Things I Love for Baby (and Mom) That Weren’t on Any “Top 10 List”
May 1, 2018
When I was pregnant, I devoted a lot of time to researching the most useful items I’d need when baby arrived. It was overwhelming to consider what I’d love for baby and get use out of.
I wanted to welcome my first child into a home complete with the best reviewed gear, an inspired nursery, and all the modern appliances available to make my life easier. I wanted freezer meals stocked. Easy, nutritious snacks to be at the ready.
Like any millennial, I found inspiration on Pinterest. I found myself crawling blog lists titled “The Complete List of Items for a Modern Baby” or “Ten Things You NEED for Baby (and Ten Things you Don’t)”.
I found a lot of variation on what was recommended, and something on a “must have” list was usually found elsewhere on someone’s “don’t bother” list. This makes perfect sense, since our needs for baby are dictated by unique situations.
There were things, however, that I absolutely LOVED postpartum and had to figure out for myself.
Thus, I share: “Things I Love for Baby that Weren’t on Any Top-10 List”
1. Open-bust Nursing tank
In all honesty, I hate my clip-open nursing tanks. I am forever clipping my nursing bra into my nursing tank. Plus, nothing makes me feel less sexy than plastic clips on my clothing that proclaim “the sole purpose of this garment is FUNCTION!”.
To breastfeed at this stage, I usually just raise my shirt and sports bra. This, however, causes my postpartum belly to hang out. These tank tops are great, since your belly is always covered, and you have access without clips (Obviously, you layer a shirt over top!).
This is an item I’ve added to many shower gifts, since I’ve gotten such use out of mine. You can plug any lamp you want into it to dim to desired intensity. It is wonderful for bedtime and night-time feeding.
This was a non-traditional baby-shower gift that was hugely appreciated. I kept it in my car at all times, and park, backyard, pool, or beach-side it was easy to spread out and pack away. It’s water resistant, keeps us dry in wet, dewy grass, and is easy to shake off sand or grass before rolling closed.
I bought a fairly standard crib, with the thought that when baby transitioned to a bed we could sell it. Further, I also remember standing in Toys-R-us and examining a set of crib rail protectors to protect our investment. I was talked out of it by my husband, since “What is our kid, a beaver?”.
Big mistake, since almost as soon as Harry figured out how to pull himself up, he also figured that the rail- located perfectly at mouth height- made a great teething-tool.
5. Sleepers with ZIPPER closure, and ELASTIC at ankles
We acquired a number of footie pyjamas to put the baby in, of which we used and enjoyed to various degrees. Zippers and ankle elastic were what the sleepers we loved for baby all had in common.
Snaps are the worst, take forever, are finicky and just a pain. With a zipper you get quick and easy access for diaper changes, important when you are:
A: Changing a diaper at 3 am, or
B: Baby is screaming to get the diaper change over with.
I wish I could include a picture of Harry in one of the “George”-brand sleepers we received for him. They did not have elastic ankles, and with his curled “newborn” posture his little legs would migrate up into the body of the sleeper every time, leaving the empty leg sockets to flap around like little spaghetti noodles. Elastics kept his footies in the “footies”.
Once he started cruising, those were also the ones that did not slouch down and trail behind for him to trip on.
All our sleepers with those characteristics came from “Carters” and “Joe Fresh”.
The first time I experienced the magic of a sound machine, my two week old was 45 minutes into an inconsolable screaming match. His bum was dry, belly full, and I had been bouncing uselessly around my house for most of that 45 minute duration. My “Hail-Mary” pass was Youtube’ing a video featuring 10 hours of “bathroom fan”.
To my amazement, Harry’s crying ceased immediately, and within 15 SECONDS he was asleep (here is the link should you find yourself in a similar scenario: Bathroom Fan- 10 Hours).
We later wound up being gifted three sound machines, all heavily used and very handy (I laugh now that we kept all of them). I liked the portable one in particular, since its nap-assist capabilities were most appreciated when I was trying to shop, visit with friends, or eat out.
I discovered Project Pomona pants while searching for clothes to pair with Harry’s “fluff butt” (larger-than-average bum associated with wearing cloth diapers). They are created by Meghan, a work at home mom who created them when she couldn’t find jeans for her daughter.
You’ll love these for baby, since they’ll fit for an extended time period (each size should fit through at least three traditional infant/child sizes). This is because of the snap-panel waist that adjusts as your child grows. Changes in length are achieved by cuffing the legs, and made cuter by the fabric options sewn into the cuff lining.
