Here are my top ten, couldn’t live without them, wish I could give them to all my friends having babies, make life easier items, in no particular order:
1. Nose Frieda – I resisted this one at first; just the thought of a snot sucker with a tube attached that goes into my mouth, kinda skeptical, but I wish I got it sooner! SO much more effective at removing mucous in the nose of an infant or baby. Use it with saline drops to help loosen the mucous and even encourage a sneeze, helping bring the snot closer to the edges of the nostrils. (And I have to add, I am amused as I write this that the first item to come to my mind is related to baby boogers! Ah, the mind of a mom!)
2. White Noise App/machine – We loved the Sleep Sheep and other Cloud B items that produce white noise, soothing sounds, but after reading The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep, Dr. Karp writes of the importance of having white noise that can run all night. We used to have music softly playing in my daughter’s room until we went to bed. This would help drown out the rest of the house noises, but now we use white noise all night, and it has worked wonders. We actually have a cheap version of an iHome that we connected our old iPod touch to, downloaded one of the many white noise apps, and voila, we made our own white noise machine, and clock at the same time! (Plus you can travel with it!)
3. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets/ 4 layer sleep sacks – I know this is two products, but they are related, and I just couldn’t take one off the list! The Aden and Anais muslin blankets are the best, and I regret not having them with my older daughter. For summertime they are perfect for covering your baby up on outings, yet lightweight that I never worried about overheating. The muslin is also a stretchy material and can help create a wonderful swaddle. Their large size is perfect for that too. The 4 layer sleep sacks are great for keeping little ones warm in the winter months, as they are the thickest, yet breathable, sleep sack I have found.
4. HiSense Breathing Monitor – this was hands down, my ONE item I couldn’t live without with my first child. The threat of SIDS gave me enough anxiety and this was my piece of mind. I even tested it out to be sure the monitor wasn’t just sensing the weight of the baby, it really does sense the breathing motion of a baby, the slightest vibration, through a thick crib mattress. Amazing! Now with that all said, with my second baby, I am just as in love with it, yet not nearly as neurotic about making sure it is on, or traveling with it, but chalk that up to everything that comes with a second child, you are more at ease with lots of things. No, this is not a necessity by any means, but for this paranoid mama, it definitely put my mind at ease, and that was worth every penny!
5. Lap pads – these are called many different things, and can be found in many varieties. Basically it is a waterproof burp pad/cloth square that you lay on your changing pad so that when you have a messy blowout to clean up, or the little one pees all over the place, you don’t have to wash the entire changing pad cover; rather, just the pad. We went through TONS of them with Alli, but got a little better at maneuvering messes by the time JoJo came around. We do go through them regularly though!
6. Hands-Free Pumping Bra – this one didn’t make the list at first, yet after realizing how often many hours in total I will/did spend pumping (being that I work part time) I realize how crucial this is to making pumping slightly less annoying, because at least I can check my email at the same time! My pump came with attachments to make it hands free, but it is not nearly as secure or comfortable as one of these bras. There are a variety of them, and some are more adjustable than others. I was hesitant to add this in the top ten, because I know not every mom will need to pump regularly, but even if you just pump every so often, it might be useful.
7. Light up Nail Clippers – its the little things, like teeny, tiny fingernails, and the light on the end of these clippers is genius! Makes seeing the line between skin and nail so much easier – better I found, than the ones with a magnifying glass attachment, and as an added bonus, you can do it when they are sleeping – best time to do so!
8. Baby Carrier – any baby carrier, as long as it has hip support, will do. I love the Ergo, and my husband loves the Baby Bjorn. There are pros and cons to each – the Ergo has the nice infant insert and and option of a backpack style carry, and the Bjorn has the ability to carry the baby facing outward, which they enjoy. I might also add, baby carriers are something you might want to research, put on (with a friends baby if you can!) and try out before committing to. I went through many before finding the one I liked best. I do love some of the wrap style carriers, liked the Moby, but it wasn’t practical for me to travel with, but it was great at home. A carrier is helpful for shopping trips, times when a stroller would just be a nuisance, and most of all, for me, when its your second baby! =)
9. Velcro swaddles – I have never been that great at getting the swaddle tight enough to stay and these swaddles take the guess work out of it – especially in the middle of the night! They are so handy. My husband is a big fan! These swaddles make it nearly impossible for a young infant to get out and as babies grow they can eventually break free – but by then it means they are done being swaddled anyway.
10. Jumperoo – we have the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo, got it for a pretty reasonable price on Craigslist, but there are several versions of this apparatus out there. When my daughter was nearly 3 months old we visited a friend with an older baby and our daughter got to try our friend’s out. Boy did she love it! We got home and had to find one for us! It provided countless hours of entertainment (read, time to do the dishes, get ready in the morning, etc) for Alli before she was mobile, and Jolie is a big fan too! Great for those little legs that love to kick and dance!