Friday, March 1, 2013

Rule Number 1 - My Baby Must Have List

(For all my non-pregnant, non-parent readers I promise I will have a no kids allowed post coming up soon! But for today one last all about baby post....)

For all my pregnant friends I have decided to compile a list of the top 10 things/tips I could not have made it without.... or that just helped make things easier, to say the least.

I still make no claims to be a "baby expert" but I am a little wiser then I was this time last year and I really wish that with all the useless things people tell you that someone would have told me just how invaluable the items on this list would be. (I will try to include links when possible.)

So without further ado. 

1. Bassinet

If you listen to nothing else I say listen to this. Invest in a bassinet! Do not let baby sleep with you and your spouse. I REPEAT do not let baby sleep with you and your spouse. 

Once baby becomes accustomed to sleeping with you they will want to sleep with you from now on. Which may be sweet when they are little but not so much when they are 5 and you and the hubs haven't had a night in bed alone in 5 years. I say this because I have two sets of friends who have made the mistake and warned me

Now I know bassinets aren't cheap but I'll give some tips on that shortly. I was lucky enough to have a good friend who had one she wanted out of her house that I was able to purchase pretty cheap. Maddie slept in this next to mine and Marine's bed till she was almost 6 months. It was nice cause she was right there next to the bed and we could keep an eye on her yet we still had our own space. 

2.  Sound Machine and Heating Pad (work hand in hand)

Homedics Sound Spa Lullaby Relaxation Machine

The first few weeks in my house there was very little sleep going on at night. When it got to the point that Marine and I were like Zombies I started asking friends for any tips or advice on how to help Maddie sleep. 

My mom said when I was a baby she would place a heating pad under the sheet in my bassinet with a blanket then over it and turn it on low for about 10 minutes before she would put me in it. Babies like warmth, they are used to being warm next mom or dad. The heating pad will warm the bassinet up so that you aren't laying baby down in a cold bed. 

This tip seemed to help. **Safety note - never put baby in there while heating pad is on. Always turn off pad and remove it before placing baby in bassinet.**

A friend suggested something that played "the heartbeat noise." The what? I had no clue what she was talking about at first! But then she explained and it made sense. For 9 months baby has been used to your warmth and hearing your heart beat. Hearing your heart beat makes baby relax and know she is safe. Luckily my Fairy Godmother had given us the Homedics Sound Spa as a shower gift... and guess what it played the heartbeat noise. 

Combine this little jewel and the heating pad and you my friend have just found yourself a few hours of peaceful sleep. 

Maddie is now almost a year old and we still use this machine daily. Not only does it play other music but it also has a projector. And my favorite part is that it has a timer! So during those growth spurts when Maddie would wake up for a nighttime feeding I could put her back in bed, turn it on, hit the timer and go back to bed myself knowing that in 30 minutes I would no longer hear the music coming from the monitor.

3. Diaper Champ

When registering at Babies R Us the helpful associate told me a piece of advice that would save Marine and I quite a bit of money over time. The associate advised to go with the Diaper Champ over the highly popular Diaper Gene. Why? Because with the Diaper Gene you have to buy special bag refil kits which range between $15 and $20. But with the Diaper Champ there are no refills to buy. Just use normal trash bags. 

Needless to say this is one thing you will use multiple times a day and it does help reduce the smell. And it's nice to not have to buy any special refills for it!

4. Join a Whole Sale Club (BJ's, Sam's, Costco, ect.)

Bite the bullet and pay the cost to join a whole sale membership. I personally use BJ's and they have saved us quite a bit when it comes to diapers. Cause let me tell you diapering a small baby can cost a fortune. BJ's is great though cause you buy in bulk and they also accept coupons. Plus they send out a coupon book each month that normally has coupons in it for diapers. This month for example there is a coupon for $5 off Pampers. Maddie is in size 4 diapers now which I think the last I bought was $41.99 for a box of 160... so $5 off is a big help! I also buy Similac Formula from BJ's and it is much cheaper then any of my local stores such as Walmart, CVS, or Ingles. 

Another great thing to buy here is the special baby washing detergent you are supposed to use. I paid about $30 last year for a large jug of it. I wash approximatly 1 large load a week of Maddie's clothes - sometimes more - and this one jug has lasted a year and is still going. (Side Note I still wash my and Marine's clothes in our nomal detergent and just use this for Maddie's things).

