Favorite Things

Here is a rundown of our favorite things.  Most are baby gear and toys, but there are some things that have made my life easier, too.  Prices fluctuate on Amazon.com, so I apologize if something below is more expensive than my categories specify.

If you'd like to see these broken down by age, go here: Favorite Things by Month

Under $10

Baby Einstein Take Along TunesM would much rather Carina listen to classical music than songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" over and over again.  I certainly don't mind this, because I have a feeling that after hearing "If You're Happy and You Know It" twenty times I might want to hurt myself someone.  This little toy plays four different classical music songs including Vivaldi's Four Seasons - Spring (one of my faves).  Carina likes to watch the blinking lights while it plays.
Learning Curve Star Teething BlanketOne of the January Mommas recommended this little blanket.  For only $7, I am really happy with it.  The star in the center is crinkly, and Carina loves manipulating it.  Each of the points of the star has a different material/texture, and one has a squeaky.  Carina likes to put the blue one in her mouth.  When I just hold the star up in the air and move it around she flails her arms in response.  So cute.

Baby Einstein Bendy BallI don't even really know how to classify this, maybe a rattle?  I just shake it around in front of Carina and she loves it.  It is one of the first toys she really has made an effort to grasp and hold.  All of the little shapes make it a perfect toy to practice holding.  She sticks her little fingers in and shakes it around a bit.  Another cheap toy; definitely worth $6.

Sleepy Kittens Book
Sleepy Kittens (Despicable Me)Have you seen the movie Despicable Me?  If not, I highly suggest you watch it.  If you have, I'm sure you'll recognize this book as the bedtime story that he reads to the little girls.  Even if you haven't seen the movie, this book is still absolutely adorable.  The three kittens at the top there are actually little finger puppets.  So while you read the cute story you can put your fingers in the kitties and wiggle them around.  I am pretty sure this is Carina's favorite book.  I read it to her almost every night before she goes to sleep.

Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket, AssortedI don't know how I would clean all of my pump parts and Carina's bottles as efficiently if it weren't for this basket.  I just throw everything in there; no hand washing necessary.  Saves me so much time. 

Sassy Ring O' Links Rattle
Sassy Ring O' Links Rattle Developmental ToyThese cost less than $4!  I sort of jingle them around and Carina just stares at them.  I attach them to the car seat handle sometimes when we are going out and she is instantly mesmerized.  I imagine that they will be fun to use to help her learn colors once she gets older. 

Oral Care RabbitI bought this on the recommendation of some of the Bump ladies and I am so glad I did.  You slip your fingers in the bunny's ears and rub baby's gums.  She really likes it!  In addition to to removing bacteria and plaque, you can also use it to soothe sensitive gums while baby is teething.  Unfortunately the shipping for this item is crazy expensive on Amazon.  It is more reasonable (and the rabbit is in cute colors) at Diapers.com. Also, you can get 15% off your first order with code DCOM15OFF.

Bath Temperature TesterSummer Infant Temperature Tester
Another $4 miracle.  I pop this in her tub as I start filling it with water.  I could never get the temperature right without this little thingy.  It tells you if the water is COLD, IDEAL, or HOT.  It seriously can't get any easier than this!

Baby Einstein: Lullaby ClassicsM is a bit of a classical music snob, so I knew that getting anything other than classical music for lullabies wasn't going to fly.  My sister gave me this and I love it!  It has quite a few of my favorite classical pieces (including Pachelbel's Canon in D), "baby-fied", if that makes sense.  We play it whenever we are in the car.  If Carina starts crying, I have found that turning it up a little bit usually makes her stop.  You can listen to the tracks on Amazon.

Munchkin Disposable Changing Pads
Never thought we would need these, but we got a box as a gift and figured we'd give them a try.  They are awesome.  We put one over the changing table cover and leave it there until she pees or poos on it.  I think each one has lasted us a few days.  Pee or poo on the disposable pad is so much better than getting it on the changing table cover!  We also plan on putting a couple in our diaper bag so we can use them on the yucky changing tables in public restrooms.

Babies pee a lot and unfortunately, sometimes they pee through their diaper.  Put one of these across the crib and lay baby's butt on it, and then you only have to worry about changing the sheet saver when she pees.  No need to change the whole sheet in the middle of the night.  We actually have two in our crib, one for the bum and one under her head in case she spits up.  Overkill?  Maybe.  I'm OCD like that :)

iPlay Sun Hat
iPlay Brim Hat White-NewbornCarina is adorable in this hat.  We got the newborn size and there is still room to grow in it (P.S. Carina's head is in the 94th percentile).  I would recommend buying smaller than you think you need, as they seem to run a bit big.  They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors.  In addition to being super cute, it's adjustable, ties underneath the chin, and has a really wide brim to ensure that baby's face does not get sunburned.  Oh how could I forget it is water resistant and has a UPF rating of 50+.  We hope to spend many a day at the pool with the protection of this hat.

