FTM series: baby stuff for the first three months.

by Janetha on December 1, 2014

in fox,product review,tips

hi! long time no blog. how was your holiday weekend? we had a great thanksgiving on thursday. my little fam went to my parents’ place for dinner, dessert, games, and naps.

it was perfect!

today i am going to ramble about baby gear, as part of my (clueless) first time mom series.

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i have been meaning to get this post up, but life gets in the way.. you know how it goes! now that fox is 3 months old, i feel like i know a lot more about baby stuff than when he was still in my belly. when i was registering for my shower and planning what to purchase, i did SO MUCH RESEARCH.. because, as you probably know, there is SO MUCH BABY GEAR out there! i would read review after review and any blog post i could find, trying to determine exactly what i needed. in the end, i realized that it really depends on your baby and your needs. my BFF jessica has a babe just a bit older than fox, and the things she prefers to the things fox prefers differ so much. so when you read “it depends on your baby”–it’s so true.

with that said, i do want to tell you what worked for us and what we love! i know reading the opinions of other mommas is always something i like to do, so i thought i would put my two cents out there. this list isn’t ALL the stuff we use and love (that would take centuries to type) but it is a good list of items that we definitely can’t do without. (and, by the way, i never thought a little baby would require so much stuff!)

the first three things on my list are so much of a MUST HAVE for us, that i have two of each of them! one for home and one for work. since i take fox to my office tuesday through friday, it made the most sense to double up on these items rather than transport them. plus, the first two items were hand-me-downs from his cousin (thank you, nora!) so we only had to buy them one time instead of two.

fisher price rock’n’play

fox has slept and napped in this device since day one.. or, i guess, day three.. here he is the day we brought him home.

okay.. maybe this post is just a reason to post photos of when my baby was just itty bitty.. gah! cannot believe how much he has grown already! where’s the pause button??

the rock’n’play is awesome because it is super portable and easy to move from room to room, depending on where you are. newborns sleep a LOT, so it’s nice to let them sleep comfortably in any room in the house. fox slept in our room up until a couple of weeks ago, and marshall and i alternated which side of the bed the rock’n’play would be on. (that’s because there is this fun game called “binky patrol” that we would take turns playing every night…)

the rock’n’play is also nice because it puts fox on an incline, which is great for his silent reflux. don’t let the name fool you, he doesn’t do much playing in there.. and the only rocking that happens is manually. you rock the bassinet with your hands or foot. if your baby has a hard time going down for a nap (something i know all about) then this is a great device to rock them into a nice slumber. the one i have at work is a newer model and it vibrates. turns out, babies LOVE vibrating. fox definitely prefers the vibrating rock’n’play, i can tell because he falls asleep in it sooo fast, usually without even needing to be rocked.

we are able to take the rock’n’play with us wherever we go, which is really convenient. it will suck when he finally grows out of it. i am worried about how naps at work will go once he’s out of the rock’n’play, but i will cross that bridge when i come to it.

fisher price bouncer

this is, by FAR, the best piece of baby gear we own. it is crucial for our survival, i swear!  who knew this inexpensive $30 vibrating bouncer would be so valuable?! any time we need to put fox down for a few, this bouncer is our go to. it vibrates, and like i said above, babies love that jazz. there is also a removable toy bar that he has grown to love as he gets a little more interactive and alert.

the bouncer is perfect for after his bath–we lay his towel down over it and bundle him up straight from the tub. he loves it!

the one we have at home was a hand-me-down, and i couldn’t find the exact one to buy for work.. but i did find a similar one. it’s more of a bucket seat, so he doesn’t need to be strapped in (on the other one he will slide down the bottom if we don’t strap him in) so it’s kind of nice in that sense. my one complaint is the toys on the bar aren’t removable like they are on the other one.. but i think we will survive. actually, fox will stare at that owl for the longest time! staring contests are his favorite.

side note.. i never leave fox in the bouncer unattended. i know he’s safe in there, but you never know what could happen and we don’t need an accident where he topples over.

play mat

initially i thought play mats wouldn’t be really necessary until fox was a little older.. but we started using ours around 2 weeks and have used it daily since! the one we have at home is this one and, while it does the job, i really don’t recommend it. why? well, the musical mobile is manual.. and that sucks haha. you have to twist it up for the music to play and the mobile to go around.. and that gets REAL old after the fourth or fifth time.

so, for work, i got this one, which has a battery-operated mobile and music. oh, man, i LOVE this one! i am actually thinking about buying it for my house and donating the other one.. i love it that much. fox loves it, too, and will just stare at his animal friends forever.