5. Pampers Swaddlers or Huggies Snugglers

Before having Maddie I knew nothing about diapers. I was naive to think that all diapers are created equal. Thank god for nurses (in more ways then one) and especially thank goodness for maternity ward nurses who give you knowledge on how to care for that little bundle of joy. My lovely nurses introduced me to Pampers Swaddlers the ultimiate for the baby dummy. These diapers are wonderful for any first time parent in that they have a nice yellow line that turns blue when the diaper is wet. 

Worry about how to tell when baby has a wet diaper? Check that worry off the list! Invest in these diapers and will always let you know. These are also convenient when out about and you need to do a quick check to see if baby is wet. Good news they do offer these up to size 3 at BJ's.

6. Sophie The Giraffe

When the teething stage hits you will do anything to help baby! Is teething really that bad you ask? For me.... I consider it one of the rings of h-e-double hockey sticks. Everyone gave me suggestions. I tried it all; frozen teething rings, damp washcloths, teething toys, and even (as one friend suggested) frozen waffles. Nothing seemed to ease Maddie. So I went to my good 'ol pal Google. *Sigh* he never steers me wrong!

This is how I came to find Sophie. Sophie is the number one rated teething toy and though she ranges from $18.00 to $25.00 (cheapest is Amazon included link above), she is worth every penny!! When I added her to my shopping cart I couldn't believe I was about to spend this high amount on a teething toy. I mean seriously? But I couldn't take it any longer I was willing to try anything!!

Don't ask me what the secret is, cause I have no clue. But Sophie is a God a Send. Best $18.00 I may have ever spent!!

Side Note: I never told Marine how much Sophie cost or he may would have killed me considering he calls this a dog toy since it is plastic and squeaks. So if you don't want to spend the high price try a plastic squeaky toy at your own risk.

9. Vtech Piano

Vtech makes wonderful toys for children! Maddie particularly liked the VTech Sing & Discover Story Piano, just to give you an idea she started playing with this around month 4  I believe (if I recall correctly) and she is now almost 12 months and still plays with it.

Most played with toy I have bought thus far.

Thank you Vtech this is a must for a work at mom who needs a minute to check email from time to time!

10. Swing

Another teething savior! During those restless nights when baby can't sleep place her in this and it will lul her to sleep in no time! The Fisher Price Swing is wonderful!

11. Dr. Brown's Bottles

Remember when Giggles, Vixen, and I went to register for my baby shower and had no clue about bottles? Yeah turns out there is a difference!

I breastfeed but also supplemented with formula at times and when using a bottle Maddie would always spit up bad. Someone recommend I try Dr. Browns.

Viola problem spit up problem solved!

12. Baby BJorn

Baby Carriers are wonderful for taking little one out and about. And let's face it sometimes you just need use of both hands!! 

Example I still had horses to help feed. Originally I purchased a cheap basic carrier at Wal-Mart, being naive and not know there was a difference. Needless to say I put the carrier together and then could never put Maddie in it because it was so complicated for one, and for two it just did not look comfortable. To many pieces that would pinch those sweet, little, chunky, legs I so loved. 

Enter Baby Bjorn, this is the best carrier!!  Marine and I both enjoyed carrying Maddie around in this. It also worked great when we took her on her first mini-vacation!

13. Don't buy Retail

Ok let me take a moment to chancel my inner Duck Dynasty and Si, "Rule Number 1" Never Buy Retail!

Do you know how fast a baby will grow??!! Super fast!! All the stuff I listed above is not cheap my friends! If you look back through my list there are only 2 things I purchased new: Dr. Brown's Bottles, and Sophie. Minus the sound machine cause I received it as a gift. 

Everything else on this list I bought through area consignment sales or from friends who already had kids and wanted to clean some baby stuff out of storage. I went to a consignment sale last night in fact to purchase what will be Maddie's summer wardrobe. There is to many tips I can offer here in saving money so those will come in another post but just to give you an idea the $149 swing up above..... yeah I paid $15.00 for it. And that $50ish Baby Bjorn... I paid $8.00. Both items looked brand new and served their purposes for me 100%!

"You never go in the woods without a pistol okay that's rule number 1."
~ Si, Duck Dynasty ~


Mrs. Match said...

Nice, all of these items, or some version of them , are already on my registry. I will point out, if you have the room, that a pack n play is a better long term purchase than a bassinet. My mom bought us ours, and we plan to use it as a bassinet for now, and it will double as a crib when we travel.
I also plan to buy diapers on amazon with gift certs I earn on swag bucks. My goal is to never have to pay for diapers out of the budget. Great tips girl! I'm excited to see I'm off to a good start.

Mrs. Match said...

Ps could not agree more about the bed. No matter how cute and cuddly, our baby will not, will NOT be sleeping in our bed.