This blog post has nothing to do with photography, but I keep referring to this list for friends that are pregnant. That includes moms with their first or those who are a few years between babies. They want to know how things that were on my registry are working out for me. I spent so much time online while I was pregnant looking for things to register for. Many of my friends’ kids are in elementary school and up, so things have changed since they had a newborn in their home. Here is my list of hits for little Miss Ainsley. Your mileage may vary on each of these items, but after quite a few misses, these were definitely hits in our home!
I’ve included Amazon Affiliate links for all products with my reviews, so you can quickly make your way to Amazon and see what your options are. Side note, if you’re pregnant or a new mom and not an Amazon Prime member, sign up now! It’s $100 a year, and you get FREE shipping. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve ordered because who wants to deal with going to a store with a newborn. Regular shipping gets most items to my home in about two days. Can’t beat shopping from your phone or computer! PLUS if you’re a Prime member and you’ve set up a baby registry, you get a 10-15% purchase discount off select items from your registry. And you get a welcome box with all kinds of goodies when you complete your registry checklist and a minimum purchase by anyone off your registry!
OMG, this “Keurig for babies” is fantastic! A friend told me she was planning on breastfeeding but still had this gadget on her registry. It has been a total life saver. Particularly in the beginning with those bottles every 3-4 hours in the middle of the night. We’re still going strong at 11 months with it. I had read some negative reviews about cleaning and problems with the machine, but we’ve had zero issues with it. As long as you set it for the for the correct formula type and clean it daily (not a massive cleaning, just a quick wipe down of some key parts) it works wonderfully!!
Dr. Brown Options Bottles
We tried a few bottles along the way. But with a baby that had reflux, there was SO MUCH SPIT UP! The Dr. Brown Options Bottles definitely made a difference. Granted, she was still spitting up still but it wasn’t as bad as with some of the other bottles we had purchased. Again, we’re still using these at 11 months. While the reflux has settled down a lot, I’m still extremely happy with these bottles and don’t want even to think about switching as long as she’s on the bottle. We started out with four bottles, but we’re currently up to 12. I hate washing bottles everyday, so once you find a bottle that you and your baby love, stock up. It’s so much easier to throw them in the dishwasher than have them pile up in the sink.
Gerber Cloth Diapers
Yes, we used these for bottle time. We used them for burp cloths! MUCH bigger and WAY more absorbent than those cute little burp cloths you get at your shower. And like I said, we had a reflux baby, so she was always spitting up. And the “burps” during the bottle were more like spewing sessions. The cutesy little burp cloths did nothing for us, with everything that was coming out of her. She’s pretty much beyond that phase, but I still have the cloth diapers laying around the house to clean up messes since they are so absorbent.
Tommee Tippee Bibs
While all the cute bibs I got at my shower were, well, cute, they didn’t cut it when it came to the spit up! After one wash some of them shrunk up, others weren’t nearly thick enough material, and others just fell apart. I found the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bibs and was sold on them! The way the bibs are made, there’s no more milk stuck in her neck rolls. And they’re super absorbent, which is exactly what we needed. My only complaint about these bibs are that the Velcro starts to wear out over time. Not a huge deal, we still got it to connect for bottle feedings.
Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle
I’m pretty sure Ainsley lived in these in the beginning. We started with the standard Sleep Sacks that we couldn’t wrap her arms in. Um, nope those didn’t work for us. George was a master swaddler, I, on the other hand, couldn’t get a grip on it. Enter the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle. I didn’t have to learn how to swaddle! These were fantastic, because once she was wrapped up, it really helped her to sleep. Those flailing arms kept her awake or would wake her up. And the great part is that if you want to keep the baby’s arms out, no problem, you can still swaddle their belly but have the option to use it more like a wearable blanket. For those first few months, this was one of the best ways to help her get to sleep by swaddling her up.
Gerber Side Snap Shirts
I’m putting these under sleeping because she wore these exclusively with the Sleep Sack. We’re not huge onesie fans at our house, even though we had a pile of them a mile high for her. But these shirts were perfect for under her Sleep Sack. Being a February baby, it was still pretty darn cold those first few months, and I liked having just a little more on her arms to keep her warm at night. I will say it was so hard to find these in preemie sizes. Heck, it was hard to find anything in preemie sizes, but that’s a whole different story. We used that along with the Sleep Sack till probably 4-5 months at bedtime until she transitioned into just sleeping in sleepers.
Skip Hop Moonlight and Melodies Nightlight Owl Soother
We are still using this little guy. It’s even taken a few trips to grandma’s with her for overnight stays. There are some great features on the Owl. He has a little nightlight on his belly (that helps me not ram my foot into something at 2 am), there are both songs and sounds to help soothe (we love the heartbeat), you can project the moon and stars on the wall or ceiling from a little lens on his head. Ainsley was not a good sleeper at first. At one point our Pediatrician told us to run a vacuum to help soothe her. Guess what, it worked. Then we hooked up a tv in her room to run YouTube and found 8 hours of vacuum cleaner sounds. But that got a little old hearing the vacuum cleaner every night though the baby monitor. Once she was sleeping slightly better, we moved from YouTube to the owl, and he’s been in her room ever since. And on the rare case occasion, she’s not spending the night at home, or we forget to turn it on, we miss the soothing heartbeat noise! You can adjust the volume, and at this point, we keep it pretty low, but it’s a nice consistent sound to have in her room. And it also has an auto shut off timer at 15, 30 or 60 minutes that we’ll probably be trying soon.
