Monday, August 1, 2011

Mommy Must-Haves

There are a few things that everyone knows you need to get when you're expecting. A car seat, for example, because hospitals will not let you take your baby home without one (and even if you get around that rule by delivering at home, let's face it--you're probably going to get in a car sometime within the next two years). Diapers--disposable orcloth, it doesn't matter, you will need diapers. I suppose youcould get by without a stroller or bottles if you were really, really dedicated to babywearing and breastfeeding.

I'd like to share a few things that I'd be helpless without, but are not really considered "necessities". In my opinion, every expecting parents should run out and buy these things, because they are just that useful.

The first item I'd like to share is the Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony Cradling Bouncer, pictured above in the "biscotti" color. It's like a little baby-size papasan chair that vibrates and plays music. (Although to be honest, the music is kind of annoying at first.) We originally weren't going to register for a bouncer (the nice ones, like this one, are a bit pricey at $50-60) but I'm glad we did... we actually did get ours as a gift from my husband's older sister. I picked this one because it is a little more plush than the cheaper ones out there, and it comes with a toy bar and a special insert for little babies that supports the head, neck and back. It takes two "C" batteries and the battery life is pretty good--in three months, we've only had to change them once, and the bouncer has gotten near-constant use.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, for a little over a month, this bouncer was the only thing that let my husband and I get any sleep at night. For that reason alone, it's worth the money.

Next on the list: Aden + Anais Swaddleplus Wraps. You can buy these in a four-pack for about $35, and they come in several different colors and patterns.

Now, $35 for four blankets may seem a little extreme. I understand that. But--trust me when I say this--these are the most useful blankets in the entire world. I keep meaning to buy more of them.

These 100% lightweight cotton blankets are slightly stretchy and great for
swaddling (although it will take several attempts before you're any good at it). They are also great for pretty much every other use out there. I use them to wipe drool and formula off of Paxton's chin and I fold them in half to sling over my shoulder when I burp him--since they cover more area than a burp cloth or a receiving blanket, I almost never end up wearing formula. I sling one over the carseat or stroller for shade when we go outside (they are surprisingly large when unfolded) and fold one up to tuck around Pax's legs in his carseat to keep the sun off of him--the blanket is so lightweight that I'm not worried about him overheating. Don't just take my word for it--every mom in my Tuesday-morning mom group has some of these awesome blankets.

I'd like to talk about two very similar toys next.

The first item I'd like to mention is a series of links. Several different companies make these (the ones pictured are by Infantino, but I also know that similar ones are manufactured by Bright Starts and that there are probably even more out there.) They easily attach to the handle of a car seat and can be used by themselves or to attach other toys to a carseat.

Paxton doesn't really care for them hanging off of the carseat handle, but he loves to grip them and try to put them in his mouth when they're all linked up and jumbled together. The links are the perfect size for tiny hands to hold. They help build fine motor skills by giving him a lot of different textures to grip--some of the links are smooth, some are squiggly and others have ridges--and they are brightly colored so he has something to look at and examine.

The other toy is one that is a real no-brainer: First Keys by The First Years. I picked these up at the grocery store (of all places) for two bucks and they were worth the money. Pax loves to pick them up, shake them around and put them in his mouth--and it's way better than having him drool all over my (very real, very metal, and--in the case of my VW keyfob--very expensive) keys.

These keys come with a little red ring (not pictured) for easy attachment to a carseat handle or the strap of a diaper bag.

You can buy all of this lovely stuff at Babies "R" Us (which, for the record, I still loathe). The bouncer retails there for $54.99. I got the Infantino "Ring-a-links" on sale for $2.99, normal retail price at BRU is $3.99. The Aden + Anais blankets are sold at both BRU and Target for $34.99. First Keys by The First Years retail for $1.99.

Now, go, new moms! Buy this stuff!*

*No, I didn't get paid to endorse all this stuff. I really just love it all that much!

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