Pregnancy

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You’re pregnant!  For some this is exciting, for some this is scary- there is a lot going on in your body!  No matter how you experience it, a baby is getting bigger by the day.

Prenatals- I took New Chapter Perfect Prenatal, would highly recommend

Tummy Lotion- Burts Bees Mama Bee, stretch marks are thing, I applied this to my stomach once a day, and did not get them!  Comes in a lotion and an oil.B

Belly Armor Blanket– My friend told me about the blanket which is said to provide a shield for your womb from EMFs, or radiation from devices such as cell phones, laptops, ipads, etc.  I used it over my tummy any time I was using a device.

Tummy Support- Bella Band, this thing was an absolute lifesaver!!  When describing it to my friend, she asked if it was like a sports bra for your stomach, and that is exactly how I would describe it

 

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Travel- Compression Socks.  If you are traveling on an airplane, no matter what the distance, you will definitely want to wear these to avoid swelling in your legs.

Books- I asked my OBGYN for recommended books, and the ACOG Your Pregnancy and Childbirth was the rec.  A good handbook and point of reference, but nothing I did not necessarily already know or had heard.  A friend recommended Expecting Better, and I thought it was a good quick read with good and real information.

Beauty Products- Be careful what you read on the internet!  Ban this, ban that.  Below are the products that I use pregnant or not pregnant, all are paraben FREE

Shampoo- Acure

Conditioner- Acure

Bodywash- Dr Bronners, Almond is my favorite!Burts Bees

Facewash- Dove Soap and Burts Bees Royal Jelly

Lotion- Burts Bees, I like Cocoa and Cupuacu Butter

Pregnancy

 

Baby Shower

If you have a baby shower, again, the list of potential items is daunting.  SO MANY CHOICES!!  However, this is a really good time, and way, to get necessary items in advance.  Here are the absolute essentials to incorporate into your list.

Graco Pack n Play– a MUST.  For one, unless the nursery is next door to your bedroom, your baby will likely be sleeping in your room for the first 3-4 months.  Night feedings.  We did not even use the actual crib until our baby was about 3 months, and then only for naptime, until we moved him in there at night.  This thing is critical for the baby to sleep in your room, and you will use it for travel until the baby is out of a crib, so almost 2 years.

Car Seat- I got the Britax B-Safe 35, and it was great.

Stroller- So. Many. Choices.  I was recommended the BOB Rambler Jogging Stroller, and I like it.  You will also need the adapter bar, to connect the rear facing car seat to the stroller.  If you plan on doing any lengthy walks or runs with your baby, then this is a good one to get, especially on trails.  note:  It is bulky, meaning not great for travel, loading/ unloading, so I ended up getting a separate stroller for travel and the car, see Travel section.

Shusher– while I dismissed this as unnecessary, it actually is so necessary.  When putting your baby to sleep at nap time, or at night, or the middle of night, this thing was priceless

Dock A Tot– when I saw the price tag I thought it was RIDICULOUS to spend this much money on whatever this was.  Worth. Every. Penny.  This allows the baby to sleep anywhere!  Especially if you have a C-section, it is amazing to be able to feed your baby, then lay them down right next to you to nap.

Rock n Play- This item is no longer made, and I had always thought if I were to do it again, I would instead get the Bouncer because of the vibrating feature.  In the first couple of months, this is critical in helping your baby fall asleep, especially in the middle of the night, this is an absolute lifesaver.

Nursing Pillow– if you are going to nurse, this is a MUST.  It is great that you can also use it for propping up your baby several months later, before they learn to sit up, so you can get about six months of use out of this

Bottles- I used Dr Browns.  I did nurse, so I didn’t actually use these that much, but if you plan to have a babysitter, you are going to need bottles.  Also recommend the Dr Browns Bottle Brush for cleaning.

Crib- All I wanted was a plain white crib, and apparently there are hundreds of plain white cribs!  I got the Babyletto Modo, and I love it.  You will also need a mattress and crib sheets- I liked Burts Bees Baby.  I got the mattress from a brick and mortar.