the music is actually quite enjoyable (i mean, as enjoyable as baby tunes can be) and you can set it to two different volumes. it also lights up, but i haven’t used that feature because you have to pick either music or lights.. and.. duh.

i am sure we will get a lot of use out of the play mat. he uses it for tummy time, kicking at the bars, and just hanging out and having a good time. solid investment.

boppy

i actually ended up with two of these, too. one for home and one for work. the boppy was essential for nursing when fox was littler. now that he has grown, i don’t need the pillow for nursing because he rests on my lap just fine.. but my back would never have survived without this thing the first couple of months! i one of mine was a hand-me-down and i picked up the other one for $5 off a baby items for sale facebook group. i just bought my own covers off etsy and bam.. good as new. plus, it doubles as a pillow for penny. :)

pampers swaddlers

there are WAY TOO MANY DIAPERS out there. we received several different brands and kinds as gifts, and we definitely prefer pampers swaddlers. yep, every baby is different, so yours might like a different one. but these are convenient because there is a yellow line on them that changes to blue when the diaper is wet. pretty clever, diaper inventors. target brand ones have the line, too.. but we found he would spring a leak more often in those. i found the swaddlers cheapest on amazon–this link.

halo swaddle sack

ohhh my goodness, i can’t rave about this little sleep sack enough! fox has a few different types of swaddle blankets and sacks, but the halo swaddle sack takes the cake. once we started using it, he slept for seven hour stretches. that has since become a thing of the past for other reasons.. but we still love the swaddle sack! we actually just bought the bigger size because fox grew out of the newborn one (sigh.)  we have two on hand at all times, in case there is an accident and one is out of commission.  it’s nice because you can swaddle the baby’s arms in or out of the sack (or just swaddle one arm in.) it’s way more convenient and user friendly than trying to get a nice, tight swaddle with blankets. i never did get the hang of that, to be honest. marshall does a pretty great job, but i am all thumbs when it comes to the art of swaddling.

but that brings me to the actual swaddle blankets…

aden & anais swaddle blankets

while we don’t use the blankets for sleeping at night, we use them for everything else! fox loves to have one to snuggle up in during his nap, while riding in the car, or even just when he’s being held. they are also great to double as nursing covers when out and about.. i never bought one of those specialty nursing covers because i really am not out and about too often, but these blankets are great in a pinch.

he has a few of the bamboo ones, and those are extra, super duper soft!

heating pad

so, this is probably not something you would think of as baby gear.. but we use a microwave heating pad every night! we used a corn bag momma b had made us, but the dogs got to that (darn dogs!) and so i recently bought a flax one from this etsy shop. we use it to warm up fox’s bed before putting him down. (we move the pad before putting him down.) it makes the transfer from a warm body to his bed much more seamless. i highly recommend it!

white noise app/iphone

so, we could not live without the white noise app. it helps put fox right to sleep. i highly suggest you get SOME kind of LOUD white noise device. luckily we had an old iphone with a shattered screen that we downloaded this app on and it is now solely fox’s noise maker. it is amazing and annoying all at the same time.

this bird


this bird is magic, you guys. it’s funny.. jessica and i both have it and both our babies LOVE it! it can be hung anywhere. it has fun colors and textures. it chimes. it’s fox’s BFF. i love that damn bird.

i think i have gone into detail about enough items. but i still have a little more to say.

first, a note about swings. i think this is the thing i did the most research on and stressed about the most when it came to baby gear. seriously, hours spent reading about swings and the mamaroo and which i should get! we initially purchased the mamaroo and then took it back because i felt sick about spending $250 on it. so then we ended up getting a fisher price swing that had amazing reviews on amazon. while we do use the swing sometimes, it definitely does not get a ton of use at our house! i know some babies that live in and LOVE their swing.. but not fox man. he just isn’t a huge fan. he will stay in there for a short while, but eventually he wants out. the bouncer is his favorite place to be. i am SO glad we ended up not keeping the mamaroo! i was so stressed about that! and i am glad we have the swing because it will get him to nap at times.. but if we had to live without it, we totally could.

one thing i went back and forth and back and forth on buying was a dresser/changing pad station from west elm. i am pretty frugal and spending a chunk of change on a dresser gave me anxiety. i tried to find something similar so i could do a DIY version, but didn’t have a ton of luck. i loved the different sized drawers AND the cupboard. i knew it would be perfect for all his changing gear, swaddle blankets, pajamas, and burp cloths. i seriously debated purchasing this thing for months and i couldn’t stop thinking about it! over memorial day, the dresser was 25% off and so i just bit the bullet and bought it. i am so glad i did! it has seriously been my favorite thing in his nursery, it’s so useful and i am so happy i ended up getting it. plus, it is high quality and we will have it for years and years to come. i guess the moral to this paragraph is if you are on the fence about something you really want.. just get it.

