I remember when I first started shopping for baby things, I was so overwhelmed. There are so many baby products on the market, and sadly, so much of it is totally and completely useless. Almost every expecting mother finds herself asking the question, “What do I really need?”
Aside from the obvious essentials like diapers, clothing, and a car seat, the truth is there isn’t much you really need. But almost four months into motherhood, I’ve discovered a few items that have made my life a whole lot easier. I’d like to share them with you now.
For the record, I’m not being compensated in any way to endorse these products. All of these items I either bought for myself or were gifted to me by generous friends. These reviews are completely unsolicited by the manufacturers, and all opinions are my own.
There are about a million different infant carriers and slings. It may seem like all of them work the same way, but the truth is, they don’t. Some of them aren’t very baby-friendly, and many of them aren’t very mom-friendly. They can be difficult to use, constricting for baby, and a lot of moms abandon them early on.
My friend Kacie loved her Baby K’Tan carrier, and generously gifted me with one of my own before Judah was born. The K’Tan is incredibly simple to use compared to other wraps. It takes me about a minute to get Judah into it, and I can do it while sitting in the backseat of the car. There’s no complicated wrapping involved. It’s made of two loops of fabric, so there aren’t yards and yards of excess fabric to get in your way.
He absolutely loves to be carried in it, and he’s typically fast asleep within 10 minutes. I don’t think either one of us would be a fan of a bulky stroller. The K’Tan keeps him close to me, and it keeps my hands free.
Arms Reach co-sleeper
Before Judah was born, my sister gave me a bedside bassinet that she never used for my nephew. I tried to put Judah in it the first two nights after we came home from the hospital, and it was a nightmare. He hated the thing, and it was too tall for me to comfort him from the bed. I also had to stand up to pick him up every time he woke me to eat. He was using a bili-blanket to treat his jaundice, and keeping him swaddled in it was impossible. I was in and out of bed all night rewrapping the blanket around him.
My mom bought us a Close and Secure Sleeper* that worked great for the first 6 weeks. He was right in bed with us, but I was able to sleep soundly with him in his own space. Even though it was small, fitting it in a queen-sized bed with two adults was a squeeze, so it wasn’t very comfortable for us. He also grew out of it quickly.
I read rave reviews about the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper, a bassinet that attaches to the side of the bed. I ordered the Clear Vue mini bassinet model, and it has worked fabulously. If you’re breastfeeding, I absolutely recommend it. He sleeps right next to me, but he doesn’t take up space in the bed. This particular model has adjustable legs, which allowed us to tilt it a few inches to help with his reflux. Its weight limit is 23 pounds, so it will last longer than the typical bassinet with a 15- or 18-pound limit.
Cloud B Gentle Giraffe sound machine
During our endless struggle for better sleep, we discovered that Judah was soothed into sleep by white noise. My sister recommended the Cloud B Sleep Sheep*, but when I discovered there was an adorable giraffe* that matched his nursery’s jungle theme, I had to have that one. I named him Geoffrey.
There are four different sounds, including some jungle beats, a waterfall, and a sound that’s supposed to mimic mother’s heartbeat from the womb. He doesn’t really like any of the sounds except for the waterfall, but he loves it. A timer turns it off after 23 or 45 minutes, and a velcro strap attaches it to the side of the bassinet or crib. It comes with us where ever we go to help Judah fall asleep.
Snappi diaper fastener
If you’re using prefold cloth diapers, there are all kinds of different ways to fold the diapers to avoid using pins or fasteners. I find that the Snappi fasteners* give me a snugger fit, which is really important in those first months when diapers can be particularly messy. My mom and Tony’s grandmother, who both used cloth diapers with pins, marvel at how easy it is for me to fasten Judah’s diapers without sticking myself or him.
I’ve only owned this thing for a day, but Judah already loves it. He’s been insisting on being held in a seated or standing position for the last few weeks, and it’s made it difficult for me to multi-task while holding him. The Bumbo seat* allows him to sit up straight without assistance even though he’s a couple months away from doing that on his own, and I’ve read that it aids in healthy development of the spine and posture.
What baby products have you found helpful?
Disclosure: Asterisks denote affiliate links. If you make a purchase through Amazon using my link, I earn a few cents.
We are getting our bumbo chair on Saturday and I am so excited! Henry loves that position, too.
When I was pregnant, I thought I’d only buy the essentials (frugal!), but I have quickly learned that things like mechanical swings and bouncy chairs come in VERY handy. Money well spent!
On the Amazon link for the Bumbo, there’s a pic of a baby taking a bath with one. BRILLIANT!
And of course I am tickled to bits that you guys love the K’tan as much as I do. :)
We tried the bumbo in the tub, it didn’t work well for us.. maybe we just did something wrong. lol…
Anyway, with that cosleeper, is he actually up against you, or just near you? Josiah likes to be right up against me. I think he has some mommy radar or something, last night I crawled into bed on my husband’s side in an attempt to be comfortable for awhile. Before I could even fall asleep he had moved his way across the bed to me, and rolled from one side to the other so he was facing me….
So far with Josiah we rocked out the swing for a few months, it was the only place he’d sleep during the day (other than in my arms). That’s about the only item he really has liked. He hates the bumbo seat, doesn’t care for his bouncy seat, and likes his activity mat for awhile, especially now that he discovered he can grab things with his hands.
@Jes – No, he is not right against me in the co-sleeper. Getting him to sleep a foot away from me was a bit of a battle in the beginning. He also had mommy radar. But it was a bit easier to convince him to sleep in the co-sleeper, because I could sort of hunch myself over the bar between us to cuddle him until he fell asleep. Once he was asleep, I could scoot back over into my bed without moving him, so he wasn’t as likely to wake up. It took some work, but he’s used to it now.
He will roll toward me and scootch against the side of the co-sleeper to get as close to me as possible. It’s a good thing the sides are just mesh, otherwise I’d worry about him pressing himself against the side of the thing the way he does sometimes!
Judah sorta likes his activity mat. It’ll buy me 10 or 15 minutes to do the dishes or fold some laundry. But he’s not into laying in it for much longer than that. And yeah, he was into the swing for a minute, and then he was over it. It’s been collecting dust in the corner of the living room for a couple months now.
We had a Snugglenest which sounds similar to your Close and Secure Sleeper, and loved that! Really helped a lot in the beginning when we were trying to get him to sleep. I have a Moby carrier, that I loved when Garrett was really little. Now that he’s bigger it’s harder to use. I was given an Ergo for Christmas and I like that a lot better.