“Maxaloones” are another style of pant where the waist and cuffs can both be folded back to customize the size for your child. They feature a bum-circle cut that ensures lots of room to accommodate diapers, and due to the stretch in the material they should fit your child from 6 months in age right through to three years. They are available from a wide variety of “WAHM” businesses, for which I will direct you to Etsy.com
8. Winter Bunting… But Not in The Winter
We received a fleece “Columbia” one-piece from some very smart friends. Their rationale for winter gear in the summer? Night-time, campfires, camping, barbecues, cool, windy days, who’d have thought?
That thing got so much use through the summer season, and I would never have expected it to be so handy, or thought to buy one for that purpose.
This is a pretty standard item to acquire for a baby, but for some reason it’s not one I considered prior to Harry’s arrival. I thought of it as an outdated way to track baby’s milestones. That thought lasted until my mom gave me my own baby book to review.
The appreciation and interest in how my own milestones compared with Harrison’s are a motivating factor in my commitment to filling in the pages (He is my first baby, so everything is filled in, we’ll see if future children receive the same treatment).
I realize baby shoes are next to useless for obvious reasons, but these have been so very appreciated to keep Harry’s feet protected and warm. The ones we have are wool, and lined with sheepskin. Knit wool is incredibly stretchy, and laces that fasten around the ankle and make them hard to be pulled off by baby or fall off. Harry’s have fit since he was 4 months old, and are still going strong a month after his first birthday.
You can probably guess from this suggestion that I had a child with reflux. The first 6 months of Harry’s life were messy ones, and seldom did we find ourselves without a receiving blanket nearby. In fact, the idea of an actual “burp-cloth” was laughable as no 10×20 inch cut of fabric would hold the “spit-ups” we experienced on the regular.
My husband experienced a breakthrough when he came across bibs we received at our baby shower, noting they were an excellent alternative to what we were using. They successfully caught more spit-up than the largest of our blankets. They were put away until we initiated solid food, but we honestly got more use out of the silicone pocket on these ones when Harry was exclusively breast-fed.
I had a “Raskog” utility cart from Ikea that was always parked beside me while feeding Harry in those first days. It was nice, since it had three baskets, and wheels which allowed me to push it between any of the areas I was breastfeeding in.
That thing was my “security blanket”, since I was spending a decent period of time trapped beneath a newborn, unable to conveniently grab anything.
We kept receiving blankets on the bottom (lots, since we’ve established Harry’s reflux status). The middle: Breast pump and accessories. That top basket was packed with all the stuff I needed most regularly.
It contained: Water bottles (I’ve never been so thirsty in my life as those first days of breastfeeding), lip chap, lanolin, a book, easy snacks (raisins and granola bars mostly), and baby nailclippers (feeding was the easiest time for me to clip Harrys nails since he was occupied and still, I could never bring myself to tear or bite them). Finally: prenatal vitamins and Harry’s vitamin D drops, which I found easier to remember if they were located in front of my nose, as this cart usually was.
You spend a ton of time at home with baby, thus, my slippers have spent more time on my feet than any other shoe I own. For this reason, I invested in good ones, and have not regretted it. I bought these “Haflinger” wool felt clogs on sale, and I will never deviate from cork-soled slippers again.
I will note that I frequently encounter this brand in locally owned shoe stores in my area, and further recommend keeping your eyes peeled for them in your community to support local small businesses.
If a budget option is more your route than shopping local, I’ve discovered this site out of the US called 6pm.com which carries heavily discounted Haflinger’s. Unfortunately they do not offer Canadian shipping, and can only be accessed by those with a US address. They also have an excellent selection of discounted baby shoes and I have ordered from them with success (I find the site easier to navigate via desktop than on a mobile device).
I wish I’d had a backpack from the beginning, since it was only after months of juggling baby and bag that I got one. It has made outings MUCH easier on my back and arms, especially while wearing baby in a carrier.
I tried a regular backpack for a while since I didn’t want to buy another official diaper bag, but found it didn’t have enough inner pockets to hold the things I needed. While I hear wonderful things about Jujube’s range of backpacks 🇨🇦***, I already had quite a nice diaper bag, and wasn’t into spending a large amount for a second one. The one I have is a “Hap-Tim” bag from Amazon, and it’s been appreciated for its size, ease, and stroller attachment straps.
Diaper bag organization, storing extra supplies in the car, stroller, anytime we travel, sending diapers to daycare, snacks. Similar are “wet bags”, not just for carrying used cloth diapers, but also wet clothes, swim suits, or anything that requires a waterproof bag (they also come in cute prints).
Mini-sized packing cubes are a recent discovery, loved for holding all the “knick-knacks” that migrate through the pockets of my diaper bag. Ours contain things like: toiletries, pacifiers, toy-tethers, a spare phone charger, and emergency snacks.
I have found discounted stores like Winners and Marshall’s to be great places to acquire regular sized sets of packing cubes, and here are the mini-ones that we now use: