Categories
Childbirth Infants Motherhood Parenting Pregnancy

Must-have items for new moms

We have several new and expecting moms following our blog so we want to share with y’all our list of must-have items. These are the kinds of things that you’ll want around as soon as baby gets here. Items 1-8 are Mallory’s must-haves and 9-16 are Claire’s.
1. Baby carrier – I actually have three baby carriers; we like to baby wear in this family! My first child had reflux so it was necessary to wear her constantly to keep her happy and my hands free. The Boba wrap is perfect for keeping baby snug and wrapped tightly to your body. My husband and I prefer to use this carrier if we are wearing the baby around the house. I don’t feel as comfortable going out with this one on because it is not very supportive.

The Boba wrap is perfect for baby wearing around the house.
The Baby Bjorn baby carrier is great for going out. It’s lightweight, easy to put on and supports the baby close to your chest. We recently bought and fell in love with the Ergobaby 3-position carrier for our toddler because you can wear the child on your back like a backpack. If you are only going to get one carrier, I’d highly recommend this one because it will meet all your needs.

Wearing a toddler as a backpack using the Ergobaby carrier makes exploring a new country much easier!
2. Bob jogging stroller – if you like jogging or doing anything outdoorsy, I highly recommend paying the big bucks and investing in a Bob jogging stroller. They are amazing and worth every penny!

3. Oh joy! Diaper bag from Target – this diaper bag is a backpack, has stroller straps, and zips closed. The bag has several pockets and is very deep for lots of storage. I love it and get compliments everywhere I go! Claire’s had 2 diaper bags and doesn’t love either of them. She’s going to go buy one of these bags this week.

4. Love to Dream swaddle UP – this swaddle is fabulous and so easy to use. You just put the baby inside and zip it up. One problem I always had using a blanket to swaddle was that my LO would struggle until her arms were free. With the Love to Dream swaddle the arms are up in a patented wing position. My husband calls it a wingman suit for this reason. The babies look like skydivers. The 50/50 swaddle has zip-off wings to help baby transition out of swaddles. I unzipped one wing at first then after a few nights took off both wings. This made the whole process easy for mom and baby.

Love to Dream swaddle UP a.k.a. Wingman suit
5. Rock n Play Sleeper – these are the best to have in every room (just kidding I just pick mine up and move it into which ever room I am in). Great for bedtime, nap time, daytime and playtime. For me, it comes in handy after nursing. I can lay my LO down without worrying he will spit up because it is the perfect angle.

Big sister coming inside to check on baby brother every 5-minutes
6. Amazon Subscribe and Save – first off, if you don’t already have Amazon Prime membership please crawl out of your cave and get with the program. Amazon saves me so much time and effort. Subscribe and Save is even more amazing because I can create a monthly list of items that will be automatically delivered to me by a certain day. It even works in Japan! This is how I get all our diapers, wipes, diaper trash bags, and most importantly our K-pods.

7. Nose Frida – the grossest, most effective apparatus for extracting snot from a stopped up baby nose. It is somewhat satisfying watching all the baby’s snot fill the tube.

Using the Nose Frida…the patient is not always happy about you sucking snot out of their nose!
8. Tinybeans – best app to keep your family updated with daily photos without sharing your little ones face and life story with the whole World Wide Web. Read Claire’s article to find out why we love Tinybeans so much.

9. Pack n Play w/ Bassinet feature – This is one of the essentials to have ready when baby comes home from the hospital. You’re gonna want your newborn within arm’s reach the first few months, so setting up the pack n play right next to your bed is going to help you catch some z’s. When baby transitions to the crib, you can still keep your pack n play around to contain baby around the house and on trips.

10. My Brestfriend Pillow – This nursing pillow was recommended by the lactation consultant at our hospital. It buckles around your body for extra support and convenience. My love for it has grown since we’ve moved into a two-story house. I just clip it around my waist which gives me two free hands to carry baby (or extra snacks and water) to wherever I want to nurse him.

