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    Surviving the 1st year: the baby gear

    I realize parenting is not about “stuff” and you can be a fantastic parent with nothing but some clothes and diapes, but here’s a list of items that S and I found extremely useful over the last year. Baby effectiveness will vary, but many of these with G have been a life-saver.

    • SwaddleMe’s: G’s your typical Happiest Baby On The Block kid. You do the 5 S’ with him, and he’s good. The SwaddleMe’s have been imperative to that end. We started off with the hospital receiving blankets, but he began to bust out of them. That and they are heavy, and it was darn hot that early fall.
    • Homemedics soundspa: S and I both agree that this is our de-facto baby shower gift from now on. Even if it’s not on your list, if we’re coming to your shower, you’ll get one. We believe in this THAT much. It has helped G fall asleep and more importantly stay asleep, by drowning out noise. We travelled with it — it’s that important to us.
    • Swing: Back to that 5 S’ thing. There were many a nap, and some night-time that this was the only way he’d sleep. I highly recommend the models that plug in (as opposed to battery operated). That way you never have to worry about running out of juice. We scored ours, for $60, used. Given that they are more than double that, I felt like it was an excellent deal. We didn’t use it much past 4-5 months (now not using it at all since he wants to lunge out of it), but it was awesome at the start.
    • Hairdryer: Yeah. Only way G would calm down for awhile. Some kids like the car, the laundry machine or the vacuum cleaner. G was a hairdryer child. He’d be screaming at the top of his lungs, but once the hairdryer went on, he started to calm down. Ours died and we replaced it the same day. I even travelled with sounds of a hair-dryer on my phone and put it in his carrier while driving during his “shriek while in the vehicle” phase. Aah, the good old days.
    • Bumkins bibs: these have been awesome once solids started. I like the cloth bibs for milk, but with solid foods, these rule — you just wipe them off and they’re good for the next eating session.
    • Gumdrop paci’s: G was never really a paci kid, so I feel like I’m cheating on this one, but he did like the Gumdrop best from all the paci’s we tried. S used it a lot as a proxy boob during nap-time. He was always so much better getting G to nap then I.
    • Lovies: we can’t live without our lovies. To this day, G will wake up in the middle of the night and seek out his lovie. If he can’t find it, he cries. As soon as he gets it back he puts himself back to sleep. My body thanx AngelDear from the bottom of my sleep-needing soul. Don’t forget to buy them in pairs, so you can keep them rotated.
    • Munchkin soft-tip spoons: these are awesome! They are deep, so with solid foods you actually get something in your kid’s mouth (as opposed to around it).
    • Trumpette socks: maybe I’m projecting here, but until about a month ago, I always put socks on G’s feet. Even if he was wearing footed sleepers. It just made me feel better knowing his feet were toasty. As far as socks go Trumpette has been awesome. We got ours as hand-me-downs and they ruled the sock drawer vs all the other booties/socks I got myself. They stay on, which is the point of socks. Granted once G got a bit older and stronger he can pull them off himself now (they apparently make excellent flags for waving), but it’s still takes some effort for him to remove. I also love the camo prints — they go with so many outfits.
    • Itzbeen timer: When you’re working off of 2-3 hours of sleep (at best) you can’t do math. You just can’t — trust me. Adding by two (the magical number of how often you’re supposed to nurse) just wasn’t working for us. This little timer was our remote brain. Although it became irrelevant for G once TrixieTracker came along, I still use it to this day. I use it for pumping. It’s great for that. Especially for my 2am pump. I’m known to fall asleep while pumping (wouldn’t you at 2am?) and at least when I wake up this tells me if I’m done.
    • Glider: I’ve slept in this thing (out of necessity), so having ours has been a blessing. We have a Dutaillier Matrix, which is super expensive, top of the line, but it was our baby splurge. I love it! It will move to our living room once it leaves G’s room.
    • Trixie Tracker.com: this is for the anal-retentive parents that like to keep track of their kid’s eating/sleeping/diaper changing/nursing/weight-gaining/med-taking habits. We are those parents, so this is awesome for us. It also keeps track of pumping, which I’ve been using religiously since my first days of pumping. You have to pay for it, but the fee is very reasonable and lasts a whole year. Plus now I have pretty charts of G’s first year of life. See our earlier post on Trixie Tracker.
    • Pre-folded diapers: although we cloth diaper, we just use these exclusively for burp clothes or changing-table saver. During changes, we slide one under his rump, over his clothing, so if he decides to spray (“fire-hose” us) it’s absorbed by the prefold. It equals one less clothing change, which is nice… especially in the middle of the night. At a $1.50 each, these are awesome. Find absorbant burp cloths for that amount!
    • Diaper sprayer: this is for the cloth diapering parents out there. Rinsing off poo is no big deal with one of these things. It attaches to our toilet and has been super easy to use. The only “issue” with it is that we’ve had some guests who thought it was a bidet. Uhmn… no!
    • Earplugs: This was more of an S item. G’s shrieking and crying never got to me, but S had a few brain-scramble episodes where he only survived the high-pitched shrieking (during the bad reflux days and nights) with these on. Many nights the earplugs went in before S even picked up G from the crib.
    • Webcam (or video monitor): We bought an inexpensive $60 webcam and hooked it up over his crib. It’s a cheaper solution than a video monitor if you have a laptop for the nursery, but just as effective. It was really helpful with figuring out how G sleeps, or soothes himself.
    • Hands-free Pumping Bra: this has been so awesome to have around. Both at home, and especially at work. It’s made a big impact in my productivity and ability to relax while pumping. It’s a must for pumping moms as far as I’m concerned.

    I promise no miracles that these items will be as good to you as they have been for us. Heck, if we’re ever lucky enough to be parents a second time around, these might not work for that child. You can be sure we’re gonna try them though!

    2 responses to “Surviving the 1st year: the baby gear”

    1. Karen says:

      Trixe tracker has been a life saver for our family. We used the miracle blankets to swaddle E tightly. I read your blog all the time but never have the time to comment (as you probably can relate being a mom too!) But my little guy is 10 months old so I always know what’s going to happen soon watch your little guy grow 🙂

    2. Adrienne says:

      Great tips! I think I’ll have to look into the munchkin spoons. We’re using the color change gerbers, but I fear I’m not really getting any food in her mouth! Ha. So shallow. And I too love TrixieTracker!

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