Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baby Products for Newborns: Extras

This post is about our experience with baby products for the newborn stage, 0-3 months. If you have any other questions for me that I did not answer in this post, feel free to email me: mrs.c.ondemand {at} gmail {dot} com

A few disclaimers:

I am in no way an expert. I am simply a first time mama and these are the things that helped me and my daughter the first 3 months.

All babies are different. What worked for us and Jillian may or may not work for you and your baby. Keep an open mind and follow your baby's lead. If they hate a type of bottle, pacifier, etc., then get new ones. It may pain you to spend that kind of money, but everyone will be much happier in the long run.

I was not asked by anyone or any company to write this post. Any brands or products that I name specifically, I give a reason for my initial purchase and why they did or did not work for us. All opinions are my own.

Things That Are Nice to Have

1) An Activity Mat
When Jillian hit the 6 week mark, she suddenly became aware of her surroundings. From that point on, we would put her on her activity mat if she was fussy. We have the Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym. Jillian loves looking in the mirror, pulling on the octopus and enjoys the music about half the time, (it depends on her mood).

2) A Swing
We have been using this swing from day one and Jillian is so happy in it. She's comfortable and hardly fussies. We don't use the music and we rarely use the swinging motion because it can get a little fast. However, we are very satisfied with it overall. We have the Fisher-Price Cradle Swing - My Little Snug-a-Bunny swing. The main reason I wanted this swing is because it plugs into the wall and can be used with batteries as well. If you get this, or the next model up, I want to point out that there are two positions for the seat. I didn't realize this until about 5 weeks after she was born.

3) Bumbo Seat
I was skeptical of the Bumbo seat at first, but Jillian seems to like it now. Jillian is not a fan of tummy time, so I needed something to help her strengthen her neck muscles. She also likes to sit upright now that she is interested in the world around her. We honestly didn't use it on a regular basis until a week before her 3 month birthday. If you can hold off on it until that time, that is what I would recommend.

4) Two Car Seats
This is only necessary if you are a two car family.
We originally wanted just a convertible car seat to save money in the long run. We installed it on my car and figured we would move it to the other car if need be. Well, that sucker is in there good and we can't get it out very easy. For the models we use, please refer to my Baby Products for Newborns: The Basics post here.
After we purchased an infant car seat, we now have one seat per car. This makes our lives easier, but it's not necessarily a requirement.

5) An Infant Bath Tub
After Jillian's cord fell off, we tried having one of us hold her in the big tub while the other bathed her. This did not work really well for us. We decided to buy an infant bath tub and it is great! Jillian loves bath time! She splashes all around and can just relax. The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddler Tub is the model we purchased. We used the newborn sling for about 2 weeks before Jillian decided she didn't need it anymore. We have enough counter space to place in there in the bathroom as long as one person is with Jillian at all times while she's inside. Of course, that goes without saying when she's in the tub period. We have put the tub in the actual bath tub, but it is a little harder to reach Jillian. It is easy to clean and easy to use.

6) A Baby Monitor
We decided to not get a video monitor because we figured we would just rely on the sound to decipher if we should check on Jillian or not. So far, we are happy with this decision. We have The First Years 49 MHz Audio Monitor with 2 Receivers. We like that you can either plug in the monitors or use batteries.
We also bought a special movement monitor. When we first transitioned Jillian to her own room, I was having a rough time. Being slightly neurotic, I was just so worried about her succumbing to SIDS or something else happening. To soften the blow, we invested in a Snuza Halo Basic Monitor. This clips to her diaper and keeps track of how often she moves. If she doesn't move at all for 15 seconds, the monitor will vibrate gently to wake her. If she still does not move after 5 seconds, it will sound an audible alarm to alert the parents to check on her. This does work very well and helps me to have peace of mind since Jillian is such a quiet sleeper. We have had 2 false alarms, but only because we had Jillian in a loose nightgown without wrapping her legs in a swaddle blanket. This caused the monitor to become skewed and it could not measure her movements properly. Even with the false alarms, which were clearly our own fault, I would not trade this monitor for anything.

7) A Baby Carrier
For those who do not have an infant car seat that you can carry baby around in, or who are just interested in baby wearing, I highly recommend the Moby Wrap. I believe you can find just about any color you want, but I have a basic black one. It was a little overwhelming the first time I tried to tie the wrap, but it honestly becomes second nature after a few tries. I have not tried any other carrier, but I am so happy with the Moby that I wouldn't want a different one! I was able to take Jillian to a restaurant and eat comfortably with her wrapped up when she was only 8 days old. Jillian seems to love it herself. Not all babies will like it, but she did. It did make my back a little sore if I wore it for more than 2 hours. That only happened a few times when I needed to calm Jillian down. 

