Friday, May 13, 2011
As Gwyneth approaches the four and a half month mark, Kyle and I have had a chance to look back and think about the items that have helped us the most. With so much "baby stuff" out there it's hard to see clearly what's what. I have been a nanny for ten years now and was lucky enough to have that experience that helped us get prepared. We made our list we registered, and now we've put these items through the ringer for the past four months. Many friends and family members are expecting babies and have asked us about thing that we've used and loved. So, here's our list of the things that have worked for us...
Aden + Anais Swaddles and The SwaddleKeeper
Gwynnie all cozied up in her swaddle and the SwaddleKeeper!
We absolutely love our Aden + Anais swaddles. They work wonderfully and are beautiful. They are big and gauzy so they wrap well and stay put. I honestly beleive that swaddling Gwyneth is a huge contributing factor in her being a good sleeper. When she does manage to get out of the swaddle, she becomes agitated and will stay awake playing or fussing and get overtired. If she's in there snug she is happy and goes to sleep easily. A key component to the swaddle-action success is the SwaddleKeeper. It was invented by our friend Kim. Kim is a labor and delivery nurse, a doula and she actually delivered Gwyneth! The SwaddleKeeper does exactly what it's name indicates, it keeps the swaddle on! We've used it from day one and we don't go anywhere without it.
Kim holding Gwyneth.
Kim has very generously agreed to do a SwaddleKeeper Giveaway! I know so many of you are expecting or have newborns at home and I can't stress enough how great this product is! It would also make a great shower gift! With the SwaddleKeeper you also get a DVD and instructional tips and advice for swaddling/sleeping success. This product has been called "Sleep in a Box". Who doesn't want that?!
To enter the giveaway, visit Kim's website (http://www.swaddlekeeper.com/) and then come back here and leave a comment letting me know something you found interesting there, which color you'd choose and your email address! You can even leave a note as an anonymous person just make sure to include your contact info in the comment! That's it. Just post your comment at the end of this post! I'll choose a winner using a random online selector next Friday! We love our SwaddleKeeper so I'm really excited for this giveaway!
The Sleep Sheep
When we first started out we were very anti-soothing "stuff". We didn't really want a sound machine, a swing, pacifiers, a vibrating chair. We love to travel and we felt that having Gwyneth hooked on these soothing methods would be a short term solution that would be a big problem in the end. I still believe that to be true in the case of the swing or the vibrating chair but a couple weeks in, we felt that we needed a method of soothing her that was transportable, consistent and that didn't involve us actively doing something to calm her. I'd heard great things about The Sleep Sheep so we decided to order one and give it a try. The Sleep Sheep has a sound machine in it that plays four different sounds: heartbeat, rain, ocean and whales. We usually stick with the rain and ocean. The heartbeat sound isn't for us and the whale sound reminds me too much of this:
Anyway... we love The Sleep Sheep and have incorporated it into Gwyn's sleep routine. It has two different time settings 23 minutes and 45 minutes. I recently discovered two things: 1) It takes a baby 20 minutes to become truly asleep so now we use the 23 minute setting when she's first going down for a nap or bedtime and 2) Babies sleep in 45 minute sleep cycles. Now we use the 45 minute setting when she wakes up at 5:30 in the morning. Usually this buys us another 45 minutes of sleep! We had just been using the 45 minute setting all the time but discovered it disrupted her nap when it went off in sync with the end of a sleep cycle. Make sense? p.s. There's also a travel size!
ON THE GO
Emergency Baby Kit
We keep an "emergency kit" with us in the car at all times with a spare blanket, changing mat, wipes and current-size disposable diapers, a pacifier (even though G doesn't really like them), a full change of clothes including a hat and socks and a change of pajamas. This just-in-case kit has come in handy several times. Once she starts eating solids we'll add in a jar or two of baby food and when teething really gets going we'll probably toss in a thermometer and some infant Tylenol too!
Bugaboo Frog Stroller
I love our Bugaboo Frog stroller. We use it all the time. It's lightweight, fun and easy to use. It's everything I hoped it would be. Buying it used in good condition is the way to go!
