because I knew I wanted to breastfeed as long as possible, I still wanted to have a life and go do stuff without having to hide away while feeding Maya, and I didn't want to have to buy a lot of nursing tops.  In fact I own zero nursing tops.  This way I can wear almost all of my normal tops, even the ones that don't open in front, over the camis--I can get the ladies out if I need to lift my top up without my behemoth belly flapping out for all to see.  It never crossed my mind until after Maya was born that I would need clothes I could nurse in, these completely solve the problem.  I'll say it again, I don't know what I would do without these.

Say hello to my new best friend.  Due to our latitude here in England we are blessed with long long days for half the year, this is not something I would ever complain about.  It gets light at 4 am and dark after 10 pm.  Wonderful for outdoor bbq's, getting the most out of your day and encourages early waking so you can be productive.  Unfortunately it also encourages babies to wake early.  We have a really good set of black out curtains in Maya's room, they were excellent during the winter when it's dark from 4 pm to 8 am.  But they just don't cut it in the summer.  The Gro Anywhere black out blind is a lifesaver.  After weeks of waking up at 4 and growing more and more distressed I finally bought the Gro Blind.  Why did I wait so long you ask? Because I made a vow to not buy any unnecessary baby equipment.  This was totally worth breaking the vow for, and in fact now I would say that it has become a necessary item.  It is big, like 1.5 yards x 2 yards and adjustable so fits a wide range of windows, you can take it anwhere since it just attaches by suction cups and it has been so handy on some of our trips or overnight stays at the granparents', and the best part is that it makes the room PITCH BLACK.  I take that back, the best part is that Maya now sleeps until 7 which is the time that she and I have agreed that she should wake up, although she does sometimes go back on her word about this, naughty little thing.

Maya loves her play mat, she has loved it since she was just days old when she used to enjoy laying there looking at all of the colors and listening to the music it comes with, and she loves it now when she can yank the toys off, assault the whale and get her legs tangled in the crossbars as she thrashes about.  She just really enjoys it, worth every penny.

Okay, obviously there are cheaper more boring lunch box options out there, but why would you want one of those?  This one is just darn cute, and a really good size.  I can fit all of Maya's little lunch accessories into it when we are out for the day.  An insulated lunch box is handy to have, whether it's darn cute or not, and I do love Skip Hop stuff.  

Ever since we stopped swaddling Maya she has slept in one of these.  They're snuggly and come in different weights for warmer or cooler weather, and they ensure that Maya stays covered up all night since she can't wiggle out from these like she does a blanket.  

I have found these really handy since Maya has started eating solids.  They make it painless to take her food out and about since they are compact and you have everything you need right there.  I especially like that the spoon stays reasonably sterile as opposed to rolling around in the bottom of her lunch box. 

And now for a quick run down of things we didn't use so much:

-Boppy Pillow: This surprised me because they are so popular, but after about 6 weeks it seemed too bulky so I just use a regular pillow and chang the pillow case. 

-Receiving blankets: I said this previously but we just didn't use our super cute highly desireable receiving blankets very much.  Not for any particular reason other than the other types of blankets I listed above just suited our needs a bit better

-Short sleeve onesies: This is partly because of the terrible climate here, but Maya has worn long sleeve onesies almost every day and the short sleeved ones have been sadly neglected.  Also we received about 1 million of them and then bought some more becuase there are so many cute ones.  Maybe if we have another baby in a wamer place they will get used.

-Baby bathrobe:  We got two incredibly cute, tiny bathrobes for Maya. I have used them exactly twice... for photo shoots.  She just doesn't hang around in a bathrobe, for one thing it's dangerous to go long without a diaper on, and if I'm going to put a diaper on I may as well just clothe her.  It's never been convenient to go from clothes to bathrobe to bath to towel to bathrobe to clothes, that's too much changing.  By the time I'm givng Maya a bath (evening=getting close to the time I can finally sit down and drink a glass of wine) I'm not in the mood to faff around changing her a million times, it makes the whole process a lot less enjoyable for both of us.  Which is sad because she has two incredibly cute bathrobes. 

-Breast pump and bottles:  Maya, my sweet strong-willed little girl, has never drank from a bottle except for once when she probably was just distracted.  She just didn't like any substitutes (she also never wanted a pacifier which was more than fine with us!), only the real thing would do.  So I'm proud to say that I have personally fed her every single time except for twice recently because she has finally learned to drink from a sippy cup.  Go me, and my poor poor ladies.  Anyway, the bottles have just gathered dust as has the breast pump, but it was a hand me down so I don't feel too bad about it. I think if I have another baby I might try a little harder to make the bottle thing happen, but honestly, I haven't ever needed to bottle feed her, and I love to nurse and want to enjoy it as much as I can before she is done. 

And that's it.  Phew!

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