Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mommy Must-Haves

I've been really wanting to put together a "Mommy Must-Have" post forever and my sweet friend Amy just found out she is expecting a baby girl so we have been talking a ton about all of our favorite things. So I decided it was the perfect time to pull together a little list of my favorites from BGT's first nine months.

Graco® Pack 'n Play with Cuddle Cove™ Rocking Seat - Astoria
Graco Pack 'n Play
At the top of the list is the Graco Pack 'n Play. I can not say enough good things about it. We initially kept it in our room before we transitioned Bennett Grace to her crib and now we use for her play cage... er, I mean play yard, now that she is in to EVERYTHING. We load that thing down with toys and she plays and plays without us worrying about what she is getting in to. There are so many to choose from in tons of price points with different features to meet each individual family's needs. The version we chose included a new born napper, raised bassinet and changing table. It also has a night light and sound machine and best of all it has a vibrate setting which is basically the equivalent of Ambien for babies. Be still my beating heart. We would flip that vibrate setting on along with the nice calming nature sound and Bennett Grace would be asleep in seconds. Magical.

Next up... The Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play napper. You know that saying "So nice they named it twice?" It was so nice we bought it twice! Well, in actuality we got the first basic version as a shower gift and LOVED IT so we bought the SnuggaBunny version to keep at our house and we kept the other at my mom's house. It folds flat to store so it has been great for travel. We have taken it to Cincinnati and to the beach twice and it has been wonderful! When BGT was sick the first time she slept in it because it has a slight incline which kept her sinuses open and I felt to much better knowing that she was in the room by me. We also used the heck out of it in the summer. Our basic model has vented sides and so Bennett Grace enjoyed countless days napping in the cool shade with a nice breeze flowing through it while we hung out with family and friends by the pool. Plus she LOVES it! I'm bummed that she is starting to get too big for it :(

When BGT was little and really up to about 6 months she loved to be swaddled. At first we used blankets then she became a master of busting out of the swaddle and we discovered the magic of the SwaddleMe swaddlers. There are tons of brands that have similar products but we liked the SwaddleMe best. They are precious and easily transitioned from a full swaddle to "arms out".
star light swaddlepyara bamboo swaddles
Speaking of swaddling blankets, we loved the Aden + Anais swaddling blankets. The originals are muslin which are so light and airy but when swaddled they breathe well but also hold in just the right amount of heat. We also have the bamboo version which may very well be the softest swaddling blanket on the market. Trust me they are worth the price tag. They are perfect for swaddling or covering the carseat to keep the paparazzi at bay :)

star light burpy bibIn addition to their magical swaddling blankets, Aden + Anais make tons of great products, my favorite being their burpy bibs. They are burp cloths and a super sized bib all in one. There is a snap at the corner that wraps completely around the baby's neck. Perfect for keeping "the good outfits" clean. They are the same soft muslin as the swaddling blankets and wash up great.

We also could not get enough of converter gowns when Bennett Grace was brand spanking new. I found that they were so convenient when she was so small and I wanted her to be comfortable but not in PJs all day. They were the best of both worlds. They are a gown at night for quick diaper changes and convert to a one piece for the day time. So warm and cozy. I can picture my sweet munchkin still so tiny and new snuggled next to me in her converter gown with her baby bear house shoes.

Now let's talk feeding the munchkin. We are still breast feeding (woohoo! I never thought we would last this long and I feel quite accomplished!), however since I'm a full time working mama we switched over to nearly exclusively pumping when I went back to work. The Medela Pump In Style has been my lifeline. It allows me so much freedom especially in the early days when Bennett Grace was eating every couple of hours. The pump is stored in a tote bag and comes with a small insulated cooler bag that holds 4 six ounce bottles and a freezer pack. There is also room for all of your pump accessories. Early on a bought a cheap lingerie bag that is meant for the washing machine. It allows me to toss in all my clean pump pieces and keep them separated from everything else. It also allows them to air dry if they are still damp. It worked out great for us.

If you are pumping then you NEED the Medela Easy Expression Hands Free Bustier. Sure, I chuckled at it several times before my friend Donora strongly encouraged me to get one. I'm so glad I listened to her. When I tell you that I have been rushed to get out the door and have pumped while feeding Bennett Grace a quick bottle with one hand and putting on my makeup on with the other, I am not exaggerating. I've been overall impressed with Medela products. The only thing I much prefer when it comes to BF that is not Medela is Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags. They hold more and are waaaay cheaper for the same quality product. No brainer.

Get a bottle warmer people. I know some say they are a luxury or unnecessary but when your baby is hungry and screaming, the difference between the two minutes it takes to warm a bottle with the warmer and the five minutes without it is worth the price of a hundred bottle warmers. I'm not going to even tell you about the time we forgot ours while on a trip to Cincinnati. It's too painful for even me to recollect. We used Dr. Brown's bottles mostly so we used the Dr.Brown's Delux Bottle Warmer.

Now that we are transitioning from bottles to sippy cups I have learned that as with bottles, not all sippys are created equal. After lots of trial and error I have found my match in the Nuk Learner Cups. They have nice big removable handles, are spill proof and have measurements on the side. (I was surprised to find that all sippys don't.) they come in lots of cute colors. (If your in the market, Walmart usually has them for the best price.)

