June 22, 2011

Favorite Baby Products

Posted in Watermarks in Progress at 1:08 am by Tamara

After ten whole weeks of mothering, here are some of my favorite baby products (and some ho-hum ones).  I’ve written reviews of these on Amazon where I give much more info on the pros and cons—if you want to read them here’s a link to my reviews, or you can look for reviews by WatermarkedOne on each product (and if you think they’re helpful, please click to say so!)

1)       His swing!!  Having a swing has been a lifesaver for me, and I’ve heard the same from many parents.  This is the one we got: Papasan Cradle Swing.  It lulls Bear to sleep so quickly, and I feel like it’s a safe place for him when I can’t hold him.  If he gets gas at night and doesn’t want to be flat on his back we’ll bring it in our bedroom and he’s usually out in a few minutes.  I like that it swings two ways: front to back and side to side.  Swings can be pricey, but if I had to get only one baby product this would be it.  Anything that calms crying and helps baby sleep is worth it!

2)      Halo Sleep Sacks.  Bear sleeps better swaddled, but I’m way too bleary-eyed at 2am to tangle with a square swaddle blanket, plus he wriggles out of them very easily, so this is a good alternative.  I have some issues with the construction (particularly the Velcro—it’s already wearing out), but it makes life so much easier that it’s worth it.  I also feel like it’s safer because I’m not worried about him wriggling out of a blanket and smothering himself.

3)      My Brest Friend nursing pillow.  My favorite thing about this (as opposed to the Boppy) is the strap with the back support.  I have back issues, and this helps keep my back from aching.  Its particularly helpful when I’m sitting in the rocker.  On the couch I prefer to sit sideways and prop my knees up, so a pillow is just as easy, but in any other chair/position this is helpful.  The strap also keeps it in place if I have to move to reach something so I don’t disturb Bear as much.

4)      Cortina Key Fit Travel System.  I really love this car seat and base, and it got Consumer Report’s top safety rating.  The best thing is that you adjust the straps by pulling on just one strap.  SO much easier than having to tighten/loosen each individual strap every time you put Baby in it!  It also snaps in and out of the car seat base really easily.  I’m not quite as crazy about the stroller.  It’s really nice but a little big—in retrospect I think I might have preferred a simple stroller frame for the car seat and a small umbrella stroller when he’s bigger.

5)      We got our glider and ottoman off Craigslist, which I highly recommend!  Make sure the back of your rocker is high enough to comfortably rest your head on it at 2am.  I always wanted a gliding ottoman…unfortunately I’m finding I don’t use it.  It’s super comfortable to rock with the ottoman, but when nursing I need to prop my feet on something stationary so my knees are higher to hold Bear comfortably.  We’ve ended up using a cheap plastic stool instead of the beautiful ottoman.  Oh well.

6)      Lansinoh nursing pads.  Okay, nothing particularly special about them, you just need them.  You’ll get the best price if you sign up for Amazon Mom (free express shipping) and do Subscribe and Save for delivery every 2 months.  And Motherhood Maternity has good nursing bras—just ask the saleswoman what their bestsellers are.

7)      Dream a Little lullaby CD by The Little Series.  The songs are airy and soothing, and it has both voice and instrumental versions of each song.  You can download it from iTunes for $3.99 for thirty songs.  Can’t beat that!

8)      LA baby four-sided changing pad.  I like that this is contoured on all sides so he can’t roll off as easily or push with his feet and slide backwards.  Our changing table came with a pathetic one inch thick pad, but this one is great.  Bear likes it so much I’ll sometimes set it on the couch so he can chill next to me.

9)      Breathable Baby mesh crib bumper.  I feel like Bear is safer with this because if he rolls and gets his face smashed against it (especially while swaddled) he’ll still be able to breathe.  I don’t like how it attaches to the crib because I think it looks messy, but safety is more important.

10)  Baby Biotic probiotic supplement.  For the first month and a half Bear would cry almost every time he had to poop or pass gas, and a friend recommended this.  Probiotics are healthy bacteria (like what’s in yogurt) that help regulate your digestive system.  Babies are supposed to get those healthy bacteria from mom when they pass through the birth canal, but Bear was a c-section so missed out on that.  Your immune system needs healthy bacteria in your intestines in order to fight infection and regulate digestion, but c-section and formula-fed babies often don’t have enough.  Almost immediately after we started giving Bear this he started having a lot less trouble with pooping and gas.  I’ve also read probiotics can help with ear infections, colic, and keep babies healthy enough to handle vaccines (a poor immune system seems to be what causes adverse reactions to vaccines).  The benefits of probiotics for babies (and adults) have been well researched and documented (you can search pubmed.gov for peer-reviewed studies).

