but we've certainly learned a lot this last half year, such as which products made our life just a little bit easier. but just because something worked for us, does in no way mean it will work for other babies. if babies are one thing it's particular and unpredictable. :)
nonetheless, i always found it (and still do) fascinating to hear/read other parents' perspectives/learnings on this sort of thing, so, in no particular order, this is our family's must-have baby products for the first 6 months:
- the bobby - or any other nursing pillow. i know not all moms use one, but i've used mine every single day since he was born and am still using it. it definitely makes nursing easier and was also used for baby's tummy time and to prop him up. in all fairness, this is the only nursing pillow i tried, but it worked well!
- mobile - we started the fisher-price rainforest peek-a-boo leaves musical mobile (purchased for $10 at a consignment sale) around the time our bud was 4 1/2 months old. he was absolutely fascinated by the movement, and it made me wish i had purchased one sooner.
- swing - we received a like-new carter's safari friends swing from some friends (the older model of the one pictured below), and we used it every day, especially the first three months when the witching hour was in full swing. it's rarely used now, but occasionally, it's the only way he'll go down for his afternoon nap. the fact that it is battery operated vs. a plug in swing doesn't bother me nearly as much as i thought it would.
- baby connect app - easily the best $5 i've ever spent! i've blogged about this before, but this app helped track every feeding, nap and yes, even every bowel movement the first five months (until i gave up my iphone). highly recommend, especially for a new mom!
- breast pump - bought the hygeia enjoye double electric pump from the local cotton babies boutique once my milk supply decreased drastically around the 3-month mark. in order to increase my supply, i was advised to pump after every time i nursed, and i knew then my manual pump was not going to cut it. this was one of the biggest splurges (although cotton babies is so committed to helping women breast feed, they sell them at cost), but i've used it multiple times/day for the past 3 months and i'll continue to use it for the next 6 months or so. it was also important to me to buy a closed system pump, and this pump has been fantastic!
- stroller - we originally wanted the uppbaby visa stroller; we just didn't want the $700+ price-tag that went along with it. but we couldn't find a used one on craigslist, and instead the hubs ended up finding a SCREAMING deal on a used bugaboo chameleon, a stroller i never even considered or wanted. think $200, including the bassinet, car seat adapter, cup holder and many other accessories. it was a deal too good to pass up, and after buying a new cover for it (same color as pictured below), we were into the stroller for $250, and it looked like new. i was afraid we'd regret not buying the bob stroller like most of our northwest friends own and recommended, but we're not really joggers, and we haven't yet been on any super rugged terrain that may have required the bob. the bugaboo has been FANTASTIC for everything we've used it for (including the sand at the beach), and it maneuvers better than most other strollers i've tried.
- play mat/gym - our bud used this A LOT, especially the first four months, but it still entertains him. now, he rolls over almost right away, but at least he has some fun colors to look at while on his tummy. :) it also folds up and is easy to take apart and wash, which is a big plus because let's face it, babies spit up ALL THE TIME!
- miracle blanket - this swaddler really worked like a miracle once the swaddleme swaddlers no longer contained our little houdini. it was more than worth its weight in gold and provided both parents and our little bud with better sleep...at least for a while longer until he became too strong even for this!
- exersaucer - this was another craigslist find and is similar to the one pictured below. we purchased it around the 5 month mark, when it was obvious our sweet bud was requiring more entertainment than i could constantly provide. he loves it, and while i don't like keeping him in it for extended periods of time, it works like a charm for those times when i need to free my hands for 10 or 15 minutes.
- baby bjorn carrier - i was fortunate to receive this used from a former manager. we didn't use it much the first six months, but the times it was used (such as on the flight to phoenix), it was critical! we also own the ergo baby carrier, but he was always just a bit too small for it. i foresee the ergo being used much more as he gets bigger.
- tommee tippee bottles - they claim to be 'closer to nature', and i do believe there's some truth to that because our bud never had a problem going back and forth between nursing and using these bottles. i had planned to use dr. brown's glass bottles after hearing so many good things about them. but all the extra bottle parts were no fun to clean, and without them, the bottles leaked. these worked much better overall.
items we thought we'd use and didn't -
- video monitor - we actually purchased one and even set it up, but found that we didn't really use it much because we always wanted to physically check up on him. i imagine this will come in handier as he gets older.
- white noise machine - we used a white noise app on our phone for the first couple of months, but decided we didn't want him always relying on white noise to fall asleep, so we stopped, and he's managed quite well without it!
- diaper pail - we use a plain, old-fashioned trash can, and it's been sufficient.
- bouncy seat - didn't need one of these AND a swing.
- moby wrap (or any other wrap) - we received one used, and i had every intention of using it, but we didn't get out much during the winter months when he was smallest, and that's when it would've come in most handy.
- humidifier - again, had every intention of buying one, but never did, and can't really say we missed it.
- co-sleeper/bassinet- well, technically, we used the bassinet attachment from our stroller for the first two weeks next to our bed, but after that our bud slept in his crib - one of the best decisions we ever made!
- pacifiers - he used the one from the hospital for a few days, but overall, didn't really care for the paci. there were (and still are) some times i wish he'd take one, but he prefers his hand instead. :)
- snap-n-go stroller - i was convinced we needed one of these, but luckily our stroller came with a car seat adapter, and served the same purpose this would have.
there are so many little things we could list, but these are the big(ger) items that have made a difference. it's amazing how much STUFF we accumulate with a baby - and i feel like we're minimalists compared to the baby products we could have!
i would LOVE to hear what products other mamas out there found to be valuable. or any on my list you disagree with? :)