Helpful hints for moms-and-dads-in-training and new parents!

This entry is my way of thanking all of my parent friends for all of their great suggestions and for all the moms everywhere who wrote reviews and blogs that helped me in my research and planning. These lists provide some of the things we found the most useful as we prepared for our little one and suggestions for moms/dad-in-training or new moms/dads that are based on lessons we’ve learned throughout the last few months as brand new parents. I hope it helps others as much as so many people helped us prepare for parenthood!

Necessary items to have to prepare for a baby:

  1. Diapers of some kind (disposable or cloth.)

We were advised, by some of our experienced parent friends, not to go crazy with one brand of diapers in the beginning. Every child is different and one might fit well in one diaper, while another has an allergic reaction to another. We really like the Pampers brands and have had a lot of success with them. They start in Newborn size and go up from there – size 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, all based on weight. I had no clue about diaper sizes until we had a baby.

We seriously considered doing cloth diapers, but due to our super efficient washer and dryer AND electric heat, the cost would have end up being the same.

  1. Some type of baby wipes (again, disposable or cloth.)

We have tried all different types of wipes and have realized that the most cost efficient way is buying the brand you like in bulk. We have tried all different kinds (of dye and fragrance free) and haven’t had any allergic reactions to any brands yet.

  1. Somewhere for the baby to sleep.

We opted to use a Pack N’ Play in our bedroom, instead of a bassinet. We figured we would get more use out of it (once the baby was no longer sleeping in it and we used it as a playpen.) It has worked very nicely and is portable! Bonus! We also have a crib. If you do get a used crib, just make sure it is up to code with safety. Also, don’t bother with a fancy bedding set, because you won’t end up using (most of) it as it is hazardous to the safety of your child.

  1. Basic clothing (onesies).

We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl and quite a few people were worried that we would have no clothes for our child, as we weren’t inundated with clothing before our child was born. I’m happy to report that our little girl has a much better wardrobe than I could ever hope for and I have only contributed THREE articles of clothing to that collection. Everything else was generously given to us by friends and family members or handed-down to us by gracious friends and family members. GREAT things to have, especially in the beginning, the side-snap shirts (as newborns hate having things put over their heads PLUS the fact that you get nervous every time you need to move their heads) AND a good amount of white onesies. I promise I wasn’t dressing my adorable little baby up in crazy outfits for the first few weeks where most of her day was spent sleeping and we weren’t having visitors.

  1. Car seat.

This is really important! Do your homework and talk to your friends about recommendations. We chose a Britax one as they have a really good track record. Many of our friends chose a “travel system” and seem to really like it.

Here are our 10 most useful baby items:

  1.   Swaddle blankets and/or Swaddle Me (the velcro version)

I loved these! We used them for the first 8-10 weeks. Some nights, they were our saving grace! The swaddle blankets worked really well in the beginning, but as she got stronger, she turned into Houdini and found her way out! That was when the SwaddleMe came in handy.

swaddleme

  1. Rock N’ Play

This item was recommended to us by several of our friends. This thing is awesome! We have a simple one, but we love it and the baby loves it. The fabric can be taken off so you can wash it. It is light and portable, so you can easily move it throughout the house. It has an incline, which can make napping more comfortable for the little ones, especially in the beginning. A bouncer will serve the same purpose.

rock n play

  1. Pack N Play

As mentioned above, this is a great economical and practical option instead of a bassinet, and can later be used as a playpen. Also, it is portable, making it easy for road trips or sleepovers at grandma’s.

pack n play

  1. Stroller

My best advice is go to the store, look at them, push them around, and fold them/unfold them. Ease of use and sturdiness helped us choose the one we liked best. We have the City Mini Baby Jogger. This particular one was recommended by several friends. We love it! Since the brand is different than our car seat brand (Britax), we bought an inexpensive adapter piece and our car seat clicks right into the stroller.

city mini strolller

  1. Gerber cloth diapers.

We use these for burp clothes. They are inexpensive and easy to wash.

burp cloths

  1.   Baby Oxy Clean stain remover spray.

This stuff is awesome! It’s amazing how many baby poop stains it has erased. I couldn’t find it in the store, but you can order it on Amazon.