Under $20

LeapFrog My Pal VioletWe received My Pal Violet as a gift from one of the January Mommas (we love to do gift exchanges) and it completely mesmerizes Carina.  Violet comes with a USB cord that you plug into your computer, which allows you to programlullabyes, and says various things to interact with her.  I can only imagine that this will get more and more fun as Carina grows.  Sometimes when she is fussy I turn Violet on and Carina is instantly happy.  Win.
Cloud b Sleep Sheep On The Go - Travel Sound Machine with Four Soothing SoundsThis white noise machine helps Carina fall asleep at nighttime and during the day.  It plays four sounds: Rain, Stream, Ocean, and Whales.  Ocean is her favorite.  It has two time settings, 23 and 45 minutes.  The difference between the "On the Go" sheep and the traditional sleep sheep is that the "On the Go" one is a bit smaller, and it has velcro so you can attach it to anything.  We alternate it between her nursery and the Pack n Play (where she naps during the day).  My only wish is that it had a constantly on setting.

Taggies Big Security Blanket
Taggies Big Security Blanket, Pink n PrettyTaggies had a big sale on Zulily.com recently and I had heard a lot about this brand, so I bought a couple things including the blanket above.  First, it is adorable.  It is a little smaller than I had expected, but definitely big enough for a baby.  Second, Carina loves to hold the little tags around the perimeter.  They are all made of different kinds of ribbons in varying widths.  Perfect for little hands to feel and grasp.  I plan on looking for more things by this company for Carina.

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether
Vulli Sophie the Giraffe TeetherCarina absolutely LOVES Sophie.  She wants to shove it in her mouth and gnaw on it all the time.  Teething has just begun, and anything that helps this much is definitely worth it.  Sophie is made of all natural rubber and food grade paint, so you don't have to worry about baby sucking on chemicals.

Breastflow Bottles
The First Years Breastflow BPA Free Starter SetCarina is not a fan of bottles in general.  She wants her milk right from the tap ;)  We tried Dr. Brown's and she was not a fan.  A friend of mine gave me these as a gift and we really like them.  The nipple is designed to be more like a breast, and baby has to 'work' to get the milk out, similar to the way they breastfeed.  With me working part time now, Carina gets at least one bottle a day and it's going okay so far thanks to these.

Lamaze Musical Inchworm
Lamaze Musical InchwormThis worm is so freaking cute.  The various sections of the body have different textures and sounds and it plays "If you're happy and you know it" when you push down on his wormy head.  Carina smiles and coos at him.  Sometimes she giggles when you play the music.  I am really liking the Lamaze toy brand so far.

Medela PersonalFit Breastshields (21mm)
Medela PersonalFit Small Breastshields (21mm)My freezer stash of milk would be less than half as expansive if it weren't for these tiny pieces of plastic.  The breast shields that came with my Medela pump were too big for me and I didn't realize it for a few weeks.  I was regularly pumping 1.5-2 ounces total until I switched to these.  Now I usually get about 4 ounces (or more!) per boob.  Check out the guide on the Medela website to see if you have the right fit.  They are a little pricey (~$10) but are totally worth it.

Wubbanub Infant Pacifier Cream Tabby KittenWhoever invented the Wubbanub is a genius.  It is a Soothie pacifier attached to a little stuffed animal.  They make all different kinds of animals including giraffes, dinosaurs, dogs, and monkeys.  We have two kitty ones; one black, one orange tabby.  Carina holds onto the kitty to keep the pacifier in her mouth.  And if it falls out, she can sometimes get it back in by moving the kitty around.  I imagine it will only get better as her motor skills improve.  I really like that I don't have to get up to put it back in her mouth nearly as much.  Another bonus, is that the Wubbanub is much easier to keep track of than a lone pacifier.  Trying to find this in the diaper bag is so easy!

