Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What I wish I had the first time around

I swear we accumulate more baby stuff than I ever thought humanly possible. Yet, there are times when I find myself thinking that life would be easier if I just had this one more item. Which of course leads to impulse spending in the name of stress relief, convenience, or simply "OMG-she-is-just-going-to-love-it!"

Here are the 10 items (in no particular order) that we have been using with Aurelia, that I wish we had purchased for Carina because they are that awesome.

1. Rock n Play Sleeper

When Carina roomed in with us, she slept in our Pack n Play. Problem is, we can't fit one in our room this time around. A gazillion of my Mom friends recommended the Rock n Play and we were so happy to receive it as a gift. Aurelia sleeps in it every night and naps in it during the day. We take it along with us whenever we travel since it folds up easily and compactly.

2. Infant Bath Sponge

We thought we loved our plastic infant tub shaped like a whale in which we bathed Carina, but we couldn't find it when Aurelia was born and didn't want to buy a new one, so we got one of these $5 bath sponges. I didn't even know they existed until my Mother-in-law bought one to keep at her house. You just fill your regular tub with a few inches of water and lay baby on the sponge. I much prefer doing this over lugging out the tub, setting it up, draining it, cleaning it, etc.

3. Carseat Side Kick

I can't tell you how many times I woke Carina up while placing her in her car seat. This little contraption uses magnets to hold the car seat straps off to the side, allowing you to place baby in the seat without having to manhandle her to strap her in. It also comes in handle when we're at a restaurant and want to let her sit in the seat comfortably.

4. Sound & Projection Machine

Again, we thought we loved our previous sound machine (Sleep Sheep) until I purchased this one. The Sleep Sheep just wasn't cutting it, as Aurelia would wake up as soon as it shut off. Many of my Mom friends recommended this Homedics sound spa as "baby crack" and Aurelia seems to agree. There are a number of different sounds AND a projector, and you can leave it on indefinitely or set a timer for automatic shut off.

5. Magnificent Baby Clothes

I won this little sleeper in a giveaway and I am SO glad I did. Instead of snaps or zippers, it has magnet closures. You can literally just move the two sides of the sleeper close to one another and the magnets snap together instantly. This is genius. I only wish they weren't so expensive or I'd ditch the snaps and zippers forever. Hear that, Carters? MAGNETS. Do it up, pretty please.

6. Video Monitor

I really don't know how we did without a video monitor. I snagged this Infant Optics one on Amazon for $99 and it's been a great purchase so far. Aurelia cries out in her sleep quite often, and being able to look and see she is still sleeping saves me from having to dash across the house multiple times over the course of the day. Also? Sometimes she doesn't even make a peep when she wakes up so this way I can see those little eyes open.

7. Tiny Love Gym

We already have a play gym, but this was a BlogHer giveaway win and it looked like fun so I figured we'd give it a try. I thought I loved our other gym (Fisher Price Rainforest)...until we started using this one. The mat snaps together for easy storage and transport, the toys are fun, the little caterpillar that plays music is detachable, and the toy rings/hooks and center link that holds the four "legs" together are movable. This makes for some really cool flexibility.

8. Trash Dash

We had a major stink problem with our disposable diaper pails before we switched to using primarily cloth diapers. I think we went through 3 or 4 of them because we'd toss them when they reached a certain level of offensiveness. A few sprinkles of this in the pail and we were free of less-than-pleasant aromas when we were using disposables regularly with Aurelia.

9. Cloth Diapers

You might recall that we didn't begin cloth diapering with Carina until we moved to Connecticut when she was a year old. In her first few months of disposables, the blowouts were epic. I won't go into detail since no one wants to hear that, but trust me in that it was awful and frustrating. Since using cloth with Aurelia, I think we've had maybe one, and it wasn't even that bad. Our favorite diaper for Aurelia right now is the Bum Genius 4.0.

10. Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance

So far, all of the items have been in no particular order. But? This one is so spectacular I've saved it for last and am going to elaborate on it.

Baby Bjorn sent me their Babysitter Balance to try out. It is a durable mix of cotton and polyester and has three different positions for baby: sleep, rest, and play. So far we have almost exclusively used the play position. I think the rest and sleep positions would be super useful with a newborn; so I wish we had gotten it sooner! There is also a super compact transport mode that is great for storage or travel. We brought it to Philadelphia last week and it took up much less trunk space than I was anticipating.

With an ergonomic design with a molded seat that distributes weight evenly, Aurelia loves sitting in the Babysitter Balance. She sits up very high, which distinguishes it from other bouncers. She is in more of a sitting/standing position than reclining/lying down. Evidenced by the fact that she will sit happily for a long period of time in the Babysitter Balance and won't in our other bouncer, I think she prefers this one!

How does it work? Baby kicks her legs and the bouncer moves gently. There are no batteries, vibrations, or music...just baby's own movements making the bouncer rock. Aurelia also loves when I manually bounce it, giggling and cooing all the while. Sometimes I attach a toy to the seat so she can play while I cook, do dishes, etc. She also hangs out in the Babysitter Balance while Carina takes a bath. Because she's up so high, she can look down into the tub and watch Carina play (and laugh while Carina splashes water everywhere, ugh).
It's designed for newborns through age 2, 8-29 lbs. I can attest to the fact that Carina also enjoys lying back on it and bouncing a little ;) It weighs 5 lbs. and measures 16 in x 32 in. The fabric is machine washable and comes off (and goes back on) easily. The harness is also detachable and machine washable. There are anti-glide strips on the base and legs so that it won't slide around.

The Babysitter Balance is my new can't live without, or maybe better yet, how-on-earth-did-I-do-without? the first time around. I think we'll be picking up the Wooden Toy bar soon.

What items that you have now do you wish you had used for your first baby?

Disclosure: Certain items (Babysitter Balance, Carseat sidekick, and Trash Dash) were provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. 
They all earned their place in this list. All other items were purchased, gifted, or won by me.
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