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Apr 7 / Erin

New Mom Must Haves – Round 2

Oh how life has changed since I offered up my first round of new mom must haves.  Looking back, I can’t believe I was even with it enough to write a post two weeks in.  I’m pretty sure I was delirious.  Now I am actually getting some sleep, getting dressed in real clothes and getting some serious personality from our little guy.  Three months make a big, big difference.  So, here are some items that helped us make it through the first three months (keeping in mind this is just what works for us and who knows what might work for your current or future baby).

Sleeping

We  figured out a few sleeping things that worked well for our little guy in his first three months and eventually got him to have consistent long stretches at night.  At the top of the list is our microfleece swaddle.  This was one of the first baby gifts we received and it has been incredible.  Once Ike got too strong for his Aden + Anais blankets (he started breaking loose around 8 weeks), we promptly switched over to this Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe blanket, which velcros and creates the perfect little baby straight jacket cozy sleeping cocoon.  We wrapped the kid up whenever sleep was in order, whether it was nap time or night time.

That is not my baby, just in case you weren't sure...

 

Just this week I let him sleep unswaddled in a fleece sleep sack for the first time.  He had started waking up in the middle of the night and just looked uncomfortable.  Now that his startle reflex (moro reflex, to be technical) is gone, he doesn’t wake himself up with his arms and the swaddle isn’t as necessary.  So, it looks like we might say goodbye to the swaddle, assuming things continue to go well!

After several strategies, we finally got our little guy settled into his crib.  We propped the crib up on some books so that the bed is at an angle and we put some rolled up towels under the fitted sheet to help him feel secure.  The addition of this little turtle night light completed the look.  It doesn’t get hot and it is re-chargable, so it can live in the crib all night long and then get charged up during the day.

And our biggest sleep must-have right now is our AngelCare monitor.  I know some people have strong opinions about these motion sensor monitors, and not all are favorable, but it works for us.  If you’re not already familiar with this product, it is a baby monitor that can function as a plain sound monitor, or as a motion sensor and sound monitor.  A small pad that goes under the mattress can detect motion, including breathing.  When no motion is detected for 15 seconds, a warning beep goes off, then a full alarm sounds at 20 seconds.

Say what you might about this monitor, but we are sold.  I was sound asleep at midnight one night when the alarm woke me up.  Chris and I were in the nursery faster than you can imagine.  I was sure the baby had just moved away from the sensor pad, but no.  When I looked into the crib he was lying completely centered on the monitor sound asleep.  I put my hand on him and shook him a bit and he immediately woke up, so I’m sure it was a fluke.  But, we will never know if he had stopped breathing or not.  Let’s just say the monitor is staying on until all SIDS risks have passed! 

 

Feeding

Okay, the number one feeding must-have for me is my Medela pump.  This is especially critical now that I am back at work, but it was also great when we were traveling or having guests at our house.  It works quickly and does exactly what I need it to do.  So far, it has been worth the expense.  Lansinoh milk storage bags have been working perfectly for me, and I stow a Sharpie in the tote bag so I can always label the bags.  The pump includes a little cold storage bag and ice pack so that I don’t have to store my milk in the refrigerator at work.  No need for anyone else to see that!

We used the bottles that came with the pump for the first couple of months.  But, as our little guy wanted to eat more, and as we got closer to daycare starting, I moved him up to medium flow nipples and settled on the Nuk brand bottles

 

Choosing a bottle is a complete shot in the dark.  My reasoning was that we are using Nuk pacifiers, so maybe he would like the bottles.  It worked, but I’m sure it was just luck.  My recommendation is to just buy one bottle of a certain brand until you find one that works. 

Oh, and this Munchkin dishwasher bin helps wrangle all the small bottle parts, and, as a bonus, it also holds wine bottle stoppers perfectly!

Diapering

We’re still holding strong on our BumGenius cloth diapering choice and there are no major updates in that area.  My big diapering must-have is this Skip Hop travel changing mat, which folds up nicely even when holding wipes and diapers.  It could even be mistaken for a clutch if you looked real quick (okay, maybe not, but you never know).  It is perfect when I don’t want to carry the whole diaper bag around since the zippered outside pocket can hold pacifier wipes and other necessities.

Also not my baby...

