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I Ate A Lot of Words: Baby products I thought I would never need

11/14/2013

Belle

I talked a lot, and I mean A LOT, of smack about people being gross consumers when a baby came. I said to so many women and men who had gone on to parent before me that “My kid will be minimal. We don’t need all this STUFF.” And every one of these wise men and women would just smirk knowingly at me. The joke was on me. These are the top five items that I wish I would have registered for. Each has been critical to our child’s existence and happiness.

1. The Holy Rock ‘n Play

Good lord how did people sleep without this? Sabine would not sleep anywhere but our arms when she first came home. My baby was tiny and needed to feel snug, secure and close to mama to get any rest. After two weeks of my husband staying up literally all night to hold baby, bringing her to me every three hours to nurse and then sleeping all day we caved and shelled out the $50 plus rush shipping for the Rock ‘n Play. Sabine slept exclusively in this by our bedside until she was 8 weeks, and then transitioned to the crib on her own. Today she still plays in it while I do some dishes, take a fast (albeit not regular enough) shower or run the vacuum (usually after I find a cat hair in her poopy diaper – gross!) We also attach this Tiny Love Sunny Stroll to it to make it a play station. Money well spent. Register for it!

2. Fisher Price Lamby Swing

This video is of Sabine having a delightful time in her swing right before we ate dinner. That laugh… that smile… those ten minutes of getting to use both hands to shovel dinner into our mouths… priceless!

Ok, I have to admit that I still hate this product because of how much space it takes up, but it allows the Professor and I to eat dinner with both hands each night and gives me 10-15 minutes of happy baby when I need to make a phone call. It was also the only place other than my arms that she would nap from 12-16 weeks of age. These swings come at a HUGE price tag for what they are, and they don’t serve your kid much past the age of four months from what I can tell. Sabine is starting to sit up now meaning one of us has to be by her side the entire time she is in the swing. Had we had this from day one, though, I think it would have been well worth the $150+. Since we bought it when she turned  12 weeks I snagged one very used swing on Craigslist for $40. Looks a worn but works just find and saved us a good bit of cash. Wish I had registered for one though and had it from the beginning!

3. Graco SnugRider

Another thing that I thought we would not need. Why not just use the adaptor bar on our Bumble Ride Indie? Um, because that sucker is HEAVY. Add a heavy car seat and good God almighty you are lugging about a zillion pounds of baby equipment for your 6 pound newborn. Oh, and every time I picked up and unfolded that Bumble Ride for the first four weeks post c-section I thought my belly would unravel. I finally caved and paid full price for the SnugRider after we moved to NYC and I realized that I physically could not carry Sabine in the car seat and the folded Bumble Ride up the three flights of stairs to the train by our house. Do I like that I have THREE strollers crammed into our closet? Nope. But the SnugRider is light, small, easy-peasy to use and worth every penny and inch of space, in my opinion! If you have not put this on your registry, seriously consider it. Especially if you rely on public transit for your day-to-day operations.

4. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit

Sabine all happy and smiles after a long sleep in her Magic Sleep Suit.

Sabine all happy and smiles after a long sleep in her Magic Sleep Suit.

Who on earth would spend $40 on a sleeper? This Mama. Sabine was a swaddle addict and I knew that the transition out of swaddles would be a challenging one so I bought the sleep suit at 3 months of age. I tried it a few times before she was rolling and it was an epic failure. Then last week Sabine mastered rolling from back to belly in one afternoon and we knew it was time. I tried putting her down without swaddle or sleep suit and she kept waking herself up with flailing arms. When I put her in the sleep suit, though, she slept 7 hours straight and has since done pretty darn well in it. She also seems quite happy to be able to find her thumbs at night and self soothe a bit. To the Mama’s who believe their baby will not need swaddled, or will magically be happy to transition from their swaddle to nothing, I knowingly smile and gently urge you to register for this damn expensive sleep suit. If you don’t end up needing it, return it. Otherwise, you will be singing it’s praises when you wake up at 3 a.m. and realize your baby has just slept 6 hours without any concern of he or she rolling over while swaddled!

5. My Brest Friend Breast Feeding Pillow

I made a lot, and I mean A LOT of fun of this when I was pregnant. Come on, how can you not make fun of something so poorly branded? But after my bout of mastitis, and the breast feeding fury that ensued to unclog my boob, I changed my mind. This pillow is the best invention and I shudder to think how much my hands and wrists would hurt if I did not have it! I would recommend registering for this pillow if you plan to breastfeed. Spend your first few weeks when baby is tiny using a regular pillow and when your milk supply is established and you feel confident in your breastfeeding journey, break this bad boy out. If breast feeding is not for you, the pillow is still in the packaging and you can return it for something you will find more useful.

What did you end up finding to be invaluable? What would you suggest new parents consider registering for?

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11 Comments

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  1. November 14, 2013

    Yeah, those swings have a huge footprint, but they are INVALUABLE if your kiddo likes the swing (as mine did as well). She was in it for just about 6 months, and it was the only place she’d nap, chill, or just be happy outside of my arms. I got it as a hand-me-down from a neighbor, but I’d gladly pay full price for a new one if needed.

    I have a boppy pillow for breastfeeding, and my Mom ended up buying me a 2nd one when she got here at 4d pp. We have a 2 level house, and for the first week or two pp, I SAT on one (think a donut) for my poor bum, and used one as directed. Then when I was feeling better, one was always on the couch downstairs, and one was always upstairs in the nursery. I used those pillows for months and months EVERY time i nursed, and they were also super handy for propping Stella up to look at things. Also 100% worth it.