11. Keekaroo changer – while I was pregnant, I was learning the parenting ropes from a friend and this is the changer she had. At first I was put off by the price, but because you don’t need changing pad covers, it’s basically a wash. Just wipe down and done. I was satisfied by this purchase in the first week we brought our son home: I put him on the changer, took off his diaper and suddenly the Keekaroo was flooded with meconium! We kept trying to put on new diapers, but it just kept coming!

keekaroochangingpad.jpg

12. Two-in-One Swing – In my experience I’ve found two camps of moms: The Rock n Players or The Swingers. There are so many (what I call) “baby receptacles,” on the market it’s hard to know what to choose. You’ll definitely want something outside of the bedroom for setting down and soothing your babe. What works best for you is largely dependent on your baby’s personality, but for me, the practicality of the Graco 2-in-1 Swing won me over to the Swinger side. I loved that the swing seat is also a bouncer that can be removed and moved around the house. Such a space-saver!

2014-10-11 10.03.49
Probably the only time I strapped him in…
13. Bamboobies – reusable nursing pads! Yes! I will say, in the beginning, I still ended up using disposable nursing pads because I leaked so much that the reusable pads would just stay wet which is not good for your nips, but once my supply regulates, the reusable are all I really need.

14. White Noise machine – this was one of my “live and learn” purchases. As my first-born got older and more sensitive to his environment, sometimes the smallest creak would startle him awake. I finally got a white noise machine to drown out any startling noises. Today I have one in each of my boys’ rooms which has been especially useful for drowning out the incessant barking of the dogs.

15. Madela hand pump – I don’t pump often, but when I do it’s usually in the middle of the night to relieve engorgement. Getting a good double electric pump is great, but if you’re looking to avoid the whole production of getting connected to your electric pump, a hand pump can be used from the quiet comfort of your bed. Also great for throwing in your diaper bag or suitcase if you’re traveling.

16. Vibrating teether – Teething sucks. I have all kinds of teethers, but found that nothing provided sweet relief quite like the vibrating ones. The only problem with them is that little babies have trouble biting down on them to get them to vibrate. The one linked helped me solve that problem. I can let baby chew on one side and I’m still able to hold down the other side to keep it vibrating.

Categories
Infants Motherhood Moving Parenting

7 MUST-HAVE ITEMS WHEN TRAVELLING WITH AN INFANT/TODDLER

I’m not saying I’m an expert at travelling with an infant/toddler, but I have definitely discovered a few techniques to make life easier on the go and figured out what items are absolutely necessary to have on hand. During this PCS Adventure, my family has been without household goods for 48 days, spent 3 days in airports and on planes, and lived in hotels for 26 days. It has been a learning experience for us all and I think everyone was pushed to their limit at one point during this adventure. We are finally in our new house, but still do not have household goods so we are back to “roughing it” in our own home. I honestly do not think we would have made it this far without the following items:

Categories
Motherhood Parenting

Diaper Bag Must-Haves

Trying to figure out what all needed to go in the diaper bag was a huge struggle for me the first few times I left the house with my new baby. After a few rookie mistakes I learned to pack enough stuff for almost any circumstance. I will never forget my first outing. My daughter was 5-days old and I took her to a studio to get newborn photos taken. I only packed a sample pack of baby wipes in my diaper bag. (Why is this even a thing? You are tricking new moms into thinking this is enough wipes.) I was only going to be gone a few hours so surely that would be enough. Wrong! As soon as we got to the studio my LO had a diaper blow out and I used every last one of those wipes in the sample pack before she was clean. I was so embarrassed, but luckily the photographer had been around new moms before and was more prepared. I now always make sure I have an almost full pack of wipes at all times!

I feel very lucky in that I have been surrounded by so many experienced moms during this first year with a new baby. I joined a running group right after my postpartum check up, called Stroller Warriors. (Stroller Warriors® is a FREE running club for military spouses and their family members.) These moms welcomed me with open arms and have been there for me to lean on and to learn from. I invited my friend Leah, from the group, to go to lunch today so we could discuss her diaper bag. Every time I’ve been out with Leah I have been super impressed at her organization and ability to wrangle two little girls with such ease. She definitely makes being a mom of two look super easy. It might be because of her magical diaper bag. I swear she must have cast an undetectable extension charm on her bag like Hermione Granger (yes, I did just visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter). Leah has so much stuff in her bag and everything is super useful I thought I’d get a list and share it with you all.

