I thought it would be a good time to stop and take stock of some of the things that made our lives easier the first six months with a baby. As a first time mom I relied on my friends recommendations and a lot of my own research but of course every baby is different so what worked for us may not work for other babies.
The Baby Bjorn Bouncer Chair
We initially thought a baby chair was a waste of money but soon realized how crucial it was to have a place to put Jude down that wasn’t on the floor, in the crib, or on one of us. What we love about the Baby Bjorn chair is that it has three different heights so you can adjust the angle depending on whether you want the baby to sleep or sit up and watch you. The chair folds flat, is lightweight, and the seat is soooo easy to take off and can be thrown right in the wash. The only downside in the early days was that the bouncing is all manual so we spent a lot of time with one foot on the chair rocking him to sleep in it. Long gone are the days where he will sleep in it so now he just hangs out with a few toys and watches me as I do dishes or fold laundry. It was definitely a good investment.
Wash clothes (for teething and lots of other things) and muslins
When I was pregnant a friend of mine recommend that I buy a big pack of wash clothes from IKEA. We already had quite a few but I went ahead and bought more. Boy, I was sure glad I did! We use them all the time for everything – baths, spit, spills and more. Perhaps the strangest use is for teething. We’ve tried a number of different teething toys but hands down the thing Jude loves the most is a wet wash cloth. So at bath time, Luke gets one for washing Jude and Jude gets one to suck on.
Like wash cloths, you can never have enough muslin blankets. They are great as swaddles, light blankets, spit rags, breastfeeding covers and so on. Wonderful.
The Miracle Blanket
I read a lot about swaddling and knew that we would try to do it with Jude. So after a lot of research I decided to buy the ‘Miracle Blanket’. Jude turned out to be one of those babies that did not like having his legs wrapped up so anytime we would put him in a full swaddle he managed to kick his legs out. This included the ‘Miracle’ Blanket. And overtime we just stopped putting his feet inside and instead just wrapped his arms in what we would call a ‘half-swaddle’. It worked great with his arms ‘pinned’ as he would no longer startle himself and we saw an improvement in his naps. This particular blanket is great as it is so easy to use. We could undo and redo it in the middle of the night no problem.
Jude pretty much lived in these little tees for the first 3 months. They are insanely awesome and insanely hard to find in stores. I really don’t understand why they aren’t used more widely. Jude wasn’t a fan of having things put over his head in the beginning so we stayed away from most onesies and used these. Plus, not having to deal with undoing the onesie in the middle of the night for a diaper change is great. He still wears them in a bigger size now and they are the perfect complement to cloth diapers, which tend to be a bit bulkier than disposables, meaning onesies don’t always fit so well over them.
Fisher Price Seahorse
Jude got given this in the States on our first trip there when he was 2.5 months old. Since then he has slept with it every night! It plays the most wonderfully soothing music for a full 5 minutes and also has a nice soft, glowing light. When he sees it, he knows it’s time for bed. And as he got older he started snuggling with it in the crib. Too cute.
It was one of our more expensive purchases but worth every penny. It gives us peace of mind every night to be able to turn it on and see Jude sleeping soundly in his own room. Plus it is so so so useful as a tool to gauge when to go into the room when he is crying or just whining. I am pretty sure we couldn’t live without it!
I bought the Solly Baby Wrap and it lived up to it’s promise of being really soft and comfortable. After a few tries I quickly mastered how to tie it and for Jude’s first six weeks of life it was my go to wrap. I could tuck him in there so easily and he would fall asleep while I went about doing other things.
The Quinny Zapp Extra w/folding seat (and Maxi Cosi Carseat)
I did a lot of research on strollers before settling on the Quinny. It pretty much ticked all my boxes of being small, easy to maneuver, light-weight, easy to travel with, and has different seat options to suit Jude as he grows. We also purchased the Maxi Cosi Carseat for which the Quinny had carseat adapters. We used this combo to stroll Jude around until he was around 2.5 months old. Then we put the seat in, facing toward us, which he dug until he became less interested in looking at us and more interested in looking at what was happening around him. So at 6 months we turned the seat to face out. I especially love how the seat, when facing either direction, has different recline options. The biggest downside on the Quinny Zapp, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t have a top ‘peek-a-boo window’ and the bottom basket is super tiny. But I knew I could live with both these things.
We use it every single day. We could not live without it. The best and most comfortable baby carrier on the market great for both mom and dad. We can carry Jude on our fronts or backs. The two biggest complaints I have heard about the Ergo are that baby can’t face out and that you have to wait until baby is around 15lbs to start using (without the infant insert). We started using it when Jude was just 2 months (without the insert) and just rolled a towel up, sat him on it, and tucked his legs in. No problem. The facing out thing would be nice but honestly now that he is bigger and heavier it would be hard to have him face out as most of his weight would be hanging off our body and so putting a large strain on our backs and shoulders. The Ergo is designed to be super duper back friendly and still comfy after hours of wearing. Luke and I can both vouch for that. Thanks, Ergo for making such a stellar product.
A Baby Bath-tub
In the beginning we thought why spend $20 on a mini bath-tub when babies grow so quickly and will be using the big person bath in no time. So after his umbilical stub fell off we used a little basin to wash him in (I was given it at the hospital but didn’t end up needing for reasons I won’t get into here). It worked but wasn’t easy as babies are slippery and you have to support their heads, body, and wash them all at the same time. Then when it was obvious Jude was starting to get a bit big for the basin, our wonderful friends dropped off their old baby bathtub. It was amazing. They saved the day, our backs, and our baby from getting too dirty. Jude loves it and so do we. It will see him through until he is ready for the big boy tub.
Bumgenius Pocket Diapers with snaps
These are, in my opinion, the Rolls Royce of cloth diapers. I tried approximately 5 different diapers/brands (including the same diaper but with velcro) and these are my favorite. We started cloth diapering at 3 months (which I still think is the right decision given how crazy and hectic the first few months are. Plus, newborns poo all the time). After trialling them all out, the Bumgeniuses were the easiest to remove soil, came out the best after washing, and had the best fit on Jude’s bum. I like the snaps as, unlike velcro, they don’t snag or get worn after washing. I have also had some issues with velcro and leaks, whereas these seem to seal a better.
This was given to Jude by Aunt Abby and (soon-to-be Uncle!) Brad. Boy, did they pick the perfect gift as Jude loves it and we love it. He goes with us everywhere and never fails to make Jude smile. Amazing.
Merino Kids Sleep Sack
This was something I decided to buy after Jude rejected the swaddle and I had to make a decision about what Jude could sleep in safely. I also wanted something that signaled bedtime to Jude when we put him in it. The sleep sack was just the answer to what we needed. There are sacks made out of a lot of different material but you can’t beat merino. He daytime naps and sleeps in this and it should fit him through to 2 years, so it was a great investment.