Not to sound cliché, but it’s amazing how fast time flies when you’re a new parent. It’s also amazing how quickly your needs for baby crap gear changes as your little one grows and changes every five minutes! We still use a good number of the items that I raved about in my last Parenthood Survival Guide post, but there are also a lot of new items that got added to our list of must-haves as Graham has continued to grow from newborn to infant. I thought I’d share them with you all here, and I’m sure I’ll have a whole new list compiled in the next few months, as well!
Below are the items that we found invaluable throughout Graham’s first six months of life. Is there anything you’d change on this list if you’ve already been there, done that?
1. Miracle Blanket
I registered for this because several mom friends had recommended it, but I really wasn’t convinced that it was totally necessary. And then my kid started breaking out of his Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets and we realized that the Miracle Blanket is actually the most amazing thing ever. It bought us our first 7-hour chunk of sleep when Graham was 7 weeks old, and continued to grace us with many amazing 10+ hour nights after that. We used it right up until he was able to roll over.
2. Footed Pants
Baby socks tend to disappear off of baby’s feet, particularly when said feet are still super, super tiny. Footed pants pretty much saved my sanity and took socks out of the equation entirely. Once Graham discovered his feet and wanted to play with them all the time (barefoot, of course), the footed pants had to go, but they were totally awesome for the first several months of his life.
3. Trumpette socks
If your little one has outfits that are too adorable to pass up and you simply must deal with tiny baby socks to go along with them, Trumpettes are, hands down, the best. I always thought they were ridiculously overpriced for as small as they are (and I mean, come on — they’re socks!), but then I learned that they’re seriously the only brand that stays on. Until, of course, your little one learns how to pull them off. But even Trumpettes take a little longer for him to figure out!
4. Puj Tub
Graham was a tiny little guy at birth and is still on the smaller side, so we were able to make use of the Puj Tub until he was close to 5 months. This awesome tub folds up to fit in larger sinks (we used our kitchen sink), and is a major space-saver when not in use. Super useful if you live in a small space, or an older home with very little storage space.
5. Angel Dear Robot Blankie
Graham still doesn’t sleep with his “lovey,” but having it nearby when we’re rocking him to sleep often helps to comfort him. Before we started giving it to him, I slept with it so it would smell like me, which is supposed to add an extra bit of comfort.
6. Boppy Pillow
I know I talked a big game before about how the My Brest Friend is so superior to the Boppy — and as a breastfeeding pillow, I still think it is. But the Boppy definitely has its place in our house, and that is as a support pillow as Graham was learning to sit up on his own. We also have this Organic Cotton Slipcover that is super soft (a hand-me down from my niece, Ginger) and we still use it every single day when he sits and plays, since the occasional tumble still happens.
7. Vulli Vanilla Flavored Ring Teether
These are the perfect size for little hands to grab onto — they were one of the first small things that Graham really grasped onto. I also think the vanilla flavor had something to do with how much he loved these. They still come along with us on most car rides, and the texture of the lamb in particular seems to feel good on his gums. He rubs so hard that we can hear it squeaking on his gums!
8. Fisher-Price Cradle n Swing
The swing was short-lived, but 100% worth it for the time that it worked. At the beginning, it was where we would sit Graham while we attempted to eat dinner together for a few minutes. There was also that one week when it resulted in a few three hour naps in the afternoon. Man, that was an awesome week ;)
9. Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer
Certainly any bouncer will do, but this is the one that was given to us, and it was another short-lived but invaluable device when we needed 10 minutes to eat dinner in peace or throw in a load of laundry (and, when the swing wasn’t cutting it for whatever reason). Babies can be picky and sometimes Graham preferred to bounce rather than swing. Hey — whatever works, kid! He usually preferred this over his Rainforest Gym or just lying on a plain blanket and playing with toys, because it allowed him to sit up a bit and see everything that was going on. He also loved batting at the little birdies.