As far as "solids" go, I have committed to making Bennett Grace's baby food. I like it because it lets me know exactly what she is eating and hopefully I can help her develop some good eating habits along the way. But let's face it, not everyone has the time and there are certainly times when I'm running late or we need to get out of the house in a flash and I don't have the time to pack something for BGT to eat. Those are the days I turn to Plum Organics. They are all organic and everything on the label you can pronounce. Yay for no added sugar or preservatives! We love the level two blends AND Boon makes an awesome Dispensing Spoon that attaches to the pouches for on the go feeding. GENIUS. Plum also makes tons of snacks, and we really like their line of Plum Organics Puffs. They were awesome for getting BGT to develop her pincher grip and they melt in seconds so I wasn't worried about her choking (even though I swear she tries to see just how many she can put in her mouth at a time). Plus they taste really good.

Trace Bath Appliques

Back to Boon for a second... Get their bath toys. BGT is obsessed with bath time and especially the toys and these keep BGT so entertained. They float, they stick to the side of the tub, they are easy to keep clean and they make great teething toys. Enough said.

Product DetailsAnother must-have for us have been Robeez socks. They are kick-proof and THE BEST SOCKS EVER. We got a set of three as a gift and they are amazing. BGT would blow a sock every two seconds before and then we put these on her and they stayed on like magic. They have a tiny band of elastic at both the bottom and the top of the ankle. We have so many sets now. The only issue is they are super hard to find. They are made by Stride Rite, however they don't sell them any longer through their website or the Robeez website. You can occasionally find them in the Stride Rite stores but call ahead because they sell out so quick if they get them in. I have also seen them on major sale at TJ Maxx and on Zulily a hand full of times. Your best bet is Amazon and, they by far have the best selections. 0-6 months are easier to find than 6-12 months so even if your shopping for a newborn and you see 6-12 in a pattern you like, trust me and buy them!!!

My sweet angel has super sensitive skin just like her mama, so Boudreaux's Butt Paste and Auqaphor are go-tos for us. For diaper rash or to prevent diaper rash Boudreaux's is amazing. We put it on at the first sign of redness and it is cleared up literally that day. Auqaphor is amazing too. if you follow my blog you know that BGT has roll after roll and until recently, i was not sure she even had a neck. She used to get really red and irritated skin especially between her neck and chin and with her constant drooling it was impossible to keep it dry. Then we met this woman at the pool with precious twin boys and we struck up a conversation about babies. She let us know she had the same issues when her boys were little and suggested Aquaphor. It works as water barrier to protect skin but heals at the same time. Man was she right! So thank you mystery lady from the pool, you were right it is amazing! (I feel like I'm channelling Britney Spears on X-Factor with all this AMMMMMAZING!)

When BGT got sick the first time I was so freaked out that she had or was going to get the flu/a sinus infection/RSV/pneumonia/fill in your choice of dreaded illness. thankfully the doctor confirmed it was just a little cold, but she was so stopped up that she could barely breathe. He suggested we try saline drops. So I'm like... Uh, like contact solution? Then he politely directed me to Little Noses Saline Drops by Little Remedies. Holy moly! They worked like a charm. They can either be used like a dropper or as a spray. You know the old saying what goes up must come down? Well that's exactly what you can expect. It was a huge help.

GET A FOREHEAD THERMOMETER. Just do it. When your sweet little munchkin is sick and sleeping do you want to risk waking them up to get their temperature by sticking something in their ear or the less preferred alternative... The answer is no. NO NO NO. The forehead thermometer is quick and you just barely touch them with it. It is also helpful when they are sick and squirming from you because it is so fast. We have two kinds. I am not convinced that either is better than the other but I know they are better than the ear variety or the good old fashioned way.

Another must have for us has been the Thirty-One Insulated Tote Bag and Large Utility Tote with lid. I'm not sure it would have been helpful in the first few months but around 3 or so months when you start carting toys from place to place, for sure! We go to my parents house or my in-laws a lot and my mom keeps Bennett Grace during the week while I'm at work so we are back and forth a lot. You know when people tell you that after you have kids it feels like you have to take the whole house wherever you go? That's us. I feel like we load up the car every time we head to see the fam. Enter magical Thirty-One. I can literally fit the diaper bag and all of its contents along with all of her toys, her Insulated Tote (ie. lunchbox) and even enough stuff so that she (or we) can stay the night at my parents. This eliminates the need for 1370411 bags which I have been known in the past to bring. Hallelujah! And lest I forget to mention they are beautifully monogrammed and let's face it I'm a southern girl so Monograms are basically required for everything. The lunchbox as I call it is sooooo amazing (there I go with that word again). Now that Bennett Grace is only doing a couple of bottles a day, we have little need for a big insulated bottle bag. We have however added in a sippy cup and at least one or two bowls of baby food. If I'm sending BGT to my mom's for the day, I can fit two regular sized bottles, a sippy cup and two stacked bowls with a freezer pack all in her lunch box. Everything stays nice and cold and is all in one place. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
Fisher-Price My Little SnugaBunny Swing

I know I am leaving out a million things, (like a swing- we have the Fisher-Price SnugaBunny, we didn't thing a swing was important so we didn't get it until Bennett Grace was a month old. Maaaaaan were we wrong. It saved my sanity when BGT was little and wouldn't let me put her down) but these things really are a pretty good representation of our loves from the first 9 months.

As much as I would love to be compensated for my gushing over the above products, regretfully I was not. All opinions are my own :)



  1. LURVE this! So many things on this list were things that you recommended for us to get before Coop arrived and they have saved our lives and made a huge difference! I love being able to go to you with questions about different things. Just one of the many many many reasons I am so thankful that you, Sean and Bennett Grace are in our lives. We love you all!

    1. Thanks El! I'm glad they helped you. I am sure as time goes on I will have more suggestions for you :) Smooch Coop for me.

  2. Wow, I love this post! Makes me even more baby hungry! Cant wait for the day I can come use it as a reference :-)

    1. Thanks! They she's a blast! Hope it will help you in the future :)