Changing Pad– You will be changing diapers for a couple years, so this is a great addition to the nursery!  I like this one because it has a strap.

Diapers and Wipes- Good to have some Newborn diapers and wipes on hand in advance of your baby’s arrival.  We use Pampers Pure diapers, because they are paraben free and unscented.  WaterWipes for wipes, and I like to buy these in bulk.

Burp Cloths– We were give an excessive amount of burp cloths.  5 is a good number to have on hand, if you do not want to do every day laundry.

 

 

The baby is here! 0-3 months

The arrival of your baby is a monumental occasion!  For new parents, it is also a time where you are essentially winging it, there is a good chance you have never done any of this before.  A few things that I found to be crucial during the first few months.

Swaddles, Baby K’Tan, Magic Merlin, Waterproof Pads, Stimulation Station

Swaddles- these come in all shapes, sizes, varieties.

I liked the Halo Swaddle with Velcro, because they were easy to use and get the baby in and out.  Three is a good number to have, so that you are not having to do laundry every day.

Also recommend getting 2-3, or one pack, of muslin swaddles.  As the baby gets bigger, these are helpful for swaddling for naps, and they can also be used as nursing covers, or light blankets.

Baby K’tan– when you are ready to venture out of the house, or sometimes just around it, the Baby K’tan is it!  I used this to walk around the grocery store or any errand, and it is especially great because you are hands free and the baby is snug and cozy.  Sometimes if the baby got fussy at home, I would put on the k’tan and walk around with the baby to settle him.

Waterproof Pads– these will make cleaning a whole lot easier.  Especially during the early months, diapers do not always contain your baby’s #1 and #2.  We used these in everything- the bassinet, the rocker, the car seat, the Dock A Tot.  It is much easier to throw the pad in the wash then to disassemble whatever else and try to clean.

Magic Merlin– this thing is invaluable!!  Babies outgrow the Velcro swaddles, and there is a gap period between wearing a loose zippered sleep sack.  Newborns have a “startle reflex”, something I had never heard of prior to having a baby, where if they hear a noise, their arms jolt into the air.  If they are sleeping, this action wakes them up, which is not want you want when you are teaching your baby to sleep for naps and through the night.  The Magic Merlin provides a warm cozy environment for your baby when sleeping and most importantly, prevents the startle reflex.  It is huge during the journey of getting our baby to sleep through the night!

Stimulation Station- I used this Fisher Price model, but anything where you baby can lay and be entertained.  Gives you, as a parent, a supervised break to shower or do laundry, and provides good stimulation and self play time for your baby.

Milk Storage Bags– I used Medela for the most part.  If you are pumping, you are going to need a lot of these bags.

Gripe Water– we used Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water.  This was recommended to us, and during the 0-3 time period where babies experience gas/ colic, and we would give it to our baby before feeding at night.  It made a huge difference!

 

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Play Area Blanket- Any quilted blanket will do, to provide enough cushion between your baby and the floor, or ground if you are outside.

Soft Books– Soft, crinkly books will entertain your newborn endlessly.  Great for travel, for self play, or reading.  My baby loved the crinkling sound and entertained himself with these during the first few months.  Puppy Tails was a big hit in my household.

4-5 months

You are on your way to becoming a seasoned parent!  This is a time when after the flurry of a newborn, you may be starting to get the hang of things, with a routine developing or already in place.  Less new items are needed, which is good news for your wallet, but there are a few key transition items.

Sleepsack– Once our baby started sleeping through the night consistently, we moved him from the Magic Merlin to a Sleepsack, to give more freedom of movement.  Since it is recommended that babies do not use blankets at this age, the sleepsack is perfect.  Depends on your region and temperature, but we used Carters babysuits underneath until age one.

Banana Brush– A teething lifesaver!!  The shape allows for easy holding and grasping, and when your baby is teething this perfect for their sore gums.  A friend described it to me as the difference between them crying for hours, and I took her word for it.  Seriously such a relief for teething babies.