Gerber 12-Pack Prefold Birdseye Cloth Diapers
Gerber 12-Pack Prefold Birdseye 3-Ply Cloth Diapers - WhiteEveryone told me to get a few packs of these, because they are the best burp cloths.  I didn't listen.  I registered for and bought pretty burp cloths.  Bad idea.  The pretty ones look nice, but they aren't absorbent at all.  These are so absorbent sometimes I can't even tell that she just spit up all over them!  In comparison to the fancy burp cloths, these are super cheap, too.

Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal AspiratorYes, the Nosefrida is gross.  You stick the tube up against baby's nostril and then you suck on the red part.  Disgusting, sure, but you wouldn't believe the size of the boogers I suck out of Carina's nostrils.  The little blue bulb given to us by the hospital can't even come close.  The sweet relief she must feel when those giant boogers are gone is enough motivation for me to continue to suck them out, as nauseating as it is.  She breathes so much better after I use this semi-scary snot-sucking contraption.

Itzbeen Baby Care Timer
The Itzbeen has been a life saver.  Every time you feed baby or change her diaper, you press the button and a timer starts counting.  This means at any given time you can see how long it has been since you fed or changed her.  I cannot tell you how helpful this has been!  Not having to try to remember when I last fed or changed her is amazing.  There is also a nap timer, which we sometimes use, and a miscellaneous timer that can be used for medication or something else.  Did I mention that it has a button to turn on a backlight?

Fisher Price Seahorse
Carina loves this.  If she is fussy, we turn this on and she quiets down to listen to it and watch it.  She liked it when she was a newborn, but she LOVES it now that she is a little older.  We never put her to sleep in the crib or Pack n Play without the seahorse.  As soon as it's belly lights up she sticks her little arm out and puts her hand on the belly.  So so cute.

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
I was using reusable nursing pads at first, but after I leaked through one, my bra, my shirt, and the blanket that was covering me, I knew it was time to try something else.  These are great; they have an adhesive backing and will stick to your nursing bra or tank really well, and I haven't leaked through one of them yet (yay!)

JJ Cole Car Seat Cover
Because they go between baby and the car seat, JJ Cole Bundle Mes are not safe and use of them will actually void your car seat's warranty. JJ Cole recently made a new product, a shower cap style cover, that does not interfere with the car seat and is perfectly safe. We have two of them and they are wonderful! They keep baby warm and cozy, and don't void the car seat's warranty. A no brainer.

Fisher-Price Precious Planet Tub
We tried a sponge bath at first, but she did nothing but kick and scream.  She still doesn't particularly like baths, but putting her in the tub with a couple inches of water gets the job done a lot faster.  The one thing she does really like at this point is when we take the little orange fishy cup and rinse her off.

Halo Cotton Swaddle Sleepsack
Halo Innovations Sleepsack Swaddle 100% Cotton, Cream, SmallAt around 4 months Carina outgrew our aden + anais Swaddle Blankets.  She was waking up almost every night at least once, after sleeping through the night for the preceding month.   We'd find her with one or both arms busted out, grinning from ear to ear as if to say, "ha!  Foiled you again, Mom and Dad!"  We knew we'd need something a bit bigger and stronger.  We looked at SwaddleMes, the Woombie, and the Swaddlepod, but decided against those designs because we aren't sure for how much longer she will need swaddling.  Once she can sleep unswaddled, they would be useless.  The sleepsack, on the other hand, can be used as a sleep blanket with or without the velcro swaddly part.  When Carina no longer needs to be swaddled, we can just unhook the velcro and take off the swaddle.  As soon as we started using this sleepsack, she was back to sleeping through the night almost every night!

Lamaze Captain Calamari
Lamaze Early Development Toy, Captain CalamariThis little guy is a tiny bit crazy looking...every time I look at it I can't help but laugh.  Carina could play with it for hours.  It has eight tentacles, four of which are crinkly, one has two plastic rings attached, and one has a little ball with rattly things in it.  In between the tentacles there is a nice shiny mirror where a real octopus would have a beak.  Thank goodness, as I think Carina is a bit too young for a fight to the death with a hungry octopus.  The hat is crinkly, and there's a hook at the top.  Perfect for attaching to whatever toy bar or car seat that is just screaming for a one-eyed thieving cephalopod.  Note: murky black ink is not included, phew!

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
Lansinoh 20435 Breastmilk Storage Bags, 25-Count Boxes (Pack of 3)Anyone who breastfeeds and pumps breastmilk will need a means in which to store said milk.  When I started pumping when Carina was 3 weeks old, I poured the milk in these bags when I was done, and then lay them flat in the freezer.  We defrosted the first bag of milk when I returned to work part time at the end of March.  We have not had a single leak yet!  These bags hold up great in the freezer and are super easy to use in general.  The storage bags are a bit expensive because they are pre-sterilized,  BPA-free, and have a color change locking mechanism which ensures that the bags are sealed.  I don't mind paying a little extra for these features.  I just discovered that they are part of Amazon's Subscribe & Save program so you can get a 75 pack of the bags for just over $10!