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another thing that i really wanted was a comfy chair for the nursery. we ended up getting one at a local baby shop called babinski’s. it’s a glider with a gliding ottoman and it has already gotten so much use. i don’t really have a comfortable place to sit in my house–my bed is super low to the ground, my couch isn’t amazing, and the only other chairs are the kitchen ones. the glider/ottoman was a good investment. both marshall and i use it daily and whenever we need to settle fox down, we sit in the chair and rock him. definitely make sure you have a nice, peaceful, comfy place to sit with your baby! you will be doing a lot of it!

some other things we love and can’t do without include the binky bungee, changing pad liners, pajamas with zippers instead of snaps (so much more convenient), portable lamb sound machine (we keep it attached to his car seat), gripe water, and aquaphor. there are many more things, but i will leave it there.

of course, we have some items that don’t really use! i should mention those, right?

so the very first thing i bought was a pack’n’play. guess what? it sits in our room and collects laundry dust. i am sure we will use it when he is a little bigger and needs to be contained, but since he doesn’t sleep on a flat surface.. we haven’t used it at all yet!

i also bought this super awesome aden & anais clock/thermometer/sound machine/night light for $75. well, the sound isn’t loud enough for little fox man, so we use the iPhone app instead.. and i have a $75 night light haha. it’s cute and functional, though, and if the room is too cold or hot, it turns blue or red. the clock is nice, too. plus, it’s aesthetically pleasing.. so, whatever.

we also have a ton of different bottles and, as it turns out, we only need a couple. it took awhile to find the brand that works best for fox. since i am breast feeding 95% of the time and the other 5% he gets pumped bottles, we really don’t need a whole stash of bottles. i was under the impression i would need, like, 12 of them. no.. we have two and that is plenty.

a couple other things we don’t need.. other brands of swaddle sacks (i even bought some cute custom handmade ones and they didn’t work at all!), anything footless (the legs ride up too much and it’s a pain.. they should always make jammies have feet!), and our oh-so-amazing stroller. i did a ton of research about what stroller to get.. but we really aren’t big walkers.. so we have used it no more than five times. i am sure once fox is bigger and out of his infant seat we will use it more, but for now it is just big and bulky and a pain! if we are going to walk somewhere for awhile, we usually put him in a baby wearing device like the ergo. i am not a jogging with baby type of mom (or a jogging type of person, period) so i didn’t need it for that. i kind of wish we wouldn’t have got such a fancy bells and whistles stroller.. because it just sits at our house, unused. live and learn.

so there you go! way too many rambles about baby gear, which i hope you find a little bit helpful if you are in the momma-to-be or new-momma boat like me.

happy december! i will try to check in more often this month. i miss blogging, i do, but life is way too busy with fox and a full time job. bummer on the blog front. love you all!

Qs~

1. moms.. what baby item(s) can’t you live without?

2. how much research do you do before buying things?

xo. janetha g.

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Cherie December 1, 2014 at 6:02 pm

We couldn’t live without our Metallica rock a bye baby cd! My little girl has fallen asleep to it every night for two years!!

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:18 am

that’s pretty adorable and fun! i love that there is a special CD she loves!

Jessica @ Absurd, She Wrote December 1, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Just had my first baby on November 1st and the rock n’ play sleeper has been ESSENTIAL. Lady won’t do her crib yet and at least this is portable. She is currently chilling in the laundry room, since the dulcet tones of the dryer seem to best accomplish what her parents cannot – putting her in a deep, deep sleep!

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

congrats!! so that app i linked to has an array of noises, one of them is the washing machine and i think another is the dryer! it’s pretty cool–we always put on the diesel truck engine for fox, lol.

Annette@FitnessPerks December 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm

This was so awesome, and I loved that you mentioned several times it was what worked for FOX. My baby seemed so different in her likes than many others’ (I felt like), so for me I had to just go with my gut and follow her cues.

She was never one to like swaddling, so all those swaddle things never did much for us. But BINKIES were huge. The mam kind were her faves. And for us, the pack’n’play has been totally essential! She slept in it for the first 2.5 months of life, and she has no problem sleeping anywhere when we travel bc she’s so used to the pack’n’play.

I’d also say the Ergo is essential, as were burp cloths and the boppy :)

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:16 am

fox will only do mam binkies as well! i put a few brands in my mouth, and i don’t blame him. they are the best ones haha.