8) Books, and Toys
We try to read to Jillian every day. You can either use books you already have or start a children's book collection. Some of the books that Jillian seems to respond more to are: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Goodnight Moon, White on Black, Black on White, Baby Faces, and Olivia. If nothing else, start a tradition of going to the local library every Saturday and check out a few books to read that week. That way, you can read to your child without having to buy several books. 
For toys, Jillian doesn't have a lot of interest at this stage. However, the toys she does enjoy are: Bright Stars Sensory Plush Zebra, Bright Stars Rattle & Shake Barbell, Bright Stars Lots of Links, Small Wonders Monkey Security Blanket (no link available), and Disney Winnie the Pooh Piglet Plus Toy by Kids Preferred.

9) Swaddle Sacks
I originally did not want to bother with swaddle sacks because we had the swaddle blankets. However, the hospital where I delivered Jillian used them and she seemed quite happy. Plus, I'm not very good at wrapping with just a blanket. We have two Halo SleepSack Swaddles and love them! We know she won't get too hot, yet will stay warm enough to sleep well. Now that she is older, we do not wrap her arms down, but they are still useful.

10) Stroller
We have a Graco Quattro Tour Deluxe Stroller. We picked this stroller based on reviews I found online and the fact that we were searching for gender neutral baby gear items because we hope to have more than one child. We liked the look of the Zurich pattern and the stroller was a decent size. We have used the stroller a handful of times, but we don't use it on a weekly basis. If we lived near a better walking trail, I would probably use it more often to go on family walks. This is probably just me being clumsy, but it is hard to steer at certain stores that have very thin aisles. Overall we are pleased with this stroller. We are considering the Britax B-Agile Stroller to go with her B-Safe infant car seat. This is not because we are unhappy with the Graco stroller. The main reason is because we have to specifically plan to use the convertible car seat when we go out with the stroller we currently have. That means, if we were out of town and using the infant car seat, we would have a few extra steps to get Jillian from her car seat into the stroller. Plus, if we have another child when Jillian can still use the stroller, we'll need the other stroller for the newborn. We haven't purchased it yet, but we are considering it.

I only say this for all those midnight and 2 a.m. feedings. I was able to catch up on shows and movies since I wasn't sleeping anyways. Again, not a requirement, but it made our lives a little nicer :)

12) Pacifiers
We have several different kinds of pacifiers. Jillian doesn't seem to favor one over the other and seems content with all of them. We have The First Years Gumdrop Pacifiers, MAM Orthodontic Pacifiers, and Playtex Ortho-Pro Pacifiers.
As far as pacifier clips, because Jillian likes to spit hers out randomly, these were very helpful. We bought the Munchkin Pacifier Clip and also MAM Double Clip. With the MAM Double Clip, you can un-velcro the plastic ring and use the thin ribbon to lace through the small hole of the The First Years Gumdrop Pacifiers. 
We also invested in some The First Years Gumdrop Pacifier Wipes 40 ct. This is mostly helpful for around the house since we have cats that shed like crazy. We can wipe off the pacifier quickly and get it back to Jillian before she gets too upset. These work for all the different brands of pacifiers we have.

13) A Camera
 You don't need a super fancy camera, but having a durable, digital camera is a major plus when you have a baby. Trust me, you'll want lots and lots of pictures of your precious baby :) We have a Nikon D3000 that I received for my birthday last year. I don't claim to know much about photography so I do not use this camera to its fullest potential. However, I love the high resolution as well as the sharpness of the pictures I take. Also, be sure to have a nice, big memory card. You just might need it!

14) A Video Camera
We bought a JVC Everio video camera in December of 2010 before I gave a concert that we wanted to record. Even though I have taken some video with my iPod touch, I think the sound quality of an actual video camera is much better. Honestly, we do not use a video camera very often, but it is definitely something we know we will be using more as Jillian gets older.

15) Changing Table
We have a changing table that matches Jillian's full size crib. It is nice to have, especially for storage. The reason I have it under "Extras" is due to the fact that you can change your baby anywhere. Sometimes we change Jillian in her crib, or on a blanket on the floor. If you get to set up a nursery for your baby, it is definitely nice to have. Some people also use a changing pad on top of a dresser. As long as baby can be strapped down once they start becoming more squirmy, you can do whatever works best in your living situation.

Any other baby product that was not mentioned in this post or the Baby Products for Newborns: The Basics post, we did not use it. We do have other baby items right now, but we did not use them for the phase of Jillian's life. I will do another post for my mommy list after Jillian is 6 months old. I hope this was helpful. If nothing else, hopefully it was interesting :)

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