10. Emery Board
One of the best pieces of advice we received from a nurse at the hospital was to use an emery board to file baby’s nails instead of using those terrifying nail clippers to clip them. Their nails are so soft that filing is super simple; we use the emery boards that came in our American Red Cross Grooming Kit, but any small emery board would do. At the beginning Nick would file Graham’s nails while I fed him (so he was distracted), but now that he’s a little more active, the best method is usually wearing him facing out in the Bjorn and filing them then. He is so excited by everything he’s seeing by being in the carrier that he doesn’t even realize you’re filing his nails :)
11. Cotton Bibs
If you’ve got yourself a drooler, you’ll go through many, many bibs each day. SO much better than changing his outfit every few hours (and thus having much more laundry to do), and inexpensive if you buy these large packs at Babies R Us.
12. JJ Cole Car Seat Cover
If you live in a cold climate or your baby will be little in the winter months, this is a great alternative to a blanket that you have to tuck in every time you put baby in the car seat. We kept this attached to our car seat all winter and just zipped it up every time we were ready to go, or unzipped and removed the blanket part entirely if it was a warmer day (without having to remove the whole cover). We also have a BundleMe but we opted to use that on the stroller, since the back layer negates the safety standards of car seats. Not worth the risk in my opinion, so the car seat cover was a great way to keep baby warm AND safe!
13. Hygeia Enjoye Breast Pump
If you’re breastfeeding and ever plan to be away from your baby, a good breast pump is a necessity. I tried both the Medela Pump in Style and the Medela Symphony (hospital grade pump that we rented from the hospital). Of the two I really liked the Symphony for how quiet it was and how much more milk it allowed me to get, but it was pricey to rent each month so we decided to purchase a pump. On the recommendation of my friend Emily, I decided to purchase the Hygeia Enjoye. If it weren’t for her I never would have even heard of this company, but after using it for the last several months I find it really superior to the Medela pumps. The best thing about it, in my opinion (and as someone who hasn’t had the easiest time with breastfeeding) is the fact that you can control both the strength AND the speed of the pump — something that is not possible with the Medela models. Both Medelas have a two-minute faster letdown cycle and then a slower cycle where you can control the strength but NOT the speed. With my Hygeia Enjoye, I am able to control both, which has yielded more milk overall, which is obviously the ultimate goal! For that reason, it was well worth the money (not to mention that it is a hospital grade pump so it is safe to borrow or lend to someone as long as they use their own tubing, etc.). I was also able to use my Medela breastshields with the Hygeia pump, which was really nice. My only teeny tiny complaint is that it’s very loud, but that’s a small price to pay for the liquid gold I’m able to pump with it.
14. Hands Free Pumping Bra (not pictured for obvious reasons… the photos are ridiculous)
I think that all breast pumps should come standard with a hands-free pumping bra, because sitting there and holding the parts for twenty minutes while you pump just makes pumping even more of a bummer. (It’s necessary and you’re doing wonderful things for your baby, but let’s face it: pumping sucks.) There are lots of hands-free pumping bras out there; I got the Medela brand because I was desperate and it was the first one I could get my hands on at our local Babies R Us, but I have also heard good things about the Simple Wishes brand.
15. Amazon Prime membership (not pictured)
I’ve long been an Amazon.com superfan (which you have probably noticed with all the links). Yes, I am an Amazon Affiliate (see below) but it’s really just because I think Amazon is simply the bees knees. Having the ability to order a case of diapers and have them show up on my doorstep the next day with no shipping fee? Kind of amazing when you’re a new parent and you just don’t have the energy to put on real clothes to run to Target. (For the record, you get guaranteed free second-day shipping with an Amazon Prime membership on eligible items, but more often then not, stuff arrives to us within one day.) Not to mention that I’ve price shopped, and I still get better deals on most items by buying on Amazon.
For the items that helped us survive the first month of parenthood, be sure to check out my last post in this series!
All images via the links above; opinions are my own. Claremont Road is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.