Monday, July 16, 2012

these are a few of our favorite things

okay, so this is not oprah's favorite things, but it's the list i've come up with that help make me a better mommy.  while we were waiting for our placement, we had the nesting urge to fill our home and nursery with things we'd need when the baby finally arrived.  it was hard to sort through the internet and take good advice from a complete list of strangers, and even worse to take advice from my friends (and relatives) whose kids were at least 12 and older.  so, i have devised a list to just let you know what we're happy that we purchased/received.  (brand name dropping below for sole purpose of helping those who are attempting to make purchases before their little ones arrive, and are looking for some feedback.)

in no particular order:

1.  firm mattress - we purchased the serta royal sleeper mattress.  while it was not the most expensive mattress out there, it was definitely not the cheapest.  it's very firm, which made us feel more comfortable knowing that he would not be sinking into it while he rested.  he must like it because as soon as he lays down on it, he falls right to sleep.  (it's not organic, but the crib pad is - we will get to that in a minute.)

2.  crib - for the crib we purchased the davinci jenny lind crib.  it goes from crib to toddler bed.  it looks just like the more expensive jenny lind cribs, but for a fraction of the cost.  we were not sure if we were being placed with a boy or a girl, so this seemed to be gender neutral.  so far we really like it.  we've moved the mattress down to the middle level since we sometimes see a little baby head popping up.

3.  waterproof mattress pad - we purchased the naturepedic organic waterproof crib pad.  again, this was pretty pricey compared to some other pads, but we've washed it quite a few times and run it through the dryer just as many times, and it still fits the mattress like new.  so far no spit up or pee has gone through the pad on to the mattress.

4.  bottles - Dr browns bottles.  everyone i talked to said that we had to have these bottles.  we were skeptical at first and thought that we'd never learn how to put all of these parts together, but they really do seem to help.  it's the only thing we've ever used with daxton.  we did lose several parts to one bottle to the dishwasher heating element while visiting my sister in chicago, but they sell replacement parts at the baby big box stores.

5.  pacifiers - you really need hoards of passies.  i am not very good at clipping the passie clip onto the baby or on to the passie - i really did not do it for about the first 4 months.  we must have gone through approximately two dozen passies.  we are still finding them.  i think at some point the dogs may have been hoarding them.  who knows.  however we used avent brand passies and daxton seems to love them.  will and i have discussed that it may be difficult to break him of the passie here shortly once these teeth make an appearance.

6.  burp cloths and bibs - if you've read my blog for any length of time you can probably remember how many burp cloths i made.  i dyed about 48 burp cloths in my back yard the summer before daxton arrived.  i ended up giving about a dozen away to friends who were having babies or placements around that time, so we ended up with about 36 that are still in constant rotation.  we use them for everything.  we purchased gerber brand white burp cloths and then dyed them to look like those fancy burp cloths you see on etsy for $6 a piece.  mine turned out pretty good, and have held up really well.  fun project - but recommend washing the dye at the laundry mat rather than in your own shower and washing machine.

7. bumbo seat - i never would have purchased one on my own, it seems like an expensive item for a short time frame of use.  however, a friend from church gave us her old one and dax has loved it.  it's been a blessing to take it to places that you just cannot take a high chair to.  dax loves sitting up and looking around and he even loves doing acrobatics in it - which may be it's only down fall.  right now he is attempting to worm his way out of it to flip over, so we have to keep a watchful eye on him when he's in it.  if you get one, see if you can get it at a second hand store.  they clean up very easily.

8.  jumperoo - all time best baby purchase ever.  i know all babies are different, but for some reason i thought we should get the jumperoo instead of the exersaucer.  i did not want two of these giant contraptions taking up all of the floor space, so i figured we'd opt for one.  somehow we ended up getting 4 jumperoos at our baby shower, but we did return 2 of them for other things.  dax now has one upstairs jumperoo and one downstairs jumperoo.  if he does not get to jump for any given length of time he will actually go through jumping withdrawls.  he will then attempt to jump on anything he can find.  give the kid some jumping time!  we have two fisher price models and he likes the rainforest model the best.  they all have relatively similar attention grabbing items around the center, so just pick whichever one matches your house!

9.  play mat  - dax's second favorite item in the toy yard.  we have the boppy circus mat.  a little disappointed that  his circus came crashing down last week and the flexible arm that holds up all of the circus fun snapped in half and he can no longer have the aerial part of the circus.  i still need to email boppy to see if they'd like to replace that for us, but somehow i am thinking they won't.  it was a lot of fun though until it broke.

10.  excellent diaper bag - we started out with the $60 diaper dude messenger style bag.  when we purchased it we were matched with a baby girl, so gray and pink seemed to be like a good match.  however, after all that fell through i had already cut off all of the tags and we were committed to it's pinkness.  despite the color being all wrong (and the nursery room attendants at church not thinking it was his bag because it was pink), we determined before i left for chicago that we were going to have to live with a diaper bag until dax was at least 2 or 3, so we should stop just putting up with it's difficult packability.  it just did not make sense.  too many small pockets on the outside that just did not really hold anything worthy of going in a pocket, and then one big large center pocket that lost everything inside it.  boo.  so, we bit the bullet and ended up with a petunia picklebottom boxy backpack.  it's been to chicago and saved me in the airports.  it holds a great deal of stuff and it's relatively easy to carry since you have the backpack, shoulder, or cross shoulder option.  so far worth the $.

