Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mommy Reviews-Must Have List for Month 1

Aiden - 1 month old!
My goal is to do a few things on a monthly basis.  The first is to take pictures of Aiden sitting in the same chair with the same bear and a little picture frame that says what month it is.  So above is our attempt at Month 1!  He can't exactly sit up yet, so I assume these pictures will get easier.  Hopefully with the bear next to him, it'll be easy to see how big he is getting in comparison each month.  He definitely feels like he's packing on the pounds.  Ryan and I are guessing around 9 pounds right now (again - how in the hell do people give birth to 9+ pound babies???).  Our next check up is in a week - so we shall see.

The second goal is to make a list of my "must-haves" for that month as a new mom.  I read and read and read every review and product must have list out there when I was pregnant to make sure we had our bases covered for when our little guy arrived.  I'm SOOO glad I am one of those people that is over prepared because I think it's benefiting us now.  For example, last night - sleeping was pretty much not an option until around 4am.  We had every trick up our sleeve to make it eventually work though.  So here is my "Must Have List" for Month 1!

1) Video Monitor 
We got ours as a gift from my good friend Carley - but we registered for one of the more inexpensive ones and I'm glad we did.  There really has not been a need to see him "in color" at night while he's been in his own room - but it has been VERY helpful to see when he is sleep crying (eyes are still shut and he puts himself back to sleep) vs. awake/alert come give me something crying.  Because our bedroom is right next door, we do not use the sound feature on the monitor and actually have not needed a sound monitor at all since we've had him home - but the video has been a must have for sure.  Here is a link to the one we got.  It retails for around $100, but you can usually get it on sale with a coupon for around $85 or $90.
2) Bassinet
We bought the bassinet literally the day before he was delivered.  We knew with the extra fluid I had developed in the last 2 weeks of pregnancy that there was a chance he might have complications.  Luckily he did not - but of course we were prepared for that.  One of the complications we were prepared for was him having difficulty breathing/swallowing.  So with that being the case, we wanted something he could sleep in in our room - but not in our bed.  We used the bassinet in our room for the first week or so and for those 45 minute stretches where he did sleep - it worked. But the reason this has ended up on the must have list is because I can lay him down in it for naps throughout the day on the main floor and he's content - probably more so than in his big crib.  For some reason he sleeps well in it when the bassinet is on the main floor, but doesn't sleep well in it upstairs.  Strange... but whatevs!  Here is a link to the one we got.  We're happy with it, but do not use any of the bells and whistles that are included with it like the vibration or music - but I could see how depending on the baby, that would be necessary.  What we have used a lot are the little tote baskets underneath.  I'm so glad we got one with removable tote storage - rummaging around in a basket underneath a bassinet every time he needed something would have been impossible!
Just a little peanut - glad we got the second car seat insert so he fit in the swing.
3) Travel swing
Notice I said TRAVEL.  SOOO glad we registered for this one and not one of the huge ones that takes up as much room as a couch.  We registered for the travel one thinking it would be good to have if we went home in late spring/early summer.  Come to find out, they really only last up to 15 pounds and he most likely will be bigger than that by the time we travel with him.  But we lucked out in getting the travel one because this little gem has been moved to every blessed room in this house!  I'm not kidding, I think other than the laundry room - it has made it to every room!  Because he was little when he was born (6 pounder) we popped a car seat insert into the swing to help support him/take up some extra room and HELLO 4 hours of continuous sleep!  Ah, the first night this happened was absolute bliss.  We were about 2.5 weeks in at that point and we haven't looked back since.  Now last night, sleep was not happening - so it's not the golden ticket exactly - but it has done wonders.  I'm so happy we did not get one of those big honkers that does everything under the sun (I'm waiting for them to create one that feeds the baby) - this little one has allowed me to actually sleep in our bed : )  Here is the link to the one we got.
Hanging in bed with mom and dad - just chillin.
4) Boppy Pillow x2
I mentioned in my "delivery" post how important the boppy was in those first few hours/days of having Aiden.  It has continued to be essential.  So essential in fact that I'm very happy with the fact that I over prepared and got 2!  Our good friend Dixon got us one with an adorable lion on it that has some cute touch and feel things for when he's older.  The other one I got at a garage sale and then bought covers for it.  The covers are pretty pricey, but a good investment because they will inevitably be spit up on.  We have one upstairs and one downstairs.  We use them for feeding, lounging, snuggling in bed with us and I kneel on one when I'm doing a downstairs changing.  My knees just can't take the hard floor!  Having 2 is great so we don't have to lug it upstairs and downstairs each time he goes up and down.  This is especially important for when Ryan is at work and I'm doing the Mommy gig by myself : )
Yes, that is the diaper champ that made it's appearance in one of our Christmas family pictures : )

