Tools of the Trade–Baby Essentials
As I write this, I am back at work after maternity leave. I spent the last seven weeks at home, caring for my newborn daughter and her older sisters. Throughout my days at home, I realized that I have accumulated quite a few products that I consider invaluable when taking care of my children. I thought other people might be interested in the things I have discovered, and I would be interested in hearing about items that other people love!
1. Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper
This is an alternative to a traditional bassinet. It has one side that drops down and the whole crib is strapped to your bed. It gives the convenience of having your baby in bed with you while still providing a safe place to sleep. It even comes in a mini version for smaller bedrooms.
Most people are familiar with Boppy pillows for nursing. However, they are also great for bottle-feeding and tummy time. It has covers that are easily removable and washable, which are great if you have a baby that spits up a lot!
3. My Brest Friend nursing pillow
I just tried this pillow with my youngest and I do love it. It has lumbar support (which doesn’t work great if you’re trying to nurse in bed), a little pocket to hold things like a pacifier or lanolin cream, and is more flat than the Boppy, so baby doesn’t roll into you so much.
4. L’oved Baby Nursing Shawl
I received this as a gift after the birth of my middle daughter. I have used this shawl absolutely everywhere—planes, trains, boats, church, and even baseball games. The best thing is that it is big enough to completely cover you, front AND back. And if your baby spits up while you are burping her or him, your clothes are covered. The shawl has also worked as a car seat cover, as a blanket for my older girls and even a pillow when folded up.
5. Graco NasalClear Aspirator
This is an alternative to the traditional “blue bulb” you take home from the hospital. While I’m not sure you get more out with this gadget, I do find it to be much more efficient. Because it is battery-powered, you push a button to get suction and the mucus all goes into a little trap. So if you don’t get a good seal the first time, or if you get a lot out, you don’t have to clear the bulb out and get all set up to try again. You just keep pushing the button. When you’re done, just empty the trap in to the sink and rinse.
6. Mum2Mum bibs and burp rags
These are THE most absorbent items ever. We were given a bib for our oldest daughter when she was a toddler because she drooled so badly. It fits more like a bandana and helps to keep the neck dry, too. The burp rags are oversized so you don’t have to worry about spit-up running down your back when you burp your baby on your shoulder. (They also make bath towels and other items, but I haven’t tried those.)
7. Diaper Dude diaper bag
I actually bought this for my husband as a Father’s Day gift a couple of years ago. As a stay-at-home dad, I thought he deserved a more masculine diaper bag. Turns out, I love it too! It goes across your body, messenger-style, so it’s not slipping off as I’m trying to juggle a car seat and a purse. It also carries a ton and is available in many different colors.
8. Tommee Tippee First Sips cup
This is a sippy cup designed for babies as young as four-months old. While I haven’t tried it with that young of a child, I have found that this is one cup that babies can actually use with the valve in place. It also has a softer spout and handles to make it easier for them to learn to use a sippy cup.
9. SwaddleMe blankets
These blankets make it easy for anyone to swaddle any baby, and Velcro keeps the baby from getting out of them.
10. Halo Sleep Sacks
Think of these as “wearable blankets.” It is a safe alternative to regular blankets once you are done swaddling. The zipper makes middle-of-the-night diaper changes easy!
Please feel free to share your thoughts on any of these items or ones that you couldn’t live without!