Playing

We received a fun little crib toy from my aunt this winter (it has a mirror, lights up and sings songs).  Ike loved it so much that I decided he was ready for an activity gym/play mat.  He now spends about two hours total on this Fisher Price Luv U Zoo mat each day (not all at once, of course).  He loves playing and looking at the flashing lights.  My nephew has the Fisher Price Rainforest version and I actually like it better.  I would buy that one if I had to do it all again.

This is my baby!

And the other toys that are necessary these days are the ones that can clip on to the car seat handle.  Ike generally loves riding in the car, but he doesn’t really like getting strapped in.  If a crying fit happens while buckling, I just pull the handle up and make sure the toy is in his view and he is set to go.  You can see it on the side of his car seat in this photo, alongside his Nuk pacifier holder (which I love).

And I’m sorry that I have to do this to you, but can you just look how my little boy has grown?  Here he is coming home from the hospital in the same car seat and the same hat.  Notice where his head is in relation to the car seat logo (and how differently the hat fits)!

Technology

The final must-have has been our Flip video camera.   It is super easy to use and I love that it charges on your computer (it has a USB thing that pops out) and I don’t have to have another charging device!   We live far away from all of our family, so it has been great to shoot and share some video.  Never mind how great it will be to share a video like this with Ike when he is older.

 

Now that I’ve shared gratuitous photos and video of my son, I think I’m all done with my first-three-month must-haves. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and recommendations. Oh, and I’ll take questions, too!

23 Comments

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  1. tashamonster / Apr 7 2011

    I love the “Must Haves”. I’m not a mummy yet, but I’m always looking for the “must haves” so when we do get to that point, I’m all ready to go!
    Keep them coming :)

  2. Laura@JourneyChic / Apr 7 2011

    Great list! It’s amazing how quickly they grow, isn’t it? that bathtime video is precious! I’m having a hard week being on the other side of the globe and put myself to sleep each night watching videos of my boy on my iPhone.

  3. E / Apr 7 2011

    So helpful! Thanks for sharing. Your little man is just precious!!!

  4. Courtney / Apr 7 2011

    Oh my gosh, Erin, Ike is PRECIOUS. I love his little hat; where did you get it? We have the same little carseat toy, and Riley loves it too. He impresses me with how strong he is: it’s not the easiest thing to pull on!

    I completely agree with the Swaddle Me products. I received one as a shower gift and was VERY skeptical about using it. After all, I wouldn’t want to be wrapped up like that at night! But Riley loved it. (Check out this post of mine: http://theville-chs.blogspot.com/2010/10/monkey-burrito.html) We actually had a bit of trouble transitioning him to a sleep sack, but he eventually did just fine with the switch.

  5. Nicole / Apr 7 2011

    I agree with tashamonster…not a mommy yet but I love learning from others experience and trying to skip those mistakes when I get to that stage. Great list and I love the idea of the monitor!

  6. Jen @ homeinthecountry / Apr 7 2011

    That video is too cute! What a happy little guy!

    Thanks for the tips – navigating all this stuff without knowing if we’ll actually use it drives me sort of crazy.

    How soon were you able to use the bumgenius on Ike? (Those are the 4.0s, right?) I’ve heard that they aren’t actually “one size” like they promise to be & that you might have to wait for baby to grow into them. Also, how many do you have or how many would you recommend buying? I’m really jazzed up about cloth diapering!

    • Erin / Apr 7 2011

      Hi Jen!

      We were able to use the BumGenius 4.0 on Ike after he was 8 pounds, which took us four weeks (He was 6 lbs 14 oz when he was born, then they loose weight, so it took us a while to get up to 8 lbs!). Of course, some babies who are born over 8 lbs might be able to use them right away.

      We have a total of 20 diapers and that has been more than enough for us. Once you get past the first month, you don’t go through diapers quite as fast. At three months, I use 6-7 a day, and you are supposed to wash them at least every other day, so they come back into the rotation quickly! I think you could have anywhere between 15 and 20 and be just fine.

      I hope that helps!!

      xo,
      - e

      • Jen @ homeinthecountry / Apr 9 2011

        That is super-helpful, thanks! We went to a cloth diapering info session & it was suggested that we buy 36, which seemed like a lot to me since you’re supposed to wash them every few days. Glad to hear we can get by with only ~20!!

  7. Katie T / Apr 7 2011

    His the books under one side of the crib for reflux? Where do the towels go?

    • Erin / Apr 7 2011

      Hi Katie,

      Since his bassinet/sleeper (http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Newborn-Rock-Sleeper-Yellow/dp/B002M77N22) had an incline, he got used to sleeping that way. Propping one side of the crib up on a few books seemed to help! The towels are under the sheet and they lay right along his sides, which I think might also remind him of his bassinet. We are slowly moving the towels farther away from him so that he won’t need them forever!

      xo,
      - e

  8. We have a flip vidoe camera and love it too! He is just so adorable with that hat on in the car seat! Super cutie.

  9. Heather / Apr 7 2011

    I love him so! He is so precious. And, great minds think alike! We loved the Kiddopatomus swaddler, too! So glad all is well with you guys!

  10. Elizabeth / Apr 7 2011

    I love Ike’s beautiful pink cheeks! He is so precious!

    I agree on some of your must haves – the Medela pump is great – easy to use, and I love the slot where a photo can be placed of your sweet one. I thought the Munchkin dishwasher bin was so silly…until I went back to work and found myself hand washing bottle and pump pieces every night! That thing has been a lifesaver ever since, and no more lost pieces in the dishwasher! My daughter hated being swaddled and so the 3 swaddle-me’s that I wanted to use soooo badly were not used by us, but happily passed along to my sister’s son. We used our baby gym from about 5 weeks until she was just about 5.5 months. Daily. For hours. For that age, it really is one of the only real toys that can entertain them. And the Angel Care Monitor – we don’t have one but I’m still thinking about getting one, even though she is 6.5 months now. My husband and I still check on her every 20 minutes to make sure everything is ok (until we go to bed, that is, she sleeps in her crib in our room and I often wake up and stare at her to make sure she’s breathing) – and we DO have a regular monitor that works perfectly – we just never know what could happen while we are downstairs playing Wii…

    I want to add one thing that was great for us for about 5 months – the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper – having a C-Section meant I was very limited in mobility for a few weeks and having the baby so close without fearing that I might roll on her or something was great. I could hear her breathing and could reach over and settle her during the night without ever getting out of bed!

    Can you believe how fast the time goes? Soon those days of using the baby gym will seem like a distant memory! It’s only been a month since we packed ours up and it feels like forever ago…

  11. Amanda / Apr 8 2011

    This list has been very helpful! I am having a baby boy in May and have been registering for my baby shower that will be in a few weeks. If you have any other suggestions or recommendations, I would love to hear them! Thanks! By the way, your son is precious!

  12. Kim@NewlyWoodwards / Apr 8 2011

    HIs facial expression in the more recent carseat photo is KILLING ME! Just too darn cute.

  13. Distributor / Apr 8 2011

    Great reviews Erin. Very detailed and your baby looks very cute and all cozy in the stroller! :) And that Kiddamopatus swaddler looks incredibly convenient.

  14. jimaiemarie / Apr 10 2011

    I always love reading what things other mama’s loved and find helpful! Your little guy is SO precious!! He’s such a pretty baby :)

  15. Jenny@Anything Pretty / Apr 10 2011

    I am so writing this all down! There is just so much baby stuff out there and it is almost impossible to sort through. It is so helpful to get recs from someone who has been there! And those pics and video are so precious!

  16. Pam / Apr 12 2011

    Erin: your baby is adorable! I too, love his expression sitting in his carseat! Treasure these moments; my twins are 18-months old, and I have a 4 year old, and I’m already nostalgic for the swaddles with velcro closures we used on all three! Love your blog, although it makes me feel like a bit of a slug. I don’t know how you do everything “)

  17. Shelly / Apr 12 2011

    Love that video! Pretty soon he’ll be jumping out of the tub… watch out!
    The swaddle blanket was a lifesaver for us. We swaddled Mckenzie until she was 6 months and then moved her to a sleep sack until she was about 9 1/2. She is such a great sleeper now!

  18. This list is so fantastic. I am in the final stages of picking up all this baby stuff. We got the angelcare monitor too – anything to help me sleep better at night!

  19. Nicole / Apr 28 2011

    Great list! My little girl is 4 1/2 weeks, and it’s been great reading the experiences of moms who are a couple months ahead of us!

    By the way– I commented on your nursery post that your yellow dresser had inspired part of our nursery design — here’s the finished room! http://www.flickr.com/photos/intermittent/sets/72157626308983623/

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