5) Diaper Champ
Yep, we have 2 of these too!  One for upstairs and one for downstairs.  These are sooo much more convenient than the diaper genies.  You can use REGULAR trash bags in them which cuts down on cost considerably. We bought both of ours at garage sales and figured we'd give them a try before sinking the money into super expensive diaper genies.  They keep the smell down because they are totally enclosed (although we have air freshener things in the bottom and use scented trash bags) and they don't take up too much room.  We have one in our living room off to the side where we spend the majority of our "awake" time and have the other one in his room.  Our child 'goes' a lot... (We're going through about 12-16 diapers a day), so we fill these up about twice a week.  Really glad I don't have to pay $6 for 10 genie specific bags... that would kill the budget!  (Want to know how we can afford all those diaper changes???  Check out my post on me stocking up on diapers - again - so glad I did that!)
Hanging on his mat - aka, his happy place (on top of the ottoman).
6) 2 different changing stations
Who wants to carry a peed out/pooped out child up and down stairs?  Plus haul all the stuff around that you might need during a changing???  Not us!  3 years ago at Christmas our 'gift' to each other was a new ottoman.  Ryan probably thought I was nuts, but I said at the time - I want a "wipeable" surface.  Little did I know how important that would be!  We have our large ottoman (This is ours... at a much better price!) set up as a changing station right now.  I know, probably gross to anyone without kids - but it's so easy to change him there and store all the "extras" in the ottoman for when he does need a new outfit.  We keep duplicates of everything in the ottoman that is also upstairs with his real changing table - including outfits for when those messes do happen : )  Once the Christmas tree gets put away and we bring out his pack-n-play - we can change him there.  He really loves the ottoman spot though - it's his HAPPY place!

7) More than 1 days supply of bottles (12) and Avent Formula Travel Container
This is going to vary depending on the child, but our little chugger tends to eat every 2-4 hours (and usually closer to 2).  So again, we lucked out in being over prepared.  I bought 12, 4oz newborn bottles (we use Avent brand and have been very pleased) and it's been really nice to only need to wash and sterilize bottles once a day.  This is one of Ryan's jobs and it works pretty slick.  He waits until we have at least 8 bottles to wash and does them all at once.  That way I still have access to 4 clean ones at the very least which means we can get through the next 8+ hours while the clean ones are drying/cooling (we sterilize in the microwave using one of these).  The other SUPER important product - that we have since gone out and bought a second one of is the Avent Formula Travel Container thingy - unofficial name.  This little thing has 3 compartments and we fill it with powder formula that we measure out.  Then we fill 3 bottles with bottled water to the ounce level we need - currently 4 oz.  When we go upstairs at night, we take 3 bottles of water with us and the travel formula thing.  It allows us to get through at least 8-10 hours at night without having to come downstairs and make a bottle in the dark.  I did buy 2 other brands of this travel thingy and the Avent one is far superior!  It's the one I'd recommend for sure!
This picture cracks me up!  My mom got a new camera and didn't know how to use it... so we have a merged picture (still don't know how she did it) that we can't un-merge!
8) Infant bath tub with newborn insert
We have 2 bathtubs because I didn't know which one would work better.  We're currently using the one I thought we'd use once he was 6 months or older... This is the one we're using.  It comes with a newborn/infant insert that works like a hammock.  This really isn't shown very well in the online pictures, so was a nice surprise when we opened it up.  This insert is super important because you can wash them without having to hold them and their stump/cord isn't submerged in water (we couldn't get that or his circumcision scab wet until they had fully healed).  The other tub we have is the Puj tub.  This also got good reviews - and I think we'll be using this for sink baths in the future when he can hold his own head up.  But for now, we're very thankful for the tub with the infant hammock in it!

9) Plenty of burp cloths, swaddleme's, receiving blankets, footed sleepers (no onesies), fluffy blankets
Just a few comments on this combined list.  Burp cloths, we have 24 of the nicer ones from BabiesRUs.  When we got these I remember thinking, this is so expensive - am I just being insane?  Again, really glad we bought extra.  We've used them all!  He did spit up a lot when he was first born, but this also prevents me from having to do laundry every day.  I also appreciate that we got the ones that are really nice quality because they are holding up in the wash and they are super soft against his face.  Swaddleme's: we used these the first few nights we were home and I think we convinced ourselves that they weren't working because he wasn't sleeping.  Well he was 2 days old, so we should cut him some slack ; )  I think we're going to have to see if there is another size of these - but it's good to have extra.  If they pee out of a diaper (which they will) these soak through too.  I think we have 5 or 6 and keep a couple upstairs and downstairs. Footed sleepers... I totally underestimated how much I'd love these/need these.  Of course I loved shopping for every adorable outfit (again, thank god we didn't have a girl the first time around - our bank account couldn't have handled it) - but these little footed outfits are the best.  He's in them night and day at this point. We've only put him in actual outfits for doctor's visits and the holidays.  My recommendation is to get the ones with the snaps - they are easier than the zipper when they start to get a bit snug.  And finally, the fuzzy blankets that everyone gives as gifts.  We have 2 or 3 that are on a constant rotation because of spit up and other things.  Good to have draped over him - but we have a kick boxer on our hands.  Anytime we put one of these on him, he just kicks until it comes off.  However - I love to have them over me during feedings at night!  Keeps me warm : )
Again - a merged pic from mom's camera.  We took 1 walk before it got too cold as a family - bundle me worked great!
10) Bundle Me for the car seat
This slick little number means we don't have to worry about putting our newborn in some crazy coat, snow suit (although it hardly snows here) or other blanket like contraption.  When we leave the house, which is rare at this point, we just have to load him into the car seat and zip it up around him.  He stays so warm, we've actually been concerned he might be too warm.  I have seen that they make these with a little window/pocket that opens by where their face should be and I've thought that would be nice to have - but ours works great for our winter baby.  If we ever have another winter baby and the current one gets worn out, I might spring for the one with the face pocket : )

There you have it - my top 10 list (although I wasn't shooting for 10 when I started) of the must-have's for a new mom (and DAD!) in the first month!  Can't imagine what my must-have's will be by month 2!

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