It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over a year since I gave birth to little miss Mara. It’s been a year of joy, stress and learning. When you tell people you’re pregnant everyone is full of advice about what you will need for your baby. Some of it is unwelcome, or annoying, but some suggestions can be helpful. I remember asking people what things they recommended I register for and late night texts with fellow moms for solutions to feeding and sleeping problems. People are full of suggestions, so here are 10 things that literally changed our lives during the first year of having a baby.
The biggest game changer was the Fisher-Price Newborn Auto Rock ‘N Play. The first two weeks after we brought Mara home she did not sleep at night at all, then she had her surgery. While in the hospital they had Mara sleep on an incline due to her vomiting and influx, so we decided to buy the Rock ‘N Play to help her sleep inclined. We had heard great things from other parents and got the ok from her peditrician. The first night she slept for 3 hour stretches and it stayed that way. Game changed. She slept in the Rock ‘N Play next to our bed until she moved to her crib at 4 months.
Another big one were Dr. Brown’s bottles. We read that they helped with colic and reflux and we definitely noticed that Mara had less reflux issues when we used these bottles.
Mara only slept when swaddled for the first few months of life, but she was super strong and would break out of swaddle blankets so we invested in a few velcroed swaddles. The Ziggy Baby swaddles from Amazon were our favorites. It was late Spring/Summer when Mara was swaddled and these are very lightweight so we didn’t worry about her getting too warm while sleeping.
I know that not everyone believes that you need a large armchair glider when you have a baby, but I do. You need one. They are amazing. Due to Mara’s reflux and surgery she needed to be held upright while eating and for 20 minutes after eating, so feeding her took about an hour each time. The glider was so comfy and made propping my legs up so comfy. We got a great deal on ours because it was being discontinued, so it was on clearance and was the floor model. The one I linked here looks like ours but we did NOT pay that much. I would never pay that much for one.
Due to Mara’s reflux a Bouncer Seat was crucial. I’d set her in it after she ate while I cleaned the kitchen or whatever. When she started holding her bottles herself she would sit in this chair to eat. We used it up until Mara weaned herself off bottles, which was about 5 weeks ago. Our Bouncer Seat was part of the Graco Cozy Duet System, but Mara did not like to swing, so we never really used that part.
Once Mara was able to sit up on her own for long periods of time I started putting in the seat on the shopping cart at the grocery store or Target. But those metal seats are uncomfortable and gross, so I was glad we had registered for a Floppy Seat! It’s cushy, has hooks for toys and a clear pocket for my phone so she can play with that in the event of a meltdown in the checkout line. I keep mine in the car so I always have it. I also use it in restaurants over the gross little highchairs. It gives me peace of mind about germs and Mara is way more comfortable.
Speaking of germs and going out to eat, disposable placemats are the bomb. I wipe off the table, put down one of these mats and then just let Mara eat off it. When she’s done I just peel the mat up and throw it away or put it on my plate balled up. No mess on the table! I also buy disposable bibs for eating out. I hate putting a dirty bib back in the diaper bag, plus sometimes I forget and leave them in there and then my bag smells. With a disposable bib I can just throw it out after we’re done eating and not worry about it.
My last two must-haves definitely have more to do with my kid in particular. The first are these velcro canvas shoes from Old Navy. I have them in each color and they just rock. They are the ONLY shoes that Mara doesn’t take off in the car, or anywhere else. I will say that without socks they can make for some pretty smelly baby feet, so I recommend socks.
Second, the Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup. Mara does not do well with spouted sippy cups. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue, but she loves these cups. They are easy to clean and spill-proof. Water will come out if your kid chucks it on the floor (mine does) but I figure that’s expected of anything full of water being thrown.
Also, if you’re into walking a lot outside or running, invest in a good jogging stoller. It’s not an absolute must, but I’m so glad we bought ours. We got the Graco FastAction Fold Click Connect jogger because it went with Mara’s infant seat (and it was on sale). I went outside and walked SO much more after we bought this. It just made for a much smoother ride and really opened up a lot of walking opportunites for me because I wasn’t tied to going on paved walkways only.
There you have it. My top 10 baby must haves for the first year. I haven’t gotten into the affiliate linking thing, so the links are just there in case you wanted to check something out. Happy Friday!