Angelcare bath tub– Before your baby is able to sit up, this item is perfect for supervised bath time in the bath tub, so that your baby is surrounded by water, but stabilized.

“The iPod”– I called this toy “the iPod”, but really it is a musical toy for babies by baby Einstein that plays classical music.  Also doubles as a teething toy, and it is really fun as they get older to watch them figuring out how to press the button for music.

 

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Hard Books- I found this to be a great time to start reading to my baby.  Here are a few favorites, which at age one, are still favorites.

Jellycat If I Were a Lion, If I Were an Octopus, If I Were a Penguin

Goodnight Gorilla

Itsy Bitsy Spider

 

6-7 months

Time for solid foods!  Also time for a high chair.  There are endless options, but I picked this Abiie high chair.  It is sturdy, and it looks like a piece of furniture.

Teething toys are a must, if you do not already have them.  I absolutely recommend the Banana Brush if you do not already have it, and anything that provides relief during teething.  I also liked this elephant teether, especially for travel.

Activity Center- Excellent for self play and containment, containment being key.  Being able to provide your baby a safe place to play and entertain him or herself is huge.  I got this Baby Einstein walker, but some pediatricians recommend that you do not use anything with wheels, so in that case, this Fisher Price activity center should do the trick.

Baby Einstein ipod– This thing is great!  I have watched several babies enjoy holding this, having music played to them, or even using it as a teething toy.  At age one, it is still a hit.

Sensory Balls– Excellent toys for self play.  A lot of options, but I ended up getting the Edushape Sensory Balls four pack.  At age one, still a favorite toy.

8-12 months

Your baby is on the move!  Or will be shortly.  Not as much new “gear” is required during this time period, whew!  Mainly sippy cups for the transition out of bottles, sensory toys, and a new car seat as your baby grows.

Somewhere in this timeframe, your baby will outgrow the first car seat.  We got the Britax Boulevard, which is both rear facing and forward facing, so it will accommodate your baby/ toddler/ child for the next few years.

I was late to do this, but it is a good idea to introduce sippy cups and straws to transition your baby away from the bottle.  I started this at 10 months, because I waited for my pediatrician to mention it before starting.  The Munchkin weighted straw is perfect!  Whoever is the genius that came up with this idea deserves a pat on the back, and thank you from mothers everywhere.  Highly recommend.  Also the Nuk sippy cup with base handles seems to be a fan favorite for most babies around this age.

Once your baby is able to pull up and has some coordination, a Walker is a great toy to introduce and gives your baby confidence and practice for when they are ready to walk.  Blocks seem to be a big hit at this age, as well.  We were gifted this Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Center, and any toy like this is sure to provide entertainment.

Your baby is now one!  Well done parents!!!!

TRAVEL

We travel quite a bit, and adding a baby to the mix definitely adds a new element.  For airplane travel with a newborn, believe it or not, this was the easiest time for travel for us.  Between 0-6 months, our baby would be fed, then fall asleep for the remainder of the flight.  From 6-12 months, not one minute of sleep on the plane.  Below are the travel essentials.

Baby K’Tan– for when your baby is small enough that a stroller is not needed.  Excellent for getting through the airport and boarding the airplane.

Travel Stroller– I love this stroller so much!  The Baby Jogger City Mini 2 is the version that we got, and I love it for a variety of reasons.  1. It is super easy to fold and open, like insanely easy.  2. The wheels do not have tires, meaning they will not pop, 3. The Velcro windows in the canopy allow for ideal viewing of your baby as you stroll.  4. It is much more compact than a jogging stroller, like the BOB, so it is much easier to load into your car, and slim enough to store in a restaurant.

For your diaper bag- a soft book and a travel teether are good to have on hand.  If your baby likes pacifiers, a WubbaNub pacifier is great to travel with- it is easier to grab if it falls out of your baby’s mouth, and less likely to roll to a neighboring seat or row.