05.04.2015

Newborn Essentials

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A few friends have asked what our favorite or most used newborn items were.  Now that EJ is 3 months old I thought it was time to share our favorite newborn items.  Here’s our rundown on what we love and think are essentials (links are to Amazon or affiliates):

Technology

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The Angelcare monitor is hands down our most relied upon baby item.  I wanted to put EJ in her nursery from night one, but DG thought I was crazy.  We got home though and he thought maybe we’d try it so we set up the monitor and boom!  It worked like a charm and she’s slept in her crib since the first night we brought her home.  Initially the video part didn’t matter much because newborns down move, but now it lets me check which way she is facing (to try and keep her off her flat spot), and I’m sure we’ll like the video more as she gets more mobile.  The sound on this monitor is really loud, which is great for when I’m in a dead sleep, but our favorite feature is the movement monitoring.  The pad is placed under the mattress and can detect the baby’s breaths.  If she doesn’t breathe for 20 seconds the monitor will beep, then if it doesn’t detect breathing within 5 seconds an alarm will sound.  The first night we were home the alarm went of 3 or 4 times, but I think it was because she was so little and due to her prematurity, if her chin feel too far forward it cut off her airway.  Needless to say though, the alarm had me running to the nursery to check on her.  I feel a lot safer knowing that this works and having EJ in the other room!  Just last week her blood pressure was extremely low due to her medication so I was really worried she’s stop breathing in her sleep, but the monitor relieved some of my fears.  Obviously I don’t think this monitor 100% prevents SIDs deaths in babies, but I do think it helps and it makes me feel better, so that’s worth something!

Swings, Rockers and Places to Sleep

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My nephew and niece both slept in the Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play for the first 3 months of their lives.  I brought mine to work and it kept EJ quiet and content during those early weeks.  We don’t use it as much now because of her head issues, but when I’m desperate I’ll still put her in it.  The Rock ‘N Play cradles the baby and vibrates so it puts them to sleep really fast.  We took it with us when we went out of town when EJ was only 3 weeks old and it was much easier than packing our Pack ‘N Play or having a hotel crib take up half of the room.  I’ve read that these are really good for babies with reflux who need to sleep on an incline.  My only caution though, is that babies don’t have control of their heads in this and it’s hard for them to turn their neck, so it can cause/exacerbate flat spots.

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I’ve wanted a 4Moms Mamaroo since way before I was pregnant just because they look so cool!  Ours is a silver/white patterned fabric with a colorful newborn insert.  The model I have is discontinued, but the 2015 model is identical with the added feature of being bluetooth compatible.  The Mamaroo is like a swing, but doesn’t take up all that space.  It has 5 different motions and 5 different speeds.  It comes with preloaded sounds, but you can plug in your iPod and listen to whatever music you want.  EJ didn’t seem to care about the Mamaroo for the first month, then as she became more alert we put her in there to watch us while I cooked dinner/did homework.  Now we primarily use it for naps when I can’t get her to fall asleep anywhere else or just to contain her for awhile while I’m getting ready in the morning or cleaning house.  She usually always eventually falls asleep in it, so that’s nice too!

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I picked out a simple Graco Pack ‘N Play because I didn’t know how much we would use it and I didn’t want to be wasteful getting the bassinet if we didn’t need it.  Honestly, for us, this works and I’m glad I went with this version.  The Pack ‘N Play is actually at my mom’s house right now and EJ only slept in it once.  We had it raised up and she slept just fine.  I’m going to get it from my mom’s house so we can start taking it with us when we’re out of town because it seems like hardly any hotels have portable cribs anymore and they give you a Pack ‘N Play that rarely works.  I plan on putting the Pack ‘N Play in our camp trailer this summer and that’s where EJ will sleep.  I may also take it to my office for her when she outgrows her cradle.

