Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gear: the first 3 months

This list of gear is what we found most helpful during our first 3 months with Owen. If anyone out there is planning for a baby, maybe this post can be of service. I found registering to be really overwhelming. Now that we're half a year into parenthood, I realize that you really do not need half of the stuff. However, there are many things that are nice to have. The following is a list of items that I found nice to have. Some of it is actually a need, but most of these things are just what we've really enjoyed having.

For Sleeping:
Rock-n-play cradle:
This item (made by Fisher Price) is at the top of the list for a reason. We have really worn this sucker out and we're not even finished with it yet.

6 months old and relaxing on the screened in porch
Owen is now six months old and we still use this item. I love, love, love it. He slept in it for the first week that we were home from the hospital. At five weeks old we took it to my parents' house so that he could sleep in it again. When he had a cold and had trouble breathing flat on his back, it was the perfect solution. Now that he is older, he usually only spends time in it while I take a shower, if we decide to eat out on the deck, or if I need a quick place to put him while I cook, clean, etc. It has safety straps that we didn't use the first few months, but now that he is squirmy, they are a must. Because of its incline, he can watch what I'm doing comfortably. I can clip toys to the side of it for entertainment and the bonus is that it folds up pretty nicely. Also, it doesn't take up an insane amount of space, which I was really excited about.

Sound machine
We registered for this item and I'm glad we went with one that wasn't too complicated. It's a HoMedics SoundSpa Machine. They make fancy ones that have even more sounds but, I'll be honest, we've only ever really used the white noise. They also make some that project images onto the ceiling and that seemed really cool. We actually received one of those as a gift, but I decided against keeping it due to its size. I knew that this thing would be going with us on many trips during Owen's first year of life and I wanted it to be portable.

We started using a sound machine the night that we started Owen in his own room. I'm also very glad that we did. Because it's small, we've been able to pack it up and take it with us when we leave town. When we had a noisy next door neighbor in a hotel room last week, it came in handy. Also, because we've been using it for so long, it's almost like it helps signal to Owen that it's time for bed. I often notice that he puts his head on my shoulder, puts his two fingers in his mouth, and gets sleepy-eyed while watching me turn it on. It's like magic!

Swaddle Blankets
While you do want a few receiving blankets when you first come home from the hospital, I also found that Summer Infant SwaddleMe Blankets were the bomb. Because of the velcro, the are easy to use and I think they helped Owen sleep better. When Owen was wrapped in one the startle reflex was no longer an issue.
3 months old with a little hand poking through!

Sleeper gowns with elastic bottoms 
Who wants to deal with zippers or worse... snaps in the middle of the freakin night?! Not me. That's why these gowns are a must have for those first few weeks home when you will be doing multiple middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. A big thank you to the person who invented these. Hello, convenience.

Showing off his elastic...
For the breastfeeding mom:
At six months old, we are still using this item as well. It's not only great for breastfeeding, but now that he is sitting up, I can curve it around that little rear end for added support and safety. Can I nurse Owen without it? Yes. Do I want to? No. A word to the wise- buy one extra cover for when you get spit up, pee, or poop on the first one. I have two covers and have been so grateful for them both.

Breast Pump
I actually started off with a playtex double electric breastpump that I received from a friend. It had never been used and had been chilling out in her garage for well over a year. Free pump? Yes, thank you! Sadly, it began acting up after 3 months of sporatic use. I was back at work and needed something reliable and fast. A craigslist search and a few text messages later, I had my hands on the mother of all breastpumps- the Medela Pump in Style Advanced (metro bag version). Don't worry, I'm not sharing any parts that came in contact with breastmilk. I have my own.

Because I used a different brand first, I can attest to this pump's superior ability. I find it to be more comfortable, more efficient, and more simple. Do I like pumping? No. However, if you must pump, this is the way to do it.

Side note: if you are planning to return to work and continue breastfeeding, then I recommend you begin pumping the first week you are home from the hospital to help build up a freezer supply. 

Breastmilk freezer bags
Just get some. Any brand (if you're smart, whatever is cheapest). You will need them. 