Katie December 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I can’t live without… aden & anais swaddle blankets! I LOVE THEM! Drake still carries them everywhere we go & I’m going to make sure I get another pack for the second babes in June!

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:16 am

i am SO excited for you! yay!!! can’t wait to follow along on IG :)

Rachel December 1, 2014 at 10:30 pm

try not to beat yourself up about the stroller purchase… as you mentioned for many of the other items in your post, it’s what works best for Fox! right now, the stroller doesn’t work for him, or you and Marshall. maybe it will in the future. maybe it won’t. but he’s a happy healthy beautiful baby boy :)

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:15 am

thanks for the encouraging perspective!

Jaglangham December 2, 2014 at 12:47 am

All of your top items are identical to what our daughter loved as well. She still uses white noise at 13 months and we def use the pack n play more now that she is mobile, you will too!! We also swaddled her in those same velcro sacks until she was almost 7 months, it was a bit hard to break her of that, but now she sleeps on her tummy and loves it. You are such a natural it seems and Fox is just a doll. congrats.

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:14 am

it’s nice to hear you can swaddle for that long! i was under the impression that once they rolled, it was a no-no? but, yeah, it’s going to suck to break him of it either way. and of most things that i have become reliant on to get him to sleep lol. xoxo to you my friend!

Casey December 2, 2014 at 1:01 am

I must say the majority of our musts were in your lists and out oops probably shouldn’t have gotten that too. Big one is the pack n play… We used it when Emmet slept in our room and now haven’t since. we haven’t used our noise machine one bit
My favorite purchases have been these slippers (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004Y538PG/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1417503283&sr=8-1) they’re amazing- I don’t understand baby shoes ( mostly I’m too cheap to buy him shoes) and socks always fall off. These are perfect! Wears a pair everyday. We lived in swaddled when he was younger but stopped using them at 4 months.

I did a ton of research on what to register for and honestly registered and bought crap that I don’t use on a daily basis and have spent more money on things we do use daily. Live and you learn!

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

thank you! i am so getting a pair of those!

Sarah December 2, 2014 at 6:29 am

I’m due with my first in March, so I love hearing feedback like this. Especially the “it depends on your baby” part. I’m very interested in the swaddle sack you linked too, so I’m going to have to go research that now.

Speaking of research, I totally get stuck in analysis paralysis sometimes. It’s amazing that I even have anything on my registry at all right now, but I think I delete and change at least two things every other day.

Tin Sauerbier December 2, 2014 at 6:30 am

Best thing I bought was a bug mobile from Ikea. He loves it and sees it everyday like he’s seeing it for the first time.
I usually do a lot of research on bigger items, like the graco swing/bouncer in 1 or stroller purchases.

Love your blog, I follow it coz my little chunker is about a few weeks younger than your Fox. We do need a pause button!

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

aww isn’t it so fun being a mom?! love it. yeah, fox loves his solar system mobile! i thought it would be more for decor, but he stares at that thing for so long! xo

Tara December 2, 2014 at 6:46 am

Perfect timing babe. I reached out to all my friends on newborn essentials for my sis in law’s shower this weekend. Already clicked a few of your suggested links to get the items for her. Thanks for this post! How about a car seat recommendation?

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

so, i was lucky to get an awesome car seat handed down from my 1 yo niece! it is the peg perego and i am pretty sure it’s pricey. my advice with a car seat is if you are going to use it with a stroller, make sure they are compatible. i had to buy a $60 part so the car seat and stroller would work together, but that was fine with me since i got the car seat for free! but if i was buying both, i would have bought the same brand or compatible brands. xoxo

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List December 2, 2014 at 8:52 am

we are a big pampers swaddlers family over here! I get them off Amazon (with prime and Amazon Mom) and they’re pretty cheap.

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:11 am

ummm what is amazon mom and why are you holding out on me?

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List December 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I’ll comment here so people can see. Amazon Mom is a program through Amazon where if you get a diaper subscription (sent monthly or whenever you need them), you get 20% off!

