So I have been thinking about posting a top 10 favorite mother/baby items list for awhile now. I feel like I learned so much from other moms about what was useful for them (and what wasn't) that I figured I should share what has been most useful for me! They might not be 'must haves' for anyone else, but they have been for me!
As in, the BOB Revolution jogging stroller. Now you may be thinking, oh, I didn't know she jogged.... well I don't. Which is why I avoided the hype and didn't bother taking a close look at this stroller at first. We started with the Chicco Cortina travel system. I used the stroller while Noah was still in the infant seat, but since he hated his infant seat, I didn't use it much. And, he outgrew the infant seat by 4 months so that stroller is collecting dust in our garage. I replaced that stroller with a Zooper Twist - a glorified umbrella stroller that I bought from Costco.com. I do love that stroller, but it's not built for a lot of walking and both Joel and I constantly kicked the back of it while we pushed it. Annoying. Finally I started lusting after a BOB. When we broke down and bought one in December, I was so mad at myself for waiting so long! If I could do it all over again, I'd have bought an infant car seat ala carte and then bought the BOB and the car seat adapter and been done with it! It's THAT worth it. Maybe someday, I'll even jog with it. But for now, it turns on a dime, making shopping a breeze. Noah loves it, making me happy and stress free. Joel is a big fan, too, and neither of us kick the back of it anymore. Oh, and it passed the Disneyland test with flying colors! We didn't even need a locker for our all day stay in cold weather! So, my stroller advice is to cough it up and get the BOB right out of the gate. But that's just what I'd do.
2. The Ergo Baby Carrier
I could not live without my Ergo. I wish I had learned how to use it with N as an infant (there are different instructions)! It is so much more comfortable than the Bjorn. We loved the Bjorn, & N did enjoy facing out, but as N sped towards the 20 lb. mark, it was not comfortable to wear! The Ergo became a DAILY necessity once N graduated to the convertible car seat. Every quick trip out of the car with a wiggly 4 month old became a hands-free, near-heavenly experience. I have used the Ergo probably every day since. It is comfortable and N loves it. I use it almost every time I get out of the car, and even sometimes around the house when I need to get things done and N needs some cuddle time. Any product that gets used every day for 7 months is worth it's weight in gold! And, we are far from the 40 lb. weight limit - yippee! Oh and be aware that the Ergo has multiple position carries - front, back, and side.
I have spent hours - no, days - silently rocking in the Dutalier glider and ottoman that my mom gave me. It is where I have spent some of the happiest moments as a new mom, rocking and nursing my baby, getting to know him and enjoying his every breath! It's comfortable and we have both spent plenty of hours sleeping in that chair! If you've gotten an email, text, or Facebook message from me in the past 12 months, it was probably sent from my phone while sitting in that chair! :-) I could not live without it. I love that it has a high back so that my head doesn't flop when I want to study the backs of my eyelids, too.
4. Glamourmom Tanks & Undercover Mama tanks
It can safely be stated that I have utterly lived in Glamourmom tank tops over the past year. As a nursing mom, they were the first comfortable option I found. They are great layering pieces and I wear them most days under other shirts or with hooded sweatshirts. Maybe not the most glamorous (despite the name!), but they are far better than the Target brand I started with or most of the awkward and uncomfortable nursing bras I tried on. Recently, I also discovered Undercover Mama tanks. They hook on to your nursing bra and provide the same functionality as the Glamourmom Tanks, but for less money. :-) Either way, it's nice to be able to nurse your baby without worrying about showing off the post-baby belly - or in colder months, you won't have to endure such drafty conditions when nursing!
5. Hooter Hider
The name speaks for itself! I enjoyed the Hooter Hider days....N doesn't like having anything over his head now because he is FAR too interested in what is going on outside of the 'feeding tent', but it was nice while it lasted! Hungry baby? Hooter Hider to the rescue! I never left home without it.
6. Medela Sleep Bra & GAP Nursing Sleep Shirt
Babies nurse at all hours (well mine does at least). That means nursing friendly pajamas are a necessity! I've literally worn the Medela Sleep Bra every night over the last year (don't worry, I have a few). Once it got cold, I needed something to keep me from freezing at night. Enter GAP's Nursing Sleep Shirt. Super comfy!
7. Johnson's Nursing Pads
I tried all of the other major brands. They felt like plastic and were totally visible under my shirt. The Johnson & Johnson's Nursing Pads are inexpensive, absorbent, discreet, and comfortable. Target carries them, but I don't usually see them at Babies R Us.
8. Pacifier Wipes
The First Years Pacifier Wipes are great for dropped pacifiers, teethers, toys, bottles, sippy cups.... you get the idea! Oh, and the package makes a GREAT distraction 'toy' during diaper changes.
9. California Baby
We love the California Baby line of products! It doesn't contain toxins and after a Health class I had to take last year while 7 months pregnant, I really value that! I was especially happy to find out that their SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion is safe to use early on and does not contain chemicals. The Super Sensitive shampoo & body wash smells delicious and we love their Calendula Cream, Diaper Area Wash, and Bug Repellent, too!
10. Pack'n'Play and/or Co-Sleeper
How does one live without a Pack'n'Play? We take it with us to act as N's bed-away-from-home anytime we travel. It is also a safe place to plop a newly mobile child when you have to use the bathroom! :-) We also have an Arm's Reach Co-sleeper which we love. It has the same features as a Pack'n'Play (converts to a play yard or bassinet), but it also attaches to the adult bed for safe co-sleeping until baby reaches 30 lbs. or rolls over. We loved having the co-sleeper and we really miss how well N slept in his own sleeping space, next to Mama & Daddy! The only downside to the Arm's Reach is that it is much heavier and a little harder to take down and put up. Apparently, Carter's makes a 'pack-n-play' with a 30 lb. bassinet weight limit (like the Arm's Reach), which I would have liked a lot since the Graco ones have a 15 lb. bassinet weight limit. However, the Graco Pack'n'Play with Newborn Napper was awesome. N slept in the Newborn Napper right next to our bed for the first 6 weeks of his life! It was perfect for us.
11. Miracle Blanket
We miss the Miracle Blanket. It was so good while it lasted! :-) N slept like a CHAMP in the Miracle Blanket. We wish they made them in toddler size....there is no better swaddle than the Miracle Blanket! It's too bad that the swaddle days don't last longer! The Miracle Blanket was definitely one of the best gifts we received so I try to make sure to share the tip with others and give them as gifts myself!
12. Boppy and/or Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
While I'm sure regular pillows would do the trick, I loved having one of the nursing pillows with me whenever I nursed until N got bigger. In the early weeks, I kept the Boppy by the bed. In the middle of the night, I'd sit up against the headboard, place the Boppy pillow around my waist, and reach over to the co-sleeper to pick up the hungry baby. I can't imagine having to hold him up and nurse in such a sleepy state! I also spent a lot of time in the recliner in our living room with the Boppy on my lap. The Brest Friend Pillow is helpful, too. It actually straps around your waist and adds to the support so you aren't throwing your shoulder out trying to position baby!