I'd love to hear from other mamas about what *your* must-have list looks like!
1. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets: Yes, these are expensive. Yes, they are worth it. I use them for everything- swaddling, nursing cover-up, light stroller blanket. I have more than I'm willing to admit, but they are truly wonderful.
|Juliet swaddled in Aden & Anais as a newborn|
2. Velcro swaddler: I use the Kiddopatmus SwaddleMe blankets. I was partial to the fleece one for Juliet when we lived in a cool climate and now I'm partial to the organic cotton one for Audrey since it is much lighter. The whole point of these swaddlers is that they are pretty foolproof and easy to use. Swaddling the old-fashioned way can be a little hard and annoying, especially in the middle of the night when I am bleary eyed. I like to keep it easy sometimes, and these do the trick.
3. Moby wrap: My favorite wrap for the newborn and early infant stage. I am a huge proponent of babywearing for both practical reasons (hands are free!) as well as developmental/emotional reasons (infant/mother bonding). The Moby is a little tricky to figure out at first but both my babies love to snuggle in it and fall asleep pretty much instantly. It's really nice to have that chest-to-chest bonding time with my babes and it makes us both happy. I have other more "sophisticated" wraps but like this one because it's pretty easy compared to woven wraps.
|Sleeping through a wedding in the Moby|
4.Ergo Baby carrier : This is a huge must-have! It can be used from about 2 weeks on with an infant insert until baby grows into it a little bit, and I can still use it easily for Juliet at 17 months and 22 lbs. I can hike in it up mountains, and wear it literally for hours per day with no discomfort in my back or shoulders. I can bend over to pick up Juliet and carry both kids when needed. It can be worn on your front or your back. Most babywearing "experts" consider it preferable over a Baby Bjorn because the baby's hips are supported correctly in an Ergo and it's more comfortable for both baby and mom (Baby Bjorns are snottily referred to by these people as "crotch danglers" because the baby isn't sitting properly and just hangs from the crotch)
|Wearing Ergo on my back while 30+ weeks pregnant (left) and hiking in Yosemite with front carry (right)|
5. BOB jogging stroller: Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's worth it. For me, this is a must-have because of the ease of pushing it, and it makes it easy for me to get motivated to get back outside for a post-partum jog. It is so smooth and I can literally push the single BOB with just a fingertip (the double version is bulkier and still pushes beautifully but does require a full handgrip!). Only worth it if you plan on running, though. It's not the best choice as an everyday stroller due to the bulk. I'm not much of a stroller person for everyday activities (since I prefer to babywear), so this is a great choice for me since I tend to only use my strollers for oustide activities. I do have a more compact, lightweight stroller (the Chicco Liteway) for Juliet now that she is older, that we use for trips to the mall.
|Taking Juliet out in the BOB (using Graco infant carseat)|
6. Cloth Diapers: I am no longer cloth diapering because it turned out to just be too much work right now with our life circumstances. But for anyone who is interested in cloth diapering, my preference for diaper covers were the Thirsties covers, prefolds (through a diaper service since I hate doing laundry), and a Snappi. I love cloth diapering and think there are several benefits (to the baby and to the environment).
|Audrey wearing the Thirsties cover|
7. Pacifiers: Did you know that using a pacifier for a young infant actually can reduce the risk of SIDS? (see here). My favorite types are the Soothie for the first couple of weeks and then transition to the NUK Genius. It seems like pacifiers disappear into the same black hole that missing socks in the laundry go. I can't ever seem to find them when I need one so I have dozens around the house at any given time. The standard type since it works and is easiest to find is the standard NUK but I prefer NUK Genius.