As I type this thing is clipped to my yoga pants. I can't feed Viv until I get my hands on it. I had never heard of them, and was given it as a gift a few weeks before her arrival. I really only use it for tracking her feeding, but it does have buttons for sleeping, diaper changing, and just miscellaneous. With this puppy I don't have to remember what time it was I fed her last- which is really handy for middle of the night feedings when you're already sleep deprived in the early weeks. It also has a reminder alarm, which will be really helpful for when I lose track of time when I'm back at work for pumping.
CHANGING PAD COVERS
This is an obvious one, but I would suggest on stocking up on more than just one or two. We currently have three, but still have to use a receiving blanket when the three are in the wash. When it rains it pours people, and I feel like whether it be #1 or #2, they all get dirty within the same day...and then several days later the cycle repeats itself.
It was suggested to us early on to become Amazon Mom members, due to the deep discount on diapers. About a week after she was born we were taken off the waiting list and finally became members. I researched blogs on the cheapest route for diapers and it seems that this is it. With normal brick and mortar stores, you have to search for coupons to get the good deals- and let's just face it, I'm not a coupon gal. On my last purchase with Amazon Mom I paid $0.16 per diaper, which is $0.05 cheaper than a coupon purchase at Babies R Us. There is a slight catch though, you do now have to become an Amazon Prime member to get the 20% discount on diapers, which is $80/ year. So, if you expect to buy 1,500 diapers in the first year, that's $0.05 a diaper, BUT if you buy toilet paper, kleenex and paper towels through Amazon, that minimizes that cost per diaper. I love the convenience of Amazon Mom- shipping is free, it comes right to your door, and you setup a schedule for shipping your product however often you'd like. So, you don't have to go to any stores, you just have to make sure to update for size changes once in a while.
I love our ERGO baby carrier. Vivian can ride around in it while I get chores done during the day, and it almost always puts her to sleep. The reason I love ERGO is it has an infant insert (shown above), and then as she grows it works in so many other positions- front, back, hip and on and on. So, it's a great bang for your buck. We use it all the time on our walks and hikes too.
NURSING BRAS AND PADS
Again a no brainer for a breast-feeding Mama, but I never realized you need one on ALL THE TIME. And, you have to invest in nice ones in order to remain sane. I was afraid to buy one before baby because I wasn't sure what size I'd be, so I picked up a couple nursing sleeping bras. Once I was home from the hospital I went out and bought some everyday nursing bras that were on the cheaper side and I have to admit- huge mistake. I would suggest finding a good store that specializes in nursing bras. This will not only help with getting advice on your size, but they also carry tons of sizes, so you will be sure to find the perfect match. I love the Bravado Bliss bra. It's very comfortable, and comes with an extender so that as you continue nursing and your milk supply stabilizes, you can take out the extender when necessary. Again, these are pricey, but comfort and convenience is important in this region while your nursing, and you'll likely be using them for several months or even a year.
These are great for working out baby's neck muscles. But, they are the ultimate soother as well. Vivian has calmed down every time we've used it- just hold her, sit on the ball and bounce up and down. It's also a nice workout.
It's simple- easy access for those mid-night diaper changes.
BATH FOR THE SINK
We started out with a simple, foam bath- like the one below. It was great for when she still had her umbilical cord. We just laid it on the kitchen counter and gave her a sponge bath. But once we could submerge her, a sink bath was a must-have.
We bought the green one below, but there are a couple other options. The reason we love the sink bath is 1) they go flat for easy storage (we have no room for those fancy spa baby baths), 2) in the sink she can have a constant stream of water to keep her warm and happy, 3) it's easier on Mom and Dad's back and knees because we don't have to reach into the bathtub and 4) I think it's more comfortable for her because the big ol' bathtub can seem so large to a little baby.
Once she's sitting up and ready to take a normal bath, the sponge will be great again for her to sit on in the bathtub.
Having a smaller house, I didn't want all our space filled with Baby toys and gadgets, so we got one swing and opted to skip the bouncer. But, once we were home we realized the swing wouldn't work for a little baby because of the way it's shaped- the seat is pretty deep and she seemed to just disappear and look uncomfortable in it. We bought a bouncer seat which is much flatter, and was great for naps.
I've been a Crock-Pot fan for several years now, and it's more handy now than ever. I made several Crock-Pot meals when I was pregnant, which I froze. Now I can just thaw them for 30 minutes, drop into the Crock-Pot, and let cook for 4-5 hours. It's so nice because like most babies, Viv's most fussy around 5pm, and making dinner is hard when you have a screaming babe on your hands. Plus, Crock-Pot meals are large, so there are always left-overs for lunch.
Again, these are the things that work for Vivian. There are so many other things out there that are wonderful. I always heard the importance of swaddlers when I was pregnant, but I quickly learned that Viv isn't a big fan. She's more of a sprawler and has to have her hands out and by her face. So, the swaddlers that keep the arms down and wrapped up, did not make her happy. Usually about 15 minutes after she's been swaddled and is in bed, I hear her grunting and trying to loosen the thing up. So, a blanket wrapped around her legs is about all she can handle.
There are also so many other things that are must haves (burp clothes, breast pump, Boppy, lots o' clothes), but these are just the items that come to mind which I didn't anticipate would be so helpful.
All these things have made for a happy girl (sorry for my lack of editing skills, but if you're patient you'll see her first on camera smile :)):