Now that Riley is 6 months old (holy cow time flies!) I decided to put together a list of the products that I absolutely love and made my life as a new mom a little easier. I can also name a few that I probably could have lived without…
1. The Boppy – Or as Kenny calls it “the oversize neck pillow” – a classic must have. I have two – one for the couch in the living room, and one for Riley’s nursery. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it really doesn’t matter – they are great for propping baby while feeding. I have also used it for tummy time, and as a sitting prop. I still use it to nurse, and I also place it behind Riley when she’s sitting on the floor in the nursery just in case she falls backwards so she won’t hit her head on the floor.
2. Fisher Price Rainforest Gym – Riley has used this gym every day since she was about a month old. It’s perfect for tummy time! Her play gym has seen her through learning to kick with her feet, swat with her hands, and roll from her tummy to her back and vice versa. We have also taken the detachable toys with us on outings – the toucan rattle is her favorite.
3. Summer Infant Swaddles – My absolute favorite thing ever. Priceless – can’t stress this enough! I’ve heard people say “my baby didn’t like being swaddled, he/she would just bust out of the swaddle…” Well, Riley did the same thing in the beginning. No matter how tight I wrapped her with a blanket, she would wiggle free. The velcro on these swaddles are fool proof, and Riley would sleep so well swaddled all night long – in fact, she STILL gets swaddled for naps, and swaddled with one arm out at night. Being swaddled is part of her nighttime routine, and she seems instantly ready to sleep once she’s snugly wrapped. I am going to give these as gifts to anyone having a baby from now on. Yes Ady, that means you!
4. Fisher Price Rock-n-Play – I read mixed reviews about the rock-n-play before giving birth, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the money on one. However, my wonderful cousin Dena gifted this to me, and now I can say it’s worth every penny. Riley has napped in her Rock-n-Play every day since she was born. The vibration, the slight incline, the snug fit at the sides – all wonderful things for helping her to sleep. I kept it next to the couch, and for the first three months she practically lived in it. I wish there was an adult size – I’d sleep in it too!
5. Fisher Price Cradle-n-Swing – Another item Riley has used every day since she was born. I put her in it every morning and it gives me time to make and eat breakfast. I really don’t know what I’m going to do when she outgrows this swing – and that day is coming soon.
6. BabyBjorn Carrier – I used this carrier to take Riley with me when I did my grocery shopping once I finally gathered the courage to venture out of the house with her as a newborn. I preferred this carrier because it’s just so simple to use.
7. Fisher Price Jumperoo – Riley LOVES this thing. As a matter of fact, she’s in it right now as I type. I have it right by my desk (my office is quickly turning into her play area). Putting Riley in her jumper gives me at least a half hour of hands free time to get some work done, which is wonderful. Not to mention the exercise benefits for her.
8. 4Moms Infant Tub – I never even knew I wanted this tub until it was given to me. I love it because it’s designed to let dirty water flow out through the side drain while clean water flows in. I also love that the temperature display tells you if the water is too cold or too hot. This might seem sort of unnecessary – obviously anyone can easily check the temp of the water by hand – but I was one of those new moms that panicked about pretty much everything, so this gave me one less thing to worry about.
1. Medela Breast Pump – I recommend this pump for anyone planning to breastfeed. I never used any other pump, so I really can’t compare or guarantee this is the best pump out there, but it works great for me. It’s extremely easy to use, and I love the bag – it looks so much like a purse that I’m able to leave it right in plain view in the living room where I normally pump, and no one even notices it’s there.
2. Zip Up Footie Pajamas – Love these vs. button up footies. Who wants to unsnap and re-snap a zillion snaps in the middle of the night for a diaper change? Not me.
3. Baby Bullet – I’m using this now to make Riley’s food. I’m sure a regular food processor would do the same job, but I love the storage system – and the ‘cookbook’ provided with the system makes things just that much easier. I love anything that I don’t have to think too hard about.
1. Tommee Tippee Diaper Disposal System – I’m on the fence about this one. This diaper system actually seals each diaper in plastic during disposal. I like the idea of sealing the diapers to lock in the odors, but the system gets stuck – a lot – especially when the bin starts to get full. It’s a real pain when you are trying to hold the baby with one hand and turn the dial with the other, and it suddenly gets stuck. Another drawback is that the refills are expensive. The only reason I’m still using it is because it really does do a good job of keeping the nursery odor free, and I don’t really want to spend the money on a replacement diaper bin.
2. The Moby Wrap – I was in love with the idea of “baby-wearing” and was really excited to use the Moby. It’s a little complicated to use – I had to read and re-read the directions, and giving ANYTHING a ton of thought during the newborn period was just way too difficult for me. I ended up using it only 3 times. I live in Miami, and even in December, it was way too hot. I’d start dripping sweat after just a few minutes of wearing Riley – and this was indoors. This is probably a great wrap up anywhere else, but here in South Florida I found it impractical.
3. The Bumbo – I will admit, I probably bought this too late – I didn’t get it until Riley was over three months old. And I also can’t say for certain that it wasn’t beneficial to her. She did start sitting up a little early (just before turning five months old) and maybe the Bumbo had something to do with that, or maybe it didn’t. But honestly, Riley only used the Bumbo about a dozen times.
I instinctively feel like it’s a waste to spend money on any product that your baby will only use temporarily. But that’s what babies do – they keep growing and changing, and they grow out of stuff so fast. So I guess I value products much more based on how long and how often Riley gets to use them, and how much they help her development – as well as how much easier it makes my life by either giving me some hands-free time, or by taking the guesswork away.
That’s just my two-cents!