May 31, 2013

Baby Stuff: My Top 5 and Bottom 5

I have seen countless versions of these lists all over Pinterest and the interweb.  Some I agree with and some I do not.  After all, every baby is different and every family is different, so we all have different needs.  That being said, I felt compelled to share what have been the top 5 and bottom 5 items that we bought pre-baby.  Since all families are different, here is the basics of ours:

  • We cloth diaper.  We use g diapers and LOVE them!  Cloth diapering means that I do not throw away diapers (duh!) and I do a LOT of laundry.  
  • We were unable to breast feed.  We tried and just could not get the hang of it.  I decided the emotional toll of feeling like I was starving my baby outweighed the possible benefits if we could have gotten the hang of it and switched to formula by the time we had been home for 2 weeks.
  • We are VERY busy people and on the go a lot of the time.  Convenience rules in this house.
  • My child has always had a need to have "alone" independent time during the day where he can play alone without being held or cooed at.
Now that you know a bit about our dynamic, here is the top 5 items that we had that we use the most, have been life savers, or are simply items that I have never looked at and said, "Eh, we could have done without that.

     5.  The number 5 item on my list is a tub-side seat for parents.
        Kneeling on tile hurts.  That is all.  We have a padded kneeling pad as well which you can see in the corner and that I use when I am washing and need to lean over pretty far, but for playtime, the seat is the best!  It also serves as my seat for rinsing out cloth diapers in the toilet.  Toilets are low to the ground relatively.  A fact I quickly realized as I washed out 5 diapers in a row from a day at daycare or an outing.  This seat has saved my back, knees, and sanity many times as I clean yet another poopy diaper or as I watch my kiddo play and splash joyfully in the tub.

     4.  Number 4 goes to items that facilitate independent play at different stages.

        As I said, my kiddo has always enjoyed playing by himself.  Even as a little bitty guy, he craved alone time (his Daddy's boy).  Having toys that fostered that need and accommodated him at different stages of development were very important.  The first is an activity mat.  We could hang toys from it and switch them out to keep it interesting.  He would lay on it and play with those toys for up to a half hour to 45 minutes.  Yes, I had a 6 week old that would play by himself for 45 minutes.  For those with kiddos that would not allow being put down, this next phrase will sound crazy, but we all want balance right?  Sometimes, I wish I had a cuddlier baby.  He just isn't the type to sit on my lap and snuggle up.  He want to explore his environment on his own, but he checks in every now and then to make sure I am still here. 
        The second picture is a jumper.  We opted for the jumper over the saucer because they just look like more fun.  The box said 4 months and up.  We started using it at 3 months and just stuffed blankets behind him to keep him from falling over.  He just wanted to be up so bad.  He has loved this jumper since then.  He is 8 and a half months now and can still use it (longevity) but does not want to be in it as long now that he can crawl.  He doesn't want to be trapped.
        The last item is an activity table.  He played with it on the floor for the longest time,  but now that he is a pulling up pro, he stands at it and plays all of the songs, scratches like a DJ, and pounds the drum with any toy he can find.  This is his current favorite independent play item for sure!

     3.  Okay, I know that last one was kind of cheating since it was a 3 in 1, but they are all related.  Number 3 is our water kettle.
        So this is one of those items that my breast feeding friends would not need, but it was key for us.  It is a kettle that plugs in and keeps water at a perfect 98 degrees for bottle making.  We never have to wait for a bottle to warm up or try to get tap water to a good temperature.  Also, when he was still night feeding we would take it up stairs and plug it in so that we would not have to go downstairs to make a bottle in the middle of the night.  We use it to fill a thermos that we put in the diaper bag when we go out so we have warm water on the go.  I also use it to make oatmeal for his breakfast.  This is purely a convenience item, but sure has it been great!  Totally worth losing the bit of counter space that it takes up.

     2.  The number 2 item on my list is our swing. 
        I can hear you already..."My kid HATED the swing!"  Mine did not.  He loves to swing.  We have not been using it lately because he does not want to be confined, but we have used the heck out of this thing.  When he was itty bitty and would not nap, the swing would save us.  He also loved watching the mobile and would sometimes just hang out and watch the little birdies go around and around.  Sometimes he just needed a low stimulation break and the swing would help him calm down.  Sometimes he hung out in there so I could go to the bathroom.  The one we picked could lay down or sit up and swing side to side or back and forth.  The versatility was nice, not going to lie.  It also plugged in so we did not have to go through countless batteries.  It was great and I do not know what we would have done without it sometimes.