Motorola Monitor MBP36S
We wanted to be somewhat low tech on the baby monitor. I didn’t want anything that had to be connected to our wifi. There are spots in our house that get spotty reception and sometimes the wifi is hit or miss. I read tons of reviews, did a bunch of research, but in the end, I left it up to George to pick out the tech gadget. I’ve been so happy with this monitor from day 1. We mounted it to the wall/ceiling in the corner of her room, so we can pan and zoom without having to worry if someone moved the camera. The night vision feature is excellent! We can see if she’s just restless or if she’s actually awake. We keep the monitor charger on our nightstand and in the evening or during naps, unplug it and take it downstairs with us. I leave the volume on and the picture off when it’s not on the charger to extend the battery life. If I hear her making any noise, I just push a button to see what she’s up to. And the best part, it’s so easy to use. We didn’t have any technical difficulties setting it up.
Miscellaneous Must Have’s
Snugapuppy Deluxe Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleeper
I got not one, but two of these as gifts. I had no clue what it was, and I never registered for it. But OMG this is an absolute must have item!! So here we are, two months in with a baby that sleeps a minimal amount, has reflux and colic and is on a powerful preemie formula that does a number on her stomach. Needless to say, the days and nights were rough. We tried the Mamaroo, a swing, a bouncer, a bassinet, her crib, rocking, holding, you name it … Ainsley had her own plans. Poor thing was just uncomfortable, all the time. So I decided to get the Rock N Play out and see if that worked. Seriously, it was almost instantaneously. I don’t know if it was because it was at an angle and it helped her reflux, if it was because it was cushy and “form fitting” and she felt snuggled in or a little of both. We got so much use out of this it was unbelievable. Naps in the living room – we used this. Mom had to take a break and eat, I put her in this. Time to go to bed but she just wouldn’t settle down enough to go in her crib, we started bedtime in this then moved her to the bed. I think we used this till probably 7 or 8 months. Then I started getting scared it had become a nap/sleep crutch, but she easily started going straight to sleep in her crib, so it wasn’t a worry. I love this item so much it’s now my go-to shower gift for moms to be!
So when you have a baby with severe reflux, the formula starts shooting out their nose, they panic, you panic, everyone’s in tears. Or at least that’s what happened at our house. We had the standard bulb syringe, but it didn’t do a great job. I had registered for the NoseFrida and decided to bust it out. Yes, it’s a little odd at first that you’re sucking snot out of your child’s nose, but wow – it’s great little invention!! At first, Ainsley hated it, but I think that’s also because she was freaking out that formula was coming out of her nose. Now it’s no big deal when I get it out for a stuffy nose from a cold. I do suggest ordering extra filters if you’re going to use this often. The filters are what keep you from actually sucking the snot into your mouth. It’s easy to clean, much easier than trying to figure out if that bulb syringe is clean or not.
Pinxav Diaper Rash Cream
There are so many choices when it comes to diaper rash creams. Thank goodness Ainsley hasn’t had much of a diaper rash issue. She had a mild rash in the NICU and then when we were starting solids. Actually, anything solid with chicken was causing a diaper rash. While in the NICU, the hospital had us use Pinkxav. It literally clears up diaper rash in 2-3 applications, so basically one day. A tip we got from one of the nurses was to put it on a baby wipe and apply that way. Quick, easy and clean. And a little goes a long way. We started with the 4 oz tube from the hospital and didn’t have to buy another tube till about 6 or 7 months.
I wish I would have picked up Indestructibles Books sooner! These books are indestructible! Ainsley was more interested in flipping pages and shoving the book in her mouth starting at about eight months. I would cringe when she would shove the corner of a board book in her mouth. I did some research for baby books that they could chew on but weren’t the standard fabric baby books we already had. She crawls on the pages, tries to eat them, waves the book in the air. The books don’t have much of a story in them – just pictures and words describing things (baby, bunny, doggie, etc.) I think that’s perfect for down the road when she wants to create her own story! These are definitely going in my “must have” baby gift items for the future.
Graco Nearby Napper XL Playard
So many pack n plays to choose from! We only had one requirement initially, that it had wheels so I could move it from the living room to the office. I put George in charge of picking out which one to get because at that point, I was sick of looking at reviews and standing in the baby store for hours on end. He ended up picking a Graco. We ended up keeping it in the living room, so we never actually rolled it from room to room. So many great features. It has a changing table, which we still currently have on top for quick changes when we’re not her in room. There’s a full-size bassinet that has music and vibrate feature, and we used that for naps for at least 2 or 3 months. It has two levels, so when she grew out of the top level, we lowered it down. Now she hangs out in there while one of us need a break but don’t want to let her loose in the house.
Baby Connect App
Best thing since sliced bread!! Seriously, this app is so much better than any gadget you pick up at the store. We’re still tracking everything on it – sleep, bottles, measurements from doctor appointments, diaper changes, medicine, solids, etc. The best part – George and I both have the app and my mom has it too. So whenever any of us do anything, we track it. Or if my mom can’t remember when I said her next bottle was, she can just check the app. It was awesome when Ainsley started sleeping a little longer, and we could really see a pattern in her sleeping – we knew when we could try to put her to bed a little earlier and we all got into a rhythm getting from 2-3 hour sleep to sleeping 12 hours a night. The app is available for iPhone, Android, iPad and the Kindle Fire. I’m sure we’re not even using it to the fullest extent, but what we do use it for, it’s been fantastic! I think it was a one-time purchase of around $5 per user. It’s the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time!!
That extensive list only covers a few things. There were A LOT of items I purchased that I thought I had to have and they ended up being a bust. I’ll be putting out another blog post in the next few weeks on some additional items that have worked out perfect for us. But the items above are an absolute must in my book for new moms!
Please note that I have not been given any free products, services or anything else by these companies in exchange for mentioning them on the site. The only consideration is in the form of affiliate commissions. Danielle Neil is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com