Leah’s Diaper Bag Must-Haves:

Thirty One Zip Top Tote – This is Leah’s FAVORITE bag for carrying baby things around. It has 5 pockets on the outside and two mesh pockets on the end that you can easily slide things into. It also zips on the top for safety of your personal belongings. It’s a little more on the pricey side, but totally worth it and they come in such cute colors.
Diaper Bag Dispenser – This is a mom’s best friend! The compact dispenser conveniently clips to diaper bags for odor control at home or on the go. The bags are infused with baking soda for safe, effective, and natural odor elimination. (Note from Mallory: I use these when I’m at a friend’s house and need to dispose of a diaper. It’s just rude to leave something smelly in their trash especially if they don’t have kids. These bags are also good for putting soiled clothes in if your child has an accident away from home.)

Tiny Diner Portable Placemat – These are the BEST when your kiddos start eating their own food in restaurants…you can wipe it down easily at the end of the meal and store it almost anywhere in any diaper bag. Only drawback I can find is that it does not stay wrapped up the way it comes in the packaging so I take a rubber band and put it around the rolled up placemat to keep it together and easily accessible. 
Baby Bjorn Bib – I get compliments on these bibs all the time! It catches anything that dribbles out of the babies or kids mouths! We throw the kids snacks into the pocket during picnics and the kids can access them easily all by themselves. Drawbacks are that they don’t condense down very much because they are molded plastic so they are a bit cumbersome but they are so stinkin’ easy to wipe off or even run through the dishwasher (on the top shelf!). 

Vera Bradley ID Card Case – I love this card case/wallet because my ID is always easily accessible and I don’t even have to take it out since there is a clear view pocket on the front. It holds a lot of cards, including annual passes, credit cards, business cards, etc.

D Shape Aluminum Carabiner – If you can’t get anything else on my list, get this! I hook my keys and wallet (ID card case) together on this D ring and the best part, I can hook it to ANY bag I choose and switch it around when I go from purse to diaper bag. It’s a security thing for me because then if someone tries to get my keys/wallet, they will tug on my bag and I will feel it!

Baby Powder – This might sound like an odd “must-have” but if you’ve ever spent a sandy day at the beach, you will know why this is in my top picks! Baby powder gets sand off your kiddos like nobody’s business so it doesn’t just come in handy for poopy diapers! Just sprinkle it on any place they get sand and it comes right off as well as leaving them smelling like beautiful little babies, not stinky seaweed! It also comes in handy if you’re running around all day and don’t have a chance to run home to freshen up!

Ziploc bags marked for each kid – Fill Ziploc with their essentials: diapers, wipes, change of clothes, etc. I never even thought of this, but Leah mentioned it is so much easier to grab the Ziploc bag marked for that kid if you need to do a quick diaper change. Also if you drop them off at daycare their stuff won’t get mixed up.

Mommy Things – you don’t want to leave home without your own essentials. Leah and I were discussing how easy it is to forget to take care of yourself when you are busy with your kids. Keep a bag like this in your diaper bag and you will always be prepared. Mine has Tylenol, sunscreen, pads, Kleenex, gum, and extra hair ties. 

Since my daughter is younger than both of Leah’s girls and doesn’t eat much solid food yet, I’ll add that it is also useful to keep a nursing blanket/cover in your bag at all times or formula/bottles. That way you are always ready if your baby needs to eat. I still keep an extra shirt for myself in the bag as well because my daughter was notorious for spitting up on me any chance she got.

I hope this list is helpful for new moms or moms that are about to have two kids. I know it seems like a lot to lug around, but I promise you want to be over prepared so there is less stress on you and your kiddos. Let us know if there are any other “must-haves” and we will add them to the list.