     1.  And the number one thing in our house is the crib hanging music/white noise machine thing...(I don't know what to call it)
        This thing can light up and play music or be dark and play ocean sounds or any combination thereof.  My kid loves watching the fish swim and hearing the music and he has fallen asleep to the ocean sound since day 1.  I am a big believer in white noise of some kind.  It has been essential in our short life with a baby (and helped my 7 month old fall asleep instantly on airplanes).  This little box has been our snooze button (when he wakes up at 6 and I just need a few more minutes to get myself into mommy mode), it has been our middle of the night go back to sleep machine, our entertainment while I go downstairs to make a bottle after bath, our distraction while I cut toenails or put on jammies.  I am glad we use rechargeable batteries or I would feel very guilty about the amount of batteries gone through for this little guy.  It is the single best purchase we made (or someone made on our behalf from our registry, rather). 

Now for my bottom 5. 

     5.  A TON of crib sheets and hooded towels and blankets.  I did not take a picture because we all know what these things are.  They are the things that everyone tells you that you can't have too many of.  I am here to tell you, you can.  Babies make a lot of laundry.  Cloth diapering gives that laundry a since of urgency (so you don't run out of clean diapers).  I do laundry at least every other day.  That means that I can have 3 of any one thing and always have one clean.  When Caedmon was little bitty and stayed in one spot in his bed and sometime spit up at night or during nap (or always in our case) we used the sheet saver pads so we didn't have to change his sheet 15 times a day.  I rotate through 2 or 3 crib sheets and probably have 7 or 8.  Same goes for hooded towels.  I rotate through 3, don't wash them after every bath (after all, do we wash out towels after every use?).  I have probably 8 hooded towels, most of which have never been used.  We were not the kind of parents that wrapped receiving blankets around our baby (we used Velcro swaddle blankets which barely missed the top 5 list.  Amazing things.  Seriously).  So I did not use many of the blankets we were given.  I had a couple favorites that I used in the carseat and now at night, but there are several light weight receiving blankets that never saw the light of day from the bottom of the blanket bin.

     4.  Number 4 is the Bumbo.

        I was convinced that I HAD to have this before Caedmon was born because we used them at the daycare I had worked at and they were great.  Little did I know how much my kid would hate being put in it.  His desire to play upright before he could sit independently was outweighed by some strong aversion to the Bumbo seat.  He started sitting alone at 5 months and was perfectly happy risking the occasional topple rather than be in the seat.  He just was not a fan.

     3.  Coming in 3rd is the bouncy seat.
        We just did not use this very much.  The only time it saw much use was when Caedmon was small and I could put him in it to grab a shower.  He quickly grew bored of it and never really appeared to be super comfy in it.  He would prefer to just lay on the floor with his activity mat toys.  It now serves as the "toybox" for Mom and Dad's room.  Not it's intended purpose.

     2.  Pre-baby purchased pacifiers are number 2.
        Don't get me wrong, my baby is a binky loving baby; however, he did not love the pacifiers I picked for him before he arrived.  I picked the ones that were the same brand as our bottles and were supposed to be good for mouth development and a couple cute ones.  Little did I know that the only pacifier my kid would take would be the plain jane green soothies that they hand out at the hospital.  This is one of those things I would not recommend stocking up on until you get to know your kiddo.  Maybe but one or two of a couple different brands to try and go from there. 

     1.  And the number 1 (both in least of amount of use and most money spent) is breast feeding supplies.

        Now, let me say, if I had been able to breast feed, I would have needed these things; however, I wish I had waited to purchase them until I was certain that breast feeding was going to work.  No one needs these things the day the baby is born.  The hospital can provide samples of lanoline and breast pads.  The pump and cover could have waited.  All of these things ended up in a box untouched (or mostly untouched).  Again, I am not trying to be a pessimist, but the reality is that breast feeding does not work for everyone, despite what people say these days.  If you are breast feeding well, send that good husband to the local baby store to get the need supplies.  It can wait.  Mine sit in my closet reminding me that I had to give up.

That's it folks.  My list.  Every family is different, but this is what proved important and unimportant for us.  Comment with what is important or unimportant for you.  I am also sure that some of things will change for us when we decide to have another baby, because they are all different.

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