Thursday, November 28, 2013

First Year Favorites

Now that EM is a year old (and that I have a bunch of friends pregnant with their first child), I figured I’d do a recap of all my favorite things that helped get us through this past year. When you go register for the first time, especially at a baby super store like Babies R’US, it’s over whelming with the multitude of options they have to offer on EVERYTHING. We of course ended up getting some things we never ended up using, and ended up trying things out after the fact, but in reality most of them are “nice to haves” and definitely not necessities. You can raise a child with very little but of course we got spoiled by our friends and families (and splurged on some things ourselves) and these are by far our favorite 1st year items:

Hands Free Pump Bra: For the breastfeeding working moms (or any that use a breast pump), sitting there holding the cones (that’s what I call them anyways) for 30+ mins is not fun and makes you hate pumping. After about 1 week of that I went on the search and came across this hands free bra. It made pumping so much better. I was able to do both sides at once (I had a dual pump), keep my hands free for reading, texting, playing candy crush etc. Once I went back to work, it made it easy for me to bring my laptop into the mother’s room and work while I pumped so I didn’t have to make up my time while pumping. It made pumping 100x better!

Lanolin: Also for the breastfeeding moms, Lanolin was the ONLY thing that worked for me. I was super sore/chapped/bleeding (TMI sorry) from pumping and nursing and I lived in lanolin. I tried other stuff, nothing compared. Stock up! I probably was able to finally discontinue use after about month 2 once my boobs finally got use to nursing/pumping, but during the first two months, it was a lifesaver!
Boppy Pillow: There are several variations of the same “idea” of this pillow. I’m sure they all serve the same purpose and work great, but I only have experience with the Boppy. Even though that tiny little newborn only weighs between 5-10 lbs, your arms get tired very quickly when feeding! Having this pillow to lean on was wonderful. We also used it to just prop EM up, tummy time, cushion when she was still a wobbly sitter, and now for her to lay back on and take her own bottle/sippy cup. They have a ton of different cover choices as well!
Video Monitor: EM has been in her own crib, in her own room since day one (some people agree with this, some don’t, but it worked for us). However leaving such a tiny little baby is a little nerve wracking (especially for first time moms) so we knew we wanted a video monitor. We did a ton of research on the different ones out there and decided we wanted one that we could hook up to our cell phones and tablets (which by the way we NEVER did, so can’t speak to how well that actually works). There was only ONE true baby monitor on the market that had that capability at the time and it had JUST come out so we didn’t know how good it was but we were thinking about getting it. However, one day while browsing around Costco, we came across this security system monitor. It had everything we wanted in our baby monitor and more and was roughly the same price (maybe even cheaper, can’t recall). What really sold us on it was that you could hook up multiple cameras to it so in the future we could put them around the house in different rooms (play room, living room, kids rooms, back yard) to keep an eye on the kids when they are older and playing in a different room than we are. The cameras work perfectly. They have night vision, zoom capabilities, volume control, etc. The only thing I wish it did was “dim” down. The display screen is pretty bright, although I suppose if we ever hooked them up to our iPhones/iPads we could have controlled it on there and turned off the display monitor part.  
Car Mirror: This seems so simple, but these mirrors are great! They have flexible, bendy things in them so you can easily adjust them to the right angles. G and I both have them in our cars and love being able to see EM in our rear view mirror to see if she's awake, sleeping, or smiling at herself!

Teethers: : There are two teethers that EM really loved. The one EVERYONE brags about is Sophie the Giraffe, she definitely loved it and the day care folks even requested us bring it back in for her once when we took it home since the said she seemed crankier without it. Yes, it seems ridiculously to pay approximately $20 for a teether, but I can’t deny the fact that it is one of her favorites. The other one is is Innobaby EZ Grip Teether. I got it in one of my Citrus Lane boxes. I would have never bought it by the looks of it, I had never heard of the brand, but I think EM loved it more than Sophie. It was the perfect size to fit in her hand and she seemed to really gnaw down on it. Granted she ONLY got her first tooth at 11.5 months but she still enjoyed these teethers and still does now that she’s ACTUALLY teething.

Swings: Some babies love them, some hate them, but our EM LOVED her swing. This is the one we have, but she has another one at her Nan and Pap’s that she loves too so I don’t think the particular model of the swing mattered. Sometimes you just need to put the baby down someplace safe because you have to get something done. Sometimes you just need a break. Sometimes it was the only way she’d fall asleep. Sometimes she’d whine until we put her in it. It was almost a given that if we put her in it, she’d go to sleep. As she got older, she started to just like relaxing and swinging in it.  We still use it, not as much as we used to, but many naps are taken in it.
Diaper Genie: Some people say they don’t work, but I disagree. We have two (one upstairs and one downstairs) and just make sure to empty them when full. They definitely keep her stinky diapers from stinking out the house. Sometimes, I wonder how that cute little girl can create something so foul, but she does. I’m glad we don’t have to make our garage small bad by needing to put the stinky diapers in the trash cans in the garage.  And I've tried the Target brand diaper pail refills and they don't work as well as Diaper Genie brand refills, in my opinion.
Triple Paste Medicated Ointment -  When EM got her first diaper rash, we used Desitin and A&D (I got both at my baby showers) and it didn’t seem to be helping so the nice ladies at her day care recommended the triple paste. I almost died at the price when we got it (it’s MUCH cheaper on amazon and that is where we currently order it- along with almost everything else lol)
Formula Dispenser: When we switched from breastfeeding to formula at 6 months this came in handy. It’s a very simple concept, yet so many people are amazed when I whip this out of my diaper bag so figured it deserved to be on the list. Easy to use, easy to clean, and makes days outside of the house easier when making bottles on the go (which we always are) It can also be used for snacks but has divided areas for re-measured formula.
Snack Stackers: The round one can also be used easily for formula and was another Citrus Lane find.  There are a ton of similar items out there, but they come in very handy when our and about and you want to carry some snacks.

Exersaucer: We actually borrowed ours from a friend. She liked the jumparoo but preferred the exersaucer. Once she could reach the ground on it, she loved twirling around and playing with all the toys. She still loves it at a year old. It’s another one of those things that I liked because I could keep an eye on her, know she was happy and empty the dishwasher at the same time. The picture is of the one we have borrowed, which it don't believe is still sold anywhere (and now that I see what it looked like brand new, we are missing quite a few pieces but EM doesn't mind) but she loved the ones at day care too so I'm sure any/all are similarly loved by most babies. 
High Chair Toys: Once EM started eating “solids” (aka pureed baby food), these really helped keep her occupied while eating and not flinging her hands too much or trying to touch the spoon. The suction cups worked pretty well and she liked spinning these two toys while I shoveled the food into her mouth.

Sanitizing Wipes: I never thought I’d appreciate these wipes as much as I do. They are another Citrus Lane find and we use them every time we go out to eat. Now that EM eats all “real” food and feeds herself she eats off tables, high chair trays, and whatever else we can stick her food on that is not a plate/bowl. Those don’t exactly work yet since she just throws them. These wipes are great to clean the area up before we put her food down. They also come in handy for shopping carts, EM really likes to try to chew on those, and they are pretty nasty. (Yes, I know they sell shopping cart/high chair covers, ours was more hassle than it was worth). I know they also sell disposable tray liners/placemat things but I found just giving the table/tray a good wiping was easier and just as sanitary. I’m sure there are a ton of different brands out there, this just happens to be the brand we use since Citrus Lane has sent them to us a few times.
All the rest of EM’s favorite toys will be on tomorrow’s FIVE ON FRIDAY post (figured I’d do a separate post since there just happened to be five).

TTGood copy

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