baby oxi clean

  1. Baby bath.

We heeded the advice we learned in a class and are glad we did. We bought a Summer Infant simple, mesh bath. It makes bath time super easy and comfortable for the baby. When you are done, you just rinse it out and it dries fairly quickly.

bather

  1. Nose Frieda.

If you haven’t heard about this yet, look it up. EVERY parent we know swore by this item. I was totally grossed out with what it does, but I will tell you, I have rescued our little girl from the snot monster with this thing on multiple occasions, and it’s not nearly as bad as you picture it in your mind.

nosefrida

  1. Piyo Piyo baby scissors.

Clipping a baby’s nails is a test in precision and patience, two things that are certainly challenged when dealing with a moving target with miniscule nails. I tried that once and failed, almost immediately. However, I was saved by these tiny yellow scissors. I find it SO much easier to use them and more accurate.

piyo piyo

  1. Good diaper bag.

This bag will go EVERYWHERE with you. Pick a good one that’s functional. We like this diaper bag because it’s washable and this diaper bag because it can be worn like a backpack.

diaper bag 1diaperbag 2

Added bonuses that make our life easier or make for a happy baby:

  • Some type of play mat. We have the rainforest one, and once she started seeing things, she started to enjoy it.
  • An age appropriate toy that you can carry easily or attach to the carseat or stroller. Infantino makes some great ones.
  • Pacifiers – We like the soothie type. They are breastfeeding friendly.
  • Multiple changing pad and changing covers.
  • A safety first thermometer set.
  • We use the bottles that came with the Medela pump and Avent Natural bottles. Both were well received by the baby.

Baby books:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff OR Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too! by the pregnancy experts at Mayo Clinic

Baby  Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Gear, Clothes, Strollers, Maternity Wear and much, much more! by Denise Fields and Alan Fields

Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby’s First Year Paperback by Ari Brown and Denise Fields

Phone apps I use daily:

Babyconnect – This app elps keep track of everything for the baby (feeding times and anything else that helps you.)

Tinybeans – This app provides an easy way to upload a photo (or photos) daily for family members. You invite them, they have a password, and they are the only ones that can see the photos. I find it an easy way to keep the grandparents, aunts, and uncles in the loop!

Hospital:

  • Make sure to have a change of clothes or two. I had two sets of my own pajamas and was so much more comfortable wearing those instead of a hospital gown. I also wore a top/bottom combo. The top with the buttons made breastfeeding easier. I was also happy to have my own toiletries.
  • My husband is my hero, for countless reasons, but especially for the food he had ready for me at 5:30 a.m. (the first opportunity I had to eat a few hours after the baby’s delivery.) That was the MOST amazing slice of pizza I have ever eaten!
  • Our hospital didn’t provide baby wipes, they provide small towels that you dampen with water to clean the baby. My understanding is most don’t provide baby wipes. It might not be a bad idea to have a package of baby wipes with you in case you want to use them.

Breastfeeding:

While it is natural for the baby to get his or her nourishment from your body, that doesn’t mean it is easy. Be patient with yourself and the baby and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Every woman’s body is unique and every baby is different. Some babies latch on right away and others need some assistance and time to figure it out. Do the best you and can stick with it. Remember, with each day, it gets easier and it gets better. Hang in there!

1. My Brest Friend – BEST breastfeeding pillow EVER! This thing has spoiled me. It definitely makes breastfeeding a little bit easier.

2. Nursing Bras – Have at least 2-3. I have two nursing nightgowns which have rescued me from having to wear a bra 24 hours a day.

3. Bamboobies – These are reusable/washable breast pads. They are really comfortable and serve their purpose nicely.

4. Motherlove Nipple Cream – This stuff worked great. I really only needed to use it for the first two weeks. Lanolin is “wool wax” from sheep. If you want to put that on your nipples and let your baby ingest that, it’s your choice. Many women do and their babies are just fine. However, if you want to go another route, try an organic alternative.

5. A good, efficient pump – Check to see if your insurance covers one (or contributes to the cost.) I have the Medela On the Go Tote double electric one and it’s easy to use and efficient. Also, a hands-free pumping bra definitely makes double pumping a little bit easier.

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