Making it through the first months - or how to win at baby showers

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Okay, first can we take a moment you gawk at my professional blogging prowess?

I get a lot of questions about what products I use with Margaret. Let's face it, there's a lot of stuff that babies use and the first time I went into Babies R Us to register, I turned right around and walked back out. It's crazy. While I'll be the first to admit that I've never owned a real diaper bag, think a wipe warmer is useless, and my diaper genie is a $10 Ikea pail with a grocery bag in it, there are some handy things that make life easier for new parents. And if you bring any of these things to a baby shower- you're a winner. Everyone else will bring clothes- you'll bring the real goodies.

Every single one of these things is personal. This is just what has worked for us. I'm not going to shame you for using a different car seat, pacifier, or bouncer (how mean do you think I am?).

1. Bright Starts Bouncer- This is basic, but it's got a removable toy bar and a vibration feature. That vibration feature alone is worth the $25. We needed nothing fancy, just a safe place for baby to hang while I grabbed a shower. This stayed in our bathroom until Margaret was 7 or 8 months old. (I found a version of this one at Ross for $18).

2. OXO Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser- I know some of you are questioning this $20 expenditure, but Thomas and I agree on this one 100%. It has a weighted insert that holds down the wipes so you can pull out just one at a time, one handed (that is SUCH a big deal). Then you just get these dirt cheap refills and stick them in!

3. Gerber Gauze Diapers- Nope, not for cloth diapering. These make the best, most absorbent burp rags out there. Target has the best price (about $15 for 10) on these and get at least 10, but 15+ is good to have, especially when they go through their spit up phases. Too plain? Dyeing them or sewing some fabric on them spiffs them up quickly.

4. Chicco Caddy- Or any simple frame stroller that goes with your infant car seat. Lifesaver. You need to get toilet paper, but the baby just fell asleep in the car? No problem, just click the carseat in the stroller and go. That huge storage basket, 2 cup holders, easy fold, and key box make this one a winner (thanks Ken!). My advice: skip the travel system everyone tells you to buy (heavy!) and skip buying a real stroller. Get this one and a car seat you love- then at 6 months when you've used a stroller and know the important features you want, get an umbrella stroller or a big, full featured one. Take this all with a grain (or a hundred) of salt.

5. Burts Bees Baby Face Wipes- Or Johnson & Johnson makes a similar product. So your baby's umbilical cord is still attached and you're forced to give sponge baths that result in screaming like your sponge is made of knives? No? Just me? Well then, I guess you won't need my advice and these awesome wipes that scrub everything, full head of hair to toe.

6. Itzbeen Timer- Also known as the FLIPPIN' BEST THING EVER. Sorry for the yelling, but I cannot love this thing more. I should have taken it to the hospital- that's how awesome this is. It's not really a timer, more of a stopwatch. You press the button (bottle for nursing/feeding, diaper for changing time, ZZZs for sleep, and the * for whatever- I recommend it for any postpartum meds) when you start feeding or change a diaper. It eliminates the need to store all of that in your really tired brain. It's been 3 hours since the last diaper change? Check that stinker. It even has a little switch at the bottom to tell breast feeding mamas which side they last nursed on. It has a nightlight and a backlight, so you can check it out at 3 am. Breastfeeding or not, this is amazing. Another winner for both me and Thomas.

7. Nuk Orthostar Pacifiers- There are a million out there and it's really more about what your baby will take, but I loooooved these for the simple fact that they were all one piece (100% silicone). No water to get stuck in the various parts. The only downside- I've only ever seen them at Babies R Us and they only seem to exist in 0-6 month sizing (we just switched to another Nuk pacifier when we moved up sizes).

8. Chicco Keyfit30- Love this car seat! It was a gift from a very good friend/coworker of Thomas' and I will be forever grateful (thanks Jasmine!). It's very highly rated and installation is a dream. If you are a one carseat family, like us, you'll appreciate how easy it is to get the base installed (2 minutes, really) and just click the seat in. It's also very easy to fly with and install in a car without the base. It's a little more expensive than a Graco SnugRide, but for us, the installation was a big selling point (of course, in addition to how safe it is).

9. Aquaphor- This stuff is a favorite of my mom and my late Aunt Tina, so naturally, my uncle got us 2 huge jars for Margaret (best gift ever, Uncle Tim, thank you!). We use it as a diaper ointment almost every change, only using a little zinc oxide ointment if she's starting to show a little redness. This also works great for dry and chapped skin. A little goes a long way- it took us 8 months to get through our first big jar. Also comes in tubes for your diaper bag.

I just listed 9 things, but just thought of at least 7 more while doing it! So prepare yourself for another awesome round of How to Win at Baby Showers coming soon.

*A note about pricing. Baby stuff can be wicked expensive. Stock up on 20% coupons at Babies R Us, and price check wherever you are. Car seats go on sale eventually, lots of daily use items can be bought via Amazon's subscribe and save feature. Places like and also offer subscription features for things like diapers, ointment, and baby wash. Update: Zulily! This week is baby week and I've heard there are going to be some pretty amazing deals on Chicco car seats and more! Hurry!

Stock photos from Amazon

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