Poppy's Mom insisted we needed to have this cozy car seat snuggly thing. I thought, nah, we'll just use a blanket. But Poppy's Grandmother got one for us and I'm soooo glad she did. It zips up around the bottom, it's cozy and warm. It helps her fit snuggly in the car seat. Plus the top zips off for when it's too hot out or opens when they get to long for it and make a great impromptu play mat:
As you can see Gwynnie loves her Tummy Tub. This has made bathtime such a joy! It's definitely easier to do with two people/four hands but I've managed it on my own a couple of times and as she gets more steady it will be a breeze. It's small so she feels safe and the water stays warm. It took us a while to figure out the right temp for her and that (because she's so tiny and didn't displace enough agua) we needed to fill the water a bit higher than the fill line. I highly recommend this!
BumGenius 4.0 Diapers
After trying a few different kinds of diapers, including FuzziBunz and Rumparooz, we found that the BumGenius 4.0 Pocket Diapers with Snap Closure worked the best for our little string bean. They are slightly less bulky than the others and they come in such fun colors! We did a great 30 Day Test Drive via Diaper Junction and were able to return the FuzziBunz, Rumparooz and the BumGenius with Velcro Closure and order the rest of our supply. I loved going through Diaper Junction. They have great customer service and spent a long time on the phone with me answering my questions. They are clearly passionate about getting the babies of the world in cloth diapers! We now have 20 cloth diapers total and we are so excited to stop buying disposables which cost about $.25 each! Not to mention it's better for the environment. You can get gift certificates through DiaperJunction too which is great. Our whole diaper set up cost about $400 but we had $300 in gift certificates! We've already spent about that much on disposables in just four months so it's a very worthwhile investment. They are easy to use and wash. Go cloth!
NURSING AND EATING
Born Free Glass Bottles
We just started using these and we love them. They are vented so the nipple doesn't collapse and they seem to flow really well. They have them in BPA Free plastic but we wanted to go with the glass ones. They are pricy but will last forever because they're glass (unless Gwyneth's Godmother drops one of them which is highly likely).
Boppy (Breastfeeding Pillow)
I love using this breastfeeding pillow. I made mine using the book called Simple Sewing for Baby but you can buy them lots of places.
The Hooter Hider
Like the Boppy, I don't know what I would have done without this. It's convenient and easy to use. I highly recommend getting one. The one pictured (the one I have) is an organic cotton on made by Baby au Lait.
As you all know, I had a horrible time trying to find a nursing bra. I finally found and ordered this Soft Cup Nursing Bra from Gap Body both in black and nude (they're on sale now for $20... I think they might be discontinuing them) and the Madela sleep bra (also ordered from the Gap). I couldn't be happier with them. It made such a difference to have a comfortable nursing bras. Also the Lansinoh Breast Pads (below) are fantastic. Like every mom told me, they are the only ones worth buying. Forget trying the others, these are the best.
Okay, these are the only two books we read, but I think they were the right match for the style of parenting we were aiming for.
The Healthy Sleep Habits book provides lots of info on what constitutes a good sleep pattern, what time for what age is appropriate for naps and some methods for teaching your babe to self-soothe. His method consists of putting your baby to sleep at the first signs of drowsiness. This took a while to get the hang of because the line from drowsy baby to overtired baby is very small and hard to detect but now that we've learned Gwyneth's signs of drowsiness (which change constantly) we are usually able to put her to sleep without much fussing. He says, "perfect timing produces no crying". Where his book lacks is that he continually tells you to soothe your baby but he doesn't tell you how! For that we have found that the methods shown in The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (you can rent it from Netflix) worked well for us:
The Happiest Baby on the Block (we took the shortcut and watched the DVD instead of reading the book). We found these soothing methods to be really effective and pretty easy to master. The things that worked best for us in the beginning were swaddling, swinging (by hand, not in a swing), side-lying and shushing.
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is a wonderful book. It's easy and entertaining to read and has a lot of logical approaches to parenting, soothing and "what to do when" info. I love that Tracy really respects babies. So much of parenting is intuitive but sometimes a lot of it seems counter-intuitive. We really wanted to let our baby learn to self soothe and be content and calm. We found Tracy's simple methods of S.L.O.W. and E.A.S.Y. to be great matches for what we wanted and helped us to figure out what Gwyneth needed. I highly recommend this book. Gwyneth's changing quite a bit and things have gotten a bit trickier so we just ordered The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems and started reading it. It's worth ordering them together because this one takes her original method to the next level and is full of TONS of great info and addresses all the variables!
So there you have it! I sincerely hope that this list of items and info is helpful to some of you. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!