I'm loving my new life, taking care of Cooper and learning (so much learning!) about being a mom! That said, we have had a chance to use a myriad of "baby stuff" for Cooper and postpartum things for me, and I thought it would be fun to share what we like. There are so many "must-have" baby products and blog posts telling you what you need. I found it overwhelming, and since a lot of baby stuff is expensive, we wanted to be sure that we were buying and registering for items that we would use and love. Ultimately, I researched a bunch and asked numerous mama friends what their favorite things were. Here are our favorites that we are finding to be useful in this stage:
Snuggle Me Organic—Since it gives him the sense that he's being held, this is a great spot to set him down if mom and dad need free hands, especially when he's sleepy. At almost five weeks old, he still likes it, but we find he's not a fan when he's awake/alert, since he can't look around. But it's still a great place to set him when he's sleepy.
Solly Wrap—This is a game-changer. I had heard that the key to baby wearing is to start early, so we tried this wrap out the first week we had him home. If he won't nap in his crib, he will definitely nap in the wrap. And as I'm venturing out from home a little more, this is a must-have for grocery store and costco trips. He loves being snuggled in, and I love that he's close and I have both hands free. I also wear him while making dinner, if he's not interested in a nap in the crib. Nicholas loves wearing him too!
BabyBjorn bouncer—We opted for a low-tech (but pricey) bouncer. And honestly, this one has amazing reviews, but we also chose it because of the aesthetics. Now that Cooper is more alert, this is awesome. I can set him in it while I put my contacts in, get dressed, etc. and he's super content. Also, once he's bigger, when he kicks, he'll essentially bounce himself. And we like that it doesn't have batteries, etc.
SwaddleMe swaddles—These are great for every time we set him in the crib or bassinet. When he was really tiny, we used blanket swaddles more, but we like these for overnight, since they're secure and safer when we're all asleep. Also, we like that they work with arms in or out (and our little man is not a fan of having his arms in ;).
Baby Jogger City Mini GT stroller—Ever since Nicholas went back to work, we're getting out in the morning for a (nearly) daily walk. I love how lightweight, maneuverable, and foldable this stroller is. I can easily fold it up and take it in and out of the trunk of our car. We use it with the carseat/adapter.
Diaper cream—We stumbled into this store on a whim while on vacation in Asheville and we love it. It's not petroleum-based, so it's cloth diaper friendly, non-toxic, and smells amazing. I've applied some to my hands when they were chapped too.
- Pajamas—At night (for a summer-born baby and a home kept at about 71 degrees F) we like to put him in a long-sleeved onesie with little hand covers (so he won't scratch his face) and then in the SwaddleMe. The onesies are Carter's. Sometimes we put a hat on him too, but he's a little wiggle worm, so that usually falls off rather quickly.
- lightweight swaddles/blankets—I questioned what all the hype was about Aden and Anais swaddle blankets, but they have been great, especially with a summer baby. I've used them as a shade over the carseat, a nursing cover, a blanket to lay on at the pool, and a burp cloth, in a pinch. They're lightweight, breathable, washable. We keep on in the stroller, one in the diaper bag, one in the car, and then there's usually one in the wash.
- Motherlove nipple cream—definitely necessary for those first two weeks
- Earthmama perineal spray—super helpful as I healed
- washable organic nursing bra pads—I love that I can just toss these in the wash and reuse them.
- Expecting and Empowered: The Postpartum Guide—something to give me direction as I heal my core/pelvic floor and gradually increase my activity.
- A daily walk outside. This had been so good for us and helping me adjust to our new normal. On really hot days (like those we've had recently) we walk early.
- Nursing bras are a bit tricky, I think. I found that I really do not care for ones with removeable pads (every time I nurse, the pads fold over and get bunched up, etc.) These ones from Target have been awesome for me, personally.
- A nursing pillow. We have the classic Boppy pillow and I like it. I typically prop it up on a chair's armrest or with another pillow underneath to get it in the right position
- A nursing app. A friend recommended Baby Manager and I've been impressed. In the haze of brand new motherhood, it's hard to remember when the baby last ate/had a diaper change, etc. I don't intend to track this data indefinitely, but it's nice when you don't trust your memory, in the midst of sleep deprivation, and the app is really easy to use. Nicholas set it up and got the paid version without ads for me, but there is a free version with ads.
- Really good snacks! Having ready-to-grab snacks is essential. A friend brought over these Superhero muffins shortly after we got home and I love them. I've made another batch and plan to have them ready regularly for a grab-and-go snack. (I added mini chocolate chips and used almond flour, rather than almond meal, and left out the raisins, since that's what I had). Other items I've been snacking on include nuts, string cheese, nectarines, chips and guac, etc. I've also made these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at least three times since I had Cooper.
For our home:
- Nightlights. I cannot emphasize enough how much we love these ones. They're inexpensive and have sensors, so you don't have to turn them on/off. The pack of 4 was perfect, so we have them lining the path to the nursery/changing pad. We also have one in our bathroom and one in the kitchen. Definitely a "quality of life improver," since they help us avoid turning on bright lights in the middle of the night.
- Portable lamp. This is one of the coolest things we have, and it's also inexpensive. It's a touch light, so I tap it twice to turn it on, and once to adjust the brightness. Plus, it's battery-operated, so I can take it off the stand and carry it with me to the nursery, or the chair I sit in for middle of the night nursing sessions. Total game-changer, and super handy to have right on my nightstand (another awesome find from Nicholas). Gosh, I love him.
- Music for the whole family à la A nice baby-friendly playlist of songs that I also like! I didn't create it, just stumbled upon it and saved it a few years ago.
These are the items that we use every day and honestly, multiple times a day and love for this newborn stage. All that said, every baby is different. This is just what we love. :)
Sometimes, it's still a shock to me that we have two little boys. The transition to two has been an adjustment for us, of course. Lots of hard moments and big emotions at times, but lots of sweetness too. Here are some of my favorite photos of our boys, from the last few months.
My dear friend, Molly, of Molly Kate Photography came over to meet Finn and offered to do an impromptu newborn session the other day. As Molly took photos of Finn, she offered to get some photos of the rest of our little family too, spontaneously. I hesitated at first, since we didn't do any prep, per se for having our photos taken.
Hello! Our hands are a bit more full these days, as one can imagine. I've begun a post about Finn's birth story, and I plan to chip away at it a bit, here and there, as time allows, and publish that post soon. But in the meanwhile, I thought I'd write a little bit about life right now, in the haze of baby snuggles and night wakings and adjusting to being a family of four.