11.  baby shampoo and conditioner - we've purchased many brands of baby products.  when dax first came home we tried to use burt's bee's baby, then eucerine, then cara b organic, then (and what we finally ended up with) california baby super sensitive (unscented).  dax had some skin irritation, the baby acne, a rash, and all the while we were linking things to his shampoo and body wash.  i still don't know if it all just went away on its own or it was related to the products themselves, but the california baby super sensitive has seemed to work well all this time, so we're not changing it now.  (we do use burt's bees, california baby, and welleda diaper creme for diaper rashes and all three work well.)

12.  good blankets - aden + anais bamboo blankies.  not the ones you can get at target or babiesrus, but the really good ones from the boutique baby stores.  it does make a difference, and they are worth the $50 for the three pack.  we use them all the time for daxton.  they are not too warm, but they keep him warm, they block out sun when you double them over, and they are light and fold up easily.

13.  baby bathtub - we have the fisher price precious planet whale of a tub.  dax loves his bath time and he loves his tub.  it's easy to use and fits right down in the tub.  it's not easy to carry it full of water to the kitchen counter, but we only attempted this twice before we figured it out.  (sometimes we are slow to catch on.)  the toys that came with the tub are some of daxy's favorite bathtime toys, and he especially loves the slotted orange fish that sprinkles water.

14. baby friendly tunes - for everyone this means a little something different, but we could not have survived the first three months without putumayo kids and several rockabye baby cds.  dax loved them in the car, in the office, and even on the bose.  we'd rock out at all times and as long as the music was going, he was a happy camper.  we still listen to putumayo kids cds.  they are family favorites.  i don't think of them much as kids music and they are not so annoying as rockaby baby madonna (for example).

15.  ergo carrier - we went through the baby bjorn, the moby wrap, and the infantino flip before we broke down and returned those jumperoos for an ergo.  our backs were killing us with all of the other carriers and daxton just did not really like being in them.  we finally got the ergo baby sport (because we are so sporty,  no, because it's thinner and not so hot).  we have not used it immenesly, but the times we have used it daxton did not mind it and our backs were not burning like red fire ants had attacked us.

16.  carseat - we opted for chicco brand.  we got the key fit that came with the fold up stroller.  it is heavy, but it is safe.  these carseats ranked as some of the lowest on the toxicity levels, but high in car safety testing.  however, once the baby is over about 10lbs it is very difficult to carry with the baby inside.  it's very easy to install in the car, and i've tested it out on land rover, toyota, chevrolet, and vw.

17.  comfortable stroller for both you and baby - if there is a place where you can go and test out a stroller, i highly advise you to do that.  see how long the handles are and how the wheels work with your own stride.  we love our inglesina swift stroller, but the handles are not long enough and our feet tend to kick the wheels as we stroll along.  we also love the chicco stroller that came with the carseat, but it is bulky and not practical to use all of the time.  neither of them are good for the beach, but we don't get to go often enough to justify another stroller.  both of our current strollers are good for daxton for sitting up or for laying down and sleeping.  both have a canopy that is very helpful for strolling or resting on the beach.

18.  diapers - when daxton first arrived home we used earth's best chlorine free diapers.  they then became hard to locate so we switched to seventh generation.  we also exclusively use bum genius 4.0 snap diapers when we're at home.  we launder diapers every other day and we use a combination of baking soda, charlie's soap, biokleen, and seventh generation baby detergent in our front load washer.  we have 25 bg cloth diapers and really feel like it is the perfect amount for us.  if you have more then you'd wait too long to wash and that is just really not fun for anyone.

19.  wipes - seventh generation - we use these wipes exclusively and always have.  they are unscented and do not have any of that ultra strong "baby powder" scenting that i don't care for.

20.  baby food - sprout.  we really like sprout organics.  they come in packets, instead of packages with those plastic screw off lids and they're easy to toss in your diaper bag or in your travel bag for the airplane.  they are also easy to feed from, so you don't have to do lots of dishes.  dax likes all of the flavor combinations, except green beans, peas, and mint.  they are a lot less expensive than earth's best organics, plum, or happy baby - but have good consistency, decent flavor, and no added sugar.

21.  formula - we used enfamil newborn when dax was newly ours because it was what they'd been giving him at the hospital.  our doctor told us not to switch it up until he was ready to go to regular formula.  once he did, we transferred him over to earth's best organic formula and he seems to like it, because he finishes every bottle!

22.  swing - we purchased the fisher price my little lamb baby swing.  dax slept in it for about the first two months of his life.  he still sleeps in it on a weekly basis, when in the wee hours of the morning he decides to wake up before the sunshine and refuses to go back to bed.  we strap him in, turn on the muzak, crank up the mobile, and let her rip.  he loves talking to the characters on the mobile and seeing himself in the circular mirror over his head.  definitely a good investment.  this one swings in three directions, and that is handy when you move it from room to room.  the only thing i don't like is that you cannot take the headrest out to launder it separately from the rest of the swing.

23. - high chair - we received the graco 4-in-1 high chair seating system.  could not be happier with it.  it's easy to put together and transitional between your baby's various eating stages.  it should last daxton until he's much older.  the tray is easy to clean (although too large for our dishwasher), but it wipes off easily and i can put it in the sink if it needs to be scrubbed.  the harness style (racing) seat belt does seem like overkill when your baby is just newly sitting up to eat their first meal, but as they get older you see it's importance.  we're thankful he has it now, otherwise half of our baby food and our baby would be on the ground.

hope this is helpful for someone who is out there struggling with a list of things they need to get before their little one arrives home!

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