Under $50

Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Solid Baby Carrier, ChocolateWe tried the Moby early on, but Carina hated it.  I decided to try again before our move last weekend and I'm so glad I did.  She loves it now!  I was able to actually help out with the move and I am feeling much more free to get stuff done around the house.  She usually falls asleep within a few minutes of putting her in it!  WIN!
Bumbo Baby Seat, BlueCarina has pretty good head control so we've been putting her in the Bumbo for a few minutes every day and while we experienced a rocky start, she really likes it now.  Every morning M puts her in it and reads to her from our Disney Princess story book.  Since the Bumbo can accommodate babies up to 22 lbs., we'll be able to use it for quite some time!

Fisher-Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-Boo Soother
We have this in Carina's crib.  She will watch the lights and moving animals and listen to the music every morning for about 15 minutes.  It has become part of our routine.  I will get changed and brush my teeth while she flails her arms, kicks her legs, and coos.  She loves this, and I love watching her enjoy it.

Boppy Nursing Pillow
Boppy Nursing Pillow with Slipcover, Lots of DotsWe don't use the Boppy for nursing, I much prefer the My Brest Friend Pillow for that, but we do love the Boppy.  She lounges in it and I play with her, read to her, or she just looks around the room curiously.  She doesn't like sleeping flat on her back, so we put it in the Pack n Play for daytime naps (always supervised).  She falls asleep in it within 5-10 minutes most of the time.

Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra
Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra, XS/S/MThis bra is amazing and a must-have for anyone who needs to multi-task.  I use it at work when I pump every morning, and I am able to keep on working while I pump.  It is so absolutely worth the money for anyone who is planning on pumping at work.  It is quite comfortable and adjustable in size so it's easy to get the perfect fit.  There are removable straps that you can use if you need additional support.

My Brest Friend Pillow
This pillow literally has become my best friend.  It is thick and supportive (not mushy like the boppy) and even has a back rest.  You don't have to hold the baby in position; your arms are free!  It is adjustable and can fit snugly enough that you can actually stand up and walk around while baby is feeding.  It also has a pocket that you can put your cell phone, lanolin, Itzbeen etc., in.  Most importantly, Carina loves it!  I think she finds it more comfortable than our Pack n Play because she would much prefer to sleep on it.

Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets
I would normally scoff at this kind of price tag for a set of 4 blankets, but these swaddle blankets are truly the best.  We probably have close to 20 different receiving blankets and these are the only ones that we use to swaddle anymore.  They are large and a little bit stretchy; perfect for swaddling!  We actually bought another set after it became clear that these were the be-all end-all of swaddle blankets.  Cute prints, too.

Fisher-Price Precious Planet Mobile
This mobile is adorable, and I can only imagine that Carina will love it more and more as she grows and is actually able to see the cute animals and the lights it projects.  For now, she is really loving the heartbeat sound that it makes.  I'm guessing it reminds her of being in the womb?  The sound has helped settle her down when she is fussy.

Inglesina Table Chair
Inglesina 2011 Fast Table Chair, BasilicoBefore starting her on solids, we put Carina in this little chair while we ate dinner.  The levers under the arms are completely adjustable, so you can attach the seat to tables of any thickness.  It folds up really nicely, so it's perfect to bring to restaurants or take with you when you travel.  It's cushy and comfortable (we assume) and has a secure seat belt.  We have it in the color Teak.  We picked this brand as opposed to others because it had the best reviews on Amazon for table chairs under $50.

Munchkin Portable Nightlight
Munchkin Portable NightlightWe ordered this night light when I read that you should try to keep the lights off in the middle of the night so as not to keep baby awake and alert - and pitch black was much too dark for me to be able to unhook my nursing tank, position her on nursing pillow, and see if she was awake or asleep.  First, it's a cute puppy.  Second, it's portable.  The night light comes on a base that plugs in, but can be taken off of the base and carried around.  It lasts up to 10 hours per charge.  Third, it has a number of different colors; my favorite is the blue.  The color changing mode is pretty cool, too.  It goes through all of the colors of the rainbow continuously.  Lastly, after 30 minutes the night light shuts off automatically.  This is great because I would always forget to shut it off.  No wasted batteries or electricity here. 


