Sometimes I feel like I became a parent in the wrong era. I envy mothers who gave birth in the 1950’s, when there were no carseats, an abundance of chemicals, and birthday parties were made up of store-bought cakes and party hats. I would have thrived as a mom during that time period, and probably anytime before the 90’s when people started actually paying attention to their kids. (I have zero facts to back up these claims with regard to the time period, and the knowledge I have about parenting in the fifties comes straight from Mad Men).
When I was pregnant with Maddy, I participated in the whole baby shower/registry ordeal. We went to the store, had a salesperson walk us through and tell us which items were necessary, and then just went batshit with the little scanner gun. Overall, it was a great experience. However, as any second/third/fourth/zillionth-time mom will tell you, the majority of those items are total bullshit. I registered for several items that I never ended up using, and learned the hard way. When I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I chose to purchase only a few new items, and the rest were handed down to us from very generous family and friends.
A few friends of mine who are pregnant have contacted me since I started this blog to ask me a few things about motherhood/babyville. I figured there might be others out there who don’t find my parenting style totally horrific and might appreciate a post about what baby products I have found to be helpful and realistic, versus what the salesperson at Babies ‘R’ Us might tell you. So here we go.
(You can click on each image if you’d like to check it out further, or purchase).
As far as baby products go, the Boppy is LIT. I love this thing so much that I actually hung onto the one I got when Maddy was a baby and just bought a new cover for Jack. I brought The Boppy to the hospital and I use it every day for breastfeeding, and now that Jack is a little older I use it for tummy time. It also makes a great couch pillow when you’re too lazy to reach for the real one that has somewhere ended up elsewhere.
A Nursing Cover
I might be a mom who doesn’t give a fuck, but I’m personally not into other people starting at my tits. I’m envious of women who DGAF about breastfeeding in public and wish I could have their confidence. But for me, the nursing cover kills two birds with one stone: I can breastfeed in public comfortably, and my kid can eat. It’s a win-win.
So the technical name of this product is the “Rock n’ Play”, but it resembles a taco so that’s what we call it around here. My sister-in-law gave me hers, and I feel like it came from heaven rather than the manufactures at Fisher-Price. Jack will sleep in that thing for hours, and while I don’t use it overnight because its not a totally flat surface, it’s perfect for naps and/or needing a place to stick your baby while you do other shit. (I’ve looked it up and some people do use it for overnight sleeping, so to each their own. No judgment).
We are big swaddlers in this house. I actually don’t know how to swaddle with a regular hospital blanket, but I have to thank the tuxedo-shirt-wearing baby Jesus (name that movie) for whoever invented the velcro/snappy swaddles. Both of our kids began sleeping through the night at two months old, all thanks to swaddles. The minute I start to wrap Jack up at night he knows its bedtime, and he’s never too sad about it. One of the L&D nurses taught us a swaddling trick that I’ll be posting later this week, so stay tuned for what is probably the best newborn tip you’ll ever read.
I am OBSESSED with these blankets. They are out of breathable fabric and can be used for literally anything and everything. They can be used for swaddling, a sun cover, a burp cloth, or an actual blanket to keep the baby warm. They also come in cute patterns which I always appreciate, but if you ask Greg it could have a picture of steaming shit on it and he wouldn’t care.
The BOB Stroller
I am literally in love with our stroller. We had a jogger for Maddy, but the company wasn’t great and one of the back wheels fell off. (We had it on our front porch to throw out after the wheel fell off, and someone came and stole it so jokes on them). So with Jack, we wanted to get a durable stroller that was also a jogger because I like to pretend I’m athletic. This item, along with our infant carseat, are the two things we bought brand new. I can’t say enough good things about this item- the shocks are incredible so he can sleep through anything, the swivel front wheel is a must, its super easy to fold, it’s good looking, it has a nice personality, it tells great jokes…
Happy Baby Organic Formula
If you are like me and have a very fat baby on your hands, and you want to do things other than feed that baby all day long, you might consider combination feeding (breastfeeding plus formula). I’ll admit that this was really hard for me at first because I was very committed to exclusively breastfeeding, but I am also very committed to having a life and not sitting in a chair all day feeding my kid. The only reason I am sharing this is because I had to dig pretty hard to find a formula that did not have added sugar (corn-syrup solids) and I wanted to let other parents know about it incase that is of interest to them. I wanted to make sure Jack wasn’t going to get hooked on the sweet stuff and stop preferring my liquid gold. Also worth mentioning is that this is available at Whole Foods, Target, and Amazon.
The Baby Bjorn
If anyone knows how to do anything right in this world, it’s the people over at Baby Bjorn. I still think of Zack Galifinakis in The Hangover every time I wear it, and it’s a positive association in my opinion. We found ours at a second-hand shop and lately it’s been a lifesaver on days when we are out for longer than Mr. Jack would prefer. We have a mesh one so its breathable, but what I really love about the Baby Bjorn is that it’s easy to get on when you’re alone. Also most second-hand baby stores sell these because they only fit a baby after a certain about of time, so you can find them for much cheaper than your average retailer. (Just give the thing a good whiff and make sure some kid didn’t leave a shit in there).
A Beach Tent
We never bought one of these with Maddy because by the time we were taking her to the beach she was almost one. However, I don’t think there is an age-limit on the tent because everyone needs a little shade at the beach. We bought this for our Maine trip earlier this summer, and it was perfect. I was able to feed Jack comfortably, and he could hang inside and cool down a bit. I ordered ours off Amazon and I highly recommend this brand because the setup/take down is so easy that we had Jack do it most of the time.
I feel like some people are going to think I’ve totally turned a corner since this is the second organic item I’ve listed, but don’t worry it’s only temporary. Babies have way more sensitive skin than adults, and there is shit in my trashy SPF 8 tanning sunscreen that can be really harmful to a baby’s skin. We asked our pediatrician who recommended finding a sunscreen that is Paraban and PABA-free, so this is the only I found that met both those requirements. Also it’s a spray bottle which makes it wicked easy for applying.
A Good Bathrobe
So this recommendation is more for the moms, but if you’re a dad who likes a good bathrobe then have at it. I bought this for the hospital so I would have something to wear that’s easy for breastfeeding/doesn’t make me look like a baked potato like those hospital gowns do. I got one that was Jersey because it was light enough to sleep in while in the hospital without getting too hot. I still wear it regularly around the house and I also just love bathrobes in general.
The NINJA Coffee Maker
I saved the best (and the most important) for last. If you know me you know that I am a die-hard Dunks fan and no one can talk shit about my boyfriend (Dunks being my boyfriend. Sorry G). HOWEVER, I was going to Dunks at least once a day, if not four, and this bad habit needed to come to an end. We bought the Ninja in the hopes that I might stop hitting the drive thru so hard, and to my complete amazement, it worked. Since buying this thing almost 4 months ago, I have bought coffee maybe ten times total, and the coffee never tastes as good as when I make it at home. Also I should mention that I really only drink iced coffee (even in the winter) and the Ninja has a special button to make for “over iced brew”. Even if you don’t have children and just like coffee you should buy this. I could literally write a blog completely devoted to the Ninja and our daily adventures. It’s well worth the money and it just makes the coffee taste so fucking good.
So that is my list of baby shit that I actually like. I always love to hear about what baby gear other parents like, so if I left something out that you swear by please let me know!