In an effort to chronicle the choices we’ve made in preparing for L, I wanted to share with you the baby gear items that we’ve found especially useful in the first two months (!!) of L’s life:
Bouncy seat with vibrating function: This has been invaluable to us, for a few reasons. First, the bouncy seat is perfect to set the baby in when I need a shower; I just bring the seat into the bathroom with me, place it on the floor, turn on the vibrating function, and hop in the shower. That way, I can still hear the baby if he cries, and the baby can hear me (I’ve been known to talk to and coo at the baby while I’m showering in order to keep him content!).
Secondly, the bouncy seat has been a staple in our nighttime routine for the past month or so. When L awakens in the middle of the night, I hop up to feed him and change his diaper. Most of the time, nursing time + a fresh diaper + a few minutes of cuddling with Mama = a sleeping baby in less than an hour. Yet sometimes, L wakes up and isn’t too keen on going back to sleep right away. One night, in a moment of desperation, I brought the bouncy seat into our room and set it on the bedroom floor, right next to my side of the bed. I placed L into the bouncy seat, strapped him in (he was swaddled, as he always is at nighttime), and turned on the vibrating function. BAM – he was asleep! Since then, L’s been known to sleep in the bouncy seat the entire night, if he’s fussy (or if Mama and Daddy are too tired to try and get him to sleep in his crib). I do have a goal to try and “wean” him off of the bouncy seat (at least for sleeping purposes) in the next few weeks, but it’s been wonderful while we were adjusting to waking up in the middle of the night to care for L’s needs!
Lastly, when we’ve stayed with my parents for a night or two, L is such a big fan of his bouncy seat at home that he also likes the bouncy seat at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My parents have a bouncy seat that also has a vibrating function, and I swear, this helps him to feel safe and comfortable sleeping in a place that isn’t his own home! If you are traveling, the bouncy seat is also super portable, and doesn’t take up as much room in the car (or where you’re staying!) as a pack ‘n’ play (which we also have, and which L has slept in a handful of times).
There are a TON of different models out there – I believe that our bouncy seat is from TJ Maxx, but I’ve linked above to some popular models on Amazon.
Boppy pillow: Ah, the infamous nursing pillow. I’m a big fan of the Boppy, especially since L was born via c-section! Using the Boppy to help to position L to nurse has been super helpful, especially right away, when my surgical incision was still healing. I’ve also been known to position L in the Boppy, swaddled, for his morning nap – one of his favorite places to nap!
Baby swing: Jord’s coworkers were super generous and gifted us a swing with lots of bells and whistles, such as different sound settings, three different swing positions, and five different speed settings. L spends time in the swing each day, and he enjoys the music as well as the motion. He’s been known to sleep in the swing for naptime, too!
Diaper sprayer: For those of you interested in or planning to cloth diaper, we’ve found that BumGenius’s diaper sprayer toilet attachment has been such a nifty tool (and a worthy investment!). We use the diaper sprayer to spray L’s poop into the toilet prior to washing the diapers.
Here’s our process: After removing a poopy diaper, we take the diaper into our master bathroom, where the diaper sprayer attachment is installed. We lift the toilet seat, turn the lever below to turn on the diaper sprayer, and spray out the diaper into the toilet. We then flush the toilet, snap the diaper back up and place the diaper in the wet bag (which resides on the floor of the bathroom for convenience), and then we wash our hands. *For a more in-depth look at how a diaper sprayer works, check out this post from Young House Love!*
SwaddleMe brand swaddle blankets: If you asked Jord and I separately what baby item has been the most useful to us, we would both probably say the SwaddleMe brand swaddle blankets. We received two blankets from our good friends as a baby gift, and we used one for the first time when we were in the hospital. Needless to say, we LOVED it. The velcro helps to keep our squirmy baby’s arms tucked in, and he loves, loves, LOVES the secure, tightly-wrapped feeling. Plus, it’s WAY easier (and quicker!) to swaddle a squirmy baby with a SwaddleMe blanket than a normal blanket – the velcro makes it so easy! We highly recommend these swaddle blankets.
Aden & Anais brand swaddle blankets: Our second-favorite swaddle blankets are these A&A swaddle blankets. We love that they are made of lightweight muslin, which has been perfect for L, since he was born in June. We love the fun patterns (we got a zoo animals four-pack so that the blankets will be gender neutral for future kids; our pack has lions, monkeys, elephants and a plain white blanket). The blankets are GIGANTIC, so they are perfect for swaddling even the chubbiest or tallest of babies. They’ve become a staple in our diaper bag!
Avent manual breast pump: The final item on my list is my breast pump. I went back and forth for what seemed like FOREVER when trying to choose a breast pump. Because I’m blessed enough to be at home with L full time, I knew that I didn’t need a fancy-pants electric pump. I knew that I wanted to use the Avent bottles for L (should he need to use bottles), because they are BPA free and come highly recommended, so I looked at the Avent breast pumps first. I decided to get the manual pump after a friend of mine, who is also a stay-at-home-Mom, said that a manual pump worked well for her.
I’ve been very pleased with the Avent pump thus far. When my milk “came in” when we were still in the hospital, I pumped to relieve engorgement. I also pumped the majority of the time for the first few days when we were home from the hospital, because L was jaundice, and our doctor suggested that we move a lot of milk through his system to try and alleviate the jaundice. After L’s jaundice subsided, I stopped pumping until earlier in July, when I began pumping after L’s morning feeding to try to build up a milk supply in our freezer. I will be going back to school in the fall (I’m only taking one class), and Jord will be watching L while I’m in class three days per week, so we wanted to have milk available for Jord to feed L, should the baby be hungry while I’m in class.
The pumping process was emotional for me at first, because I really desperately wanted to exclusively breastfeed L. But after L’s jaundice subsided, I was able to do just that. But I have to say, pumping in the mornings to build up a supply has been wonderful; for example, Jord and I were able to have a date night for our wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, precisely because we had milk available in the freezer for my Mom to feed L. I still breastfeed 99% of the time; I pump after L eats in the morning in order to build up a supply, and I only use the milk that I’ve stockpiled when I will be away from L for a few hours.
I hope this list is helpful to you! What baby gear items have you found indispensable?