"At last I have found it...My vocation is love!"
St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Newborn Must-Haves: Part 1

One of the first things I ask new moms is what baby products they recommend. With so many choices, it's super helpful to know what is tried and true!

So, here is the first installment of my top baby products (in no particular order) that I've found to be excellent during these first six weeks:

1. Summer Infant Swaddlepod

Long story about this thing, which we lovingly refer to as Elise's "sausage suit": When I was pregnant, I read an excellent book which informed me that infants have a startle reflex. The reflex easily is triggered when babies are placed on their backs, especially when their little limbs can flail. The book's author, a pediatrician, recommends swaddling as a way to help infants sleep on their backs without activating the reflex-- and the crying and protesting that follows. After reading this, I excitedly purchased several swaddling blankets. I felt so clever... MY baby certainly would not have a problem sleeping on her back!

Fast forward to Elise's first week... That little stinker broke out of every swaddle! We wrapped her so tightly, it almost seemed cruel! Yet, within minutes, that baby Houdini would have her arms free. We even tried one of those velcro swaddling blankets. Again, she broke free!

Finally, while we were shopping one day, my mom stumbled upon the Swaddlepod. I decided to buy it and make one final attempt to try a form of swaddling with Elise. It turned out to be an excellent purchase. Here's why I like the Swaddlepod:

-It's easy to use... no folding corners or wrapping a squirming baby!

-It has two zippers that run in opposite directions. You can unzip from the feet up in need of a diaper change.

-The fabric is stretchy, so the baby still is able to move her arms and legs a bit-- just not enough to break free.

-It truly makes a difference! I cannot get Elise to sleep in her bassinet without it!

-It looks hilarious on a baby!!! (That's gotta count for something, right?)

2. Sakura Bloom Ring Sling

I love the idea of wearing a baby, because it seems like it creates a win-win situation. Parents get hands-free time, and babies are able to remain close and feel secure. It also seems to me that riding around on mom or dad would be an educational experience-- that a baby would be able to take in more sights and sounds than he or she would in a stroller or car seat.

I was eager to experiment with wearing Elise, and this beautiful linen sling was the first one I tried. I've found that it's easy to use, comfortable to wear, and supportive for baby. It's especially great for trips to the supermarket, Church, etc.

Though a Sakura Bloom is pricey, I find it to be well-worth the investment. And, I've had excellent luck finding them used in the For Sale or Trade forum at The Baby Wearer.

3. Ergo Baby Carrier

This is the baby carrier that my husband primarily uses. Elise is too small to ride in it without support, so we also purchased the Ergo Heart2Heart Infant Insert. We like the Ergo because:

-It's something my husband can wear without feeling silly!

-The brushed cotton canvas fabric is incredibly soft.

-It has padded, adjustable straps and actually is comfortable to wear.

-It can be used for front, side, and back carries (though, infants can only be worn on the front).

-It even can support a toddler up to 40 lbs!

4. Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover

My friend Katie gave me this lovely nursing cover as a baby shower gift, and it has become an essential item to keep in my diaper bag. It is soft, well-made, and actually comes in prints that aren't babyish or hokey! My favorite feature is the rigid neckline that allows you to peek at your nursing baby without lifting the cover.

5. Aden & Anais Burpy Bib

These burpies are great! They are made of soft muslin, contour to your shoulder, and nicely absorb the many lovely liquid disasters that are possible with a baby. The best part is that these burpies have snaps that allow them to double as bibs! (Or an emergency skirt when baby produces a poop explosion on a plane... and mommy and daddy have forgotten to pack an extra outfit! Yesthisreallyhappened.)

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