11)  Ice cream.  Okay, this is a mommy product, not a baby product, but in my mind it is a must-have sanity-saver!  If all else fails, you may as well eat ice cream!

A couple general tips if you’re registering: 1) Register for what you really want, even if it’s expensive.  I was shocked at how wonderfully generous people were, and if we’d chosen things just because they were cheap we wouldn’t have gotten what we really needed.  2) If you plan on having more than one kid, register for big items (car seat, swing, etc) that can be for a boy or a girl.  3) Register for toddler stuff.  I can’t believe how fast Bear is starting to need stuff it seemed like we wouldn’t need forever!  4)  Register for several types of bottles, pacifiers, etc.  Babies are so individual in what they prefer, and you may have to try a lot of different kinds.  5)  Amazon’s baby registry lets you register for things from any website, so you can keep everything in one place!  6) Search for things on Craigslist that you’re comfortable getting used.  7)  Read lots of product reviews on Amazon!  We may as well learn from other mothers’ experiences!

So, now that I’ve shared, what are YOUR favorite baby/toddler/child products?



  1. Meg said,

    I love the mirror that attaches to the backseat headrest. When I drive alone with baby I can see what he’s up to/what is making him cry.

  2. Remember when registering that toddler-hood comes very quickly! And your life will be more, not less, insane when that happens and you will probably be more, not less, broke then too! So be sure to register for toddler things!

    1. Convertible car seat. You might even need that before the first birthday if your baby is big. :) And they can be expensive, so why not ask for it as a gift? We have the Graco MyRide 65, and Tommy loves it! Great ratings, and about 1/3 the cost of Britax.

    2. Sippy cups. Get insulated. You’ll still end up finding lost cups of milk in the toy box a week later (NASTY!!!), but they do help keep the milk better for longer, which is nice. Especially in the summer. I’m sad we have anything other than insulated. :(

    3. Potty-training stuff. We have a little stool and a padded potty seat that sits on the regular toilet seat. Very handy. And, it’s nice to have well before you’re actually actively potty-training – just for when they start to show interest. Having them sit on it and try to potty is also a nice way to keep a 20 month old occupied while you’re doing your hair or putting on make-up! :D

    4. Toy box/Toy storage. To contain the mess.

    5. Our “toddler bed” is actually a regular twin-sized bed, but with railings that go all the way around. Plus it has a trundle. Right now, there isn’t a mattress in the trundle box…just a great place to store Duplos! We also love the fact that we won’t have to keep on buying beds – and bedding – every two years.

    6. Water-proof mattress pad for Mommy and Daddy’s bed. It’s necessary. They will sleep in your bed at some point when they’re sick or scared of a storm or something, even if it’s just a few hours until you head to bed and put them back in theirs. But they can make a whole lot of mess in a short period of time! And Mommy and Daddy’s mattress is much more expensive than baby’s.

    7. We love our Chicco Lightway stroller http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=chicco+lightway&x=0&y=0 . It’s an umbrella stroller, which means it folds up beautifully, but it’s also tall enough to push comfortably (as opposed to the cruddy $15 ones). It’s also sturdy enough to have lots of weight in the back and it won’t tip over.

    8. Baby Gate. We have the Safety 1st Perfect fit gate, which we really enjoy. It’s a little narrow for a couple of our openings, but I love how easy it is to put up, take down, make wider and shrink. And, it’s wall is smooth plastic, which makes for very difficult climbing for little monkeys! But, our 40″ tall 7 year olds can easily climb over it, which is nice. They don’t [usually] need to be contained. It’s their brother I worry about. :D

    9. Multiple changing pads. We have a couple “changing stations” around our house – in Tommy’s room, in the living room, and will be putting one in the basement when it’s finished. It’s nice to be able to change him wherever we are, but that is much more pleasant for Mommy if there is a changing pad handy! (And by changing pads, I mean little ones that fold up to nothing. We have the J.J. Cole Diaper Caddy http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?SKU=118522&. It’s not designed to be stood on, and if someone does stand in it, it will break, but that’s not the end of the world. Great to have a little kit handy with diapers, wipes, and a pad! :) )

    One thought about registering: Give people options. Meaning, register for things in a variety of price ranges. You will have people (more than you think) who will want to give you a $100 present. Those people will probably want to give you something more special than onesies and receiving blankets, or different than cloth diapers, and will be frustrated if there aren’t options for them. And, if there aren’t options for them and they want to give you something (read: not just a check or gift card), they might end up getting 5 $20 items, which can be frustrating for the people who have a $20 budget if all the “good” less expensive options are taken.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. :)

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