Top Ten Items Cave-parents Wish They Had

Inspired by Dear Baby here’s our Top Ten List for surviving the pre-walking months/years.

1. Our Swing

My kids LOVE their swing, Grandma bought them the now discontinued Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing Natures Touch (link goes to the closest item in stock).  All 3 boys have given us many quiet and peaceful hours due to this lovey device which swings both to the front and side-to-side as well as plays music and nature sounds.

2. Double Electric Pump

Although I’ve worked full-time with all 3 of my boys, none of my children have had a single drop of formula.  Obviously without a high-quality double electric pump this couldn’t be possible. I’ve tried both the Medela Pump In Style and the Ameda Purely Yours and I can say I much prefer the Medela pump.  Also, my Ameda motor died after a year and a half of pumping… although it was highly effective while it worked, the comfort and “let-down” feature of the Medela made for quicker pumping sessions.

3. Miracle Blanket

We had the misfortune of not knowing how to properly swaddle our first son, Cole.  We tried the Swaddle Me blankets and found that we could never get them tight enough for his arms not to pop out and cause him to wake in the middle of the night.  Also, the velcro was problematic with washing and drying.  With Finian, a friend recommended a Miracle Blanket.  And yes, it was a miracle.  Both Finn and Wes rarely weasel out of this magical piece of cloth, and the swaddling process is simple.  When Matt and I forget to swaddle Wes before we put him down, he invariably wakes much sooner than normal.  I’ve also heard good things about the Woombie, but can’t vouch for it myself.  Since I have 4 Miracle Blankets to use in rotation and they work for us, I’m going to have to pass on the latest and greatest swaddling device.

4. Nursing bra, nursing pads and a cami

Find good ones, make it your uniform.
I was fitted for nursing bras at Nordstroms and acquired several that are worth more than their weight in gold.
I used to love Lansinoh nursing pads in particular, as they wicked moisture super quick, didn’t show in bras and never bunched – but they have recently been redesigned and I’m not happy with the changes.  So, if you can recommend a good one – let me know!

5. A sling or carrier

My boys live in their carriers.  With Wes we don’t even use a stroller or infant car seat carrier, since one of us is always slinging him (and it was the same with the other boys, too).  I find it’s easier, they stay asleep longer, I can nurse while participating in a multitude of activities and most of all – it’s what they’re used to in the womb and makes you both more at ease.
I personally find that the Kangaroo Korner All-Season Adjustable Pouch is the best for me when they’re newborns (read their section on how to choose a sling, even for your body type) while the Beco Gemini Carrier (similar to Ergo but not as bulky) works great for Matt and allowed me to back carry when they were older. This is important if you’re a nursing mother because if you front carry your babies will smell milk and want to nurse.  The Gemini is the only carrier that allows you to face forward out and in as well as back and hip carry. It truely allows you to do anything and we LOVE ours!
If you can find a local Yahoo! Group for Babywearing then you can attend a monthly meeting and try on some slings to see what works (you can use a doll for practice, wait until your baby is born, or borrow someone’s baby there – although it’s difficult to measure while pregnant).

6. Dr. Weil Pacifier with an Etsy lovie attached
As pictured above, neither of my children spend much time outside the sling or without their pacifier and blanket duo. We were very fortunate with Finian, around 6 months old he threw his out of his crib and never asked for it again. We’re hoping lightening will strike twice with Wes…

In particular the Weil pacifier has been great; it’s larger shape stays close to baby’s face easier (much like a Hannibal Lecter mask) and the singular piece also has a hook for our blanket but not for bacteria to hide. Read DearBaby’s review here, it’s what made us try it.

We’ve purchased our Etsy lovies from Lil Pink Chicken and mollyannemake with great results.  My almost 5-year-old still has his lovie and keeps it in bed with him.  Find a place to get one customized that is special for your child and you will find yourself keeping it as memorabilia – trust me, it will remind you of their first year immensely!

7. Play table

Our babies use exersaucers, bouncers, playmats and a montage of entertainment devices, but none is so versatile and long-lasting as our Bright Starts Activity Station.  With a rotating, removeable and adjustable seat, our children use this toy from 2 months to 2 years.  It was a gift for Cole from his Grandfather when he was 4 months old and it is still to this day played with by both Cole and Finn. As soon as we pulled it out of storage for Wes they both went crazy with excitement.  And the fact that Wes was reaching for the piano at a mere 7 weeks should tell you something about it’s appeal!

8. Bumbo

The Bumbo has saved our poor younger brothers! What baby doesn’t want to sit up, chillax and watch their crazy brothers?! The Bumbo is great for traveling to people’s houses, feeding the baby, watching TV (gasp!) and general voyeurism.  Or, in this case, helping to wrap presents while mommy drinks wine.

9. Cloth diapers and wet bags

Our preferred newborn baby diapers are bumGenius AIOs in size xs/small, Thirsties small covers with prefolds and then once they hit 10lbs we use FuzziBunz one-size pocket diapers. Although I’ve been sucked into purchasing many gorgeous diapers from Hyenacart, I find it’s much more affordable to buy a custom diaper bag and/or coordinating wetbags. Plus, then your beautiful cloth isn’t hiding!
With Wesley, we purchased a Diaper Dudes Skull & Crossbones Diaper Bag and custom-made wetbags from Brooke Van Gory Designs on Etsy. It’s worked out fantastically – quality, mass marketed diapers and the look of custom cuteness where people can see it!  Wesley is still wearing the FuzziBunz one-size diapers we got for Finn when he was a baby. We’ll resell them for about 20% less than we paid, making a 2 child diapering investment only about $75!

10. A waterproof mattress pad on your bed

Breast milk, pee, poop, vomit… I really don’t need to explain how much this saves your bed – and your sanity.

Not necessary but awesome to have items:

11. A nursing necklace

Around 2 months your baby will start to notice more things than just your face. By wearing a nursing necklace, designed and reinforced to withstand a baby’s attention, your little one will have something to focus and play with (other than your arm fat or the people walking by and distracting them). I HIGHLY recommend Laughing Starfish, I’ve purchased over a dozen of her products for myself and gifts and have never once been disappointed with it’s beauty. I love wearing them even for myself, and frequently get compliments – my whole La Leche League group is now also enjoying her work after seeing some of my pieces!

12. Adorable soft shoes

Baby’s feet are tiny, and they grow quickly. But not only are hats important to keep the heat in, but socks and shoes are as well. I find Jessica’s shoes to be an impeccable fit without cutting off the circulation in my baby’s feet (a frequent problem of Robeez). I can’t speak highly enough of her quality of work and customer service.

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