    I’ve heard wondrous things about the Merlin Sleep Suit. Stella never really cared to roll, so we swaddled her up TIGHT for probably 6 months before starting to leave 1 arm out and then both arms out (body still wrapped). If she had rolled more though, I 100% would have bought that $40 suit. Worth every extra minute of sleep IMO!

    I’m not sure what else I’d call “essential” – but for us the boppy, swing, and good swaddling blankets (or actually, we used the Halo Sleep Sacks after a couple of weeks old because she couldn’t bust out of them!) were the keys for us. Basically anything that helped us to mimic the 5Ss. 🙂

    • November 15, 2013

      PS, my daughter just made us watch this video over and over – “I need to see baby! Mommy make baby swing!”

  2. jak #
    November 14, 2013

    hmmmmm… it’s changed. i’d say prior to 2.5 months there was a different set of essentials than there is now.

    then:

    1. swaddling blankets. some nights swaddling was the only thing to get chupacabra to go back to sleep. other nights, he’d fuss until we released him from swaddle prison, or kick and flail until he released himself. so depends. but was good to have plenty around.

    2. triple paste $$AF$$ (if you use this, you know what the dollar signs are about).

    3. husband’s lightly used flannel shirts laying around the house after being taken off after work each day = pee shields for changes, burp rags, swaddles, blankets for random location napping.

    5. mei tai free hand carrier. we took newborn to 3 month old version of baby everywhere in this – restaurants, parties, bbq’s, art shows. he could nurse in it, sleep in it, etc. and since it is a soft carrier, it’s easy for parents to wear while sitting down or standing up.

    6. FP jungle play gym thing. i thought it was the stupidest shower gift ever. bright and plastic-laden and awful looking. but i really think playing on this brought about some developmental steps that would have taken longer without it. also, when he’d wake up at 9pm while we were trying to eat dinner, or when he refused to go to bed until 11pm when his parents went to bed, we’d lay him on this next to us on the floor and he’d kick and flail and bat at things while we ate. sometime he napped on it too. actually, lots of times. he used to nap here instead of in his crib.

    as the bean is getting more active and probably rolling either now or in the next 10 minutes, haha, i’d love to see how this list changes!!! when chupacabra started rolling and bulldozer scooching (?), we put away about 3 huge pieces of gear and brought out about 3 even bigger new pieces of gear.

  3. November 14, 2013

    Ahhhh we looooove the sleep suits!!!

  4. November 14, 2013

    I just literally registered for these per your suggestion. Love the registry tips because I am totally clueless!

  5. November 14, 2013

    Yay for Merlin!!!! Except Shira is now finding new ways to wale herself up in it :-/ But it worked really well for a while. The Lamby Swing we’ve had since Day 1 and she lerrrrves it. It makes me sad shes almost outgrown it!Never did Rock and Play. For some weird reason Shira never had a prob being put down in the crib or co sleeper (knocking on all the wood). Other “can’t live withouts” for us have been: triple paste, ventaire bottles, my symphony breast pump, halo microfleece sleep sack, tiny love mobile and her safari “jungle” gym/playmat!

  6. nonsequiturchica #
    November 14, 2013

    I have tried to keep down the number of things that we had on our registry as well because the number of things the stores tell you to register for is INSANE. Who has that kind of money?? I’m hoping that our baby likes the Mama Roo as that was one thing that CP HAD to have. Everyone talks about the Rock n Play so hopefully it is similar?

  7. karaleen #
    November 14, 2013

    I am a HUGE consumer of baby crap. Seriously…I found the gadgets to be vital to my health and wellbeing. #1 for me is the video monitor. Get the good one…shell out the cash…this will allow you to see your baby in her bed and hear her. Vital for when they start moving around. You will know if they have a foot stuck or are just in there grunting and groaning. It was so wonderful for my sanity to be able to wake…take a quick look and listen and then go back to sleep. If I didn’t have it I would have gotten up several times a night to check. My other faves are what I call the “baby stations”. Babies only like to be in one place for 10-20 mintutes tops. I liked to have a rotation going to keep baby happy in between our snuggle and nursing sessions. I loved the swing and the bouncy chair with vibration for the early days (newborn to about 4-5 months). Then it was on to the playmat/gym Jumper and the excersaucer. I could rotate baby through these items and pick up 45-75 minutes a day of hands free time (not including nap times). It allowed me to change laundry, get in a shower, pay the bills and do some cooking or house keeping. In between there were lots of snuggles, books, nursing and playing….but I NEEDED those things to keep my baby happy while I was just being a grownup! It also teaches them to play and focus on toys instead of being contantly stimulated by us. Worked out GREAT! Each one was worth EVERY PENNY!!!!! Later…the high chair became a favorite too…a couple toys…a few finger foods and baby loved being up at my level while I puttered around the kitchen. I think the best thing about your revelations as a parent is that you can admit your pre-parent notions about them were sometimes off! Way to go mama. Nothing better than learning from experience. We all have been there!
    kd

  8. November 14, 2013

    We also could NOT live without the rock n play (the twins still sleep in them overnight at 4 months old) and that fisher price swing. Absolutely necessary. You just pushed me to purchase the sleepsuit – it’s coming tomorrow! Ditching the swaddle for DD and giving this, and the crib, a try. Thank you!

  9. November 14, 2013

    haha, I am the total opposite! I thought I needed so much and used barely any of it. I literally did not use a single one of those products (and I bought a lot of them).

  10. November 14, 2013

    I bought every swaddle blanket/woombie type thing made and from day one the baby slept with her arms in the air….I am holding on to them in case the next one likes to be swaddled.

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