Ergo Baby Carrier Black with Camel Lining
Ergo Baby Carrier Black with Camel LiningAs soon as I put Carina in the Ergo, she quiets down, and about 75% off the time she falls asleep. ::cue heavenly music:: This lets me actually get some stuff done around the house. The other day I did a few loads of laundry. Another day I did our taxes!  Until she was 2 months old we used the Infant Insert.  Baby goes in the insert, and then the insert goes in the carrier. Carina was in a funny developmental stage from 2-3ish months where she was very uncomfortable with the insert, but a bit too small to go without it.  At 3.5 months we tried again without it and now it is perfect.  M and I go for walks together with her in the Ergo, and I just started bringing it everywhere I go with her and putting her in it instead of carrying her around in the car seat.  She is much happier this way!

Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
Fisher-Price Rainforest JumperooThis is akin to baby crack; Carina has so much fun in it.  She jumps and kicks and plays with the toys.  You can see for yourself in this adorable video of her in it. M discovered that setting the music to the motion sensor setting (instead of playing continuously) really gets Carina excited.  She jumps, and then the animal sounds play.  What a great positive feedback mechanism.  I am particularly impressed with the number and variety of toys surrounding the seat.  There is a little spinny thing that Carina has figured out how to work, and she likes watching all of the others at this point.  We bought this on Amazon for $66!  Can't beat that price.

Baby Jogger 2011 City Mini Single Stroller, Stone/BlackThis stroller rocks my socks, seriously.  I am so happy we bought it.  You pull a little strap and it folds up (I made a video of the 'quick-fold' technology if you'd like to see it).  It unfolds almost as easily.  I can do either while holding Carina or her car seat in the other hand.  We've been using the car seat adapter with it, but will be taking it off this weekend since the 2011 Model fully reclines!  We wanted to wait to take her out of her cozy car seat until it was a little bit warmer out.  I hope Carina enjoys sitting in it without the car seat.  The sunshade is huge and has a little window in it so it's super easy to check on your little one.

Fisher-Price Rainforest Gym
Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe GymCarina has discovered that if she kicks one of the little dangly toys, it will make a rattle sound.  She LOVES it.  Every time she kicks it she smiles and gets excited.  We have been using the mat for tummy time for quite a few weeks, but she is just now starting to enjoy the toys, music, lights, and mirror.  I can only imagine that she will interact with this gym more and more as she grows and develops.

Fisher Price Precious Planet Blue Cradle SwingSince she was 4 weeks old, Carina has only slept in this swing at night.  We are hoping it is just a phase, as we don't want her sleeping here forever, but Mommy and Daddy need sleep, and this swing lets us sleep. This particular model is great because you can use it with either batteries or the plug-in adapter. I would make love to this swing if I could.

Fisher-Price Precious Planet Bouncer
Fisher-Price Precious Planet Snow Globe and Lights BouncerCarina could sit in this bouncer all day.  Don't worry, I don't let her :)  She kicks her feet, flails her arms, and coos while the music plays and the animals move.  If you can handle the cuteness, take a look at the video of her adorable 'dancing'. This is my go-to item when I need a few minutes to pee, get something to eat, or just rest my arms. She really has a ball in this, and just started batting at the whale that dangles down in the front.

9 words of geekdom:

Kristin {Sea Cow Circus} said...

I'm a fairly new follower and just stumbled on this page. Your daughter is such a cutie! My daughter is a few months older than Carina, but I have to say that we own and love about 80% of the stuff on this page. Love your taste :)

Ashley said...

Found you on the bump- wow thanks, what a great list!

Mama G said...

@Ashley - thank you!

B.J. said...

A lot of these were my faves too with my girls! :D I could almost weep over how wonderful that dishwasher basket was! LOL

Noelle said...

What a great post! I'm going to send it to my pregnant friends! Thanks!

Allison said...

My DD is just 2 weeks older than Carina and I have to agree with most everything you've posted. I have to be honest and admit that I've been using the Nosefrida the wrong way all this time though. How embarrasing :/

Melissa @ Growing Up Geeky said...

@Allison - oh no! How were you using it?

Allison said...

I put the red part against her nose & sucked on the blue part. I thought it was a little weird but it worked ok. I bet if I turned it around the correct way I would get more boogers! I cant believe it never even crossed my mind I was doing it wrong until I read this post!

Mich said...

Thanks for reviewing these products! My dentist Rockville MD suggested regular dental hygiene even before your baby starts teething.

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