Janetha December 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

yay! thanks!

betty December 2, 2014 at 10:03 am

we’re def buying that dresser when the time comes. hopefully we can get a good deal like you :)

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

honestly i would have paid full price now that i know how much i love it. and ummm have a baby already!

betty December 2, 2014 at 12:07 pm

good to know. we saw an imitation at homegoods and the drawers were awful. a discount would still be nice :) and i promise, we’re trying :) :)

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life December 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

I love this! I’m pregnant with my first, due in May, and we’ve just started to put together our registry/Christmas list. There are so many options out there, for everything! It’s overwhelming! I’ve been doing a ton of research too, but it’s good to know that not everything is going to work for every child. Moral of the story: Keep all receipts. Got it! :)

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

yay, excited for you :)

Madeline December 2, 2014 at 11:29 am

We have many of the same favorites! Maren’s number one favorite thing is the exercise ball. I have spent many an hour holding her and bouncing on that thing! It’s a sure fire way to calm her down and get her to sleep when nothing else will work. I also tell myself that it will give me 6 pack abs… I’ll be mega bummed when she grows out of the RnP! She sleeps so well in it!

Lindsay December 2, 2014 at 12:39 pm

THANK YOU for these posts!!! I’m 14 weeks pregnant with my first and feel like i will never figure all of this out!!

Erin December 2, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I love these posts! I am due with my first in April, and have been so overwhelmed by baby stuff that I am totally procrastinating registering until the very last minute. One thing I am curious about is your ergo, I really like the idea of baby wearing, but NONE of my mom friends have one! Which one did you get? I am definitely going to be a running momma once the baby is big enough, but until then, wearing sounds so much better than pushing a stroller!

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm

We got the original Ergo, but now I wish we had got the Ergo 360 because i want one he can face forward in once he is big enough. We will probably buy that and sell the other Ergo! I am part of a babywearing SLC group on FB and they are super helpful if you have questions. They even have a lending library to try things out before you buy yourself. I bet your town has the same! Just search! Congrats to you and best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy :)

Christina December 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I second the zutano booties, my daughter lived in hers last winter. Also, if you hate your white noise app, I highly recommend this sound machine: http://www.amazon.com/Marpac-DOHM-DS-Natural-actual-Machine/dp/B000KUHFGM
It is nice and loud, and my daughter loves it (still at 16 months old). The noise it makes is not annoying, and I think I might even be addicted to sleeping to its sound over the baby monitor.
We loved the mamaroo, it was the only thing she would nap in (besides my arms) until she was 6 months old. Oh how I miss holding her during naps!
Now that she is older she loves books, stacking cups, and climbing all the things! I love her Peg Perego Convertible car seat and we still use Halo sleep sacks.

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm

our infant seat is a peg perego (hand me down) so i am thinking we may get another when he is ready for it. i really like it. i don’t mind his white noise app, i just mean annoying in the sense that there is always noise.. lol i like sleeping in dead silence but that won’t happen any time soon! i love holding during naps–i know it won’t last so i try to do it when ever i can! xoxo

LindsayH December 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I too did a ton of research but it seems like everything has mixed reviews. Which makes sense, since every baby is different! There were a lot of things that many people raved about that just didn’t work for us. Swaddling didn’t work AT ALL. We tried every type of swaddle invented, but because my baby girl has nasty reflux that was waking her up every 15 minutes or so, she would then realize she was immobilized and freak out. We gave up on swaddling at about 4 weeks and never looked back (she’s 12 weeks now). Another thing that didn’t really work for us was the swing – we have a rockaroo (it was a gift) and she’s just never really cared for it. Now that she is a bit older/bigger and she can see the dangly things – or if I hang a toy from it – she will be content for maybe 15 minutes or so but that’s it. We can use it until she’s 40 pounds so we’ll see – maybe she will like it better later on.

Things we love/could not live without: The Levana Oma+ movement monitor, Rock N’ Play (our daughter is still sleeping in hers as well), baby gym/activity mat!, Boppy pillow, Boppy Noggin Nest, coconut oil, and The Shusher (basically a white noise machine but it just makes a Shhhhhhhh noise over and over – it’s pretty ridiculous but it works so I don’t question it!!!)

Janetha December 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm

i saw that shusher at the baby store the other day! it’s pretty cool lol.

Cat @ Breakfast to Bed December 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm

you need a tote bag that reads “what does the (insert picture of your son) say?” “WAH WAH WAH MA MA MA MA!”

I’m drinking. can you tell?

Nikki December 7, 2014 at 6:25 am

I love reading how babies are different. My son hated being swaddled from the start. He was a tiny guy but quite the escape artist. Now he hates socks. They stay on minutes. Shoes he pouts at.

Susie December 10, 2014 at 1:01 am

Thankyouthankyouthankyou for the recommendations! My sister is having a baby (MY FIRST NEICE/NEWPHEW) and I’m going kinda Crazy Aunt and spoiling the kid already. My sister lives in Sweden so it’s how I’m compensating not being able to be there with her.

<3 <3

Janetha December 18, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I saw that on FB and am SO excited for you guys! Ah! Ask me anything you want! Love you.

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