These are wonderful for sore nipples. I would take a pack with you to the hospital and have a couple other packs waiting for when you get home. If I remember correctly, you can only use them for a few days before you need to throw them away and start fresh.

Nursing Bras and Tanks
You need to spend time finding these before you deliver. Otherwise you will be like me, completely exhausted but hurrying through Target because your one week old is home with your husband and is going to need to eat in less than an hour.

Get a couple of bras that have no underwire (usually marketed as sleep bras), a couple of tanks (a white and black one make for practical choices), and at least a couple more with extra support that you can wear under regular clothing. Some women forgo these altogether, but I struggle being comfortable breastfeeding without them.

Stretchy yoga pants
Every postpartum woman should have these in her hospital bag. I had actually planned out a cute little outfit for my discharge from the hospital but when they decided to send us out the door at 7pm, I wore my yoga pants, nursing tank, and robe home from the hospital. Oh, the best laid plans...

For Feeding:
We went with 6 Phillips Avent 9oz bottles. I chose to forgo 4oz bottles altogether for simplicity. I'm glad that I did. If you aren't planning to breastfeed then you may want a couple more, but I've found that having 6 forces us to keep them clean, which is a good thing.

First of all, there are way too many bottles to choose from on the market today. Did I choose the best ones out there? I have no clue. I mainly picked them because they seemed more simple than a lot of the others. I didn't want a ton of parts to clean. They have worked great. My advice is to just pick something and move on with your registry.

Owen quit taking his a few weeks ago, so don't go overboard here. I wish we didn't have so many now. Lactation consultants and hospitals desiring to become "baby friendly" will tell you otherwise, but I found pacifiers to be wonderful. Nipple confusion? I think not. Owen took my breast, a bottle, a pacifier, and a nipple shield all during his first week home. And guess what? At 6 months he is still breastfeeding.

6 days old
We loved the wubba nub. It helps the pacifier stay in. Get one.

3 months old
Also, did you know that putting your baby to sleep with a pacifier has been shown to reduce the likelihood of SIDS? Not a bad reason to use one.

For Travel:
Carseat with frame stroller
Okay, a carseat is a must. They won't let you leave the hospital without it. What I'm really talking about here is the frame stroller. Just make sure you purchase one that your carseat will fit into. Forget the bulky travel systems. The frame stroller is more simple and takes up less space. I found mine at a consignment sale for $30.

We had to use our frame stroller our first week home during a trip to Children's Hospital.
Diaper bag
Go ahead and splurge on one that you love. It's about to become your purse too. You might as well make it functional and cute. I splurged on mine and have enjoyed using it. I get compliments on it all the time.

For Hygiene:
Bath Sponge
For $10, this thing can't be beat. We are still using this too. We did receive a tub as a gift, but the sponge has been great. In the beginning, you can't put your baby in the tub so the sponge was perfect. Now we use it for quick "spit baths" as well as a soft place to lay on the counter following baths. The tub is used for such a short amount of time anyway that I think many times you can live without it. I realize that everyone has their own opinion, but that's my take.

For Playing:
Activity Mat
We started using this around 8 weeks and Owen has been enjoying it ever since. Ours is made by Skiphop. I like that the toys can be changed out and that they can be removed altogether. It's been fun to watch him go from aimlessly batting at things to thoughtfully reaching out to hold the items.

Things we have but didn't or don't really use: Nap nanny, newborn lounger, arm cushion for the carseat, mommy hooks, sound machine with projector, or dishwasher cage for bottle bits.
Things we didn't get and don't miss: Wipe warmer, bottle warmer, bottle sterilizer, bouncy/vibrating seat, bassinet, video monitor, changing table, crib mobile, sun shades for car window, bottle drying rack, baby mittens, or baby shoes.

1 comment:

  1. This post is great! The few times I've been into Buy Buy Baby (to buy gifts for others), I got very overwhelmed. There is a gadget and a million options for EVERYTHING! Thanks for breaking it down a little. I'll have to remember to refer back when the time comes :)