aden & anais swaddle blankets / Halo sleepsack swaddle / MamaRoo / My Brest Friend nursing pillow / reusable nursing pads / Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter / WubbaNub / Dohm sound machine / Lansinoh 3-in-1 Breast Therapy / Medela manual breast pump / Britax car mirror / Boppy pillow / Ubbi diaper pail / Baby Comfy Nail Safety Clipper / Solly wrap / sleep gowns / MyMedela app / Gerber cloth diapers / Toms of Maine baby soap and lotion / Delta Avery Glider
I have been meaning to write this post for the last month. I have started it at least three times. Stella is sleeping on me at long last, so it looks like now is my chance to finish what I started. I’m sure you’ve read your fair share of ‘must-haves’ lists for surviving the first few months. I know I did! Here I’ve compiled the items that truly came in handy the first two months of Stella’s life. This stuff saved my sanity. I did not include all of the necessities, such as diapers, wipes, clothing, bassinet, etc. I don’t have favorites where these items are concerned (we’ve used a combination of Pampers, Huggies, and Seventh Generation & Stella sleeps in the newborn nook of a Chicco pack-n-play in our room).
Ahh, sleep. Precious sleep. I have found that when she is swaddled, Stella sleeps a LOT better. When she was too small for the Halo swaddles, I used aden & anais swaddle blankets. I definitely favor these over other brands. They’re so soft and just the perfect size. Now that she’s over ten pounds, we’ve switched to the Halo swaddle. It’s just quicker and easier for the late night diaper changes. The zipper closes from top to bottom, so I can leave her upper body swaddled while I change her. The white noise from our Dohm sound machine also helps to mask any little sounds Kyle and I may make while getting into bed at night or up in the morning. The sleep gowns were a godsend in the early days when we were constantly changing diapers. Some days, she wore one all day. No snaps or buttons to deal with – just slip it up and you’re good to go! The MamaRoo, though pricey, has also saved us on more than one occasion. The motions are more similar to what we do when we hold her – gentle bopping back and forth – as opposed to side-to-side swinging. For the first month of her life, Stella took the majority of her daytime naps in there. Now we’re working on putting her upstairs to nap. Pray for us.
Breastfeeding was quite a challenge for us at first. My first piece of advice is to schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant ASAP. If you’re in Twentynine Palms, Kelli Zackery with Babymoon Lactation Consulting is AMAZING. I expressed concern with Stella’s latch and Kelli squeezed me in the very next day. In addition to expert advice, I found a few items that helped me and Stella establish a solid nursing relationship. When they say the first two weeks are the hardest, they are not kidding. Without this stuff, I think I would have quit. While I was still learning and getting comfortable with breastfeeding, I liked the firm support of the My Brest Friend pillow better than the more traditional Boppy (now I use the Boppy because it’s easier to grab and toss under Stella). After my milk came in, I was engorged for a week or so. My breasts were too full for Stella to even latch on properly. In order to aid milk letdown, I used the Lansinoh Breast Therapy pads as warm compresses for fifteen minutes before a feeding. On days when I was really sore, I used them after feedings as ice packs, too. They helped bring some comfort to those early days. I quickly learned that I do not like lanolin-based nipple creams. They’re too thick and sticky for me. I much preferred the nipple butter made by Earth Mama Angel Baby. So much smoother! I also did not care for reusable nursing pads. They seemed to stick to my raw nipples, which was the last thing I wanted. I like the reusable kind much better (don’t necessarily have a brand preference here). I do so much laundry these days, that there’s really no extra work involved washing them. When it comes to pumping, I have found that I like my manual pump better than my double electric pump. It’s just easier to setup and clean up. I don’t pump often, but when I do it’s with my manual pump.
Four things I thought were a waste of money before Stella’s arrival – a special mirror to see your baby in the car, these funky nail clippers my mom bought me, WubbaNubs, and expensive diaper pails. Oh, how wrong I was. It’s so comforting being able to see Stella when I’m stopped at a red light. She’s usually pretty calm and quiet in the car, but I still like to check on her. These nail clippers (sold at Babies ‘R’ Us) make it pretty much impossible to accidentally cut baby’s finger when trimming their nails. After trying to cut the nails on a hand permanently clenched in a fist and flailing nonstop, you understand why these are nice to have. The WubbaNub has proven to be the only pacifier Stella can keep in her mouth for more than ten minutes. It was worth it for the day she got her shots alone. She cried for less than five minutes before she was able to self-soothe with her WubbaNub. It made the whole experience just a little easier and less heartbreaking. Our Ubbi diaper pail has kept our house from stinking like the hundreds of diapers we’ve changed. It was pricier than a diaper genie – BUT you don’t have to buy special refills for it. Any old trash bag will do! I used a diaper genie when I was a nanny, and I do NOT miss changing those bags. I also do not miss having to push dirty diapers through the opening. With the Ubbi, you just drop it right in. Each of these has proven to be worth the money.
The Solly wrap has been a lifesaver on MANY occasions. Stella will sleep for up to three hours in it. I have both hands free to do whatever needs to get done. Some days it’s the only way I accomplish anything. Plus, who doesn’t love having their sweet little baby snuggled close?! Highly recommend buying one. Extra perk – no need to buy any extra infant inserts.
I also recommend investing in a comfy rocker or glider for all the late nights. The Delta Avery Glider is one of the more affordable gliders we looked at. It’s small, too, which works well in Stella’s tiny nursery. The back is high enough for Kyle to rest his head, which is a plus. It glides smoothly and without making a single sound. If you live nearby, you’re welcome to come try ours out anytime!
Before having Stella, I read about how bad traditional, popular baby products are. Totally full of awful chemicals. Why on earth would I want to soak and slather my tiny newborn in that?! So I did some research and settled on Toms of Maine baby soap and lotion. Stella hasn’t had any reactions to either and the scent is very mild. Kyle and I both have sensitive skin, so I am fairly cautious with what I will use on our daughter. I haven’t tried any other brands just yet. I will update if and when I do. I’m interested in trying Tubby Todd – I would love to hear what you thought if you’ve tried their products!
Two last things that have come in handy – the MyMedela app and Gerber cloth diapers. The app is free and allows you to track when your baby eats, sleeps, poops, pees, gains weight, grows longer, and more. Without it there is no way I would honestly be able to tell the doctor how many wet diapers and how many stools Stella has in a 24 hour period. I use the cloth diapers as burp cloths – just like my mom used to do. They’re cheap and absorbent. I don’t see the point in buying cute, patterned burp cloths for my child to puke on.
I hope this list can help you put together the perfect baby registry. If you have any questions about what other gear, gadgets, or products we use, don’t hesitate to reach out!