Textiles

91KyYBAUY6L._SL1500_We absolutely love our aiden + anais bamboo swaddles.  We have six of these and they are constantly in use.  We have eight of the aiden + anais muslin swaddles, but they aren’t as soft so I don’t like them as much.  EJ seems to like the bamboo swaddles better too because she just “pets” the fabric.  We swaddled EJ in these blankets for the first 10 weeks, and we also use them to cover her in her carseat, shade her, lay her on the floor, etc.  The bamboo and muslin swaddles are both really breathable so the baby doesn’t get too hot.  The bamboo swaddles are slightly larger, which can make swaddling a brand new baby a little harder because of the extra fabric that’s left, but we still used them.  They are our favorite blankets in the house.

91RBX8dYOiL._SL1500_We also have the aiden + anais snap bibs that match the swaddle blankets.  I wouldn’t say that they are any better than any other bibs, but they are cute, so if your baby is spitty or drools a lot and needs to wear a bib all the time at least they will look good doing so!

91PlWQOmcAL._SL1500_Around 8 or 9 weeks old EJ started breaking out of her swaddles when she woke up in the morning.  She’d fidget and twist and wriggle until her hands were up out of it or sometimes she would have the whole blanket up around her neck with the rest of her body free.  That seriously scared me so I ordered a couple Summer Infant SwaddleMe wraps.  I really like these because there’s no way they can get up around her neck.  She hasn’t broken free from the velcro yet, but she has gotten her arms up by her face when she wasn’t swaddled tight enough.  Another pro for these is that my husband isn’t intimidated by them as he is with swaddle blankets, so he’s more willing to put her to sleep since he can.

Gear

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I researched like crazy to pick out the best stroller for us.  We got the Bob Revolution Flex in black (note: the link is showing this is $599, but if you buy it somewhere else (we got our from Babies ‘R Us) it’s less!). We had to get an adapter, but our carseat fits in this stroller.  The handlebars are adjustable so it’s easy for both DG and myself to push.  The stroller rolls really easily and is way better than I would have imagined.  I’m able to carry it around in the back of my truck, but I could totally see someone with a smaller car not wanting this one.

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Our carseat is the Chicco Keyfit 30 Magic in the Solare print.  I feel like maybe I’m boring, but I went with black because I knew I could put a cute carseat cover on it and I liked the dots.  I researched carseats too and this was on the top of the safety rating chart.  The base is my favorite part of the carseat because it makes it so easy to load and unload the baby from my truck.

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I carry a Thermos with me every day with warm water for EJ.  I also have a smaller Thermos for shorter days or if I’m going to be walking around a lot and don’t want to carry so much weight (you’d be surprised how it weighs down the diaper bag!).  A lot of times I’m not at home or work and I need warm water on the go so this satisfies that need.  Even if you buy a bottle of water they are usually cold, so when I have a Thermos with us I don’t have to worry about it.

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EJ doesn’t have a lot of favorite things right now, but she seems to like her Skip Hop Activity Mat.  She hangs out here for tummy time and watches the hanging animals.  She’s also learned that she can kick the side poles when she’s on her back and watch the animals move.  If I were to do this all over again, I would get a piano gym just because I think it would give the baby more to do and be more fun.

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We have a really cute lamb mobile from Pottery Barn Kids hanging over EJ’s crib, but when we were in the hospital they brought a soother to her room to try and get her to look to the left while she was in the crib.  She seemed to like it so I ordered this one for her crib.  It’s not cute but it gives her a reason to turn her head and if she’s not totally asleep when I put her to bed she will watch this for a few minutes and fall asleep as it turns off.  I think she likes it better than her mobile because it has lights and moving parts rather than just music.

Things we have, but don’t use/baby doesn’t like/etc.

Boppy – I’m not nursing now, but even for the first week when I did, I couldn’t get this thing to work the way it’s intended.  My advice is don’t buy it until you know if you need it.  I’ve since heard that the Brestfriend pillow is better.

Halo Sleep Sack – We had the newborn size, but it was too big for EJ until she was about 3 weeks old.  We tried it then but she didn’t seem to like it, and I didn’t like it because it too to long to get her in and out of it, which wasn’t very convenient for diaper changes.

Bottle Warmer – It sounded like a great thing to use, but let’s be honest, I just use the microwave and the bottle warmer is one extra thing to sit on the counter.

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